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"A fork stuck in the road........time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go"....Billy Joe Armstrong 1994

250,000 page views and 2000 watchers.

I posted my first pics here in March 2015. I was in Courcheval in the French alps and because going to a local bar was crazily expensive I had a lot of nights in my apartment, so I wondered what it would be like to share some of my private photographs I had taken over the past 5 years or so. I had a DA identity of "nrphotos" and an avatar that was a camera. You can't really be an artist with an imagination like mine. I posted images and people viewed them. It felt cool. And a bit dangerous. 

Since then I have deleted, destroyed, restarted, renamed, reposted and recycled. At least twice over. For the few who stayed with me when I have been flaky, shaky and unreliable.....thank you. I am like that in real life too. That really is me. 

Which brings me to Green Day at Kindl Buhne Berlin. It was my only effort at crowd surfing, and it wasn't exactly consensual. I was standing quite near the stage with my teenage son. I thought it would be cool to be in the mosh pit. I totally failed to appreciate the elemental forces at work once a band hits the stage in front of 20,000 people,  and I spent the next hour with my feet off the ground.. It was like being locked in a tumble dryer. I could hear Billy Joe Armstrong singing Welcome to Paradise and screaming the words "lets go fucking crazy" at the end of every chorus. I realised then that even people who we really admire may not always have our best interests at heart. I have never held it against him. I've seen him 4 times since, but I always go for the seated area now. 

I worried about the 2 girls I had met at the entrance. They had approached me and asked if they could come in the venue with me. To make sure there was no misunderstanding they quickly added that they were under age and they wanted me to pretend to be their father at the security gate. Thanks Papa, they said as they winked and left me at the other side. My son...aged 18,  didn't approve. He's far too responsible to tell lies in that situation. He would have refused. I have a more flexible approach to the truth. The girls had spotted my moral weakness and exploited it. I admire that ability, although I think I shouldn't.   

So, here I am in my DA other-life. I've partied a bit. I've shoved myself as close to the stage as I dare. I'm really not sure what happens next. I feel quite bohemian sometimes.  But I am not. I'm not an artist. I'm not even a photographer.  I've sneaked in past security.  For those who have helped me, thank you. I have taken this place to heart. There are people here who mean the world to me even though I know I'll never meet them. I will never just say "thanks and goodbye". I'm not like that. My morals and feelings may be flexible, but they're not missing. Let's just see what happens. It's been an interesting 2 years. 

For what it's worth, it was worth all the while. It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right, I hope you had the time of your life. 

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Memorial Day: Peruwelz Belgium 2017
Shapeimage 1 by Real-Neil

Every year this small town on the French Belgian border (which runs through the town) pays tribute to their American liberators of 1944. The story is a remarkable one. In the early 1990s the town decided to hold a 50th anniversary event and started trying to find the soldier in the above photograph,  of James W Carroll, who was the first US soldier to enter the town on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, as a scout for the 628th Tank Destroyer Regiment.  He is pictured here on the day he arrived in Peruwelz. Also in the picture is local resistance member, Claire Schuster.  The townspeople were told he had been killed soon after this picture was taken.  There was grief and disbelief that this man had been apparently lost and forgotten. Undeterred, the town set about trying to locate his grave, and there followed several years of efforts to locate his resting place through the US Veterans Agencies. In 1995 the town got a fax from Carroll himself....."I am alive and living in Alabama".  James W Carroll was duly invited to the town for the commemoration, which is now an annual event. It is a re-enactment of occupation, resistance and liberation, with the townspeople and their children as the actors. The town stages the same 3 hour play, and parade every year, inviting veterans and remembering the debt owed by the town to their liberators. The event has grown, with the addition of military vehicles and period costumes. The actors who play townspeople, Germans and Americans are all local people and their children. The spectators are local villagers and veterans. It is an annual act of remembrance and gratitude. This is the 2017 event which I had the honour of attending yesterday. 
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PRIDE. Brussels May 20th. 
 Dsc9837 by Real-NeilI only got on the train to Brussels to do some shopping. It was a surprise to learn that PRIDE was in town, but it was great to see the city alive and buzzing, full of color and noise.  Dsc9841 by Real-NeilThis the BE PRIDE event. It's interesting that the LGBT+ community is so often the voice of tolerance,  justice, and courage. We are just one year on from the terror outrages in Brussels and Paris. There is still fear, because some people's religious beliefs continue to deny the rights of others to live. The army still patrols the streets.  Against this reality PRIDE provides an alternative vision that spreads a message of tolerance and solidarity which includes refugees through its linked CROSSING BORDERS campaign pride.be/fr/pride-2017/crossin… .  
 Dsc9801 by Real-NeilEvents like PRIDE are a great party, but it goes much further than that. PRIDE stands up for decency, equality, respect and peace, in a world where politicians and religions seem to have abandoned those principles.

