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Keji and Paul got married in the beautiful Fustic House.  An old plantation, completely redesigned by Oliver Messel, it truly was a stunning location.  The weather, unfortunately, was not on our side, and as you will see from the ceremony photographs, the brollies had to come out for the exchange of the rings!

Despite that, we all had a wonderful day.

 

Congratulations guys!

James and Heidi got married in the beautiful Crystal Cove resort, out in Barbados.  Along with their family, friends, and lovely two children, they had a fabulous day.  We were also treated to the most spectacular sunset that evening; not something you are always guaranteed – even in Barbados!

 

Massive congratulations guys, and all the best for the future 🙂

Rich and Tess had a wonderful Catholic ceremony in the St Francis of Assissi church in Barbados.  They had over 40 guests fly out to join them, and the day was full of love and laughter!  Richie’s brother made an amazing speech about them growing up…but I think he would rather I didn’t mention what was said here on the blog!

Congratulations Richie and Tessa!

In the beginnings of my photographic career, I started out on the cruise ships.  If you are interested and can be arsed, I have a whole blog about how we got to Barbados here – but if you can’t (and I don’t blame you) be rest assured that it was a rather long journey.

First things first – I loved the ships.

When you walk on to your first contract, you are ever so green.  You don’t know the rules; you can’t fathom how anyone can navigate the miles of narrow corridors and passageways in the belly of the crew areas, you don’t understand how a bar can survive selling cans of beer for 35p, and you certainly have no idea that you were the only person in the galaxy that doesn’t smoke.

When you step on board for your first contract, it is a very exciting time.

The work is hard and rewarding – but it is not really the job that makes the ships so great.  It’s not the amazing places you see, the cheap beer or the great weather.   It’s the people.  When you step on board your first contract, you board with no friends.  By the end of your first day, you have been blessed with 500.

And so when I got a phantom text from Rob some time last year asking if we were still in Barbados, Sian and I got very excited at the thought of catching up with him and his partner Corea when they were in port.  I worked with Corea (a very talented singer) during every contract that I did with Colorbox, and I worked one contract with Rob – a camp dancer – on the Celebration in 2009 (only joking – Rob is a fine singer too).

We did what most ship mates do; played computer games, drank lots, visited beaches and made tits of ourselves on our days off.

Good times.

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Rob and Corea have been out in the Caribbean for a few months now, working on the Thomson Dream.  We had them over for a roast a few weeks back, and Rob asked if I would mind doing some new head shots for them next time they were in.  So we headed down to Codrington College – a few minutes drive from my house, and got some lovely shots.

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Now, as many of you already know, I am no stranger to headshots and I always enjoy the challenge of getting that portrait.  Corea and Rob are, by the nature of their business, very beautiful people anyway.  This not only makes my job easier, but more fun.  The soft flattering light suits Corea wonderfully, whereas the hard, side-lit shots suit Rob’s larger, more angular frame.

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As well as the usual full length/three quarters and tight crop, you also have to be aware that a lot of performers want their shots to be presented in black and white as well.  And, as fond fans will already know, that means you need to look for texture – another reason for heading to Codrington.  The building is made of beautiful coral stone – riddled with patterns and notches and holes, all of which help add that texture and interest to the monochrome.

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Overall I am really pleased with the shots we got…let’s hope they are too!

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Thanks for reading as always guys, and see you all next week 🙂

x

Hey all – sorry about the complete lack of posting lately – the days seem to get shorter and shorter at the moment, and the jobs are starting to come in thick and fast.  Not something to grumble about, but these next few months are looking mental and I fear the blog is going to suffer.

So, whinging aside – here is my current nemesis – the setting sun that signals the end of the day way before I have even got close to finishing my work.  It is beautiful, but I wish it would just stay up in that sky a little longer!

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Thanks for reading guys, more stories to come soon 🙂

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

One of the great things about my job is that I never know who is going to walk through the door and book a shoot.  Last week I got a call from one of my team saying that (a very lovely) guest had come in to book a shoot, and that she had a huge pile of ideas and cuttings that she had as inspiration.

And when I got the big stack of papers, I could feel the grin expand from between my ears…this was going to be exceptionally good fun.

