Life, Work, Photography
Bands and musicians, portraits, cats and a wife.
April 14, 2021 • Leave a Comment
What3Words, Perennial and Life Less Ordinary...Build your tribe
What3Words appeared on my radar about two years ago now, and I got it. A game changer, it can save lives, give people an address, save time, save fuel, help locate things and people and a lot more all by a free app.
Now I know most of you haven't clicked on the link, so here's a brief explanation;
Easily find a what3words address for anywhere in the world.
We have divided the world into 3m squares and given each square a unique combination of three words.
51.520847, -0.19552100 = /// filled.count.soap
Now you're going to ask what has this got to do with photography. Nothing, but it relates to my job at CED Stone Group.
After stalking the company for two years, they finally contacted me to see if we'd like to partner up and spread the word, change lives and help the environment. Simple answer to that is yes and so here I am spreading the word.
As a company CED Stone Group will be using What3Words to locate each depot, give the option at checkout to use the ///what.three.words address for delivery, promote with haulage companies the use of the app, promote within the landscaping industry the use of the app and lots of other ways as they drift into my mind.
If you're wondering about the picture, here's the story about making connections or forming your tribe as we say these days (I'm sort of down with the kids.. ish).
What you're looking at is bracelets from Life Less Ordinary, which are super cool and meaningful to their owner. The What3Words are the location for a bench at the bottom of my street where I sit on a morning and watch the sea.. drink coffee and catch up on social media.. my "space".
The other bracelet shows my support for Perennial and has their help line number on the reverse, so it's always with me.
I'm hoping that I can spread the word for What3Words and hopefully with the friends from my tribe we can do good things together, change some lives.
Now now go and get the free app here FREE APP. and lets see how you can use it.
September 28, 2020 • Leave a Comment
Recently I got approached by GoLandscape to take on commissioned work, shooting landscapers and designers.
My first question to Steve was "why me?". The goal behind GoLandscape is to attract young people into the landscaping sector as a career, so the goal behind the images is to make landscaping look fun, cool and sexy.. over all exciting and a career worth taking on. Steve had reviewed my website, especially the stylist shoots and "wants to bring some drama to the images" he said.
This image is of Lekha, team leader with John O' Conner Grounds Maintenance Ltd shot at the BBC in London. I shot with the teams for the day and had a real blast with them all, they really got into the spirit of the shots.
It has set me thinking about commercial work, producing images for companies and perhaps a little video.
April 21, 2019 • Leave a Comment
I recently did a tribal fashion shoot on location and decided to try a little video with the Osmo Pocket.
The Osmo has recently been added to my kit. After using it to shoot an interview at RHS Cardiff the little thing has impressed me.
Have to say I loved the results we got after a little editing, I've already been contacted by two bands asking for the footage.
Due to playing with video I've become more interested in my YouTube channel and will be putting more time into the channel and promoting it. Every marketing guru I have spoken to lately, the mantra is the same.. "video video video".
People have asked is the Pocket worth the money and is it better than a GoPro.. for me yes it's worth the money and is much better than my GoPro thanks to the gimbal. I've solved the sound recording issue by adding an external microphone (sounds going to be another learning curve).
The actual video involved three smoke bombs and walking round in a circle. I fell over twice walking backwards and Lauren walked into a tree, the smoke being that thick at times.
As usual much mayhem and laughs goes into these shots. Behind the scenes, much planning and thought.
February 03, 2019 • Leave a Comment
Actor Head Shots.. so important.
I've always loved shooting portraits, but Head Shots are an extreme version. They have to be lit and edited in the correct manner, even sized correctly.
These shots could open a door or close a door, a persons acting career in your hands as a photographer.. no pressure then.
I involve the client in the whole process, from types of lighting through to the editing stage I consider it that important.
Now people probably think living in Hartlepool there's not may actors, well your wrong. Hartlepool now has a great university and part of it is film production.
Max here is off for an audition in the West End, a musical.. I wish him all the luck and if my head shot helps him.. that's great.
