Thursday, 30 April 2009

iPhone Photo Gallery

I'm a big believer that photography is one of those things that you can't just pick up every now and again and expect to improve; you need to be out as often as possible taking photos and pushing yourself to keep in that 'creative zone'. Now I know it's not always convenient to carry your camera round with you when you're popping out for the day, and let's face it a Nikon D3 doesn't exactly fit in your back this is where my iPhone comes in. Granted, the resolution of the images it produces aren't up there with most DSLR's (yet) but that's not what it's there for; it's just that having it just keeps me looking for the next shot.

Here are just a few of the photos I've taken lately using my iPhone and edited 'in phone' (no photoshop).

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Phoebe & George's Photo Shoot

I've mentioned a few times in previous blog entries about our great neighbours: Steve & Edwina and their two children Phoebe (aged 12) & George (aged 10) whom both Anne and myself feel extremely blessed to have as great friends. Well this past week, wanting to make the most of the Bluebells that are around in their masses before they disappear for another year, I suggested that we all meet up for a bit of a 'social' - but also to take some photographs. I specifically wanted to take some nice shots for Steve & Edwina of Phoebe & George, not for any particular reason other than to say ... 'Thankyou'.

We headed up to Bluebell Woods with minimal kit and the photos attached are just some of the results we came up with.

The evening ended with a little drinky at the local public house (Hit or Miss, Penn Street); yet again a night of good fun and laughter in great company.

Technical Info:
Earlier in the week I photographed in Bluebell Woods using my Alien Bees R1600 Flash Head with large Octabox but this time opted for a more minimalist approach of one Nikon SB800 Flash Head and a Lastolite Reflective Umbrella. Reason being, with all the tree coverage this particular location needs a slow shutter speed to bring in some of the much needed ambient light. Consequently, to light the subject of the photograph doesn't need that much power, so the SB800 is more than capable ... especially when fired into a reflective umbrella. (See attached lighting diagram)

Gabriel Davies' VIP Tour of Heathrow Airport

Thursday last week was the day when Gabriel Davies, along with his parents Christine & Dylan, was given the VIP treatment at Heathrow Airport. I mentioned briefly in an earlier blog about Gabriel but as promised, here's his story written by a close family friend:

Gabriel Davies is a toddler battling an extremely rare and aggressive cancer, he will be turning 4 years old on 11th April 2009. He was diagnosed with an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumour (AT/RT) of the brain and spine in August 2008. Gabriel became ill the day his baby sister, Imogen, was born. Gabriel’s parents were told on August 7th 2008 that he had two or three months to live, so the very fact that he is still with us today is an absolute miracle.

Following a lifesaving operation to remove the brain tumour last summer, doctors at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, advised Gabriel's parents, that the cancer was so aggressive that palliative care was the only available option.

They took the heartbreaking decision to take him home to be with his family, but Gabriel was doing so well after two months on a low-dose chemotherapy that his team of doctors decided to attempt to treat the cancer on an intensive experimental chemotherapy regime. Gabriel's fighting spirit has carried him through and the tireless efforts of the team at Addenbrooke's resulted in an experimental treatment protocol being formulated. The doctors are not promising anything, but they are buying more time in the hope a new treatment becomes available, he has also recently undergone a stem cell transplant.

Gabriel has also been nominated for the Pride In Bedford Child Of Courage Award.

I was honoured to be asked to come along and document his visit by taking some photographs, in particular at the Airport Fire Station where the guys had, had a mini Fireman's Uniform made up complete with helmet. Amongst other things Gabriel was given a tour round the station, driven around in one of their huge Fire Engines and then taken to the training area where he let rip with a water canon. Airport Police also came along with some goodies and treated him to a ride round the airfield in their Police Car. Needless to say, the beaming smile on his face said it all.

Following his time spent with some of the Airport Emergency Services, Gabriel was then treated to all manner of things by BAA which included a trip inside the new Control Tower.

All in all, an incredibly humbling day and something special to see how everyone pulled together to make Gabriel's visit extra special, with not a dry eye in sight seeing this brave little boy having a really great time and smiling from ear to ear.

