Albanian Sunrise

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I decided to take a break from the computer whilst we were staying on Corfu, having had a busy time in the run-up to our trip, the priority was to relax, do nothing apart from explore and take the occasional photos. Luckily I did take quite a few but I never rush to publish my shots, I often prefer to leave them on the hard drive and return to them later. If I liked a photo when I took it and I still feel the same some weeks (even months or years) later, then I am happy. Simple as that.

The villa we rented was so well located and we could see a lot from our high vantage point. We were only 2 miles away from the coast of Albania and the land mass you can see in the photo above comprises of our “personal” mountain in the foreground, the Adriatic and then in the not-so-far-at-all distance, Albania! You could probably swim to it, if you were the sort not scared of very very deep water and able to dodge Cruise ships passing through the channel.

This shot was taken close to 6am in the morning, as I often wake up as early as that even when on holiday, but by jove! It was worth it!

So technically, for my technically minded friends out there, I used a Gorillapod and a ND grad filter for this shot. I mounted the camera on the glass panels that surrounded the pool terrace using the Gorillapod, as you can twist and contort it and affix your camera to all sorts of things. It came in very handy and I will take it on future travels. I always use Lee filters, they are just soooo good.

 

 

The flora and fauna of Corfu is diverse, whilst we have been staying here (near Kassiopi) we have seen all sorts from birds of prey to an unusual snake. Now I had no chance with the snake, it vanished before I could even raise my camera to my eye. However this little guy, that I later identified as being a Balkan Green Lizard was actually surprisingly easy to get a picture of. Would you believe me if I told you this was hand-held too? I took one photo, sneaked closer, took another until I was too close to obtain focus with my 24-70mm Sigma lens. I zoomed to the full 70mm, the light was dropping (evening time) and set my ISO to 640, aperture to f6.3 with a shutter speed of 1/60 sec. I was super pleased with the result, keeping the lizard sharp and softening out the environment he was sat in.

It was quite amusing to see him on this tree again the following two days as we took our regular walk down the mountain side to the coastal road below.

Book: The Corfu Trilogy

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Our villa perched high above the glistening Ionian Sea commands a glorious view, I am taking pictures, quite a lot of them, some at dawn, some later and one or two at night. However a childhood hero and his family stick on my mind, that person was Gerald Durrell. I can remember watching him on the TV when I was a child and many years ago read “My Family and other Animals”. Recently we have enjoyed watching Simon Nye’s adaptation with it’s fabulous cast of actors on ITV. So I was delighted when we found a copy of the “The Corfu Trilogy” sat on one of the bookshelves. Now that is my reading sorted for a few days.

Corfu and clearing my mind

We are sat here drinking our afternoon coffee with a view across the pool, the Ionian Sea and Albania just a stones throw away. It is a fabulous view. The haze shrouding the Albanian mountains. The view stirs my imagination of Greek Gods and The Durrell family, in fact literally just down the bottom of this hillside is the village of Kalami, home to writer Lawrence Durrell, brother of Gerald for many years. That was some 70 years before now but their legacy lives on in the form of Television Tourism. We watched bemused this morning as a boat dropped off a bunch of tourists who swarmed the place like storm ants and vanished as quickly as they came, as though a malevolent child had poured boiling water upon them. Ok a harsh metaphor but that’s how my brain works at times. 

Meanwhile back up on the mountain side the fresh (albeit very warm to hot) air is gradually clearing my foggy head from a clutter of neural junk. I also end up pondering the value of the social media world and the internet. I sit here with iPad perched on my cross-legged lap typing with two fingers on its touch-screen keyboard writing this article which is more a ramble than anything else. As I say clearing the neural scrapyard of my mind. 

I’ve got to the point where I feel social media has started to concern me a little bit too much. It is great that we can stay in contact with so many people in a quick post. Written. Sent. Done. Move on to the next thing. Our lives have become as asynchronous as our computer software we so heavily depend upon. 

Now as a web guy, this is something you’d thought would please me but to be honest I’m worried about it and feel that the web was better in some ways about five years or so ago. Ok technically it was not as good as it is now but it’s purpose and vision were way better. We all had a fighting chance at becoming successful through it. Now the monopoly is overbearing and so many think Facebook is the internet, the web. 

