The eyes of a Wolf always see straight into your soul ...

...You can't hide the truth from them


Please visit the main site - www.wolf-photography.com


Monday, 24 October 2011

Mammoth task ...

I've been re-writing the website over the last 2 weeks.  The changes were necessary in order to protect my Intellectual Property on my website and to work towards making my images more 'searchable' via Google etc.  I'm having problems locating a simple java/html search engine to use on my site for the specific purpose of making all of my images searchable.  If anyone knows of a good 'freeware' or a reasonably cheap  program, please drop me a message.

The maintenance image warning of ongoing work has been removed and the site should be fully operational again.  Please do report any dead links or missing images?

The work's taken my mind off my injuries and allowed me to rest my body for a little while.  Unfortunately, the pain's been getting worse in the newer injury areas.  I'm having serious concerns about the grading that I'm working towards in December - will my body be able to move properly and do what's required?  There's only one way to find out.

On the plus side, I've seen more of the kingfishers and am looking at ways of getting specific types of action shots.  While tolerant of the hide, kingfishers are still wary of humans and it's a time consuming process that makes use of more than my allocated share of luck; so it's good when other photographers are there for the same thing - perhaps our accumulated luck will give us what we desire.

Have a pleasant evening.


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Cold day...

The temprature's definitely been more like autumn or even mild winter today.

I spent my time between watching and photographing fallow deer at Wollaton and Kingfishers.  It was agony though as the accupuncture makes the pain worse before settling it to a managable level.

I was watching 'One Eye' fight another stag. They walked around together, side by side, but every now and then one of them would initiate an attack. The antlers of a Fallow Deer can be just as deadly as a Red Deer when you watch how they use them. After the fight they simply walked back to the herd together and One Eye carried on bellowing at the other deer and keeping the stags away from his harem.

I had 5 sightings of the Kingfisher today but it didn't settle long enough for me to get a shot.  Fingers crossed for next time.

I've spent the evening plugged into a TENS machine which helps a lot.  I must remember to take some hand warming pads out if I head out tomorrow.  I'm hoping to be able to train at the dojo on Friday.

Bon nuit,


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Fighting on...

I had my accupuncture today ... and not before time.  The pain's been off the scale this week.  I saw my pain consultant today as well and I'm being encouraged to stop practising Karate.  I can't though.  Have you ever done something in your life that feels 'right'?  You click with it?  That's how I've always felt about Karate.  I wish I'd been able to afford to grade etc when much younger.

I'm at the stage where I was in 1995,  Getting ready for a 1st dan grading.  Except then I was hit by a stolen motor vehicle that found me in it's path on the other side of a hump backed bridge.  I was waiting for traffic to clear.  An elderly couple were slowly getting out of a taxi.  My son was dozing in the back in his baby chair.  He was about 8 or 9 months old at the time I think.  He may have been older. 

I was on my way to pick up my ex partner from work.  The taxi hadn't parked properly so oncoming traffic couldn't clear the spot either.  My steering lock was on full lock to the right and I was waiting for a gap to escape in.

The next second my mind registered that moment that says something dangerous is about to happen and I saw a flash of light in the rear view mirror and a split second later my ears were tinkling with that odd cacophony of twisting metal and breaking glass.  My car was an old Ford Escort mark 2 with no head rest.  I was later told that my fitness through karate was what saved my life as the whiplash was severe, so severe that it still affects me now, 11 years later.

I remember getting out of my car and the red mist descending over my vision.  I ripped open the driver's door as he was trying to make his getaway and grabbed him by his throat and started to lift him out of the vehicle.  He floored the accelerater and my grip on him was broken as he sped away.  I don't remember seeing his face ... I just remember feeling, 'you could have killed my baby boy'.

My car was badly smashed up but I chased him for 2 or 3 blocks before my son's cries got through the red haze and I seemed to be coming out of the mist.  Then the pain hit me.  It started around my neck and then radiated down both arms and it was severe.  I started shaking owing to the seveity of it and the onset of shock.  I saw a telephone box and stopped by it and called for a police unit and an ambulance and then set to calming my son down.  Those baby seats are brilliant; Joshua was fine, just shaken up.  I couldn't lift him though as I now couldn't move my fingers or my hands and all I could do was talk to Josh, my arms limp by my sides and the most severe pain was ringing my neck.

