Belgium Bound

Very excited to be heading off on a 3-day shoot to Antwerp at the end of this week as I loved visiting it as part of my Rough Guides book commission last year to traverse the whole of Belgium. So, as a warm up to the trip I sifted through some of the images I shot last year to share on my blog.

Below, is the wonderful Rubenshuis in Antwerp

Rough guide to Belgium

Rough guide to Belgium

Rough guide to Belgium

Rough guide to Belgium

After navigating various train changes, the last being only once every 3hrs, and a 2.5km march along country lanes it was completely worth it to finally arrive at the very opulent Chateaux Attre, with its fading hand printed wall papers, and dark richly oil-painted portraits.

Rough Guides Begium

Rough Guides Begium

Rough Guides Begium

Rough Guides Begium

Rough Guides Begium

A relatively short distance away was the wonderfully laid out Zoo Pairi Daiza, Cambron, Brugelette. Fell in love with the giraffes…

Rough Guides Begium

Below: Pink Flamingos Bar, GhentRough Guide Belgium

Below: St Baafskathedraal, Ghent, BelgiumRough Guide Belgium

Below: Outside Portal details, Cathedrale Notre-Dame, Tournai, BelgiumRough Guides Begium

Below: The Burg, BrugesRough Guide Belgium

Below: Palace of Justice, Brussels, BelgiumRough Guides Begium

Below: Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels, BelgiumRough Guides Begium

Below: Cake shop, Brussels, BelgiumRough Guide Belgium

THIS WEEK…

Looking forward to my assignment in Antwerp hoping the autumn sun will shine to bring out the best of what the city offers – Art, local food, Cityscapes, interiors and their details.

#visitflanders #Belgium #Roughguides

 

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September teaching at Morley College

Following my busy summer working on commissions around holiday adventures I am finishing off my preparations for my up-coming teaching through the academic year, where one day a week I like to share my enthusiasm for photography and my professional practice experience with students. As well as running progressive Digital SLR courses through the year up to Advanced level I teach term-long courses that will further enhance and enrich photographic skills within various genres of photography such as – Portrait photography, Studio Flash and Speedlight, Urban (street) photography, and Documentary photography (encompassing social documentary and photojournalism).

I am looking forward to meeting and helping new and past students to enjoy and improve both their technical and creative photographic skills. Always happy to share insights in to my professional practice as a commission photographer.

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SEPTEMBER COURSE DETAILS ( for dates, times and further info, click on the url )

Insight City Guides, London

URBAN PHOTOGRAPHY
This course is designed to teach various photographic techniques and ways to photograph the urban landscape taking a fresh look at photographing architecture, street portraiture and the cultural landscape whilst helping develop your own sensitivity to photographing within the city.

http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/5637-urban_photography

DIGITAL SLR PHOTOGRAPHY FOR BEGINNERS
This course is for complete beginners who own a Digital SLR and want to learn some of its functions. Students will learn how to operate their cameras in manual mode, make correct exposures and understand aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/4867-digital_slr_photography_beginners

You can continue your studies after this course with an intermediate and advanced level, or develop your own specific style and interest within photography on courses such as Portrait, Documentary, or Studio flash photography.

CITY & GULIDS PHOTOGRAPHY, LEVEL 1
City & Guilds Photography Level 1 is ideal if you are interested in learning basic photography skills and knowledge. You will learn how to use your camera, study aspects of image capture including composition and subject matter, and look at different computer editing software. Knowledge and skills gained will support progression to level 2 and 3.

http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/4290-city_guilds_photography_level_1/22854

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Boys driving on the Malacon, Havana, Cuba

COMING UP 2016
STUDIO FLASH AND SPEEDLIGHT  (Jan 2016)
http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/5646-studio_flash_speedlight/23171

DIGITAL INTERMEDIATE SLR  (Jan 2016)
http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/5537-digital_slr_photography_intermediate

DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY  (April 2016)
http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/5645-documentary_photography/22869

PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY  (April 2016)
http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/4311-product_photography/23173

PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY  (April 2016)
http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/5700-portrait_photography/23246

A taste for travel…

PHOTOGRAPHING FOOD ON LOCATION

On many of my travel & location lifestyle commissions I get to shoot some wonderful chef creations. Understanding how to work the natural light, and styling on the spot is a great asset. My background as previously an Art Editor has served me very well when sent off on a commission alone, never knowing what I will find at a location and then make the most of it. Here I recall some of the images I have captured…