It’s for this reason I hold the flag for the individual spirits of the web. This WordPress platform is one such place where that is encouraged and also I enjoy reading Medium quite a lot. 

I end my ramble here, time for some more coffee and to read more on Medium or WordPress. Maybe there is something that will follow social media as we know it? I would like to see things shaken up a bit? We’ve become too single minded as a race. I could go on talking about similar patterns in the coffee industry, yes Costa and Starbucks. What happened to those individuals?

The Brewster Project

My closest friends and family know my middle name and I’m about to tell you now. My birth certificate states my name as being Nicholas Euan Brewster Lewis. It is the third name of the four I want to talk about in this post, Brewster.

You may know of the Pilgrim Fathers who set sail from Plymouth, UK in 1620 to found a new colony on the other side of the Atlantic of the same name. They were amongst the earliest settlers of America and founded a number of towns and cities there. They were highly influential and the forefathers of modern Americans. Today I found out that Bing Crosby was a direct descendant of William.

Now how am I connected to all of this? That’s what I’ve been yearning to find out about all of my life.

My middle name was the idea of my paternal grandmother who before marriage was Esme Brewster Davies. She herself had inherited it from her ancestors and she felt it important to pass it down the line to me. Sadly it stops with me as no one else in our broader family has inherited it.

The big question is, am I directly or indirectly connected to William Brewster? Some family members think my grandmother got it all wrong and there was no connection at all! However I beg to differ 😀

I intend to follow this historical trail, all the way from Scrooby in Nottinghamshire via Holland and ending up in America.

Yes quite a grand trip but not one I intend to do all in one go!

In 2020 which is not far away, it will be he 400th anniversary of the epic voyage across the Atlantic.

All the gear. Loads of ideas!

Do I really need another camera bag or rucksack? Well this morning I’m churning over what kit to take on our upcoming Corfu trip. Now what gear do I want to take? What am I allowed to take? What will fit in one rucksack? What will be within the constraints of my carry-on luggage?

I’m planning to take quite a few things and in the past I’ve had to make sacrifices and this time I want to take the drone too for some aerial shots. 


Then I found a picture of a typical rucksack setup and it got me thinking, I probably have an older rucksack big enough for all of this kit! In fact there is a whole page on their website dedicated to the Mavic drone as one of the most amazing pieces of kit and ridiculously transportable too. 

Covent Garden, Vini Italiani and mime artists

A post lunch stroll into Covent Garden on a very warm August afternoon reveals all sorts of delights. Mime artists galore and an opera singer delivering his repatoire to an audience of casual listeners all of whom are enjoying a nice glass of wine or a light lunch in the sun. I stand here soaking it all up myself whilst Tina browses nearby. 

A levitating mime artist entertains the crowds and I’m intrigued to know how he does this? Tina suggests that he just has a very well trained centre of gravity and excellent core strength to be able to balance with such grace and apparent ease. 

Later we came back this way and spotted the same artist taking a break with his friend, having a cheeky cigarette!

Have we forgotten to love the moment?

I have quite a lot of random thoughts that pop into my head. I’m sure you are all the same. The fresh air does it to me as I walk away from my desk into the outdoors. Woodlands being one of my favourite places to reflect. I’m sitting in one right now.

It dawned on me that we are so focussed on what’s coming next these days. Some people I know are already talking of Christmas and 2018. It seems all too easy just to undervalue what is happening now, what lays before you. Ok granted the effects of now will lead to what happens next. I feel that we sometimes need to slow down more. Simply to cherish what is going on around you or just to spend time contemplating nature. It’s for this reason I like to get away from other humans occasionally!

Easy to say of course and I’m no innocent party of said crimes. My career is all about innovating the web and whichever way we do it today, it will be old hat by the time I set my alarm clock and drift off at the end of the day. Life is fast. Keeping up is a challenge that keeps people like myself in employment earning money.

The brevity of life was brought home with a thud recently when an old friend of ours passed away suddenly. A week later my great aunt also passed away. So it’s no surprise that this topic lingers heavily on my mind currently. Our mortality. I recalled happy memories of the two people lost, the fun we had and the way I never in the past considered what would happen to them in the distant future. They would all simply always be around, part of the social fabric in which we are embroidered.

The universe in which we live may seem inextricably infinite but nothing within it is. We all have our limits.

Thank heck I’m taking a holiday soon!

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