24 December 2012

A London Photo Walk

I've done many a photo walk around London before, either just by myself or with a friend, but never as part of a larger group.  It was suggested to me by one of my Photo Experience Days clients that a pre Christmas walk around London would be a good idea, so I "made it so".

It was a particularly wet day when we met up at the Park Plaza Westminster to start our walk around London.

I had a rough route in my head, with the main plan being to avoid any and all shopping areas.

We started off around Westminster before walking along Whitehall to a particularly uninspiring Trafalgar Square.  By this point we were all soaked, and decided to jump on the tube to hide from the rain at the British Museum.   Sods law being what it is meant that by the time we exited Holborn tube it had stopped raining. 


Lunch was had in a cafe at back of a second hand photography store called the Camera Cafe (it seemed appropriate).

A brief visit to the British Museum was had.  It was already starting to get dark when we reached "The City".  A brief stop to refresh and relax at the Guoman Tower Bridge Hotel and a quick Google search later told us the bridge was going to rise shortly.

We found ourselves being moved on from taking photos of the bridge by a security guard from the building next to the Guoman.  I'm sure it was a public right of way, but it was easier to just move on and take the photos from elsewhere.

With the heavens opening again we quickly found our way back to the tube and heading across town to Hyde Park Corner to do some long exposures of the traffic.  Next it was the joy of being refused entry for being too scruffy and them being a bit scared of cameras by the Hilton on Park Lane.  A shame because the view from the top is stunning.

All in all, despite the weather, it was a great day out.  The next one I'll probably try and concentrate on 2 or 3 areas and not travel so much across the city. 

Enough words, more photos...

24 November 2012

Fighting Spirit Magazine Tearsheet

Apparently I've had a couple of my photos published in Fighting Spirit Magazine.  I've never heard of it either, but they are using a couple of photos of bodybuilder a good friend Lisa Carrodus in the latest issue.

Not quite sure what a Siren Search is, but here's hoping Lisa wins!

The photos, if my memory is correct couldn't have been taken in more different locations.  The left side photo was taken on a slightly chilly Sandbanks beach in Dorset, while the right side image was taken in the heat of the dry lake beds near Las Vegas.

18 November 2012

Dumped Lizards in the New Forest

I was at Boltons Beach in the New Forest with a group for one of my Photo Experience Days.  It was sunny, but had been a particularly crispy morning, with a heavy overnight frost.

I'd just finished explaining & demonstrating "depth of field" when a passer by walked up to ask what we were photographing, to which one of my attendees replied "we are waiting for Prince Harry to arrive...".  I was quite proud of this reply because I normally tell people we are waiting for "The Queen"!  The gentleman then proceeded to say that there were "5 bearded dragon lizards under a nearby bench".

Of course we thought he was taking the piss and getting his own back, but he wasn't and there were.

Unbelievably someone had indeed dumped five bearded dragons.  Looking at their colour and the fact we could see frost on some of them, we guessed they'd been here overnight.

My group and I helped moved them into the warm sunlight.  They were all just about showing signs of life.  We were told that someone had gone to get his car and was going to take them to the New Forest Reptile Centre. 

Once the guy arrived with his car, we helped gather up the lizards, wrapped them in a towel and loaded them in the back of his car.

Fast forward a few hours and I receive a message from Matt, the guy who'd taken them.  The Reptile Centre was closed for the winter, but he'd managed to find a local reptile expert (who apparently works for Marwell Zoo) and he was now taking care of them.  The best news was that they were all responding well to being warmed up.

A happy end to the story.  Kudos to Matt for making the effort to help save them.  If he hadn't then we all agreed that one of our group would have.

You just never know what kind of Photo Experience you are going to have when you're out and about with me!

17 September 2012

Moose at Whipsnade Zoo

The day before my Colchester wedding (see previous post) I'd decided to pay a visit to Whipsnade Zoo as it was kind of en-route.  I wanted to visit Whipsnade so much because it's one of the only UK zoos (that I know of) that have moose.

The M3 & M25 from Southampton were so surprisingly free flowing that I actually arrived at the zoo before the gates opened, which meant that I was one of the first in and for the first 15 minutes I kinda had the zoo to myself.

My first stop in the zoo was of course to visit the moose.  They had 4 moose in the zoo, an adult male & female, and 2 calfs just a few months old.

I got to spend a few minutes alone with the adult male, so close that I could have reached out and touched him.

I've only ever seen one adult male moose before, in the wilds of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.  There in all the excitement I hadn't really taken the time to notice just how huge these beasties were.  The male was easily 6 feet tall at the shoulder.  It made me realise what might have happened if the wild moose I'd photographed had have turned on me...  more so because I was the closest person to him at the time. 

