31 March 2010

Keyring Competition – Entry 1

So I've got my first entry.  Courtesy of my friend and client Jorge Salgado-Reyes from Allied Detectives.

Keyring Competition

I've already given out a few, but next week onwards I'll be sending them out on mass to people I've shot.

What I've decided to do is to run a competition in conjunction with the promotional key rings.

It's very simple.  Just take a photo that includes the keyring.  If you want to shamelessly advertise your own business in the photo, please be my guest.  It's all about the promotion!

I've decided to make my own photos exempt.  Don't worry if you haven't got a fancy camera, the shot above was taken with my mobile phone.

I'll be blogging the entries as they come in, so give me any details / links you'd like to include.

All I need is a photo, at least 600 pixels on the longest edge.  Send to me via the email address on my contact page.

Entries will run through until the end of November 2010, and then I'll pick my 5 favourites open it for public voting.  Winners will be announced on 1st January 2011.

The prize will be an A3 print from the winners choice of any photograph within the Personal section of my portfolio.

I have a button!

I've just created a new Paypal account just for the charity sponsorship for the Roof of the World Rally.

Click on it and see if it works! ;-)

I'll be updating the total weekly.   So far I've got £10.

26 March 2010

Laughing at people again

I appear to have become the resident photographer at Jan Jacks Laughter House.  This is a good thing.  I get to see some of the top comedians in the country, and I don't have to pay.

On the bill last night were Juliet Meyers, Andrew Watts and Steve Day.  They all put on great shows, but my favourite had to be Mr Watts.  The lady with her head in her hand was being picked / hit on by Mr Watts.  Superbly funny.

Have I shot you?

If I have, then you need one of these limited edition key ring loops!

They are limited only by the number people I've shot and I can send them to.   If I haven't shot you, you ain't getting one!  Simples!

I am planning to get these out around the country / world over the coming weeks to people.

Update:  Forgot to mention and give thanks to the wonderful Jody @ www.chillipromotions.co.uk for her help and hand-holding with the artwork for these.  Very speedy turn around as well.   If you need any promotional stuff, Jody's  your gal!

23 March 2010

The pipes are calling

This mornings shoot was all about pipes, hot water pipes, cold water pipes, waste pipes, air ventilation pipes, pipes for just about everything.

The lead photo was my one brief attempt at being creative, the rest of the photos were all quite normal.  Pipes are a serious business don't ya know?

The location, still very much a construction site, was one I'd driven by loads of times, the new police head quarters in Southampton.   The first thing I commented upon when getting on-site was how much bigger is was.  From the road all you can see is the 8-storey tower, but inside you can see the large parking structure, and lower 2 stories which form a much larger building.

After being all PPE'ed up I was escorted around the building and told which pipes to shoot.  It was my first time on a construction site, so it was all rather interesting.  I did sneak a couple of shots from the roof of the surrounding area - it was just a shame the weather was so crappy.

22 March 2010


I don't really have the words to do justice to Sarah Howells passing on Friday.  So here are a few of my favourite photos of her.

RIP Pash.  A beautiful person both inside and out.  It was a privilege to be able to call you a friend.

20 March 2010

Photography at funerals?

I was having a conversation recently with someone about photography at funerals.

After my good friend Sarah 'Pash" Howells passing away at a tragically young age last night it got me thinking again about whether photography at funerals is socially acceptable.

What got me thinking about it originally was shortly after my Grans funeral a few years ago.  Relatives that I've never seen before or since were all at the funeral yet there are no photos of it.  Although it was a sad day, I'd have quite liked some photos of it to help me remember the people there.

Obviously you're not about to line people up and do all the group shots you'd do at a wedding, but I think if it was done in a discrete documentary way then there is indeed a place for photography at funerals.

I'm not pitching for business, and I'm not even sure I'd want to do professional photography at a funeral.

What does everyone else think?  I'd be interested to hear some opinions.

19 March 2010

Asda Slip Up with one of my clients

I'm loving this little story that my friend and client Mike Boss was involved in this week.  They've used one of my pictures of Mike taken at a recent shoot we did at The Bartley Lodge Hotel in Cadham with the article.