 Dsc9730 20170521053416713 by Real-NeilSo, thank you to PRIDE, for getting out there yesterday. For setting an example for the rest of us to follow, for showing some hope and optimism, and for not giving in to fear.
 Dsc9842 by Real-Neil
Au revoir Silly

 Dsc9349 20170516214427206 by Real-NeilMy last weekend in Belgium approaches. I have enjoyed living in the village of Silly and I will miss my lovely French neighbours who have politely tolerated my attempts to use their native language. "S' il vous plait........un orange juice? " I asked for in the cafe last week....."Well.....at least you tried" the girl at the counter said in English, as she laughed so much she actually spilled the orange juice.  


It's pitiful.  3 years of living here, and is that really my best effort? Meanwhile my teenage Algerian barber converses happily in Arabic to his mates, French to his customers and in English just for me. I don't know why I am so bad at languages. Lack of intelligence? Lack of education? Lack of shame? 

No matter though. In spite of my faults I was accepted here.  It has been my temporary home, my weekend home, my shelter and my life. I have been living here in Europe for nearly 17 years. 

In a week I will be in a little corner of England, trying to rediscover my roots. I'm not sure I have any, but I am determined to give it a try. It's my country and even if I sometimes think it's a bit crappy, it is the only country I have. 
Ways to say "I love you"

 Mg 4242 1 20161227184237289 By Real Neil-dat6ff4 by Real-NeilMeet Poppy. She can't talk of course, so she finds other ways to tell me how she feels. She doesn't like me going away so if she sees me packing a suitcase she wanders up, sits on the contents of the open case, and then takes a very long pee on my pile of clothes.  She managed the trick a few times while I watched, and listened, in amazement. 

From then on packing for holidays became a " cat and mouse" game of stealth and deception. Normally I win, but cats can be patient as well as observant,  and they're not in the habit of just giving up. 

I arrived at a conference recently, after a 16 hour journey, booked into the hotel, and opened my luggage to find all my clothes saturated with cat urine. I must have left the case open and unguarded at home for a moment while I was packing to leave.  I guess she had been saving that full bladder for a long time. I had a lingering scent of "eau de chat" for 3 days. 

It's important to show our feelings though, and people are a lot like cats in that they often just don't have the words. I can relate to that, because although I can talk quite a bit, the moment I get to anything of emotional significance to me I just go mute. It can be so difficult to tell someone how much they mean to you. Flowers, gifts, doing something unexpected and nice for someone, a touch. Those things can all help get around the word block. 

But if you really can't find any other way.......just remember Poppy. 
3 weeks to go. Removal van is booked. House purchase in UK fell through yesterday. I have arranged relocation,  I have quit my job, I have half of my stuff in Germany, the other half in Belgium, and nowhere to put any of it after 24 May. This is going to be interesting. I had planned a photoshoot this weekend. 
Found..One cat.  

20170501 030219 20170501031538213 by Real-Neil
This cat has started coming to our house. She usually just loiters about the kitchen at mealtimes, says hi, and leaves. Tonight I'm home alone, or  I thought I was. I woke at 3am to the sound of loud purring. Sure enough the cat is in bed and my front door is wide open. The hallway is cold. Quick investigation shows nothing missing and I've not been murdered. So either the cat has a key (but not the manners to close the door behind her) , or I'm a security liability. The cat gets a body search first thing in the morning. She must have a key. 

I just hope one of my neighbours isn't scouring the village with a flashlight shouting "hey kitty kitty" . If I hear that the cat will be leaving quietly by the back door:)
1 more month of core left. To renew or not renew? 

I bought core membership in my fresh faced enthusiasm of 2016. As I've got a year older, and I am pretty much doing the same stuff as last year, I realise that core membership only does what it says on the tin. It hasn't transformed me into anything special, not that I wanted that anyway. Apart from allowing me to change user name every 6 months....a dubious benefit that probably just just confuses watchers....what is the point? 

I guess I'll find out after I let it expire. 
This toy reindeer avatar just felt wrong. I have to explain. I am a grown up. 

