Scarlett

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

A fly on the wall post

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

 

Weddings weddings weddings

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