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4 Hours In Amsterdam, Inspired To Capture

The majority of the work I create these days tends to be pre-planned to a brief or an idea I’m inspired to create usually from several images composited in post.
Now and again though it’s great to just grab the camera and just explore and capture whatever I come across.
This often occurs when travelling to new places and I find inspiration is in overdrive to go and creative images that represent the place I’m experiencing.
While in Holland last week I had a few hours before flying home to go and explore Amsterdam.
There are in my opinion a couple of possible downfalls to arriving at either a well-known location or having limited time somewhere.

Floral Basket

If I’m visiting somewhere like Venice or Rome avoiding the well known often copied postcard locations and coming up with something fresh and in my own style is always one of my main objectives.
If time is limited at a location like in the shots here of Amsterdam then I’ll often find great locations only to feel that there would be an even better shot if only I could be there longer to wait for the light or weather to change, I suppose it’s a case of always wanting that little bit more perfection.
Over the years I have had to accept you are there at that moment and creating something unique from what you have in front of you and the other option is to simply just walk on by.

Here are a couple of images that I captured during my brief time in Amsterdam, the one below is a composite from two separate images captured a short distance from each other and composited together to create the final image.

 

Location-summers-afternoon-amsterdam

Summer In Amsterdam

Recovery

It’s been a bit of a tough year both personally and for the area I live and love that is still recovering from the recent floods.
This week I took a break from a hefty amount of marketing to do some walking and take some therapeutic snaps while I was at it.
Pointing my camera without any plans to what I wanted to specifically capture is not something I do a lot of these days so it was a bit like yoga for the creative muscles to just follow my nose.
I decided to head a few miles from the Studio to the edge of the Somerset Levels at Hambridge where just a few months earlier was several feet underwater and the road totally unpassable at least by car.

I’m glad to say I found a drastic change to the area since my last visit and everything appears to be returning to some kind of normality.
That is not to say that the signs of the devastation where not evident in fact I came a cross everything from flattened rotting withy trees to dead Deer (although that was probably due to a car than the flooding).
Although many fields still looked saturated with water and mud a few did have some signs of growth in them along with hedges blooming with Blackthorn

 

It Don’t Rain It Pours !

After some careful planning I today decided to venture out towards the heart of the severe flooding on the Somerset Levels.
I headed to a spot I’ve visited many times called Burrow Mump at Burrow Bridge where the floods hit very hard.
I wanted to capture some images for a new image I have an idea for and also document the severity of this major and devastating flood.
I arrived on the only road that is currently open, parked up and navigated the muddy field at the base of the hill.
The climb up was a bit precarious and I did not look forward to the journey back down which I was sure would be predominately on my ass !
The view from the top of Burrow Mump is always impressive and although the flooding had receded a fair bit in places it was still an incredible sight especially as the storm clouds gathered yet again ovehead.
After several shots of the incredible light over the flooded fields I decided to move position to try another angle, as I bent to grab my bag the tripod complete with camera toppled down the hill smashing the £1700 lens that was attached !.
It’s been a difficult few weeks as I have previously mentioned and maybe due to this I just looked at the heap of electronics on the damp hillside packed my bag and headed home.
As my mum would have said “It Don’t Rain It Pours” she also used to say things often happened in threes but I’m hoping this time that is not the case !

Rich Tea Deer !

Yeah awful title but it kind of describes what is going on in this image.
Last September I got a call from an agency called Ice House Design whom I had worked with on a very successful campaign the previous year which won Silver in The Graphis Advertising Awards.
The brief was to capture images for a composite they wanted me to create which was to include a Stag as the main element.With the brief in hand I started to look at my options for capturing the animal. After several calls and networking I found Mike Gage of South West Deer Rescue Centre.
To cut a long story short the shoot was a success and I’ll post the images once the campaign goes live.
Mike was a great character and I asked if I could return at a later date to shoot him for my personal project “Life In A Somerset Landscape” and this brings us to the image below.
My plan was to shoot him and his mate Pete sat on the rear of their beaten up 4×4 truck surrounded by Deer but the truck was out of action with a broken axle.
So as often is the case in the unpredictable world of location shooting I had to think on my feet and come up with an alternative idea.
We decided that a shot of the Deer being fed their favorite Rich Tea biscuits could provide the perfect image against the beautiful South Somerset backdrop.

