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Evie and the Emily Ash Trust – A Family Photography Session

Whenever we have youngsters doing work experience with us, or people looking to learn a little bit more about photography in general, we always say the same thing: this is a people job.  You can have the greatest portfolio in the world with dark, brooding images – sweeping landscapes, and portraits lit by Rembrandt himself; but if you can’t communicate and don’t enjoy meeting new people, you will really struggle in the photography game.

And to be honest, that’s the best part of it for me.

All us photographers have similar gear – the latest bodies with the sharpest lenses, a bit of light in the bag and a reflector; but what I enjoy most is meeting new people.  I love hearing what makes them tick, making them laugh, helping them relax, and getting pictures of them looking their best.  It’s always such an honour to record a couples’ big day, or to meet a family’s newest member, and help them create images they will treasure for years to come.  And the shoot I had organised by The Emily Ash Trust a few months back was no different.

I was greeted at the door by Evie’s gorgeous mum, Nicki.  A huge smile and warm welcome awaited me, and I was ushered into the kitchen to meet Nicki’s parents and Evie’s dad, and then Evie herself.  I knew this shoot was going to be a bit harder than normal, and upon meeting Evie, I felt myself choke up.

Evie has cancer.  For the second time in her life.

After a miracle stem cell transplant when she was just 8,  Evie was preparing to get herself to hospital that afternoon to undergo another horrendous round of chemotherapy.  But despite what the rest of the day / week / months hold for her, Evie is a joy to behold.  Like any other 11 year old girl,  she is mischievous and fun; has oodles of confidence and the whole shoot was just full of life and smiles.  She had come prepared for the shoot with tonnes of ideas that she had canvassed from Instagram – which made things even more interesting.

We talked a bit about the weather, and the gorgeous garden Nicki’s parents had; how she had grown up here and that the view may be spoiled by the 42 bajillion houses they have planned for the field behind..and we took some beautiful photographs.

And I loved every second of it.

It is moments like this that make me realise just how special my job as a photographer is.  Whether it is a wedding, a newborn, a Christening or – well, Evie, we are so lucky to share these precious moments with people and families day after day, and help them create memories and images that they will treasure for years to come.

Evie it was fabulous to work with you, and I look forward to doing so again once you have kicked cancer’s arse once and for all.

x

 

To read more about Evie’s story, please click here.

And to find out how the Emily Ash Trust helps families like Nicki and Evie, with amazing support and events, you can see their website here.

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Hannah

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A blast from the past

The last week we have had our fantastic friends Ade and Lou over to stay.

Sian and I went to school with Adrian and we were all firm friends.  Ade, now a proper writer (seriously, check out his book The Marineron Amazon…it is definitely worth a read) was responsible for my love of the theatre – writing a play at the age of 14 and asking me to direct it.  Amongst Much ado about Cutlery, a camp rendition of Dracula, an adaptation of Lord of the Rings and various other shenanigans, we had a great time together.   We then went to college and, as time seems oh so well to do, we got stuck into our own thing and drifted apart.

Until Krissy’s wedding.  We were utterly, utterly delighted to catch up with our dear friends of old, and between some speeches, some dancing and a lot of champagne, we hatched a plan for the pair to come and visit us in Barbados.  And I am so glad they did, not least for the company, and the drinking and the stories and the memories and the debates – but just because it is great to hang out and re-kindle lost friends.

…And speaking of lost friends, Ade and Lou have a camera ever-so-similar to my first.

Well, this is a photography blog after all 😉

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When I started shooting, I did what anyone does – I bought the best camera I could afford with a kit lens.  In my case, it was a Nikon D80 with an 18-135.  Ade and Lou have the more modern, albeit much smaller D3100 with an 18-55 lens, and very nice it is too.  We were all relaxing on the beach together on Friday and as the sun started setting, Ade asked if I would mind taking a few shots with his camera.  I was, of course, happy to oblige.

However.

I now shoot with an amazing full frame camera, and have at my disposal a host of wonderful lenses and accessories (you all know how much I love my flash) – so you must forgive me for being a little hesitant at the results I would be able to achieve.

In a desperate bid to prove that the photographer makes the picture, not the camera – I present this series…and, to be honest, I am pretty darned chuffed with myself…Shall we discuss?

