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Friday, 30 November 2012

Sitting Pretty

Our two cats. Oscar on the inside and Smudge on the outside.

Alas, I can't take the credit for this photo, as it was taken by Gail. But she did use my OMD and my new Olympus 45mm, F1.8 lens.

This is the first time I have blogged this week, although I do intend on writing and publishing previous entries, so that I don't miss a day. The reason for missing dates; photography of course. Three big shoots and subsequent editing.

I have been burning the midnight oil these past couple of nights, sorting out some photos from Tuesday's shoot for a major fashion label, whose branch in Nottingham had a relaunch party. The photos, if the marketing team think they are good enough could be used for advertising and social media publicity.

Don't worry, Smudge might not be our cat, but we do feed him and make a fuss of him. I've named him Smudge, as he has a brown patch across his nose. He might not be as pretty as Oscar, but he is just as lovable.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Festive Fun

Here's a shot of a very busy Old Market Square and the people enjoying the food and drink on offer from the stalls that make up the Victorian market.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


This is Emma, another of the models that we shot on Sunday.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Westwood Ho

I had a very exciting assignment tonight, in that I got to do a proper promotional shoot for the relaunch of the Vivienne Westwood shop in the Flying Horse Arcade.

A friend of mine put me onto it. Alas no payment, but something different and important to put on my photographic CV, which might come in handy in the future.

Although the shop has been open for a couple of years now, it has been run as a franchise. But now Vivienne has decided to buy the shops and run them under her own name. She has been at the forefront of alternative fashion since the 1970s and her association with The Sex Pistols and the infamous T shirt featuring a photo of the Queen with a safety pin through her nose.

I was there over four hours, shooting the shop, the products, the atmosphere and more importantly, the customers. They wanted twenty almost straight away, so I had to stay up till nearly 1am Wednesday morning, viewing, sorting, processing and sending them off. They also wanted the rest of them a couple of days later, so it was midnight oil burning time again.

Alas I've not had much feedback from them yet, but hopefully I took the sort of photos that they were after. I also can't show you any, as I had to sign a form giving them the rights to the pictures and where they are shown. So you have to make do with a general, rather non descript shot of the shop front.

I have asked for copies of any publicity material that is produced using my images for my portfolio, so I will be able to take a photo of that sometime in the future.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Rock n Roll Me Through

    Brad Dear

We had an hectic Saturday night at one of our local pubs, as three bands were playing at the Greyhound. Gail particularly wanted to go and see one of them, as she knows the guitarist, as they come from the same part of Nottinghamshire.

    Ferocious Dog

Brad Dear were on first, and apparently it was their first gig. But you couldn't tell, as they seemed that they have done it for a long time. There is also a link with the next band, Ferocious Dog, in the fact that one of the band member's son is is Brad Dear.

Ferocious Dog have a very loyal, if rowdy following. As soon as they started, several members of the audience stared dancing. Not your usual dancing either. They were like dodgem cars; banging into each other. In fact one banged into me, and nearly sent me flying. I was rammed into a pillar and sustained a bruise on my left hand on one of the knuckles. It's the first time that I have received an injury from taking a photograph!

    Seven Little Sisters

The final band Seven Little Sisters also have a loyal following, from the cheers that went up when they started playing. I guess I could describe their music as punk folk, or folk rock. They were very good too, and they just seemed to want to keep playing and playing.

We left the pub with our ears ringing. But very happy at seeing three good local bands that maybe deserve more recognition.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Model Material

What happens if you mix five photographers with a dozen models in a great studio, with lots of sets, lights and props?

The answer is hopefully some great photographs.

Well that's exactly what Gail and I have been doing for most of the day, at this converted factory in Long Eaton.

And what fun we had. Being given a model to work with for about 30 minutes, and using the different backdrops, such as bedroom, barn, hospital and with a real motorbike.

This particular model is called Lily and very good to work with she was too. She had not been modelling that long, but was very relaxed in front of my Nikon as we played around with the sets and poses.

