Do you want to read what I'm reading? Then read on…

These links are relevant to my interest but have been sitting in tabs for the last two weeks. I will read them, I >will<. But after I've dumped them here. They make quite an interesting view of what has been taking up my time in the last little while. Links as diary entry?

I'm thinking of buying an Android phone…

  • HTC Desire review by TechRadar – five stars, looks good, please tell me if this review is all to cock in the comments though as buying is imminent via Top Desire deals. Or should I iPhone it like the rest of the world?


  • CoCoMad is this weekend (July 3, 2010) in Cotteridge Park, South Brum. I have heard it is good. Here is the line-up.
  • I missed it (on purpose) but I'm glad it's being televised. Here's a rant about TV coverage, though: After the flags, the mud-slinging.

The garden

  • The garden has been battered into submission to my will. This rose was planted by my Mum and is the prettiest thing in it: Woburn Abbey floribunda. I heartily recommend this little try-hard. Lots of colours and it flowers repeatedly. All for a tenner. Thinking of getting another one.

Content strategy


Travel and photography

Copyright and fair use

What do the super-rich want to read about?


  • Know your meme: Jejemon:  "In the Philippines, Jejemon is an internet slang used to describe someone who typEs LyK tHIs."

Blogging (and hyperlocals)

(and from a convo with Talk About Local's Will Perrin in the pub…)

The joy of Creative Commons

…is better parties, social occasions, family life and harmony. Possibly.

Yes, the Creative Commons licensing of your content has the direct side-effect of shareability, clarity and time efficiency of not chasing copyright permissions. But it also has the real-world, real-time impact of more people (hopefully) attending what is a truly lovely family event in Birmingham this weekend. And here's why – in a 24-hour timeline:

Saturday 12.00: Yesterday, I took photographs at a family day out at this weekend's Traditional Edwardian Fete at Winterbourne House and Garden, and as is my habit, set them uploading to my Flickr photo account, during the making of dinner. Here's the set of 60 and also in slideshow format:

Saturday 22.00: After adding a few captions and tags and the like, at midnight I posted the link to the family on Facebook, and then also posted to Twitter.

My tweet about the fete

Sunday 10.00: This morning, I discovered that Nick Booth from my Twitterstream had blogged about my day and posted some of my photos on the Birmingham Conservation Trust charity website.

Birmingham Conservation Trust post

No need to contact me first; the pics were released under Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial licence.

Creative Commons license

My 50 best Flickr photos 2010

Ooh, just realised I can create a slideshow on Flickr. So while waiting for today's Traditional Edwardian Fete photo set to upload to my favourite photo-sharing platform, here are my top 50 photos (imo). It's a personal pick since joining Flickr in September 2008. And if you don't fancy the slideshow, feel free to browse through the 50 Favourites set on site, photo by gloriously random photo. 😉

For those who need a reason to scoot through, there are pics here from:

  • The desert where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed
  • The murder of crows in my local park
  • A haunted furnace in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Light-painting with an illuminated gyroscope
  • 24-hour Scalextric
  • Rice representations of human populations
  • Birmingham Flickrmeets
  • And neon No Farting sign in a pork ribs shack

And who should open the show but, natch, the lovely Pete Ashton, who was the one who pointed out how easy it is to do a Flickr slideshow. Full circle.

Domestic fireworks when the lights go out

lightpainting_loresNovember 5, 2009: The local Bonfire Night shows were few, far and in-between; the Coop fresh out of sparklers. And besides, it was raining. 

In creative frustration, we came up with the idea of photographing indoor fireworks – Pete suggested throwing some bicarbonate of soda onto the gas ring, or salt, or pepper. I suggested a safer option: domestic prettiness in the form of standby lights, digital clockfaces, blinking answer machine light, candles, pilot light, torches etc. In the modern home, it’s amazing what you find when you turn off the lights.

That’s when I discover my old Powerball – the world’s fastest hand-held gyroscope. 

So with a whirring gyroscope in one hand, I switch off the lights and press the shutterbutton on the camera, which is placed on a tripod in front of a mirror. Then it’s 10 seconds of lightpainting, then 8, 6, finally settling on 4 seconds for optimum alien prettiness.

The full set are all on my Flickr page – I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. The shapes are the main thing so I’ve played with the colour balance in Photoshop. The gyroscope ones sort of remind me of the Aliens set.

Here are Pete’s photos, with some cool multiple exposure shots.

So, all in all, a hardworking but pretty nice Bonfire Night.

Hire/commission me: fiona [at]

While you were sleeping: the 4am Project

An auto-level adjusted green palm on the Southend seafront.
An auto-level adjusted green palm on the Southend seafront.

Bollards at 4am.
Bollards at 4am.

A bench in Southend at 4am

A bench in Southend at 4am

At 4am on the 4th of the 4th – on Saturday just gone – my phone alarm rang, I hauled myself out of a rather snug hotel bed on Essex's east coast and walked out into the night with a rather expensive Canon 30D around my neck. Why? Well, here's the 'six honest serving men' of the 4am Project.

What: A photographic project started by my Flickrmeet friend Karen Strunks, which began in Birmingham and went worldwide in the last few weeks, thanks to the 4am project website and Twitter, and attention from The Guardian, BBC Midlands Today and other media. The idea was to create a global snapshot of the world at this unearthly hour of the morning.

Why: Because wherever you are looks and feels very different at 4 in the morning. But like many successful internet things, it had that 'never been done', 'you're doing what?!', 'why the hell not' lure – and all while 'the normal people' were sleeping, too. In November in Birmingham, there was also 11/11/11 event – 11 hours on the 11th of the 11th travelling around the circular number 11 bus route and creating multimedia content – though I'm not sure if this was a direct inspiration.

When: 4am (natch). But the main event was 4am on 04.04.09. Karen has hinted that there may be more events to come. I thought I'd nip out for five minutes then run back to bed but was out for an hour and a half in the end.

How: With cameras of all ilks from mobile phone cameras to TTVs, compacts to SLRs; tripods and other stabilising gear; and with family, friends, Twitter contacts, or solo. My 4/4/4 experience was solo and with a Canon 30D, experimenting with the bulb setting and veering onto the 'M' manual setting for the first time. Later there was some post-prod work in Photoshop – ranging from a quick resize to full scale colour warping manipulation fun.

Where: Many many countries took part: see the map – but I was on a trip away at Thorpe Bay near Southend so I went on a solo shoot along the seafront – which was both exhilarating and coldly adrenalising. If I sat still, I turned to stone and drivers didn't clock me. Like being invisible. I also snapped some indoor activity at the Roslin Hotel – at 4am a wedding guest chatting up a girl at the long-since-closed bar, at 5am the doorman vacuuming away the wedding disco debris with a perpetually happy Henry vacuum cleaner.

Who: Karen Strunks is the photographer behind the project. She started taking 4am photos a while ago and, with this amazing initiative, has taken it to the next level. She gave the project passion, professionalism and a sense of community that I found really inspiring.

Check out the results: View my Thorpe Bay Esplanade shots on my Flickr. Or, see all the 4am pictures here – over 1300 photos uploaded at last count.

Hire/commission me: fiona [at]