I was staying with friends 3 years ago, and we went to a Christmas market, where they bought their 4 year old son a fluffy reindeer.  He and the reindeer became inseparable, and he called it Neil, which was confusing, because that's my name. To solve that problem, my friends started calling me Real Neil whenever we were all together. With time that just became the name that people called me.  I adopted it as my DA identity. 

I went to see my friends again last month and noticed that they all now call the toy reindeer Real Neil. When did they start that, and why?  And all his stuffing has come out.  He's worn out, in need of repair and increasingly unloved. 

I should not be letting this affect me. 
Happy Easter

From me and Sylvie. 


Sylvie says........bring me sunshine. by Real-Neil
London......late night walk along Thames embankment.  It's getting lively. Time for me to get some sleep. Yawn.  Early start tomorrow. 20170403 224714 by Real-Neil
20170403 224121 001 by Real-Neil
Antwerp......found a great bar that played Gimme Shelter, I am the Walrus, and Shiny Happy People on constant loop. Great beer, great atmosphere, all the chairs seemed to have been acquired from an elementary school, which gave a completely new perspective, a bit like lying on the floor with your drinks staring up at the bar....Actually, not such a new perspective. My next mission is to find it again.
I am back. I have been away from here for nearly 2 months. I have just felt too unhappy to look at photographs,  let alone take any. But I have to move on, and this place is a part of my life that I need to reclaim. Maybe gradually, but it will happen. 

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I have been off line. 

I can explain. At the start of February Mr Bitey became a bit quieter than usual. We were so accustomed to his full-on hyperactive, life and soul of party energy that we got worried. My wife thought he might just be "growing up" although that seemed unlikely. Our lovely vet did some tests and scans. She said he had multiple large tumours and he did not have long to live. It was a shock. In January we had taken him skiing and he had run about in the snow like a puppy. He was now just tired. But happy. 
I took some time off work and we had 3 lovely weeks together. He ate roast chicken every day. He took me for walks to the pub where he enjoyed sitting at the table joining in the social chatter. We went for rides in the car. He slept on the bed every night. 
Then on 27 February he didn't want to eat or walk. I lay with him on the duvet and waited. His breathing seemed a bit uncomfortable so I called our vet and she came out, and gave him an injection while I lay with him. He died very peacefully while I looked into his eyes. 

He had only been in my life for 3 years, since my wife found him in a dog shelter.  He was a rescue dog. He rescued me. 

Since he died I have been so busy. I retire in 2 months. All our retirement plans were built with him in mind. A house with the right sort of garden. A room at the back entrance where he could dry his paws. A dog friendly pub within walking distance. We had planned camping holidays. We even looked at the maps together. 

I have been away from home for the last 3 weeks since Mr Bitey died. I am busy at work, preparing for that retirement I'm not sure I still want. To be honest, when I'm not working, I just feel too upset to do much else, so I haven't logged on to DA until today. I did not expect to feel like this. 

I am writing this in a German cafe, where I am crying over breakfast. The cafe is in the town square where Mr Bitey and I went to the Christmas market together 3 months ago. I remember his Santa coat, and a German man was eating a bratwurst, and the sausage slipped out of the bun, straight into Mr Bitey's mouth. His tail wagged so much he actually fell over on the snow. 

Img 20170208 195420 20170318103450151 by Real-Neil
House Rules

My wife has two firm house rules. 

#1..no dogs in the bedroom. 

#2 ..no alcohol in the bedroom. 


She's gone away for a while.  Mr Bitey and me are having a ball. 

We just need to find the instructions for the dishwasher, but, hey, there's no hurry. 
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Changes

The clock is now ticking down to me becoming unemployed.  4 months and counting.  Need to move house and decide if I can live without working. My guess is yes I can. 

For now I am still here in the heart of enemy territory aka European Union. They are all being nice to me, so I assume they don't follow British news and current affairs programs. Once they hear what "we" are saying about "them" I expect to be thrown in some dark smelly dungeon. FAKE NEWS I will say. 

Untitled by Real-Neil
I have had a few parking fails recently. Just embarrassing when you don't line the car up straight. 

Meanwhile on DA I have finally organised my pics into folders as promised. The folders aren't alphabetical, but then again, I don't have OCD.

