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A few weeks back, we were approached by Almond to re-shoot their brochure and web material.

Which is always very exciting.

We had some kids lined up, but budget meant that affordable models were going to be hard to find…luckily Sian and I have some very good looking friends.

Ally and Billy are our two best friends here on the island.  Ally is from Manitoba in Canada, and Billy is a good old Brit from Devon.  They are a wonderful couple, and I always enjoy stoking the fire over various pronunciation arguments (tomato and potato are regularly visited).

They also happen to be crazy hot, which made our job a whole lot easier

A while back, Billy introduced us to his brother Johnathan and his partner Monique.  They, also, happen to be a crazy hot couple, and the day was made even easier with them there too.

In all, we had a great day.  The guys were really patient, really professional, and we got some beautiful shots for the new brochure.  I don’t think they realised just how hard a job modelling all day was going to be, and by lunch I could feel they were flagging.  Contrary to popular belief, modelling is very hard.  You are normally stood all day, grinning, scowling, laughing or jumping at a photographer’s whim.  In amongst all of this, you also have to make each pose look like it is the first time you have done it and keep it natural.   You can spot a stiff model from a million miles away.

I am happy to say that all four of our new models delivered these qualities in spades.  They were awesome. Monique was so good, she even managed to squeeze in a cheeky nap on a lilo whilst the rest of us worked 😉

After lunch, we hid from the sun for a few shots up in one of the (beautiful) state rooms we had organised for the shoot.

And after these beauties, we headed back down for some beach fun, tennis, sailing and dinner…in all a very long day.

But oh-so-very-worth it.

You can see all of the photos on our Colorbox Facebook Page – and the rest of the shoot will be up on there soon.

All that is left to say, is another final HUGE thanks to Billy, Ally, Jonathan and Monique.  You guys really were amazing.  You were patient, professional and the pictures are just stunning.

 

Thanks again for reading guys – keep on snapping.

 

x

So, this weekend I am in St Lucia.  I am staying at the beautiful Morgan Bay resort, and catching up with James – newly appointed as manager out here.

He is doing a fantastic job, and things are well and truly being looked after for the time being…so that means I get a bit of time to myself – if it aint broke and all that.  But the pain in the arse thing is that I have left my camera at home in Barbados.

What a clown shoes.

But not to worry – I will use my time productively I tell myself.  I have been going through figures, looking at promotional material, and generally being good…but then my mind started to wander a bit, and I started to go through all of my photos on the laptop.

Big mistake.

Because this whole photography thing is a very, very steep learning curve.  The pictures I take today are, in my mind, amazing.  But I will look back on them in six months and think “did really take that sh**?”

If you’re not critical of yourself, you’re not serious…so imagine my rage when I saw this:

Yes, it’s nice – a big colourful, Bajan sunset.  But really pretty basic – under exposed to get all that drama…but nothing special.  So here I am, in the hotel lobby, muttering away to myself about how I should have made it more interesting, “bloody fool – put a tree or a guy or a boat, just something in silhouette to give it some freaking context. God damn rookie…” You get the picture.

And as I flicked through the next few images, I realised that the me of the past was not quite as out of touch with this whole photography thing as I had first surmised.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend guys…more gems to be uncovered soon, I am sure!

 

x

 

The other night, Sian and I were sat enjoying our dinner in our usual place.  We were in our usual restaurant, sitting at our usual table, drinking our usual wine, discussing the usual challenges and ideas work has been throwing up.  I looked at Sian, usually, and was about to say something utterly – well – usual.  But then we heard something.

We heard music.

 

This, in itself, is not unusual – we are treated to live music most nights.  But the music we could hear was very, very different to the usual Sokha and Calypso the Bajans bless us with.  This music consisted of trumpets and trombones and saxaphones and drums and singing and all manor of awesomeness that can only be made sense of in one, glorious form.  Big Band.

We gobbled down our dinner at double speed and ran into the main bar area, to be treated to this magnificent site:

The Sherborne School Swing Band were here, and they were playing the Almond Casuarina for their last night.   Apparently they had been here in Barbados for a week, having played in various hotels and concert halls throughout the island – culminating in a final show in the hotel they have called home for the last week.

They. Were. Fantastic.

Now, as readers of this blog will no doubt know, I have a strong affinity to music.  As I explained in my blog during our brief Easter break, we grew up being force fed this stuff.  My brothers and parents are prolific brass players, my sister is amazing at pretty much everything, and I was pretty handy with my saxaphone, before the lure of drum and bass lured me to the stage…but that’s another blog, for another time.

