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This was a wonderful, intimate wedding, with just Devon and Natalie’s closest relatives witnessing.  The weather in Barbados was beautiful, and the old abandoned plantation house was great fun – if not a little scary!

 

Massive congratulations to Dev and Natalie on their big day!

Today is my birthday, and I type this feeling ever-so-groggy following on from the celebrations of my wife Sian’s birthday do last night.

Christmas is always a full on affair for us.

But despite the hangover and the ringing in my ears, I am utterly content.  Chowing down on a sausage sandwich Sian has lovingly prepared, and surrounded by torn wrapping paper and birthday cards, I have already begun enjoying another magical Christmas – made all the more special by the fact that my parents, Bam and Pops, are here to play too.

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It is the first time either of them have been to the Caribbean, and they have always been amazing at visiting Sian and I on our adventures.  They are utterly awesome and I love to show them off.  Mum loves her jokes, Dad loves his pocket trumpet (which he carries everywhere) and the two of them wander around in eccentricity, bringing laughter and warmth wherever they go…seriously, you must meet them.

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So I say to all of you; I hope you all have a very merry Christmas.  I hope you are able to surround yourselves with family, friends and festive fun.

Kittens help with Christmas too apparently.

Now if you will excuse me, I have a birthday to celebrate with my best friends.

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

Well…not really.  If you had been a fly on our wall over the last few days, you would have seen Sian and I desperately trying to get on top of things…tidying the house;  building barbeques, catching up with holiday laundry, stressing a lot about work and generally getting a little tiddly at the excitement of my parents coming out to see us over Christmas.

But yesterday was fantastic.  We started the day with a cup of tea, looking out from our balcony and drinking in that wonderful view…when all of a sudden this little guy landed on the table by my laptop.  Ok, he’s not a fly on the wall, but ‘fly on the desk’ doesn’t sound right…does it?  He was ever so patient as I blinded him with two speedlights and intrusive macro lens and  the end result was definitely worth it.

Not even 9:30 am, and I had bagged an amazing image…things were shaping up nicely.

By about 10 our garden was teaming with the hit squad our landlady has bestowed upon us.  Over the next few hours the garden was transformed from the shaggy, overgrown jungle, to the well kept, primped and preened glory we know and love.  It is a lovely place to be.  And as we wandered around our newly reclaimed paradise, Sian spotted the coconuts in the tree, and asked me (for the 999999th time) if we could finally get that machete and cut them down…promises of coconut run punches, breads and cakes were made. So a trip to the hardware store was promptly arranged.

Now, as many readers of this blog will know, Barbados is not a cheap place to live. Far from it.  So imagine my surprise when I asked the nice lady behind the counter ‘how much that machete was – no, the huge one that looks like it could cut a tiger in two’, and she replied a mere ‘thirty bucks.’

Thirty Bucks?

That is how much Sian and I famously paid for a parsnip this time last year for Christmas…and here she was holding an 18inch blade, designed to last for years complete with rubberised grip and holster for the same price? This was surely the bargain of the century.

Before she could realise her obvious mistake and tell me the real price, I handed over the cash, strapped the holster to my belt, and drove home feeling like Crocodile Dundee…the coconuts had no idea what was going to hit them when I got back.

Or so I thought.

Turns out coconuts are incredibly hardy, and the guys at the side of the road who chop them up with the deftness of soft-handed masseus’ are clearly a very skilled bunch…I could not get the bloody things open.  I tried brute force, hacking, slashing, sawing…they would not play ball.  Even getting them out of the tree was stressful in itself…I developed a next level technique for this though. I call this photo ‘fat and clueless man swings hopelessly at nuts with a metal rod.’

When I finally knocked a few down, the frustration began…but after a few attacks, we discovered that if you did exactly the opposite to what the road-side vendors do, that is cut down the coconut, not across the top of it, they bust right open…and that water inside is soooo good when you’ve been swinging metal poles and a sword around in the 34 degree heat.

Victory.

And as I type this, the aches and pains in my shoulders, along with the callouses and blisters on my hands are utterly worth it.  Sian is currently dicing all the coconut flesh we were able to harvest meaning the spoils shall definitely be enjoyed! (perhaps a food blog next? Messages below if you would like to see?!)

In the evening we sat down at our newly built barbeque, congratulating each other on the days’ endeavours, and we were treated to one of Barbados’ hilarious blackouts.  Usually a problem for most people, but not us – not on this the day of dreams, far from it.  We wandered out into the front garden, slapped the camera on a tripod, and enjoyed Nature’s light show.

I never thought I would say it…but it’s good to be home 🙂

 

Thanks for reading guys x

 

To my dearest and adoring fan…or Mum for short.

Thanks so much for your patience at my complete lack of posting in nearly three weeks.  I am sure you expect the usual disclaimer: “Busy at work” etc. but, without even the slightest whiff of apology, this has not been the case.  Far from it.
Truth is, we have just had the most epic four week holiday and frankly have been having far too much fun playing with nephews, meeting old friends, making new ones, and hugging and squidging and loving every family member I have been able to get my hands on to be bothering myself with something as trivial as this blog.

It truly has been a wonderful month.

Two of our best friends got married, my brother and his Fiance FINALLY tied the knot, and between that we have been driving around the country – we met my dear old uni pals at Rachel‘s house,  went on a stag do, went to London, went to Chichester, visited Portsmouth, did a few photo shoots, did a few video shoots and much, much more…it was quite hectic!

