27 July 2011

Shooting babies

I don't shoot many babies, so when I do it's actually quite fun and refreshing from the other kinds of photography I do.

Yesterday, in a slightly weird trade of services, I needed my car fixed and babies father wanted some shots of his 20 month old daughter Evelyn.  A win win situation for both of us.

We did the shoot in Evelyn's back garden, so she was completely at home, with all of her toys to hand.  My favourite picture from the shoot is below.  It captures her lovely personality perfectly.

Gear Used: One of my Canon 40D's suddenly refused to accept / format memory cards at the start of the shoot, most annoying, but hopefully Canon service can fix it so I don't have to turn it into an expensive paperweight.  I always have back up bodies when I'm shooting, and I used my trusty old second Canon 40D and my favourite lens, Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS.

26 July 2011

Beach Shoot Accessory

Beach shoots are a pain, they normally require lugging equipment from the car parked some distance away, and then there's the sand issue, and how to stop it getting into your camera, bags etc.

Meet my latest photography accessory, the Beach Rolly.  Yes I know it's a silly name, but its made by a German company so we'll humour them a bit.  ;-)  It's a great bit of kit, I was able to load it up with my stuff and easily pull it down to the beach.   With the added advantage of not having to put my camera bags directly onto the sand, its probably the best accessory I've bought in a long while.


17 July 2011

Photographing Jimmy White

I've been a fan of snooker for over 25 years.  My first memory of snooker was watching the Steve Davis vs Dennis Taylor 1985.  I was one of the 18 million that stayed up to gone midnight to see the conclusion of the match.  I was only 15 at the time, it was a school night, my parents didn't "get" snooker, so I was forced to watch it on a tiny 4" black and white telly hidden at the side of my bed.

My first memory of Jimmy White is watching the Mercantile Credit Classic where Jimmy won his first ranking tournament beating Cliff Thorburn 13-12.  I remember it so well for two reasons, firstly because at the height of tension in the final frames Jimmy called a foul on himself that the referee didn't spot.  I'll never forget that act of extreme sportsmanship.  The other reason I remember is so well is because I'd started watching the final session at my Nan's house, but just a few frames from the end we had to drive home, longest 15 minutes ever!

The shoot was for a Jimmy White iPad / iPhone app called iWhirlwind, and we were shooting at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.  The shoot came about because of contact made via Twitter, with Jim's business partner Jamie Trump during the 2011 World Snooker Championships.  A few short weeks later, and here we all were.

I've photographed quite a few famous people on stage, and quite a few fitness celebrities, this was my first proper shoot with someone as well known as Jimmy.  I didn't want to come across as a fan, but I did have to ask Jimmy and Michaela Tabb to pose for one quick picture with me.

My job for the most part was to keep out of the way of the video cameras, and just to photograph Jim in action.  My first time photographing snooker, and I was quite pleased with the results.  My Gran (who died 4 years ago) would have been proud of me, she was a big Jimmy and snooker fan.

It was the most surreal shoot I've ever done.  For a time I was re-spotting the colours for Jim as he was warming up while the video cameras were being set up.  When I arrived home that evening it almost seemed as if the day was a dream.  Being a self employed photographer is not the easiest way to make a living, but on days like this, oh so worth it.

Thank you Jim for a great shoot, looking forward to seeing the app, although I will have to borrow someone's iPad!

Thanks to Neil Sheppard for coming along to help, although he didn't really do anything!

13 July 2011

Southampton's Mess

I actually quite like Southampton.  It's my home town, and I know the city centre like the back of my hand.  Business in some areas of the city is doing amazingly well, West Quay is just one example and with a record breaking 6 cruise liners coming into the city on Saturday, and 1000's of people coming through because of it, the streets are just embarrassing.  What must visitors to our city think about us?

I set out today to show the city centre at its worst, with boarded up stores, and the terrible mess of litter and full up rubbish bins everywhere.

Most of the mess is due to a dispute between the Council and the Unions causing amongst others the street cleaners and bin men to have been on strike for the better part of the last 2 months.  Not really wanting to bring politics and my own personal opinion into this, but one side is elected by the people to make decisions for us, and the other side isn't.  Being self employed for the last 4 years, I'm afraid I have to side with the council on this one

So to the pictures.  I admit I did deliberately set out to take pictures that for the most part showed the city in a "bad light", not because I want to be negative about my home town, but hopefully to make someone with the powers to make decisions to actually get off their butts and do something to sort the place out.  It's a good city, with good people, but at the moment it's all just a little bit embarrassing.

06 July 2011

RIP Skip Faulkner

I've just heard that one of the original fitness photographers, Skip Faulkner has passed away.  I don't have any details as to when/how but that's not really important.

I met Skip by chance while doing a photoshoot at the Mandalay Bay pool in Las Vegas (back when the Olympia Expo was held there).  My model, Fawnia Mondey (now Deitrich) introduced us.

Skip was a real character, impossible to forget, at the time a heavy smoker and drinker, and a real nice guy.

That Olympia weekend we went to a fitness bikini competition, from which I did shoots with Maddy Howard & Tonya Lynn.  The following day he invited me to watch him shooting fitness legend Sherry Goggin.  It was the first time I'd ever seen how another photographed worked.

He was a true gent, even introducing me to Robert Kennedy during the Olympia Expo.

We kept in touch for a few years, but with Skip doing less and less work within the fitness industry we eventually lost contact.

RIP Skip, you will never be forgotten.

Update: Not sure how long his website will stay online, but take a few moments to look at his work - www.skipfaulkner.com.

Update 2: If you have any memories of Skip that you'd like to share, please leave a comment below.

Update 3: Skip pictured above with Natural Muscle Magazine owner Debbie Baigrie.

Update 4: Adding a picture of Skip and Lisa Reed.