Campus London: Google’s Idea of Heaven

I was first introduced to Campus London by a friend of mine (Ben Silveston) when he invited me through Google Calendar. I thought this place would be very expensive and very business-like. But I was wrong, very wrong!

Some of the main benefits for me personally are:

  • Gaining confidence from talking to people
  • Obtaining new ideas for our projects
  • Asking for help with our own projects
  • Being part of a technology and entrepreneurial community

I regularly visit Campus London and really enjoy working in the campus cafe on projects and drinking lots of tea and coffee (it’s cheap for one thing!). I hope to visit the place on a regular basis throughout 2016, it’s fast becoming one of my favourite places in London.

 

2016-02-12 12.29.17IMG_20160212_105616 2 copy

Landscapes

The images in the landscape portfolio are taken as part of my university project. The idea was to capture unusual part of the cities.

I enjoy taking both taking and looking at landscape photographs, as I live in a very rural part of the UK. Because of this I feel spoilt when it comes to picturesque views.

The series in my portfolio are a collection from different projects. I like walking around towns and cities such as London and Cambridge. I enjoy comparing historic buildings with modern buildings in terms of infrastructure and style. In particular I like green spaces in cities and towns as they are cool in a spiritual sense. You get to really find yourself as a person when you are away from the hustle and bustle of it all!

The landscapes I have taken are places that mean something to me. I do visit Cambridge and London often each year and I do like spending long summer days in both places (when you get nice weather, a rarity in the UK!!).

Portraiture

I have a love for portraiture photography. For one of my university projects, I took a series of portrait photos to showcase different ranges and types of fashion.

I wanted to capture them as natural as I could. As this project took place in a public studio setting, the lighting and my studio time was fairly limited but the results did still work out brilliantly. I tried to make all the participants as relaxed as possible when they were on set. This enhanced the great photography results even further.

The people I chose were friends, house-mates and people who helped me along the way with my degree.  

Overall the project was very successful, as I achieved what I intended to do!

Public Transport: the ups and downs

You might ask me, being 25 years old; “why aren’t you driving?”

I passed my driving test a few years ago and so therefore I can legally drive. But due to not having decent income and still living with my parents as well as having good public transport links, I don’t think I need a car yet.

So with that in mind, public transport is how I get around places these days.

Buses

Where I live in Hertfordshire, I can choose from a selection of buses to travel to various places. They are very good (if and when they turn up…). However if they don’t for whatever reason I can walk into my nearest town, which is handy when I go out with friends. I can walk back once the bus services have finished for the day. It might take longer than planned but at least I have that option. A few people I know live in villages, which can be hard to access using public transport. The reduced service does mean that I have to go to meet them at certain times of the day. So schedules can be interrupted overall as a result.

In contrast, city bus services are quite a bit more frequent than those in towns and especially villages! London Bus services are very reliable and a bus to a certain destination arrives a certain stop every few minutes. And with the Oyster card, one can use it to save money on bus fares.

Taxis

Taxis are the most popular form of transport in the world (according to BBC’s Top Gear). But they have a fair number of downsides despite this significant accolade. One is that the drivers themselves, (deemed “Kings of the Road”) are pretty bad on the road. Also in the town environments, the cost of taxis is pretty steep. Much higher than using a bus. Though despite the higher prices, you can at least expect high levels of reliability with taxis! They get there on time and always turn up.

Taxis are also very good in major cities like London. The fares are quite a bit cheaper but then again in London, one has the choice of travelling around London using the tube. Taxis though provide a good alternative for travelling on public transport. Especially if one prefers a bit more space…! 😉

Trains

National Rail Services

I regularly use the National Rail service to travel from my home-town of Hitchin to either the nearby towns of Stevenage and Letchworth or to the cities London and Cambridge. While there is very divided opinion on trains due to the overcrowding and constantly increasing ticket prices, they remain an important part of public transport for today’s commuting population in particular.

For me, I love the fact that you can sit back and relax on the train (should you be one of the lucky ones to get a seat of course…). Also despite the cost and overcrowding, trains generally are fairly reliable when it comes to times, even during peak hours. But you can get those times where trains can be very late (and I mean, VERY late)!

1456520015045

London Underground (Tube) Service

The London Tube service is a great way to get around London. If you’re like me and struggle to memorise the many streets in London, travelling by tube does simplify this process much more easily! Though like National Rail trains, tube travel can be quite an ordeal. Tube trains 7 days a week are very crowded and even though a tube train arrives at a tube station platform literally every minute in some cases, there can be huge crowds on these trains. Though one upside to tube travel is that the cost of travel is noticeably cheaper than National Rail services, if you have access to an Oyster card that is.

 

Using public transport abroad

Travelling abroad can be seen as either fun or intimidating, especially if one is not fluent or at least familiar with the language in that particular country. It is therefore common in these situations to travel in either the wrong direction on the correct train or even worse, get on the wrong train altogether! I myself have had that experience and thus it can be rather awkward…! But it does happen to the best of us I guess! 😛

Photography: An Introduction

Photography can be shown in many ways. This can be through the media, social media and in public galleries as well as still images within films and book covers.

