Thursday, July 31, 2008

On the road again...

So, I'm sitting in the United Lounge at SFO waiting for my flight to Beijing. This is going to be quite the ride. I don't know why this trip feels different to the hundreds of others I've taken over the years - it just does. It's an unknown. I try, if I can, to make sure I hit up at least one new country per year. This year would be looking pretty bleak without this trip.

Next entry will be from the capital of the People's Republic of China.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My odd traveling life

So, last weekend I was in Hawai'i... this weekend I'm currently in Truckee near Lake Tahoe, California and by this time next week I'll be in Beijing and less than a week away from the start of the Olympic Games. Weird.

Shot some pics for the book today.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Reached that age....

As Kareem Abdul-Jabar once said, 'you reach a certain age where you go to bed fine... and wake up injured'.
Stepped out of bed this morning and feel like my ankle is broken. How'd that happen?

Monday, July 21, 2008


I have never, ever, in my entire life, stepped out on to sand that was as soft, spongy and inviting as the sand on the North Shore of Oahu. It cushioned my foot like nothing I've ever felt...

Hawai'i Time

This one is going to be wholly too difficult to explain but I'm going to give it a shot. I spent the weekend on the island of Oahu. Technically I was there for 62 hrs. I arrived at 10pm Thursday night and I was gone by noon on Sunday. I worked all day Friday and spent Saturday having a look around the island and on both days I noticed something - time goes by very slowly in Hawai'i. Each passing hour seemed to feel like two. I stopped for lunch on Saturday because I felt like I'd been up for hours. I felt like I'd been driving for a while, it felt like I'd been on the go and it should have been lunchtime. I ordered a fabulous burrito at this place called Killer Taco's and it was delicious. Once I'd done I decided to head off and I checked my watch. It was only just after 11.

I drove around the island, almost twice and got back to the hotel and it was still only 4:30 in the afternoon. I still had time to go down to the beach and swim in the warm water...

I wonder if the speed limits have the effect of just slowing everything down? Who knows but I kind of liked it...

Friday, July 18, 2008

But when that alarm went off...

... this was waiting behind the curtains.

For those that dare...

So I arrived home from LA on Tuesday and by Thursday I was en route to the airport again. This time I was going to Hawai'i. Nice, everyone chorused. Of course, it is nice... but let me vent a little bit about traveling for work.

I arrived at the airport a little bit earlier than I would normally arrive because I had an errand to run which actually took less time than I estimated. All good, meant that I could eat lunch at the airport. I also noticed that my flight was delayed by 50mins. No big deal. So I had an eggs benedict which tasted of chemicals and nothing remotely of food.

The delayed flight was due off at 5:30 so we all clustered around the gate at about 4:45. The incoming plane arrived and disgorged it's people out in to the terminal. Then things all started going wrong. The words 'equipment failure' are never a good thing at an airport. It means the plane is defective and cannot fly. Now, of course, I'd rather they fix these things before I get onboard but they rarely seem to get an aircraft fixed that way. They said, somewhat ominously, 'we'll make a decision at 6'. Make a decision? What kind of decision?? "Yeah, the plane is defective but we're going to risk it"? Or maybe, "No, we can't fix it so we're cancelling the flight". All of these things are bad for your travel day. Turns out they decided to steal another plane. I had images in my head of United Airlines operatives walking around the airport slyly checking the handles on other aircraft. Maybe pulling off some hubcaps.

So, we took the plane that was supposed to be leaving after ours. They informed us that we couldn't use the bathroom on board before the plane hit 18,000ft so if we needed to pee we'd better get it done in the terminal building. Excellent. By 7pm my ass was numb from sitting on the floor. I went to get a sandwich. We finally boarded and got up in the air by 8pm. Three and a half hours late.

The original flight was due to get into to Honolulu at about 7pm and I was planning on meeting people for dinner. Of course now we were due in at 10pm. Bang goes dinner. Sat next to a very nice young lady on the flight, we moaned most of the way about the flight, the delay, the movie, the guy in front. Just about anything. She was en route back to see her husband after having been on the mainland for a few weeks.

Finally the plane touched down and we got off. It was humid and still hot even for 10pm. The baggage came out on two carousels at once - which make's it surprisingly hard to find your bag. And I made my weary way out to get my rental car. Bonus! Nice lady at Hertz upped me to a convertible Mustang. Headed out to find it and... it started raining. Paradise island. And it's raining. I'm starving. Ate the sandwich hours ago. Missed dinner. It's now 11pm but feels like 2am because, hey, it IS 2am in California. The only thing open near the airport is a McDonalds. So, of course, my first meal in the middle of the pacific is a Big Mac.

