Staying in a Shepherds Hut in Wales.

Sometimes I like to surprise my girlfriend with little weekends away, or micro adventures. I tell her we’re going away but nothing else. She often guesses the location but obviously not the details.

I did this last weekend and we went for a nice long walk around Waterfall Woods in Wales. It’s a picturesque walk along a network of rivers with a few waterfalls along the way and a big one at the end. If you’re interested in going there, the actual village is called ‘Pontneddfechan’.

After walking for a couple of hours and exploring the waterfalls, we went on to the real surprise location which was a tiny cabin or ‘Shepherds Hut’ in the middle of a field in a Hamlet in the Brecon Beacons. It was absolutely freezing outside so we went in, got the log burner going and made ourselves at home as the Sun went down.

After we’d rested our legs we popped in to the local town, grabbed a bite to eat and watched some Rugby amongst some passionate welsh fans. We then headed back to the hut and got the fire going again as it was freezing outside. It was so nice to just relax in this tiny space that was only as wide as a double bed is long.

In the morning our host Jodi dropped a full breakfast outside in cool bags, it was a selection of lovely pastries, granola and yoghurt. We tucked in before heading home.

You can find the airbnb here.

If you have any questions, drop me a tweet or comment below.

The Best Budget RAID for Photo & Video Editing?

No one likes buying storage… It can be expensive and its not like its going to help you take better photos or make better videos. But it’s essential, especially if you’re handling client work or shooting a lot of stuff you want to keep. 

And if you want to keep that data really safe, you’re going to want a RAID array that stores your data on two hard drives, so in the event of a failure, you can pop a new one in and nothing is missing. 

I did quite a bit of research on which RAID to get, and I trust LaCie as a brand. But their products aren’t cheap. The Big2 is currently £620 on Amazon. I’ve had a few of their rugged drives and none of them have failed on me. The thing that really sold me was the good old usb and SD card slots on the front. It means that when I use this with my Macbook Pro i’m not constantly fishing in my bag for dongles etc..

Although,  this drive only has USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 and a Display Port which means I had to buy a Thunderbolt 3 – Thunderbolt 2 adapter in order to use it with my iMac. This cost me an extra £78 – thanks apple. There is a USB-A – USB-C cable in the box, but you’re going to want to use Thunderbolt to get the most out of this drive. 

Another reason for the upgrade was speed. My Western Digital 6TB drive is good for storage, but if I want to edit a project directly off the drive, its just too slow. I find myself copying projects to the desktop and editing from there. The LaCie Big2 handles the job with ease though. See the video for the speed test. Though, the real test is everyday use. And editing video with Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere has been a breeze over the past week. I’ve never felt that there is a bottle

If you have any more questions about the drive drop a comment below or hit me up on twitter. (Amazon US) (Amazon UK)

(please note that I use amazon affiliate links and it helps me to make this content, if you’re interested in the product, give em a click and we all win – thanks!) 

Sony a7iii Custom Function Cheat Sheet

If you happen to own a Sony a7iii then there is a great YouTube vid from MAKE. ART. NOW. with a perfect setup of the custom buttons and functions. I’ve been using his settings for a couple of weeks and getting along with it really well, its speeds up your shooting so much. However, sometimes I forget the buttons, so I threw together a super quick cheat sheet to reference until i’m fully accustomed. You can use it too if it helps.

A Perfect Wedding with the Sony a7iii

I recently went to my friends wedding and we had a spectacular time. I’d recently got a Sony a7iii and Sony 24-105mm f/4 lens. I got some shots of the ceremony, snuck off to the car and edited it in secret. Then we put it on the projector before the first dance for a little same day edit and it went down really well. 

This combo is so good and so powerful, the 24-105 is expensive but worth every penny when you can just punch in, knock the background out and get beautiful shots like these.

I also shot it all in picture profile 10 (PP10) or Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) as its more commonly known. Because it was just for fun there was no pressure to produce anything perfect so it was a good chance to experiment. I was super impressed with the results. I didn’t have to use the native ISO of 800 like I do in SLOG2 which makes shooting a bit easier.

There were a few slight changes that had to be made in final cut pro, but on the whole it was pretty straight forward. I just added a LuT and it all came out pretty great. 

If you have any questions about the workflow, drop them in the comments and i’ll do my best to answer.

Music is by Cat Power.

New Beginnings…

For the last eight years i’ve worked in a fairly normal job, I was a manager at a manufacturing company. All of my freelance video/photography and website work has been done on the side in my free time.

Where the magic happens… 

Manufacturing in the UK hasn’t been pretty over the last 10 years. Since 2008, the recession hit really hard. We worked in the steel industry which was hit harder than most. We were undercut by other countries dumping steel in to the market causing the price of our stock to fluctuate. We diversified to minimise this and add value to our product, but ultimately it wasn’t going to work. My bosses consulted with me and we collectively decided to close the company down. I stood by the decision and told them that i’d be there until they no longer need me.

So as of the 1st April, I was made redundant and that section of my life came to an end. My old bosses allowed me to retain my office (we had a good relationship) to help me start my next chapter. I’ve been working freelance under the name for around 5 years now, but wanted to put everything under one umbrella to look more professional.

Enter neat.

Neat or Neat Media is the name I chose for my company, some like it, some don’t, but I guess opinions will always differ. I’ve rented a small studio in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and have carried most of my work/clients forward under the neat banner. I offer a variety of digital services with the aim to sell packages to small businesses that require a website and all its content. It’ll probably be a while but I do hope to employ others to work with me and push neat forward.

I taught myself to code whilst at uni (studying for a music degree that I never got) and I’ve turned my hobby of filmmaking and photography in to a successful side career over the past 8-10 years. This puts me in a fairly unique position to be able to offer full package websites at very competitive rates.

Whilst I love doing all of this, my real passion is making short videos/films (whatever you want to call them) and putting them out there. Whether its tutorials on YouTube or a holiday video/travel vlog, I just like making content and telling stories through video. So i’ll be doing that when i’m not crazy busy with neat things.

Anyway, that’s my story so far. Check out the Neat website and give neat a follow on social media. (Instagram/Twitter)

How to make a cheap china ball.

A few years ago I made some DIY china balls, I recently moved in to a new studio and needed some cheap easy lighting, so i revived it and made a little vid on how to make them!

In short china balls or paper lanterns are a great and really cheap soft light. Because these ones use daylight bulbs they are also good as SAD lights (which is when you don’t get enough daylight in winter and it makes you sad).

It makes for a great wrap around soft light source and its easy to hang up in the studio. You can always have it there without breaking out C-Stands and other things that’ll get in your way.

Also they are pretty energy efficient. The bulbs i recommend only use 30w of power for the equivalent of 100w of actual light. See Amazon links below!



(these are affiliate links that help me to keep making stuff, so i’d appreciate it if you could use them)