Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Don’t Panic!

In June I discovered that Madame Bink, who I had photographed the previous year with Ivory Flame, was moving into the area where I live, and was offering a very good deal for a short while after her move, so it was that I arranged a shoot to take place towards the end of the month. Initially the shoot was arranged for a Saturday, but for reasons I do not need to go into here the shoot was finally set for the Sunday from about midday.

On the due date I set off from my home in a car that I had recently bought and was still getting used to. The inevitable happened and I managed to end up taking the wrong road, but I still managed to get to where I needed to be ahead of schedule. It was a scorching hot cloudless day and the prospect of working in a cool interior was quite appealing.

Having gone through the greetings and an enjoyed a welcome cool drink, a makeshift studio was set-up with a grey background roll and a couple of Bowens studio flash heads, and shooting got under way, with a lot of chat and general photographic and modelling talk. As usual when doing a shoot, I like to look through the images on the screen on the back of the camera, a practice sometimes known as ‘chimping’, and it was after about an hour that I noticed that there were some quite large ‘dust’ spots on the images. I put the camera through a sensor cleaning cycle several times but it made no difference, so I resigned myself to a lot of retouching in Photoshop.

Back home I uploaded the images from the shoot and spent an awful long time processing the images, thank heaven for the ‘healing brush’ otherwise I would still be processing them now. I attempted to clean the camera sensor with a blast of compressed air, but it made absolutely no difference, so I had to contemplate either sending the camera away to be professionally cleaned or do some research and do it myself.

After doing some research on photographic web sites I came to the conclusion that I would have to do a wet clean of the cameras sensor. I finally settled on purchasing a set of swabs and a bottle of ‘VDust™ Plus’ cleaning fluid at great expense. It took two attempts to get the sensor clean, but at last it had returned to its original pristine condition. One of the upshots is that no longer use the cameras built in sensor cleaning facility, as I believe that this is what caused the problem in the first place.

In the meantime I must book another shoot with Bink.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

If you can see England it’s going to rain!

At the beginning of June I had some time off work, so I organised a photo-shoot with Fire’s Secret in South Wales. I usually like to shoot on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, and have a variety of locations that I like to use. The weather on the chosen day looked ok when we set off from Oxfordshire, but as we got closer to our destination the clouds started to get darker and my heart began to sink, the prospect of going all that way and not taking a photo was looming large.

When I got to the first we got to the first location, Candleston Castle at Merthyr Mawr, the conditions were just about acceptable although the light was fairly low. We set to work and got quite a few photos taken in and around the ruins of the old castle buildings. It was at this point Fire’s Secret realised that her hair was not as she wanted, so part of the set was re-shot with her hair down The red dress that she was wearing had a mind of its own so the term ‘Wardrobe Malfunction’ was the best description of some of the resulting images.

I had agreed to meet up with an old friend for lunch, so we set off for the beach café at Llantwit Major and enjoyed a much-needed hot drink along with the meal. Jackie was there waiting for us and we settled down to a good old fashioned chat and a catch up with news and talk of photography. I had suggested that our next location was going to be at Nash Point, a fantastic cliff top location complete with a lighthouse, and the stump of a redundant lighthouse, and I invited Jackie to join us. It was at this point that I mentioned the old joke that if you could see England across the Bristol Channel, it was going to rain, if you couldn’t see England, it was raining!

We set off to Nash Point after lunch and when we got there, we could not see England, in fact it was blowing a gale and the rain was really heavy. Being the optimist I waited for half an hour to see if the rain would ease off, but it was not going to happen. Jackie then suggested going to Coity Castle as it had a few sheltered spots where we could work despite the rain. The location was excellent, but it was literally in the middle of a small town and even had a footpath running through the middle of it. Fire’s Secret was keen to do some shots here and Jackie offered to keep a lookout while we did quite a few shots around the grounds.

About a month later I went back to South Wales with Miss Lou Lou, and you could see England, but that is another story.

Landscapes in a cold studio!

At the end of May, during the weekend on the Spring Bank Holiday, I arranged another studio shoot with ERosanne, with main aim of shooting some bodyscapes, and trying out a new macro and portrait I had just bought. Having got into the studio and got everything set-up, I then discovered that the radio trigger for the studio lighting was missing, and had to contact the manager, who came back and lent me his own trigger, the person who had hired the place before me having walked off with the last unit that they had!

The day was quite pleasant, and so I was not quite prepared for the studio to be as cold as it was, but the effect was that there was an unexpected addition of textures to some of the images. Once again ERosanne was as creative as ever and we went on to do quite a variety of sets ranging from the planned bodyscapes to close-up portraits and using a tube of fabric, which she referred to as a bandage.

Unfortunately during the shoot, one of the main lights I was using failed, and I had to revise my lighting set-up. Unfortunately it did have an impact on the images that I managed to get.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Fire's Secret

I do not work with new (to me) models very often, when I find a model I like working with I tend to work with them on a fairly regular basis. This year I met Sharon, aka Fire's Secret, and what a delight she is to work with, enthusiastic, hard working and always trying to make sure you get the image that you want. She is also a great organiser having got a very large group of photographers and models together for a networking day.

 My first shoot with Sharon was in the cavernous space at Cheltenham Film Studios and I managed to do several sets of images, and you can see more of the images at Sharons page on my web site.

Sharon was a real trooper at this first shoot and did not flinch at getting wet or covered in Dutch Metal, a cheap alternative to Gold Leaf.

It turns out that Sharon is quite used to getting cold and wet having spent a lot of time in the river windrush at Minster Lovell.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

It is about time I did this

Well I have been lurking around the WWW for many years and have read with interest many Blogs by people who are much more proficient with words than I am.

I suppose that the main reason I am doing this is to show some of my photos and perhaps explain the thinking behind the images that I create, mainly with the help of some very talented models, as I mainly take photos of models that I have met on the Internet through sites dedicated to putting both photographers and models in touch with one another. In the time that I have been working with models, I have found that I have a tendency to photograph the same somewhat limited set of people, probably because once that I have found someone outstanding to work with, I am reluctant to go out on a limb and try working with someone I do not know.

Having said that I have worked with five models this year who I had not worked with before, in one case it was at a ‘Group Shoot’ organised by a local studio, and I found that the model worked to a style that was not really of interest to me. Another one was a well-known model who contacted me in the first instance, the shoot went well and I did get images that I was pleased with. I did make the first contact with another local model, and have had four shoots with her this year already, she is making a very good name for herself and is a genuinely hard working model who is full of ideas and really makes an effort to make a photo shoot successful. The other two were friends of a model I have worked many times, I got mixed results from both but I would be happy to work with them again.

My first shoot this year was with ERosanne, New Year celebrations were barely out of the way and I had yet to return to work after the Christmas break when I hired the massive Cheltenham Film Studios. The weather was cold, and so were the studios, but this did not prevent a successful shoot with a model for whom I have a great deal of respect. I will not say much more about the shoot but I will let a small selection of the images speak for themselves.