Before anyone asks, no she wasn't naked, but was wearing a tight cream coloured latex dress. The power of the camera eh!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Bookshop Bonanza

Our local branch of Waterstones has got this wonderful window display to promote it's range of Christmas titles.

The scene almost accurately portrays the area around the Old Market Square, with its range of Victorian buildings, the Council House, and Greens Windmill out at Snienton.

The only thing missing from the diorama is the market stalls, rides and animated snowmen that have taken up residency there at the moment.

I'm not sure whether we are going to get any snow this year, but I don't think it is going to be a white and silky as the one here.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Slice And Dice

Besides posing with handbags and heels, Kirin was also open to wearing or using any props that were lying around in Michael Lau's studio.

So I got Kirin to pose with the Samurai sword in a Uma Thurman, Kill Bill stance.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Fashion Through A Lens

Gail and I have spent a very enjoyable evening learning a bit more about shooting models for fashion photography.

We went to Michael Lau's studio in the centre of Nottingham. He had hired semi professional model Kirin Watanabe, to pose for us. She has a very striking and dramatic image. Something that is the style in fashion photography. Not your average girl next door look.

Michael had called the workshop 'Handbags and Heels', as that was what we were focussing on. There were only six of us, so we had plenty of time each to capture some fashionable images, using different backdrops, clothes and props.

I'm not sure whether these two images would make the pages of Vogue or Harper's Bazaar. But I'm quite pleased with them.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Christmas Is-a Coming

There was a party atmosphere in the Old Market Square tonight, as the Christmas lights were being switched on. And for once we had a famous local person to do it.

Richard Whitehead won a gold medal in this years Paralympics for the 200 metre sprint. He gave a little speech about him being a local lad and thanking everyone for their support this year, before pushing the plunger. There was also a firework display and some street entertainment to amuse the throng of people that had turned up. Such as below, with some of the Toy Story characters

I wasn't sure if the show would go ahead, as we have had a deluge of rain all day long. I was planning to come in by bus, as I wanted to use my D3s, and Gail was coming in too, but there was a warning on the radio that there was gridlock on the roads due to some roadworks that had overrun and an accident that had just occurred. So I had to decide whether it was better to get a little bit wet cycling in, or be very late, coming in by public transport. I took the decision to cycle, so brought my OMD instead. Gail also decided to stay at home. So I had clearly made the right one.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Going, Going, Gone

Well, we are almost there. Practically the whole of the former Odeon cinema has now disappeared. All you can see is a big pile of brick dust.

The front is the next to go. As I walked by tonight, I could see that the scaffolding has been erected, ready for the men to begin work on removing the facade over the next few days. They will have to be careful, as a lot of people walk by and it is on a bus route.

Monday, 19 November 2012

A Grave Situation

What a difference a day makes. So go the opening lyrics to the song by Dinah Washington. And that was certainly true today, as it was wet and windy. Unlike yesterday, when it was cold, but dry and sunny.

So that meant I couldn't find anything worth taking. So here's a more general shot of the Rock Cemetery. But with a difference. I've given it the 'toytown' look. Well the OMD did, with one of its many art filters.

I've been looking for an opportunity to use this one, and I thought the graveyard was an ideal location to try it out.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A Matter Of Life And Death

We met up with some fellow Flickr photographers this morning at the Rock Cemetery in the centre of Nottingham.

The Rock is one of Nottingham's oldest cemeteries and full of very interesting headstones, mausoleums and statues, or 'Weeping Angels' as they are now known, thanks to Doctor Who. Blink and you're dead!

It was cold, but lovely and sunny, with hardly a cloud in the sky. Although we've past the graveyard many times, neither Gail or myself had ever been in to have a look around. Some of our Flickr friends have been before, but it was all new to us. We spent around two hours walking about and photographing the graves.

Although the sky was very blue, I quite like this sepia effect that was produced in-camera, as I took my little Olympus with me. I think the lack of colour and shadows of the figures adds a sense of menace.

We snapped a different sor of angel this afternoon, as we met up with Jurgan, a photographer friend of ours and his model Bryony up at Wollaton Park. We actually met them by accident in the cafe, as we were both hungry and thirsty after our walk in the morning.

