“Waiting” Blending Passions

Solving problems and getting work completed fast and to the highest quality is what Advertising Photography is all about and something I get huge satisfaction from. Saying that just because something is assigned  does not mean the same principles don’t apply to personal work it just means you are expressing your own creative ideas and solving your own problems to reach the final image.

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This image titled “Waiting’ blends my love of Greek Mythology together with my passion of the Sea which I’ve lived close to for a large part of my life. It’s a worry really as I’m very consious that many of my images contain the coast in them to the point that I have to avoid placing too many in my Book or on my Website, but you can’t choose what inspires you to create.

Here is a short video of how the images all came together in post production.

 

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The Fine Details, Surveying The Moor

I was asked recently to help out a neighbour with some images for a new business venture she was setting up.
The main image needed was a portrait of her with her dog Barney and I had the perfect location in mind that I had found only a week previously.
As with most shoots containing more than one person composition is key especially here where we have a person and a smallish animal that need equal attention in the frame.To do this I used a very large fallen tree that provided a great prop and worked perfectly for the main image required but also provided another unplanned opportunity when Barney decided to climb onto the very top of the trunk.


I very quickly spotted the potential of the scene unfolding and fired off half a dozen frames before he climbed down and the moment was gone.
I knew right there before previewing any images that I had a strong image that could be developed further in post.
I cant explain what it is that that makes a potential image appear in front of me (when many people do not see it ) except to say it’s an unconscious thing perhaps developed (pardon the pun) over the 26 + years of looking through a camera.
The final composite required a lot of retouching to remove the harness that Barney was wearing and to retain all the very fine details I’m obsessed with keeping and seamlessly blending with the background.
Retaining fine details like these takes a lot of work but knowing the image will stand up to the closest of  scrutiny is important.

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Next I decided to scan through my archives to find the perfect background to compliment the image.
The image I decided to use is one of Exmoor that I had shot a couple of years ago but had never used and provided a perfect fit for the mood I wanted to create.The final image titled “Surveying The Moor” together with a close up of Barney are shown below.

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Cabin Crew, A Team Performance

Some composite images just fight you all the way then there are some that just go together effortlessly like they are meant to be that way like the image here.
The model for this shoot is Kate and I have been shooting her on and off for over a decade and for very good reason she is simply brilliant !
This goes beyond simply being great looking and being able to walk or pose correctly without much direction it’s her professionalism,enthusiasm and simply knowing she will turn up and I need not worry about anything model related.
On personal shoots I will often work alone but on this one Dean my good friend and manager of The Monks Yard where I’m based was on hand to assist me where needed which was a big help at times especially shooting a little video footage and ordering the coffee !

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Without doubt the post production work was helped enormously by the fact that we had just installed a brand new top of the range mac to replace our very decrepit existing system and it was like a hot knife through butter to use.
So all in all this was a great team effort helped along a little with some up to date computing power and I think it shows in the final image.

Rubus “The Beast In My Lap!” Ad Campaign Kings Bruton School

Following on from last years very successful campaign which won Silver in The Graphis Advertising Awards  I received a call back in September from Ice House Design with another exciting brief for Kings Bruton School.

After a couple of meetings and an interesting recce of Kings very old (it was founded in 1519 !) & historic school the briefs where finalised.
The required image was pretty straight forward involving capturing Kings Bruton’s sports field and Church with the beautiful hills behind with the inclusion of the famous Dovecote on it’s hill.The Dovecote does not sit quite in than spot but with a little creative license I moved it into position a mere mile or so. The main element for the image and most difficult to potentially capture was to be a Stag.I always prefer to shoot my own images when creating composites but even I thought a stock shot may have to be sourced for this one. Fortunately after some research on good old Google and conversations with several people my good mate and manager at The Monks Yard where our studio is based provided me with a contact just a few miles away.
Mike Gage runs South West Deer And Rescue and was more than happy to help me out and I arranged to pop down to take a look around.Mike showed me the park and it’s gorgeous views across the Somerset countryside and the many species of Deer he had. He finished off by introducing me to Rubus and very large Stag with an amazing set of antlers..perfect !.

Being October it was rutting season and Mike warned me Rubus was pretty hormonal and I was not to get out the back of his pickup truck. Unfortunately it did not stop Rubus coming over and sticking his rather huge head of pointy bits almost into my lap trying to grab food from the floor of the truck…! It became obvious pretty quickly I definitely  have to wait for the randy Rubus to calm down from the rutting season before coming back to get my images.
After a few weeks I had gathered all the background material and I returned to see Mike and to capture Rubus.This time he was a fair bit calmer and I could with caution leave the safety of the pickup to get the angles I needed.The shoot went well without too many scares and I got all the material I needed within 30 minutes or so. The post production took a little longer however about 71 and a half hours longer to be precise but then the devil’s in the details and the final image had plenty.
Below is one of several adverts that are now running together with another version that did not showing more of the sports field with rugby posts and flags.

