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The last few weeks have been mental.

We have been blessed with visits from my parents, our good friends Jen and Tom, and Sian’s mum Sue over this festive period, and it has been amazing.  The bad news is that things at work are very slow right now, so we are crossing everything that it will pick up soon.

So this week, in an unusual twist of events, I am not going to share our recent shenanigans, explorations and adventures; I am going to do something far more boring…I am going to show you the lovely present Sian bought me for my birthday this year.

I am going to show you my spangly new watch…

Watch with refection copy

As well as having an encylcopaedic knowledge of pretty much every lens Nikon has ever made; I am even more boring in the fact that I like to read about watches.  I love watches.  I remember driving my parents to the brink of insanity in the lead up to my 13th birthday, flicking through the Argos Catalogue dropping very obvious, very loud hints about which watches I liked in particular – and how each different model I picked out had various benefits with regard to size, accuracy and all that nonsense.  It is actually one of the only times my dad properly lost his temper with me.  During one of my hint dropping sprees, and having pointed out at least 50 watches that would be an ideal gift, my tired and worn down father screamed, “We’ve already got you a watch -you’re getting a watch, can you please now shut up about these bloody watches?!”

It was a Timex Indiglo and I absolutely loved it.

And as I have grown up, I am afraid to say I have not grown out of the catalogue flicking.   I am sure that one day, I will own an incredibly expensive watch, but right now it is not a priority.  Sian was wonderful and bought me this Ingersoll – it is a beautiful watch, and the reason it is particularly special is down to its movement.  Unlike my other watches, this one does not run on a battery with a quartz heart; this is an automatic watch.  It is entirely mechanical.  So, as I walk around and flick my wrist, it winds itself and keeps time through a million springs and cogs and cleverness…it really is quite amazing and an art, I am happy to say, that is slowly being revived.

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I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas, and promise that I will be back on form with less boring subjects and adventures next week.

Thanks for reading guys 🙂

x

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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.

Splodge  Splodge-3

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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Every now and then, like I was able to here, I get to show you all my ‘real’ work.  That is, proper shoots, that are organised and paid for, rather than me dicking around with my camera knocking coconuts out of trees like I did last week.

Well, I am pleased to say, today’s post is one of those (no, not me dicking about).

While we were at home on holiday, my boss Gary called me and asked if I could do a shoot that he had organised.  Now, most people who are called in on their holiday may be a little annoyed, but when it means going out in the autumn colours with my beloved D800, some pocket wizards and two flash assistants…well, it’s hardly a problem.

Oh – and it turns out Scarlett is absolutely stunning.  Which always helps too.

Scarlett is currently applying to various universities and colleges to embark on her career in the drama world.  It seems like a lifetime ago that I too was doing the same thing, and as such I knew exactly what she was after, the holy grail for any budding actor: good head shots.

Now, a less experienced photographer may think that head shots are easy.  A less experienced photographer is very, very wrong.  I have sat with a lot of my good actor pals for hours whilst they deliberate over which of the fifty shots they have been given is ‘the best’.   As an actor, you are taught to be critical…and most of them are even better at being critical of themselves (seriously, it can get down right depressing).  So your job as the photog is to make sure you get everything right.  Flattering, soft light and eye contact with the model are the most important things.  Scarlett’s picture is about to hit a few dozen desks, and it may be the difference between her application being read or just dropped in the bin.  I (hope) you will all agree, Scarlett’s head shot is definitely going to grab the attention of her future teachers.

Once we had got this one in the bag…well, we had some fun 🙂

We were shooting in Leatherhead and started off in the local church.

And after that we headed over the road to a stream/rivery thing.  I was really lucky to have both Sian and Gary assisting with the flashes, which meant that we could bathe Scarlett in scrummy soft light through a 36″ umbrella, and hit her with a much harder bare bulb speedlight from behind.  This helps separate her from the background, and highlight her beautiful deep-red hair.

Scarlett was great fun and when I  suggested she shuffle out on this branch, precariously overhanging the rivery thing, she was more than happy to brave it.

And as light was fading, and to prove how much fun we are all when we are shooting, I share with you the final shot of the day.

Thanks for the gig Gary – was a blast as always, and good luck  with the upcoming auditions and interviews Scarlett – you will walk them all 🙂

Thanks for reading guys x

As you all now know, Sian and I have been busy getting everything ready to leave Barbados and come back to freezing cold Blighty for some well needed holiday time.  We can’t wait.

So when we woke up last Thursday morning, a little groggy from our anniversary drinks the night before,  I was finishing up all the boring chores I had to do before we left; one of which was taking the bottles back that we had accumulated over the last few weeks.

Oh.

My.

God.

I am not a patient man at the best of times, but rest assured, after waiting forty minute for the &$*#(@ bellend to turn up to the place, (which I was assured would be open at 9am)  I was then told by said delinquent that they were not taking the 84 Banks beer bottles I had bought as they did not have any trays.

After threatening to leave the bottles where the sun doesn’t shine, the guy quickly recognised my ‘Bajan Rage’ and realised this was a battle he wouldn’t win.

I got back to the house at half eleven in a particularly bad mood, and tried to help Sian with the packing.  Me trying to help Sian with the packing is like asking an excitable dog to help with the washing up.  I make a lot of mess, get easily distracted, and nine times out of ten I end up carrying something in my mouth.

So, imagine Sian’s relief when this guy wandered into our kitchen.

I spotted him walking up the wall, and I asked (an incredibly relieved) Sian if she would mind if I took photos of the cricket rather than pack up.   She nodded enthusiastically, and as I popped my macro lens on and primed my flash, I am sure I heard a sigh of relief as the pair of socks I had been carrying around in my gob fell to the floor with a soggy flop.

