24

May

2017

Liverpool With Kevin

24th May 2017

As my parents had left me the car as they left for a week in the sunny Spanish community of Murcia, me and my friend Kevin resolved to make good and proper use of it and decided to head to Liverpool for a day. After a drive over in which I miraculously didn’t crash, we spent a good while circling through the city centre in a tizzy looking for a car park.

Once we’d actually managed to park up and scraped the bottom of our wallets to get some spare change to pay for our parking, we strolled into the centre of the city and began our explorations. I just had to pay a visit to some of the shops along Bold Street, including a tiny detour to visit the city’s oldest building, the Bluecoat Centre.

The courtyard of the BluecoatThe courtyard of the Bluecoat

The courtyard of the Bluecoat

We initially headed straight through the building to the rear courtyard in order to soak up some of the rare rays of sun, before stopping for a cup of tea and some lovely cake in the centre’s café.

A view from our spot

A view from our spot

Reading in the gardens

Reading in the gardens

Once we’d headed back inside I was enchanted by an installation of a tonne of posters which had been plastered on the high wall in the exhibition space, and spent some time trying out the manual setting on my camera and searching for good lighting – I found some eventually and enlisted Kevin as a model.

Posters for days

Posters for days

Is that Kate Moss?

Is that Kate Moss?

With the return of the sun we decided to head back outdoors and down towards the docks and shopping centres of the waterfront. After we’d put the world to rights in one of our very lengthy discussions, we took the opportunity to try out some more photography, and I gave Kevin a lightning lesson on how my old film camera works. We took plenty of pictures on that too, and I’m hoping to have them developed soon!

There's only one way

There’s only one way

Down at the waterfront

Down at the waterfront

Kevin took this one

Kevin took this one

Once I’d tried to explain the intricate workings of my old manual Praktica camera, Kev tried taking a few photos of me on it. After this we headed back up towards Bold Street to get some lovely food on the way back to the car, the journey back in which was not without its strange creaking noises and flying pieces of metal in the road…

Stole my damn camera

Stole my damn camera

Cool stairs are cool

Cool stairs are cool

Some lovely food

Some lovely food

In spite of our neath death experiences on the M62 we arrived back in Leeds in one piece and then I had to head off to Leeds Bradford Airport to pick up my auntie and uncle who had landed back from Murcia just that evening.

In other news, today I literally half an hour ago just finished my final presentation for university – and now my last piece of assessed work is done! With a few more things coming up, such as the degree show, I’ll be in Leeds for a little while longer, but I’ll be sure to do a little bit of exploring here and there where I can – and naturally I’ll bring you all the updates here…


23

May

2017

Saltaire

23rd May 2017

Now that I’ve finally finished sorting some stuff out for the School of Design’s 2017 Degree Show, I took a few days off to relax, during which I made a trip to Saltaire to take a few photos and get out of the hectic air of the city. Saltaire is only fifteen minutes outside Leeds and is currently protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to it’s history and pretty, quaint appearance.

A house in the village

A house in the village

I arrived in the car, which my parents had left me whilst they went on holiday, and began to meander through the pretty repetitive rows of houses towards the centre of the village.

The quaint houses of Saltaire

The quaint houses of Saltaire

Looking into the valley

Looking into the valley

From the centre I headed down towards the mill, but as the time remaining without rain was limited I thought I better explore the outdoor areas before heading inside. Down the road and after crossing the river there’s a lovely park area where you can sit by the river with an ice cream, but the British weather wasn’t in the mood for cooperating on that particular day…

Looking over the cricket ground

Looking over the cricket ground

The mill from the park

The mill from the park

Wandering a little more, I soon made a friend in a Canadian goose which was wandering through, but as the clouds continued to roll in I soon headed back up the hill towards the church and the mill. For those who aren’t familiar with the history of Saltaire, pretty much the whole village was built in 1851 by Titus Salt, who used his surname alongside the name of the River Aire.

My new pal

My new pal

Built around the old textile mill, Salt created the neat rows of pretty housing for the millworkers, and included buildings such as a town hall, community rooms, and a beautiful church – which I wound up visiting after tiptoeing around a family of geese which had invaded the churchyard…

The church in Saltaire

The church in Saltaire

After this I hopped over the road and paid the huge mill a visit, which is now split into four floors of cafés, shops and exhibition spaces. Whilst there I stumbled on the current exhibition of work by David Hockney, the famous artist who hails from Saltaire’s neighbour, Bradford.

