Blind woman on the edge of the Volcano

I captured this image in the near deserted village of Stefanos Greece.
The village is located on the edge of the Stefanos volcano on the island of Nisyros in the South Aegean Greece.
Over the years the village had almost been vacated entirely due to the volcano but a few people still remain.
One such brave resident was this lady whom I unfortunately did not get the chance to speak too.
She was blind and lived alone in her home above the crater with her herd of Goats.
As we approached the location and the scene in front of us unfolded someone described it as being biblical which I think was a perfect description.


Interview On Pro Photographer Journey

I was fortunate to be interviewed for The Pro Photographer Journey Podcast recently about my work and marketing.
You can listen to the interview below.


Stills Based Motion. Parallax Videos

With technology in constant movement it’s sometimes hard to know when something new appears if it’s just a temporary gimmick or if it’s actually something useful that will stay around.
3d motion or 2.5d to be more precise has been around a while and caught my eye.
It grabbed my interest as I could see how it could add value to clients by using the same still images shot for a campaign and repurposing them for motion based ads.
Like most things the images work best when pre planned to be used in this way but you can still create some subtle eye catching Parralax images from the simplest image like this portrait of a Belly Dancer.

The following samples are a little more complicated to produce requiring elements on several layers (spot the subtle seagull movement).

More stills based motion work can be found Here


Lifestyle In Loret De Mar

Back in October I made a trip to the Catalonian resort of Loret De Mar.
Unfortunately the weather was the worst seen along the Spanish coast for decades which of course hindered things slightly !
Fortunately the weather did break albeit just for two brief periods and I managed to capture several locations I had scouted.
Several months on with my models Susie Coats and Andy Elvin arranged (see blog post Pre Production For Post Production) I then photographed the models images and went into post production to composite the images together into the final shots shown here.


Path To The Cove

One of the first times I visited Kynance cove was is the early 90’s while shooting a lifestyle campaign for Clarks Shoes active sandals.
This shot was captured a decade later but not from the popular viewpoint that is most often used for postcard and book sales.
It’s sometimes hard to find a good vantage to call your own at well known locations but I see little point in replicating what’s been done countless times before.
I loved this vantage point I think it was the winding path and the stream leading down to the cove and beach cafe that made me stop and shoot from this spot.

Path and Stream Kynance Cove Cornwall


Dodging dogs and the sleeping

Shooting at dawn can be extremely rewarding and peaceful but not always without it’s issues.

When shooting on location I invariably choose to head out at dawn. Not only does this mean I can capture beautiful light but it also means I avoid the crowds if I don’t wish to have people in the shots.
One of the downsides to this especially in hot countries is that I have on more than one occasion almost tripped over people sleeping in some unusual places.
Once it was an abandoned fairground near Side in Turkey where I placed my tripod within inches of a fellow asleep on a merry go round without realising until I was packing up.

Abandoned Fair, Side Turkey

Then there was the boat yard shown below also in Turkey which as well as having a guy sleeping outside in the elements also housed a couple of dogs too which thankfully ignored me !

Boat Yard Gumbet Turkey


Pre Production For Post Production. Composite Lifestyle Shooting.

Tomorrow I have a location lifestyle shoot planned with a couple of models so I thought I’d give a glimpse on how I prepare for some of my shoots.

It can be surprising to some people just how much pre-production can go into even the smallest shoots especially if they are on location.
My shoot tomorrow has it’s own particular added elements that need careful preparation and close attention and that is because the backgrounds have already been captured several months before.
When I travel I often will go out capturing my chosen locations before dawn or dusk for the best light (depending on what I’m after).
If I have a choice I prefer dawn not because I love to get up at 4am (in the summer) but because there is less likely to be any tourists around especially in popular city locations.
Saying that having been a retoucher for 21 years I know some clever techniques to very simply remove people from images in post without the need for any stress while on location if needed.

My models will be captured either in my studio or as is more often the case outside in natural daylight and supplemented with lighting if required.

So for this shoot to be captured and be successfully blended realistically in post-production there are many things that need careful attention. Here are just a few of the basics.

The light quality
Light angle
Light temperature
The surrounding elements and their colour
Camera height
Camera angle (perspective)
Lens focal length (this can be tweaked a little)

As I said these are just a few things that I’m carefully looking at.
To help me with this I create a markup image for quick reference (shown below).

Here are a few samples from a previous shoot.

As you will see in the second picture in the bottom row if possible I’ll always take a snap of myself in the scene.
You have probably already guessed that this gives me a great reference when I shoot my models to how the light in the scene should be interacting on them even if it’s not a pretty picture!

So one question you may ask is why go to so much trouble why not shoot the models in situ like many photographers?
Well, I first should add I’m definitely not against doing it all in camera and often do however there is a multitude of reasons why it might not always be possible.
The main one is simply the logistics of getting models, stylist, makeup artist and the many other people that make up a production crew to a particular location at a certain time.
For me, it’s partly the above plus, of course, the substantial costs involved as some of these images are purely self-funded portfolio pieces so budgets can be naturally tight.
The other more personal reason is it enables me the luxury of more time to concentrate on capturing the changing light and various angles the locations has to offer with more flexibility.

It was interesting to read that Lord Litchfield towards the latter end of his career shot in a similar way.
As far as the post-production is concerned there is, of course, some work (and cost involved)  pulling all the elements together but then how often these days does an image not have some retouching applied before being published? If planned and executed correctly the image can often come together remarkably quickly.

As I said above I’m quite happy working and doing it all in camera and have done so many times but for me working this way provides a flexible alternative providing it’s planned accordingly.