The ladies in the next village to us decided to put on Calendar Girls to raise some money for charity. I offered to take the pictures for the calendar and we had a great Saturday setting up some shots and working through some ideas. The show went ahead a couple of weeks ago and I have to say I really enjoyed it so a big well done to the Whaddon Calendar Girls!.
For most of the shoot I used my fantastic old Mamiya 55mm f1.4 manual focus lens which I fit to the Canon EOS 5D MK2 via an adaptor. I was brought up on film cameras with manual focus lenses so using a vintage lens just feels right to me. Also the image quality is superb and the pictures have a really nice look to them as I find the modern Canon L series lenses to be quite clinical. For the shot outside in the snow I used the excellent Bowens Travel Pak to power a single Bowens 500 flash head with a basic reflector. This is a technique that I love to use as the powerful studio flash can give some great results when used outside and mixed with daylight.
We’ve got the winter and spring shots in the bag and we’ve booked a day in June to get some summer months covered too weather permitting.
If anyone would like to order a calendar please get in touch – they are £10 each with all proceeds going to charity.
Then to cap off a fabulous week I went to Silverstone last weekend with Harry my son and we watched the Aston Martin Owners Club event which was just fabulous. It cost me a £10 to get in (Harry was free!) and there were all sorts of classic cars on show as well as the fabulous Aston Martins. The whole event was so friendly and were even allowed into the garages to see the cars close up and out onto the pit lane.
I took the old 5D Mk1 again and this time I used a 50mm f1.4 Mamiya Sekor lens for the wider shots and a Nikon 300mm f4.5 manual focus lens for some action shots of the racing. I like to use manual focus lenses for motor sport and the old Nikon lens performed very well indeed!.
I didn’t have track side access so the shots do have a fence in the foreground at times. To counter this I panned with the cars to reduce the impact of the fencing by blurring it out a bit.
It has been great to have some time free and to shoot some pictures for fun!.
There’s a few main reasons why I like events. Firstly I get to dress a bit more smartly than normal, then I get to work with people rather than building or products. It’s great for a bit of people watching and also I usually get some great food at some point in the proceedings too!.
A recent example of this was last week where I was commissioned by one of our regular clients to photograph an awards do in Westminster. The Minister for Housing came along and the venue and food where out of this world!.
The red wine looked great too but I never drink when I’m working!. I learned this lesson a few years ago when a client invited me to their Christmas party which was in Covent Garden and there was probably two hundred people there having a great time. I was invited along as a guest but on the understanding that I took a few pictures early in the night.
I got the pictures then joined the merriment but unfortunately ended up dancing on the dance floor at 1am with my EOS 5D MK2 and 24-105mm L series lens and the lens came loose somehow and smashed on the floor!. Ouch that was a £900 lens – lesson learned.
If you have an event you need covering please call me – I’d be happy to attend!.
I had a couple of really nice commissions last week. The first was to photograph the new Baroosh restaurant in Marlow and the second to photograph the new Languages block at Rugby school.
The restaurant was a tough shoot because the interior surfaces were quite dark and the stained glass windows very bright. I used some very gentle HDR techniques on some of the shots to render highlight and shadow details properly.
The Rugby School shoot was fun too. I had already photographed the interior on a previous visit and that meant that I could concentrate wholly on the external of the building. I like to break architectural work into separate shoots where possible as I find interior and exterior photography need to different mind sets.
We’ve had some studio work in too recently which we shot in our little studio in Winslow. It’s only a small space but it’s set up perfectly now and we can achieve so many different lighting styles in there despite the limited space.
It’s been a relatively quiet start to the year although to be honest January in always quiet so it’s no surprise!. We’ve been busy quoting lots of jobs for later in the year which is great news and I have several jobs in the diary for February including two trips to the Lake District, a few days in Scotland and two jobs in Wales.
In the past few days I’ve photographed a Baroosh restaurant in Marlow, some products for a street lighting manufacturer, and a lovely lady called Annalie!. I’ve also photographed a beautiful stately home in Kent, a Sole Trader store in London, a John Lewis store in Ipswich, a new building at Rugby School and an event for the NHBC.
Our video production company Inverse Square Media has also completed a couple of video productions so actually it’s been busier than I thought!.
Over the past couple of years I’ve been using manual focus lenses more and more and have bought several Carl Zeiss lenses for my EOS 5D MK2. Last month I bought a manual focus 90mm Macro Voigtlander lens specially designed for the Canon EOS system and it is one of the very best lenses I’ve used. The silver street light product in this post was taken with this lens and it’s really sharp and contrasty so is highly recommended!.
As you can tell from the increasingly infrequent blog posts we are still very busy and things are continuing to pick up. We have been really lucky to have had a record year this year (year ended April 2012) and we are on target to beat that again!. Also in April 2013 we will be celebrating our 10th year of being in business so we will definitely drink to that.
The past few weeks have been really manic and fun with photo shoots all over the country from Cumbria to Chichester.
Rather than name them all I’ve posted a few shots from the past month or so in the gallery. I have to admit that I hate having my picture taken with a passion but there is a shot of me working away at The Reform Club in Pall Mall wearing my one and only suit!. I get three or four jobs a year where a suit is required and although it’s a pretty decent whistle it’s always good to get home and change into some jeans!.
I’d like to thanks all our clients for all their support this year and I look forward to working with you all again next year.
Another of my favourite projects from the past couple of months has been the Lotus retail store on London’s Regent Street that I photographed for the lighting manufacturer Reggiani Lighting who supplied the spotlights and downlights in the store.
The guys at the store were very helpful and were happy for me to move the displays around a little (except the car!) and I really enjoyed spending a couple of hours or so in the store looking for angles etc.