The report from the Bournemouth Echo reads

"A FATHER of two was shocked when a supermarket delivered sexual lubricant to his house instead of the children’s bubble bath he had ordered.

Finance broker Mike Boss says he realised he had been substituted Durex Play Lubricant for Lucky Matey bubble bath when the order arrived at his home in Alderholt.

Mike had ordered the well-known children’s brand of bathtime suds – which comes in a bottle shaped like a cheery parrot wearing an eye patch – for his children aged seven and four via the Asda website.

The items were delivered by the Bournemouth Castlepoint store after being selected by a store worker.

Mike joked: “We’ve had issues with Asda deliveries before. Last time there were 16 substituted items.

“But this is taking things to a whole new level – I’ve no idea who could confuse sexual lubricant for children’s bubble bath. When they bring your order they give you a delivery list to check so that you can confirm the substitutes. When I saw what they’d done I was gobsmacked!

“I did have a laugh about it with the delivery guy who was quite young and seemed embarrassed about it.”

An Asda spokesman said: “We’ve messed up here. The substitution was clearly not appropriate and we apologise to the family for any upset caused. To avoid any further mix-ups we’ve changed the way both items are described on the booking form used by our store pickers.

“As well as this, and as an apology to Mr Boss and his family, we’ll be delivering them a free supply of bubble bath to make sure bath time goes without a hitch from now on.” "

Charity Road Trip

I love travel, road trips in particular.  I always find myself watching the celebrity travel documentaries from the likes of Michael Palin with a little bit of envy.

So when I was approached a couple of weeks ago regarding doing some photography over the final 10 days of a road trip that starts in London and finishes in Dushanbe, Tajikistan it immediately got my attention and interest levels up.

It's called "The Roof of the World" Rally, it's all for charity with the profits going to Sworde-Tepa and Make-A-Wish.  The website is www.charityroadtrips.org.

Currently my involvement is to photograph the start of the rally in London on 3rd July 2010, and then to fly out to Baku, Azerbaijan to meet up with the rally on 15th July and then stay with it all the way to the final destination of Dushanbe.  As the crow flies its around 1000 miles, but our planned route will be much longer along what appears to be some "interesting" roads.

If I said I wasn't a little bit worried about some of the places we'll be visiting I'd be lying.  Lets face it the area hasn't exactly had a positive press over recent years, but this is a huge opportunity for me, and impossible to put into words just how excited I am.

As you might expect with it being for charity I'm not going to get paid, so I'm going to have to find a way to fund myself.  By far the biggest expense will be the air fare, probably around £700, so I need to raise quite a bit of money.

How?  Well I'm going to be approaching some companies direct also asking for small amounts of sponsorship in exchange for advertising space on my website.  I'll be creating a special section of the website dedicated to the trip and updating it with news and sponsorship information as things progress.

Maybe I should get myself sponsors for all the injections for inoculations I'm going to need prior to July - I've been told I'll need 11 jabs.  Have I mentioned yet how much I hate pain & needles?

That's all for now.  There's lots going around in my head.

Update: I've just got information through on our ideal route.  The exact route we take depends on visas, so it might change a little, but this is the ideal scenario.    Baku – Turkmenibashy – Ashgabat – Mary – Turkmenabat – Bukhoro – Samarqand – Tashkent – Andijon – Osh – Pamir Highway – Dushanbe – Qurghonteppa.

16 March 2010

My first sponsor

I now have a marketing department!

The wonderful Lisa Blackler from Honesty Marketing has come on board to help me market myself, the trip, the charities and to get some more sponsorship.

Lisa says this about herself  "Lisa Blackler created Honesty Marketing to bring her straight-talking, practical approach to real life business challenges. With 22 years experience and a lively, creative approach to business relationships, Lisa relishes a challenge."  She also said "Despite bearing a passing resemblance to Dot Cotton, Lisa has centuries of marketing experience. She is an incurable flirt and insists on being giving chocolate at every business meeting."

I'll leave it up to you to decide which version sums up the real Lisa Blackler best.

I am however very pleased to have her help.

New Canon 5d Mark II Fireware

It's been promised since last year, and it's finally here.

