Wednesday 15 December 2010

Who's Got the X Factor?

Well, did your favourite win? It's all over for another year, to much regret (or relief). This is Ruth Lorenzo, a 2008 contender, performing at a rather different location from a TV studio - an annual awards dinner of the Institute of Chemical Engineers, which I was asked to photograph last month. I like the colours in this image, particularly in the shafts of light. This type of shot is quite tricky, balancing the light on the set with my flash in order to retain those vibrant colours. I managed to catch Ruth in a pose that makes it clear that she has a powerful voice.

Sunday 28 November 2010

Picture of the Week - Autumn Frost

It's a bit on the cold side at the moment and everyone, me included, is complaining about the unseasonal weather. Well we've had it before at this time of year. Driving gingerly down this icy November lane towards Ashford in the Water in the Peak District five years ago, I had to stop to take this scene. The warm autumn colours contrast against the steely blue of the lane and frost laden trees. I like photos that you can travel through: this one invites you to look down the lane towards the centre of the image, then meander up through the trees to the large house and out to the faraway hills. Nevertheless, let’s hope warmer weather returns soon.

Thursday 11 November 2010

A Month of Seconds

November has been a good month awards wise. I won second place in the Towergate Fine Art competition, a prestigious international event in the photographic art world, with my Holga picture of Prague. This is actually taken on a toy camera, famed for its soft low contrast images. I love using it and the unpredictability of the results. A trip to London was had and opportunity taken for some more Holga pictures which I still need to get to the lab - the downside of film!

And here's me (on the left) receiving my award from Paul Dyer of Towergate.

The North West region of the British Institute of Professional Photography held its annual print competition where I picked up second place in the commercial section. It's been a month of second places but I'm more than happy. It's an industrial picture this time, on a site where I've been taking demolition progress photos. I saw these twisted and rusted steel beams and instantly knew there was a picture to be had.

Monday 25 October 2010

Picture of the Week - Abstract Architecture

Well what is it? You wouldn't think that this was a car park would you? I love unusual architecture and used this Sheffield city centre multi-storey to create a simple abstract image. I enhanced its graphic qualities by converting the photo to black and white. Then I cropped it into a square, to match the square aluminium panels that clad this extraordinary building.

Saturday 16 October 2010

Bake Off!

Ruth Clemens, finalist and runner up in the highly popular BBC show, The Great British Bake Off was at Macclesfield Waterstones signing the book of the series and doing an effortless icing demonstration. I also got some first hand bread making tips from her - thanks Ruth.

Monday 4 October 2010

Picture of the Week - Liquid Gold

Autumn can yield some stunning sunsets, like this one off the Pembrokeshire coast last week. I used a long exposure to create the marble-like patterns of the tide swirling into the rock pools. I love the way the sun makes the rocks glisten with gold. And just look at the colours of the incredible shapes that the clouds are breaking into, as the light dies for another day.

Monday 27 September 2010

Picture of the Week - Scrapyard Fashion

Juxtaposition always works well in a photograph, so for this fashion shoot I decided to use some scrapyard machinery as a background to the rather more beautiful model and clothing. Some strong lighting helps it along too, but it’s mainly about the pose where I have created shapes with the arms and legs to make a dynamic image. And it won me an award too, in the fashion category of the North West British Institute of Professional Photography Awards earlier this year, so all in all I'm quite pleased with it.

Sunday 12 September 2010

Picture of the Week - Sunset on the Inside Passage

I travelled a large length of the Alaskan and Canadian coast along the Inside Passage. It sounds like one of the great journeys of the world and all very romantic, but in fact the scenery is basically forest and water for mile after mile. I was rewarded however with some stunning sunsets and this was one of the most spectacular.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Coronation Street Star at East Cheshire Hospice

I've been working at East Cheshire Hospice again and had the pleasure of meeting Corrie star Samia Smith who plays Maria. She's a patron of the hospice and was also being filmed by Granada TV to help promote the hospice's upcoming Midnight Walk. She spoke openly about her father who was cared for by the hospice in his last days and describes the hospice as a happy place. I couldn't agree more; I enjoy meeting the staff and nurses and there is always a very calm, friendly and relaxed atmosphere about the place. Samia was a joy to photograph, so easy to talk to and really cared about the patients there. Do support the hospice through the walk if you can - take a look at their website. They need to raise a phenomenal £6000 per day to keep running. I've decided to do the Midnight Walk myself, so if you'd like to donate to the hospice please do so by following this link.