First thought for me was, of  course, to shoot silhouette.  I hate the horrible and hard light that the little pop up flash produces, so the first thing we did was run around in the water a bit whilst I framed nicely and shot fast, to emphasise the colours of that wonderful sky.

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Following that, we sat together on the beach, and I covered that wretched, small light that sits atop the viewfinder and craned my hand around to bend and bounce the light into a softer, more flattering light…it’s no speedlight through a 32″ umbrella – but it is better than nothing.AdeLou_077

 

And as the sun set, and the light disappeared, and we played a little more, I noticed that little street lamp up on top of the pier…

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A quick shift of white balance, a little bit of posing…and I got my favourite shot of the evening.

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(Hopefully) Proof that “the camera a photographer maketh” is not true!

Thanks for a fabulous time – it was wonderful to catch up, re-acquaint, and generally remember just how awesome you are.

Oh – and great to see Ade and Lou too 😉

Thanks for reading guys – have a great week x

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New York, New York

This last week I have been sick.  Very sick.  You know when you watch those zombie movies and the whole world has died of a deadly virus?  That’s how sick I was.

Ok, maybe not that bad, but being a man I do feel that whenever I get a sniffle, the world is going to end.  And so our guests Jenny and Tom, who visited us last year, were ever so patient as I coughed and spluttered in the background, cursing the gods for their cruelty and generally feeling sorry for myself.  And Sian was kind as always, administering painkillers and offering soothing words…I truly was on death’s door.

Kind of.

During my bed rest, between writing my last will and testament and telling all those dear to me that I loved them,  I took the time to flick through some old hard drives, clean up some files, and generally do some digital housekeeping.  I then stumbled across our honeymoon photos and realised that I have not once posted about the epic adventure on this blog.  Being that I have only been out of the house for a few hours in the last week, I have obviously nothing new to share with you all, and so I am glad that my previous laziness and incompetence allows me to now share them with you today…I hope you enjoy 🙂

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First off, our honeymoon was epic.  I know that everyone says that (you should, after all) but ours was the tops.  The bees knees – the dog’s danglies. The best.

We started off for a few days in Miami, and after painting the town red (sleeping) for all of four days, we got a bus up the road to Orlando to enjoy the wonders of Universal, Busch Gardens, and all the other amazing theme parks.  It was so much fun.

And after 10 days of theme parks and crazy golf, we jumped on a train and headed up to New York to stay with one of Sian’s dearest friends, Ellie and her husband Kenn.  They live in Brooklyn and are wonderful…and so is New York.

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Barbados is awesome.  We have lovely beaches and views and warmth, but Sian and I miss the city. And I miss the cold.  When we first arrived in New York, the mid-March chill of 0 degrees was oh so welcome.  We wandered around the city, bundled up in every item of clothing we owned, our necks craned back enjoying the dizzy heights of the buildings, taking in the sights and sounds of what many regard as the greatest city in the world.

The novelty of the cold soon wore thin, but the sights didn’t.  Boy do we miss architecture.  As we explored the frozen streets, we had completely forgotten the Chatel Houses of home, the palm trees swaying in the breeze and the crystal blue water hugging the coastal road as you head north or south…here we were treated to buildings of monolithic scale; clad in glass and oozing style, we had never seen anything like it.

We loved it.

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We did all the touristy things we could in the four days we were there.  We ice skated in Central Park, we visited the Statue of Liberty, we went to the museums, and we scaled the Empire State.

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Ingeniously (by sheer luck) Sian and I planned the trip to the concrete summit to coincide with sunset.  Standing at the top of the building in minus 5  with a wind chill to boot, we were treated to one of the most wonderful – if not the coldest, sunsets we had seen for a long time.

And as the sun dipped behind the horizon, the city scape changed before our eyes.

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Sian and I came to the conclusion that city life suits us a whole lot better than island life does.  We love theatre and food and music and all that good stuff.  In Barbados, you get some of that, but New York just has it in spades.  Even as I write this, my heart has skipped a beat at the thought of us being home in London in less than 6 months…I cannot WAIT to be back in the city again, amongst the hustle and bustle, the small bars, the good beer, the sheer number of PEOPLE that you meet…

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And maybe, with all the airmiles we have clocked up over the last few years of living out here, I will treat Sianie to a reprise of the honeymoon; a wee jolly to New York, the BEST city in the world…

Thanks for reading guys, and hope you all have a great week.

