Saturday, December 25, 2010

Making New Year's Resolutions that Count

Over the last couple of years I haven't really taken out much time to ensure that everything was on track in all areas of my life. My focus has mainly been my career and to be honest I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I've photographed at some major world events this year including the Commonwealth Games in India which was certainly an unbelievable experience. Just recently I've completed a photo stint for the World Festival of Youth and Students - also amazing. Despite the disorganised nature of the event, experiencing the diversity and energy of young people was something I'll never forget.

Today was a kind of sad day - it normally is for many people that are away from their families and loved ones during this time of year. Christmas is not a great time to be alone. Sure, the day was fun and I spent some time with local friends and colleagues from the BBC and Czech newspapers, but for the first time I did miss the snow and the traditional Christmas eve dinner (carp not turkey!) in Czech Republic. it did get me thinking a bit about what I really wanted for myself in the longer term and I set out to find a decent guide to making effective New Year's resolutions.

As luck would have it I stumbled across a life coaching website that had an interesting article on the exact topic. In fact it offered a free making New Year's resolutions tool. I was rather sceptical about at first - you know, I thought it might be one of those let's fill in a personality questionnaire and we'll send you some generic email that could be applicable to anybody types. I decided to give it a try though and I'm so glad I did. The quiz was a short one - not more than 2 minutes to complete, even with some thought. The results however were really interesting - not so much the content (which was mostly my own input from the form) but the presentation of it. It gave me an incredibly clear view of what was most important to me and how well I was faring in terms of my own goals from a holistic perspective - spirituality, career, work-life balance, money, family, relationships etc. There were a series of thought-provoking questions which really struck home too - both in terms of relevance and in terms of importance.

All in all, it triggered a bit of pondering on what I want for myself for next year, 2011. More importantly, it allowed me to think of aspects of my life in relative priority which I had not really taken the time out to do before. If that's what personal life coaching is about - I'd say it's definitely worth the time. Even if you don't hire a coach - do the questionnaire... it's worth the effort! It certainly was for me. You can find the coaching questionnaire on

All the very best for 2011 - it's going to be a great year ahead!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

India Commonwealth Games miracle

So when I first heard about the snakes in the village where the athletes for the 2010 Commonwealth games were going to be living, I almost had a heart attack. Then with foot bridges collapsing along the way I was even more certain that the games were going to be a total disaster. What a change in organisational effectiveness when compared to South Africa when they hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup earlier this year! An MBA case study if there were ever going to be one.

Upon arrival in New Delhi, India however, both the atmosphere and actual delivery of the games has been nothing short of spectacular. In an incredible turnaround - and incredible it was - the village was ready, the opening ceremony was amazing and the athletes in India are certainly doing their nation proud. Over a dozen medals to the hosts and counting - India's largest tally in similar international athletics events to date.

Opening Ceremony - Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games

Above are some of the photos of the facilities. To imagine that these were largely constructed purely for these games and were in a horrid state just last month, India has certainly pulled one out bag this time. The events have been a pleasure to watch and photograph as a freelancer - certainly one more once in a lifetime experience for me!

In other local news in Delhi, it seems some government lobbyists for India casinos licenses have been staying in my hotel near Connaught Place. The reports of corruption from the games sounds like it is barely a drop in the ocean compared to what I've been hearing in terms of the process of government regulator lobbying for gambling licenses in Assam. Gaming (of the non-sport kind!) is currently only allowed in Goa in India at present.

On the whole, the trip to India so far has been amazing as always. I was quite doubtful before I arrived but once again the media seemed to have blown things completely out of proportion in terms of their reporting. Either that, or a miracle took place in India last week!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A to Z of ZA - Positive South Africa!

Just came across this pro-South Africa campaign that I think is just what the country needs - with all the negative press around these days around Malema and kill this and shoot that, it's nice to see someone promoting the good in SA. Check out A to Z of ZA

This comes at a time when despite the good energy around the world cup in 2010 in SA, there are many internal fault lines being exposed particularly in terms of service delivery.

The photo books on display truly illustrate both the diversity and the energy of the country - I'll certainly be submitting my entries soon in the hopes of securing one of those neat MacBooks!