 

Dry Path To Muchelney

You can’t live in the UK without having heard about the village of Muchelney in South Somerset which has recently become an island after the severe floods.
I live a few miles from the village and have managed until today to resist all temptations to venture out onto the Somerset Levels with my camera.
The two problems for me are firstly that the Somerset Levels are where I learnt my craft and they even after all these years are still one of my favorite places to go and shoot.
Secondly although I’m certainly no adrenalin junkie or risk taker I’m fascinated by extreme weather much to my wife’s disapproval and this means I can’t resist getting safely close as possible to explore & capture what I find.

The floods had receded just enough that some roads are now passable so today with stormy skies still overhead I ventured to a couple of places I thought might be safe and give me some great views.
This image titled “Dry Path To Muchelney” shows the severely flooded River Isle on the right and flooded fields to the left with a elevated path bank heading towards Muchelny.
The gentleman I met walking with his dog said how in 40 years he had never seen flooding this extreme in the area.His dog seemed less bothered by he water and more interested in the wildlife as there where lots of mice and other animals on the bank seeking safety from the waters.
The rains came in again giving some wonderful skies and I decided to shoot one more image before heading home.
As I mounted a gate to reach the flood line in a field I somehow lost my footing and ended up head first with my camera luckily on top of me !
It must have looked hilarious but must admit as I sit here writing this I’m pretty bruised and not getting any sympathy from the wife !
I hope for those hit hard by the floods in Muchelney and surrounding area that the water recedes soon so that the clean up can get started.

A Seat On The Todden

A Seat On The Todden

I’ve joked before that if I never picked up a camera again I’d still have enough images in my archives to keep me busy producing new work for the next 15 years.
Fair to say some many never see the light of day but it’s strange how things happen in life and you find yourself remembering certain places, moments & images and being inspired to dig them out.
This week a comment on a previous blog post prompted me to go back into some images I shot last summer in Cadgwith Cornwall.
The reasons behind the comments are actually incredibly sad (view A Tranquil Mooring  blog post)  but this inspired me to spend a few hours processing and retouching this image

A-seat-on-todden-cadgwith-cornwall

A-seat-on-todden-cadgwith-cornwall

 

Casting Into The Dawn

The Christmas break has meant I have had time to look over some of the many personal images I have shot over the last few months but not had time to process. This one title “Casting Into The Dawn” was captured at dawn on the cliffs close to Albufeira on Portugal’s Algarve coastline.

Casting Into The Dawn, Portugal

December Dawn On The Nieuwe Maas

The last few weeks have been pretty busy with a rather diverse mix of assignments both here and abroad.
Rather than wind down and take an early Christmas we are currently preparing to complete some shoots for one of our ongoing personal projects (See The Cider Orchards & Withy Centre Posts).
Personal work is and always has been a very important part of my photography. For me it’s an extension of my commercial work except I have complete creative freedom to cut loose,experiment and generally create whatever inspires me at the time.
A couple of things that do get me excited to go out and shoot are exploring new places and it’s people. Fortunately last week after completing an assignment in Rotterdam I had a few hours the following day to explore the city and I and set myself the challenge to come home with a few shots to sum up this very interesting and modern city.
The image here was captured at dawn and combines several iconic elements of Rotterdam including the huge Nieuwe Maas river, the beautiful Erasmusbrug Bridge and lighting up the horizon the very modern De Rotterdam building.

The Headland Path

Another recent image captured in the beautiful light of the Algarve Portugal.
This one titled “The Headland Path” was captured on the cliffs close to the coastal town of Albufeira.
I have always lived on or very close to the beach and to be honest it used to concern me that the coast appeared in so many of my images.
Over the years however I have come to understand my work/vision in much more detail and what drives it and I know you can’t force or control creativity you simply just have to follow what inspires you.