Venezia, Gondolier’s, A Straw Hat And A Dog With A Bone

It’s so easy to travel to a popular destination and simply fall into shooting well known landmarks from where everyone else does.
Lets face it the reason a particular spot is often used over and over is because it’s simply a great angle that many photographer’s (and possibly painters) have used again and again.These images get seen published and then searched out by others to replicate.
I’m not saying this is wrong but the problem for me is that by doing this it’s not exactly being creative as you are simply copying what every other bugger is doing again and again !
So the challenge for me is to capture these iconic places in my own style and hopefully a fresh new way …which not easy!

Gondoler Grande Canal, Venice Italy

Gondolier Grande Canal, Venice Italy

A few days before Christmas in 2004 I was itching to take a trip to test my transition from film into digital capture. I persuaded the wife that a romantic trip to Venice was needed together with 20kg of shiny new gear (fortunately she’s pretty strong !) and off we flew.
Venice… lets face it you would have to be complete lemon to go to there and not come back with at least a few great images from what is one of
if not the most stunning and unique places on earth.
Needless to say I took a lot of images during the trip and being December the light was good all day and fortunately dry although bitterly cold.
On our final morning I left the wife in bed and carried my kit myself to a very famous spot where I planned a dawn capture of the Grande Canal with the Maria Della Sallute in the background.
Although this is a very famous angle painted and photographed a million times I was determined to make it my own in some way.
As I was early I decided to pop into a cafe alongside the bridge where I planned to shoot from to wait for the light and have a well deserved Cappuccino especially after having to carry my own kit !
It was from the cafe I noticed a decked area with some plant pots and it was from here I decided would give me an interesting fresh angle for my image.
The dawn light was everything I hoped it would be and the scene came alive.
I added some extra depth by allowing one of the cafe’s plant pots  to appear out of focus in the foreground.
Apart from a few cranes I was very pleased with what I had but  could not help think how perfect would the image be with a gondolier in the scene.
I decided to wait in the hope one would appear in my beautiful composition but despite my patience none appeared.

My mum always say’s that once I have a bee in my bonnet I’m like a dog with a bone and just don’t let go !
I decided I definitely wanted a Gondolier for the image and went on a mission to find one before my flight departed that afternoon.
I searched high and low trying to capture a gondolier at the correct height (to match perspective)  and in a similar light to my background and found several BUT none had the classic straw hat..that I now decided was also required for the perfect image I had in my head.
Time was getting short and despite my effort no gondoliers in the correct light and perspective with a hat could be found on the water so I decided I would have try another way.
Finally after much stalking around the rustic back streets of Venice I found a suitable doner hat  and although the light was not quite perfect I knew with some tweaking I could get it to work.

This is one of my favorite images maybe not because it’s one of my strongest but probably because it’s a reminder of a magical weekend a few days before Christmas in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It was also the start of a new way of working & capturing images that blended seamlessly with the way I already was working in post production and of course it was also a romantic weekend with my wife 🙂 ..yep that too

Images Available As Prints In Our Gallery

 

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Wandering Paris By Starlight

Sounds kinda exotic doesn’t it..”Wandering Paris By Strarlight” well actually the fact I found myself wandering Paris in the early hours was a slight cock up.
It was 2007 and I had been shortlisted for a very large car shoot for an agency in Paris and my agent called to say I needed to fly over to meet the creatives at the agency.I decided that after my meeting I would stay on an extra day to shoot some personal work to make the most of trip.
I’ve visited Paris before so had images of the city but this was many years previous when I was still very green behind the gills and as I mentioned in an earlier post your vision and tastes change with time.
So I planned my itinerary together with sunrise & sunset times so that I could maximize my precious short time and the best light.The problem arouse when I planned to shoot the Eiffel Tower (which was only a 10 min walk from the hotel) at pre dawn.Somehow my phone alarm got confused (or was it me!) and I ended getting up 3 hrs before sunrise and found myself walking the damp cold streets before I had noticed the error.
As it happens Paris and especially the Eiffel Tower look rather stunning under starlight and of course it has the added bonus that at this time of morning/night it also lacks the crowds of Grockels (Tourists) as we call them down ere in Zummerzet !.

Images Available As Prints In Our Gallery

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Balearic Boardwalk

I often worry that I take too many images of the coast as it seems to be a subject I’m drawn to all too often.When I stop to think about it I suppose it’s only natural I’m inspired as I have lived close to or on the coast most my life.
My first step away from home on my own was a flat on the seafront at Burnham On Sea close to where I grew up (from the age of 7). A few years later was  followed by a short period living on a clifftop with awesome & inspiring views overlooking St Ives Bay in Cornwall complete with swimming Dolphins (I shit you not !) although it wasn’t an everyday occurrence I might add.
So the coast has been a constant inspiration and still provides me with a desire to explore and capture it predominately at dusk when what I call “The Edge Of Darkness” comes.
The image here titled “Balearic Boardwalk” was captured on the Spanish Island Of Majorca on a brief visit to the island in October 2012.

A Passion For Somerset

I know I have mentioned this before both here and probably many times on my photography training site but I love the Somerset Levels.
Somerset has been my home since the age of seven and the Wetlands are where I spent many many hours shooting and mastering my photography.
These days most of (but not all) of my photography tends to be planned in detail rather than simply exploring and capturing what I find although this often more fun!
Following some extreme flooding in late November here in the U.K I decided to take a trip to some of my favorite areas of the levels with just a single camera and a single 70-200mm lens. I occasionally reduce myself to a limited amount of equipment to kind of stretch/exercise /challenge my creativity.On the day in question the winter light was beautiful combined with a striking cold frost that barely shifted all day.It’s days like these that there seems to be an image waiting to be captured around every bend.It’s also days like these that reminds me of all the years of learning and why I’d do it all again in a flash..pun intended 🙂

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