Inside the mill

Inside the mill

The David Hockney exhibition

The David Hockney exhibition

After a lovely stroll around, and a huge salad from the café where Hockney had designed the print on the menus, I eventually called it a day and headed back to Leeds. Feeling somewhat refreshed, I am now in the throes of preparing my portfolio and rehearsing my presentation for my final piece of marked university work ever tomorrow… Wish me luck!


15

May

2017

Back North to Madrid

15th May 2017

So after my trip down to the south of Spain, and ending in Granada where I ended my last blog post on a bus, I did indeed head back northwards to visit my capital and second home. Once I’d landed in the bus station I hopped straight onto the Metro and headed into the heart of the city to bed down in my hostel for the night.

Waiting on the platform

Waiting on the platform

The next day I set about doing some of the things I really miss about living in Madrid, starting the day off in a bar with a coffee and some tomato coated bread. After this I headed up to Chueca to buy a few bits and bobs and explore some of my favourite shops, including a chocolate boutique, a disco lighting specialist, and a tacky shirt shop. Soon though, and with a lightbulb holder, chocolate selection and new shirt in tow, I headed down to the south of the city to visit the design centre in the Matadero – one of my old haunts.

The Matadero looking moody

The Matadero looking moody

Once I’d had my fill of tinto de verano (a drink similar to sangria) and a snoop around the exhibitions, I headed back for the sunny centre to grab some awesome pizza on the roof of one of the buildings, where I also splashed out on a drink and admired the views of the city below.

A view to the south

A view to the south

A view to the east

A view to the east

After a relaxing evening of tacos with old friends, the next day I head eastward on my way to visit the team at Erretres for a catch up and to head out for some lunch as we always did last year. I ended up taking it so easy through the picturesque gardens of the royal palace in the sun that I rocked up pretty late – I guess I switched to Spanish time…

Sunny day for pretty buildings

Sunny day for pretty buildings

The resplendent royal palace

The resplendent royal palace

Arriving back at the office was lovely, with plenty to catch up on in my gradually worsening Spanish. Once I’d had a snoop at a few ongoing projects and had a laugh about a translation quip, we all eventually headed out to the nearby cafe where I spent many a Thursday when working with the team on my year in industry.

Reunited with the team

Reunited with the team

After a lovely meal I had to leave everyone to get on with their work, and so I headed down one stop of the Metro to have an ice cream by the lake and just watch the world go by for a while.

The familiar Metro stop of Príncipe Pío

The familiar Metro stop of Príncipe Pío

A panorama across the lake

A panorama across the lake

The day which proceeded was very lazy, but after all my travels around the south I felt like I’d earned a break. Many cañas and tapas later I found myself having a beer in the park which overlooks the east of the city, watching the sun go down before heading back into the centre for some food.

The sun sets over the east of the city

The sun sets over the east of the city

All too soon it was my last day in Madrid once more, and so I grabbed my camera and went exploring after settling for some beers for the evening. In the evening I wound up down in the south of the city, where I had some lovely tacos and found some street art along the way – as well as discovering an old ruin of a building which I’d never stumbled across before!

Tapas in the market

Tapas in the market

Street art in Lavapies

Street art in Lavapies

The ruin below a blue sky

The ruin below a blue sky

The first thing the next morning I had to grab a Cercanías train to the airport and soon found myself flying over France with a glass of overpriced red wine in hand. Since then I’ve been busily away with my final university project, but there’ll be a few more updates over the coming weeks as things like my final year degree show inch slowly closer…


20

Apr

2017

A Goddess is Born

20th April 2017

Okay so this post has a weird title, but I shall proceed to explain. About a week or so ago, whilst on my placement with Elmwood, I began to sketch some initial ideas for a new typeface which I’ve had as an idea at the back of my mind for a while now. The typeface’s working title is Goddess (hence the title of the blog post), and the current plan is that it will become the new typeface which I use for all my personal projects – including my website!

A little preview of where I am thus far

A little preview of where I am thus far

As you can see from the photo, I have been building the letters (which are all non-final at present) using simple shapes with a compass and pencil. This process was inspired by one of the greats of typography design, Eric Gill. The sketches below were used to build the typeface which bears his name, Gill Sans, and to me they are objects of exceptional beauty (which may be a little bit sad, but I can deal with that).