As I got closer, I was amazed at just how leaf like the crickets look; every vein, every (scale?) screams chlorophyl full, photosynthesis fuelled plant rather than insect murdering, noise making insect.  He was awesome.

And also, as all these critters seem to be, a fantastic model.

 

Thanks for reading guys, lots of tales from Blighty to follow!

For those of you who frequent this blog regularly, you will know I have an adoring wife who I love to smitherines.

Well, tomorrow, it’s our two year wedding anniversary (we’ve been together for 12) and we are getting ready to go back to Blighty for an AWESOME 4 week holiday…with a little bit of work thrown in for good measure.

And so this evening, I did what any good husband would do on the eve of their wedding anniversary.  I brought home a massive, metre-wide umbrella.  It’s huge.  I was clearing out our cupboards at work, and came across this monster and just know I had to shoot through it.

Photog readers of mine will be nodding their heads.  Non photogs wondering why the hell I am talking about keep-dry-apparatus having anything to do with photography – or indeed our anniversary…well let me show you:

A freaking huge umbrella makes my normal little flash much bigger – a metre bigger in fact.  This in turn gives you a crazy soft light, and that means that when I take photos of Sian in our bedroom, she looks as gorgeous as ever.

But enough of the photo nerdary, it is late and I need to get packing and off to work early doors…so I will leave you with yet more stonking pictures of my gorgeous wife, and take this opportunity to say: thank you Sianie, for the best years of my life.  I have now known you longer than I haven’t, and not a day goes by that I do not laugh and blush and get cross and smile and get embarrassed and get protective and get proud and get happy and giggle and get ALL that good stuff…and every day I do,  I just end up loving you a little more.

You truly are the best 🙂

Thanks for reading guys – we are on holiday as of Thursday, so lots of piccies of the UK and our adventures to come!!

 

x

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

First of all, please accept my apologies for complete lack of posts in the last ten days…Sian and I have been very busy bees.  We were out in Miami last week for some meetings with suppliers and partners etc. and we have not stopped since we got back  I will do a proper post about that soon.

We flew back home on Sunday after nearly missing our flight, crashed for a few hours, and got straight back to work on Monday.   A day in the office after being away for 5 days is never fun, and it was made all the worse by the knowledge that our awesome friends Josh and Lyds were coming out to visit us.  They are now here and it is awesome.

But Monday night wasn’t.

We got back to the house at about 7pm, only to find a massive warning sign on our door. “Fergus and Sian – DO NOT ENTER – BEES SWARMING”

 

Bugger.

 

You know when you just want to go to bed, in your own bed, after staying in hotels and running around like madmen (women) for days?  So we wandered down to the apartment below to ask Anne – our landlady – what was going on.  She said she had seen a few hundred bees swarming around our front door, and they would no doubt wake up again first thing in the morning.  The bee man couldn’t come until tomorrow (of course) and that if we didn’t want to be stung to death in our slumber, we had better sort out other accommodation.

So off we popped back to the hotel, who were wonderfully accommodating and let Lyd and Josh stay with us for the night.  We returned the next evening to utter bee-carnage.  We were quite sad – Sian and I love bees, but the guy had found two nests under our house, and he needed to fumigate the place to get rid of them all.

I whipped out the macro lens and asked Josh to help me with Flash.  These pictures are a homage to our late friends of the bee kingdom.

They’re not as pretty as my usual stuff – but I felt we needed to do something productive with something so very sad 🙁

So after we swept up the death and cleared off the leaves, chased out the spiders and the millipedes and all the other wildlife that had moved into our house whilst we were away, we settled down for a quick beer.  And as we sat and supped, our peace was quickly interrupted by an eerie scratching and rustling from the roof.  A few tell tale whimpers and we concluded that we now had a bat stuck in the extraordinarily thin cavity between our ceiling and the aluminium flashing above.

It’s like bloody London Zoo here at times…

But as I write this, we are now (I hope) Bee and Bat free…and hopefully Lyd and Josh can start getting on with their holiday without Mother Nature’s annoying interruptions.  And if you’re reading, Mother Nature, take heed; we don’t want to have any more scenes like this in our lovely new home:

It’s far too depressing 😉

 

Thanks for reading guys -keep on snapping

xxx

Before you read any further, I have to let you know that this blog comes with disclaimer.   I cannot be held responsible for any damage, injury or harm either you or your computer may suffer from dribbling, cooing, or general hugging of the screen in front of you.

Because these pups are ridiculously cute.

Some of you may remember this post a few weeks back; we met Rob and Penny and their beautiful puppies.  But we had all the wrong kit.  A wide lens and no flash diffuser, the pictures were alright, but I organised a re-shoot with the pooches with the appropriate gear.

And I am oh-so-glad we did.

It has taken me an age to write this blog, so apologies if I am a little sketchy on the details.  Rob and Penny bought their beautiful Bichon Frise ‘Bo’ with them over from the UK when they moved here a few years back.  They had her bred, and she blessed Barbados with seven of these crazy-cute-canines.  They are gorgeous.

Sian and I popped over to Rob and Penny’s a while back to do this shoot, and since then, the pups have all moved on to their own homes.  But we got them, all together for about an hour.  It was an interesting shoot to say the least.

They say never to work with animals or children.  Now, I love working with kids.  In fact, it’s one of my favourite parts of the job.  I love it when we get a family with nippers.  I find children are a lot more natural in front of a camera, and there is nothing better than a natural shot of a child full on belly-laughing in the Bajan sun.

Puppies are, clearly, very different.  It is hard to get them where you want them to be – hard to get them to look where you want to, and try as I might, I couldn’t make them laugh.

 

But they look gorgeous all the same 🙂

 

Thanks for reading guys.  Keep on snapping.

x

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