The ambulance arrived first and strapped me down to a stretcher to immobilise my neck as they feared any movement could have serious consequences at this point.  Josh started crying again and the medics couldn't calm him.  I told the medic to put him on my chest which he reluctantly did ... and Josh calmed down straight away.  My boy was safe and I was grateful.  We blue lighted it to the hospital, where they examined me, kept me in for a few hours and then released me with some heavy painkillers and a soft collar for my neck.

For the next few days I couldn't grip anything to dress myself and the pain killers were pretty useless.  I was Josh's primary carer in those days, around my part time job with Kingswood Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).  I was their tribunal case worker and my workload was always a heavy one.

I remember going back to work ASAP and swallowing the pain and trying my best to ignore the discomfort it caused.  The armed forces attitude of 'go'til you drop' got me through it.  Incidentally, it was owing to the difficulties caused by this road accident that a very switched on GP interviewed me and referred me to the appropriate mental health team.  After some probing they told me that I had been suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) since serving in Northern Ireland between 1983-1985.  This was a moment of enlightenment regarding an earlier chapter of my life and the missing pieces of the jigsaw about my past clicked together for the first tiem in over a decade.  The MoD had never conducted a discharge medical on me, even though my Sergeant was aware of ertain difficulties I was experiencing close to my time of leaving.

I don't think it was all that long before I went back to Sensei Ed Stark's Dojo in Bristol.  The problem was that every punch and kick I did felt like it was re-tearing the injury.  I was told that I had a severe soft tissue trauma of the neck.  I kept trying to train but the pain was too much and I felt I was going one step forward and two steps back at all times.  I had no option bu to stop training.  It wasn't long before I moved back to Cornwall again.  A job came up as Manager of Truro CAB and I went for it and took the post.

I went back to train at the Newquay KUGB dojo that I had done all my gradings with until 1992 or 1993.  We'd gone up to Plymouth to be graded by Sensei Otah every 3 months and then 6 months for the 1st kyu grading.  Unfortunately my body was still generating too much pain and I couldn't do any consistent training, as the pain was too much and it kept ripping open the old wounds.

My pain consultant asked me about the Karate today, and why I wouldn't consider doing something like Tai Chi instead.  I told her that I need this one battle.  If I can get my 1st dan, I can slow down the training after to a more realistic level for my injuries ... but between now and December I have to be resigned to maximum pain.  Unfortunately, the pain got so severe on Sunday that it stopped my 'flow' with a kata as the pain was making me tense way too much on some moves and I ended up in a downward spiral.

The grading is a battle within - it's as if I'm saying something to the Road Accident - maybe I'm making a statement to myself.  I'm not as sharp as I was in those earlier years - I'm older, still in a lot of pain and my short term memory's been severely affected by the PTSD.  I don't know even know if I'll be able to do the grading if there's a break between segments as the pain gets a lot worse if there's a break or a lot of pauses between movement.  My body starts to lock up and stiffens really quickly ... to the point that I can hardly walk without a high degree of pain.  But I don't show it if possible ... Veterans' pride; we walk tall and whenever we can ... and some of us have faced worse things.

I have had to accept something today though: I can't keep pushing my body to this level.  It stops me doing my therapeutic work ... which is what I live for as it helps me to cope with the PTSD which is my main disability.  I also have to retain some degree of mobility to be able to interact with my children and I don't want to end up in a wheelchair being a burden to them.  So I know that I may never be able to do another grading again after this one.  I'll try my hardest though and will see what happens in December.

I suppose I'd better get on with some work ...

Have a pleasant evening.


Friday, 14 October 2011

Confusion reigns...

Do you ever get one of those days where there's so much going on in your head that you end up on a full stop?

