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Have you ever had one of those weeks, where everything is going swimmingly – the emails are responded to, the team are all bumbling along, the phone is ringing an acceptable twice an hour…and then the Good Lord just takes an almighty work turd right on your face, and before you know it you feel like Arnold Shwarzenegger in End of Days.  Your phone rings constantly – your wife’s phone rings itself to death, you meet client after client, take booking after booking, and before you know it your wonderfully planned and masterfully crafted week is dumped with 10 weddings in three days.

Well, if you haven’t already guessed, that’s exactly what happened to us this last week.

And I am ecstatic to say that the team, although tired, dealt with the stress exceptionally well. As always.

But we felt very bad,because, as you all know, our good friends Josh and Lydia have been out here in Barbados with us, and we were hoping to spend a bit of quality time with them.  But clearly that plan was scuppered.

We got everything we possibly could done Saturday night, so that we could all enjoy Sunday together, but then the heavens opened and we were stormed in.  So instead of swimming on the beaches and watching the sunset and drinking beers in the warm, we were stranded in our flooding-fast house playing computer games and cursing the deck of cards we had left back at the hotel.

By all accounts it was a lovely day 🙂

And the day was made even more lovely by the arrival of another guest in our home.  We have had swarms of bees, enormous spiders, bats getting stuck in the roof and a billion millepedes, but this is the first leaf frog I think we have had to date.


I spotted him on the way to the kitchen, and without hesitation dear old Josh grabbed the flash and mounted it on a pocket wizard whilst I bayonetted my macro lens.

And he was ever so good as these two giants surrounded and strobed him like there was no tomorrow.

Because he really was tiny. In this (wonderful) portrait of Josh, you can see how small the wee guy was – he is the little green spec on the left, being bathed in the scrummy bolt-blue f20 from my SB800:

But he just sat there, happily modelling for us, and, upon agreeing we had all got the shots we were after, he wandered off up the wall to enjoy whatever it is leaf frogs do in the ceilings of homes in Barbados.

I do love having an open house.

Thanks for reading guys – more regular posts to come from now on.  Promise.

x

Wednesday was Barbados’ Independence day, which basically means no one can get married, and that I am able to give the team and myself a well deserved day off.  This is always good news.  Even better news was that our dear friends Mike and Jenny, who we met on our first ever contract with Colorbox aboard  the Thomson Destiny, were in Barbados the same day as a port of call on their holiday cruise.

Mike and Jenny are awesome.

Jenny dances amazingly, and Mike is a fantastic singer.  We were very lucky that they could make it to our wedding a year and a bit back, and Mike did us the honour of singing our first dance, along with a genius set.  If you want to hear the dulcet tones, (which I strongly recommend) you can hear him here. 🙂 For an even further shameless plug, BOOK HIM IF YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED IN THE UK, HE IS AMAZING! 😉 (Cheques made payable to me please Mike)

Anyways, back to the fun events of Wednesday…So we were ridiculously fortunate that the guys’ visit coincided with an unheard of day off during the week, and even more so that we got a tiny spot of sunshine during the otherwise miserable weather we have been experiencing lately.

As is now customary, we took the guys up to the Animal Flower Cave for the amazing views.  As we headed over, the short spell of sunshine was replaced with spitting rain.  I suggested we head to Bathsheba.  Luckily Jimbly insisted we head to the Cave, and I am so glad he did.

As we drove down the pot-hole ridden lane that leads to the amazing views, my heart skipped a beat as I saw what looked like a tornado skitting across the water out at sea.  We bundled out of the car as quickly as we could – I ran ahead with the camera in hand whilst Sian scrabbled to get our long 70-200 lens out.  It was awesome.

Later research proved that it was a water spout that we witnessed.   It was remarkably hard to expose for the spout.  As is often the way in photography, your eyes are so much better than even the mighty sensor of our wonderful D700.  Looking out to sea, it was very obvious to the naked eye, but there was very little contrast in the skyline, and no amount of underexposure seemed to make the spout ‘pop’ as much as it did in real life.  I was also greeted with an incredibly mucky sensor when I came to process these photos.  No matter how careful we are with changing our lenses, out here where there is so much sand and wind, it is inevitable to get crap in your sensor…an occupational hazard I guess. 🙁

As such, the pictures are a little less sharp than I would normally like – This is a classic example of me out of my comfort zone! Low light is fine, harsh sunlight with lots of contrast, I can deal with…but flat skylines with little contrast in them are clearly an area I need to improve upon.

And unfortunately time was not on our side.  As soon as I had popped off a few frames, the spout disappeared from the skyline, and a very hot and sticky sun reared it’s head back out for us.  We were so very lucky to have seen the spout at all!

We had to get Mike and Jenny back to their ship before it sailed onto the next port without them, so we had just enough time for a group snap before jumping back into the car and heading for the port.  This proved to be another wonderfully smug moment for me – always having the massive tripod in the boot paid off once again.

