avril 2012

Pain is temporary; achievements are forever.

As some of you might know I do love my running
nearly as much as my photography!

Through the woods, around the lakes here in brussels, one of Europes greenest cities it’s great getting out and about for nature photography but also running. 10 k, 20 k I absolutely have to run and these distances seem to be good for me.
I have however always wanted to take it to a new level by trying a triathlon but seem to get daughted by the abount of time training that has to be done around work, kids and play.
A friend of mine has however found the solution and I thought I’d share how…Thanks Hildi !

How to be Superwoman.  The idiot’s guide to fitting it all in.

Waiting outside the gym studio for a step class to begin about 18 months after having my second child, someone commented that they hadn’t seen me there for a while.  ‘I know,’ said one of the other ladies, ‘It’s just so difficult to get back to fitness after having a baby, isn’t it?  Mine’s two and this is my first time back as well.’  I didn’t want to make her feel bad so I didn’t explain that I was actually taking it easy after doing my first Ironman triathlon the month before.

Sometimes my colleagues and Facebook friends call me ‘Superwoman’.  Why?  I guess it’s because I work 4 days a week managing a team of 27 staff at a local school and being responsible for the wellbeing and progress of 80 special needs kids, am doing a postgraduate qualification (my third), have two children, am a school governor (two schools), help run the local swimming club, and do triathlon (to relax).  I don’t feel super, I just feel fit – and sometimes a bit achey.  But in a good way, you understand.

So how do I fit being an Ironman in?  It’s actually very easy, but only if you decide to make it a priority.  For my husband and I, it’s never a question of ‘have I got time to train?’, but ‘when can I make time to train?’.  Two principles govern my training regime.  First, there is always a choice.  Second, be flexible – life happens.  Oh, and a third belief which is helpful – that TV is basically shit.  So, here’s my idiot’s (and perhaps I am) guide to being Superwoman.  Good luck – you’ll sleep well 😉

  • The average person watches about 25 hours of TV per week.  If you spent 25 hours a week training you’d be able to do almost any event you wanted!  OK, realistically, some of that is in bed as you’re dropping off to sleep, some of it is with the kids (‘cos you’re a good parent and you know you need to monitor what they watch) and some of it is because you’re babysitting, the weather is rubbish, it’s dark and who wants to run out in that anyway? So, get a turbo trainer.  You can put your bike on it and get some winter mileage in while catching up on House, Glee, or whatever your partner hates watching.
  • Any journey is a potential training session.  This goes back to principle 2.  I hate my new job because it’s not far enough away to cycle!  My colleague moved 12 miles away to make her daily commute worth it.  Maybe there’s a fourth principle here too – you don’t smell nearly so bad after a workout as you think you do!  And babywipes and dry shampoo are really amazing.  I once arranged with my husband to drop me in Milton Keynes so I could cycle the rest of the way to Bedford for a weekend with his family, and our friends 20 miles away in Cuckfield now expect one of us to arrive by bike and ask to use the shower when they invite us for lunch.  I’ll let you into a secret – we once even did a swim to work day.  4km in the sea might be a bit much for everyday but, boy, was that fun!
  • Follow the mantra ‘On days when you can train and don’t want to, remember there will be days that you want to train and can’t’.  If OFSTED announce a visit, or the kids are poorly, or your partner is away for work, then make that week your rest week.  The Ironman programme I follow works on a 3 hard week/1 easy week cycle.  It’s just that sometimes I have to take my easy week when life tells me to.  Cheaper than a coach, although probably not as effective.
  • Carry run kit and swimming kit with you whenever possible.  You might get a chance to run on the way home (once you get home you may not get out again), or to swim at lunchtime.  I used to take my bike in the car once a week and do an hour ride up Ditchling Beacon and back.  If that meeting finishes early and you have half an hour before you have to be at the childminder, you could do a hill rep set and a few stretches instead of having a biscuit in the staff room.  The day after my second Brighton Marathon I was at a conference opposite the West Pier in central Brighton.  All morning I was dreaming of cold water on my burning legs.  At lunchtime I persuaded my colleagues to join me in the sun on the beach, changed into my cossie, put on my goggles and did a quick swim.  I don’t think I have ever loved a swim as much!

