So, as promised, we have now officially moved back to the UK and I am frantically getting my self together as I embark on the long and exciting self employed road. I know it will be a challenge, but I cannot wait to get the ball rolling with the new business.
We got back last Thursday, and after picking up our luggage, the cat, and being bombarded at the airport by our wonderful banner-laden family we got home. And what a glorious day it was. Within a few hours I had already agreed to come along and take some pictures of my mum and dads’ concert band at a gig in Ruskin Park over the weekend, and what a day it turned out to be.
I have always maintained that a summer day in Britain is just the best. People are so
relieved happy to see a bit of sunshine. The usual ‘I’m a L0ndoner, don’t approach me or I will break your face’ look melts to a much happier, gentle and exuberant manner. The sun comes out, and so do the smiles. So imagine how happy I was when we arrived at Ruskin Park near Brixton, to find this, tremendous site.
I love London. I love the fact you can be surrounded by trees, a blue sky and sunbathing Brits, all with Westminster and the postal tower in the background…and when the sun is shining like it was last week, it just makes it all the more magical.
And then the band started playing, and I felt the grin on my face just grow even bigger.
Turns out the Norwood Wind Ensemble are pretty good. 😉
As readers of this blog will already know, music has always played a big part in my life. My parents are brass-mad, and the one distraction that old Pops has enjoyed since time immemorial is busting out his Tuba. Or his trombone, or euphonium, or pocket trumpet, or French horn. (Basically if it is shiny and has valves, the old boy will give it a blow, all with the biggest smile on his face) Mum has also accepted this brass fanatacism having chose the French horn as her weapon of choice.
The band played a great programme, and about half way through had amassed quite a crowd. All ages, all demographics took the time to pitch a seat and enjoy some awesome music in the awesome weather.
It truly was a wonderful welcome home.
Thanks for reading guys, and great to be back! 😉
So sorry for the lack of posting lately…there is a lot going on right now! Work is mental (as always!) and Sian and I finally have a date for coming back to the UK: officially the 6th of June.
I cannot tell you how excited we are…
So, with that in mind, please bare with me as I pack up our house, handover my job, and generally get on top of all the massive changes that are going to be happening over the next few weeks. The blog is also due a re-vamp. I have taken the plunge and decided to go self-hosted, so expect some very BIG changes within the next few weeks. I am hoping to create a youtube channel soon too – where I can pretty much show you how I am creating each and every photo you see on here…not sure if that is something any of you are interested in or care about…but comments below and let me know 🙂
In the mean time, thanks for your patience. It is the beginning of hurricane season here now, and my little bro is here – so I HAVE to enjoy the sunshine with him and his lovely girlfriend Michelle this weekend while it is here.
Despite the terrible weather, it is apparently still good fishing – here is personal shot of the week, and touch base soon. x
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.
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.
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.
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.
Overall I am really pleased with the shots we got…let’s hope they are too!
Thanks for reading as always guys, and see you all next week 🙂
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!
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 Mariner, on 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 😉
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.
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.
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.
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…
A quick shift of white balance, a little bit of posing…and I got my favourite shot of the evening.
(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
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.
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.
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.
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 😉
Something a little different for you all this week. We have some BIRTHDAY SNAPS for you!
With all the craziness of work, an invitiation to our wonderful friend Paula’s (ahem) 50th couldn’t be missed. It was wonderful.
Hosted at the amazing Gunhill Signal Station, Sian and I had been there during the day, but we had never seen it at night. It is beautiful. I mean, crazy beautiful. Setup nearly four hundred years ago, the station had been positioned deliberately to allow the soldiers stationed there to look out over the country and see any potential invaders to the island. It could also see the four other signal stations around the island at any given time. This meant, that if they spotted anything untoward, they could raise a specific flag, which Gunhill would spot, and then relay the message onto the other towers. Genius.
As such, the place affords some amazing views, and at night it is even more magical.
Normally, when I shoot an evening reception, I have scouted the location beforehand and know what to expect. I also usually have my full kit bag, lenses, a tripod and my flash guns. For Paula’s birthday, I just took a 50mm prime, because we wanted to enjoy ourselves and not be burdened with all the kit.
As such, the photos relied on ambient light to get us through, which, I am afraid to say, was rather lacking! There were some fairy lights around the dance floor, so this is where I tried to take the majority of my shots.
Now, a little bit about Paula.
She is awesome.
In charge of the social networking and promotion of our hotel, I cannot think of a more perfect job for her. She is fun and bubbly and warm and glamorous…and like us, she has a big family, that she loves dearly.
It’s at things like this – parties, birthdays and such, that I always miss home a tad more. We are sociable people, and always enjoy a do with our families and friends. But even though we miss them, it is always such a privilege to be invited to something so special, all the way out here in Barbados.
50th 35th Paula – it was wonderful to be able to share it with you!!!
See the pastry chefs got it wrong too 😉
Thanks for reading guys, and see you next week
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…
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.
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 🙂