A Perch In The Storm

I found myself on the North Devon coast for a small shoot on Saturday.The weather was less than pleasant but I decided on the journey home to head across the top of Exmoor.
Sometimes harsh weather just suits a location and a damp Exmoor with low hanging cloud seemed to feel strangely perfect.
As I drove I spotted this crow sat on top of this tree and immediately new it had potential to make a great image.
Luckily I managed to pull over and grab my camera which was already set up on the rear seat. To my surprise the crow stayed in place perfectly just sat overlooking the bleak cliffs and coast and I managed to capture 6 or so frames before it got spooked and flew off.
Back in the days of film I would often shoot 1000 ASA Agfa RS film which was renown for it’s impressive grain especially when pushed to 2000 ASA and pushed in processing.
I decided in post to enhance the harsh atmosphere further by adding a copious helping of old school grain although not to the extent of the old Agfa stock!

 

Summer Flight Over Burrow Hill

We have had some fantastic summer light this last few weeks and I just had to take advantage of it to capture some aerial images and video and experiment a little.
In a few weeks I’m heading to one of if not my favourite place on earth Rhodes in Greece.
Greek history & myths have been a passion of mine passed on from my dad since a child and the reason I became a photographer but that’s another slightly strange story.
Over the years I’ve travelled to many of the sites both on mainland Greece, the islands and also Turkey too but Rhodes has always been my favourite.
This trip I have several locations I wish to photograph and film and I plan to do this with the drone.
So Ive been busy checking my aviation maps for any airspace restrictions for my proposed locations and planning the timings for best light.
Not one to ever be satisfied I’ve been looking at extracting extra resolution from the drone’s already impressive camera hence the experimenting.
The latest image is of Burrow Hill in Somerset which Ive shot many times but never from the air.
My experiment to extract extra resolution and quality from the drone was a success and one I’m going to use again where appropriate.

A Place To Remember

It’s been a very busy year so far which is my main excuse for not updating the blog in several months.
One of the reasons is I’ve recently taken on a new client who are currently keeping me extremely busy.
Part of the work this client needed required me to do aerial stills and motion work via a quad copter (Drone).
This in turn required a hectic 3 day training course for certification to fly commercially, which I’m pleased to say I passed.
Learning yet another skillset to stay current seems to be a regular thing these days and something that certainly keeps life interesting !
Ive done several aerial shoots so far and getting more creative and daring (within the civil aviation authority rules) with each flight.
A personal shoot Ive been planning since getting the aircraft is the one shown here.
This spot is special place to me as it’s somewhere I used to visit almost weekly with my mother in her later years.
It’s also a place i’ve photographed many times over the last 30 plus years.
The spot is situated on the Somerset Levels and you might just make out Glastonbury Tor on the horizon.
What I never done is shot the area from the elevated perspective and positions that the drone offers.
With good weather forecast with a fair chance of some low hanging moorland mist I set the alarm for a 4am start.
Drone work needs a fair amount of pre planning for safety reasons before getting on location and a fair few more checklist to tick off on the day too.
I did two flights that morning capturing some stills but mostly motion footage which Ive edited into a short video shown here.
As a personal piece of work I think this is a brief but fitting video shot from an appropriate vantage point to remember my loving mum.

 

 

Capturing Summer On The Moor

Sometimes I have an idea and before I know it Ive captured all the images required and I’m sat in front of the computer bringing it to life.Others however can sometimes sit around in my head for months or at best sketched out in Photoshop,this image is a little of both those.Over the years I have been capturing people and animals for a personal project “Life In A Somerset Landscape”.It had been a while since I had added to the work and I really wanted to capture Burrow Hill which is a situated close to Hambridge in South Somerset for part of the project. I remember seeing Burrow Hill for the first time one summer’s day, a quaint small hill with a single tree on top complete with an idyllic rustic swing attached to one of it’s branches.It felt slightly surreal like I had stepped into a Jack & Jill Ladybird book !

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September

September is probably one of my favourite months especially with a camera in my hand.\r\nAfter the long days and often harsh light that summer (sometimes) gives us together with a blanket of green September comes along and brings back a little colour contrast to the landscape with better lower angled light.\r\nThe other reason I love September is the fields full Maize which for some reason I just have to capture every year.

