I’m very new to academic referencing and it can be very time consuming trying to work out what references to include on your assignments, especially so if you have changed your approach and need to re-write it.  I’ve started using RefMe[2], it’s free to use for basic Harvard referencing but to organise per project you’ll need a subscription. Ref Me makes it easier to keep a track on links and research references, books and quotations.  It’s also helpful as it shares data between an iPad, iPhone app, and the web interface.  You can also download a plugin to use with Microsoft word so when you are writing that assignment you can insert links and bibliography into your document.  One minor gripe on the word integration is that you can only load 1 project at a time, this is handy of all of your links are in one place but if you have multiple links across projects when you have a subscription then you will have multiple folders and can’t swap between them without losing continuity.  Maybe I’m looking at it from a disorganised way as I’ve just started using it but that’s a day 1+2 evaluation.  At time of subscription the annual fee is 24.99 GBP per year.  I’ll add that there are other apps/resources available so please feel free to make your own choices.

Update 5th February 2017

RefMe has been purchased by Chegg, this means the RefME app will now change to Citeforme [1]on 28th February 2017.  Overall from what I can see so far it should have minimal impact on how I’m collating references so far.  It does however not support the Mac version of Word, you will need to download the document from the web browser and then load this as a separate word document.  This is disappointing, details on the change can be found by accessing their link below.

[1] *** RefMe has been replaced by an app called ‘Cite This for Me’ in Feb 2017.

The app does not have all of the full functionality of RefMe and it’s worthwhile looking to see of there are other apps available.  I’ll stick with it for the time being.


Clamshell Portfolio Photo boxes

I’m planning my next assignment for Expressing your Vision.  Reading the brief for Assignment 3 it states “post your prints, no larger than A4, to your tutor together with your assignment notes.”

Following reading of the OCA forums I’ve come across what I believe to be an acceptable method of sending A4 prints and the formatting!   Essentially the print should be no larger than A4 but should also have a border (to facilitate handling) (appx 3.5 cm) and be on matte paper to minimise reflections when handling.( I will be first to admit I may have missed a post/document somewhere and if anyone spots an error here then please feel free to let me know with the source and I’ll update this post.)

I chose to then purchase 2 boxes for presentation, A3 and A4 sizes.  In addition to this I’ve selected Silverprint as my supplier (they give student discount too) and Fotospeed as my paper choice.

First impressions:

Silverprint.  Student discount at 5% and for free postage over £75.

To enable student discount  you need to register an account and email them with a scan of your student ID card and the discount is limited to 1 year.  On their webpage it states you’ll get 5% discount and any order over £75 will receive free standard postage. (correct as at 19/11/2016)

I chose to send them a scan of my OCA card and my NUS card. The following day I received an email and was provided with the code to apply to the shopping cart.  What it doesn’t state is to whether the order value is exclusive of exclusive of VAT so this needs clarity.  It transpires your order needs to be over £75 BEFORE VAT and post/packing before the free P&P can apply. Also handy to note is that the Fotospeed paper I  purchased was cheaper than advertised on the Fotospeed website, not by much.

Delivery was quick once it has been despatched and arrived in good condition and well packaged with no visible damage to the external box or contents.


SP Portfolio Box A4 3.5cm Depth Black Internal –SAB002101S (18.95 GBP incl VAT)

Image of internal box 00430260.JPG

This and the A3 version (34.96 GBP incl VAT for the white internals)  are nicely made and fit together well when opening and closing.  They seem to have a substantial enough construction to satisfy what they need to do, protect your prints, although I’m unsure as to how well they will fare being sent backwards and forwards multiple times to your tutor.

I’ll update this when the boxes have received a few runs in the mail 🙂

Fotospeed paper – I’ve used this manufacturer before but haven’t used this particular paper, Matt duo 240gsm before.  I tend to use Canson or Hahnemuhle if i’m producing client prints and use either Pearl or Gloss depending on the job.  For the purposes of this all I can say at this stage is after discount the duo paper is .325GBP (32.5p) per sheet of paper, but if you’re printing double sided then that’s just over 16 pence a print. (without ink or printer maintenance costs).

Links correct at 19/11/2016.




Square Mile Assignment

I want to thank those of you that have read my blog and commented on the images I’ve created.  Your suggestions on keeping the images in a consistent orientation I have considered but on reflection decided that some of the images would not deliver the impact I wanted to show if they were shifted from landscape to portrait.  Instead I’ve gone with my gut feeling and left the submission as originally uploaded, which had an equal split of portrait and landscape images.