JW Marriott Hotel, Venice

This beautifully presented Panna cotta above I photographed when on assignment for Conde Nast at the JW Marriott Resort in Venice earlier this year that appeared in their July issue of Traveller. With a quick glance around I placing and turning the dessert in a lovely softly diffused light area of the restaurant. Then I tweaked how I wanted the papery leaves to fall for nice shapes and so that the light shone through them. The final touches were adding the spoon on an angle and placing the potted herb just into the top of the shot with a very soft aperture to create some interest and sense of being on a real table setting and not in a studio. These seemingly little details I love to play with.

Pescheria San Pietro, Florence, Italy

Above is a wonderfully fresh seafood platter I shot in Italy. I decided it worked best from an aerial perspective. I like the main circular shape clipped off on the left side. I placed in the natural muslim fabric napkin to soften the shapes. Then I positioned other circular shapes of the glasses, in top left each partly filled, which along with the fork was a conscious decision to capture a feeling that I had just casually grabbed my image as someone was enjoying this lunch. Two empty glasses would have looked wrong. Plus, always enjoyable to sip some of the wine to achieve exactly the right amount I want visually in the image : )

JW Marriott Hotel, Venice

Great restaurants always present such attractive food, but when photographing reportage style, I like to add my own touches such as above a little bit of the food spilling onto a fork, and twisting around the clam shells to capture different shapes and textures – a glimpse of the shells’ exterior colors and pattern, and at same time the soft edible centre. Once happy with the fine tuning I then explore different angles to frame the shot, and how close to come in on the dish.

SOME TRICKY LOCATION LIGHTING – Interior locations can offer tricky light for shooting food & drink, such as hard light pouring through windows into a darker interior or too many different artificial light sources. But I try to play to what I visualize working with the quality of the object I am shooting and what available light I can find at the time.

The image below I shot in a wonderful cocktail bar interior lit by day with only a very low light spilling in from just one small exterior window, but it worked well as a very directional backlight to shine through the cocktails, which ‘lifted’ them against the dark upholstery and created sparkle.

JK Place & Cocktail Lounge, Florence, italy

Below, Natural light spilling in through frosted window out of shot, on the righthand side. The rich textures of the furniture, and placing a black area in the background helped ‘lift’ the brightly coloured cocktails in the foreground.

Dublin

I really enjoyed my shoot to The Pump Street Bakery in Orford, Suffolk for Country Living Magazine – spotting the quality of the harder sunny light shining through the cafe window and their wonderful clear glass teapots, combined with extra luminosity it gave the gilded vintage cup and saucer with delicately tinted herbal tea I pushed them further into the pool of light to capture this image, which I hope does emulate a true sense of what it was like to sit there sipping lightly fragrant tea with sunlight on your face.

The Pump Street Bakery

Below: The bakery sold their own delicious cakes but the counter area was lit by vintage light bulbs. As food is best shot in daylight the solution was to move them, still on their glass stands to a window on the other side of the room with a much softer natural light than the image above, so as to remove any moody shadows. If you can not find such an ideal softer light then you can always use a diffuser to place in front of a window to create this light as it passes through its fabric.

The Pump Street BakeryThe Pump Street Bakery

TIME LAPSE – Some times after I have photographed first the complete dish I like to deconstruct the food, slowly breaking into it with a fork or spoon until there is just a smear of sauce and that one final mouthwatering piece left to savor…

Lydia Evans wedding pudding

Lydia Evans wedding pudding 2

Lydia Evans wedding pudding 3

Lydia Evans wedding pudding 4

FOOD MARKET CLOSE-UPS – There are so many great graphic shapes and textures to photographing food in street markets around the world, from Istanbul to right here in London Borough market…

Pomegranates, Istanbul

Street Food on Istiklal Caddesi, Taksim, Istanbul

Simitci bread roll, Istanbul

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

ON A FINAL NOTE… just take one cupcake… This is one of the simplest but favorite shots of mine taken in a cafe in Stoke Newington Church Street, London to represent in just one shot: the feel for the interior, its vintage mismatching crockery and yummy cakes.

