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A few months back Sian got a call from Virgin (the airline/holiday/everything else group, not immaculate concepulate of the late Jesus Christ…although that would have been cool too).

They asked Sian if the company could shoot a couple of ‘celebrities’ that were out here in Barbados here with us for some promotional stuff.  Our friends got excited.  My toes curled up.

I hate this nonsense.  I hate the very word ‘celebrity’.  It makes me think of all the god awful Hello guff that seems to plague our shelves incessently these days.  Not only has journalism suffered for it, but so too has entertainment.  Remember when we watched shows that were written and performed by skilled, talented, devoted craftsmen?…I do.  I got a Theatre Degree.  And my heart physically hurts every time another ‘I’m a Celebrity – Shit on you’ show comes out.

So, when Sian told me we were shooting Ollie, Jamie and Francis from the ‘Made in Chelsea’ TV show, I was dreading it.  I assumed to meet a bunch of jumped up, attention seeking socialites with little or nothing to say.

And boy was I wrong. Very very wrong.  Because these three lads were utterly, utterly lovely.

And I don’t mean lovely in the kind of ‘we’re working together, so let’s all get on’ kind of way,  I mean it from the very real, very rare, ‘I want to invite those guys to our house for dinner’ way.  They really were great.

The first thing Jamie said to me was ‘ we just needed a break – well, to be honest, we don’t really do anything, but we wanted to get away for a bit…I guess that sounds awful’ and I adored his honesty.

I also loved the fact that nothing was too much for the boys – jump in the sea?  Sure.  Play cricket with this guy? No worries.

And they refused to let Sian carry anything. Ever.  Which was very sweet and really very rare in people these days.  They were polite, courteous, funny, and ridiculously good looking…it made our job a breeze.

Because Sian and I live here in Barbados, and because we both despise the ‘Celebrity Big Brother – give me a final chance to be famous’ kind of shows, we had no idea what Made in Chelsea was about.  But the boys didn’t mind – in fact, I think they kind of liked the fact that they were working with apparantly the only two Brits on the island who had not recognised them.  Even while we were shooting, people were smiling, and waving and cooing and asking for autographs…but they didn’t mind, they took it in their stride, they let us do our thing, and we got some great shots.

So, if you’re reading this boys, thanks a lot, you have restored some faith in this old fart’s appreciation of the ‘celebrity’…now excuse me, I believe I have Made in Chelsea on Channel 4 On Demand…

You can see the article in the Daily Mail here: Daily Mail Article. Please note that the Copyright is FIRMLY held with Colorbox, the company I work for – and all of the shots on here link back to our Facebook page.  Please like away, and you can see the full shoot on there too 🙂

Thanks for reading guys, keep on snapping x

You may have noticed that I have been a little quiet lately.  This is mainly due to the normal reasons – work crazy, loads of shoots, team members on holiday etc.  However, this time there is a new reason/excuse for my tardiness.

An excellent reason in fact.

After nearly six years of living in ships and hotels, from the sublime to the down right ridiculous, we finally thought ‘enough is enough’, and we bit the bullet and got a small cottage way out in the sticks where no one can find us.

It is beautiful.


For the first time in six years, Sian and I have a little piece that is ours.  We don’t have to share anything, we don’t have to abide by rules imposed by the powers that be…we can just ‘live’.

I know this sounds ridiculous and I feel almost callous as I write this.  We have been so, so lucky to have the opportunities and lifestyle that we have had for so long.  We wouldn’t change a thing.  And we aren’t really – we will be staying at the hotel at least four times a week, because that is what our job demands and there is no way that we could keep things going if we were based out here.

Seriously, we’re in the sticks.

But for those long weekends, for that time when we just want to lock the door and get away from sun burnt tourists, the taxi vendors desperate for some business, and the questions and questions and questions you get every time some one hears you live here. “What, in the Hotel?…How lucky you are!”

Yes, yes, yes…

Like I say, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful – and I am not.  We have a fabulous room in our hotel, the staff look after us, and as I mentioned, our operation would not run If Sian and I were not there 24/7.

I’m just hoping it will if we’re there 24/5.