Unlike most of the families that come into the Colorbox Studio, Charlotte did not want pictures of her beautiful daughter, Sandra, with the cobalt blue Bajan sky and deep turquoise of the Atlantic behind her – far from it.  They were after a more high-fashion look, with bleached tones, soft light and lots and lots of buttery bokeh…I was more than happy to oblige.

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We started off with a few shots in the studio,  and then headed out into the grounds of The Crane.   Luckily, Sian was free to help assist with flash, and the weather played ball too.  Normally, when the clouds are overhead and the skies are a little grey, guests are, naturally disappointed.  But when that sun is out and glaring, it makes my job much, much harder.  The sun here in Barbados is incredibly strong, and it makes creating soft, flattering light very tricky.  Luckily, for all parties concerned on this shoot, the clouds were out in force.

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A little about these shots…

[Mega boring photo nerdary – please skip if this is not of interest!]

Charlotte was adamant that she wanted that creamy out of focus for these head shots…which is quite tricky out here in paradise.  Why?

Light.

In order to get that depth of field, you need to shoot at a long focal length for maximum compression (blog to come) but you also need to shoot with a wide aperture.   A wide aperture means you need to shoot with a faster shutter speed – all of this is fine if you are shooting in ambient light, but if I plonk Sandra in the Bajan sun (clouds or not) she is going to end up squinting like mad, and the contrast will be unbearably strong…so what do I do?  Control the light.  I shoot my flash through a whacking great big umbrella.  But this then throws up another problem – shooting at 2.8 in Barbados, you need a shutter of well over 500 to beat out the sun, but my flash will only sync at 250.  So the game comes about of looking for nice ambient light (like shady spots) that I can then introduce my artificial, soft flash, to bathe the beautiful Sandra in…and, sometimes, like today, it all just comes together.

 

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I can’t tell you how refreshing and exciting it was to do a shoot like this.  It is very different to the usual stuff we shoot.  For the first time ever, my job wasn’t to show idyllic Barbados – scenes to make friends and family jealous of what they missed during the holiday of a lifetime…my brief was to get a high fashion look.  And when you’re working with someone as beautiful as Sandra, that job is made so much easier.

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These two shots are, without a doubt, my favourite of the day.  The light is just perfect.  The wind was kicking up and unhelpfully turned the umbrella inside out.  I asked Sian to bounce the light off the grass a few feet in front of Sandra, and the shots we got were stunning.  I love the classic – almost 30s feel to these shots – both in lighting and in Sandra’s expression…awesome.

 

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After 45 minutes or so, we headed down to the beach to finish up – I will leave the final pictures to do the talking.

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Thanks for reading guys – more photos and adventures next week!!

 

For more info on the Colorbox Studio – please visit our Facebook Page, or head to www.colorbox.co.uk 🙂 Also, keep an eye out for Green People – they are suppliers of organic beauty and sun products…and Sandra may well be on her way to being the face for them!

Over the years, as my experience has grown and I have got better at taking pictures, the old camera bag has also umm…grown.  I am ridiculously lucky to now have in my possession (amongst several other pieces of glass) what is widely regarded as ‘The Holy Trinity’ amongst Nikon users.  In an effort not to bore you with it all, I have three lenses which focus from 14mm (very wide indeed) all the way to 200mm (very close indeed) all at a nice fast aperture of 2.8, and all crazy, crazy sharp.

So when Sian’s absolutely delightful friend and old uni room mate, Jen came to stay last week, she naturally wanted to go and see some of the sites.  I, naturally, picked up the wrong lens for the day.

This is down to sheer laziness – my lenses all weigh a ton, and the thought of carrying the 24-70 and the 70-200 was a little too much for our little excursion around the island and visit to the Barbados Wildlife Sanctuary.  I knew that I would regret leaving it behind, but hey, I left it at home and had to make do with what I had.

Our first stop, and I was already cursing under my breath.

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The 24-70 was great for this holiday snap of the lovely (smiley) Jen in front of the awesome East Coast…and indeed this close up of some washed up coral we found.

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But then this guy came running out at us, claws raised, fighting us for his territory, and I knew the lens I had decided to bring out today was a poor choice.