So, if you want to do a triathlon, or a marathon, or a 10km (swim, bike or run), don’t think you don’t have enough time.  You do.  You can choose to.  Choose to miss the endless reality TV and the bad news from the global news corporations.  Choose to have friends and colleagues that think you’re crazy (but love you anyway).  Choose to have hair that’s slightly frizzy and your eyebrows tinted instead of putting on makeup in the mornings.  Choose to be amazing.  Choose to do something most people think they can’t do.  Choose health, choose fun and most of all, choose life!  Oh, and get a jogging buggy.

Ironman UK, 2008, Photo, Official race photographer
Swashbuckler Half-Ironman, 2009. Photo, Official race photographer, Race Newforest

Vanessa Serendipity Shop

I just wanted to promote this new online shop
from one of my guest bloggers which is a great !

All kinds of objects for yourself or fantastic presents for others.
Home decoration, objects for kids, everyday life, happy events & parties.

It’s all Ethnic & Ethical

Depth Of Field Takes Your Photos To A New Level !

Depth of field can be daunting to get to grips with,
but is actually a very simple concept to understand.

There are many technical aspects to photography which can seem daunting to the beginner photographer, and depth of field is one which causes much confusion. Thankfully, it is actually a very simple concept – the term « depth of field » simply refers to the area of the scene which appears well focused.
It is the product of three factors – the lens aperture, the focal length, and how far away from the camera the subject is positioned.

We’ll have a look at each of these three factors and look at how we can use them to control depth of field, using it to our advantage to isolate our subject or bring everything into sharp focus.

What is Depth of Field?

When we adjust our camera’s lens to focus on a subject it will only achieve perfect focus at one particular distance;
anything in front or behind this point will be blurred to a greater or lesser degree.

Diagram illustrating depth of field

Depth of field refers to the area around the perfect focal distance which appears acceptably sharp.

What Affects Depth of Field?

Depth of field is affected by three main factors:

  • Lens aperture diameter
  • Focal length
  • Distance from the subject

Aperture and Depth of Field

The aperture determines the diameter of the beam of light that the lens admits.
The wider the aperture, the wider the beam of light.
A wider beam is more susceptible to depth of field effects than a narrower beam.

Opening the aperture creates a narrow depth of field.
Using a wider aperture produces a shallower depth of field; using a narrower aperture gives a greater depth of field.

Focal Length and Depth of Field

Focal length is a measure of how much the lens magnifies a scene. The lens also magnifies differences in focus.
A longer focal length magnifies focus differences, resulting in a shallower depth of field.

Focus Distance and Depth of Field

The closer the subject is to the camera, the greater the relative distance from the front to the back of that object.
A high relative distance gives a corresponding reduction in how much of the object appears in focus.

Getting close to the subject narrows the depth of field.

Controlling Depth of Field

To achieve the results you want here’s a simple table with the rules of thumb :

To Increase Depth of Field To Decrease Depth of Field
Narrower aperture Wider aperture
Shorter focal length Longer focal length
Move away from subject Move towards subject
Inspired by Photography Mad

Have you ever seen a boat like it ? This is the ADASTRA !

I wanted to show you all this boat a) because it’s an amazing looking machine & one of the world’s most amazing super yachts !!
but also b) because it’s my uncle & cousins that designed it!

My uncle John has been into sailing and boat building from the age of 9 and that was about the age I was when I helped put fibreglass on the hull of the ‘Sweet Painted Lady’, the 40ft boat he built in my grandmothers back yard !
He then went off sailing the world with my auntie and two cousins. Here he is at the launch in China last week, and the two cousins are there too, all looking amazingly dashing!
Many of the boats he has designed still hold records such as the Single handed record, New York / San Francisco in 1989.

The striking 42.5m Trimaran ‘Adastra’ is the result of more than 5 years of design and discussion with the owners, to build a yacht that meets the needs of a very experienced ocean voyaging couple and their family, and to provide the level of comfort and style that would be expected in a yacht of this class and size.

No effort has been spared in the challenge to produce a beautiful yacht that will have low fuel consumption and yet provide excellent sea keeping qualities and luxurious accommodation.’Adastra’ takes the power trimaran concept further than has ever been attempted before. Extensive tank testing and radio controlled model tests in waves have been carried out to analyze stability and performance.

Filled with all the mod cons this machine has a customized app, and an iPad can handle a range of responsibilities for the boat including steering and flicking switches!

Please take time to have a look at John Shuttleworths website

Candles Are Perfect Photography Subjects!

With their wide range of shapes, sizes and colours,
candles are great in photography.

