A man and his dog

Following from my previous post, you all know that Sian and I stayed with two of my best buds Will and Eddie in Will’s house out in Carlisle a few weeks back.   And, while we were there, we fell in love.

Not with each other – I have ensnared Sian for over 11 years now and am fairly confident she has done all the falling she can for the time being.  But we met Will’s dog, Lois.

And she is all kinds of awesome.

Although only with her for a few days, it was very obvious to us how this (let’s be honest, beautiful) Labrador has made our dear friend Will’s life so, so much better over the last few months.

Poor Will has had a tough time of late, and seeing him in his new home with his new dog, Sian and I were both utterly relieved and immensely happy.  She truly is man’s best friend.

And she adores Will.

We had a late train home on the Saturday night, so Will kindly offered to take us out to Corbridge via a rather splendid butchers.  With the car heavily laden with a ridiculous slab 0f fresh silver side, camera gear and a dog, we set out along a fantastic Roman Road that ran parallel with Hadrian’s wall.  And what a day it was.

Upon arrival in Corbridge, Lois leapt to attention, only to drop her smiling eyes at the site of a famous kitchen shop that Sian and Will found fascinating.  After the obligatory walk around, we fetched the intrepid traveller from the boot of the car, and to her disgust, put her on the make shift lead Will had fashioned from a strap he uses to attach his canoes to the roof of the car.  Lois doesn’t need a lead, but the general public do tend to get a bit antsy when they see a pooch roaming free on the pavements.

We bumbled around the beautiful town of Corbridge for a few hours, and then headed down to the river bank to let Lois (and Will) have a play in the river and stretch the legs.

There is a beautiful bridge in the town, which Sian later quipped was probably how the town got it’s name.  She imagined the Scots seeing it from afar and saying ‘Cor! Bridge’…you may have had to have been there, but I found this hilarious.  Anyway, I felt obliged to get a snap of the said monument, but I’m afraid I rather let the squad down on this one with an average at best attempt – but I had to share it none the less in order for the narrative to make sense.

There were some ducks chilling out in the fast moving water, and in an homage to my dear mum who reads this blog religiously, I thought I would give her a snap of one…she freaking loves ducks.

And then Will found a stick which Lois quickly became very fond of.  Casually throwing it into the running river, Lois had no qualms jumping in to rescue her beloved piece of dead wood.  It was amazing how strong she is, and how well she fought the fast moving current.

We then retired for some ginger ale and olives whilst Lois ran around the trees, like the middle class tourists we are.  Watching the river run by, and enjoying the sun on our backs…it really was a lovely, lovely day.

At this point, I already knew that I would be writing a blog about the day, and the sheer awesomeness of Lois doting on Will – and I knew I needed a portrait of them together to tie the whole thing up.

They say that you should never work with children or animals…but I was working with a soggy dog and Will.

Believe me, this is much, much harder.

But I think I got there in the end:

I love these two shots.  Lois dotes on Will in a way I have never seen in a mutt before.  He looks left, she looks left.  He shows interest – she shows interest.  He laughs, she wags her tail.  They really are inseparable…and both are happier for having each other.

Even Sian started to see why people like dogs so much – which is a big step in the right direction for this canine lover.

So we headed back to Carlisle station to catch some fish and chips and the train, but not before we stopped off at the local paper mill (factory?!)  to capure this magnificent site:

Thanks Will.  And thanks Lois.

We had a great time

x

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‘Tis the season to be or-ange.

A post!! It feels like months since my last, and to be honest I have really missed not sharing with you all here on what is fast becoming my personal diary  more than anything else.  But I hope you have been well and will allow me a moment of egocentricity as I think that maybe…just maybe, some of you have missed me posting too?

Or not.

Anyway, as I am sure you have all gathered, Sian and I had a very brief trip back to Blighty a few weeks gone, and I have finally got round to editing some of the pictures for you all to see.  As you all know, we do love our jobs out here in Bim, but there is an awful lot about old Liz’s Kingdom that both Sian and I adore; and coming from the evergreen flora of  the rock we now call home, we were utterly delighted to be treated to a good old autumnal country walk with one of my best friends Eddie, up in Carlisle.  We took Will’s dog Lois (MASSIVE POST TO COME) as he taught kids drama at William Howard – a secondary school in Scaleby.

Truth be told, I’m afraid I didn’t really listen to where it was we were going.  Will and Ed had discussed where the best place was to go for a walk, and after many hours of being shown various routes on Google Maps, I lost interest and let my best man do all the navigation.  We got to – wherever it was-at about eleven thirty, and all of a sudden the hours of Google maps and concise directions seemed more than worth it.  We wandered down through a valley to be met with this beautiful bridge – the water fiercely running down the fell.  Lois, the awesome, decided to run through the gushing water, and we all felt our hearts leap a beat at the thought of her getting washed away (it really was fast)

But she was hardcore and just took it all in her stride.  She soon got bored of the ‘random-people-who-have-put-me-in-their-car,-brought-me to-this-strange-place-and-are-now-calling-my-name-incessantly-game’ and came back to the river bank.  But only when she was good and ready.