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This guy was ever so patient as I blundered around in front of him for ten minutes – getting as close as my focus would allow, and trying my best not to scare him off.  To his credit, he stood his ground astonishingly well, but I am a little disappointed with these shots.  I have had to crop in significantly, and they have that ‘digital’ grit to them…they are not sharp through optics, but through post processing…which isn’t my favourite! 🙁

Despite having the wrong lens and intermissions of random curse words from a particular male photographer in Barbados,  we were having an absolute blast.  We drove all the way up the rugged East Coast, heading north, and as we got higher up, we stopped off at the ever-awesome Barbados Wildlife Resort.  They have monkies and tortoises and deer and peacocks and snakes…it really is a wonderful place to visit…but again – despite all the fun we were having, I was mutttering about the glass I had decided to bring.  (Again, look for the noise in the images!)

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I think my favourite shot of the day was of these two little monkeys having a drink together – I love the tortoise on the right of the frame just chilling with them, happy to share.

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After this, we headed on up into the terraniums – they have the most enormous snake there (he must be about 30 feet long) and his skin is the most amazing colour.

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Luckily I was able to get close enough to this guy to get a decent close up shot of his skin…this is genuinely how colourful it was – no photoshoppery here!

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We soon decided that we had seen enough animals for the day, and headed West for a spot of lunch and some sea views from one of our favourite bars, the Ramshackle.  Fish and chicken was had by all – along with a few beers, and after soaking in the sun and sea, we headed further north, to our favourite visitor spot, the Animal Flower Cave.

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This was, thankfully, the right lens for a shot like this…and ultimately the day was about spending time with one of Sian’s very best friends, having some fun and seeing some sites together…so ultimately, it was this shot that was most important…and ultimately that is why (I am sure) I decided to pack my 24-70.

And in hindsite, I don’t think the pictures came out nearly as bad as I had worried 😉

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Thanks for an awesome week Jen – and a safe flight home!!!

x

Not much time to post this week I’m afraid guys, so I will just leave you with some pictures I have taken for the new resort owners here at Casuarina.  The hotel is no longer an Almond-run business, and has been taken over by an American firm called Couples.

There is a real buzz and excitement about the resort, as new faces and ideas are appearing almost daily…and I think that the new spin on the hotel (IE – couples only) will do incredibly well here in Bim, and will hopefully begin to bring more of a North American airlift.  With things as they are on the island, it is very much a feeling of the more the merrier!!

Hope you had a great weekend x

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When you live on an island like Barbados, you are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to idyllic beaches.  And when you live on an island like Barbados, you seldom go to them.  Or at least, we don’t.

You know when people come and visit you and they say ‘what is there to do around here?’ and you and your partner give each other a shifty look. What do you do around here?   Where you live, you seldom visit the tourist spots, and you rarely go to the local attractions: you save that for your holidays, and where you live you just…well, live.

So this morning, when I was playing a few games online with my brothers and company, Sian decided that we were to go to the beach today.  ‘But I’m writing my book’ I lied; and despite the protestation, we headed down to the South East to have a wander and a dander around Bottom Bay.

And I’m so glad that we did.

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We have been to Bottom Bay several times; we have shot a few weddings there and had a swim in that rough sea, but today, it felt a little more special.  As you may (or may not know) we have been pretty down in the dumps lately with work being so slow, and sometimes, you just need a good walk to clear the head…and a walk around Bottom Bay must be one of the best you can do.

Annoyingly, as this was a beach day, we only had our tiddly little point and shoot – hence the crap, low quality and horrible Instagram look…it really is dump when out and about – but I digress.  As we wandered around the bay, Sian spotted the amazing coral patterns in the rock.  Barbados is a unique island, in the fact that it is not volcanic, but is made up entirely of dead coral that has piled itself up and up over the millenia.  The coral leaves amazing patterns, and is very photogenic.

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After taking these, and wandering to the other side of the Bay, I had just enough battery to snap this scene, before we put the camera away and enjoyed each other’s company for the rest of the evening.

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A swim in the sea, and a few lengths of the beach is amazing at clearing your head. And although I would have loved to have stayed in and played online war games with my brothers, I am so glad Sian dragged me out…we must go to the beach more often.

Thanks for reading guys – hope you have all had a great weekend, and the week treats you well 🙂

 

 

Here’s a photo of me eyeing up some coconuts to kick start the week…we know how well I normally deal with those 😉

 

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