Tuesday, 25 August 2015

School hols are over.

Hols over, kit cleaned, van swept of sand, pics downloaded safe and sound and into a new term we go.
The kids summer hols flew by in a eyeblink; from watersports, to cycling, munro bagging, snorkelling, crab fishing, visiting family and even the madness of the Fringe.
I don't think there was a 'dead' week of "what are we going to do". We as parents survived to exit at the other end with deadlines ignored, inboxes full and clients to catch up with and reassure that all will be ok now. Such is the way of a family with two self employed parents.
Weather was 'Scottish' in its unpredictability, wetness and requiring of the usual insulated protective clothing.
The Outer Hebrides gave us just enough 'nice' weather to appreciate just how beautiful a part of the world it is. I have no doubt it will figure in our future again.
Some pics in no particular order...

 So, back to sorting out various projects both mtb and photographic, lots to fit in on the slippery slope to shorter days, not to mention trying to squeeze in bike rides whenever the sun shines.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Summer? What Summer?

I know we're a hardy race, but really, this years summer 'dreich-ness' is starting to wear a bit thin! Temperatures are often in the single digits at breakfast and there hasn't yet been a decent spell of warm and sunny weather.
See me, I'm grumpy.
Alright that's enough of that. Work has been behaving itself, got a lovely project at Tarland finished well in time for the summer hols. Great fun this job; mountain biking client, cracking wee hill, good ASDUG, exciting design and the team firing on all cylinders. I love working with Chris and his gang, they're all amazing digger drivers (obviously) but more importantly they're all keen and very handy bike riders. It makes a huge difference to me to have operators that really get into what we're building and want to ride it as they build it to make sure it works right. 
Happy digger drivers
Our next build is after the school hols and is back up at Fochabers where we were in the late winter / early Spring. Another pump track / jump run / feature rich skills trail type thing. Chris and gang on the diggers and rakes (!) Looking forward to it. 
Meanwhile in the background I am still busy with consultancy on a big job, which if all goes well will be quite an interesting build! 
Photographing houses continues to get busier, so much so that I've invested heavily into Canon tilt / shift lenses (google it) which meant a new body (6D) and a steep learning curve. I love my workhorse Olympus, but there's no doubt about it, if you're serious about developing in architectural photography, you gotta go with shift lenses. Geek bit over.
Me at work pic
A very strange thing happened a few weeks ago when Mrs Cycletherapy entered us into the local 'shop to the top' bike race to the top of Cairngorm. A 'fun' event, so we decided to do it on a borrowed tandem. However, I cannot cycle up a hill in a 'fun' manner, the need to hurt is too deeply engrained... 
I think we enjoyed it, the social afterwards was great craic. 
Me and the missus having fun

So, final images processed and uploaded, invoices sent, out of office email notice put up and holidays proper start tomorrow, We're off to the Outer Hebrides and just to be on the safe side we've packed everything from shorts and flipflops to duvet jackets and thick wetsuits! No 3G, no wifi, just us, the kids and whatever the weather throws at us.... 

Monday, 16 March 2015

A Busy Start to 2015

Personally I'm having one of the worst ski seasons I've had in years; hardly any runs open on my local hill, poor snow cover and relentless high winds. Yes, there have been the odd good days, but not when I'm around.

There is a silver lining to this though - it has been a great winter to build trails, with construction starting earlier in the year than is the norm. I normally don't like to start builds until April, just in case winter kicks in and we're halted mid build with snow and frost, but this year we started in mid feb'.

A cracking wee contract to ease ourselves into the trail building year, with a freshen up and rejig of the Moray Monster trails. A tricky one this, as revising old trails is trickier than a new build and there are a lot of people who like old rooty, characterful trails (me included) but in this case there were some stretches that were just too muddy, worn out and just not enjoyable anymore. So, a delicate hand was needed, with a three tiered plan of hand works, minor machine tweaks and then full rebuilds where required.

I was working with the usual team - Chris Rogerson Contracting and for me having digger drivers that I've got to know over many kilometres of trail building and themselves are keen bike riders makes life so much easier. They know what I want, they know how to build it and they know that if it doesn't ride right then it needs tweaking until it does - and that's without me saying anything!
Bike riding digger drivers rock!
We are heading off to Tarland (near Aboyne) next to build more jumpy, pumpy, woodsy trails - looking forward to this one - a good client brief and some new ideas from me and the gang!

As always, in the background, I am involved with the consultancy side of things helping new clients take their initial ideas through planning and funding to hopefully get more builds happening in the near future. Some exciting things on the burner, but as usual can't really talk about them here!

Blinking photography keeps getting busier too - this wasn't meant to happen 'til my late fifties - when I'm too crippled to build trails, but not complaining about the workload, good to be busy and every photo gig I land I learn something new. I seem to have hit a niche market of architectural photography, not quite the action sports pics I so love, but it pays well and action sports gigs don't.....
I'm also trying to develop my weakest skill i.e. portrait photography, an aspect of the art I'm not too confident with, but keen to work on. It might not lead anywhere, but I enjoy making myself do something I feel awkward with. Mind you, my latest gig is made easier by having a model that is easy to shoot.

Ann Vestano local artist
Riding wise, things are looking up: just started getting some 'base' miles in and although I had to miss the locals hot weather training camp i.e. Aviemorons go mad in Spain, I've got the bit between my teeth and am trying to get out whenever possible in whatever weather is happening. Grim, but essential if I'm going to try pinning on a number this year - not saying anything - just in case like.

Anyhoo, Easter next, family time and the next time you pop back another build update hopefully.