Gill's drawings for Gill Sans

Gill’s drawings for Gill Sans

For those unfamiliar with the design of typefaces I should explain from where comes the trouble I have been having with the rounded letters, which I can simplify down to two reasons. Firstly, they have to extend slightly above and below the line due to the way the human eye perceives the height of rounded shapes compared to straight-edges ones, and that’s been a nightmare to account for. Secondly, round letters like o should not ever be perfectly circular as they otherwise appear too wide – however if you just simply try to squash a circle a little it begins to look deformed, so I have spent quite some time working on how to make letters like c, d, o, and e look just right.

A more detailed look at the process

A more detailed look at the process

As you can see with my red pen I am making minor changes as I go, as typeface design takes a good while – just imagine you have 26 letters, double that for capitals, then add numbers, punctuation, an array of special characters (such as the Ñ for Spanish above) for other languages, and much more – all of which has to be designed carefully to flow properly. A right royal nightmare.

I’ll keep you up to date as I begin to make more progress on the typeface as the weeks go by, especially once I begin to start digitising copies – thus far all the work has been done on pen and paper. I love working like this as it makes me much less precious about finer details, and I can adjust and connect curves in a way which just isn’t possible on a screen.

Long live the paper, pencil and compass – even if I have stabbed myself inadvertently a few times with it. Blood, sweat, and tears will have indeed gone into creating this damn font.


17

Apr

2017

Granada

17th April 2017

After hopping on a bus from Seville to Granada, I wound up landing in my third city mid-afternoon, whereupon I immediately set about finding my hostel. Once there my fifteen minute nap turned into three hours of shut-eye, and so I had to drag myself out of bed after dark and try and find someplace to eat in this new city!

My first proper look at the city by night

My first proper look at the city by night

After wandering in a loop for a while (not that I was complaining, the city is beautiful), I found a little Venezuelan restaurant near my hostel and grabbed myself an arepa before heading back to bed to prepare for the next day, where my plan was to visit the unmissable (oh the irony) Alhambra.

Wandering the streets early in a morning

Wandering the streets early in a morning

The main street of Granada

The main street of Granada

With a bus back up to Madrid booked for 7pm that same day I knew I didn’t have time to faff around, and so made a beeline for the hill atop which sits the Alhambra palace complex. Anyone unfamiliar with it can begin to appreciate the beauty of the palace/fortress with a quick Google search.

Anyway, so I managed to find one of the few roads which lead up the ridiculously steep incline to the entrance, and began my trek hauling the entirety of my possessions for the trip in my backpack once again.

Cascading water by the Alhambra

Cascading water by the Alhambra

The walk up to the entrance was much longer than expected and a lot more gruelling than I had predicted, but the views were lovely and the sun was out so I wasn’t for complaining. Once I arrived at the entrance though I had the shock of my life – there were no tickets left! Let this be a warning to anyone wanting to visit the Alhambra – book tickets online months in advance or risk being left out in the cold (well, extreme heat, but you know what I mean).

A view up to the Alhambra

A view up to the Alhambra

Slightly deflated I sat down and ate some crisps for a bit, before deciding that for the rest of the day I fancied a spot of bar hopping, in order to see more of the city centre and enjoy some refreshing beers and snacks as I went. I began at a bar at the foot of the hill, and soon found myself in the city centre, full of cheese and chorizo and a few cañas for good measure.

Moorish architecture in the centre

Moorish architecture in the centre

The cathedral in the city

The cathedral in the city

Around mid afternoon I sat down for a spot of lunch, ordering once again a menú del día, after which I just spent a few hours wandering the streets and visiting a few shops as I went. The city of Granada really is gorgeous, sitting in a valley and consisting of winding streets full of bars, restaurants, and shops, and I felt very relaxed just traversing the centre.

Floral decorations

Floral decorations

Colours of Granada

Colours of Granada

Sooner or later though it was time to head back to the bus interchange in order to catch my evening coach back up to Madrid, and in doing so leaving Andalusia and completing my tour of the south of Spain, which included Córdoba, Seville and Granada.