The Tea Room, Stoke Newington Church Street

The Tea Room, Stoke Newington Church Street

 

 

Glasgow Grandeur

Glee tearing open my early morning post today to feast my eyes on my complimentary January issue of Conde Nast Traveller – quick to thumb to the pages with my published images for yet another ‘In Britian’ feature, this time ‘Glasgow’.

I recall getting my 5am taxi to City London airport excited to see a new Scottish city for me. Slight butterflies how it would be as it was just days before the Scotish referendum. What questions would I get asked in the street… what discussions to avoid! It all turned out good in end with a taste of great interiors, art, and stylist new eateries. The odd sip of Whiskey, and only twice on the receiving end of sharp Glaswegian wee blether.

Here, I would like to share some of the images…

Kelvingrove Cafe

Kelvingrove Cafe

Above: Not too far from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery is The Kelvingrove Cafe a converted ice-cream parlour with lovely tactile wooden parquet flooring, tangerine walls, deep burnt chocolate coloured leather booths and service of delicious cocktails. Great stop for brunch or a livelier stylish evening crowd.

Below: My next stop was The Crabshakk seafood restaurant, Argyle Street where I could not resist asking this member of staff to step into one of my shots.

Crabshakk

Next photograph to set was this wonderful seafood dish below which conveniently made a very good late lunch option for me : – ) Looking at this image now makes my mouth water.Crabshakk

A short walk away is the grand Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum who’s entrance hall has your head in a spin gazing up at the gloriously huge Art Deco lighting. Suddenly music bellowed around the walls as a diminutive figure sat at the far end playing possibly the largest church organ I have ever seen! Off to the right hall a grand staircase leads you up to high surround balcony where I was amused by the floating heads instillation.

CNT_Glasgow_2014-881

Whilst the Original Glasgow school of Art designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh is still under repair from a fire, across the road is the Modern Seona Reid Building which forms part of school of art today an exciting place to study with a large international intake.

Seona Reid Building

Byres Road is the location of Kember & Jones’ delicious custard tarts, macaroons and meringue with summer fruit…

CNT_Glasgow_2014-961 CNT_Glasgow_2014-1014

Further along Byres road the Nardini’s ice cream parlour…CNT_Glasgow_2014-1030

The Drygate Brewery – craft ales The Drygate Brewery CompanyThe Drygate Brewery Company

Below: Style and glamour of Blythswood Square Hotel restaurantThe Blythwood Square Hotel

Stroll through Gardens of Pollock House, Pollock parkCNT_Glasgow_2014-1153

Vintage finds at The City Retro boutiqueThe City retro fashion

CNT_GlasgowJan2015Issue

Dublin city cooool!

I am very please I can finally share my images published in this November’s issue of Conde Nast Traveler, a feature I photographed for them in Dublin to capture the city’s renewed ‘sassy swagger’ fueled by the entrepreneurial flair of returning bright young independent venturers that had gone overseas to seek new things and be inspired.

With a brief to capture this new cool dynamic energy I spent a great couple of days amongst one of the friendliest nation I know. Never short of striking up a conversation. Great quirky interiors, and wonderful brunch served at The Fumbally – a plate of scrabbled eggs, avocado, chilli & tomato on toast I photographed then simply could not resist eating.

DublinDublinDublin

Even on time-out for a lunch break my lobster risotto at Super Miss Sue looked too good with fresh basil leaves on top not to be photographed! Yes, it was delicious. The Diver and Siren black and white photographs in the bathroom here also added a WOW factor.

Dublin Dublin

Below: The Marker Hotel Dublin

Below: Vintage Homeware at ‘Find’ in Temple barDublin Dublin Dublin

Below: Cow’s Lane Designer Studio in Temple barDublin

Peruke & Periwig’s barman Robert went beyond his call of duty nearly setting light to his gristly beard as he repeatedly lit his flaming ‘Walking dead’ cocktail for me to capture it at the ‘decisive moment’, at one point leaping backwards as the amber flame shot high into the air. I will spare him blushing by not showing that image.
His cocktail mixing skills were super and adventurous!

DublinDublinDublinDublinDublinDublinDublinDublinDublinDublinDublin

Impossible not to drink a guinness when in Dublin and one of the best places for this was The Kehoe’s pub where I got to share a pint and some good Irish banter with the subject of my photograph who thought he was just quietly sipping his guinness whist waiting for a friend until I spotted the photographic potential with a nice light flooding through the door. The three of us swopped a few good tales, then off home I went to my lovely room at Guesthouse Number 31, for an edit of the day’s shots.