It can be tempting in photography to concentrate on the big, popular subjects such as fashion, landscapes, and architecture. It’s a pity because there are many less obvious subjects which can produce photos every bit as intriguing and engaging. Candles are a great example of this. They are easy to find and are available in a huge range of shapes, sizes, and colours. Here are a few tips that will help you to experiment with this fascinating, under-appreciated subject.

Use a Simple Composition

Candles often need no further scenery to make a compelling photo. Great compositions often involves just the candle or candles against a plain backdrop, and with no further lighting other than the flames themselves. Candle photographs usually benefit from a simple composition with no distracting background elements. Adding other objects to your scene can help give context to the candle, and tell a bit more of a story. When arranging your objects, arrange them so that they cast long, interesting shadows through your scene. This will add interest and create a sense of depth in your photo.

Turn Off the Lights

It amazing how many people photograph candles in full daylight. Doing so usually overpowers any light from the candle’s flame itself, making it virtually invisible. It also completely destroys the warm, intimate glow you get from your candle, which is one of the things that can really create an interesting atmosphere.

Enhance the Warmth

Candle photos usually look best when they convey a strong sense of warmth and cosiness. Unfortunately, the orange light that they produce can often confuse your camera’s automatic white balance, causing it to overcompensate and remove the warm feeling altogether in an attempt to capture what it sees as the « correct » colours.

Use a white-balance preset to enhance the warmth in your photo.
Switch your camera’s white balance to a setting such as cloudy or daylight. This will give you a warmer and more pleasing photo.

Expose for the Flame

The flame is often the focal point of a candle photo, so it’s important to capture it properly, without overexposing it and losing all detail. Experiment with exposure times until you can see the different colours in the candle’s flame, from the dark centre through the reds and purples at the base of the flame to the bright white peak.

Get Close

For a really powerful and engaging candle photograph, get right up close to the flame. Fill the frame with the flame and some of the candle body, and expose to capture lots of detail in the flame.

inspired by PhotographyMad

The Future…Photographers & Filmmakers Watch Out !

Fully Remote Photography + Video For Less Than 100€ !

Once you have pondered this video for about a quarter of a second and fully comprehending the future of this device and others like it — How it might affect your job, future and career path (for better + worse) consider investing in their kickstarter project. I did. Very cool Indeed.

Or you can always bury your head in the sand!!

From their page:
The Galileo is a revolutionary, iOS-controlled robotic iPhone platform with infinite spherical rotation capability. Just swipe your finger on the screen of your iPad or other iOS device and Galileo reacts, orienting your iPhone or iPod Touch accordingly. With applications in areas of photography, cinematography, social networking, and video conferencing, Galileo gives iOS devices endless possibilities of remote-controlled motion. Capable of infinite 360° pan-and-tilt at speeds up to 200° per second in any orientation, Galileo is an invaluable tool to everyone from an amateur photographer to the professional cinematographer, and vastly improves the experience of video chat for anyone needing to stay connected.


Cook & Book In Brussels

En rentrant je me dis qu’il fallait oser ouvrir une librairie
comme on en rencontre pas souvent et de cette dimension.

Elle a été élue dans les 20 plus belles librairies au monde par Flavorwire. Elle est magique et insolite, divisée en différents espaces, chacun d’eux à son propre thème: L’espace BD dit « Comics » est entièrement en bois ce qui le rend très chaleureux !
Au premier étage chez les enfants vous marchez sur un train électrique et le sol ressemble a un tapis de confettis.

Vous aimez la musique, les guitares, le piano … vous allez adorer cet espace. Dans un autre bâtiment vous trouverez les romans, les livres en anglais, l’espace Bien être qui est également appelé « Life Style »…

Chaque lieu à son style de restauration, vous pouvez vous régaler dans un restaurant italien à côté d’une ancienne Fiat 500,
avoir l’impression de manger sous une serre, partir en voyage aux Etats-Unis ou en Australie dans une caravane et quand le soleil pointe le bout de son nez vous pouvez aller manger sur la magnifique terrasse.

C’est un endroit qui nous fait voyager à travers notre imaginaire.
Pour tous ceux qui sont des grands rêveurs comme nous et qui ont envie de s’échapper par le biais d’un livre ou avoir un moment d’évasion pour soi, entre amis ou en famille….

Si vous êtes de passage à Bruxelles, passez par la place du temps libre,  vous ne regrettez pas le détour.
Rendez-vous chez Cook and Book!