Because with a view like this to come home for, the weekend just cannot come quick enough.

Thanks for reading guys – here’s to a new, super chilled out Ferg in the future 🙂

x

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

One of the things that I have really, really enjoyed about starting my blog is that I now read a crap load of them myself.  The blogging community is a social one, and if you post good(ish) content regularly, you get followers and friends.

But your fandom and almost freakish stalking of a particular blogger can sometimes go unnoticed…and that’s where the ‘blomage’ comes in.

As you have probably guessed, I have rather ingeniously combined ‘blogging’ with the word ‘homage’ and, well, I’m sure you will figure the rest out.

Anyway, the first in what I hope will be quite a long series of ‘blomages’, is to the wonderfully talented Leanne Cole.  Leanne is a photographer in Australia, and she posts spectacular HDR images on an almost daily basis.  I discovered Leanne because she kindly liked my page.  I followed her ‘like’ and saw her work.

And I have been reading her blog ever since.

Now – for those of you who don’t know, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and there are some simply wonderful photographers out there who use it beautifully. Leanne is definitely one of them, but I must also tip my hat to the amazing Trey Ratcliff who writes the ‘stuck in customs’ blog.

Out. Standing.

There are also a billion idiots who just rape your eyes with their attempts with the technique.  Please quickly go on Google right now, click on the images and search “Bad HDR”.   It’s OK, I will wait…you really have to see what I am talking about to fully appreciate just how awesome Leanne is.

Done it yet?….

SEE WHAT I MEAN?!!  Why would anyone think that is acceptable?!

But I digress.  I love Leanne’s work, and I hope that you do to.

One of the things that I like so much about her page, is that she explains (as best she can) her process to get where she wants to, and, shock of all horrors, she shares her original images too.

This is so, so brave – and I love her for it.

In order to make an HDR photo, you must take a set of at least three photos, in exactly the same spot at varying exposures. So, at the most basic, you would take one slightly under-exposed, one bang on the money, and one that is overexposed.  You then merge these bad boys together with an appropriate program, and play with the tonal mapping.  This allows you to expose the entire scene absolutely perfectly.  You can bring out details in the shadows that would just be black in your ‘bang on the money shot’, or bring down highlights that would otherwise be completely overexposed.

Bearing this in mind, you still need to compose correctly, and you need to know what you want your photo to look like in the end…otherwise you end up with something like this.   And no one wants that.

Ever.

But by sharing the original, Leanne faces the age old ‘oh, it’s just Photoshop – you’re just pressing buttons – that’s not photography’ bullshit.  And that is really unfair.  Post processing is part of photography now.  Sorry if you don’t want to hear that, but it is.  Photoshop is as important nowadays as the lens you buy, and if you don’t use it, you’re either a liar or an idiot or both.

What Leanne does, masterfully, is draw your eye to what she wants you to see.  She blurs out areas she thinks distracts, she blends tones and adds contrast where she thinks it is needed, and I would hazard that she spends just as long (if not longer) processing the shots as she does shooting them.   Unlike Snapseed and Instagram – which have their place and I do not knock them at all – Leanne has 100% control of her images.   She decides what the software does, not a computer.  Just like black and whites, Leanne understands which scenes suit the technique best – often abandoned buildings and old industrial sites, and she works her magic.

And with that, I leave you with my first blomage – an HDR exposure from Venice.  I wanted to bring out the graffiti on the wall, screaming from behind the beautiful hand carved and ancient second hand furniture.  This image is made up of nearly thirty layers (I counted them especially) with an array of blurs, blend modes, exposures, contrast, textures and noise…I hope you like it.

And if you’re reading Leanne, I hope I understood your last 50+ posts!!!

Thanks for reading guys 🙂

I have moved

Do you hate crap HDR as much as I do?  Please feel free to post any links to corkers you find in the comments below, and I will speak to you all again at the weekend 🙂

The other day I rang my dear friend Rachel.  She is awesome and gorgeous and has a wonderful husband called Ross and they have a baby I am yet to meet and another one in the post.  They, like us, eloped from the UK for a few years over to the States, but are now firmly back in the UK, living the dream and happy.