“The Anniversary” From Silage Pit To The Romantic Waterways Of Venice

Im a pretty honest chap but I do confess that when briefing the models for this shoot I left out the fact we where shooting in an old farms silage pit ! It all started a month or so previous while shooting a worldwide ad campaign for my client Mimecast. One of the mature models on the shoot that day was the very experienced (and ex Milk Tray Man from back in the 80’s) Tim. Tim like myself was keen to update his Book with new images so we agreed to collaborate on something to benefit us both.

 

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Corporate Portraits At Dillington House

It was only in September that I found myself on location shooting at the beautiful Hartham Park house near Bath.
This week I was at another beautiful historic house called Dillington which happens to be only a few minutes from the studio.

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Dillington House

I had received a call from an online events company called Choose Your Event who needed some corporate Portraits for a magazine feature they where appearing in.
As CYE are based on the grounds of Dillington House (and a client of the company) it was arranged for us to use the house for both interior and exterior images we had planned.

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Behind The Scenes


For the interior we chose one of the many rooms and it’s impressive fireplace to position the directors Ben & Simon Gray and to reflect some of the room back into frame and help set the scene.

 

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When it came to the exterior we where once again spoilt for choice but I decided on a couple of simple set up’s one of which was to show the famous golden local Hamstone and windows of the property.
As with all photography the best images are often those that are kept clean & simple even if sometimes they are far from simple to produce.

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Behind The Scenes

 

 

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You can view the CYE Group website and their services  Here

Creating The Last Harvest

This image was the first I produced in my project Life In A Somerset Landscape.
It was inspired by fascination with Maize fields and I wanted to create an image set around one.
I decided rather that capture a person within the scene I would approach local bird sanctuary Sharandy’s Bird Of Prey who had a lovely barn owl called Breeze who they kindly allowed me to Photograph.
All composite image throw up surprises and this one was no different. It wasn’t shooting the Owl or masking the fine details of the Maize heads although this was a challenge and I had to combine several techniques to solve it.
No the main issue was finding a rustic looking fence which living where I do I did not anticipate for one minute having a problem finding.In the end I found a fairly new fence and had to age it in post production and add extra foliage to create the vision I had for it.
The final image came together well complete with Glastonbury Tor and mist that can often be found on the Somerset Levels around September time.

Waiting For The Harvest Images For Comping

Behind The Scenes Video

Keeping The Ambience, Dark Art Of Weaving The Withy

While on a shoot capturing some images for my personal project “Life In A Somerset Landscape” at Withy growers P.H Coates I came across this very dark but atmospheric room.
In it three guys where busy working in the dim light and plenty of banter was being exchanged in their strong Somerset accents especially when I was introduced to them followed by the words photographing you where mentioned!

It wasn’t a Landscape… but the room had a rustic historic charm and bags of atmosphere and I could vision the final image complete with Matthew Godfrey one of the guys who skillfully weaved wicker fences in the room.
The image was going to be a tricky one to attempt to capture in one frame due to the dim light and the fact there where elements I wanted to be visible to help tell the story without over lighting and killing the whole ambience of the place.
It’s one of those moments when seeing the final image and having an extensive knowledge of post production techniques allowed me to harvest all the images I would need then combine them in post without a huge amount of system time.

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Good King Hal At The Court

Living where I do I’m fortunate to be surrounded my some stunning National Trust properties.It was during many of my visits to Barrington Court that I kept bumping into Mike Farley who is a full time Henry VIII impersonator.
During one conversation I told Mike about the work I did and he agreed for me to photograph him.
My vision for this image was to take Mike back to Barrington Court and create a clean simple and timeless stately background from the various garden hedges and trees available in Barrington Courts grounds.
The actual shoot with Mike only took 10-15 minutes to complete partly due to the pre planning already done.It’s also always my intention not to take up too much of peoples precious time that they are kindly allowing me to take up.
Mike who happens to be a an ex comedian was a joy to photograph and his website can be found here
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