Sky high

I try to keep an eye on the sky.

(Wow! Listen to those rhymes!)

No ... but seriously ... what happens up there can make or break a photograph.

For a long time I'd been meaning to photograph the Ch√Ęteau de Chillon, one of the great historic buildings in this region. But most of the angles had already been done to death. There are only so many different photos you can take of a castle on the lake.

Then my astronomical sources told me that, one evening in May last year, the crescent Moon and the planet Venus would be low in the sky, in pretty much the right direction. So I packed my gear and was lucky. The sky remained clear ...

For the next two weeks the planet Mercury will be visible in the West, shortly after sunset. But tomorrow night (Tuesday 6th May) will better than the others. If the sky is clear you will see a beautiful and eye-catching pair - Mercury and the crescent Moon close together.

Mercury is less photogenic than Venus, being much less bright. But, as it is the closest planet to the sun we don't get to see it very often. You will be able to spot Mercury a little below and to the west of the Moon. There is a sky map here.

I don't know if I'll be photographing. But I'll certainly be looking.

Keep an eye on the sky.

Ironic (slightly)

A monthly newspaper Bonne Nouvelle ('Good News'), published by a branch of the Swiss Protestant church, dropped into my mailbox this morning.

I was idly thumbing through it and there, on the middle pages, I saw one of my photos ...

... bought from an agency in Canada.

It's of a pretty little church, nestling in the vineyards above the nearby village of Luins.

Why was I surprised?

Because, for the most part, when you sell photos through an agency you never know where they are used. The agency tells you each time an image is sold, but not where. So, it's pure chance if you (or a fellow photographer - people look out for each other's work) come across one.

It's always satisfying when this happens. Whilst flying to London last Christmas, I found another of my images had been used by the in-flight magazine.

But this occasion was ever so slightly ironic. One of my photos in a religious newspaper ... and here's me, a devout atheist.

So why was I reading the newspaper in the first place?

I wasn't reading it. I was looking at the piccies.

On the Origins of Life

A big topic, and I know it's not photography, but I just have to share this brief video with you.

I'll never look at a jar of peanut butter in quite the same way again.