All the old skills of prioritising the workload, taking frequent breaks, taking a break to walk into the garden or to do a few sit ups, none of them seem to help today and the brain feels 'sluggish'.  Maybe I need a lettuce leaf or something.

The website rebuild is truly a numbing task.  I'm halfway through the process of rebuilding all the image albums.  I've had to change all of the image names, redo the keywords and make the new titles 'searchable' because I want to place a search engine on my site that will help visitors locate specific images as well as catering for the visitors that are happy to spend time browsing my site (http://www.wolf-photography.com/).

I also setup a limited company to protect the company name and am working on other areas to protect the business name.  If my son or daughter decide to take over the business in the future, I want the structure to be correct and protected for them.  The limited company will be dormant and I'll continue operaing as a sole trader unless things do actually pick up one day.  It would nice to be able to break even at the end of every financial year ... but that hasn't happened to date.  I remind myself that art and profit don't always go hand in hand and that I'm grateful if I can earn enough to keep working.

A legal issue from my past that needs to be addressed is to the fore but the way forward for me to get satisfaction and closure is cluttered with red tape.  The implications are a constant drain on my soul but it's something that I can't let go of.  Sometimes something can happen that goes beyong 'wrong' or 'unjust' and needs tackling.

Work is moving slowly on the exhibition front.  I've gotten behind as I had to rebuild my PC and then reinstall all the programs I use, as well as retrieving my data from backup sources.  It's all here and working now.

Karate is moving along at a reasonable pace.  I'm not sure whether I'm improving as the existing injuries are getting worse and I seem to be picking up new ones every now and then.  There are times when I can feel the old flow and times when everything locks up and I can't move my body because the muscle memory is pulling my body one way and the mind is telling it to do something else.  I do my best though and my Sensei's aware of my difficulties and doesn't make me feel inadequate in anyway as a result of my disabilities.  It was good to hear some of the club members talking about ethos, honour and responsibility as we sat around a table supping on blackcurrant and sodas.  The 'Dojo Code' lives within them.  It takes me back to the first dojo I ever trained in.  I think it was at Humberstone Gate, in Leicester.  The whole class would say the Dojo Code out loud before the class started.  I'd attend in my ATC uniform, change into a t-shirt and jogging pants and train at the session before heading  off to a cadet session with 51 Squadron of the Air Training Corps (I was preparing to join the Royal Air Force).  I couldn't afford a 'gi' (karate suit) in those days and used to use my work money to pay for karate lessons and other bits and bobs.  I couldn't afford the licence or grading fees either.  It was good of the Sensei to let me train there.

The memories come flooding back:  Going to school early to tidy up the classroom - which also doubled as our chess club, going to work in the chip shop straight after for 50p an hour and then going home to do my homework before finally heading to bed for about 2am.  I realised my dream though and escaped an abusive home environment on 11 March 1981, the day I set off for basic training at RAF Swinderby.

I am grateful though: I have a home, I have clean water and food ... and I can still continue to do my creativity.  Spare a thought for those that have none of the above.

I need a break  - somewhere with clean air and near mountains.

Onward and upward - I hope your day is a good one.


Saturday, 1 October 2011

Dreamshots of Kingfishers ...

Imagine the scene: a high pitched tweet a blur of blue and orange and it's gone!  That's all most people get to see of kingfishers as they fly off on the hunt for small fish.

I was very fortunate the other day.  I was in a place that I'd been using since spring to try and photograph these amazing hunters.  Yesterday it paid off!

I met a fellow photographer in the morning who told me that he'd got some good shots of a kingfisher in the morning.  I met him about 10:30am.  Four hours later I was blessed with this site:

I was lucky enough to watch this lovely creature catch a fish, kill it and then eat it.  The full sequence is on  http://www.wolf-photography.com/albums/Wolf%20Photography%20-%20Nature%20-%20Kingfishers/index.html.  The first two images are of a kingfisher in Cornwall.  The rest are from the other day.

I still haven't gotten over the shots myself.  Everytime I load them up they make me smile from deep within.



Osprey - Nature section

Osprey - Nature section
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