Sunday 8 August 2010

Picture of the Week - Lindos

I love the beautiful deep blue of the sky just before it gets dark. This is Lindos, on the island of Rhodes, switching on for the evening. The eye meanders through the maze of houses, past the lights in the centre and out towards the Acropolis that so dominates that magical Greek skyline.

MAST Appeal

I have been supporting Macclesfield Hospital's MAST appeal as they aim to raise £150,000 for a new digital breast scanner by December. This is John Jones who supports the appeal by playing his accordion in the hospital corridors - great to have a musical accompaniment whilst I took his photo. Please take a look at the MAST website to learn more about this worthy cause.
And a Fun Day was held at Macclesfield Town F.C. and a great time was had by all.
Life size table footie too and Verve Brands took on the Macc pros and won! Come on you whites...

And Verve Brands blew up my photos life size too, they looked great - thanks guys.

Sunday 25 July 2010

Picture of the Week - Havana

Havana, Cuba is a wonderful place if, like me, you're drawn to faded architectural glories and old motors. This picture takes your eye through the speeding rickshaw to the iconic black car and grand hotel facade. I had two choices: get the exposure right first time to capture enough movement without losing the rickshaw itself, or wait for the next rickshaw.

Sunday 18 July 2010

Picture of the Week - What about us?

These two beautiful King Charles spaniels had been excluded from a wedding I was photographing and looked somewhat forlorn as they poked their noses under the gate to see what was going on. Lying on the ground to get to their level, I got the shot which also won me an award in the pets category at the North West British Institute of Professional Photography Awards, an unusual category for a commercial photographer. Worth the trip to the dry cleaners with my suit as well!

Saturday 26 June 2010

Picture of the Week - Jodrell Bank

I wanted to contrast Jodrell Bank’s space age radio telescope, one of Cheshire’s best known landmarks, with its rural setting. So I framed the huge dish with the trees while the wind enabled me to capture the movement in the long grass in the foreground. And with such a stunning sunset, I reckon all the elements came together perfectly.

Thursday 17 June 2010

World Cup

Well it's all kicked of and the usual agony of supporting England has begun. East Cheshire Hospice were holding a World Cup party and asked me along to record the evening.

The first goal:
The one against:
And the general agony:
At least the band The Screaming Beavers were worth a watch!

Friday 28 May 2010

Corporate Silhouette

Prism Total IT Solutions in Congleton commissioned a corporate portrait with a difference. Determined to emphasize the company rather than themselves, the partners agreed that a silhouette did this perfectly for what is still a people business. I added an additional element to the already powerful image by copying the photo itself onto the laptops. It’s just won me another award at this year’s North West British Professional Photography Awards. So client and photographer both very happy!

Monday 17 May 2010

Greek Church

Sometimes I miss making photographs in the darkroom; using different printing processes to experiment with different effects. I created this image of a Greek church by a process known as lith printing. A special developer produces grainy images and very high contrast, with the lighter areas taking on a soft warm glow.

Ryan Giggs at East Cheshire Hospice

Manchester United star Ryan Giggs is an avid supporter of East Cheshire Hospice in Macclesfield. The hospice needs to raise a mind boggling £6,000 per day to keep running and somehow with lots of generous support the team there manage to do it. A very worthwhile cause to support.

Ryan was a perfect gent and chatted happily with patients and staff alike, signing loads of autographs.

25th Anniversary

Congratulations to Greater Manchester Chamber's Breakfast Club on its 25th Anniversary. A good event was had by all with the usual quality networking opportunity. A few photos I took for them - rather an early start though!

Thursday 13 May 2010

Small, Blonde & Prickly

The RSPCA had been looking after this rare blonde hedgehog and I was asked to photograph it when it was released in to its new habitat at Norton Priory. I lay low in the grass to capture it against the colourful spring flowers as it explored its new surroundings. BBC North West Tonight used the photo on its weather slot. Cute!

Saturday 1 May 2010

North West Professional Photography Awards

A good night for me at the recent North West Professional Photography Awards; 2 silvers, 3 bronzes and 3 merit awards, so all in all I'm quite chuffed. The North West is a hot bed of photographic talent, so to be recognised amongst the best photographers in the area is a big honour for me. Here are the photos:

An arty shot of some gaskets and car parts, brought to life by coloured gels...

A corporate portrait done as a silhouette:

A couple of King Charles spaniels, who were excluded as guests from a wedding I was photographing - worth the trip to the dry cleaners for my suit...

Blonde hedgehog - just cute...

Some paper shoes...

Fashion shot taken in a scrapyard...

Studio shot of young lad - what a character!..

Photo of Prague station, taken on a Holga toy camera...