Photo Walk: BlogStock 2015

Photo Walk: BlogStock 2015

Get out of auto and win a Manfrotto Pixi mini tripod!

How many times have you said to yourself “I really need to start taking better photos – I really need to get out of auto…” Well, now you can!

If you’re looking at getting out of auto and into manual, or if you’re looking for a few ways of improving your photography, then come and join me on a photo walk at BlogStock 2015.

Photo walk at BlogStock

Last year I was BlogStock’s photographer (I am again this year, so keep an eye out for me), but this year I thought I’d go one step further and do a photography session too.

Bloggers – whether family, food, lifestyle or travel – really get to see and experience so much just through doing what they love, and adding good quality photos really enriches any type of content.

A lot of my friends who are bloggers often come up to me and say “so I’ve just bought this pretty nice camera but I still don’t really know how to use it. Think you can help me out?” The answer’s yes!

Now’s your chance to really improve your photography, and I truly believe everyone will learn at least one thing from this photo walk (that’s a big shout but I stand by it).

How to take better photos

In it, I will be going through the transition of auto into manual, the difference between aperture and shutter speed, what is depth of field, how to use manual focus, and other camera techniques to ensure you get the most out of your equipment.

I’ll be speaking on the Saturday of BlogStock at 11:45. We’ll be meeting by the second marquee then walking around the fields and campsite learning as we go. I know there are a number of superb sessions going on at the same time, so if people want to run off or join at any point then you’re free to do so!

This is going to be a very relaxed practical session, so if you have a camera, no matter if it is a compact or a DSLR, then bring it along.

Manfrotto Pixi mini tripod

Win a Manfrotto Pixi mini tripod

I really want to encourage people to start thinking about their photography (I wrote a post about how you need to start framing everything as a photographer for A Brit and A Broad), and to encourage you to do that I’m giving away a Manfrotto Pixi mini tripod (RRP £24.95).

This tripod is brilliant in a bind as it is so light and small, giving you stability when a bigger tripod isn’t to hand. Also, it’s surprisingly good at selfies (I’ll show you how to do exactly this in my photo walk).

To be in with a chance of winning the tripod, really think about your photos – the composition, what you want it to say – then tweet me your favourite photo you took over the BlogStock weekend using the hashtag #PhotoWalkBlogStock. I’ll select what I consider is the best photo from there.

Obviously you don’t need to be at my photo walk to be in with a shout of winning, but hopefully what you learn from it will help! Oh, and let’s say you’ve got until Sunday 13th September to enter the competition.indexIf you have any specific questions on how you can improve your photography, please feel free to leave a comment, tweet them to me @backpackermacca, or ask them on the day and I’ll do my best to answer each and every one.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

The Times They Are A-Changin’

The role of the modern day deputy editor

As Bob Dylan once said: “The times they are a-changin’” Of course, that was in relation to the changing of the guard in the 60s, specifically at the new found freedom surging through the Western world, libertas and freedom that was to mould and sculpt a generation; the times they are a-changin’

Well, the same could be said for the current state of the publishing industry.

There’s no doubt about it, there’s more emphasis on online content now than ever before. People want instant gratification, something they cannot always get through traditional means of publication, and companies are starting to change the way they do things to reflect this.

The Daily Mail, the second biggest selling newspapers in the UK (behind the Sun), was the first to read the writing on the wall.

A few years ago, they threw huge amounts of resources to expand their online presence (ensuring it was separate from their print edition), so much so they are now one of the largest online news website in the world.

And with it the role of the reporter has changed. For print, a news reporter had to do one, maybe two, solid stories a day. Compare this to an online reporter who has to publish six to eight stories per day. Instant gratification.


With such a fierce battlefield, there are always going to be winners and losers, and companies are always going to try what they can to survive and triumph.

One such example of this is the Guardian who have just launched ‘The Guardian: Live’ in the hope it can turn around circulation figures and online viewers.

It had previously been thought – and some still think this is the case – that the Guardian would be the first major broadsheet to quit the publishing industry and focus all their attention online. Perhaps this is the final surge, one last counter attack, to see if they can rise victorious.


Looking at it, there has been a knock on effect, and individually people have had to retrain and learn new skills; you’d better start swimming or sink like a stone.

The role of the deputy editor, a role that was once only ever associated with print, is now almost unrecognisable.

The modern day editor still has to have perfect spelling, punctuation and grammar, and an exceptional eye for detail, but the role involves so much more now.

The modern day editor has to be a curator of content, to see which image would work with the copy, and where. They have to inspire their writers, giving specific instruction as to what is needed and why. And this is on top of being organised and analytical in their approach to work.


The main problem with instant gratification is exactly that; it’s instant, and if you don’t deliver it them someone else will. If you don’t deliver all the content someone needs, they will find it elsewhere, so now the job of an editor is to be an online architect, a puppet master, pulling everything together to give an integrated piece of content. Not just words and images, but videos and maps, anything to enrich the content and keep the user on site, anything to keep the user happy.

