A month left till Christmas

So it's been over a month since my first blog and a few exciting things have happened and a particular disaster with a certain piece of kit too so let me bring you up to speed.

So as I mentioned in the first blog about my work during the week with the car dealerships, it seems the work load took a toll on my oldest lens that I got with my first DSLR. No too costly but it was sad to let it go and who knew people bought broken things on ebay?!

My adrenaline junkie sister got her new bike for the 2015 downhill season and asked me to shoot some shots of her and it up on the local trails in Whinlatter. The day was cold and frosty but it was clear skies so no rain! The bike is gorgeous, a Mondraker Summum in blue and white which certainly stands out against the different shades of green in the forest as can be seen below.

The next date in my diary was November the 5th, bonfire night! With previous work commitments I have never been free to play with the camera on this day so it was really exciting to have a go and try capture some spectacular fireworks. I managed to take a good selection of shots and realised that some fireworks just don't show well on photographs, but some create awesome colours and shapes! Also on that night I realised sparklers give of star shaped sparks which is mesmerising and pretty funky! 

November the 5th was not only a night of fireworks and bonfires, I also drew the winner(s) of the competition for a free canvas or poster print. Katalin Nemes was the first name to be drawn and she had chosen a canvas and I decided to have a second draw for the other prize so I set about collecting names which chose a poster print and the lucky winner was Alan Taylor. Felt brilliant to make people so happy when they received their prize which can be seen in the photo below. Alan chose to have a print of his son getting some air on a jump at Fort William at the last SDA round of the season, and it looks amazing on such a big print.

 South Lakes Wild Animal Park are running a winter special of a £1 entry fee so we made the trip down to Dalton-in-Furness to see what was on offer. I remember going to the park a long time ago and being disappointed that the Rhino wasn't there, but this time it was available and it was the first animal we saw. Rhinos are amazing creatures and such a shame they are targeted for the horn on their nose, I have seen one back when I went to South Africa but not as close as this. It is obvious the park is under construction during the winter months so certain parts of the park did look untidy with building materials and tools lying around but we managed to see all the big cats, rhino, the number of different monkeys and lemurs flying (running) around, giraffe, penguins and even the arctic wolves although they were a bit brown and not very white.

Sunday 16th November, a calm misty Sunday and Ullswater was like glass, perfectly still and an awesome backdrop for a family photo shoot. I took a mixture of group shots to single portraits making up a package that was made into a 70th birthday present for a family member. The prints came and I sat down with the family trimming them for the photo frame they had ordered, it was perfect, and they loved it. Seeing how much these photos meant to them I've decided to start taking similar bookings, I have never felt confident in my abilities for this type of work but I guess I am just hyper critical of my own work. I'm running a special Christmas offer which is available until 10th January 2015, contact me for more details or see the facebook announcement.

Last but not least I went to Kendal Mountain Festival Santa Cruz bike session, an evening of films and photo montages of photographers and videographers in the mountain bike world. Some amazing and funny videos including the latest Danny MacAskill video from Stu Thompson - The Ridge. With over 24 million views currently on YouTube it was cool to see and hear stories from Stu about how it was made and what it was like to shoot such a film. One thing I was curious about the video was how much location scouting they did as it is a pretty inaccessible area. He answered the question in detail but long story short there wasn't much scouting as when they visited the mountain it was pretty much all covered in mist. The night was topped off with downhill rider Josh Bryceland aka Ratboy giving us a run-down on his last season, and this boy is an utter legend. If you don't know who he is search YouTube for "This is Peaty" and watch all 3 seasons, the things they get up too is comedy gold. It was like being at a stand up comedy event as he had the crowd in fits of laughter, one mainly being when he was top of the podium at the world cup and trying to sing the national anthem. Night ended with the crowd standing up singing the national anthem to Josh, top night to top off a brilliant November! Here's to the upcoming Christmas months being as good as the rest of the year! See you in the New Year