Looking back down the city

Looking back down the city

Farewell, Granada

Farewell, Granada

As I said, I was disappointed not to be able to visit the Alhambra whilst down in Granada, but that didn’t detract from my time spent in the city. From its gorgeous surroundings to the bustle of its narrow streets and glorious architecture, I thoroughly enjoyed lazing around for the 24 hours I spent roaming around.

I will definitely have to revisit Granada in order to have a snoop around the Alhambra one day soon, and I think next time I’ll visit for a longer time – and not allow myself the luxury of a “quick nap”…


15

Apr

2017

Seville

15th April 2017

Part two of four of my tour of Spain began as I got on the train from Córdoba to Seville, whereupon I met a guy called Paco who proceeded to get chatting to me, and as I alighted in Seville I had been given three tips on how to live my life:

  • Sé una buena persona (Be a good person)
  • Sé preparado (Be prepared)
  • Ama lo que haces (Love what you do)

After a lovely chat for the couple of hours it took to roll into Seville I alighted, said my goodbyes, and headed through the city late at night to find my hostel. After bedding down for the night I awoke hungry and in the hunt of some breakfast, and after stopping for some fresh orange juice, a lovely coffee and a napolitana (chocolate pastry), I grabbed my camera and headed out to get my first look at the infamous city of Seville.

Colours of the city

Colours of the city

I began by wandering down one of the main streets from the north of the city towards the river, alongside which I found some lovely gardens which I dipped into to carry on towards the Plaza de España, a large square built in 1928 for a large exposition. It turns out that these gardens were actually used to film in the land of Dorne in Game of Thrones! Wild.

Entering the gardens

Entering the gardens

Strolling through the tiled gardens

Strolling through the tiled gardens

I then crossed over the main road and soon discovered the Plaza de España in all it’s huge, colourful and intricate glory. The sheer scale of the huge semi-circular structure isn’t apparent in any of my photos after my panorama turned out to be a disaster, but a quick Google search will give you a bit of an idea.

Entering the plaza

Entering the plaza

The centre of the Plaza de España

The centre of the Plaza de España

A little bit of trivia for those Sci-Fi fans amongst you all who may recognise some of the architecture here – it turns out that the Plaza de España was actually used for some exterior shots of the fictional land of Naboo in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Seville is such a beautiful place that it is quite easy to see why location scouts for such big names in film and TV have come along and had a field day.

Detail on the tiling in the plaza

Detail on the tiling in the plaza

A gorgeous Seville scene

A gorgeous Seville scene

After mooching around to take plenty of photos (some of which will wind up on my travel section soon) and catching a spot of flamenco, I then headed towards the centre to grab a bite to eat and begin exploring some of the amazing sights in the heart of the city.

Heading into the city

Heading into the city

I was pleasantly surprised by the pedestrianised streets and the amount of people cycling around the city as I began to head towards the centre, but I decided to first wander down to the river for half an hour relaxing in the sun and to grab a burger at The Good Burger, a Spanish chain which I became familiar with the first time I ever visited Madrid back in 2015!

Architecture in Seville

Architecture in Seville

After this I once again headed towards the beating heart of Seville, where I’d been advised by my friend Kevin to visit La Giralda, a bell tower built on top of a Moorish minaret and now attached to the city’s huge cathedral.

The pretty colours of Seville

The pretty colours of Seville

Heading towards the cathedral

Heading towards the cathedral

Once in the city centre I began to explore some more, stopping for lunch and coffee along the way, before heading back in the direction of the river to check out some of the architecture along its banks.

Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral

A square in the city

A square in the city

A curved courtyard

A curved courtyard

Heading away from it all

Heading away from it all

Once back along the banks of the river I stumbled on the ridiculously named Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, which is the fancy Spanish name for the main bullring of Seville. To my dismay it turns out that it is still used for bullfighting, and not wanting to contribute to the industry, I instead opted to circle the building and take some photos of its vibrantly coloured exterior.

The facade

The facade

A funky door

A funky door

A pretty street nearby

A pretty street nearby

After this it was time to head back to my hostel, freshen up, and then head out for the evening to find something to eat. After a quick FaceTime call to my mum to show her the city in the evening, I wandered around until I found a lovely little restaurant near my hostel where I ordered a few tapas and una cerveza (naturally).

