Stepping into Video

We are used to watching multi-million dollar productions, which are slick and for the most part engaging, so can we easily adapt to watching less than perfect productions by untrained but enthusiastic individuals? The answer is clearly yes given the success of YouTube; we can accept imperfect technical quality providing the subject is engaging.

I have learned a lot about video in the past year and discovered you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to get good video. My new Fujifilm X-T2 – an excellent stills camera – does a pretty fine job. But good video doesn’t cut it without great sound and even the best sound and video is useless if content is boring or poorly presented. That requires direction and editing – skills I am learning bit by bit.

When I started, I needed a subject to cut my video production teeth on. I remembered an old friend who is a bit of a technical wizard and a collector of vintage high-voltage equipment, capable of producing bolts of lightening and deafening concussions, drama and excitement. Then there is the man himself, Garry Garbutt, a character somewhat out of his time and one who likes to inspire and educate. Garry belongs to a dying breed of hands-on engineers who can actually take apart a machine, figure out its intricacies, and fix it when it goes wrong; he would also be the first to admit that we are fast approaching the point where we will be unable to fix anything other than the simplest devices. Indeed, we already throw away malfunctioning modules and replace them with new ones or just toss out the whole machine and buy a new, improved version.

Garry is a natural showman and didn’t need a lot of convincing when I asked if we could make a series of short videos demonstrating some of the interesting vintage equipment that fills his workshop. If you would like to see how the Crookes Tube lead to the discovery of the electron, X-rays and ultimately modern electronics, Garry can show you. Perhaps the huge arcs fired from Tesla coils Garry built will inspire you. We had plenty of challenges and lots of fun making these less that perfect videos. Check them out on Vimeo;


or all five at:



Back to Photography

Although this blog has been more about writing, I’m better known as a photographer. During the ’80s and early ’90s I had a lot work published in outdoor adventure magazines and during the 2000s my focus moved to commercial and fine-art aerial photography with some newspaper work thrown in for good measure!

All of that got me some shows in public and private galleries and published portfolios in national magazines. After a lull that’s lasted a few years I’m back at it. You can check out my work at or my Etsy print store.

The Beach (2015)

“The Beach (2015)”   St. Ives, Cornwall is one of my favourite seaside towns. I’ve made a couple of visits in the last few years and for me this image captures the energy and joy of the harbour beach.



New For 2013

This is part of Coldstream, my rural community in the BC Okanagan. I took this photograph this afternoon while returning from a couple of hours of invigorating snow shoeing in -10C!

This is part of Coldstream, my rural community in the BC Okanagan. I took this photograph this afternoon while returning from a couple of hours of invigorating snow shoeing in -10C!

Thank you for all your support in 2012!

As we head into 2013 I’m making a few changes.

I have moved my photographic site to Zenfolio as they have some great features at very competitive rates. My photographic blog can also be found on the Zenfolio site, while Above and Beyond will remain the same, covering my journalistic material.

Over the past few weeks I have taken on the Canadian winter with my camera to reveal the seasonal beauty of the Okanagan Valley. You can view the spectacular results here.

For those of you interested in wooden boats and sailing, Pacific Wooden Boats is my nautical, simple living blog.

With three blogs, a book in the works, and a substantial photography site I’m looking forward to a busy year!

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful 2013.

Me and my Portuguese Water Dog, Maio

Me and my Portuguese Water Dog, Maio out for our daily walk.