August 19, 2018 • Leave a Comment
I haven't blogged for a while mainly because I keep forgetting to blog, not that I haven't got stuff to blog about.
A dream came true this week, I got to fly the Bat in the local church St Hilda's at Hartlepool all thanks to a local band LORE who needed some video footage to go along with a new track.
I met the lads at the church along with vicar. After greetings and me proving that I was a decent guy.. I plucked up the courage to ask.. "Can I fly my drone in here?".. none of us thought we'd get the answer back, "Sure.. just be careful and can you have a look at the windows while your on.. one of them fell out recently during a service". We had the green light!
The lads got cracking setting up and I did some phone footage of the lower windows.
Half an hour later, LORE were making some amazing music in what is an amazing space.. and I took off and started filming it all.
The video shows the church in a new way, and the music is excellent.. this is my edit of the day, not the actual video that will be produced.
Go check out LORE
March 18, 2018 • Leave a Comment
I've nearly given up on photography so many times recently mainly due to worrying about my obsessive nature.
A friend said this week, "your like a sledgehammer.. do you ever bloody stop?" as he turfed me out of his office again. It hit home to be honest and worried me. The need to win or be the best has always been a nagging part of me, driven or obsessive.. it's hard to tell.
I never thought I was creative, I thought I was a "builder". At work I build teams, in the past I've ran paintball teams, I've built a worldwide gaming clan, built websites... always with the "building", how big can we make it?, how far can we go? how much money can we make?. Then photography happened for the second time in my life.
I've fallen in love with the camera, but more so with the creating of images. Over the past five years this passion has come with a price, much soul searching about my photography. Is it photography or art? I'm not really used to creative soul searching like trained art people (the wife). Apparently it's all part of a process.. who knew?
When I can't see the path or "do peoples heads in" with this mad passion.. then it seems easier to give in, stop and put the energy somewhere else.
Then someone say's one little innocent comment on their photograph from a shoot, about how the picture makes them feel.. "I FEEL FIERCE".
"I FEEL FIERCE".. Victoria wrote under her picture on Facebook, and I filled up inside. How can I give up if I can help one person feel so good about themselves? Three words that saved my photography..
March 04, 2018 • Leave a Comment
What can you say about Peaky Blinders, I love the TV show. OK.. so it's not historically correct, but I love the characters and how it's shot.
When Matty asked would you fancy doing a shoot based around it I jumped at the chance. I really wanted to create the look and feel of the show and Matty went all out on the costume, props and haircut.
We decided to shoot over two locations, Preston Park a local museum for the street shots and my cellar studio for the portrait shots.
The museum staff were great and welcomed us in.. "on order of the Peaky Blinders" as one of the staff said. I'm always polite and seem to get anywhere if you wave a camera around with a 70-200mm lens on it.
It was freezing cold, so we shot fast and headed back to the cellar.
Matty had a couple of shots in mind, a couple we grabbed at the front room window. At this point Matty had to smoke his first ever cigarette, which gave us all a great laugh and Matty a huge coughing fit.
I used some old blinds and smoke to add to the atmosphere in the cellar, and some new light setups on some of the shots to get the TV look.
All the shots were edited in Lightroom with a preset I made myself to get the colour coding as near to the TV program as possible.
I loved this shoot as it tasked me to create a "look".. I think we achieved it.
October 17, 2017 • Leave a Comment
Last of the Chernobyl phone films, this time playing with a musical score.
This has been up on YouTube for a couple of weeks and gathered a bit of interest and questions. The dog is a wild dog, not my dog though that is my whistle. The music is royalty free music bought through the editing package.
I've really got the bug for playing with video at the moment, it's given me new tricks to think about. The learning curve is pretty steep, but reminds me of when I began photography. I'm spending hours on an evening reading, watching YouTube and chatting in film groups to try and catch up to my piers.
September 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment
The Zone, better known as the Exclusion Zone at Chernobyl is a must visit if your into urbex. A town that has been abandoned for 30 years, a town where people evacuated and left everything behind, a town where nature is reclaiming it's space.