And as we climbed the steep valley on the other side, we were treated to the stunning views that only the north of England can offer, all tinged with the tell-tale signs of decay as Autumn slowly sweeps in over the next few weeks.

At this point I would like to quickly apologise – we have just bought a couple of AMAZING new lenses (EVEN BIGGER POST TO COME) but they are both massive, and as such we have no filters that will fit them at present…so all grads are done post, which I think is, upsettingly, fairly obvious.

As we got to the top of the hill, the view opened up.  There were a few houses dotted around, which sparked the question why anyone would ever want to live there – slap bang in the middle of nowhere.  I quite liked how this image captured that utter isolation that we were disparaging…but it must appeal to someone – because the houses are there…

We then found the obligatory ‘dead tree’, surrounded by stone walls and wheat growing wild.  I actually really like this shot – a lot more than I did when I was composing it:

And by about this time we realised it was three and we had not even turned back yet! So we upped the pace and got back in time to greet Will home from his hard day’s toil, kick off our boots, and drink some posh cava…it truly was a magic few days.

Massive love to the boys for looking after us – and I very much look forward to filling you all in on all our other vacation shenanigans soon.

As always guys, thanks for reading 🙂

 

Ferg x

A train to keep you going…

Hi guys, sorry, yet again, we are completely and utterly rammed.

I have so many photos and stories to share with you all from our trip back home in the UK.  We had the best time.  Andy and Emily’s wedding was wonderful, our wedding anniversary was amazing along with trip to Alton Towers, and a trip up to Carlisle to see two of our best friends..it was all good.

But work has got a hold of me, and I want to do everything justice.

So in the mean time, please enjoy this picture of an old diesel locomotive I snapped as we waited for our train in Carlisle…not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but having inherited my dad’s train spotter dna, I am rather fond of it.

Looking forward to sharing my stories with you all soon,

Ferg

x

The Barbados Photographic Society

Hi guys.  As you know, things have been crazy busy this end what with coming back to the UK for a few days, filming our friends’ wedding (which was truly, truly awesome) enjoying a cheeky wee first year wedding anniversary with my beautiful wife, and generally scatting up and down the country like a couple of jack rabbits in a bid to see all the dear friends and family that we left behind here in the UK.  As I write this, we are sat on a Virgin train taking us from Euston to Carlisle to see two of my best friends Will and Eddie…no doubt a blog to come about that later.

Meanwhile, I have been very conscious of the fact that I have written nothing for over 10 days now, and have been sitting on some wonderful pictures that I would like to share with you all.  So, without further ado, I give you: An outing with the Barbados Photographic Society…

The last weekend before we left for the UK, Sian and I were ecstatic at the thought of a proper two days off.  The wedding calendar was surprisingly empty and the studio had nothing booked, so we glamorously planned to get all our laundry sorted, our stuff packed and make sure everything was in place for the guys to ensure smooth operation during our time away.

And then I turned on Facebook and it all went tits up.

I had heard of the Barbados Photographic Society in the past, and somehow I stumbled across their Facebook page on Thursday night.  I joined up with the friendly bunch that evening, and before we knew it, Sian and I were signed up for a 5 am start on Saturday morning to meet right down on the West Coast in a little alcove of the country called Conset Bay.

Idiot.

So long to a lie in; bye bye all the laundry time…but it was totally worth it.

The reason for the savage start time was not because the BPS are made up of a carnally evil people, hell bent on ripping you from your much needed slumber when you have booked a lie in, of course.  The timing was down to the wonderful soft light that a good sunrise in Barbados can produce.  I once went over to the South East coast (to The Crane beach) at four in the morning when my dear brother Ed was over.  We waited patiently for a spectacular sunrise, but were treated to a hilarious thick fog that hugged the water line and hid any magic light that may have given us a good snap.  We saw absolutely nothing.

But the BPS had clearly booked the sun for that morning.

There was a lovely pink tinge in the sky, and the boats in the bay listed peacefully as the 50 strong group marauded around the marina.  Everyone looking for lines, and compositions, and ‘that’ shot…And I found this both very funny and very odd.

I have never been on a photo walk per say, and I quickly started asking myself how I would create different images to everyone else.  The point of the walk was ultimately a social one;  it was great to meet such a lovely bunch of people, and to put faces to the names of the people who I had been semi speaking to on the Facebook page…but ultimately we were all there to take great pictures, and it was an interesting experience for me having so many people, all in one place, all trying to get the same thing.