The lighting was very good indeed with well aimed spotlighting and precise beams from the luminaires and I took the pictures in the late afternoon so the daylight outside started to fade to a blue colour due to the warm Tungsten lighting inside.
I love retail photography as there is so much colour and tone so this was a real pleasure to photograph!.
The really busy theme continues as the diary has been full over the past month hence the gap between blog posts once again!.
This is the first quiet week we’ve had for months so we’re taking some time to finish off loose ends and to update all our social media and Flickr etc.
The one big job that I’ve done this month is the photography at the superb new Kinnarps furniture showroom on Turnmill Street in Farringdon.
We had a two day shoot there a couple of weeks ago as Kinnarps are producing a book to promote the showroom and every area had to be captured accurately.
The first day and a half was spent photographing the areas with no people in so the shots needed to be very architectural and clean with nice straight lines and good perspective.
I mainly used my 24mm tilt shift lens for these shots and also used two 500 w/s Bowens flash heads to add some fill light here and there.
The afternoon on the second day was spent working with a team of six models and an art director to achieve some natural looking shots of people interacting with the space and the furniture.
Richard West from Jellyfish directed both days of the shoot perfectly and he made it easier for me by setting up some of the scenes and also directing the models whilst I worried about the lighting and composition.
We hired the models from Boss (a top UK agency) and they were very professional and easy to work with.
Kinnarps also had a launch party the following week and we popped along as guests to that and had a great night. We also took some pictures capturing the event whilst we were there.
There are some of me dancing to the Madness tribute act taken by my assistant Toni but they have now been well and truly sensored!!.
We’re really pleased with the pictures (as is the client which is great!) and I’ve put a selection of them in the blog today.
We’re excited to announce that we’ve got our own stand at the upcoming Lux Live show at Earls Court – we’re stand K21 so if you can please pop in and say hello to Melanie, Ani, Toni and Maureen. I’ll be photographing the show and the stands so please grab me if you need any pictures or fancy a portrait for the after show slide show!.
My poor car is wearing out fast due to the huge number of miles I’ve been driving lately as we are so busy!.I’m about to order a new company car so more expense there but I think I need a new efficient motor as my poor Mondeo has now covered 105,000 miles and she’s feeling the strain. I think I’m going for the Seat Ibiza 1.6 diesel which should give me around 60 mpg and so save me some money on fuel – happy days!. I just need to check all my kit will fit in the boot before I order the thing.
On the work front we’ve recently completed a series of photo shoots for DW Windsor who manufacture a stylish and efficient range of exterior lighting products. We’ve completed shoots in Worcester, Clacton, Southend, Ipswich, Stevenage and London for them in the past few weeks. I’ve included a couple of the shots in the blog today and my favourite is the sea front at Clacton!. Exterior lighting can be tricky to photograph when lit and you only really get a 45 minute window of pure dusk light where the sky reads a lovely deep blue. Thankfully these days hardly anyone uses High Pressure or Low Pressure Sodium lamps (the yellow ones you used to see on the motorway) and more often than not the new fittings being installed are actually LED based so they give a pure white light which is easier to colour balance.
I’ve also been to York to photograph the new university buildings there, Nottingham to a new building for the Mental Health Institute and to Oxford where I photographed a Nationwide branch for a new client who are so far really pleased with the results. In the words of Basil Faulty “A happy client – we should have them stuffed!” but seriously we never let our clients down and always produce the goods!. BUPA have kept me busy too with some photo shoots in London, Leeds, Dunstable and Chichester. On top of all that we’ve had a couple of days in the studio photographing some products so as you can see we’ve been really busy since the last blog entry.
Another of our regular client is Philips Lighting and they have sponsored London Fashion Week so I spent Thursday and Friday last week photographing some events they held as well as some of the catwalk action. The buzz around Somerset House where Fashion Week is being held is really exciting and I thoroughly enjoyed my two days there. You’ll see a couple of pictures in the blog today from the event on Thursday and from the catwalk on Friday.
We work with some leading lighting design practices and LAPD are a very cool practice who design some great lighting schemes. One such scheme is the lighting of the sculptures around Stratford in London just outside the Olympic stadium. I photographed the area at dusk last week and we captured some nice clean dusk images one of which is in the gallery in today’s entry.
Unfortunately our main Photoshop PC crashed for good yesterday after struggling along with the constant workload lately (Toni is in every day including weekends working through all the RAW files and Tiffs) so I had to make a dash to PC World for a new one. I must say I’m very impressed so far with our new HP Pavillion PC with it’s 8GB of RAM and super fast processor. It runs Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS5 very smoothly indeed and I think we left it too long to upgrade. Small businesses used to get 100% tax relief against new computers but that was stopped a few years ago and in these tough times you would have thought that incentives like that would have helped everyone but maybe that’s too simple for our current crop of MP’s to take in…
Well it’s the busiest I’ve ever been and taking a few days off to go to Euro Disney last week has proven to be a bad idea!.
We had four nights over there and came on on Sunday then on Monday I had a shoot down in Exeter followed by a shoot in Evesham yesterday. Today it’s been meetings, office work and some studio work too!. Tomorrow I’m working in Clacton and Ipswich and have a meeting in the morning too!.
We had to pass up a lovely job to shoot a designer shop in London this week too which was painful as I’d love to have done it but we just couldn’t fit it in and we never let our clients down by delivering late on a deadline. It really hurts to lose out on a well paid job like this but it’s better to be honest with clients than promise what you can’t deliver!.
We are now booking into October which is a real bonus as it means we don’t have to worry about paying the bills for a while and I can concentrate on the work we have in now rather than worry about filling the diary!. I’ve uploaded a few pictures from some recent jobs which I haven’t had time to do for a while. I must update our Flickr and website too but there aren’t enough hours in the day right now.