Since my last post around 9 months ago my personal life has been dramatically re-designed. My wife and I moved out of our very comfortable sea-facing flat, bought and drastically renovated a house in suburbia, and a month ago had a baby son called Maximilian, all the while I’ve been hugely busy at WooThemes which has been growing exponentially.

I’ve been in two minds what to share on my site lately, that’s when and if I found the time, now with the realisation that my child might one day stumble on it! My archive of posts is an assortment of personal journeys, snippets of online entertainment and sweet nothings. All of which makes for quite a conundrum in deciding what direction I should now take with my site and should I start afresh…

I decided the best starting point in getting me back on my feet was to re-design my site. I’ve minimised the theme styling, going for a responsive layout, and included a strong focus on Twitter and Instagram on the homepage, as most the time it is much easier to micro document the activities I want to share on these platforms.

I decided to keep my archive, albeit it’s volatility, as it captures my maturity as a designer, and the internet as a whole since 2005. I like to think of it as a time capsule, not one that Max might find entirely interesting, but one that and can be tweaked and re-engineered over time.

Sea Point Sunset

A beautiful mid-winter sunset sky, shot from our balcony on Saturday 16th July. Part of a longer series I’m shooting in and around Sea Point, Cape Town that I hope will see the light of day at some point…

Very much experimental, and lots still to learn, but if you are interested in the setup:

  • Canon 7D with Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L.
  • Shot at f/2.8 Aperture Priority with a 6 second interval between shots. 817 photos – until the shutter speed > longer than the time interval, and it shutdown…
  • GBDeflicker used in After Effects to help with perceptible brightness fluctuations.
  • Photo-JPEG Compression.
  • iMovie for sound and titles.

African Cartel – a marketplace for African Artists

It has been months in the making, but it is with great pride and excitement that I can finally announce the launch of our latest website venture –

Ours being my wife, Xenia and cousin Hugh. African Cartel hopes to be a market place for African Artists – discovering, showcasing and marketing their work and biography to a global market.

We launch with a feature on the Robot Artists, watch the short film to find out more about this creative, humble bunch of mainly Zimbabwean artists.

The site built on top of the powerful content builder and Listings directory theme of WooThemes, with Cart66 integration.

WordPress tumblogging with WooThemes

I thought it be appropriate that I test out our own WooThemes product – the WordPress Tumblog toolkit. I’ve just upgraded my site to WordPress 3.1, installed the WooTumblog plugin, and used the exporter to copy over some posts I had on an old personal Tumblr site. Easy peasy.

What does this enable me to do? Blog snippets of images, interesting links, quotes, audio, and videos I find on the web more frequently and easily. Try this setup out for yourself and take your WordPress site to the next level.

Swans on a frozen lake

This morning I hacked the snow off my car windscreen and drove/skidded to Wimbledon Park to snap some shots of the snow on my Canon 7D. The UK is currently experiencing some pretty cold and icy weather.

I found some very cautious swans crossing the frozen lake, and put together this video montage trying to capture the moment. The music in the clip is by Jon Hopkins. (Recommend watching in HD on Vimeo)

Brothers Streep

brothers_streepSo I’ve blogged/bragged about my mates band The Brothers Streep before, but that was way back in November 2006.

They’ve grown in band members AND groupies since then, but their latest feature on national television here in the UK should hopefully take them one step closer to global domination. Continue reading Brothers Streep

2008 at a glance

2008 at a glance

2008 has been an incredible year for me, with this blog helping narrate that story. Although I’ve been far less active on my blog this year I’ve pretty much covered all my highlights. So without further ado here they are in a chunky, link-baited end of year post:

I saw the last few sunsets of 2007 over the African bushveld on a private game reserve and brought in the New Year with friends in Cape Town.

In February, I had my first ski experience in the beautiful resort of Livigno, high in the Alps of Italy. One of my favourite holidays of all times! Refreshed I then settled back into my design work and began my first collaborative project with Adii on a premium wordpress theme called Gazette. Not realising this was going to be one of the biggest turning points in my freelance design career. Continue reading 2008 at a glance

Stand your ground

Quoting a client for a project is never a fun task. Crunching numbers, trying to figure out how long a design is realistically going to take you, pushing your diary around to find an open slot, deciphering how easy/difficult the client is going to be and how much feedback they are going to bombard you with, and then sitting on the “Send” button nervously for a few minutes before gathering the guts to send it on it’s way.

Then you inevitablely get a mail back from the client, explaining how they didn’t expect it to cost that much to put a website together. Trying to bully you into dropping your price somewhat, promising you “great exposure” and promoting your services to their “huge network of business contacts”.

Well here is a lesson to be learnt from the Welsh rugby team.

The month that was

It looks like it may be time for a blog post seeing I have been quiet for just over a month now. I’m currently not freezing cold, as per usual, in my London abode, but enjoying the sun in Cape Town, South Africa.

A little over a week ago I was sipping beer, eating loads of red meat and driving open-top landrovers, without any game rangers or protection, around a beautiful private game park near the Kruger Park. We stumbled across a herd of elephant, twice, had a rhino almost charge us and sat smack bang between a big lion and it’s cubs the other side of the “road”. I should also mention our landrover was about 40 years old and would not start on numerous occasions, including the rhino and lion incidents. We also were lucky enough to see a cheetah, as well as all the usual sightings of zebra, giraffe and buck.

Continue reading The month that was