On entering the cafe, a tapped Gail and pointed, as I could see Jurgan sitting at one of the tables near the entrance. He's a big lad, so he was easy to spot! We ordered a Devonshire style scone and a hot chocolate and then sat with them and chatted for a while.

Jurgan said that he wanted to shoot Bryony down by the lake. So we all got up and started on the long trek downhill to the very large lake. There's no boating on it, but there are lots of ducks etc. Loads of people were there too, throwing bread to them. Although I have had read somewhere that you shouldn't feed birds bread, as it expands in their stomachs, and so isn't very good for them.

So we went to a more quieter part of the lake, and Bryony stood, sat, crouched and laid in a variety of poses. The temperature had really dropped and the poor girl was freezing.  But she kept with it, not really complaining at all. Jurgan used an off camera flash for his pictures. I took this one with no extra light at all, even though the sun had completely disappeared by then.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning

Gail and I had the great pleasure of meeting film star Shirley Anne Field tonight, as she officially opened the latest exhibition at the Lakeside Arts Centre hear Highfields.

It is called Saturday Night & Sunday Morning, a photographic exhibition that not just covers the film of the same name, but it is also about social scenes of Nottingham & Northern England from the 1950s & 60s.

And very good it is too. Well worth a visit if you have any interest in either photography or social anthropology. Shirley was there, as she was the leading lady from the film. She played Doreen, Arthur Seaton's erstwhile girlfriend. She told an amusing story about David Niven, just as she was starting out as a actress and how he gave her a lift in his car, but was worried about what people would think.

I queued up to get my copy of the exhibition guide autographed by Shirley, and she quickly posed for my photo whilst signing another book.

For any of you that are interested in the career of Shirley, here's a WEBLINK to her profile on IMDB.

A change of pace later on in the evening, as we went to see a Stranglers tribute band called Straighten Out, who were playing at a local pub in Beeston. Both Gail and I are both fans of the punk band from the 1970s & 80s. Although I would say that the Stranglers were much more than a punk band, as they could write proper tunes and Dave Greenfield their keyboard player should be up there with the greats like Vangelis, Rick Wakeman and Geoff Downes. It was very busy and everybody seemed to be enjoying the music. The lead singer sounded a bit like Hugh Cornwall, and the keyboard player who was surrounded by Moogs made them sound authentic.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Boxing Clever

I joined the media circus at lunchtime today at the Albert Hall, with the weigh-in between Nottingham boxing legend Carl Froch and his American opponent Yusaf Mack.  There is going to be a big fight tomorrow night at the National Ice Arena.

I heard about the weigh-in this morning on the radio when I woke up. They also said that it was open to the public. So I just had to go along. Not because I'm a boxing fan, which I'm not, but because it is a newsworthy event.

I would have gone along anyway, just see if I could have got a shot or two, but as it was a public event, I just walked in. The main hall was nearly full of fans, and loads of TV cameras were on the stage. I tried to join them, as I said to a security guy that I was media too. He looked at my small Olympus and told me to go and sit down. Maybe it would have been a different story if I had lugged along my Nikon D3s and big zoom lens.

So instead of sitting down like a good little boy, as no one gets the story while obeying the rules, I wandered over to the other side, to see if I could get a better view.  I couldn't too many press people there. Another guy was watching the proceedings, and I said to him that I wasn't getting anything standing here. So he kindly said, go on, go and stand over there with all the other press people, and he let me sneak by the railing.

So i just hopped up and joined the rest of the press pack in trying to get a good shot or two. Like this one of the two opponents trying to psyche each other out. Froch is on the left by the way. Of course all the locals were booing Mack and cheering Froch. I just carried on snapping. When I left, I saw Carl's big black Range Rover parked outside. So I just had to take a snap of that as well, with his distinctive numberplate.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Misty Moments

I think everyone, including the weather people were a bit surprised to wake up and finding Nottingham covered by a misty shroud.