Editors now almost have to prophesise with their pen and predict the future of the online world, to predict exactly what the user wants. In an ever changing landscape it is an extremely exciting place to be.

The times they are a-changing, and we are changing with it.

Watching the Sunset in the Philippines

Watching the Sunset in the Philippines

Photo of the week 2014 – Week 25

Everyone stopped what they were doing to take in the moment. The sun was setting in Moalboal on the island of Cebu in the Philippines, and all the locals appreciated the natural beauty, the quiet solitude it brought.

Consider this was two days after Typhoon Hayian ravaged the country, the world’s strongest typhoon recorded for the last 50 years, and the day after a secondary typhoon was supposed to hit, you could understand why the locals were contemplative, even thankful to see something that was so common to them.

As I sat watching the sunset and the kids play in the lengthening shadows, I spoke to a local shop owner, Tan. He said to me: “Today we are happy to watch the sunset. Everyone has been nervous that another typhoon would hit Moalboal, but thank God it hasn’t happened. Today is a good day; this is a good moment.”

After that, we sat there in silence, almost in quiet prayer to be spared another test just a day after the first one.

With the final rays of light, everyone dispersed to finish up their days. For some, that was to shut their shop and go home to their families. For others, it was to go to the bars and restaurants and prepare for the evening ahead.

For me, it was to be thankful that everything was alright in the Philippines, as if the setting sun was an indicator that despite everything that had go on just days prior, everything would work out, that the shoots of recovery were already starting to sprout…

The Great Roller Coaster Ride in the Sky

The Great Roller Coaster Ride in the Sky

Photo of the week 2014 – Week 24

They call it ‘the great roller coaster ride in the sky’. Despite rolling and tumbling to the ground at 80 mph in a two-seater Tiger Moth plane with me hurtling towards the earth, I couldn’t have felt more alive. The nose dive was quickly followed by a series of loop the loops, equally as gut-wrenching and sphincter-testing as falling from the heavens. If you really want to get the blood pumping then there aren’t many better ways than going on a Tiger Moth Joy Ride.

As someone who’s a bit of a self-professed adrenaline junkie, I have to admit that I’ve been to more than my fair share of theme parks around the world… and this experience topped the lot.

Just outside the Gold Coast, in the bushland of Pimpama, you’ll find Tiger Moth Joy Rides, a company that’s been running since 1978. Since then, they’ve flown over 35,000 people, so they really do know what they’re doing (check out their Facebook page for some rave reviews).

Run by the effusive Geoff Stillman (who’s also your pilot for the day), you get to see the Gold Coast and the surrounding area in a beautiful little 1940s Tiger Moth. These things were originally used to train fighter pilots in WWII, and you can’t help but think you’re in a Spitfire in a bygone era; that’s until you see the skyline of Surfers Paradise that is.

You can either go on an acrobatic ride or a scenic ride (obviously the former includes both); the scenery was absolutely stunning and I can’t imagine a better way of seeing the coast.

The Tiger Moth Joy Ride far exceeded any expectations, and if you want to feel alive, truly alive, then you can’t go wrong with it. There was one point where I definitely thought I was going to die, and that’s exactly what you want from an adrenaline trip…

How Not to Park Your Car

How Not to Park Your Car

Photo of the week 2014 – Week 23

As we walked back from the beach, off in the distance we could see dozens of people milling around where we had parked our car. With it there was a tow truck and a police car, so it’s safe to say we panicked at the sight.

“I knew we shouldn’t have parked there,” said Sarah-Jayne. “You knew we shouldn’t have parked there too. What are we going to do if our car is towed away?”

It was a valid question and one I didn’t really know how to answer. I tried to suppress the overwhelming urge of sickness that was building, but I couldn’t help but feel something was seriously wrong.

When we got to our car, a policeman came over and said in broken English, “Is this your car?”

“Yes officer.” My panic was now despair.

“Okay. Move it.”

That was all he said. Nothing more, nothing less.

As soon as I realised we weren’t in trouble in any way, relief washed over me and my inquisitive side took over.

As I surveyed the scene, there were a number of people looking down into the water by the port.

Curious, I told the policeman I would move the car in a minute and walked over.

At first, I didn’t see anything wrong. And then I saw it. A bright blue car parked in the water, definitely not how to park your car.

Now as I am sure you can imagine, this scene was strange for a number of reasons.

Firstly, there was a car parked in the water.

Secondly, it was facing the port, which meant someone must have reversed it in.

Which leads to thirdly, why on earth would someone reverse a car into a port?

I couldn’t help but laugh – it was just too random and funny.

I tried to find out what had gone on, but it was impossible; it will forever remain a mystery to me. No one really knew and no one could really explain it to me, including the owner of the car who was sitting in the front of the police car looking pretty despondent with the situation.

All I know is that’s how not to park your car…