And Rach said something that really rang true with me.  I missed it all.  She wasn’t saying it in a bad way – but I missed the whole thing – I missed them moving home, I missed their visits back, I missed their birthdays and  I missed the pregnancy…and now their first boy Niels is going to be nearly two years old when I finally meet him.

I have also missed so much of my other friend’s paths – becoming teachers, actors, writers, performers, managers, cowboys (seriously) and everything in between…and I have no idea of their journeys…And I, like them, kissed and waved them goodbye 6 years ago – on a path to become a self-proclaimed literary genius, and am set to return a fully fledged photographer…how the hell did that happen?

Well, if you would care to indulge me, I hope to share the last six years of our somewhat crazy lives in a few paragraphs.  If you have come here for a few pretty pics, please, go ahead and check them out – I am under no illusions that the autobiography of a tubby balding Englishman may be deemed as tedious to say the least.  But for those of you still with me, I thank you, and promise to keep it brief.
When I left university, a glistening eyed 22 year old whipper snapper, I had grandiose plans to become the next Anthony Nielson.  A genuine bad boy of the theatre world, I loved his writing, and I adored his approach.  He does everything.  He writes and directs, and sometimes performs, very gritty, very witty, and all round awesome plays.  This was my plan.  And by God if, by the age of 22 I wasn’t on my way.  I was crazy lucky enough to work with some wonderful people in the Scottish Theatre scene, and after assistant directing Petrol Jesus Number 5 In the time of The Messiah at the Traverse with Philip Howard – a wonderful man, and amazing in the rehearsal room – I was offered a paid assistantship with another upcoming production.

I was ecstatic.

But then we got a phone call that changed our lives.

A family crisis and we had to drop everything in Edinburgh.  I tearfully spoke with Philip, who, as Philip does so well, listened and gave advice and told me that we were doing the right thing.  We left Edinburgh within two weeks, and moved into a small house in Bexleyheath with our little nephew Ryan who was only a few months old, and Sarah, my wonderful sister in law.  I kidded myself that I would be back in Edinburgh, working with Scotland’s New Writing House again in the future, and that all would be fine in the end.  But in my heart of hearts, I knew that I would be closing the door on that particular adventure…

…And so a new adventure began.

I wrote and emailed and scribbled my new ‘masterpieces’ to whoever I could think of, whilst Sian (then my girlfriend) worked a horrible job in the city she abhorred.

All for me.

What a lucky, lucky man I have been.

Rejection after rejection after rejection; the only saving grace of this time was that, for three days a week, I got to be a full time uncle.  Sarah and Sian would leave early for work, and from Monday to Wednesday I got to look after the two month old bundle of joy that was Ryan.

It was – and still is, the best thing I have ever done.  He was awesome.  We would go to parks, and go to library readings and play on the sofa, and make tea together, and whilst he napped, I would open the stream of rejection emails and letters; some of them hard, some of them soft, but all of them as gutting and upsetting as the next.  Until one day, I got a commission, and all was well with the world again.

Ironically, the play I had been commissioned to write was to be premiered back up in Edinburgh – the very city we had left a year ago.  Sian, stoically said she would work more hours to pay for my full-time writing shenanigans, and somehow we got by and I finished my play.

Two weeks before we opened, the company that had commissioned me went bust.  I had not received a penny for the year’s worth of work I had put in, and now it looked like I would have no production, no money, and all of it had been for nothing.   Worse still, the company had invested a crap load of other theatre companies for the Edinburgh Festival, but as they had gone bust, there were no venues for them to perform.  Not only my play was in jeopardy but so were another 80 odd companies’.

Things were not good.

We went back to Edinburgh anyway, and by hook and by crook, we got our show on.  The cast were great, as were a lot of the people who had been let down by my previous employers…it was not the nicest of times, but we got through.

On the 14th August I got a call from my friend Keara.  She told me the saddest news I have ever heard.   A very good friend of ours, Evren, was murdered back in London.  We hadn’t seen dear Ev for a good few years, but he was one of the most gentle and kind human beings you would ever be lucky enough to meet.  It was unjust, unfair, and Sian and I decided enough was enough, we would have a better year next year; we would run away.

