25 June 2013

Photo Experience Days Photo Exhibition

A few months ago while I was passing through Lyndhurst's St. Michael & All Angels Church, Ann, the lady who does all the admin type stuff asked me if I'd ever thought about doing an exhibition.  I actually had, but had never done anything with the idea.

I put it to my community of previous Photo Experience Day clients on Facebook and there was lots of interest.

Fast forward a few months, lots of planning and picking their favourite 3 images later, and we had ourselves a weekend long exhibition.

It felt good, it looked good, and it raised a few pounds for the church fund.   The falconry display inside the church on Sunday afternoon was a big success, and we even managed to sell a print (yes Sarah it does count even if it was a friend who bought it!).

Big thanks to various people for helping make the weekend a success; Ann for suggesting the idea, James the vicar for letting us use his place, the ladies who made some rather fabulous cakes, Ian for the high quality prints & framing, Paul for help organising the whole shindig, Sam for helping us with the PR, and of course to everyone who displayed their photos.

So good it was that a day after, we already have a date set for the second exhibition, and 24 hours into the planning we have more people interested in displaying their work.


17 June 2013

Photographing a Zombie Killer

No zombies were harmed during this photoshoot...

Sometimes I shoot just for fun, and I'm always looking for ideas, so when a few weeks ago I got inspired by a photo I saw while surfing the interwebs.  I put it out on my Facebook page that I'd like to do a shoot inspired by the zombie killing photo I'd seen.   My good friend Lucinda was first to respond.   She bought the fake blood, and I bought the fake weapons (courtesy of a friend who collects them).

These are some of my favourite images from shoot...

16 June 2013

Photographing a NABBA World Champion

I've worked with Lisa Carrodus many times, in many places, from London, Malta to Las Vegas.    So when she asked me if I'd like to travel with her which she competed in the NABBA World Championships in Italy I jumped at the chance.

We travelled out from London Gatwick as "Team Lisa".  Joining us were Lisa's coach, Marco, and his wife Marisol.

The flight on Easyjet was surprisingly pleasant, although the death-defying taxi ride from Pisa airport to our hotel in Montecatini was...   hairy to say the least.

Montecatini is a small town about halfway between Florence and Pisa and it was a beautiful town.  Really a very nice place.

Arriving on Thursday we had a couple of days to chill before show day on Saturday.   The venue Teatro Verdi di Montecatini Terme was part tent, part building.  The stage was big, lighting was good, and thankfully not a roller banner in sight on the stage (a pet hate of mine at fitness shows because it just looks so cheap).

Prejudging started late, 2 of the first 4 competitors had their music screwed up, but thankfully after that the day ran much more smoothly.   Lots of categories, with people from all around the world, I was starting to understand what NABBA was all about (I knew nothing about it prior to the weekend).

The evening show started with a parade through the streets of Montecatini.  A full on marching band played the athletes in, who each had an "Olympic" style country name on a stick.  It was quite something, and it even bought the traffic to a halt for a few minutes.

In Lisa's class of Figure there was some tough competition.  I can normally call the top three, but I didn't have a clue who was going to place or win.   As it happened it was an Australian 1-2-3, which was good because having obtained the only Team Australia Media Pass I was an honorary member of the team for the weekend.

Oh and a special mention to the person who decided to put two big flower baskets at the front of the stage.  Just what I needed, an extra challenge to make an already fairly difficult subject to shoot that little bit more of a challenge.   /sarcasm mode off

Lisa won her class, and then a little while later went on to win the overall title.  A good evenings work!   

I met some great people over the weekend, from all across the world; Iran, New Zealand, Australia, Latvia, and Italy.

On Sunday we dodged the rain showers in Montecatini Alto to do a photoshoot.  Sometimes the best shoots are the ones that require a forced plan b to be put into effect, and that's just what happened here.  Part of the shoot we shot at a restaurant whose owner had taken a shine to Lisa.   Then we lucked out as the rain held off for a few minutes and we were able to shoot outside.   

All in all a great weekend was had by all, I hope to shoot another NABBA event someday soon.   It was fun!

Oh, I may have fallen in love with 3 different Latvian girls during the weekend!

01 June 2013

Olympus 75-300mm Lens Mini Review

I don't really do equipment reviews, and this is going to be a brief overview of how I got on with the lens, and a few of my favourite photos taken with it. 

A friend was kind enough to let me borrow a Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 II lens for a visit to Marwell Zoo.

I was handed the lens as we walked from the Marwell Zoo car park, so I'd had no time to practise with it prior.  It was a sunny day, so perfect bright lighting to work with.

Weighing just 425g, it was so much more comfortable to carry (almost 1kg lighter) around for the day than the Canon 100-400mm lens I'd normally use for a day out like this.

Mounted on the Olympus OM-D body it has a working focal length of 150-600mm, while the Canon is 160-640mm when mounted on my Canon 7D.  So close enough as to not really make any difference.  The Olympus is half a stop slower but with the great IBIS system on the OM-D it's not something you'll really notice most of the time.

How did the lens cope?  It struggled to find focus on a couple of subjects that I would have expected it to lock onto easily, but for the most part on static subjects it worked very well indeed.  Any failings were probably down to my still learning to use the OM-D having only had it for a few weeks now.

Is the Olympus better than the Canon?  My guess is probably not.  I say guess because I'm not one to pixel peep my images, but I'm really rather pleased with how the lens performed.  Paired up with the OM-D it's a combination I'll be using again for sure just as soon as I've saved up and bought myself the lens.   The weight difference compared to my normal Canon set up is huge, and I hardly noticed I was even carrying the camera at times.   Certainly not something I'd be able to say when lugging the Canon around.

The lens I borrowed didn't have a lens hood, shame on Olympus for not including one in the box.  I like lens hoods, they protect the front element, and stop me from accidentally putting my sticky fingers on it. 

Now for a few photos from the day...   I have to be honest and say it wasn't my best day at Marwell.  Many of the animals just didn't cooperate today, some (Snow Leopard & Tiger) we didn't see at all.