Bak To Skool

One of the things I really love about photography is that there is always something new to learn and even though I feel I have come quite a long way in the last few years I’m very aware that there is still a long way to go.  With that in mind I signed up for a workshop with Leeds based commercial photographer Jay Mawson held at Banana Studio in Newcastle. I had been an admirer of his work for quite a while now and was really looking forward to the experience.  It turned out to be a really interesting day during which Jay shared his philosophy on lighting techniques and getting the best from the people you are shooting.  Perhaps the most refreshing aspect were the stripped back set ups, utilising single strobe and reflector, natural light and on camera flash, allowing the photographer to concentrate wholly on the image and the models expression / pose.  During a series of demonstrations and discussions Jay outlined his workflow, supplemented with the odd pearl of wisdom from Steve Robertson, this was  followed up with ample opportunity to put this into practice with the five models on call using different sets around the studio.  It was also good sharing your thoughts and ideas with the other photographers on the course who were great company throughout the day.  At the end I came away feeling really enthused about the whole thing and with lots of food for thought.  Big thank you to Jay and Steve for a stimulating day, Eric and all his staff at the studio who rolled out the red carpet as usual, models Kirsty, Louise, Shonagh, Abbey and Sarah and last but not least to the other photographers who took part on the day.


The End of the Pier Show

Saltburn Pier is a place I’ve had in my mind for a while now as a cool location for a shoot.  It has had quite a long and interesting history, it’s coming up to 150 years old now, and is one of the few remaining piers on the east coast of England.  It has had a few narrow escapes down the years but is now looking better than ever thanks to a sizable lottery grant.  The plan was to do an early morning shoot fashion, starting at 7am gulp!! and style it according to the weather conditions.  As it turned out the sky was quite heavy and dramatic so I decided to try and emphasise that in the images.  Jade Turnbull was the model for the day who is really well suited to this type of shoot and had brought along a couple of floaty dresses for the shoot.  The lighting was a Bowens 500W strobe with a gridded softbox and powered by a Travelpak, though I did have to switch to a beauty dish later on as the wind wouldn’t play ball!!  Over the course of the shoot we worked through a few different sets around the area and tried to make the most of the location.  Overall a really productive shoot which made getting up at some unearthly hour worthwhile!!

Eric Murphy Exhibition, Banana Studio, Newcastle

On Sunday I had a drive up to Newcastle to see the latest project of Banana Studio’s main man Eric Murphy.  Despite the weather there was a good turn out and it was good to catch up with a few familiar faces.  His latest project was a series of portraits of some “colourful” people from the area, shot in their natural habitat.  The results were an eye catching range of images that were full of interest and character, there was lots to admire in the creativity and  technical ability that had gone into the making of these images, the processing was really cool too.  If you want to see more of the images from the day click here.  All images copyright Eric Murphy.

Happy Birthday To Me!!

For my birthday this year I was lucky enough to receive a helicopter flight from my lovely girlfriend Tracey.  I was really made up as this has been a lifelong ambition.  About fifteen years ago I had had around 30 minutes in a two seater plane which was great, but flying a helicopter was what i really wanted to do and couldn’t wait for the big day.  Unfortunately this was put back a couple of times, due to the weather and my summer holiday, but as we eventually drove up to Newcastle Airport I have to admit i was really excited – and a little scared too!!  We arrived at Northumbria Helicopters in good time and after filling in the necessary paperwork  it was off for the preflight checks and induction about the controls of the Robinson R-22, call sign G-Mogy.  We were soon in the air and flying over the centre of Newcastle, en route to Tynemouth.  It was a perfect day for flying, visibility was great, you could see for miles in every direction.  During the flight I got to handle all of the controls and was surprised at just how sensitive they were and despite the fairly strong winds managed to prevent us from plummeting to the ground!!  The whole thing was over too quickly but I had a great day, when I win the lottery this will be one of the first things on my list.