And that’s where it all began.  Fired by a want to escape – a need to find something good and happy, we left shitty, cold, unkind Blighty for a life of sun drenched dreams and frivolity.

Well kind of.  We worked on the cruise ships.

And this is where it all started for us.  I quickly forgot about my literary ‘masterpieces’ – my obsession for good reviews (Google them, I’m sure you will find quite a few unkind ones) and yearning to work stupid hours for no money,  and I fell in love with the instrument of our new profession.  I loved the cameras.  I loved learning about aperture and shutter and ISO.

True, in the beginning, I learned very little very slowly and my first few years as a ‘photographer’ yielded embarrassing results to say the least.  I was great at portraits and gangway and everything else, because my manager would set me up with the settings, and off I would go.  Getting people to smile and look happy was easy for me, and then the camera did the rest.

But left to my own devices, I sucked balls.  Big time.  So much so, that I do not want to share any of my photos from the first year we were away with you..but I would like to share this.

This was the very first time I used my camera in manual, where I am proud to say I knew what I was doing.  And I sold a crap load of them, and every time I did, I felt like I had got a 5 star review for one of my now forgotten about ‘masterpieces’.

The Great Pyramids – Egypt

And it got very addictive, very quickly.  Every port we got to, I would take my camera out, and try and find the photo that would sell…and would be better than everyone else’s.

Because that’s all photography is really, showing off.

And I do love to show off.

You will probably notice that my earlier stuff is a lot more heavily processed than the work I produce now.  That’s because in the early days I really had very little clue what the flash I was doing.  But I have always been pretty handy with a computer, and when we first joined ships, I had a pretty solid grasp of Photoshop.

The Great Mosque – Istanbul

And as the years went on, I read and read, and shot and shot and shot.

An amazing room in the Lavadia Palace – Yalta

One of the millions of gondolas in Venice

Three years on the ships and I had worked myself up to Photo Manager.  When we were offered our position in Barbados, we leaped at the chance.

Sian and I at The Cliff – Barbados

And here we are now nearly six years later, and looking at returning to the UK next year.  We have seen so much, learned so much, met some amazing people along the way, and spent a disgusting amount of money on cameras, lenses and everything else that this career demands.

And to think, if we hadn’t had that phone call all those years ago I may have been a struggling director living in soggy Scotland.

If we could do it all again?…We wouldn’t change a thing 😉

Thanks for reading guys, puppies to come next – promise!!

As I mentioned a few blogs back, I spent a very relaxing weekend with James over in St Lucia last week.  I had gone out to help with a few technical things, talk over a few ideas, meet with the team, and generally touch base with the St Lucia arm of Colorbox.

I am happy to say, that James is doing a great job, so once we had got all of the niggly odds and sods done we were able to go on a little adventure.

In the worst car in history.

James has a terrible little Chevrolet Vomit Buster as a hire car out there, and it is awful.  Smaller than my 70-200 lens, with less power than the focus motor, this thing is utterly, utterly dump.  To make things worse, St Lucia has those wonderful topographical beauties that we here in Barbados can only dream of….Hills.  Loads of them.  As far as the eye can see.

And the little car struggled with every one of them.  But despite the inadequate engine, leg room and complete lack of sound proofing, it really was the most beautiful drive.   We snaked our way down from Castries down to Soufriere over the course of 90 minutes, climbing hills and bombing down the other side, with views to die for and sites to behold…it was a lovely day.

I had not actually taken my camera over to St Lucia and James wanted to visit some waterfalls (you can read his excellent blog on that here) so I offered to take some shots of him and his lovely girlfriend, Michelle, with his Canon 7D.  Now, for those of you not in the know in camera world, Canon and Nikon are the two big boys in the camera market.  It’s like BMW and Mercedes; both companies are amazing but whichever one you own, (in my case Nikon) you look over at the other side and secretly covet little things they have.   Publicly, however, you make brash, sweeping statements that put the other brand down and champion your choice of camera over any one else’s.

Truth be told, both manufacturers are amazing, and at the end of the day, when you look at the pictures, you would never know what was shot on what anyway…but I digress.