 

 

Ferg

x

 

 

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An engagement shoot. Simples.

Firstly, a happy new year to one and all – I hope you all enjoyed ending 2012 and beginning 2013 as much as we did.  As you know, my folks were over, which was utterly amazing.  I am working on a video on that one.  But truth be told I have a horrible cold so wanted to share some pictures from a ‘save the date shoot’ I did with the wonderful Dan and Kelly a few days back.

Dan is our best friend Ally’s brother, and he proposed to the utterly beautiful Kelly shortly after they were last here in Barbados on holiday.  They very kindly did a shoot with James while he was here doing some training with my studio staff at the time.  They loved the shoot so much (and Dan saw a real opportunity) that he suggested doing another one while they were here, in exchange for being excused from some of the dance classes Kelly had lined up for them prior to the big day.

Smart man.

And so the date was set, and we headed out to a few spots.  We had a great time showing Dan and Kelly around the north of the island, and despite it being very overcast, we still got some lovely stuff.

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As you can see, the clear blue skies associated with Barbados are very much absent here.  Recently, the weather has been utterly atrocious out here on the rock, but I love the dramatic pictures the clouds paint…although I do understand it is not to everyone’s taste.

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We started off at the Animal Flower Caves, and after that headed to Heywoods beach.  This is where we used to live and was the first time Sian and I had been anywhere near the old resort for some time.  It is very sad to see all the old pools emptied out and doors boarded over, but we were here for the beach which, thankfully, was as glorious and deserted as ever.

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Being that we have been having such dump weather lately, we do normally get blessed with some interesting cloud formations and sunsets – thankfully today was no exception.

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And to finish off?  How about one of those salsa-esque dips you have got yourself excused from Dan?!

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Thanks a million guys – you were a blast, hope you like the piccies!

Fergx

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A cat is not just for Christmas…

I know it’s been two and a half weeks since a post.  I don’t know if any of you out there mind/care/or anything else about this, but I have been missing the blog ever-so much.

Truth is we have had a few massive life changing events this end over the past weeks, and the blog, as much as I have missed it, has all seemed rather irrelevant.

But I am happy to be back, and more happy to share with you one of my life’s new discoveries…well, two actually.

Turns out, despite my previous thoughts, that I am actually a huge cat person.  We recently saved a stray from a restaurant down on the South Coast, and I have fallen head over heels in love with her.

I have also discovered in the past few days, that our house is absolutely filthy.  It is only when you are rolling around on the floor with your eight week kitten that you discover just how disgusting the floor is, and then when you illuminate her with two speedlights  and shoot at F8 you see the problem is only exacerbated.

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As I mentioned, we found our little bundle of joy at a restaurant the other day.  I am crazy lucky to have my folks over visiting (post to come!) and we took them to one of our haunts, ‘Paulo’s’ for a Caprinha.  Within our first few drinks this little girl had wandered amongst us, purred against my leg, and generally looked longingly at me.  I say me…but it genuinely was.  It was as if she knew she already had Sian’s heart (which she had) and all she needed to do was convince the red-nosed buffoon opposite her in order to get a free dinner.

It worked.

I reached down to give her a little stroke, and she did something I have never seen a cat do before.  She went up on her hind legs, closed her eyes, and fell with all her weight into my palm. My heart melted.

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And so now we are lumbered with this beautiful girl.  A trip to the vets and all was well, some shots and a de-flea, and now, as I write this, our kitten of three days is sat on my lap, proof reading my work, and looking intently at the ‘tap tap’ of the keyboard.

I can honestly say my life has changed over night.

She is utterly, utterly gorgeous.

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And at the moment, I am quite matter of fact about the whole affair. ‘We leave in June – we will need to find a home for her before then’.

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Yeah, right.  I think I will just be spending yet a few more hours at immigration sorting a kitty passport out.

Thanks for reading guys, and Merry Christmas 🙂

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