So a massive thanks to Jenny and Mike for making the 4000ish mile journey to come and see us – it was wonderful to see you both again, and as always seems to be the way, the fact we had visitors meant we saw another part of Barbados we otherwise wouldn’t have.  I was also made privy to the fact that Mike’s mum is a reader of my blog too…which is massive news.  This one’s for you Mike’s mum, thanks so much for reading – make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss anything, and thanks for giving us all such a lovely chap 😉

And as always, thanks for reading guys x

As is now appearing customary, I start with an apology for the delay on things.  Work is getting really exciting – loads and loads and loads of stuff on, and with the world as it is at the moment I can’t grumble for a second.  There are thousands without jobs, so the fact that mine is depriving me of a privilege like ‘blogging time’  can’t be a bad thing.

So, a quick update.  My cousin Den came out to visit us last week, which was awesome.   We got some dives in that made me wish I could take my camera with me…but having already spent well over $3k this year on the camera, I thought an underwater housing would be the nail in the coffin with my very-understanding, but-only-human-after-all wife.  We dove (dived?) the Stavronikita, or Stav to the locals, and it really was up there in my top 5 dives of all time…

Den also insisted that we go sea fishing.  This is something I have always wanted to do, but we never get around to doing it.  One of the best things about having motivated guests is that we actually have to wander off resort (shock horror!) every now and then to go and do touristy stuff.  I will blog about the sport fishing properly soon, but in the meantime here are a few snaps of Den’s big catch.  A beautiful ‘Wahoo’

By the end of the week, we were all pretty knackered.  Work had been busy, and Den was keen to get as much in as possible.  On the last night of his stay  we were treated to a beautiful sunset and it only seemed right to have a lazy game of catch whilst we were bathed in the beautiful soft light of magic hour.

Thanks for a blast Den – I have finally caught up with my sleep now!  Oh – and the pictures we took of the moon that night down at Fowl Bay…I was pretty happy with the final result – hope you like it too! 😉

Thanks for reading guys…more adventures to come 🙂

x

Reading through my posts, it dawned on me that pretty much all of the photos I have posted have been from the evening.  This is mainly down to the fact that, despite having an awesome job, Sian and I work bloody hard. All the time. But last week we had our good friend Ozzy stay with us (very soon after Jen and Tom left, so we are now pretty knackered!!) and were able to get out over the weekend to do some good old fashioned exploring. As is now customary in Barbados, we knew where  we wanted to take Ozzy – to North Point.  This is…err…the most northern point of Barbados, and offers some great views.  So I just checked on Google maps where we were heading and we set off. As is now customary, Google maps was wrong. And as is now customary, I threw a tantrum. Cursing the Google gurus, we bounced down the pothole ridden track…how can they be so dump?  Sure I can find 2 nearly billion pages of Russian porn in two seconds, source 500,000 pages of lunar moon conspiracy, or watch over 650,000 hours of cats sneezing with the mighty web engine – but can they pinpoint the most northerly point in Barbados and take me up the correct road of the three that are here?  Can they balls.

Anyway, we eventually found it – no thanks to the internet, and all my frustration quickly disappeared. It is a magical place. I took loads of landscapes but, I’m afraid to admit, I was using the D80 (please see here!) and had forgotten that I had cranked the ISO for an example of how pants the sensor is in that blog.  I NEVER change the ISO on the D80 because it is so dire in the top levels, and, like a true rookie, did not change it back.  Lesson 101 Ferg – check your settings! I should have noticed when I was shooting at f16 and a shutter speed of 1000th…it was a bright day, but come on Ferg. Unfortunately, I couldn’t blame Google for that. So we then had a seat and a beer, and watched the world go by.  I stepped back with my 70 – 200 and got some nice candids (I think) of Oz and Sian.

And while we sat drinking our beers, with the sea battering the cliffs below, we were treated to a cacophony of birds singing in the trees above.  Oz and Sian went exploring, and I sat and watched them, Bill Oddie style. I quickly learned that I am a terrible wildlife photographer.  After firing off a few frames, it was apparent that I really had no clue what I was doing.  Trying to shoot wide (2.8) was a waste of time, as the birds moved too quickly for my focus to cope, and I ended up with a horrible blurry mess with twigs and branches in focus. After about twenty minutes of hopeless flailing, I stood and watched, instead of trying to shoot.  It was amazing.  Above us were a good dozen nests, and the birds were all flying out to get their chicks food.  Until now I had been completely oblivious  to the drama going on above.  The birds were busy building their nests and bringing food home for the chicks.  One of the parent birds would fly off in search of food, whilst the other stayed guard over the nest.  The small ones lay silent until they saw mum or dad return, and the nest would erupt in a fury of high pitched chirps – desperate to remind their parents they were there, hungry and ready to eat.

It was wonderful.  Because of my camera (and my sheer stubbornness to get a good photo) I watched this whole story unfold.  Normally Sian and I just enjoy the bird song, but today I watched the full drama in all its glory.  It was amazing.  One bird flew over to another nest and pinched some twigs.  This is clearly why the birds guard their nests – not to protect their little ones from predators, but from their thieving own kind!

I watched for a good half an hour or so, and upon Ozzy and Sian’s return, we finished our beers and headed home for a swim – a little wiser on the wildlife habits of the Bajan Birds, a little more experienced on how to shoot them, and a little more in love with the new camera, for making me see all these things 🙂

Ferg x