New Sun Rising: Stories for Japan – the book trailer

A Charity Anthology – all proceeds go to the Japanese Red Cross.

Here’s what I’ve been working on for the past week, and the reason that I’ve been out with a camera in the Forestry Commission zone at the crack of all sorts of unsociable hours, in all sorts of places that other people normally get to themselves, with their imaginary dogs and stuff. Yes, I avoided the car-parks with the camper vans in at 5:00a.m, in particular. Pity, because there was an awesome bit of lake fog and tree reflections going on there. I even had the black hoody with skull patches on that morning, so probably not great news for the state of anybody’s sleeping-bag if they saw me.

Maybe after my car’s service I’ll give that one another shot. The car will be running on newly cleaned-up ‘stealth mode’ which means I might get some good shots of deer too, as well as not disturbing the happy campers too much 😉

I did get a couple of shots of a deer this time, while it was bolting away from me in the gorse. I’d driven through a bit of a pea-souper that morning knowing there was some high ground at one of the Forestry car-parks, which on a good day was above ground fog level. And it was spot on, so I parked in the turning on one side and crossed over to the other, the only life in sight being a herd of cows about 250 yards away, grazing on the verges of the main road in silence.

The best view into the valley was just beyond a patch of scrub on the far side, with lots of nice artistic trees sticking up out of the mist. As I got closer and switched on the camera, suddenly there was the sound of hoofbeats, and a Bambi-butt rapidly receding into the gorse right in front of me. I got two shots of her at a distance by the time the camera was active, rather rewarding that she stopped to turn and look at me for both. Probably wondering why I wasn’t wearing verderer-khaki, and carrying a rifle. She kept poking her head up out of the bushes to check up on me while I got my shots. But they weren’t artistic shots worthy of the video above, so I just kept those aside for fun.

I headed back to the car after a few minutes, and got a shock crossing the road, the zombie Cows of the Dead were only about 80 yards away, in exactly the same grazing formation, as if they’d drifted on an undead tide. Sod that. Back in the car, next site.

Next shots were from the woods, looking out from under the trees. The forest makes weird noises at 5:30a.m. Honking, hooting, cawing – more darkest Africa than British garden sparrow wildlife. It reminded me of what Sophie Neville said to me about how to spot leopards hiding in trees, so I gave them a pretty good look while I was there, just to check. There’s a good reason you’re supposed to be able to sense someone’s eyes on the back of your head. Got my shots and didn’t stick around there long either.

The next car-park was totally deserted, which was awesome. News obviously travels fast about photographers stalking isolated public access locations at ungodly hours. Did see more cows, of the more lively variety this time, but they were guarding young calves, so I stayed on my side of the barrier and left them to it after a couple of snaps that I wanted.

The sun eventually came out to play above the fog at my next location, about an hour after sunrise was actually due, so I got enough shots to complete the project above, combined with some I’d taken at the beach back in February, and a couple of odd ones from March. For the lake sunset last week, I was out for two hours and took 455 shots, nearly froze my hands off in the process, but the swan and geese came out to play, so it was worth it.

The charity anthology ‘New Sun Rising: Stories for Japan’ is set for release in June – for updates and background news, including contributors, check out the New Sun Rising blog.

(I’ve got a literary contribution in there too!) L xxx 🙂

Advertisements

No pain, no gain.

Went in for another eye operation yesterday. I was short of sleep, so even though I was meant to be awake I probably dozed off while it was done, as I don’t recall much, except where they asked me to blink or look up. I’d asked for a sedation anyway because the eye surgery I’ve had under local anaesthetic previously, I had a tendency to chat throughout and ask what was going on. 🙂

Anyway, was discharged with a lot of eye drops and a big white patch over one eye, and went to meet my friend Sophie Neville, who was coming in to town for a charity lunch and service. So I read more of Sue Moorcroft’s Love Writing in the square outside the Royal Exchange at Bank Station, which I had plenty of time for. A fatality on the line had meant her train was diverted. It started to rain, so I went to shelter on the steps, and as I updated her where I was, she suggested by text that I go inside and grab a coffee. Which I did, feeling rather self-conscious amongst all the City types with my eye patch and jeans, and when I took my hoody off, my hospital tag still in place, it turned out. But the staff were lovely and no-one batted an eyelid, so I enjoyed my coffee and Sophie arrived presently – only nearly two hours later than she’d wanted to arrive.

She gave me an interesting tour of the company building where the buffet lunch was held for the Drapers – it was one of the locations for The King’s Speech, filmed as rooms in Buckingham Palace. I was introduced to one of the Welsh Guard, whom Sophie had joined on a survival camping trip in the jungle, and an eminent allergy specialist – still practising at the age of 99 – who mentioned the next Latex Allergy Conference, which is a growing problem.

I have the skin contact allergy to latex, which was why my operation was first thing that morning. Two hundred children were also going in for surgery that day, and I was scheduled before them to ensure no latex particles if possible would be in the theatre. It’s something they take very seriously.

On the way back, we talked about Sophie’s work with the Waterberg Welfare Society, supporting HIV+ communities in South Africa, helping families locally with receiving the right medication, entitlements, and nursery care for working parents or sibling guardians, enabling them to work or complete school. And how charity work was a minefield of red tape, with audits and accounts to be filed and scrutinised – but also how rewarding. Comic Relief is among their supporters, and it was input like that which meant Sophie and her friends learned how to organise a proper schedule of work and implement it according to a drafted plan.

We also moved on to the subject of blind dates, and dating sites. Her quote, which she’d been told when looking, was that “If you want to find a husband, you have to join a Society!” – so she did, and hey presto, did indeed meet her husband. And had a number of stories of ‘Silly girls’ who got themselves into scrapes with notorious men that she’d turned down herself in the past – the kind of men who hung out with Hugh Hefner, or were related to courtesans of the Royal Family…

But enough about dating. I won’t be doing any for a few weeks, while my eye heals up.

Sophie Neville does however have some lovely memoirs which are in the process of polishing before she publishes them. You can find links to her book blogs on her website http://sophieneville.net and also read the first three chapters of Funnily Enough on Authonomy.

Enjoy! 🙂