Below is some Canon speak for what it does.  You can download it here.


Installing is easy, just download it, copy it to a compact flash card, make sure you have a good charge on your battery, pop the card in and select the update firmware option from the menu.  Simples no?


Firmware Version 2.0.3 incorporates five enhancements to the movie function and a fix to the manual sensor cleaning function of the EOS 5D Mark II camera.

Adds or changes the following movie frame rates.


1920×1080 : 30 fps (changed - actual 29.97 fps
1920×1080 : 24 fps (added - actual 23.976 fps)
640×480 : 30 fps (changed - actual 29.97 fps)


1920×1080 : 25 fps (added - actual 25.0 fps)
1920×1080 : 24 fps (added - actual 23.976 fps)
640×480 : 25 fps (added - actual 25.0 fps)

Adds a function for manually adjusting the sound recording level (64 levels).
Adds a histogram display (brightness or RGB) for shooting movies in manual exposure.
Adds shutter-priority AE mode (Tv) and aperture-priority AE (Av) mode to the exposure modes for shooting movies.
Changes the audio sampling frequency from 44.1 KHz to 48 KHz.
Fixes a phenomenon where communication between the camera and the attached lens is sometimes interrupted after manual sensor cleaning. (This phenomenon only affects units with Firmware Version 1.2.4.)

15 March 2010

Caption Contest

In the photo we have the famous and very talented Bob Mills alongside the not quite so famous but equally talented Jan Jack.

The photo was taken shortly after Bob stepped off stage after his performance at the Laughter House in Salisbury last month.

Jan thought it would be a fun idea to run a little caption competition.  The winner of which wins two tickets to the Laughter House in Basingstoke on the 25th March.

Leave your comments here in the comments area.  The competition runs until 21st March and Jan will pick the winner on Monday 22nd March.

So come on peoples, the chance to win a free night out at one of the south's best comedy clubs...

The Wedding Show

It was the first time I'd been involved in a wedding show from day one, so it was a little bit of a risk.  But I know the girls at Floral Enchantment (who were organising the show) quite well and I had the faith!

The TerraVina Spring Wedding Fayre was a small but perfectly formed event.  With just 12 exhibitions it was more about quality than quantity.  I mean how many florists or photographers do you need at a wedding anyway?

I shouldn't have favourites, but anyone who gives me chocolate is going straight to the top of the list, so Fiona Ann you rock!

Best comedy moment, when I spotted the moisturiser the hair & beauty lady had.  It was simply called "hand job" and it came in two sizes, a mini and a regular.  I shall say no more.

Exhibiting, in no particular order were....

Gem Freeman - Jewellery Designer & Maker / www.gemfreeman.com
In These Shoes - Ladies Shoes & Handbags / www.intheseshoes.co.uk
Fiona Ann Chocolates - Hand Made Chocolate / www.fionaannchocolates.co.uk
Creative Catering - All things catering / www.thecreativecateringcompany.co.uk
Holistic Hidewway / www.holistic-hideaway.co.uk
Evolve Hair Professionals - Wedding Hair / www.evolvehair.net
Bojangles Brides / www.bojanglesbrides.co.uk
LM Designs - Bespoke Bridesmaids & Eveningwear
Creative-Plane Hypnotherapy / www.creative-plane.co.uk
Wight Ballroom - First Dance Tuition
Paul Newton - Magician / www.paul-newton.co.uk
Floral Enchantment - Florists / www.floralenchantment.co.uk
Simply Memorable - Wedding Cars / www.simplymemorable.co.uk
Michael Palmer - Photographer / www.michaelpalmer.com

Please enjoy this small selection of photographs from the show ...

14 March 2010

Saints got hammered

So having been offered a couple of tickets I pick the Saints vs Pompey FA Cup game in 2010 as my first ever football match. Many said I was crazy, and yes I admit I did first check to make sure the seats were as far away from the Pompey fans as possible.

Okay so Southampton FC got their arses well and truly kicked with the 4-1 result, I ended up with very cold feet, but it was kind of fun.  Not exactly sure I'd be in a hurry to go to another game, if I ever did I'd want to be sitting on the touchline with a big lens and able to take more than a few snapshots.  However it's something to check off the list.