Then it's time to find the hotel. Let me tell you, Honolulu, big on one way systems. Took forever to find the hotel and it's now nearly midnight. I'm kinda stressed because I have no idea what time or where I need to meet my contact in the morning. I only know it's likely to be early. Sunrise type early. I need to get checked in and get to my room so that I can get online.

The guy at the check in desk says, 'Hmm... let's see if I can find a room for you Mr. Gisborne'. I nearly choked. Find? A room? I have a reservation! Apparently it's in the Hilton Hawaiian Village's habit to regularly overbook rooms. The guy said that they've been escorting people to other hotels. I tell him that that's not an option. He says, 'oh, I think I found a solution. You can stay in a room tonight but we'll have to move you tomorrow'. I tell him that's not an option either - I hate not being able to walk into my room and unpack and be done with it. He sees that I'm going to start losing my composure pretty soon and, oh look, he's found a room I can have for the three nights I'm here. Well done, chap.

After getting to the room, dropping my stuff, getting online, washing and all the other stuff I needed to do I put my head down on the pillow around 1am. 4am body time. My alarm went off 5hrs later...

So to all those that don't travel for a living, yes, sometimes, it's a wondrous thing and most of us would not swap it for a desk job somewhere. But, and here is the thing, it doesn't matter WHERE it is, when the traveling sucks, it sucks. Simple as that. And I notice no one bats an eyelid when I get on a plane for 4hrs and arrive in, oh, let's say Cleveland. (No offence to anyone in Cleveland). But when the destination is Hawai'i people are all over it... A rainy, all food options closed, night time late arrival is a rainy, all food options closed, night time late arrival no matter where it is.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Working on the book...

Went out and shot some images for the book on Sunday. Came back and played around with them in Aperture. Also fiddled around with the new Silver Efex Pro plug in. This is an F-105 Thunderchief...

Monday, July 14, 2008

City of Angels VII (and final for this trip)

So I've been in Hollyweird for a week now and I'm heading home tomorrow. It's been an interesting trip and I've met some cool people and seen some interesting stuff. And now I sit here in bed, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, washed down with milk brought to me by room service - I love the fact that I just ordered from the 'little person' menu...

On Saturday night I pondered, as I drove, the weirdness of the blog entry I could have written that night. It would have gone something like this, indulge me, if you will...

"I finished the shoot down in Hollywood, headed for the hotel and cleaned up. I called down to the valet to bring the Mustang up and headed off for dinner. I drove down North Highland, turned right on Santa Monica Boulevard, left on La Brea and south towards Interstate 10. I took the 10 west towards Santa Monica and stayed on as the 10 became the 1, the Pacific Coast Highway. I carried on north until I got to Malibu and headed to Dukes. The valet caught my keys as I rushed in to meet my late dinner companions. We talked and talked. We ate and took pics of the baby I was meeting for the first time and then we took our leave back into the night.

I headed back down the 1 until the backed up traffic out of Santa Monica proved too much. As the traffic ground to a halt I decided to bail out, flipping one in the middle of the PCH and heading back up to the previous junction to take Sunset all the way into town. The windy road passed through Pacific Palisades, up through Brentwood, over the 405 and down into Bel Air. From there it winds past the Los Angeles Country Club, then into Beverly Hills - look, there's the Beverly Hills Hotel - and into West Hollywood. As the traffic piled up I drove slowly past all of the clubs, the hotels and restaurants on Sunset and finally ended up back at my hotel."

The thing that struck me is that sometimes I'm still the little boy from Nottingham. Still the 16 year old looking forward to Wednesday because that was the day my boss would ask me to accompany him to the bank up 'in town'. I'm still the young man waiting at the bus stop on a Friday night to take me home to my parents house years before I owned a car.

I realise that the Mustang isn't 'me' it's just the car Hertz gave me. I had dinner in Malibu because nor is Bel Air or Beverly Hills. I also realise that to some driving along Sunset Boulevard is no big deal but it'll be a sad day when it becomes no big deal to me...

Friday, July 11, 2008

City of Angels VI

After a long day in the saddle - worked for around 14 hours today - the drive back still couldn't disappoint in throwing up some choice LA moments... As I drove up North Highland, fireworks erupted over in the distance, dead ahead. Then, as I approached my hotel, there was a whole block of billboards for the new Batman movie and, walking purposefully up the hill, right past them, was Superman. I kid you not.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

City of Angels V

As I drove back to the hotel on North Highland I saw Shrek walking somewhat dejectedly through the car park of Mel's Drive In...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

On being not so trendy

Nothing makes me feel more untrendy than being on set at 'fashion' or 'celebrity' shoots. On one right now, that has a large crew, multiple shooters and a lot of people around. Most of the wardrobe people were not born until the late 80's. Best line of the day, 'what's Knight Rider'.