I’ve now uploaded my first assignment, I must admit it took a while tonight to identify the correct file size of the contact sheets.  The uploading process is not very helpful and seemed to crash if you attempt to upload a file larger than 28mb rather than just tell you it was too big.

To keep the contact sheets within the required file size they are saved to PDF file format and I restricted the image numbers on each sheet to less than the stated maximum of 36 images, I went with 28 in the end and even then some of the files were close to the maximum this does mean there are 10 contact sheets and they are now at the end of my earlier post.

A little screaming and hair pulling but after the third attempt I managed to upload it successfully.

Off to bed methinks!


Square Mile assignment

Square Mile assignment

I spent around a full day shooting over 2 separate days this week, walking a few miles up and down the Limehouse Cut.   Thankfully the weather was pretty much with me although on the Sunday it started with overcast skies and then brightened up around lunchtime.

Taking an image to stand alone is one of those things we do as photographers, you see a subject and the image you want to create reviewing the technicalities on how to ‘proof the concept’.  In my wanderings I found myself not necessarily with an overall image I wanted to achieve but with a concept of canal life that I needed to deliver a set of images that worked well with each other and were still true to my concept and overall brief.

Culling images from a shoot is always difficult, I have my favourites and as standalone images I feel they are great but don’t fit the brief and play well with others.  I’ve ended up with 12 images that I feel tell a story and still tie in with my canal life.

When I was looking through the work of Keith Arnatt I saw his image on rubbish.  Canals always have rubbish in them and I could have set the whole series on rubbish floating in the canal, dredged from it or quietly collected by the coots to build their nests.  This got me started on the idea but on reflection they could very easily be lost from the set.

My love for wildlife led me to take lots of images of birds, Ducks with chicks, Coots standing on floating rubbish, swans and fish.  I regret not taking my longer telephoto lens and getting a little closer to the birds as this could have been more creative.   I followed 2 lost chicks for around 300m while they swam intently towards their mother, how they know which direction she was in I will never know but I couldn’t even see the mother at the time I saw the chicks.  Thankfully the family were united again.  I digress.

The canal is very busy these days and apart from framing shots and choosing your subject you also need a wary eye out to avoid runners, cyclists, fishing lines and dog mess.  It also seems that nobody will want to give way and adjust their direction and just carry on.  Health and Safety needs to be considered even on a sedate Sunday afternoon.

I’ve written up my assignment, exported the 12 images and contact sheets ready to send to my tutor.   If you have any comments on the following images please let me know.


contact1   contact2   contact3   contact4   contact5   contact6   contact7   contact8

contact9   contact10

Square Mile

I started today looking at the research for the first assignment.  Some of the links for practitioners in the research section are not working  (JH Engstrom is under construction) but as the web is a ‘living’ entity this is to be expected.

I’m intrigued by the artists quoted.  I love the images my Keith Arnatt, square format prints similar to the images I had printed a child.  The series on walking the dog are mainly  composed centrally with the owner and the dog posed.  The clothing and backgrounds, homes, gardens etc. remind me of my childhood and I have a strong connection with these.  I do also find some of them very funny, we do like to say that dogs look their owners and there are some of the images that truly reflect this.

One of the other series shown, rubbish tip. I connect with the least.  Although this set of images are all linked and provide congruity I do feel that images of chicken wings and teabags not that inspiring at all.  Although this may well be whats in the photographers locale its not unique and even distasteful, with that said its not dissimilar to what you would find at a local community disposal site or down your high street on any given evening. But with that said it has ignited a spark for me, let’s see where it leads.

I was impressed by the work of Peter Mansell and agree with him pushing the limits of his work but also agree with the tutor regarding whether it actually fitted within the landscape genre.  The cityscape imagery of the Olympic park shows great vision and research to actually capture those images is inspiring and educational at the same time.

From my perspective I will approach the assignment with a key to a theme.  I do not live near my place of birth and the and visit there very infrequently, every few years.  There are a number of places that I frequented as a child and have specific memories of but which I fear no longer exist.  It would be very difficult to undertake an assignment there for me.   Around 1994 I left my home town and moved to London, for the past 10 years I have lived in East London.

My ‘square mile’ is adjacent to the Limehouse Cut, within a few minutes walking distance to the Limehouse Basin and the Thames and also Canary Wharf and whats left of the industrial docks are now fashionable apartments and offices.   I plan to use the brief with a water theme, to encompass the current social activities along the canal/river and to show the diversity between what was then and what is now and the social divides that still exist now.

Weather is good this weekend so I’ll start with a wander down the Limehouse cut.