13 March 2010

Laughing at people

It was a rainy night in Salisbury and it was the second time this year I'd left home with the sole purpose of laughing at people for the evening.  The event was Laughter House in Salisbury which was taking place at the Milford Hall Hotel.

On stage were compare Phil Dinsdale, with comedians Jan Jack, Andi Osho and Mr Bob Mills.

The audience was partly filled by local business networking people.  A fiver from each of their tickets was being donated to the Pash4Cash fund.   Pash aka Sarah Howells is a local business woman and friend to many of us, founder of "The Passionate PA".  The fund has been set up by a couple of her close friends so she never needs to worry about money again.  For those who don't know Sarah's story you can find her blog here.

Okay, back with the fun stuff.  Another fine evenings entertainment was had.  Although I'm still not quite sure I liked it when the compare picked on the photographer!  It's funny really.  A few years ago I used to hide at the back of the room in comedy clubs, the thought of being picked upon almost scared me enough not to go into the room in the first place, now I've got so much more self confidence I'm up there towards the front shooting away.

Enough with my words, and on with a few photos from the night...

11 March 2010

How my work is used

James Brown & Paul Newton using a photo of them I took recently.

09 March 2010

A new character

I don't need a fancy studio. This set of photos of Jacquie was shot on location on the third level of the Bargate multi-storey car park in Southampton.

I'd parked there the day before and noticed how quiet it was, but more importantly I loved how the sunlight was bouncing off the white walls creating a natural reflector.

Not exactly the most glamorous of locations, but it's the end result that counts.  I'm really pleased with this set of photos.

After the shoot I walked up to my favourite camera shop, London Camera Exchange where I helped Jacquie buy her first digital slr, a Nikon D3000.  Even with me being a Canon man, it was the right choice.  With a 2 year guarantee and with the Canon equivalent D1000 feeling very cheap and plastic like, even I would have chosen the Nikon if I was buying my first proper camera.

08 March 2010

Jan Jack – A Day At The Zoo

For the last year or so I've had a camera (Canon 5d Mark II) that I've known is capable of near broadcast / movie quality video.  It's taken me what seems like forever to actually use it for something productive.

This video is the first of several I'm planning to do to demonstrate the quality of the work I'm able to produce.  I'm not totally happy with the quality of the sound.  There's too much background noise.  I'll be working hard to get the sound quality up to the same level as the picture quality.

The video features Jan Jack reading her own poem "A Day At The Zoo".

A more sensible business portrait

Savour this photograph.  You don't often see Paul Newton (right) looking all sensible and serious.

This shoot, done in just a couple of minutes after Paul had stepped "off stage" from doing a few magic tricks during Wooden Tigers VIP Event at Business South 2010, were for a training seminar that Paul and James Brown (left) are doing in a couple of weeks time.

The blurb on the Facebook event says;

"At last, James Brown and Paul Newton are going to teach you - yes YOU how to use some of their techniques to gain the following:

More belief in yourself AND your business
More money by making employees and clients happier
More time - by getting other people to do more work for you - happily!
More Confidence - and easy access to it whenever you need!
More Understanding - ever had a "I wish I had done this instead" moment? We'll show you how to think outside that horrible box as and when it happens.

At just £35 of your British Pounds this is a bargain price for two most excellent people.

The event takes place at AFC Bournemouth on 22th March and runs from 0900 to 1230.

To book contact Paul via his website - www.paul-newton.co.uk

Oh, and just incase you thought the photoshoot was all sensible, you'd be wrong.

The art of photobombing

This entirely sensible portrait of Mr Brian Skeggs has been shamelessly and rather amusing ruined by bald magician Mr Paul Newton.

07 March 2010

A walk along the Thames

A couple of weeks ago while I was in London for the Wedding Show at Olympia, I met up with my friend Jorge for a pub lunch and we went on a short photo walk.

We parked up near The Monument, and our walk took us across Tower Bridge, down by the new London Townhall, and then back across to the car via London Bridge.  T'was but a short walk, and I only had my Panasonic GF1 with me, and these are my favourite photos.