Apparently visibility was quite poor at first light, but it had eased a bit when I cycled off to work. Still the fog made a trip through Highfields worthwhile. A shame that it wasn't the 'pea-souper' like England used to get in the 1950s, but it was worth stopping off and trying to get a few shots.

Above you can see the boating lake and can just about make out the clock tower of the Trent building. While below is a low shot of the fallen leaves and some of the railing that surrounds the lake. Shame that all the ducks had hidden themselves away, as one would have added a little extra interest to the picture.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Togs, Mods And Muas

You may be wondering what the title of this blog means. Well, its a shortened version of 'photographers, models and make up artists'. And I met quite a few of them tonight on a social event at a pub near the canal.

As you know, I work in town and the pub was only a few minutes away from the office, so I got there a little early. As no one appeared to have turned up, I spent a bit of time taking some shots of the canal.

This is the Magistrates' Court reflected in the water. This it looks quite moody in the darkness. It's appeared on the TV news occasionally when some case of interest is up before the beak. It only really handles small scale stuff, while the crown court  nearby tries all the murderers, robbers and general lowlife that don't deserve their freedom.

When I had done I found a friend of mine had turned up and we went in to see if anyone else had turned up. Slowly one by one, the place was being filled with artistic types. I met a number of new people, including another photographer, who strangely enough only lives in the next street to us.

It was an interesting night, and I hope another one is arranged soon.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Bricks And Mortar

Another weekly shot of the old Odeon cinema demolition team in action.

A special brick crushing machine has arrived now and is turning all those thousands of bricks and concrete into rubble. Personally I wonder why they don't recycle them, as I know that there is a big demand for vintage bricks, as they are easier to blend into older buildings.

I wonder how much longer it is going to take before they start on the new building?

Monday, 12 November 2012

Lady In Waiting

This rather elegant figurine was on offer at a shop that was closing down. She's clearly designed in the 1920s style; short bob haircut and art deco influence dress.

Although it is very pretty to look at and was probably a bargain price, I didn't splash out on it. Mainly because we wouldn't have anywhere to put it, as tops of furniture, display cabinets and window sills are full up already.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Family History

Today is Remembrance Sunday. The one day of the year when everyone remembers the people that gave up their lives in wars to keep our freedoms and peace.

I am lucky in one way, as I am not aware that any of my family died in active service, but sad in another, as I can't personally connect with the loss that others feel at this time of year. Whether it was against the Germans; in Korea, Ireland, the Falklands or the latest conflict in the Middle East.

My dad Douglas, was born with a disability (polio), so he couldn't join up for active service. Instead he spent 39-45 chauffeuring high level military personnel around. I don't think he ever got to drive Winston Churchill. But if he did, he never said.

His dad Albert was in the Royal Navy, but died in 1917. Not from enemy fire, but from a disease. So my dad din't really know him at all as he was born in April 1916. So his mum had several children to bring up on her own. But from all accounts, I don't think she was short of gentlemen friends.

I used to have an uncle on my mums side called Frank that fought with the Sherwood Foresters.  He was born in York in 1898 and died in 1982. He had won some campaign medals, but when he died, my mum decided to send them to his nephew, also called Frank, who lives in Guernsey.

So what picture to put up for today? Many other bloggers are showing the traditional poppy, but I feel something different is called for. Instead I'm showing a photo that I took in June, when the Mercians, marched through the city centre after returning from Afghanistan.

My uncle would have been proud, as the Mercian regiment are what the Sherwood Foresters used to be, before the recent shake up of the armed forces.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Showing Off

I bumped into another photography friend of mine this morning in Beeston Square. He was in the process of photographing a small display of birds of pray that are being cared for at a sanctuary up at Worksop. There were showing off the birds to help raise money for the sanctuary.

He shoots with a Nikon too, although I was taking my Olympus OMD for a trip today, as I was shopping and didn't want to lug my heavy D3s around with me.

This sparrowhawk seemed to be very keen on having his portrait taken, as he stood with his wings open for quite some time. So I fired a few shots off, and this is the one that I like the most.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Sitting Pretty

Thought I might show something artistic tonight that I took recently at a local art exhibition.