And so now here I am, back in the ridiculous heat of Barbados, hammering this out on my dining room table with a beer by my side and full of a scrummy Indian dish Sian knocked up for us.  Life is good.

I figured the best place to start back up again was where it all began; our first appointment at home was our wonderful friends Krissy and Rich’s wedding…and here my blog begins….

This is one of those weddings that has been in the pipeline for a loooong time.  Just as all the best couples should (ahem) Rich and Krissy waited a cool ten years before they finally took the plunge and got hitched, and that always makes things a little more special.

What’s not special, however, is the feeling I get when I am a guest at a wedding. I never know what to do.  I am so used to being the photographer, that when I am at a wedding, I am looking at light, watching for lines and spaces, and it is even worse when I have my camera with me.  I cannot tell you how frustrating it is when you’re shooting a wedding and some gimp like me sticks his big lens in the way of yours and distracts the couple from the photographer they are paying for the day.  It is a horrible thing to do, and so I am adamant that I will never do it myself when at a wedding.

As such, for Krissy and Rich’s, I just took our small camera and fired a few snaps throughout the day.  Nothing major; just trying to capture the uber-awesome ‘country chic’ theme that Krissy pulled off oh-so well (Rich tried…but I think it’s a girl thing).

The weather was as stunning as Kriss was (well almost), and the happy couple left in the coolest wedding cars I have seen to date.

And instead of Pimms or champagne or whatever else ‘tradition states’, the pair opted for a much more cool, much more original, much more ‘them’ high tea.  With cakes and cakes and cakes…it was awesome.

As I hid in the shadows and let the photog get on with his thing, I was lucky enough to snap a cheeky shot of Rich carrying Kriss down the garden.

We then enjoyed a glorious dinner with three of Krissy’s most beautiful friends in the world ever…if you are reading Claire, Howard and Charlie, seeing you all was really fantastic 🙂

And as if the day wasn’t perfect enough, imagine our delight when we saw how Krissy and Rich looked after their artistes:

Thanks for the invite guys, we wouldn’t have missed it for the world 😉

x

As you all know, we are now back in Blighty on our annual leave, and as a super-secret surprise for Sian, I took her along to the new Harry Potter backstage tour.  They say it’s in London.

It’s not.

It’s in Watford, which is like 9947238473 miles away, but for someone like Sian it is definitely worth it.  She LOVED it.

A complete surprise for  her, I had this trip planned a good few weeks ago which is very rare indeed for me.  For our honeymoon we went to Orlando and enjoyed the mini Hogwarts there.  The theming was amazing and the ride was truly magical…if you’ll excuse the pun.

But this backstage tour is very different.  Rather than trying to recreate the world of Harry Potter here in the real world. this trip is all about expelling the myths; exposing the sets and props, and showing just ‘how they did it all’.  You’re treated to amazing sets with bare plaster board behind, huge mechanical structures complete with jacks and pumps and pullies hanging out of the back, and all the costumes and masks and animatronics that helped create the world of Harry Potter.

To be honest, I am not a huge fan of the films, for reasons I will not get into in this blog, but Sian loves them nearly as much as she does the books.  I am happy to say that I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed the trip too.  The amount of work that went into everything for those films truly is staggering.  It was a great day for an aging theatre buff like me…and even better for the now giddy-like-a-school-girl Sian.

 

But the best part came at the end – if you are going to go to Hogwarts any time soon, I would recommend skipping this blog and I will see you next time…if you’re not, then please read on 😉

 

 

 

Still with me?

 

 

 

Ok, so the best bit of the tour BY FAR is the amazing model of Hogwarts right at the end.  It is massive, and the detail and design that went into it, like everything else we saw on the day, truly is breathtaking.

This bad boy stood about 16 feet high, and it is this very model that you see during those sweeping shots throughout and over Hogwarts.  I (like I am sure you did too) thought this was all CG, and so to see a full blown model of this magnitude really was awe inspiring. It is a wonderful homage to a dying art, and I was both surprised and grateful that this model was how it was all done…Too many effects are now done with cheap CG, rather than models, and you only have to watch the new series of ‘Doctor Who’ to see what I mean.  Models cost a crap load – but the effect is oh so very worth it.

A thoroughly enjoyable day – and I recommend to anyone interested to take the journey to Watford…you won’t be disappointed…just expect to be forced to re-watch the films again once you get back…it seems to stir up some weird nostalgia in the Harry Potter-rites!

Thanks for reading guys – a million and six more advetures to come!

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

When you tell people you live in Barbados, they usually go ‘wow’, and have this picture perfect vision of sandy beaches and cobalt blue seas.  Barbados is a beautiful country, and it is always crazy, crazy hot.  But it is not always picture perfect.  In fact, it is very rare (especially in our new house) to go a week without at least one torrential downpour.  When it rains here, it rains.  And recently it has been raining a lot.  The temperatures have easily been hitting the 35 mark (95 Fahrenheit for my friends across the pond) making the humidity almost unbearable this summer.  I can’t wait for December, when it drops down to around 30 degrees and life is a lot more bearable.

Anyway, the other day we had some friends over for dinner, and Billy called us over to witness this amazing phenomenon.

It was one of those wierd-weather moments that looked amazing to the naked eye, but pants on my camera.  Basically, we could see a single column of rain pouring from a very angry looking cloud, but the rest of the sky remained rain-free.

I have had to pop the contrast an insane amount on this image, so apologies for the instagram-look, I hope you can appreciate how big this column was, and how the cloud looks almost like a sugar bowl ‘pouring’ the water out beneath it 🙂

As always guys, thanks for reading, and keep on snapping x