One step at a time, or 5!

Just sitting outside trying out the sparklers I just got for the wedding next month and this little man popped up out of nowhere. It was really fluffy, but he doesn't seem to have a face, how do they see 🙈

Strangely enough I loved his orange markings, probably to warn off birds and other bug eating animals but didn't stop me snapping away to try and get a nice photo 🤓

Meeting Dave & Hannah 😍

Dave & Hannah have been booked for some time but with them being from down south we had never met. I organised to meet them both so they could get to know who I am and they suggested what better place than the cafe at Lingholm where they're getting married.

 First time visiting the estate for myself and so I was on the hunt for little locations for some portraits on their big day, the gardens are gorgeous and there's also a very cool and pretty bridge on the footpath leading up to the house,ideas are already being though about! 

 After talking to them both about their day, the timings and who is where for what time we took a walk down to the jetty. Another wedding was already in full swing so we couldn't visit the main house, but we got a glimpse of it from the walk down to lake. It was a year since Dave proper to Hannah so I took a quick snap of them, framing up friars crag behind them as that's where they got engaged. Lovely couple and I can't wait for their wedding next year, it's going to be amazing! 

Sunset Orange

Went up to Hartside this evening to meet a friend and whilst waiting I noticed the sky was really misty. The sunset was either going to be really dull or something epic. As the light began to fade the sunset colours started to creep into the sky and I was still waiting on my friend so I decided to set up an off camera flash and get some shots of my car. 

 The sunset was throwing yellow & orange into the misty air and with the car being orange too it suited the shot really well. If only it wasn't really windy up there as I would have loved to add a reflector to the right hand side where the shadow is, it would have just made the shot a little more dynamic but I'm still happy with what was just a quick set up and snap! 

Swedish Family Photowalk

I was asked by a friend if I would be up for a photoshoot but on a lake district walk. The idea was her parents were over from Sweden for the mums birthday and it's not often the family get together.

I was up for the challenge and the day couldn't have been better, no cloud in the sky and the sun was lovely and warm with a slight breeze. The walk that had been chosen was cat bells, lovely views from the top and not too difficult. When we got half way up the wind had become very strong so we decided to not go to the summit but walk back down the front side and along the lake shore.

 One final image was an experimental photo down on the shore of Derwent Water, usually panoramic stitching of photos is used for still subjects for example landscapes but rarely used for moving subjects. It allowed me to get a shallow depth of field but because it was a larger photo after the stitching it's kept the separation of the family from the background and gives the photo some depth which I think looks pretty awesome! 

Autumn Leaves = Stunning Photos

This photoshoot has produced some of my favourite client photos of 2016. I was contacted asking if I could photograph some small children on a frosty morning in some red autumn leaves which worried me considering the weather we had recently had. I thought there wouldn't be any leaves left or should I say, no more crunchy pristine leaves that could add to a photo! 

I was wrong, so wrong. Up at Brampton near Carlisle there is Talkin Tarn and there was so many leaves it was amazing. We all took a stroll around the tarn to see where was best and we were spilt for choice. The piles of leaves were endless. Eventually we came to the end of the wooded section and decided to set up a mini studio on location, attracting attention from passers-by as the sleeping baby was blissfully unaware of how much attention he was getting. 

End result was some fabulous photos of deep red leaves against some equally bright colourful baby clothes 😍

Another book, but not the last!

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Another photobook from my sisters wedding arrived today, this time it was my mother's. Made and bought for her birthday present, she had picked the photos she wanted and in which order before I created it and had it printed. I've started to really enjoy making and receiving these books, there's something about opening a newly created book and turning each page to see each image professionally printed over two pages, it's amazing!

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Last minute plans to go to a local bike event near Penrith tomorrow has brought back memories to last year when we went to the Scottish downhill races. The night before would be a scramble to clean lenses, pack the bag, methodically lining up batteries to be charged and making sure memory cards are formatted. This is all part of what I enjoy about my work, the organisation of camera gear! 

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Die No More EP Launch

It's been a while since I photographed a live music event and so I asked the local band to Penrith, Die No More if they minded me coming along to snap some shots of their EP launch at the Brickyard in Carlisle. The night included a couple of support bands including Hellion Rising who are another local Carlisle band.