Leaving my hostel in the evening

Leaving my hostel in the evening

La Giralda by night

La Giralda by night

The illuminated cathedral

The illuminated cathedral

After my nighttime exploration I headed back to the hostel in order to prepare for the next day where I’d have to carry my full bag around the city before grabbing a bus to Granada in the afternoon. The next morning I realised my camera had somehow changed to a lower quality image mode which made me quite cross, but I calmed down with a coffee and pastry breakfast once more before meandering the city’s gorgeous streets once again.

Contrasting architecture

Contrasting architecture

Old and new

Old and new

Textures of Seville

Textures of Seville

Once I’d stopped for yet another café con leche, I headed for the bus station where I boarded a nice comfy coach and began my journey eastwards to Granada, which will be the subject of the next blog post!

In the second city of my tour of Andalusia I was once again charmed by the people, the sights, and the atmosphere of Seville. I have to admit that it was my personal favourite of the three new cities I visited on my trip, even if the local accent stumped me and the clouds kept me on edge through the occasional bouts of heavy rainfall!

I would say that Seville is the perfect place to go and spend a good few days exploring, and I am glad that I managed to squeeze a visit in before Semana Santa (Spain’s Easter celebrations) and before the heat of summer made wandering around unbearable. Once again this will be added to my travel page pretty soon, and hang fire for my next blog post where we pick up the action as I arrive in Granada…


11

Apr

2017

Córdoba

11th April 2017

With the relaunch of my website just last week I’m not sure if I ever got around to detailing my most recent travel plans, which involved eight days in Spain, four of which were spent travelling around three cities in the southern region of Andalusia: Córdoba, Seville and Granada. After this whirlwind tour of the south I then headed back to spend the latter half of my holiday lazying around Madrid and meeting up with friends, but for now here’s the first city I visited – Córdoba!

After spending a quick night sleeping in Madrid after landing late in Madrid Airport, I was up early and on a train from Madrid Atocha to Córdoba. Before I could even begin to figure out the storyline of the dodgy Spanish dub of a BBC film that was being shown on the train, I had landed in the city.

I then proceeded to head straight for the main attraction in this historic city, La Mezquita, a mosque which began construction in the year 784 and has since been expanded, conquered by the Catholics and built upon, and which is now affiliated with the Catholic Church – but more on that momentarily.

Something's not right here

Something’s not right here

On the way from the train station the thing which hit me the most was the sheer amount of orange trees lining the streets, and the resultant piles of oranges on the ground, and then the inquisitive pigeons which were picking amongst the fruit. To this end I managed to snap the following photo which captures the look of Córdoba quite succinctly…

A common sight

A common sight

Ambling amongst the pigeons and citrus, I soon found myself at the gate of an old wall, which led into a charming little area of windy streets adorned with foliage. I had a good snoop around there for a while until a drop of rain hit my face, whereupon I noticed that the sky had gone from looking mildly threatening to downright menacing, and so I resolved to speed up progress on my journey towards La Mezquita and the promise of shelter.

A gate in the city

A gate in the city

Onwards by the wall

Onwards by the wall

Don’t be fooled by the streak of blue sky in the image above, by this point it really was beginning to look like my day in Córdoba was to be a washout! Walking along the side of the wall towards the city’s centre was a beautiful journey, however, and so curating photos for this blog post has been a nightmare challenge in self control – I did wind up returning from Spain with over 3000 photos…

I'm a sucker for pretty balconies

I’m a sucker for pretty balconies

As expected the heavens soon opened and I dashed for the shelter of a nearby churro stand, where I saw out the worst of the downpour before deciding to make like a plucky Brit and wander unfazed through the rain. In my determination not to let the rain dampen my time in Córdoba I almost walked straight past La Mezquita! I soon joined the throngs of tourists hovering around the entrance, and squeezed my way into the courtyard of the grand Mosque-Cathedral as the rain began to pour once more.

Once inside I began to appreciate the beauty of the architecture, but with huge crowds of tour groups huddling around the entrances to escape the rain, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how I was to get inside. My plan at this point was to go in to escape the rain, but I soon realised I had to buy a ticket from one of the kiosks across the other side of the courtyard – at which point the quickest and most amazing change in weather I’ve ever seen occurred! One minute the sky was dark grey and we were being lashed with rain, the next there wasn’t a cloud to be seen and the strong Spanish sun came beating down on the pretty architecture of the city.

