Reviews: 2 books of weather based journeys

Two books of a similar style or theme, where the authors travel around the world in hunt of certain styles of weather: Snow and Wind.

The Snow TouristThe Snow Tourist by Charlie English

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, a travel book with a theme of snow! I love snow! I don’t ski/snowboard but love walking in snow and how the world looks covered in snow. This book will however lead you through one man’s obsession to find and experience different types of snow and snow experiences. As well as descriptions of the beautiful and solitude that you can almost visualise, he also covers the dangers of things such as avalanches and not-so-solid snow-ground. It’s a beautifully written journey with interesting characters and facts.

Where the Wild Winds Are: Walking Europe's Winds from the Pennines to ProvenceWhere the Wild Winds Are: Walking Europe’s Winds from the Pennines to Provence by Nick Hunt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program. As an overview the book is split into 4 (IIRC) winds, that the author follows or tries to find, with mixed success. It reminded me very much of a book I read last year – The Snow Tourist by Charlie English. Although it took me slightly longer to get into reading that the Snow Tourist, I’m not sure if its because the wind stories weren’t as initially exiting or whether I just find snow more exciting? I think the fact that this was a hardback as well meant I found it phsycially less easy to read given that I generally read in the bath/bed lying down and thats just not comfy with a hardback.
But before I digress too much. the story starts on Cross Fell in the North West of England and eventually travels across Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, as well as Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
For me, the story much like the winds start to pick up once the author leaves the UK in search of the Bora and the stories of his encounters with various locals on his travels. I think this is definitely more of wind book with a theme of travel, than a travel book with the theme of wind if that makes sense. I enjoyed it once it got past the slow start.


Volunteering Round Up

I had fully intended to blog a bit more frequently throughout Manchester International Festival, but like many others found myself too busy – in between photography jobs, festival fronteering and post processing the photographs, coupled with going back to work and trying to get to see as much as possible of the festival from a visitor perspective I found I simply didn’t have the time.

So I’ve posted a few of my favourites from some of the photography assignments I was given and some I took to record my time as a volunteer.

Costume Alterations on That Day We Sang

Prior to the actual start of the festival I spent a weekend helping out with costumes for the Victoria Wood play, That Day We Sang – above is one of the volunteers repairing a dress. This involved everything from sorting out shoes into size piles, to tagging clothes, putting in labels with the actors names, to repairing or altering costumes.

The following weekend was my first photography job for the festival – photographing 250 children & parents on the opening day of the children’s fun fest that was Music Boxes – specifically the kids enjoying the array of ‘musical instruments’ outside.

Kids enjoy the stethoscope zipper at Music Boxes
Bubbla Phone

Later on that evening it was back over to the BBC at Media City for the Music Box Party  – my brief this time was to capture the guests chatting and enjoying themselves, a bit like the stuff you see in society pages of magazines. The guests included staff who produced, created and worked at Music Boxes – including the CBeebies presenters and other notable BBC staff members.

Music Box Party

Next up was a stint in the pavillion in Albert Square, on a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon I was capturing people enjoying the outdoor space built especially for the occasion – the Glass House roof garden gave good views over the square and the roofs Manchester

Albert Square

After this I had a few days break during which time I spent post processing along with volunteering for the Crash of the Elysium, the Doctor Who adventure for kids where I got to play the role of a scientist, to Tony Ousler’s the Influence Machine – and audiovisual treat in Whitworth park between 10-11:30pm where faces, hands, and text swirled on trees, smoke, the floor and knocked on the wall of the Whitworth Art Gallery.

Sir Nicholas Serota & Alex Poots In Conversation

Next up was the VIP lunch for 11 Rooms, an exhibition of performance based or time based media – each room containing a person or people. Again my job was to capture people networking and enjoying themselves, no easy feat when you consider this was a lunch which meant people were eating which isn’t the most photogenic of activities (and the moment of panic when my flash stopped working part way through the event). Not to mention the lunch was attended by important people from the art world including MOMA and our own Sir Nicholas Serota – head of the Tate.

With barely time to think I had another job lined up – this one a whole afternoon for the recipients of the Jerwood Creative Bursary who were attending an event at the Contact Theatre. Here they got to network with each other and also to glean insight and advice from people working in creative industries such as Andrew Nairne, Executive Director of the Arts for the Arts Council UK and Baba Israel, Hip Hop star and Creative Director at Contact, as well as legal advice from Cobbetts. This was one of my favourite shoots of the entire festival as I also got to hear snippets of advice and the presentation around the legal aspects of setting yourself up as a freelance creative, not to mention the fabulous colours of the building meant the photos really had pop!

Jerwood Creative Bursaries at Contact

Final assignment of the festival was the staff party held in the Pavillion on a very wet & dark Sunday night after the Festival had officially finished. There was some very tasty bacon butties to hand and I got to do a bit of star spotting including Johnny Vegas and Alina Ibragimova along with performers from 11 Rooms.

Alina Ibragimova in the Pavillion

Last but not least was the volunteer party held at the Mint Hotel – although I wasn’t on assignment here, I couldn’t resist taking my camera along to take a few shots including this one of our glorious leaders and organisers of the 400 plus volunteers it takes to keep MiF running!

Caroline & Fee

I had such an amazing time, learned so much, quadrupled my confidence, met new friends that I can’t wait for next time – roll on MiF 2013!

The rest of my MiF photos can be found here with a selection from 2007 & 2009 festivals.