James bought his 7D a year ago now, and I have always liked it.  It’s quick to focus, comfortable to hold, and the colours are exquisite.  So I really was quite excited to get to shoot with it for the day.

It was also nice, because this is my comfort zone – this is what I do.  Take a beautiful couple in love, find some nice scenery, plonk them in front of it and get some great shots.

Using the Canon, however, I quickly fell from my comfort zone.

Oh. My. God.

I’m not sure whether it was the rickety journey in the God awful Chevrolet, or the 20oz coffee I had drunk that morning, but within a few minutes of our adventure I felt my heart rate increase and I got really, really nervous.   This in itself is ridiculous –  James is one of my best mates and we were just out having fun, but I found it very hard to relax with this alien thing in my hand.  Everything is backwards.  Aperture and shutter are the wrong way round, focus and zoom are inverted – and even the exposure meter is backwards.  What the flash were they thinking?

Surely this is more than an accident?  Surely this is just the two camera giants being obtuse?  “They go left, we’ll go right.”  “They go down, we’ll go up.”  It truly was disconcerting, and I could not fathom it.  I was also amazed at how much I just ‘do’ when I’m shooting.  Fire a frame: slightly over exposed in the background, stop it down a third on the shutter.  Flash too powerful: close down aperture by a stop, slow shutter by a stop – ambient and flash now correctly balanced, get on with the shoot…but try doing that on a camera where everything is backwards, and you end up looking like my dad trying to send a text message.

It is a painful sight that I hope none of you will have to see.

And that set the tone for the day.  James and Michelle were very patient with me as I blundered around the bizarre control system, and despite my inept ability with the camera, I still got some cool shots for the two…but as the day war on, I fell more and more out of love with the Canon, and pined more and more for my beauteous Nikon.

The camera is light, and very, very comfortable…but I missed the metal ruggedness of my beastie Nikon.  It was very quick to focus and the sigma lens James has is beautifully sharp, but I missed the chunky, 100% viewfinder and focus system I understand.  I took some wonderful pictures with the Canon, but all the while I held it I just felt like I was cheating…

I did love the jog wheel on the back, and I did love that the hot shoe is a lot further away from the eye piece.  When I put my pocket wizards (radio triggers for my flash) on my Nikon, the base pokes out and stabs me in the eye.  Every time.  And for that I was truly envious…but everything else?…Sorry Jimbly, I love you buddy, but you can keep the Canon…I am sticking with the Mercedes of the camera world.

But the one thing I could not fault the Canon for:  despite it’s inept operator we still got a shot of the god awful Chevrolet that even the BBC boys at Top Gear would have been proud of…True, I had to cut 99% of the hateful thing from shot, but between Jimbly sat looking cool, the Piton mountains in the background, a big flash bouncing off bonnet and a queezy feeling photographer behind the lens, the Canon did a marvelous job of making even the Chevrolet look acceptable.

Thanks for the adventure James – it was a blast.

x

Last night was our friend Kate’s birthday.  She manages an uber-chic, turbo cool club here in Barbados…so Sian and I stick out like sore thumbs.  Whenever we go there, we have a fabulous time, but it is one of those places people go to party and be seen to do so, which is not really our thing.  However it was her birthday and as we don’t go that often it was all very exciting 🙂

We got a call from the lovely Rob and Penny who were organising a few cheeky pre-party-put aways, and so we headed to their beautiful new house beforehand.

Now, obviously, going to a party, we had to bring our camera.  But being that our wonderful Nikon D700 weighs approximately 950 tonnes alone, we couldn’t take the full bag with our vast array of lenses.  So I packed the normal party kit.  Our super sharp, uber wide angle 14mm-24mm, a flash gun and some cheap radio triggers.   We take the wide angle for several reasons.  First up – it looks cool.  The edges of the photos bend and distort with the barrel of the lens.  Secondly – you get a lot more things in focus (more on this later).  And thirdly, you are able to take much longer shots handheld and not get that horrid blur that every point and shoot camera in ‘night mode’ gives you.  There is a lot less camera shake at 14mm, because the lens is physically closer to the sensor. Please post a comment below if you want any more on this – but that’s it for now on camera stuff – promise!

