Month: January 2014


A friend recently wrote a post about his days in the ambulance service. His post highlights the hardships of going on dispute. But it also hints at the improvements that came about in the weeks following the dispute. His post question whether people in the job today really know what changes were made and the tone of the post suggestions to me that he questions whether an appetite to stand up and be counted would exist today.

Well the ambulance service recently had industrial action over pensions. This was actually well supported. Much more than was expected by management across the UK.

However, in London many staff worked on with apparent disregard for what their colleagues were striking for; better conditions for them all. On top of this, a fleet of yorkshire ambulances made their way to London. I can not comment on the number of calls they responded to but I do know people in the ambulance service and they were in total disbelief that colleagues worked on, that colleagues from another service came to prop up London, I’m told that St John repeated what they did during the dispute that Pete spoke of. Worst still was that the private sector moved in taking the statutory ambulance service one step closer to privatisation.

Some people would suggest that their is a conflict of interest within NHS ambulance services where managers at various levels are heavily involved with private ambulance providers.

One thing I’m certain of is that no one goes into dispute on a whim.

This video clip is a way of ambulance staff getting their voices heard in protest at the increase of the retirement age from 65 to 68 for Paramedics in the United Kingdom. Like 65 isn’t too old!!

I don’t really know how bad things would have to get for a full ambulance dispute. I actually wonder if Pete’s thoughts are right; maybe their is no appetite. Society in general seems content with their lot.

Although there are some people that are dedicated to a cause and willing to make a small stand, I look around and see an apathetic society that desperately needs to be rudely shaken out of its slumber.

The London Fire Brigade recently had a series of short strikes. Short strikes because they felt uneasy about withdrawing their essential service. Yet, they have a valid argument and should be supported by the public.


As an image I think the notice tells a story. A clear story but does not give the full picture. I guess from a photo journalists point of view it would need to have accompanying text to support it and/or be part of a series of images.


Above: Members of the Fire Brigade Union taking industrial action over pensions. Again I think this needs supporting text or needs to be a series of pictures to give a fuller impression of the dispute. 

What I like about this image is that one of the fire fighters is of an age where he has almost given a full service to the LFB and the younger lad in the background has many years of service to give. I think the depth of field also helps the image.

People taking industrial action are not the only people protesting. People protest for political reasons too and some are more committed than others.

Hunger strikers outside the US embassy in London. As far as I am aware they packed up and left with no changes achieved and no fatalities from starvation. They did get themselves plenty of news coverage and in that sense managed to get their message out to a wider audience. 

The image tells a story of a protest but I guess it could have more detail. Under the tents the protesters  were in beds. I couldn’t get the exposure right to get everything I wanted so I must remember I have the option of a  flash. Although I find it obtrusive its a tool to possibly achieving a better image. Then again I’m not sure we need to see the protesters? 

I got speaking with this chap who is an anti war protester. He commits to different causes and at the time I took this picture he was also outside the American Embassy in London.

I like that the image is a little gritty but wonder if there is just a bit too much depth of field and whether the story would be better told if the background banner was just a tad sharper?

I think just about everyone in the UK knows of Peter Tatchell. 

This was taken opposite Downing Street in London. Although it doesn’t give a location I think it tells a clear story and hints at being outside Government premises. I found metering for this was difficult and perhaps should have used some fill flash. However, although the protest is newsworthy the real story here is that Peter Tachell was present so in terms of photography I think it could be technically better but I guess it achieves a desired outcome of portraying a clear story. 

The world of photography really isn’t as simple as I thought it would be. 

I need to play with the camera a little more and try to get the settings as smooth as an expensive swiss watch. 

Thank you for stopping and having a look at my photography diary documenting my learning curve. 

As always, please feel free to give constructive feed back and naturally if you feel that any praise is due, that would be warmly received. 

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

“When past meets present”

A fifteen minute challenge: Get out of the building, get a photo that fits the caption “when past meets present” and  then get back and show the image(s). Living in London the obvious choice would be to capture a cityscape image showing the juxtaposition between old and new architecture.

The hand full of people that have stumbled across this blog/diary might have noticed I don’t often make things easy for myself. Those that know me will probably agree that I like to push myself. In this case, not wanting to do the obvious. At this stage of my learning I’m not sure if thats a good or a bad thing. 

Anyway, its an interesting challenge. Especially when it is thrown at you out of the blue. 

I managed to get three pictures. Perhaps not the best pictures but that was not the purpose of the challenge; it was to get me opening my eyes, looking & thinking. 


A vespa and a mini. Two very iconic modes of transport in London during the 1960s. I think they are still fairly cool and I have a fond affection for both. Not that I am from the sixties, in fact I couldn’t legally ride and drive until 1986/7.

The scooter has an old 60s number plate and the mini has a more modern index number so I think they fit the criteria. 

The next image kind of highlights the importance of having an awareness of your surroundings. I could have easily walked past these road signs. They are about fifteen feet up the side of a building and easy to miss if I’d not looking about and up.

So old and new(ish) road signs sort of meets the criteria. 



The next image was an attempt to get, dare I say it, arty. I found a shop called radio days that sells furniture and fashion items from the 1940s and 50s. I wanted to try and create a sort of double exposure type effect in one shot, by capturing the items from the past in the shop display with the window reflection of the modern world. Image


With time and planning I’d like to think I would have taken some better images. That said, I think the images fitted the criteria of this fifteen minute challenge. 

I enjoyed this quick challenge and maybe its something you’d like to do? Without thinking about it, how about you go get your shoes on and go get the pictures. 15 minutes… Go Go Go…. Maybe its a little challenge you could set a friend that is learning photography? 

If you give it a go, I would really like to see what you come up with and I would also like to know if you’ve had any similar challenges.

Thanks for visiting.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

New year, same old goal.

So its a New Year but I have the same goal that I started with last year; to take better pictures.

I was thinking about taking part in a 365 day project. My thought process was that it would make me carry my camera and make me take photos of things I wouldn’t normally snap. 

Two things concerned me with this. One was that I would get bored and stop; that there’d be a danger that I’d lose interest if I had to do it every day. The second reason was that I don’t want to post images for the sake of posting a photo.

I do need a project to keep me thinking and challenge me to use my camera. So I joined a 52 week project on Flickr. There are not many in the group; just 32 I think. There are other groups running 52 week themes but hopefully with this being a small group I will get some useful feed back on the images I produce.

The 52 week project also gives me a bit of breathing space to think about the weeks topic and give me the best opportunity to produce the best image I can get within the timeframe. All while holding down a full time job with an unsocial shift pattern. 

This weeks subject was ‘Chocolate’. So here it is, my first image for my 2014 – 52 week project and my first post here for 2014. 



Thank you for taking time to look at my post and image.

I hope you had a good christmas and that 2014 brings you happiness. 


Jim Jimmy James.