Apparently Whipsnade also have other animals on display, but I only had eyes for moose!  ;-)

Only one photo that I actually like here (the lead photo above) but have included a few more just because...

16 September 2012

Photographing a wedding in Colchester

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding of Joanna & John all the way up in Colchester.  Apparently they'd found my website on Google after searching for another much more local photographer with the same name.

We met for a pre-wedding meeting in Croydon a few months before the wedding, and I was booked on the spot.  Joanna had some strong ideas for the photos she wanted, sending me photos (from other weddings) that she liked.

The bride was planning most of the wedding herself, from creating the table decorations to baking the very yummy cup cakes!

The ceremony took place at Saint James the Less & St Helen Catholic Church and the reception at the very nice Milsom Hotel in Colchester.

They left this testimonial on my Facebook wall after receiving all of the images : -

"Dear Michael.
We both would like to say a massive thank you for capturing our big day so perfectly. The photos are absolutely stunning. Has been a great pleasure from the day we met. We really appreciate your effort and time that went into making our day that extra special. It has been a fantastic experience for both of us and we are looking forward to contact you again in a future. We would not hesitate to recommend your talent to any of our family and friends. We had a fantastic time during the photo shoot. Thank you for being so open to my "mad"suggestions. Once again many thanks for everything you have done. We wish you all the best of luck for the future. You truly deserve it.
Mr and Mrs Shefford

Although I think my favourite quote from the day was when Joanna said to me "you just made 5 women in a hotel room very happy!".  All I'd actually done was to switch the desk fan in the room on!

Joanna & John, thank you for allowing me to photograph the emotions from your big day...  It really was a pleasure.  I hope you all enjoy my small selection of favourite photos.

You can see more of my wedding photography on www.shootthebigday.com

13 September 2012

2013 Super Fitness Calendar

Featuring some of the best fitness models I've had the pleasure of working with, this 2013 Super Fitness Calendar is now available for purchase!

Buy NOW on eBay!

  • Catriona Rosanna Christie (Twice)
  • Dallas Rae
  • ElĂ©na Carter (Cover)
  • Jennifer Weintz
  • Julie Marsland & Vanda Maria Hadarean
  • Linda Maxwell
  • Lindsey Lee Orange
  • Sally Miller (Three times)
  • Senga Howells

2013 Bikini Calendar

Featuring 14 of the best bikini bodies I've ever had the pleasure of working with, my 2013 Bikini Calendar is now available for purchase directly from me (via Ebay).

Buy it NOW!

  • Aimee Maggio
  • Charlotte Leyland
  • Debra Johnson (Cover)
  • Emma Burrows
  • Erika Thompson
  • Etya Romo
  • Francesca Giacomini
  • Jaime Koeppe
  • Leigh Brandt
  • Mary Alejo
  • Nicole Costa & Annette Perry
  • Nina Fridley & Claudia Costa

06 September 2012

My London 2012 Olympic Experience

A couple of weeks ago I bought the cheapest ticket I could find to the Olympic Stadium to watch the Paralympics.  I had no idea what events I'd be seeing, nor did I have any idea where my seat would be.  My only "wants" were to be in the stadium during the evening so I could see it all lit up, to experience the atmosphere, and then to go up to the top of the Orbit.

With my last minute seat purchase I expected to be sitting up in the gods in the opposite corner to the finish line, so when I arrived and found myself sitting 10 rows or so behind the official photographers pit looking straight down on the finish line I was rather happy.

The ambience around the whole Olympic Park was magical.  It was stupidly busy, but yet you never actually felt claustrophobic as the park is so huge and the paths so wide.

I was only in the stadium for a couple of hours as I managed (earlier the same day) to get a ticket to go up the Orbit for later in the evening.  It meant I had to leave earlier than I would have liked, but the compromise was worth it.  I still got to see a few wheelchair races, a couple of medal ceremonies, and a few heats of the mens 100m which included Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius.

While at the top of the Orbit I was asked if I wanted to walk down the 455 steps to the bottom.  A few seconds later they were calling the lift to take me down!  I'd done enough walking that day thank-you-very-much!

I had decided to take the train up and then tube it across to Stratford from Waterloo.  The journey couldn't have been smoother with seats available for both tube rides.  The only annoyance was the shitty car park ticket machines at Southampton Parkway which never appear to work properly.

All in all a fantastic day, and the weather had been perfect.  Not a cloud in the sky for the whole day.

22 July 2012

Model Photo Experience Day

We were blessed with glorious sunshine on the first of my Model Photo Experience Days in the New Forest.  With two models (big thanks to Chloe & Vikkie) and 6 enthusiastic photographers we started in the grounds of the Lyndhurst Park Hotel, before moving out into the depths of the New Forest for the late afternoon sun.