I hadn't really planned to visit Chernobyl but a chance came up to shoot a festival involving the local art college, CCAD . This would give me a chance to make new friends both locally and the Ukraine, so I packed my gear and went.
This blog shows the shots I got from scrambling about in the buildings, what a place and what an adventure.
As I don't normally shoot landscapes or buildings remembering how to set up the tripod took sometime and gave much amusement to a new photographer friend. Everything was rushed, ducking and diving into buildings you were not supposed to enter, hunting down shots and quickly setting up and then getting out.
I also shot a little video on the phone, a regret is that I didn't shoot more. As usual I was travelling too fast, with too many thoughts and not enough time to do everything I wanted to do.. so another visit will be called for, taking more gear.. "the dogs" and "the bat".
The video below shows Pripyat Cafe, complete with it's amazing stained glass. A fantastic piece which I could have shot all day.
March 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment
A work trip up in the Highlands gave me a chance to give The Bat a couple of flights in among the mountains.
The visit was to catch up with old contacts and touch base with some new quarries. The boss and I clocked up some miles during the week, long hours and lots of miles to be honest, but the scenery was awesome.
Luckily for me, the boss happens to be a drone pilot himself, so didn't mind the jumping in and out the car to grab some flight time.
I shot some footage of one of the quarries, all went well until The Bat decided to take things into it's own hands and crash in to a gravel pile. This made me very nervous from then on. Even with all the tech on board these things still do strange things by themselves. Luckily.. no damage.
The wife and I are planning a road trip up to the Highlands soon after reviewing this video, we think we can do better. Planning more photography and now.. a little video.
January 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment
After much thought and people asking, I've bought a drone. Me being me it has to have a name, so here's The Bat.
The plan is to learn a little bit of video production along with the photography and add this to a skill set. I'm still pouring hours of my free time into learning photography so adding, learning to fly, the rules and regulations, shooting from a drone and learning three new video editing programmes should keep me busy.
The good thing about The Bat is it's state of the art technology and is actually a flying camera. I'm hoping the learning curve isn't so steep as the last drone due it nearly flying itself.
The video above is flight number three and actually video number three, so still lot's to learn.. but it's a start. In other words, yes I know it's not a great video, it's tooooooo long and some of the flying is poor.. but if I apply myself to this form of art like I do to photography, hey who knows.
December 06, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Shooting at HD Studio, a big deal for me. First time shooting in a big photography studio with professional models, and with photographers that I aspire to.
HD Studio is located in central Newcastle, several shooting spaces, very well equipped, wifi and kitchen, changing rooms etc. A very impressive creative space, so many backdrops and rooms it was actually mind blowing. Studio One has to be mentioned with it's towering infinity wall, it's worth visiting just to shoot on it alone.
Both Stu and Dev are cracking photographers, guy's I've followed for a while.. so going to hang out with them was a bit daunting if I was honest.
As I've never attended a workshop with professional models before, I didn't really know what to expect.
From walking through the door everyone made me feel very welcome. Dev gave me a quick walk around, Stu then picking up on the tour and introducing me to everyone which is a really nice touch and broke the ice.
Meeting the models was cool, both girls being professional models.. Maz Ulvants and Faye Hunter were very approachable and pulled off "looks" and poses that made it hard to take bad shots in all honesty.
I got into the swing of things as the day progressed. There was planned clothing changes and different areas to shoot in, lights being set up before our arrival at the area. Everyone taking turns at shooting, some posing the models, some just going with the flow.
Shooting on white backgrounds has never been my thing as I'm unsure of the results, also fashion style shoots is alien to me. So did I enjoy myself and did I learn anything from the day?
I had a real laugh and made new friends (hopefully) and I got some great shots. I would do it again and recommend HD Studio.. I'd also recommend Stu and Craig for advice on photography, and I'd recommend Maz and Faye as excellent models, who are fun and helpful with the shots.
Here comes the but...