So anyway, we headed out of the door with our patented ‘party kit’.   We got to Rob and Penny’s house and my heart leapt when we met the new members of their family.  It then quickly sank again when I remembered what kit we had with us, and all of the wonderful lenses and gels and other sexy paraphernalia we’d left safely tucked away at home.

Rob and Penny have recently had a litter of seven of these critters to mum, ‘Bo’.

And they are utterly, utterly adorable.   Being a responsible couple, they have been meticulous in finding homes for the new pups – making sure the people are right, taking them all to dog training classes, and securing each little bundle of fluff the best home possible.  But until next week they have all of them, mum and all, in their new house.

And I am going to do a proper shoot with them before they go.

But last night I had to make do with what we had.  Ideally, I would use a much longer portrait lens for these guys, but as we had the crazy-ass wide angle lens I had to just to make it work.

I love this shot – with little pooch looking out at me, nibbling on Sian’s ‘Caribbean Blue’ necklace, and Rob and Penny chuckling in the background.   But here you see one of the problems with the wide angle lens.  With a long portrait lens you get what is called ‘bokeh’.  This is the blurring effect of the background that in turn helps make your subject pop out and appear more striking.  With a wider lens you lose this effect – more of the scene remains in focus – which is why we take it out as our party lens in the first place (see first paragraph!).   In this photo you can clearly make out Rob and Penny in the background.  But if I were shooting at 200mm with a wide aperture, Rob and Penny would be turned into a beautiful swirl of buttery-bokeh, all colours and indistinguishable shapes.

So what to do with these beautiful pups? How to make them stand out against their backgrounds without that lovely portraited blur?

That’s right – you guessed it.  Flash.

Nice narrow aperture, powerful flash, 200th of a second.

Bosh

Now, these pictures aren’t perfect – the light is hard, the shadows very pronounced, and the ambient light is non existent…but I am really pleased with them none the less.  It was a down and dirty 5 minute shoot,  and I love this part of photography.  You know what you want to achieve but your kit is not ‘the right stuff’ at the time.  Despite this, with some quick thinking and light trickery I was still able to get the shots I wanted.

After the puppies, some more friends, a trip to another house and some (yummy) jelly shots, we headed out to the nightclub – which was what this blog was initially meant to be about!

It was a great night – everyone was in top form, there was a HUGE turnout and Kate seemed to be utterly happy with it all.

Hopefully you can see and agree why I think the 14-24 is the best lens for a night out like this.  When in a cramped club with little room to breathe, it captures the whole goings on.  Unlike the puppy shots, which were shot deliberately fast to kill the ambient light, these were shot at a much slower shutter speed – a 5th of a second.  This lets the sensor soak up all those lurid reds and greens and other luminescent colours the d.i.s.c.o lights throw up.  I love it.

At about 3am, the uber – cool – retro – house – funk that we had been strutting to was quickly replaced with what can only be described as “Bondage Rap”.   Clearly “Ganster Rap” is oh-so-passe nowadays…

I love hip hop, but cannot fathom why anyone wants to listen to tripe like “face down, eyes up, that’s the way we like to f” – you get the idea.  I adore my music, and like to think I am ‘down’ with the kids…but seriously, who benefits from this horrificness?   Who enjoys listening to a guy rapping (to a FAT beat, I admit) about having violent intercourse with a girl half his age ‘cos that’s how we do it in my hood’?  Does anyone even care about the lyrics of  music anymore?…I don’t know – that’s a blog for another time.  Point is, we had an awesome night, and called it quits before I stopped the music and lectured everyone on the finer points of hip hop and sent them all home with no supper.

The only thing I regret is not getting a shot of the birthday girl herself, but Priva have their own photographer (who is very good). Being in the game I know how annoying it is when someone starts getting in the way and shooting stuff you are being paid to capture.   It usually ends up being a “my camera’s bigger than yours’ scenario and no one likes it.

And that brings us up to this morning.