Hearing bands like the Sherborne School Swing Band, takes me back to my childhood…being 9 during summer holidays playing in a school hall with a bunch of kids I never would see again, and going to the never ending program of concerts that my amazingly talented siblings were playing in…not to say that any of us were in bands this good, but it is amazing how music has that ability to place you a million miles from where you are.

Sian and I were expecting another usual mid-week meal.  But the Sherborne School Swing Band were able to give us both so much more.  For the 45 minutes that we caught them, I was a whipper snapper back in good old Croydon, far from the stressed and homesick old fart that I am now.

And, I am pleased to say – I don’t think I was the only one!

 

Thanks for reading guys – and hope you have had a great week 🙂

 

Incidentally – for those of you still reading, I have been incredibly flattered to have been nominated for an award for my blog from the wonderful Becky Says Things.  I will be doing  a proper post about this momentous event over the coming days – but wanted to say a huge thank you to her, and urge you all to check her page out.

It is very, very funny 🙂

 

 

 

The other night, Sian and I went down to dinner and we did something we rarely do nowadays.  We took a few photos.  For the fun of it.

We weren’t shooting for a wedding, or a corporate event, or a client wanting to show off their fancy property…we took the camera to do some good old fashioned light-on-sensor-gimmickry.  And it was great.

In the last few weeks of writing, I have been telling you all how we have had to move and we are living in a new place – but I am yet to show you our new abode:  The Almond Casuarina.

This is the biggest of the two pools on resort.  Just under the bridge is a swim up bar, and it is a lovely place to chill out on a Sunday when you have the time.  The beach is off to the right, and the main restaraunts and bars are within that warm, fuzzy glow on the left.  It is a lovely hotel, albeit MUCH smaller than the Village, where we used to live.

Sian is great at times like this.  Everyone was sat down enjoying their meals, whilst I tinkered with my camera, setting up tripods and light stands, and she watched on with patience and anticipation.  I then asked if she would mind standing on the bridge like a lemon and holding a flash up in front of her face.

She of course had no objections.

After playing about at this pool for five minutes or so, we wandered around to the next one for the shot I was after.

This pool is on the other side of the building, and I wanted to play here for two reasons.  One – it is always very quiet in the evening, so long exposures are doable without upsetting anyone, and two, it is not very well lit. Despite what this 6 second exposure tells you, around the pool is actually quite dark, and that’s what I wanted.

Because the shot I was after was a little different to the one you see above.  What I wanted to do was shift my colour space dramatically, so that the water glowed a golden orange rather than that misty blue.  This would mean shifting my white balance to a much warmer temperature – but I needed my subject, in this case Sian, to remain ‘true’ in colour.  I also wanted to get the effect of a calm, oily surface on the water and catch some splashes in the pool that she kicked up.

Solution to all of these requests?  Flash.

A few months back,  James very kindly bought me a set of coloured gels that I can stick over my flash gun.  If you haven’t heard of or know James, go and check out his blog.   He is awesome.  Anyway, the point of these coloured gels is that I can shoot my flash at Sian and not only illuminate her in the darkness, but by using a different coloured gel, the colour of the light hitting her will change too.

Bare with me on this…

When I ramp my white balance to a very warm 9000k, the scene becomes very, very red.  So, to bring Sian back into the correct colour, and not leaving her looking like a sunburnt beetroot, I hit her with a powerful blast of flash, shooting a deep blue colour.  The blue negates the red of the scene, Sian looks normal, and I get that burnt orange on the water’s surface I was after.

I also asked Sian to kick up some water just before I blasted the flash to catch those little splashes in the air…It is not perfect, but in the twenty minutes of playing, we got to use a little bit of new kit, I got to tell you all some photography nerd-ary, and I got another dazzling picture of my hot wife.

Not a bad day in the office really…

 

 

Thanks for reading guys

x

As you all may (or may not!) have noticed, I have been very quiet lately – this is the first post in three weeks, and I am desperate to get something down before May runs out!

The reason for my complete lack of bloggage is, unfortunately, not due to swanning around the world with my beautiful wife to exotic locations, or because I have been preparing something utterly beautiful to share with you all…far from it.  It is because we have been handling our busiest month of the year on top of the very sad news that our home for the last two years has finally closed 🙁

Sian and I have been privileged enough to live and work at The Almond Beach Village in St Peter, Barbados for the last two and a bit years and now, finally, the rumours of financial strife and concerns have finally come to fruition…the hotel is closed.