 

 

Swans Splashes & A Somerset School

A couple of weeks before Christmas I had a call from an agency called Ice House Design based in Bath.
They had a job for a client that was a private school called Kings Bruton School here in Somerset.
They needed a very particular image creating of a Swan taking off over water to fulfil use in several publications they where planning.
I was especially excited about this brief as I have been working on a personal project titled “Life In A Somerset Landscape” for nearly a year. The project involves photographing (and compositing) well known Somerset Landscapes with both people and animals within them so this job was a good fit for me on the back of this.


Some of the best creatives I have worked with are the ones that give you a brief but allow enough room for me to interpret it and go that little bit further with it.
Jack Owen the Creative Director at Ice House was one such creative, he provided a fairly tight brief but one that we both collaborated on and pushed further.
After several discussions and a few ideas thrown around we set off to start work on the project.
The first job was to find some suitable water to capture.I had several location in mind and most where on the Somerset Levels but my first location which was a local reservoir turned out to be perfect so much so in fact that the background was also used from the same images and not stripped in as I expected it would be.


My only problem at the location was the wildlife which insisted hanging around the camera despite me attempting to scare them off (the wildlife are pretty hard down ere in Zummerset ! ). I also had a Robin who kept pestering me wherever I walked or turned and by the end of the shoot I felt a little like Evan Almighty !

Back at the studio I decided to strip two images together to create the slightly wide background required from two frames I shot using a longish lens which had helped to create a nice soft perspective.

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Next I found a lovely sky in my archives that lent itself to the mood we wanted and promptly added this into the scene.

Bruton where the school is based has a lovely old Dovecote on a hill that we agreed would be a nice subtle addition to add to the scene.The plan was to go and shoot this in suitable weather but unfortunately the weather was not on our side so a stock image was sourced and then retouched for our needs.
Another element that I reluctantly had to source from a stock library was the Swan.This was partly down to the tight deadline and also the fact the image needed was quite particular.
It was extremely important that we sourced the correct image of a Swan taking off and that the lighting was a good match for our background.
The main problem I had after scouring through tons of images was that those that where a good match where often of poor technical quality but eventually we found a near perfect image.
The balance of the post production was to add the swan and most important of all perfecting the splashes in the water which where a vital element in the brief.

After a couple of minor adjustments the agency delivered the proof to the client whom I’m told where overjoyed by the finished image.My hat goes off to Ice House for a great brief and some beautiful design work and also to Kings Bruton the client for doing something quite brave and removed from their normal photography requirements.

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Graphic Design. Ice House Design, Bath – Graphic Design + Branding

Photography & Post Production Simon Plant

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Graceful Killers

A while ago I was asked by a client if I could shoot some promotional images and video at the Airbus family day in Bristol.Although only open to Airbus employees and their families the event is huge and hosts a variety of great aircrafts.
I love planes probably because they generally take you somewhere nice 🙂 and not being one to miss an opportunity to add some shots to my compositing archive to save for a rainy day I shot till I could shoot no more.
Having some unexpected spare time this week I decided to trawl through my archives and create the image posted here titled “Graceful Killers”.
At the time of writing I’m still researching with help from some kind fellow photographers on Pro Imaging to what these WW1 fighter planes actually are, of course if you know feel free to post below.

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A stunning photography location the Gumbet Windmills

A stunning photography location, the Gumbet Windmills

I travel to Turkey quite a lot and I’m fortunate to have a home there from which to explore the many areas of historical interest and is a fabulous photography location.

On this particular trip, I left my friends to enjoy an evening meal together and borrowed my Turkish friend’s car to travel & capture the Windmills in the beautiful evening light.
The Windmills are located on a headland high above the bays of Gumbet and Bodrum and give a wonderful view over the sea and mountains. I’d been told about this location many times by Turkish friends but unfortunately, on arrival, I found it a little disappointing compared to the vision that I had built up in my mind.

I decided that seeing I was not being commissioned to capture scenery photography and to shoot a faithful representation of the place that I would stay true to my own vision (as I often do) of this beautiful location by moving a few elements around and clean the place up a little with some highend retouching.


My main disappointment at the location was the fact that the stunning view behind the windmills was not clearly visible so I decided to rectify this by raising the sea & mountains.
This was accomplished by capturing the precise images I needed than in post cleaning out a couple of the more derelict windmills so that the view could be seen behind.
This image was also made into an image retouching training Video called “Moving Mountains”

 

 

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Turkey 2009 Images for Prophotoinsights Video Training, View from Peninsular between Gumbet & Bodrum where windmills are located.

 

 

 

Creative Post Production The Making Of “The Last Harvest”

Creative Post Production The Making Of “The Last Harvest”

This image was inspired by my strange fascination with Maize fields which are abundant in the Somerset countryside from late summer to early autumn.
Of course, the idea developed in my imagination into something more than just photographing a field full of crops into the final image shown here.
The most difficult part of this image to perfect was the masking and transitions of the Maize heads onto the background.
After several but not perfect attempts I managed to come up with an unlikely solution to the problem which fulfilled my severe obsession for fine details in my images.

View more creative post production videos

Visit Sharandy Birds Of Prey Somerset

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Barn Owl and maize crops under the ancient Glastonbury Tor Somerset.