Dublin

Below: Guesthouse, Number 31Dublin

A huge thanks to the Conde Nast team for this assignment, meeting great people and feasting my eyes on fab interiors, cuisine and cool quirky buys. I hope readers of my blog enjoy the images and you are tempted to visit Dublin for a long weekend. xx

It’s all in the detail…

How does one capture the essence of a place?
Here is a second taster of my Insight City Guide to London… Borough market, Kew, Ham House, Hogarth house, Chelsea Physic Garden, Westminster Cathedral, Nelson’s Column, Hampton Court and Chiswick House. I just laugh at the three elderly ladies in Chelsea Physic Garden with the busk of a man’s head amongst the flowers. I often am trying to get low and shoot through layers to create atmosphere. Trying to remember to look for all the angles; the graphic shot from above, or the low down close up where you can almost smell those cakes! Feel free to write to me at the foot of any of my blogs.

Beyond my commissions I teach a few short courses at Morley College, London. Why not come along to one of my ‘Street Photography’ courses? Two Saturday workshop 21 & 28 Sept 2013, and better still a 6 week program, working to themes within Street photography,  3 hrs a week from 4 November 2013.

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Where for art thou in London?

What an opportunity I had thought… A commission to run all over London for three weeks photographing a new guide book of the City. Then I saw the length of the picture list! followed by the arrival of a heat wave… thus followed some very hard work. The schedule was tight, but 8,000 files later edited to 2,000, another deadline met. Now a month later it is very rewarding to sift through and edit a small selection I like most. Can you guess where any of them were taken?

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, LondonInsight City Guides, LondonInsight City Guides, LondonInsight City Guides, LondonInsight City Guides, LondonInsight City Guides, LondonInsight City Guides, LondonInsight City Guides, LondonInsight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Cuba covered…

The Malecon, Havana, Cuba

I discovered this week that the image above that I photographed on the Malecon in Havana, Cuba has been bought for a cover of a book. I always get excited when I see an image of mine republished. Although I have shot both Time Out ‘Havana and the best of Cuba’ and ‘The Rough guide to Cuba’, this was a personal image I took on a much earlier trip, back in the day of ‘film’ photography. I once entered it into a Guardian photographic competition and it did make it to be featured on their website. See below a handful of some other favorite photographs I have taken in Cuba…

Afro Cuban Dance performance about to start in Havana Vieja

A taste of Istanbul…

Last month I had the great commission from Rough Guides to shoot their new Pocket guide to Istanbul. I was very excited to be going to photograph a city I had never been before. Arrived at my five star bunk bed in my very own hostel room, and off I went for 13 days traversing the different neighborhoods by antique red tram, the tunnel, electric T1 and ferries of various shapes, sizes and quality. Here are a handful of images to share the wonderful delights and food! of Istanbul: Click on thumbnails to view larger size.

Travel photography is seen by some as a glamours job… but the days are long, carrying
a tripod for hours, passing tourists sipping tea in their best holiday clothes. Then at the end of the day downloading, captioning, and editing into the night. But heck! I can not complain – the highs are getting lost in the back streets, eating the food you photograph, and the interesting encounters with other travelers on ferry crossings, hearing their tales of where they have just arrived from and their hopes to where they plan their travels will take them; swapping tips on good places to check out. Another late afternoon after getting my final shot of the day, I got to watch the sun set over the mosques and the Maiden’s tower from the Asian shore of Istanbul, whilst sipping my own sweet tea. Getting on a VERY local bus that would wind its way up through the hills to drop me off with a 20 minute vertical walk to a view of where the Bosphorus meets the Black Sea. As the sun was dropping fast zig zagging back down the Bosphorus missing and catching wrong ferries to eventually arrive back to my Hostel to edit with a nice cold bottle of beer… or two.

The best bit is once home home, working through all your images, smiling and appreciating the opportunity you where given, and sharing my pictures and stories with my son.

A world of interiors

As the Travel bug is still getting to me I reflect on aspect I have enjoyed doing past travel book commissions, especially Thames & Hudson Style City Europe book where I shot the Lisbon Chapter, and beautiful Paris for Rough Guides. With these two books I got to show how I enjoy to shoot interiors as much as capturing a sense of a location at street level too. Both books gave me the opportunities to shoot in top rated venues. Here below are some of my images from these publications.