I'm not too sure whether this hat suits the gazelle very well, but at least it will help her to keep cool under that hot African sky.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


Gail and I went to a local studio last night for a shoot. We weren't sure of the name of the model we would have to work with for the evening. But we were happy to find out that we had a very lovely young lady called Melissa waiting for us.

Melissa gets her dark looks from having an Indian father and great bone structure from her German mother. And what a stunning combination. Melissa also has a very nice personality and was a pleasure to work with.

She changed into three outfits for us. But I really like the mix of white shirt and her fantastic glossy black hair. Hope you like it too.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Window Shopping

Stewart has come up with this week's Headbanger theme of 'shop window'.

Now I work in the city centre of Nottingham, so have plenty of shop windows to look at during my daily stroll around town.

So what to photograph? A fashion display, food or even Christmas decorations. Yes, I saw Santa Claus standing in one store window.

But of course I like to be different, and was planning on showing this sign that I saw at a sports shop.

But in the end I went for this night shot of a statue of Robin Hood in a fancy furniture store on Castle Boulevard. Well it's classic Nottingham, isn't it.

Don't forget to pop along to the other pages and see how the team have interpreted the theme.

Today's photo shows the destruction of the old Odeon gathering pace. I managed to get this shot of one of the main girders crashing to the ground in a pile of eighty year old dust. It made a very loud noise as it dropped the twenty feet or so. Ideally I should have filmed it, as it was an historic moment.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Branching Out

The weather has turned a tad cold over the last few days and people are having to scrape the ice from their cars in the morning.

I missed a great opportunity yesterday morning when I was on the train to Bristol. I saw the dew evaporating in the fields, just like smoke, but I was standing up at the time, so I couldn't get a chance of taking out my camera.

But I did manage to capture the dew clinging to the branches of our pine tree, that is growing in the front garden.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Going Down South

I took a long train ride today down to Bristol. Just for the day. It took over three hours to get there, and then another three hours back. In fact I was sat on the train longer than I was sat in the office.

I had about half an hour for lunch, so I went in search of a sandwich and a drink. I then had a little walk around the area close to where the office that I was visiting was. Couldn't stray too far and get lost now could I?

Bristol has the River Avon running through it and I was pleased to discover that it was just a short walk from the office to reach a part of it. As I didn't have too long,  I only managed to take a few shots like this one. It was lovely and sunny too, with a great blue sky. I wish I could have spent longer there to look around and see what else was on offer.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Secret Squirrel

For a creature that is meant to be shy and retiring, this squirrel who lives in Wollaton Park doesn't seem to be following that idea, as he carefully approached me whilst on the steps to the front entrance to the hall.

Obviously on the alert, but he still couldn't resist seeing what I was up to and whether I had any food available. Sadly not, but he made a good subject for my camera, which of course I had in my hand at the time.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Abstract Saturday

A bit of a colourful abstract today for a change. Something a little different for a cold Saturday.

If you are wondering what it is, and I am sure many of you are; well it's one of the painted concrete floors of a local multi-storey car park.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Moss Bros

A shot from the archives, as sadly I didn't manage to find anything worth taking today. Although I did have lunch with a friend, so didn't really get the opportunity of hunting out some photographic subjects.

I took this in Highfields a couple of weeks ago. It is various kinds of lichen growing on top of a wall in Highfields. The wall is made of stone, rather than brick, so I don't know if that makes a difference to the types and colours of the moss that are growing quite nicely, and making a abstract pattern.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Say Cheese

I bumped into a photography friend of mine in the Old Market Square the other day.  He was carrying his camera and I asked him what he was shooting.

Peter explained that he was resurrecting his 100 Strangers project, after resting it for a while, and has he had the day off, he had come down to the city centre to try and find some interesting characters to photograph.

Like this chap who was passing by with his wife and daughter. Clearly an ageing rocker. Actually Peter thought he might have been Alice Cooper, who was playing in town that night. But of course he wasn't. Still he made a good subject, as my photo shows.