20 April 2019

IMG 20190331 105528

I hadn’t properly cleaned my boots last time I put them away.

When I unbagged them and sat on the back of the car in the Lakes, a few weeks ago, they still had mud on them from a previous walk. Mud, from snow melting into earth, and white chalk, from the North Downs.

And now, that mud and chalk was translated a few hundred miles north, to be trodden into ground near Derwent Water.

A smile on the inside: how much mud and soil and who knows what else have I moved around the county, mixing tiny samples from one place into another?

My last pair of boots had taken me up hills in France, Cyprus, California, Australia. I didn’t clean the Australian soil off them for a few weeks after I returned. I couldn’t bring myself to do it; it was a final memento of a huge trip, a little piece of something alien, brought all the way home. I finally replaced those grey synthetic boots with these leather ones around 2016, when the old pair were just no longer waterproof. I was sad to do so; they had so many travels trodden into their soles; the new ones, stiff and clean, didn’t feel like they could match up.

But now, a few years later, these ones have really started to get their miles in, slowly – and highly inefficiently – redistributing soil and dirt around the world.

They’ll get a proper clean and wax in due course. In the meantime, I still like the tingle of all the previous journeys I see in them in moments like this.


11 September 2011

Mousehole Timelapse from Tom Armitage on Vimeo.

Been away from a week, in a little cottage with a view of this harbour. Turns out my homebrew intervalometer works pretty well – although it’s going to need more robust packaging in future.

Vice Style launch

24 June 2010

P1040809, originally uploaded by Abscond.

James got a late invite to the Vice Style party (under our old office, and over the road from his house), and took his camera. I liked this.

Pier at Salamis

…was on this photo.

Seriously, it’s going to be hard to ever top this. I read it and re-read it, glad to share in memories, happy to have made someone else glad too.

I made a book.

Specifically: I made a book of photographs from my week hiking in Cyprus. I’ve wanted to make a book of some of my photography for a while now, but not really had anything that hung together well enough to devote a large number of pages to.

The magic of print-on-demand is that, really, that shouldn’t matter: you can slap a bunch of images together, hit print, and get a book back. But I felt if I was going to make a book, it should feel book-ish. So: it would need a degree of focus, enough material to make a decent length, and it ought to look like somebody took some care over it.

I was very pleased with many of my pictures from Cyprus, and there was certainly enough of them to make a decent book. But I decided to give it a bit of focus. I stripped out people pictures (because really, they’re not of interest to anyone other than the group walking, and they’re not my best portraits). I stripped out pictures of food. The focus was to be the environment around Kyrenia, as experienced on foot: a lot of landscape, some pictures of walking, some architectural/indoors shots, and a set of pictures from Kyrenia Harbour. One chapter per hike; an extra chapter from the harbour.

That would be enough for a 70-80 page book, 10×8 landscape.

I went with Blurb, mainly because I liked their tool for making books (BookSmart) the most. I’m not much cop with InDesign, and this wasn’t the project to be learning it on. BookSmart was nice because, unlike so many other print-on-demand publishers’ tools, it wasn’t a laggy, overcomplex browser-based tool written in Flash. It was a native application to download, meaning I could work locally.

It turned out to be just fine. Its templating engine is good, although it doesn’t let you spread contents across pages – some cunning workarounds are necessary to make double-page spreads, although it’s totally possibly with some work.

I spent some extra time on doing my best to make it not look thrown together: starting chapters on right-hand pages, aligning photographs identically wherever possible, printing a few proofs to double-check it all. And then, when I was pretty sure I couldn’t do much else, I hit print.

I’m very happy with the results. It’s a set of photographs I’m pleased with, and seeing them displayed like this makes me proud of the consistency and quality. I’m also pleased with the book: the double-page spreads were obviously tricky, but by and large, everything has come out well, and the imagewrap cover is very good. My only disappointments are with some text-sizing – I could have made a few bits of text much smaller and better line-spaced. And the quality is great, all things considered: I went for Blurb’s premium quality paper stock, because, you know, if I’m going to spend £20+ on a book, the extra £2 is worth it for pictures that I care about. That worked well.

It’s also great to see images first seen on screen, and then as small prints, in book form. And: it really does feel like I book. That’s the most satisfying part – that I achieved my goal with it. I’m now thinking about what other photographic projects might turn into books.

And, finally: I’m making it available to buy. I doubt anyone will buy it – it’s just some pictures I took one holiday and grouped together – but Blurb essentially makes it a one-click operation to make the book available to others. And so I thought I may as well, and we’ll see what happens. If you’re interested, it’s available here.

One more thing ticked off my todo in 2010 list. What’s next?

Happy memories

30 November 2009


I swam here. Right here, just off the pier. So buoyant, so warm; bobbed around, drifted out to sea with the tide, fought the tide to swim in, drifted in again. Behind me, behind the shore, and likely deep, deep underneath me, under the sea, was Salamis. Forty-five minutes later, the rain gushed down.

But for half an hour, I bobbed around, warm, calm, happy.

Eastwards from London Bridge at night

I know you might have already seen it on Flickr, but I still love it.

Gigs: The Effras

18 May 2009

The Effras are a rather lovely band from the Norwood area, and they sing rather lovely songs about South London. Actually, they sing songs about lots of things, but being named for the river that links Norwood to the Thames. They’re also friends of mine, and when it turned out they were playing the Plough, just down the road, as part of the Dulwich Festival, I thought I’d swing by; needless to say, I took my camera.

Rather pleased with these. There was, unsurprisingly, almost no light – nothing dedicated, given it was just an area in a bar – so I was pushing the sensor to its limits. On the plus side, that did mean I was nice and close to the band.

And: what a set they put on! Lovely songs, and great performers; if they’re passing by your area, do check them out.

Walking in the Chilterns

05 April 2009

Also known as: “wot I did this weekend”. A spring countryside walk with friends; wonderful day, wonderful food, and wonderful company. I took my camera with me:

Snow Day: Photographs

02 February 2009

And, to follow up the video, here are the photographs from today’s trip to the village for Jaffa Cakes.