Other non-research related Interests

Well, I'm not just all about the research!

Photography

I am a keen amateur photographer and in recent years have enjoyed learning more about composition and also exploring high dynamic range photography. I lug around a Nikon DSLR - yes I know all my friends that are Canon enthusiasts will frown - but hey, I like the Nikon. My first SLR camera was a Minolta Dynax 5, which I loved because it was so small and light compared with other SLR cameras, but it unfortunately suffered an accident while on holiday in Malaysia and this prompted me to go digital. A long, long, long, time ago I also played around with wet darkroom techniques in school. Unsurprisingly a number of my friends are also photography enthusiasts. I can't pretend to be as good as my friend Timo, but maybe I will get better with practice! Here are some links to friend's photo galleries:

Travel

I really enjoy travelling and seeing the amazing wonders of nature and human achievement. The achievements of ancient civilisations in the face of limited resources never ceases to impress me. Ingenius bold ancient and modern architectural statements inspire me to believe that we can all leave behind something worthwhile if we try. Perhaps, this is why I like the idea of getting a computer to help me re-create them digitally. Marc Levoy's "Digital Michelangelo" and Paul Debevc's "Parthenon" are two such projects that I have found inspirational! Another big advantage of travel is that it gives me a chance to experience other cultures and also leads me to re-think my perspectives, motivations, and become more accepting of people's differences - it is exactly these that makes us all interesting. There are few things more wonderful than sitting in front a fantastic vista of nature's creation, gazing at the night sky - free from light pollution - or enjoying the silent beauty of the Northern lights. I hope in the coming years to maximise my opportunities for such experiences. Here is a sample of a few photos from my travels.

Monkeys

What can I say, I really like monkeys! A very good friend of mine, James Marsh, adopted an orangutan for my birthday many years ago. She was an orphan at the Sepilok orangutan sanctuary in Malaysian Borneo. I just had to arrange a trip to go and see the orangutans and have really enjoyed photographing them, as well as other kinds of primates. Orangutans are suffering the effects of the devastation of their habitat and are sadly endangered. These cousins of ours have such beauty and intelligence, the work of sanctuaries such as Sepilok is critically important to their survival.

Fundraising

Fundraising for cancer research is a cause very dear to my heart. On the 24th June 2007 I did a tandem skydive together with some close friends, in Grenoble, to raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR). Our team raised a total of 3,590.00 for our chosen charity. We all arrived at the Grenoble St Geoirs airport where we trained for our skydive with our chief instructor Bernard at the Centre Ecole de Parachutisme de Grenoble. He carefully showed us what to do with our arms and legs. I asked him how many skydives he had done and he said 5000, I immediately decided that I was jumping with him because he would manage 5001! Here is a resized version of my skydive video Movie .mov (26Mb). I'm hoping to organise another fundraising event soon.