It's weird how doing more and more photography work throughout the years makes you more confident at capturing great images even if you don't get to practice that particular type of photography. For me in the early days I wanted to be a full time music photographer but quickly realised that it doesn't pay well, most bands are on tight budgets and aren't willing to shell out much money for photos when the next guy gives them out for free. Music photography was put on the back burner, I got the odd job here and there from bands wanting promo shots but nothing major.

 

Other than Keswick mountain Festival I haven't been to many live music events but festivals aren't nearly as challenging as darkly lit clubs. It goes to show that photography skills apply no matter what environment and no matter what the talent it be it a bride in a dark room lit by a slither of window light or a guitarist swinging around on stage with a single red spotlight on half of his face. It's knowing how to use that available light to capture truly amazing images.

Enduro at GNAR Bike Park

Sunday was a first for me, travelled to the new (yet in my opinion no where near finished) GNAR bike park near Penrith for a Hope PMBA Enduro. It's a small wood on a hill half way between Penrith and Carlisle, it has a steep entrance drive which was shut due to weather and making it impossible to get any vehicle up. Alternative parking was half a mile up the road in the camping field but again due to weather it was a bog, Mark was definitely not parking in that, roadside it was. Hordes of riders were gearing up and hooning it down the road to get practicing as soon as possible. 

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As we made our way to the sign up tent riders were scrambling for their number boards, sign on and get up the tracks to see what GNAR had to offer. 

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The track leading up to the stages was a taster of what was to come, thick sticky mud which filled new tyres to make them look like slicks, this was going to be one of those races! I set off into the thick woods and paired up the 5D with the 24-70 and soon realised, it's very dark in these woods. I was pushing the camera to the limits, wanting a fast shutter speed but also a big depth of field in a situation like this is difficult. I needed to find light, an opening. 

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Stage 6, the first major obstacle I found and felt images were to be made. A deep muddy bog. For most this was a "go as fast as possible and try to reach the other side" challenge but for a select few, they stopped, annalised and realised if they took a high line on the drop in they could swing further right and around with no penalty on time.

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The second location I liked was the gap jump on stage 5. I made a new 4 legged friend, a sprocker, who loved sticks and there was no shortage to throw for the little scamp! Riders were flying thick and fast over the gap, it attracted a few spectators, hecklers and more photographers. Time to find somewhere different... 

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I found it. Lying down between two trees and framing the riders between some fern and twigs as they were riding down into a pool of light, golden light, the best light. The flow of riders slowed down, and with no idea why I headed up to the top of the hill to find out. 

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A rider unfortunately had come off on the gap jump on stage 5 and was being treated by paramedics, and because the riders had to ride each stage in order there was a huge backlog for stage 5. The air ambulance was being called and the rider was taken off to hospital, and as I type this I've seen he was able to blog his whole experience so at least he is in good health. 

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Whilst waiting in the queue Hope Tech rider Katherine Sharp realised her front brake was leaking, but team mechanic/rider Doddy was on hand to fix it, if only he had the right sized spanner... Katherine had just that to his amazement! The stages opened and the racing got under way again and that is when I made quick exit. The time we had sat around was over an hour and as I wanted to get photos edited before going out for a meal I needed to get going. It was a nice event to cover I just felt the venue was very lacking, it needs a lot of work doing before being a worth while visit in my opinion. The track was breaking up in parts which isn't a good sign for a newly made park, maybe this event may help it grow and it gets the maintenence it needs, who knows! 

Bunny photoshoot & more photobooks!

Today another photobook came, this time for Mags & Ben's wedding. It is another A4 book with 26 pages, it is again a lay flat with numerous double page spread photos that look gorgeous on the thick matt photo paper pages. The quality of these books is amazing and I love seeing my photos in large print being enjoyed by couples.

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Tonight I had a quirky assignment, get clear sharp photos of a pair of baby bunny rabbits. These two curious creatures move fast in a dim room of their new families home. They are in quarantine until they've had all their vaccinations so aren't able to be moved to a more well lit part of their house. The challenge was on to photograph these little thumpers as previous attempts from their new mummy came out blurry as they were that fast. 

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Post wedding products

If taking photos of these special occasions wasn't enough, making these photo books makes it even better. The process of putting together images from the start of the day through to the finish to tell a story of a couple's wedding is magical. 

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 Whether it is A3 or A4 these lay flat photo books are perfect to display photos over a double page spread! 

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Wooly Cushions

Lately I've been taking photos of wool rugs for Ra and her new business Crafts by Ra. They have had numerous locations as a backdrop from around the Lake District but today was different. She had just finished a new product, a cushion woven from wool and with the weather we had today I couldn't not take a photo outside. 