The bell tower suddenly looking resplendent

The bell tower suddenly looking resplendent

With this sudden break in the weather, I decided to keep hold of my ticket until a little later and headed out into the streets of the old city to do a bit more exploring. I began to take a few photos of the streets of the city before I made my way to the old Roman bridge, which offered some pretty cool views over the city and the river, including the waterwheel of this abandoned mill…

The water mill

The water mill

Islamic decoration on La Mezquita

Islamic decoration on La Mezquita

Up a Córdoba street

Up a Córdoba street

With the lovely weather showing no sign of giving up, I soon decided to head into the Mosque-Cathedral, whereupon I was in awe. Throughout the gorgeous interior can be seen very clearly the influence of the two different key influences on the building, Islamic and Catholic design. For those unaware, much of Spain was under Islamic rule roughly between the years 711 – 1492, during which La Mezquita (literally meaning “the mosque”) was built, and after which the Catholics repurposed the building as a cathedral by adding plenty of their own architectural features.

Into the Mosque-Cathedral

Into the Mosque-Cathedral

The most striking feature within must be the double-arch design, which I was told allowed for a higher roof than would have otherwise been possible at that time. With the building being expanded and modified by various Islamic and Catholic leaders, the style and condition of these arches varies as you traverse the vast interior – for example above you can see that the arches on the left are in much better condition than those on the right.

More decorative patterns

More decorative patterns

Above is an example of a much more intricate design for the arches, with the Catholic cross sitting within the clearly Islamic arch demonstrating a contrast that my designer eye just couldn’t ignore. As I headed to the back of La Mezquita, there were many original Islamic features which were breathtakingly beautiful, including archways gilded with gold and intricate geometric patterned roofs – as a lover of geometric design I found myself squinting at these for quite a while!

A domed roof

A domed roof

An impressive doorway

An impressive doorway

I then wound up finding my way into the storage area for the current day religious artefacts, as the Mosque-Cathedral is currently in active use as a Catholic church. This was very impressive, but not half as much as the Cathedral architecture which I stumbled upon afterwards.

Entering the artefact store

Entering the artefact store

A white roof

A white roof

I then stumbled into the central Catholic cathedral section which was built right over the original structure, and which has a look and feel very different to the surrounding arched spaces.

Catholic architecture right over Islamic arches

Catholic architecture right over Islamic arches

The cathedral section

The cathedral section

After wandering around the space for an age, taking many photos and soaking in the atmosphere and breathtaking architecture, I eventually headed back out into the sunny city to have a spot of lunch.

A vaulted ceiling

A vaulted ceiling

Vaults in the Mosque-Cathedral

Vaults in the Mosque-Cathedral

A stained glass window

A stained glass window

For lunch I had my usual menú del día and then began to explore the windy little streets of Córdoba some more. I ended up wandering down the famous little flowered street, found a very extra shrine to Mary on the back wall of the Mosque-Cathedral, and then wound up exploring its courtyard once more.

A Córdoba street scene

A Córdoba street scene

Colours down the street

Colours down the street

The Mosque-Cathedral bell tower

The Mosque-Cathedral bell tower

Soon, however, it was getting late (well, about 5pm) and I had a train to catch at 7, so I began to slowly amble back towards the train station, passing much of what I’d visited earlier – but with nicer light and weather I snapped a good few more photos en route.

A door of La Mezquita

A door of La Mezquita

A more recent Islamic style window

A more recent Islamic style window

Passing by the roman bridge

Passing by the roman bridge

Cycling through the city

Cycling through the city

I eventually landed back at the train station and had a coffee before catching my train onward to my next destination, Seville, where I settled down for the night – but the tales from Seville are reserved for my next blog post which I’ll hopefully get up in the next few days!

A last look at Córdoba

A last look at Córdoba

Needless to say after all my gushing that I found Córdoba to be a gorgeous and amazing city, full of things to do and see and plenty of friendly people and little restaurants to eat at. I was happy to have just spent a day there as my main focus was getting myself around La Mezquita, but I found that I actually managed to do quite a lot – the city is quite compact so there’s always something to look at as you wander from one sight to the next.

I’ll be sure to get Córdoba on my travel page with recommendations of what to do and eat just as soon as I’ve published all four blog posts covering my whistle-stop exploration of Spain’s southern cities!