And I have a photoshoot with a new model next week. I have checked her portfolio and she does a sad face to perfection, so I need ideas for themes.....divorce, bankruptcy, euthanizing beloved pet, Trump victory,  etc. 11062028 805319829614095 1606283467829688585 O by Real-Neil

  
Video Fail

I had my first video commission last night. A band I've known for 5 years were doing an outdoor set at the local Christmas market. I was meant to record a couple of Bowie and Prince numbers. All went well until I played back the audio and realised a drunk had been singing into the camera's live mic through every Purple Rain chorus. Took a few seconds to recognise my own voice. I wasn't even drinking last night.   I did also think lead guitar was slightly out of tune on the solo. Which is the reason I'm telling the band for the file needing to be trashed.  
When nothing seems to fit.

You see a garment that looks just right for you. You buy it,  but when you get it home you realise that your limbs are in the wrong places and it won't even cover your arse. 

There are days when just nothing seems to fit. 
Img 20161124 180018 20161124223524863 by Real-Neil
I am having one of those.  
New Mr Bitey pics.

Just for a change I did some pics of Mr Bitey this weekend. Mr Bitey is my rescue dog, a very badly behaved Jack Russell, plucked from canine death row just in the nick of time in 2014. I'm not sure why nobody wanted him. Actually, after 2 years with him, I have a pretty shrewd idea why. But everyone deserves a second chance, and a third , fourth or however many it takes. He doesn't have to be good for me to love him. He just needs to be himself. Here he is with his new friend and lodger. Not sure what she's called. Not sure she's a she. We only just met. 

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Real-Neil's Profile Picture
Real-Neil
Neil
Artist | Hobbyist | Photography
Belgium
Photo: Rubia, a real model.


I'm not a real artist. I'm not even a real photographer. I am really me though. And that's not as easy as it sounds.

Sometimes I take photographs.

The girls shown here are people I know, and are all over 18. Models have given model releases for NON COMMERCIAL use of the photographs by me only. This means that if you want to post them elsewhere or copy them, or alter them, you must ask my permission, and in theory I should ask the model. so please do not use these pictures outside DA.....ever, unless you have written permission from me. Use of any of these pictures in an overtly sexual context, by manipulation, or by sharing on explicit sites will result in legal action.
©NeilRoss 2010 -2016 ©NRphotos 2010-2016.

Please enjoy the pics. Please keep the comments respectful, and bear in mind that the young lady you are talking about may be reading what you have written. I have to say that I have never had cause to delete a comment for being inappropriate. So thank you.

Suggestions and criticisms of my photography are always welcome, but just remember I'm an amateur, and I do have feelings. Suggestions for shoots are very welcome. I am often asked if certain models can be tied up and tickled. Maybe yes, but not by me I'm afraid. I should make it clear that I have never had any physical or sexual relationship with any of the models, ever. That is an unbreakable rule. The exception is my wife who appears as a cameo in one of the pics. You will need to search carefully to find her. Just like I did.

I joined as a watcher and that's all I did here for over a year until I started posting my own photographs in 2015, while I was feeling bored in the French Alps. Since then I've loaded 600 pics, then deleted them all, and started all over again, twice. I am temperamental and over sensitive. I can't really change that.

NR January 2017


And ..please visit my FAVORITES. These are as important to me as my own stuff, and they are way better. Photography, traditional art, Digital art, poetry, literature. This is the reason I am here, and in there is the stuff that keeps me in this community. I want you to share them.


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:icontheartoflegwear:
TheArtOfLegwear Featured By Owner May 20, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Neil - thanks again - really enjoying the use of some of your photos.  I hope your models like the effects.  Aleksa 1 by TheArtOfLegwear
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:iconprincesskittehh:
princesskittehh Featured By Owner May 17, 2017   Filmographer
Thank you so much! :rose:
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:iconmissnickyx:
MissNickyX Featured By Owner May 16, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you so much for adding me to your favourites by MissNickyX  
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:iconmissnickyx:
MissNickyX Featured By Owner May 13, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you so much for watching me xxx.03 by MissNickyX  
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:iconudochristmann:
UdoChristmann Featured By Owner May 4, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you very much for watching my gallery :-)
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:iconivoturk:
ivoturk Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks a lot for faving my work!
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:iconcuria-dd:
Curia-DD Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for watching!!
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:iconjayleyprice:
JayLeyPrice Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
The Llamacidal Maniac strikes again.
Racing Girl Emoji (Evil Scheme) [V3] 
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:iconreal-neil:
Real-Neil Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
I think I'm just too soft and fluffy. Where's the chainsaw?
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:iconjayleyprice:
JayLeyPrice Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
It's in another llama
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