To keep up with Gabriel, his parents Christine & Dylan have created a blog which is updated on a regular basis:

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Exposed - Episode 2 "Bluebell Woods"

Following on from the post below about the shoot in Bluebell Woods, here's the second installment of our new 'behind the scenes' videos, this one titled: Exposure - Episode 2 "Bluebell Woods"

*Reminder: Pressing the HQ button in the video player window, plays a higher quality version.
Enjoy ;o)

A Little Angel in Bluebell Woods

This past Monday evening I was out at a wonderful location by the name of Bluebell Woods in Buckinghamshire, photographing the daughter of a very good friend of mine Barry Payne and his wife Kerry. For a while now I've been promising Barry that I'd photograph his daughter Samantha; not for any particular reason other than thanking him for being such a good friend and someone I know I can call on anytime if I need help with anything.

I knew the kind of photo I wanted to create (fairytale etc...) all I needed to do was find the right location, and as luck would have it, Bluebell Woods was right on my doorstep although I'm ashamed to admit that despite having lived in the area for nearly 11 years I've only just found it (Note to self:Know your patch!!!). Still, better late than never and I'm sure after having photographed there this week, I will definitely be returning. I briefed Barry & Kerry with what I wanted Samantha to wear so that everything worked and they couldn't have got it more spot on; Samantha looked every bit the little Angel in a plain white summer dress; so, the rest was up to me....eeeeeekkkk :o) !!!!!!

We were 'shooting' for just over an hour before the evening sun started to disappear, so when it eventually gave it's final farewell we packed up and headed over to the local public house (the Hit or Miss) for a bite to eat. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable time spent with great friends, in a great location on beautiful summer evening...what more could you ask for ? :o)

The set up for these photos was nice and simple (see attached diagram): One(1) Alien Bees 1600 with a large Octabox affectionately known as Big Bertha providing the soft, dreamy light which was essential for these shots.

Enjoy ;o)

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Latest News Odds n' Sods

Hi All,
With all sorts of things going on and projects in the pipeline I thought I'd write a little post to keep you up to date:

Firstly, I want to thank my good friend Barry for helping me out yesterday with a much needed photo. My new website is virtually finished now (thank god) but one thing that was missing was a photo of myself that I wanted to feature on the 'About Me' page. Barry, as always was there to help out and the photo attached is what we came up with for a quick 'self portrait'. To be honest, I'm not sure of this is the final image I'll use, but hey it's a starting point. (*Note: as this picture would be a web page, the right hand side has purposely been given lots of space to allow for text)

I'm really looking forward to this coming week. I'm going to up at Bluebell Woods in Buckinghamshire; a stunning wood that's, wait for it....full of bluebells. It's too good an opportunity to miss so I've organised a couple of portrait shoots Monday & Thursday evening. (I'll be sure to blog the results)

Also, this coming Thursday I'm going to be photographing a very brave little boy by the name of Gabriel Davies at Heathrow Airport. I'll blog Gabriel's full story later in the week but to give you a brief background, Gabriel who is only 3 years old is suffering from an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer (Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumour). BAA at Heathrow Airport have organised for Gabriel to be given a tour of the airport which will include a ride in one of the Airport Fire Service Fire Engines and I'll be going along to create a really memorable photo for Gabriel and his parents. I've got plenty of ideas, and I really can't wait. The photo shoot will be video'd too so I'll be sure to post everything here for you to see.

Other News: Friday this week I'll be announcing a competition that I'm calling 'Free Photo-Shoot Friday' so be sure to check back here for more details as the week progresses.

Finally, I'm going to be announcing something v.soon for all you photographers out there regardless of skill level. I can't say anything just yet but needless to say it's gonna be worth looking out for.

Anyway, I'll let you all get on now doing whatever it is you're doing and will catch up with you soon,
Enjoy ;o)

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Parent & Child Relationship - Absolutely Priceless!

Photography as I see it is all about capturing a moment, an emotion and a feeling and if there's one subject that can encompass all these it's the relationship between a parent and child. Every time I get the opportunity to photograph a family I think it's so important to create images that show that special bond because let's face it, in years to come without wishing to be depressing in any way, there will be a time when that 'someone' wont be around. Every time I look at photos I've taken of parents with their children I just think to myself how special it will be in years to come when that 'child' looks at that photo and I wonder what they'll feel.

Maybe I feel like this because I for one don't have photos like that, that I'll be able to look back on in later life but hey I could bore you to sleep talking about that ;o)

The 'Getting To Know You' Photo Shoot...