5

Apr

2017

Surprise Site Launch

5th April 2017

Hello everybody and welcome to my new look website! As I’ve mentioned in posts in the past, it’s a design I’ve been working on for a while, and I’ve finally managed to launch it tonight – as a bit of a surprise as I haven’t really given any warning. The new site incorporates a tonne of new and improved features – check a couple of my favourites out below:

  • Projects — A much improved look at the design and other projects I’ve been up to recently.
  • Travel Diary — A new-look overview of my travels which includes photos, recommendations of what to do, and of course what to eat.

If you notice any problems or bugs in the site, please feel free to grab a screenshot or write and get in touch via my new contact page! I’ll be adding plenty more pages, blog posts, and features to the new design as I go on, so stay tuned!


5

Apr

2017

Filming Autokara

5th April 2017

My first project for my final year of university was set by Elmwood’s Leeds studio and was to reimagine a local radio station for a world in which all cars are now automatic. My outcome ended up being a connected in-car karaoke service, which you can find in it’s entirety within my projects section or via this direct link.

One of the main pieces I created for the project was a light-hearted advertisement which shows how the service can be a lot of fun, which can be viewed on the Autokara project page. For this post though, we’ll be looking at just how we managed to create the Karaoke Car…

Setting up in the car

Setting up in the car

As you can see above, the video was filmed in our family car, which was stationary for the duration of the shoot despite the illusion that the car was moving down a street. This illusion was created by a set of four orange floodlights which faded in sequence to create the look of streetlights passing by as the car was in motion, coupled with the sound of a car engine running which was added in during editing. These lights are mounted on the bar to the right of the car in the image below.

A wide shot of the car

A wide shot of the car

In front of the car we see two colour-changing LED floodlights, each one trained on one of our faces through the windscreen. These remain white until the song in the advert begins, when they begin to flash different colours, coupled with an elongated LED bar light which was mounted on the back seats of the car, which lit up the roof of the interior in different colours.

Rehearsals in the car

Rehearsals in the car

As can be seen above, I also set up a pair of white spotlights on the dashboard to better illuminate the faces during the dialogue at the start of the video, which faded out once the coloured lighting kicked in and the music began. Between them was mounted the camera, which was simply my iPhone 6 with a clip-on wide angle lens, which was then mounted on a small tripod.

Another view from outside the car

Another view from outside the car

All the lighting was wired to a console which I sat on my lap in the passenger seat during the filming of the video – in fact, if you watch closely you will notice that I only ever have one hand in shot, the other one is always controlling the lighting desk. It was quite a challenge to sing on video and control the lighting at the same time!

The lighting desk in situ

The lighting desk in situ

The above unflattering image shows the lighting desk in situ on my knee, and was taken as I was programming the lighting desk with the necessary sequences and lighting states to create the video. And yes, I was playing music and dancing along to get into the mood in the video from which this photo is taken. Don’t judge.

A solo for the Spanish version of the video

A solo for the Spanish version of the video

As a bonus the above image is taken from one of the two as-yet unreleased Spanish versions of the video, in which I can be found singing both a medley of classics from old Spanish one-hit wonders, and a super cheesy classic called Una Estrella en Mi Jardín. I’d like to once again thank both my mum for starring in the video, and my dad for helping with the process of installing all the lighting, and I’ll leave you with another bonus photo – this time a GIF of me and my mum warming up for our performance by dancing along to Oops Upside Your Head. You’re welcome.

Oops upside your head, say oops upside your head...

Oops upside your head, say oops upside your head…

Here’s also a copy of the Autokara video, for those who can’t be bothered navigating to the project page. You’re welcome once again.


25

Mar

2017

Elmwood Placement

25th March 2017

This post is just a quick update stemming from the Autokara project I completed a month or for back, and which was set by Elmwood. After submitting my wacky car-karaoke idea to the guys at Elmwood I was happy to be invited back to present my project to the team in the studio, albeit a little nervous – the video of me and my mum belting out Circle of Life is really quite something…

Anyway, after presenting my research, process and final outcomes (including the video) to a lot of the studio (who were on their lunch break and so gathered to watch, just my luck) we heard back quickly thereafter and I am happy to announce that I was chosen to complete a placement with the Leeds studio for two weeks which will take place over the coming Easter holidays.

For more information on Elmwood check out their website, and of course be sure to check out the Autokara project which won me the placement and even a behind the scenes look at how we pulled together that ridiculous video…