Bleary eyed and fuzzy headed, (becoming a bit of a theme of late since work has quietened down so much) Sian – somehow – woke up full of beans and convinced me to go to Hunter’s market.  I was promised coffee, and pastries and all manner of things, not to mention a chance to see our good friends Ally and Billy there too…but when we got there, the weather was not on our side.

I felt a bit like the girl in the song from last night:

But a hearty lunch with our friends later and a lazy Sunday has left us in great stead for the week ahead.

Hope you all have an awesome one too.

Thanks for reading guys

x

So, as promised, I have loads and loads and loads to share with you all and have got a bit side tracked with work. (surprised?)  But I think it is fitting to write this blog today, because it is even the more relevant.

Oliver has come home.

Now, to most of you, that won’t mean a thing, but to Sarah, Den and Ryan who I have written about many times in this blog, it means the world.  It means the world because Oliver, or Ollie and Den and Ryan have now come to call him, is a genuine miracle.

I got a missed call from Den about nineteen weeks ago, which was bizarre – living out here in Barbados, we usually rely on Skype and the emailage to talk to each other to save the pennies.  So when I noticed it, I got the pit in my stomache…it’s never good news to get a missed call from the UK.

I called Den as soon as I could, and he told me that Sarah had been admitted to hospital.  There had been some complications with things.  He assured me that everything would be fine and not to worry.  But of course we did.  Massively.

It took me a few hours to work out how to tell Sian.

Sarah was at 21 weeks with Oliver, and was on bed rest in the hospital.

We rang and we rang and we Skyped and we called.

And after three weeks of the phoning and the emailing and the worrying and the sending of our love, I got another missed call at about 2 in the morning.

And it’s never good news to get a missed call from the UK.

But this call was.  Oliver was born at 24 weeks weighing in at just over a pound.  Den and Sarah sounded relieved, but there was still a very, very long way to go.  The little guy had massively under developed lungs, his eyes were not yet formed and he was just so small.

And so for the next few weeks, Sarah and Den and Ryan lived at the hospital.  They waited, and they nursed and they ground and they ground.  Den commuted and worked ridiculous hours,  Sarah was mum and nurse and everything in between and Ryan was, well, Ryan.  Amazing.  He never played up or got bored or kicked up a fuss.  Ollie was in hospital, so if he had to be there too, then so be it.  He really is an amazing little guy.

And all the while Ollie, as stubborn as his dad, as strong as his mum, as beautiful as his brother, just soldiered on.

And in the last six weeks, he has slowly grown.  He has been putting on weight, and he has been breathing on his own.  He is yet to reach his full term, but has proved to be strong enough and healthy enough to come home today.

And when you see him, and you see Sarah, and you see Ryan and Den;  no one talks about how tired they are – how they’re pissed off about work or about how expensive the parking is at the hospital.  And no one sees the tubes or the machines or the charts or the wires that have helped him along on his way.  All you can see, from ear to ear, are smiles of relief and genuine, genuine happiness.

Through Sarah, Den and Ryan’s tireless efforts, the world has been blessed with another little Ashworth…and although I did not think it possible, I love them even more for it.

And I just can’t wait to play the grabber game with him…

Thanks for reading guys – I will let the pictures do the rest xxx

I have been reading through my past few posts, and have realised that this blog is becoming less and less about photography, and more just a diary of our goings on of late.  I am also aware that pretty much every post I write starts off with ‘how busy we are at work’, which is very true, but I guess it can’t be much fun for you guys to read!  It is also worrying Sian and me that we are working far, far too much, and not playing nearly enough.

And that’s where last night comes in.

I was rushing back to the hotel for a meeting I had scheduled, only to receive a call to be told it was cancelled.  So I called Sian and we hatched a very last minute plan to catch the end of the football.  Racing back and parking up, we met and ran to the nearest bar .  Ordering a bucket of Carib and perching on ridiculously high stools, we sat down just in time to see Danny Welbeck’s (AMAZING) goal.  And we knew from that moment that we were going to have a good night.