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I was using the 5D mark 3 with the 24-70mm with a circular polarising filter. The polarising filter is to cut down on the glare on surfaces due to the strong sunlight we had and it also darkens the sky to give a lovey deep blue that almost looks false, in fact this photo took very little editing to get it to this. The only editing I did was taking the highlights down slightly to take even more glare off the labels so you can see the logo and name of the business. I originally wanted to use a longer focal length to compress the back ground and focus more on the product but I opted for a low and wide angle but to get really close to the product to still make them fill the frame but allow the background to be included as the deep blue and dark shades of green contrast well with the grey Herdwick colours in the product. The photo from the camera is below... 

Thank you for reading and hope you liked the breakdown of how the shot was taken.

Weddings, weddings, weddings!

This year has seen my business dip more into wedding photography and it's been amazing. The first of this year was Ryan & Mel at the Inn on the Lake, Ulswater. The beginning of April brought a wet day but it didn't dampen the mood and the couple were delighted to see the final results commenting that the umbrellas add to the pictures rather than take away. 

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The second wedding of the year was for Ben &  Mags in the middle of July. Held at the church in Plumpton it was a short ceremony, and a well lit church from the huge glass window at the back allowed for some lovely shots inside before the groups in the church grounds. The confetti shot at this wedding is one of my favourite as the wind just picked the confetti up and around the couple to add a bright and vibrant dash of colour into the photograph. Afterwards there was a party in the Great Salkeld village hall with a fish and chips dinner, it was complimented with the lovely weather we had. Summer weather is perfect for a small local wedding like this! 

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The third and final wedding for this blog is a special one. My sister Rachel and her husband Mark. A lot of people I spoke to thought I shouldn't be photographing my own sister's wedding but to me, it meant the world. I was able to create lasting memories for my family in the way I do best! Once again the weather blessed us with a hot summer day which made for some fantastic group photos at Lyzzick with the surrounding fells as a back drop. The ceremony was at the little Chapel between Millbeck and Applethwaite near Keswick, it was then onto Lyzzick for the afternoon tea style wedding breakfast and then a hog roast and disco at the village hall. A truly magical rustic country wedding that went so smoothly, it's going to take some getting used to that Rachel is now Willan not Simpson!

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Aurora Borealis

Thursday night was special. For the first time I saw the northern lights but I also got to photograph it. We saw it from the house and decided to drive up to Hart Side cafe to get a higher viewpoint and hopefully see the lights better. We arrived and there were a lot of people sitting in the cars but nobody was taking photos so I thought we had missed it whilst driving. It was there though, our eyes needed to adjust to the dark and to the right of Carlisle in the distance the green glow was across the horizon. 

There was a lot of mist and fog rolling in, low lying cloud perhaps, which made it difficult to get pictures with how many cars were coming and going. We managed to get a few of the sky on its own and me and Ra silhouetted against the lights. We headed back down the fell. It became clearer the further down we got, the fog must have been just at the top. We pulled over and got out for a second batch of photos and this is where I got this shot. Proud. Happy. Delighted. I had finally captured the northern lights. Still will want to go abroad to see them, somewhere up north but for now this has satisfied me as far as photographing it is concerned

Foggy Weekend Off

So this weekend I had nothing planned and I was looking forward to getting out with the camera, but when I woke up this morning it was a blanket of white outside. No, not snow but thick fog!

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But I decided to pop down to Ullswater to see if the fog would add a different type of atmosphere and it certainly did. When we arrived at the lake, I saw the Duke of Portland boathouse and thought it would be a great shot as it stood out from the mist. Decided to head down to the far end of the lake to first see if there was any other great locations but the fog got thicker the further you drove so I turned back and headed to the boathouse.

After a few experimental shots I saw the mist was creating a washed out look over the boathouse and not creating the contrasting image I was imagining. The fog was moving down the lake and thick batches floated past the house and as I was using a filter to allow long exposures this would happen a few times over the time it took to create the photo. To counter this I decided to take 5 different exposures and then when I was home stack them up to get the best parts in one photo. I wanted the water smooth as it a little choppy, I wanted the sky not too bright and to balance the exposure of that with the boat house which was fairly dark. The below image is the final result which I pretty happy with seen as when I first looked out this morning I thought I wouldn't be shooting anything