Monday, 31 March 2008

Wedding Day for Elizabeth & Tom

Elizabeth and Tom both had strong connections with their respective churches and, in fact, the priest who married them knew them both since they were kids. Both being very religious, it was no surprise that they decided on a beautiful full Catholic mass ceremony, complete with 2 choirs and 4 priests. They had their friends and family give readings full of support and love for them and their new life together.

Tom called me a few weeks before the wedding, sounding a tad peeved ... all along they were due to have their reception at Crewe Hall - that would be Crewe Hall which is now covered in emergency scaffolding ! Eek ! They had a short amount of time to sort out a new venue, but fortunately for them, the beautiful Sandon Hall was available - a stunning venue in the heart of Staffordshire.

I met with them both a couple of weeks prior to their day, at Sandon, and we all agreed it was going to be a wonderful venue for photos. It was at this meeting that Elizabeth mentioned ha she was starting to feel very nervous about photos on the day and so I assured her that I would respect her space and work with her on the day to ensure she was happy and did not feel I was intruding on the events as they unfolded.

At the last minute, I decided to ask my friend and fellow photographer, Jill Thorning-Jensen, along for the day - it is so much more fun with 2 of us around - our names keep it simple for people too :)

After a shaky start to the weather on the day, it at least stayed dry for us, if a little cold and windy at times. Everyone had a blast while I was there and I am sure that continued long into the night.

So, congratulations guys and good luck for a long and happy future together. Thank you for letting me be a part of such a wonderful day, too - the hugs of thanks from everyone made my day !

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Creativity and Confidence ...

"Properly practiced creativity can make one ad do the work of ten "

William Bernbach (1989)

I have always loved and admired the creativity that goes into clever advertising and it has never ceased to amaze me how ad people come up with their ideas. A friend of mine from Ireland, Tara West, is an avertising executive with Genesis Advertising in Belfast ... I remember asking her how the ideas came about - I was enthralled with tales of mad meetings with ideas bouncing off the walls and ceiling, before coming crashing down with a bang and becoming reality !

There is a TV ad currently runnng in the UK which I just felt the need to share ... it not only stirs my love of all things creative but makes me dance, sing and giggle every single time!

Unfortunately, it doesn't actually make me wanna go out and buy the car - I'd rather have the singing dog !

Those of you who know me will recognise my sense of humour, those of you who don't? ... this is my sense of humour to a tee !!! :)

Enjoy ... and I DARE you not to chair-dance

Monday, 24 March 2008

Happy Birthday Kitties !

I thought it worthy of mention that my 2 little cats are 5 today - when I picked them up all those years ago, I could hold them both in 1 hand and they always looked as though they were going to drown in their big water bowls !

Now? Well, they each weigh in at 13 pounds !

These are the best photos I could find (what with my data migration still in progress and all).

Here's Tom ...

And Tigger ...

Happy birthday, guys ! :)

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Vegas - In Words and Pictures !

So I got back from Vegas on Friday, after a total blast of a week ! For those of you who have never been to Vegas, you owe it to yourself to make that trip at least once. The images I am going to blog here can't even come close to showing the sheer scale of the place, seriously, everything is just VAST !

While I was there, the strip had a power cut for almost an hour - that was totally freaky, there were helicopters circling overhead and I had to resort to using my phone as a torch (go on, admit that you do that too haha).

Monday night was packed with dinner and drinks with so many photographers I just don't have the space to mention them all here ... first off we had dinner with David Williams from Australia and some of his close friends. We ate at Noodles Restaurant in the Bellagio. Then off to the Digital Wedding Forum get together at the Westin, just off-strip. Many thanks to Jeff Caplan and Gina Preston for the freebie tequila ! Oh, and just a quick mention about David Beckstead's rather rubbish attempt at tequila slamming ;)

Much of the rest of the week is a blur of restaurants, pubs, walking, walking some more (thankfully I brought comfy shoes), chatting about photography and more walking. However, following the shoot on the last night we landed back in Paris at the Tequila bar (quel surprise) where some of the big names in photography happened to be hanging out. Most I have mentioned in my blog previously but I couldn't let this post go without a shout out to Susan Stripling, purely because she had so much energy (after a week in Vegas that can be tough) and was such good fun :)

So, here is a small selection from the last night, when we went "freedom shooting" up and down the strip. We photographers can be quite competitive, so it was fun trying to out-shoot each other, to see who could get the best shot using our Canon point and shoots :) I was shooting with Randy Kepple, so I need to credit him with a some of these shots - they will be obvious - I am in them !!

This is the view of the lobby in my hotel ... I was staying in the pyramid section (there is also a tower) so you can see the inside sloping upwards - it's incredible - every one of those white squares is a bedroom !
To try to instill a sense of scale I took this shot of the MGM lion - check out the people shadows at the bottom !
A couple of wide views of New York New York - it's like a city within a city - HUGE ! I managed to avoid being coaxed onto the rollercoaster :) Actually, we spent a lot of time in here - well, it did have a fabulous Irish pub in it !

A closer view ...

That pub ... well, the signage (Randy thought it was funny !)

Our drinking buddies ... Tony Bisson and Katie Kelly ...

Random shot of little old me ... The convention was held at both the Paris and Ballys hotels so of course we were there quite a bit too ... Paris is a beautiful hotel with an eiffel tower, arc de triomphe, ceiling painted like the sky, wonderful restaurants ... sigh, I wish I was back there !

Me and my shooting partner under the tower ...

Of course, all good things must end and it was not long before I was facing my 2 flights home (I travelled via Dallas) - the AA flight to Dallas had me in a window seat so I could not resist taking some shots out over the wing - this one was taken as we banked left and shows Vegas pretty well - including the strip.

That's all - til Phoenix ...

Sunday, 16 March 2008

WPPI Vegas

Seems like I have not blogged in a long time so I wanted to let you guys know what I am up to !

So this week I am in Las Vegas to visit the WPPI Convention. There are so many talented photographers here giving seminars, workshops and holding shootouts in the desert. I am hoping to catch seminars by some of my favourite photographers, those who truly inspire me, so I will blog as and when all that happens.

Today has been one of discovery, mooching along the strip, in and out of the various hotel / casinos - I am staying at the Luxor (the one that looks like a pyramid) - at night there are lights running up and down the pyramid and there is a beam shooting out of the pinnacle - too cool :) The trade show is being held between Ballys and Paris - I wandered over to Paris today and, yep, there is indeed an eiffel tower, a mock bridge over the Seine (Seine City, that is haha) and a mini Arc de Triomphe !

The noise is constant, slot machines, music, people, did I mention slot machines? LOL

I have my little Canon with me and so will get some photos sorted over the next few days ...

Til then, don't forget, tomorrow is Paddy's Day, so I shall be celebrating in the Irish Pub with a (rather decent, actually - I know, never thought I would say that in the States) pint of the black stuff !

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Lights! Camera! Action!


Maybe a little dramatic ... but it kinda sums up what's been happening with me these last couple of weeks.

Focus on Imaging was a total success for us - David and I had a ball, met some wonderful people, pro and amateur photographers alike, all with a common goal - to improve upon our art and make ourselves better photographers.

As UK representative for Jerry Ghionis, I am surrounded by inspiration, his products (combined with his energy for this art) inspire and educate so many of us - he has now added to this inspiration with the launch of his new website The Ice Society - check it out !

Of course, talking photography makes us want to get our cameras out and shoot, so David and I did just that ... here are a few of our attempts, shooting each other haha

David's shots of me at the stand ...

Followed by his take on my multi-tasking ...

David had a play with his video light ... and it was oscars night too ...

Finally, my take on David ...