I created this image many years ago but it’s still one of my favourites.
This was partly because It pushed my post production skills at the time to their absolute limit and so it was very satisfying when I finally completed it.
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!
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 I’ve been busy checking my aviation maps for any airspace restrictions for my proposed locations and planning the timings for the 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 I’ve 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.
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.
Somerset Photographer Capturing Summer On The Moor
Sometimes I have an idea and before I know it I’ve 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.
As a Somerset Photographer 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 its branches.
It felt slightly surreal like I had stepped into a Jack & Jill Ladybird book!
September is probably one of my favourite months especially with a camera in my hand.rnAfter 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.rnThe other reason I love September is the fields full Maize which for some reason I just have to capture every year.
Commercial Lifestyle Photography “The Anniversary” From Silage Pit To The Romantic Waterways Of Venice
Commercial lifestyle photography means being not only well planned but also fully briefing everyone involved.
I’m an honest chap but I do confess that when briefing the models for this commercial photography photoshoot I left out the fact we were shooting in an old farms silage pit!
It all started a month or so previous while shooting a worldwide commercial photography advertising 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 ’80s) Tim.
Tim like myself was keen to update his Book with new images so we agreed to collaborate on something to benefit us both.
An Anniversary weekend was the concept that Natasha my stylist came up with during our meeting to discuss ideas for the shoot.
It was perfect and from that point, various ideas started to develop and I decided that Venice would be a perfect backdrop for an affluent couples romantic anniversary weekend.
A quick casting with model agency Ginger Snap for a suitable wife for Tim and Andrea was approached and sold on the glamorous concept!
Unfortunately, budget and time restraints meant no Italian location shoot (or jolly as the wife would call it) with models in tow were going to be on the cards.
My original plan was to fly out to Italy and capture the background scenes I needed but work and other commitments meant it might be a while before I could do it.
I did however already have several images in my archives that were perfect for my vision for the shoot and a selection of these were shortlisted.
By studying the images for camera perspective, light quality and direction I made a shooting plan needed to seamlessly composite the models together with the locations.
I’m very lucky I have access to wonderful studio spaces when I require one.
On this shoot however I needed to blend the models into mainly daylight scenes and In my opinion, recreating daylight with artificial light rarely blends as seamlessly as I’d like.
My preference (when possible) is to use the real stuff! Once I had the correct quality of natural daylight I could then add some extra lighting to add any modelling if required.
For example, in the dancing image in St Marks Square, the dawn light was pretty soft but did create some light modelling as you can see on the lamp post.
With this in mind, a flash diffused with a 7ft umbrella was added to the right of the models to help melt the models and background together or if you prefer “sell the fake”.
So why shoot in a silage pit? The silage pit was my shooting preference for a couple of reasons. A, For the most part, I needed overcast soft daylight and the bright concrete wall’s and floor provided good natural reflectors giving fairly shadowless even light.
B, This also had the added bonus of providing a clean uncluttered background to aid the masking in post-production.
On top of this next to the shooting area was an open-sided barn with a roof.
This would allow some protection if the weather decided to get worse (rain) or better (sun) both of which would have not been welcome in producing the images.
It also was a handy area for setting up the laptop so we could preview the images and do quick composites as we went along.
A great team effort saw the day come together perfectly apart from one light that didn’t want to play ball which was quickly replaced.
Big thanks to our models Tim, Andrea and their agency Ginger Snap. Stylist Natasha Musson and Monks Yard for the use of the Venetian parts of the old farm!
Behind The Scenes[awesome-gallery id=9712]
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.
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.
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.
You can view the CYE Group website and their services Here
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.
Behind The Scenes Video