This year has seen a few major changes in direction with regards to my photography; the main one being that I'm focusing on my Portrait & Editorial Work and pulling away from photographing weddings. That doesn't mean to say that I flat out 'will not' be photographing weddings, cos I just means that I will limit myself as to how many. I'm a big believer that when it comes to photography you really can't be a 'Jack of all Trades'. In fact saying that you do 'everything' can have an adverse affect, because no-one can, so defining who and what you are is really important.

This year I've limited myself to 3 weddings and each has their own qualities as to why I've chosen to do them. They are all in fabulous locations as you'd expect but one in particular is at the gorgeous 'Matara' - a tranquil and beautiful venue set in 28 acres of woodland and parkland in the Cotswold Hills, Gloucestershire - a real gift for a photographer.

Another of the weddings I'm photographing is a Civil Partnership at the Frimley Hall Hotel & Spa for Brian Whyte & Chris Rivett. Being asked to photograph their big day means alot and I'm totally thrilled that they asked me to do so.

As with any wedding I think it's vitally important to do a photo shoot with the couple way before their big day for a host of reasons such as: giving an insight into how I work so there are no surprises on the day which also helps build trust; enables the client to get some great photos, again building trust and confidence and most importantly to help build a relationship so that everyone is that much more relaxed on the wedding day.

I've attached a few of the photos from Brian & Chris' photo shoot this week which was a blast. Brian aptly named it the 'Getting to know you' shoot, which I'm sure he wont mind me 'stealing'.

Enjoy ;o)

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Family Portrait Shoot - Zaf Mughal

Had a great time last Sunday on a family portrait shoot around Windsor and the WIndsor Great Park. Zaf Mughal, his wife Shabeen and daughter Zayna were great fun to work with and just went with the flow; just as well really as the first place we started taking photos wasn't the most picturesque location to look at (an industrial area at the back of some shops) but from a photography point of view was a gift. Here we were able to 'get into the groove' away from prying eyes and take some close-in / headshots before we ventured out into the 'public domain' but by then everyone was more relaxed anyway.

Before finishing off we set up a few flashes for a photo with their car and then headed over to the beautiful Windsor Great Park.

We were so lucky with the weather - bright sun & blue skies, so we picked out a prime location and started shooting. Just as well really as before we knew it, men in black overalls and balaclavas parachuted in and at gun point asked if we had a permit; ok, I'm exaggerating a little, but the warden in his Land Rover did have a stern expression on his face.

A few portions of humble pie later and we made tracks, but to be honest we'd finished anyway ... thankfully ;o)

Sunday, 5 April 2009

"Exposed" - Episode 1

"Exposed" aka "Behind the Scenes" is the name I've given to the series of videos we're going to be putting together from now on that give a quick peek at what goes into making some of the photos I post up here on the blog. This video is "episode 1" and as the first crack at this is just over 1 minute long. (Thanks to Big Dave, Lord McCutcheon and Johnny, or more appropriately, The Stig :o)

Can't wait to get more put together cos making it was great fun which I hope you see comes out in the video.

Enjoy ;o)

ps> Clicking on the HQ button in the video player below, shows the High Quality version.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Just a quickie ...

Just a quickie ... Thought I'd post up this 'headshot' taken during the week of a guy by the name of Stuart Craggs, and also give you the 'heads up' that I'll be posting a short (and I mean short ... like 1 minute short) video of an equally brief photo shoot v.soon.

Geez, how many times am I gonna write the word 'head' in one post??? :o)

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

A Little Update ...

The past week or so has been real busy 'topping' and 'tailing' a few things so I thought I'd just add this little post to give you a breakdown of what's been going on:

* Several meetings with the Fire Brigade, Ambulance Service, Police and British Airports Authority re the forthcoming 'Local Heroes' project ironing out such things as copyright issues, auditing of funds and so on. Looks like the project will start in early May which I can't wait for, so watch this space.

* This past week I've been out on a couple of recce's for upcoming photo shoots, one of which is this coming Saturday and should see the return of my smoke bombs.

* The new website although delayed, is well and truly on the way and I'm expecting (hoping) it will be ready to launch imminently with a few videos included.

* I'll soon be starting a 'Strobist' style group where photographers of all skill levels are welcome to come along to meets throughout the year to all sorts of venues for a day of photographing models. I'll be posting these details up on my Facebook, Twitter and Flickr pages.

So, plenty going on and no time to waste so I'll catch up with you soon,

Enjoy ;o)

> Here's another piccie from the shoot with Powerlifter Gareth Davies who is competing this coming weekend; go for it big fella ;o)

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