I have created this website to explore my own meaning for this particular art and also to showcase my photography work and experience. You can find out more about me personally here.

Holwell Village Website

Since January 2016, I have been involved with the photography for the Holwell Village website, designed and developed by Ben Silveston. My main role is to help out with photos taken by both myself and Ben for the different facilities within the village as well as provide editing images.

I have really enjoyed this project. For one thing, it’s not only been about photography but also properly visiting a place that has only been mentioned. At first I thought Holwell was in the middle of nowhere (I still think that now a bit to be honest). But each time I come back to Holwell, I start to appreciate that the country life can be very peaceful and the views are spectacular too.

I believe that the first stage of this project has been a real success and I hope to continue providing top-quality photography on this.

Thanks to Ben for allowing me to be part of this project. 🙂

Music: Feelings Portrayed in Sound

Music I think is a great medium. It’s a great way to lose yourself and get you can thus get away from the madness of it all.

I have my iPod whenever I am on the move and it is normally on ‘shuffle’ mode. So I can go from a smooth, quiet track with catchy riffs to a heavy track with a stronger bass. The variety of music allows me to have many different feelings throughout the duration of my time out.

Music, albums and songs can bring back memories about the good times and bad times such as ‘The ‘Rose by Bette Midler. This song reminds me of a sad time at school. The Wombat’s album ‘A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation’ brings me back to memories of being in Sixth Form at school.

I also sometimes like to chill out by playing a soundtrack album from a film such as The Hobbit, Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter. I really like their calming melodies. And in some of them you can really picture yourself in the scene when the music is being played.

Going to gigs and hearing live music is also an amazing experience. My first gig was seeing REM and Feeder in London when REM were touring their ‘Around The Sun’ record. One of my favourite gigs was when I went to see The Wombats. It was such a small venue but the atmosphere was great and their set contained all their catchy songs. In 2012, I saw Blink 182 on their ‘Neighbourhoods’ world tour and then Green Day’s ‘¡UNO!, ¡DOS! and ¡TRÉ!’ world tour in 2013. In September 2015, I went to possibly the best gig of them all – Foo Fighters ‘Sonic Highways’ world tour at Milton Keynes Bowl. The performance and atmosphere was like no other that I had been to before. Next up, I am going to see Coldplay on their ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ world tour in June 2016 at Wembley Stadium. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am! 😀

People normally go back to their childhood when it comes to music. In my case, it’s the 1990s. So I grew up with listening to Steps, Five and being a teenager. In the 00’s (or noughties) I was listening to Linkin Park and Fallout Boy in particular.

I still like buying physical CDs because I like seeing a hard copy of an album artist’s work rather than viewing it as a digital image on the Internet or on iTunes.

Volunteering: Helping the Community

Volunteering in any way, shape or form in my opinion is a great idea!

Why you may ask…?

Voluntary work gets you out of the house for a morning or a afternoon each week. It also helps you gain skills and make new friends while enhancing your CV at the same time. What’s not to love?!

I started my volunteering while I was doing my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. I was also at Cancer Research UK, where I learnt how to use a till, deal with price stock and most importantly, make tea! OK, the last one was a bit too straight forward! :-). As a bonus you volunteering for a charity is also helping to raise money for that charity.

I also volunteer within a youth organisation and I think it is very rewarding experience. Currently I am an Assistant Beaver and Cub Leader in two Scout Groups, where I plan meetings for each series. With the Beavers and Cubs receiving their badge at the end of each series of meetings. I get a real sense of achievement from doing this and so too do the Beavers and Cubs themselves.

In June 2015, I started volunteering at Hitchin Fire station, where I go out with the crews assisting with various patrols during the Summer and Autumn months.

In summary, giving what you can makes a huge difference in the world of volunteering. I would recommend it to anyone, employed or unemployed!

Beavers and Scouting: an overview

Other than my photography interests, I am also involved in Scouting. I have been in the movement since I was a Beaver myself and moved up through the movement since then. I am now an ABL (Assistant Beaver Leader) and also an ACL (Assistant Cub Leader).

I started Beavers and Scouting volunteering as a leader in 2013. Since then, it has made a huge difference to my life.

I do believe Scouting can help young people gain new skills, these can be as simple as learning how to tie a knot and learning how to read a map. I know in this modern age, people use Google-maps/Sat-Nav etc, but I feel that these skills are very important for the outside world. It can also boost a child’s self-esteem and confidence.

I lead and plan a series of meetings on the “Disability Awareness” badge which I started off in the first meeting saying:

“I wouldn’t believe I could have sat down with a group of children and speak  to them about a subject, without being in Scouting”.

Since being involved in Beavers and Scouting, I have become a more well-rounded person and also more aware of the environment surrounding me.

 

IMAG0681