All is well otherwise - I've been completing an African photo journal that will be published in Prague later this year. Some stunning shots in it taken at the Kruger Park last week!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Alas - no luck for the romantic

Ok - So, I couldn't resist and wound up dropping the guy an email to find out if she had responded.. it turns out we met at a writer's conference quite a few years ago - talk about a small world! In any case, sadly she had not responded so he was pretty disappointed but who knows right? I still think it is probably one of the cutest things I've seen anybody do for a random stranger they've never spoken to... her loss for sure!!

On brighter news, I'm going for a leadership conference in Canada over the month of July this year - it's going to be great. It has been ages since I have photographed in Whistler, Banff, the Rockies.... sigh - I cannot wait to get going! I've just recently completed the first volume of a photo book... you know someday I will get all these formally published for more than just my friends! ;)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Romance does exist!

Ok, so today by chance I stumbled onto something on the net that really made me smile. I hesitate to publish the link here as it's obviously a somewhat private message but if it made an old cynic like me gleam it... hey, here it is: Smiley-eyed Botswana girl.

This has to be the sweeeetest way for someone to get in touch with a random stranger on the net... let's hope she reciprocates and accepts the invitation - I'm half tempted to write him myself and ask! :)

What we need are a few more guys like these in the world and it would definitely be a more fun place to be.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

On photo galleries and disaster photography

No, I haven't forgotten to post photos on the blog just yet! I've been working on setting up a proper image gallery online with my full portfolio together with a fellow photographer and Czech journalist, Petr Venzl.. coming soon (probably even more likely to happen considering I'm not putting it together!)

It would have been great if I could have included a gallery feature directly on blogspot but I can't seem to find a way to post photos here without having to put them up individually with a blog post. That makes it quite difficult to search and sort.

I have just seen some of Petr's photos from Haiti on his recent trip there - they are amazing. He will be submitting some of them to a European photo contest and I'm certain there's a prize in there somewhere waiting for him. I'm not a huge fan of the 'disaster photo' genre but Petr's were certainly more hopeful than the likes of the winners of prizes following the tsunami in Asia a few years back.

I'll post the link to the new site as soon as it's up!

Monday, March 1, 2010

March has arrived

Interest rates are still low in the UK and thankfully for most in sunny South Africa as well - it's unlikely that rates will rise in the near future given the pressure Cosatu will apply after the recent increases in the South African electricity prices and the increased fuel surchage that will kick in from the first Wednesday of April 2010.

I'm finally looking at buying a flat in Cape Town soon - all this travel has been great but I think I need a place to truly call home for a while. I've been so busy with my journalist duties I've not paid any attention at all to my blogging - let alone anything to do with my photo blog (I know, I know - I've been threatening to be consistent since 2008 and I've only just barely come around to start posting stuff on facebook!

This last weekend, I attended a 60th wedding anniversary party of one of my friends - it was awesome.. so romantic! I'll post some photos later this week... I actually went a bit old school and decided to use traditional black and white 35mm film on my old canon. Hopefully I can still recall how to develop these in a dark room!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Onward and upward!

Firstly, all the very best for the New Year to all my regular readers. once again it has been awhile since I've written a place where there's a good reason for this. Our what the hey, you've heard it all before so I should not bother making excuses again! Seriously though, I hope that the new year ahead is full of optimism love and happiness for you all.

A lot has happened since I last wrote. South Africa has not collapsed into a heap as many had predicted after Jacob Zuma took power in South Africa in April last year. From what I've heard from my friends and colleagues is that the crime rate has improved significantly though. Clearly this could not be attributed directly to the new presidency however the efforts to curb crime that were promised by the state before the elections have certainly not been delivered. This year alone I had one friend that was hijacked and her house is broken into. She lost everything. Stories like these are a dime a dozen: from ATM bombings to jewellery heists committed in broad daylight in public malls across the country to hijackings petty theft and household robberies -- nothing has changed, in fact things have gotten much worse.

On the work front my photography has stalled somewhat and taken a backseat to some freelance journalist work that I was doing across the southern Africa region. The work has been quite interesting and the articles have been published in a number of European journals and newspapers over the last six months.

I am currently working on a number of websites including one with a psychiatrist friend of mine working in the UK. I have also undertaken to write for guest articles for the Wonkie cartoon blog website as well as Ira Vaidya's new site when it launched called PeachyAnna

A number of my photographs have been recently published in two journals in Slovakia. I will be publishing these photos on this website shortly too.

Again, all the best for the New Year and I hope to be much more regular in the year to come. 2010 will surely be an exciting year to be in Africa not least of which because of the 2010 FIFA World Cup that is going to be held for the first time in Africa.