Sian and I do love watching sport here  in Barbados, as it is one of the only countries in the world that supports England in its endeavours…we are normally unsupported by even our closest neighbours like my good Scotch pals and the Welsh, and usually when in a foreign land there is a lot of resentment to us doing well at anything.  But the Bajans love England, and it feels like home when you are stood cheering with 30 odd strangers as Danny Welbeck falls over and somehow manages to back heel the ball in.

We forgot about work, and moving, and all the stresses of the last few weeks…and had an awesome night.  It started with the football, and then a curry, and then some Caprinhas, and then some wine and then some beers and then some dancing, and then some broken flip flops, and then some walking, and then some singing and then some burgers, and then some chips, and then some walking…no, staggering,and then in the very very very early hours, some sleep.

We haven’t done this in years…and it was so, so fun.

And then my brain did that horrible thing.  It woke me up.  It woke me up bang on time for work at 7 am.

Why? 

Why does my body punish me so?  During the week, the prospect of waking up at 7 and dragging myself from bed is an impossibility.  I need at least two snoozes on the alarm and a lengthy discussion with Sian about who’s turn it is to make the tea this morning before even contemplating waking up. But on a Saturday, the first we have had off in months, and when we have gone to bed at 4am, 7 o’clock is clearly the most natural time in the world for my body clock to rise.

But, to be honest, despite the lack of lie in, a pounding head, and my mouth tasting like a tin mine,  I can’t be that cross with myself…because the site that I wake to is simply gorgeous.

I am wide, wide awake, and Sian is fast, fast asleep…

And we acted like teenagers last night.  And we laughed and we danced and we drank and we sang.  And now she lies here and I have to grab  my camera, and I realise that although I take pictures every day, I rarely take pictures of her…and I ask myself why?

And I promise myself I will.  I will take more pictures of my beautiful wife, and I will take more time off work, and I will try and enjoy life here in Barbados a little more over the next year…because that is the whole purpose of us finding each other.

Now, please excuse me, I am off back to bed with my hot date from last night.

Have a great weekend guys 🙂

x

There is sooooooo much that has happened over the last few weeks, I don’t know where to begin!  We have finally (nearly) moved offices  which has been a little stressful to say the least, but the new Colorbox HQ is setup down on the South Coast and all (will be) well with the world within a few weeks.   On top of all that, we have been taking pictures of famous footballers, taking photos of famous socialites,  flown home to shoot a wedding, met two AMAZING babies that I have a billion piccies to share with you, experienced a little bit of Blighty during the Jubilee holiday (again – PICTURES TO COME), bought ourselves an immense new camera and the fourth and final lens to complete our incredible arsenal

Like I said – pretty busy.

I will go back and fill in all those gaps over the coming days and weeks, but for now, in the present, we are back in Barbados and well.  Our good friend Nicky and her boyfriend Angus have flown back for a bit of good old British Summer and so we stoically said we would look after her house and three cats.  Which is probably the most stupid thing in the world to do ever, because I am crazy allergic.

Seriously.

What was I thinking?

But despite the sneezing and the itchy eyes and everything else the wretched Feline does to me…they do make me chuckle.   Sian is amazing with them – there are two boys and a girl, so they fight and hiss quite regularly.  Sian won’t tolerate any bad behaviour and they seem to listen to her as she barks orders at them.  We have not been able to spend as much time at Nicky’s as we had hoped (yet) what with the move and the allergicing and everything else, but when we do pop in to see them it really is nice.  Sian was out on the veranda and saw ‘Mink’ (the mum), and called her in.  Mink did a double take at the site of someone being home.  She pelted across the garden to come and find Nicky.  She raced up the stairs and straight into the living room…only to be disappointed to find that her mum was still nowhere to be found, and had apparently been replaced by a rather heavy set man – leaking from every orifice on his face.  A defiant meow was all she gave me before turning her back and walking to Sian for a quick stroke.

But, the most comedy thing about these cats?…They don’t drink from the water bowl…oh no.  They will only drink running, fresh water from the tap. Don’t believe me? Here’s a snap from our spangly new camera.

Unhygenic? Probably.  Spoilt cats? Definitely.  Comedy gold? 100% absolutely yes.

Thanks for reading guys, and looking forward to catching up soon 🙂

 

xxxx