I can't get past the feeling these aren't my images. I'm so used to working through an idea, setting lights, planning locations, bouncing ideas back and forth.. I think I love the creative process as much as the photography. This is the biggest thing I learnt from the day, a bit of self discovery.
But.. HD Studio.. I will be back. I did learn new lighting settings.. I just want to get my hands on those lights and play.
On a final note, if you are a pro or an amateur photographer.. just go check out HD Studio.
November 06, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Shooting the folk festival again, meeting friends, hanging out, listening to music and doing photography.. could it get any better?
Here's an interesting thought though.. what do wedding photographers do at a wedding if they are feeling ill? Battle through I suppose?
I wasn't well for most of the weekend and skulked around in the merch tent with the wife. I did get to meet some great new people and got some pictures over to Findlay Napier for him to use (fabulous artist).
Roll on next year, the festival is going from strength to strength so I'm hoping I'm chosen again to shoot.
October 09, 2016 • 2 Comments
Step one of a new tribal shoot, checking out the makeup and headdress.
I also wanted to practice back button focus on the Sony, something I set up during the week. I have heard many thoughts on back button focus so thought I'd give it a try and see if it helps me nail my focus. I just haven't been nailing the focus lately and felt I've been getting sloppy with my shoots and could do better.
Lauren and I have so many ideas for shoots, styles, locations and shots my head nearly explodes with the ideas. We have had the tribal shoot on the burner for a while, this is step one.. the next will be on location with and outfit.
Today Lauren dragged herself round, full of cold and tired.. I keep asking myself why are we doing this? I have a burning desire to be a good photographer, to learn as much as I can.. I can't help feeling like I'm playing catch up with my peers. This leads to me nagging friends to shoot.. even when they are ill. I'm going to try and stop this to be honest before I kill one of them.. "Death by Photography" will not look good on a young persons grave stone.
I know to some the shoots appear the same, but like Lauren says.. we both learn something on every shoot. Today I practiced back button focus and had two "dogs" for lighting, one gridded to light the feathers.. I didn't nail this, but it's a start.
I'm hunting for a location for the second part of this shoot, the image is in my head. I know how Lauren will look, the props needed and the lighting.. now all we need is the time and good health to get it done. Thats what drives me.. getting it done.
October 03, 2016 • Leave a Comment
I had this sort of shoot in my head for a while, so when Bethan asked to shoot with me I knew we should go for this look.
Coming from Hartlepool we have some great beaches, but not hot sunny mornings. A 6.00a.m. morning shoot was always going to be a bit chilly... and it was. The big plus side, we arrived on the beach at just the right time to start watching the sun come up over the horizon.
I got "the dogs" out and set up. I have no idea why I call my strobes "the dogs" apart from I can say "release the hounds" or "who let the dogs out?". Perhaps they remind me of barking dogs when they flash?. They are all labelled, Dog One to Dog Four so I can keep a track of them in a lighting set up and know which one to switch on, turn up or down etc..
Never having shot with Bethan before it was a great surprise and relief when she started pulling off poses. Posing people is not one of my great strengths and something I'm working hard on.
I got my settings nailed in and we shot quickly, me being worried that Bethan would freeze on the beach. This proved to be totally ungrounded as she proved to be oblivious to the cold.
We had a quick break, taking some time to chat and for me to swap lenses and pack the "dogs" away. Bethan did a quick change and we headed down to the shore for some softer style shots, using some of the old pier.
Spotting some old wooden pier legs, we decided to use them. At this point Bethan decided to fall in the sea! I nearly died and she thought it was funny and never stopped laughing. I worried from this point on that Bethan may freeze to death, but with some good stuff in the camera we decided to call it a day and head home.. mainly so Bethan could get warm.
People don't see the time that goes into editing from a shoot, this one would take me the rest of the day. I like to get the pictures edited and back to the model as quick as I can because I know they are as excited as I am to see what's in the camera.
There's a few different editing styles from the shoot, I like to play with the images, experiment and learn.
I've had a great response to these images, but most of all Bethan is thrilled with them.. we'll be shooting together again.
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