Sunday, 30 August 2009


The Big Dipper (Ursa Major) above The Solent, Totland Beach, IoW @ 60s, f2. © Magnus Andersson

The Solent from Yarmouth, IoW. © Magnus Andersson

The Needles as seen from a boat ride, IoW. © Magnus Andersson

Chair lift ride next to The Needles, IoW. © Magnus Andersson

A kestrel scanning the hills next to our restaurant The Waterfront, Totland beach, IoW. © Magnus Andersson

Beautiful Victorian house on the street we were staying at in Totland, IoW. © Magnus Andersson

Prime example of the micro climate on IoW, where the sun was always shining. Look across The Solent towards Portsmouth and you'll see the rain they had. © Magnus Andersson

All the images jumbled on top of each other, novelty idea for the blog and this is what you get, OK.

Another week goes past in the blink of an eye and the juicy stories I was hoping for failed to materialise. Never mind, I was away for a long weekend at the gorgeous Isle of Wight (IoW) and my girlfriend and me had a wondrous time. The sound of stones on the beach being washed out by the incessant waves I will never forget!

I first ventured to the IoW many years ago and stayed in Shanklin on the east coast, but being born and bred on the west coast of Sweden, I insisted on a location where you could see the sun setting in the sea.

The IoW tourist board warned me that it would be a lot more quiet on the west coast, as if that was something to be afraid off! Bring it on, I said, and soon enough we had booked a place in Totland, about as far west as you can get and a mere two minutes walk from the most amazing of beaches. Warm waters and clean too!

Driving down from London in the early hours of a Friday morning meant that we beat the rush hour and could catch the 7:00 ferry from Portsmouth, 30min before the ferry we where supposed to be on, and once we arrived at Fishguard it was a simple matter of taking the scenic route around the island to our rendezvous.

While on the island we got very lucky with the weather. Across the Solent we could see the heavy rain clouds unloading on Bournemouth and Portsmouth, whereas on IoW it was glorious sunshine in their fabled micro climate, with lots of late-afternoon-swimming on our behalf.

Its well documented that I don't tan well, and this trip was no exception, but I take sunshine before rain any day! My holidays continue and all that is left now is some minor preparation for the trip to Visa in Perpignan (I'm packing light, only the trusty LX3 and an iPhone, no SLR or laptop for me) , where my room mate Mattias has just returned from another island experience in Ireland. Nothing about that on his blog though...

I checked the forecast for Perpignan earlier today, it looks good!!! This time I'll bring the sunblock. I am soooo looking forward to bumping into fellow photographer friends Rii, Charly, Marco and Orhan, not to mention the 30-odd Swedish photographers that I'll be joining forces with for the first time, but no matter what; it is going to be a good trip, yup!

So far though, nothing beats the sound of round pebbles being thrown up and down the beach by continuous waves. Simples, aight?

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Blog emptiness

Five year old Jemma is delighted with her catch. © Magnus Andersson

Yeah I know, its been a bit slack on here lately but it goes with the times. Its is the holiday period and there's a lot less going on in terms of interesting stories to cover. Most of the stuff we shoot at the moment tend to involve kids participating in various summer activities such as sports days, piano dissections (!), angling lessons and other soft news.

Kids taking part in a piano dissection, testing out the keys before taking the whole instrument apart. © Magnus Andersson

The interesting stuff happens on the weekends, festivals and sporting events (involving adults I might add) and those pictures are done by our we staffers are missing out on the fun at the moment - poor us.

Kids taking part in a football session. © Magnus Andersson

This week I'm not even taking a single picture, instead I am stuck in the office readying the images for the subeditors, but only for three days; after that I have a five-day weekend and will be back in the beginning of next week, hopefully to some juicy stories.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Dangerous dogs raid

A very angry bitch is collared by two of the dog handlers. Note the blood in her mouth - she managed to bite one of the handlers. © Magnus Andersson

A little while back I was on an early morning raid codenamed Operation Navara with the Metropolitan police. Their aim was to remove certain undesirable canines off the streets of London, targeting people using their dog as a weapon.

A large numbers of officers attend the briefing at Kennington Police HQ. © Magnus Andersson

More and more, gang members are substituting the knife and gun for a vicious dog. There are many issues regarding breeds, especially illegal breeds, and so when we set off on an early morning to knock/break down the doors of known gang members, I was a little unsure of what to expect.

A battering ram is used to gain forced entry into one property. © Magnus Andersson

Normally when you go on a police raid you either get a bullet proof vest or a stab vest. On this occasion nothing was offered, we just had to trust the dog handlers which go in before anyone else.

The dog handlers are equipped with kevlar arm protection, metal poles with loops and a fire extinguisher. © Magnus Andersson

Those guys are equipped though: a kevlar re-inforced arm, a metal pole with a loop to collar the dog and most importantly - a fire extinguisher.

A bitch is bungled into a car. © Magnus Andersson

Why on earth would the police need a fire extinguisher, you might ask. Well, a charging dog will apparently be scared and confused by the cloud of foam and also disorientated by the noise, therefore making the dog easy pickings for the dog handlers and their metal pole loops.

One of the confiscated dogs licks his nose through the mesh door. © Magnus Andersson

Operation Navara is nationwide and will go on for a long period of time. I was present at the launch and witnessed four raids. 20 'weapon dogs' were seized in under three hours, which can seem like a lot, but the task is a big one. The sheer amount of dogs handled by gang members is ridiculous, and its gets more complicated when the law implicates the owner, as opposed to the handler of the dog/weapon.

A pup is also confiscated and he actually wet himself on the way out as he was so frightened. © Magnus Andersson

Steps have been put in place to try and combat this, but currently, the 'dangerous dog' is usually 'owned' by an older relative - e.g. Grandma -while it is being full time 'handled' by gang members X, Y and Z, thus making it complicated (and stupid) for the legal system to prosecute Grandma - the legal owner of the dog - for crimes being committed by the handler; the gang member/s.

One address yielded a a haul of six puppies. The trade of illegal dogs can be very lucrative. © Magnus Andersson

The law and the application of laws are two very different things, and gang members are making the most of it.

Police speak through the door to the owner at one of the addresses. © Magnus Andersson

So what happens to the confiscated dogs? The court will decide if the dog is dangerous or not, and occasionally the owner will have their dog returned. If not, it will go to a dogs home to be re-housed and in some rare cases it will be destroyed.

An American pit bull type dog which was confiscated. © Magnus Andersson

The UK law has banned four breeds; Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos, Fila Brasileiros and ‘pit bull terrier’ type breeds. The last option leaves it a bit wide open for the law, but any combination of these is deemed illegal.

The battering ram is left next to the door mat. © Magnus Andersson

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Be there or (let yourself) be squared by the police

A stupid copper. © Magnus Andersson

Next Saturday, if you are a person enjoying taking pictures in public and you happen to be in London, please join us for a demonstration at The Foundry on Old Street, London, UK. Its also a favourite pub of mine which I have been going to since I arrived here in 1997.

For more info on the demonstration, the flickr page is here, more info from BJP here.

And why do I include the picture of the copper above, when a majority of police are decent people? Answer in an earlier post here.