Today made me feel old...

City of Angels IV

A little more on the teen sensation that's sweeping the, er, Renaissance hotel corridors. I swear, it feels like I'm in a series of outtakes from Fame... each time I come out of an elevator there are girls spinning and whirling and busting out their moves. It's making me feel like an old man.

In the elevator tonight was a couple of girls, HUGE amount of make up and hair done to within an inch of it's life. Standing opposite, two french girls, about the same age looking... well, looking very french. Very demure. They stood and stared at the two dance girls like they were aliens from another planet. One turned to the other and said, 'some kind of sports outfit?'. The other said, 'dance, I think'. And then they carried on eating their M&M's.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here is a video promo of the event.

It's all reminding me of when I stayed in a hotel in Stockholm during a hairdressing convention. See my profile picture for details on how much I know about hair...

Turndown Service

Is it me, or is the idea of requesting a 'turndown service' the oddest thing. Going to all the effort to call the front desk to have someone come up and turn down the comforter on your bed? Wonder if I can get someone to come up and brush my teeth for me... maybe decide what I can wear in the morning...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

City of Angels III

Found out why all the teenage girls... some kinda dance competition happening in this here hotel. Takes forever to get anywhere in an elevator cuz of all the people riding from floor to floor seeing their mates, getting hair done, makeup, etc. etc... one or two scary looking 'dance parents' too.

City of Angels II

Usually, when I stay in LA I stay at the smaller, trendier hotels like The Standard or The Roosevelt or even the W up in Westwood. I like 'em, in the main, except for The Standard's which are both just too loud to be really successful as hotels (doesn't anyone need a hotel to sleep in?).

This time I couldn't get in at the Roosevelt (which has become my latest favourite) so I'm at the Renaissance. First time I've stayed at one of the 'big' chain hotels around here. And it's kinda odd. It has everything I expect in a chain hotel but instead of being full of business people it's full of teenagers. Lots of them. No idea why. Just is.

This hotel is quiet though... slept like a crazy beast.

CIty of Angels

Down in LA, currently. Never fails to amaze how odd this city is. Flew in to Burbank and drove my rented Mustang down to Culver City. Had lunch over in Santa Monica. Drove back to my hotel in Hollyweird. Fun driving down Hollywood Boulevard these days and counting the Capt. Jack Sparrows. Think I saw 6 yesterday. One of whom was making balloon animals.

So... a fair ground ride becomes a film, a character is inserted into the film, becomes popular, gets added to the fair ground ride, becomes main character of sequels... and now people dress like him for the tourists on Hollywood Boulevard. And make balloon animals.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Visited the island on Saturday. Cool place to visit. It was a hot sunny day which, to be honest, didn't really set the tone that I wanted from the place. I wanted fog and dark, foreboding clouds. But, we got sun...

We got chatting to a park warden there and he asked us if we'd like to see some other stuff. So off we went... we had a look at the higher cells, then up to the 'gun gallery' and then down into the citadel 'dungeons'. All very cool.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sabre Rattling

Thought I'd have a go at posting a picture. In fact I'm posting the full image from the banner at the top of the blog. This is one from the monochrome series I shot on Saturday at the Pacific Coast Air Museum. I shot this on a Nikon D2x. I also shot some film. Yes. Film. A roll of Ilford FP4 went sliding through my Hasselblad 500c/m. Now I just have to find somewhere to process it...

This is an F-86 Sabre, Korean War-era fighter in California Air National Guard markings

Perfect Climate

One of the things that I've always felt about this area, the area that I currently call 'home' is the climate. I've been to quite a few different places on this planet but the climate here, I love it.

On summer days, like today, the morning starts crisp, cool and sunny. By lunchtime it's hot. Not unbearably hot but it's hot, hot like summer should be. The sun falls towards the pacific in the afternoon and heats up the air at the ground then, as the sky blue darkens to black, above my head, the air from the bay cools the evening. The breeze comes through our doors and windows and cools the house until bedtime comes and it's a treat to slide under the covers...

First (past the) post...

Ok, so here it is, my first 'Blogger' post. I used to have a blog. But for some reason I just stopped writing it... and people drifted away. My posts were about my travels, about my life, just about anything and everything. I usually post some pics from here, there and everywhere too.

Let's see if I can do it again...