 

And it is very sad.

 

I took these photos the day after the resort closed.  It was a bank holiday (National Heroes day) so, naturally, Sian and I were at work.  The resort just felt like a complete ghost town.  The fans were spinning, the lights were on, but not a soul in sight over the whole 23 acre site.  It was very weird.

I had no intentions of taking pictures that day – I was just moving a lot of stuff out of our now redunandant office and studio, but I felt I had to get something.  So I grabbed a work D7000 and pottered around…and it just made me even sadder.

This is the courtyard outside ‘Tommy’s Bar’.  Even when the resort was really, really quiet there would be people sat out enjoying the evening breeze and guzzling a rather foul rum concoction.  But the beer was the coldest on the island here – and always welcome after a long day.

Right at the end of this looooong corridor was where our beautiful photo studio once lived…

And at the end of this one was where we used to live…

And this is the pool where Ryan took his first few strokes into swimming entirely on his own.  We stood in a circle at the (very deep) area just behind the bridge; he took a massive breath and disappeared under the surface as he kicked his way across to a very relieved Uncle, Aunty, Mum or Dad…it was one of the many, many great times we had at ‘home’.

But all is not doom and gloom.  To say it has not been an operational nightmare (moving house is meant to be the most stressful things you can do – try moving offices at the same time!) would be an understatement, but we have moved now. We have a beautiful new apartment down on the South Coast in a new hotel, and our offices are going to probably work out better down on the South side too. I have also been overwhelmed with how well my team have coped with the frustrations and concerns that this whole saga has thrown up.  It could have been very easy for mistakes to be made, people forgotten about, weddings missed; but on the ground the guests have had absolutely no idea just how hard this last month has been.

And I love and thank the guys so much for that.

 

Thanks for reading guys – and hope to hit you with some more cheerful ramblings soon 🙂

x

Tedders and Mel

So, a few months back (all the way in February!) my awesome brother, Ed, and his wonderful fiance, Mel came to visit us as we settled down in Bimshire.

I insisted they have a quick studio shoot and walk around the gardens before they went home, and they have had to wait all this time for me to finally get round to editing them…so really sorry about that guys.

Anyway, I am sure they won’t mind me sharing my favourite shot of the day with you all – this was taken on the tried and true D80 on the kit lens, so apologies in advance for the fluffy nature and high noise…but I was extremely pleased with the REAL lens flare I got – hope you agree?!

More adverntures to come when we finally get on top of all this work, thanks for reading guys, and hope you have a great weekend

xxxx

Every Wednesday here at the resort, we have a barbecue evening set out on the beach when the weather permits, otherwise we are all bundled into the slightly dryer Horizons restaurant, and this lady comes out to play:

Sian and I have probably seen Cheryl perform about 40 times.  She is amazing.   She has the most incredible control I have ever seen.  Reminiscent of Bruce Lee in ‘Enter the Dragon’ (?!) she is able to move each individual muscle – muscles that I am sure do not even exist on my abused, overweight carcass – with the utmost of ease.  It really is fascinating to watch.

Despite her amazing skill, however, we find it very painful each and every time we walk through the barbecue.  The show is more about ‘the guest experience’, rather than a showcase of the art of Limbo.  There is the inevitable ‘get the kids up and have a go’, followed by the painful parents – more specifically dads, dancing with the pretty Bajan lady who wiggles her hips oh-so provocatively.  Then the fire is whipped out and we are treated to some pyrotechnic antics.

And she is better than that.  Much better.

But please – I don’t begrudge Cheryl.  The show is what it has to be, forty minutes of pure holiday gold for the beered up Brits, but when you see the finale – I sometimes wish we could focus more on the art than the audience participation.

Because it truly is breathtaking.

Cheryl has been the Limbo Queen in Barbados for a good few years now, but the sport is dying.  No one is as interested in the calypso-fuelled past time, and Cheryl has no one to pass the torch onto.  This may sound ridiculous, but when you see her do her thing, it does make me wonder – will my kids returning to Barbados as Beered up Brits be able to enjoy this amazing performance?…Because, believe it or not, the amazing Cheryl is over 40 years old.

Have a great weekend 🙂

Ferg

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