We started out at Conset Bay,  with the wonderful and friendly Ainsley telling us about the history of the bay; the cliffs overlooking the bay are a very high and dry place, and are prone to regular fires as the dry grass is scorched by the long sun it is treated to.  It was also host to a train station that serviced the line connecting Bridgetown and The North.

We followed the old railway line to find another bay -the name of which escapes me.  We were on the cusp of morning light. and that beautiful pink was still there, but this was the last snap I got before the sun was in full force and the harsh light we are so used to in Barbados was back.

After this, we headed to what is affectionatley called ‘The Puff’, so called because of the impressive spurt of water that the waves create as they crash up through the small holes they have carved from the coral.  We were very lucky to see some fisherman down on the coast, which helped give context to the sheer size of the coral and spurting water.

I was shooting with the 70-200, which is a beast of a lens, and as such my polariser won’t fit on it.  This meant that we were getting a savage glare from the water’s surface as the now midday sun beat mercilessly down on us.  As such, I tried to make a feature of the reflection, rather than try and fight it.

As we headed back from The Puff, I was keen to find some bits and bobs to shoot in the shade, as the sun was far, far to harsh to look for any more panoramics or views.  I’m not mad on flower shots to be honest, but I found these knocking about back outside the fish market of Conset Bay, and thought they were quite fascinating being made up of seemingly hundreds of tiny little flowers:

And then I found this guy chilling out in the trees…anyone who knows me will be fully aware of my utter fear of spiders…and so I am even more proud of this shot, as I had to get quite close!

I love this guy – if you zoom in on his rump, I swear you can make out the head of and orc – it looks like he has a black studded helmet and big grin…can anyone else see it, or am I going mad on this Virgin train?!

Anyways, that’s that for now – LOADS of stuff to share with you since our time home, and can’t wait to get you all up to date, along with lots more photos 🙂

As always, thanks for reading guys, and feel free to SUBSCRIBE 🙂

Ferg xxx

Going home

Hi Guys – sorry about the lack of posting – I have a TONNE of photos I am looking forward to sharing with you; but things have been very hectic with getting ready for our return to the UK…wedding shows are always fun to prepare for when you work with the biggest photography supplier in the Caribbean.

So I thought I would just share this with you 🙂  It is the video we did of Dwayne’s dancing last week, and is now on the Colorbox Studio Facebook page – please, please check it out! 🙂    (Res up on this one – it looks AMAAAAAZING!)

We are flying back to the UK in about two hours – so will be uploading a new post within the next few days…we are also getting some AMAZING new lenses, which will no doubt have a profound effect on this blog, my photography and my life in general…cannot WAIT!!

 

Ferg x

Jus wanna dance the night away…

Ok, so for those hardcore blog fans of mine may remember this guy from a post I made about Oistins a few months back:

We were down at the Fish Fry and saw Dwayne dancing – I showed him the shot off the back of my camera and said we could do a lot more with him if we booked a proper shoot.  He then injured his wrist, and it all went a bit cold.

Until Thursday.

We have shot a video for him which will be going up on the Colorbox Studio Facebook page (like away if you haven’t already!) Sian was an amazing assistant on camera number two, and the footage already looks incredible…I can’t wait to piece it altogether for Dwayne early next week…

But as well as the video, I wanted to take some photos, so I roped James into coming down with us and being chief flash holder and lens caddy. As always, Jim rose above and beyond the challenge, and he helped Sian and I get some wonderful stuff.

I wanted to do the shoot down at Oistins again, not only because  that’s where we met, but the place has so much character in and around the fish stalls…Lighting was obviously an issue down there – lots of neons chucking red into your lens, and on the whole rather dingy.  As such, we popped my SB800 onto a boom and just played with the setup…it was really good fun.

I love these two shots – with the hard light coming in and the flare pushing through, but we decided to move the flash further around, towards camera to offer more side than back light:

And then Dwayne told us he could flip:

This sequece was taken with the flash positioned directly above Dwayne at about 1/16th power.  We shot through an umbrella to give a much more even and soft light.  We tried various different setups – but these came out as my favourites.

The final shot of the evening was one that I had been puzzling over for some time…I wanted to freeze Dwayne in action during a long exposure in the traffic heavy road that runs by Oistins…but we found that the headlights of the cars washed him out during the exposure…we got something – but it wasnt exactly what I was after…I need to go back to the drawing board on this one.  If at first you don’t succeed…

And that was that – a great fun shoot, with a very nice (and talented) bloke – thanks Dwayne!  All of the photos and video will be going up on the Colorbox Studio Facebook page, so be sure to check back  over the next few days 🙂

As always, thanks for reading guys – hit the subscribe button if you fancy it…I will be giving a special present to my subscribers when we hit the fabled 25!

Baby steps…baby steps.

 

Keep on snapping

 

 

Ferg x