Finnhamn Camping

For my first test of my newly acquired camping gear I decided to go to an actual campsite.  My reasoning was that I’d likely have to have not thought of something I’d need, so an campsite was likely to be able to make up whatever I was missing.

Overcast Archipelago

Overcast Archipelago

The campsite I chose was Finnhamn an island in the Stockholm archipelago which was recommended by my friend Andrew.  The campsite itself wasn’t on the water front which was slightly disappointing but it was close enough and the facilities were excellant.

Finnhamn's harbour.

Finnhamn’s little harbour.

I stayed for two nights and discovered numerous items I hadn’t thought of including needing: a way to make coffee, a stronger spork (my plastic one broke!) and insect repellant.  The tent itself preformed fine both nights, even in the rain and my sleeping bag was more than warm enough!

Finnhamn's shoreline, typical of the archipelago.

Finnhamn’s shoreline, typical of the archipelago.

Wandering the waterline of the island gave me some decent photographs and the odd self portrait too.  The little island pub did a good ‘pytt i penna’ (Swedish dish) served with a good brown ale for my Saturday dinner, so it wasn’t all roughing it!

Field in the middle of Finnhamn.

Field in the middle of Finnhamn.

All in all it was a good first test of my equipment and gave me the confidence to try wild camping on my next trip!

Micro Adventures

Micro AdventuresIn his new book Alastair Humphreys a renewed British adventurer explains his concept of micro adventures: adventures for the rest of us.  I found this concept of short, cheap and local adventures e.g. camping out under the stars on the local hill to be a most inspiring idea.  Adventures don’t have to be epic trips to remote places!

While people have been going for micro adventures long before Alastair came up with the term for it, having a term or label for the activity makes it a bit easier to explain to others.  Most of the book is given over to examples adventures that Al and others have been on and is great inspiration for your own trips.

The final chapters of the book discuss common equipment like bivi bags, shelters, stoves and bags.  He also includes some camping recipes that he’s used in his adventures earlier in the book.

This is the first book I’ve bought on paper for a while and I’ve also bought it for my brother who as the father of two small boys so I figured this would be good inspiration!!

Manage your day

Manage Your DayThis book is a collection of essays from many different authors about how they work, their creative process and of course how they manage their days.  Some of my favourite authors have contributed essays: Seth Godin, Todd Henry, Steven Pressfield and Gretchen Rubin

The book is organised into four essay collections: building a sold base, finding focus, taming your tools and sharpening your creative mind.  Plus a final call to action by Steven Pressfield the author of ‘The War of Art’ (which is another book I highly recommend!)

As someone who is interested in getting stuff done and tries with varying degrees of success to be productive professionally and personally I found this collection of essays to be excellent food for thought.  The bite size nature of the essay format means its a good read for people with limited amounts of time to commit to reading.

This is a book I intend to reread periodically and I expect I will take some new idea from it each time!  Its also a great introduction to many of the different authors who have supplied essays for the book.

Seeking Adventure

I’ve been trying to come up with a new plan for the summer, after my previous plan of visiting many different cities feel through for a variety of reasons. My goal being to experience the Swedish country side and explore the awesome archipelago that starts in Stockholm.

Seeking Adventure

My current plan is to invest in some camping gear, as Sweden has wild camping laws very similar to Scotland which allow respectful camping more or less anywhere. This combined with all the islands of the archipelago sounds like potential for some great photographs.

I’ve also got a name for these trips thanks to Alastair Humphreys, they are ‘micro adventures’. Having a name for helps explain to others the aim and scope of these trips, somehow it also makes it feel a bit more achievable too. I highly recommend checking out his site and upcoming book for inspiration on finding your own adventures close to home.

Once I have remastered the art of camping perhaps I will do a few hikes in more remote areas like the Scottish highlands or perhaps in Norway a country I’ve yet to visit..

The First 20 hours

The First Twenty HoursI’m not a teacher but many in my family are educators and listening to them discuss the various theories of learning led me to want to know more. Then recently this book was discussed on the accidental creative podcast so I thought I’d give it a read as I’m about to head off on my first surfing trip.

The book documents the ten principles of rapid skill acquisition and ten principles of effective learning in two chapters. The rest of the book is then taken up with various examples of the author Josh Kaufman attempting to put these principles into practice while learning new skills or activities.

I found the first third of the book which is focused on the principles to be excellent, the rest of the book is learning examples. The examples are interesting but I’d have preferred the author to have written another theoretical chapter going into more depth and cut one of the example chapters.

I think the book did help me focus on the learning process at surf camp but I can’t say for sure how much difference it made.  I suspect it did make a difference in my approach to learning to surf by making me more aware of the learning process and how I should attempt to structure my learning experience.

Surfing in portugal

Surfing has been a bucket list item for me since I lived in Los Angeles, my apartment there was in Marina Del Ray which is right next to Venice Beach (the Baywatch beach).  At the time I was meant to be there for a year working on Golden Eye 2 and was paying off a credit card so I thought I’d deal with the debt before buying a surf board.  As fate turned out we ended up leaving after a few months due to contract issues, so my dream of surfing was put on unfulfilled!

Overwatch

Overwatch.

With losing Barbara and my best friend Chris to brain cancer within months of each other two years ago I’ve become allot more proactive about living my dreams.  So this year became the year to try surfing and I chose Rapture Surf camp in Ericeira, Portugal as the place to try it.

Morning Light

Morning light.

I was at the camp for a week and I did learn allot about surfing.  Firstly that the hardest part of surfing is learning to stand on the board, its also one of the first things you must master.  Next surfers are so mellow as surfing is physically exhausting: the daily cycle was surf, eat, sleep, surf, eat, sleep!!

To the beach

To the beach.

I made the most progress with private lessons on the last two days and if I did a surf camp again I’d try to go for two weeks at least and get private lessons from the start.  I’d also be doing allot of push ups and core exercises before going to camp to have the strength for all those standing up attempts.  A pair of light neoprene shoes to protect my feet would also be an idea.

Abstract sunrise

Abstract sunrise.

The access to the beach combined with the sun and surf gave me a few opportunities to practice some more abstract photography: using a combination of big apertures (f/16), Neutral Density or Circular Polarisor filters to slow my shutter speed right down and capture panning shots of the sunset.  ‘Abstract Sunrise’ I liked enough to have it printed on canvas as large as the printers could make it.

Sunset

Sunset.

I’d love to try surf photography in the water but the waterproof enclosures are very expensive even for compact cameras!!