Saturday, 27 December 2008

Eloise & Darren - Repton School !

Just a quick peep at a couple of my favourite images from a recent wedding ... there will be more once I get these processed, but I wanted to get back into blogging again, so here you go :)

I had a wonderful day with these guys ... the weather was rubbish but it didn't dampen anyone's spirits, in fact, there seemed to be a determination to refuse to let the weather get us down !

School has the most beautiful church in the grounds and that is where the ceremony was held, followed by a reception in the great hall.

So, a quick couple of faves ... more to follow soon :)

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas, Everyone ...

As I type, John is undergoing the stent procedure. This was one of the options we were praying for, rather than full blown open heart surgery. Visiting John over the last couple of days has been an interesting study into human nature ... you can't help but overhear conversations from other patients, either with themselves (the poor man next to John who lay sobbing, saying "what about my son, somebody help me", enough to make your own heart break) or with wives (the man on the other side telling his wife that they were going to make changes, going to have more fun in life, both of them weeping). John and I feel too young to be having to go through this, but here it is.

I spoke to him this morning and we chatted about the guy beside him (the one with the wife) who had had another heart attack in the night. He is due for bypass and the reason he had been so upset was because they had refused to let him home for a couple of hours on Christmas Day ... it seems they really do know best, after all.

That all said, we are positive thinking people and know this will be the best thing to allow John to heal, move forward and the lesson to us both is "don't sweat the small stuff" ... the one big change for us will be to deal with everyday issues calmly, to not let the little things stress us out, let's face it, NOTHING is that important, really.

I thought I would take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy 2009. Thank you for all your support during this time, we appreciate it more than you could know.

And so, a little humour ... I pulled this together as a surprise for John and he laughed so hard he had to sit down, tears rolling down his face ... it feels only fitting that I share it ... let's face it, this is the last time John will be this energetic for a while :)

Turn the sound up, and enjoy ! Merry Christmas !!!

NB: No animals were harmed in the making of this Christmas missive!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Subdued Sunday ... and waiting for Monday ...

I want to start this post by, again, thanking you all for your messages of support and continued love, hugs and prayers, from all over the world. We are truly grateful to have so many people who care about us. Thank you.

Tomorrow, John has his angiongram, which will determine the extent of the damage and will dictate the next course of action. 1. He will remain on the meds only, 2. meds and a stent (these are the 2 preferred options and mean he will most likely be home Christmas Eve) or 3. meds and a bypass graft. This last option will mean a stay of another 7-10 days in hospital, over Christmas and New Year and a very long recovery. We don't want this last one. I've told Santa already.

Having spoken to medical staff over the last couple of days, we have pretty much ascertained that this has been caused (in a greater part) by stress. John has recently been laid off and, as such, every other little problem has become a huge deal. We have had a pretty stressful year, too, so I think a culmination of all things presented itself in this way. His cholesterol of 5.7 has been deemed too high and we will be fighting hard to get that to the recommended level of "below 4" ... we always thought we were pretty healthy eaters, but this, too, will be addressed and we will become salt and fat content connoisseurs from here on in !

I have mentioned on previous posts that I am a member (and moderator) on the world's largest photography forum, the Digital Wedding Forum ... my friend Matt Pereira posted on Thursday that I needed cover for Saturday and literally within a couple of hours, I had it all sorted. Yvonne Blume (see recent London post) monitored the responses and got all the details sorted, all within 6 hours !!

I need to again send my thanks to Jon Rouston who not only covered my wedding on Saturday but presented my couple with an impromptu evening reception slideshow of images from the day ! WOW ! They loved the photos and I am so grateful to Jon for jumping in at a moment's notice. I didn't have to worry about anything by my John all day. Thank you all.

And so, the wait is almost over, tomorrow we will know what's happening and we will face it, no matter what, with strength and determination.

On a final note, I tonight received an email from one of my 2008 brides, Maxine (I know she won't mind my sharing this excerpt) ...
Your news has particularly scared Nick because a few days ago he had a well-person medical at work. The nurse told him that his cholesterol level is too high (about 6.9 I think). It was high anyway and she said he had to get it down. It really frightened him but in a weird way, I was glad. I have tried to suggest to him in the past that he might lose a few pounds (as you know, he has a few to spare). I have also encourage him to choose the healthier option (eg rice over chips), I have puled him away from cakes in the supermarket. All to very little avail. He has never really bothered about what he ate - if he wanted it, he ate it. Now though, you wouldn't think it was the same person. He even reads the labels in supermarkets to compare fat content.

So, your news came as quite a shock to him and I imagine the photos have really hit home - that could be him in 10 years time! So, a BIG thank you for sharing the news and photos - it has been a further wake-up call for Nick.
If something good comes out of all this, that is wonderful ... perhaps a message to us all to look after ourselves, first and foremost and to remember that nothing, NOTHING is so important that it should cause us so much stress it impacts on our health.

Go hug someone you love right this minute ... and wish us luck.

With love

Gill and John x

Friday, 19 December 2008

Prayers please ... (update)

Just a short post to let you know that my husband, John, suffered a heart attack tonight. I am staying with my best friend who lives a short walk from the hospital, so that I can be close.

Please keep him in your prayers, but also please note that I will not be monitoring emails for a few days. I appreciate your patience and understanding.

Special thanks to Matt Pereira and Yvonne Blume, more to follow, thank you.

Ever the photographer ... my husband ...

-- Post From My iPhone

***Update*** I have spoken to John's medical staff this morning and they have confirmed that he has had a heart attack, but thank God, a minor one. John is only 49 and has rarely had a sick day in his life ... there is no history of heart disease in his family and so we are thrown completely by this. John is completely shell-shocked and TBH the look in his eyes in the ambulance last night is something that will stay with me forever.

I would like to thank everyone who has contacted my with offers of help, best wishes, hugs and love, from all over the world ... you are keeping us going through this time. A big BIG special thanks to photographer, Jon Rouston, who has stepped in to shoot my wedding tomorrow (Roz and Phil) at Packington Moor ... I don't even know where to begin.

It is looking like we will be spending Christmas Day in hospital this year, the timing sucks, but I would rather have him there, being well looked after, than take him home too soon.

With much love and appreciation to you all.

Gill x

Monday, 15 December 2008

Training Tess ...

I'm a massive Dog Whisperer (Cesar Millan) fan ... that guy is, like, the GOD of dogs ! So, in preparation of getting our new puppy, I started watching every single episode. John and I decided that if we were to end up with a well balanced, calm, submissive dog, we'd need to be synchronised in our thinking and that we both needed to be "pack leaders". So, of course, every decision in her upbringing is discussed and we both exercise, discipline and shower affection exactly the same

OK, she does have her moments, but on balance she's really growing up to be a beautiful little dog, with a gorgeous nature and she's still just so damn cute !!

Our latest venture is getting her used to being calm in the house, wherever we take her. We had started off just allowing her the run of the conservatory, but my intent has always been to have her curled up in my office while I work. Nightmare, to start with, cats to run after, various pieces of clothing and footwear to run around and steal / chew ... so we bought a slip lead, specifically for using in the house. The difference is amazing. She knows she can't escape when she's tied to something, so she doesn't try ! She sits / lies down calmly and just enjoys our company, and us hers :)

So, today, she's been in my office with me while I work on some client albums and reprints, the odd bit of photoshop and backing up Saturday's wedding. She loves it.

As no post from me should be photo-less, here is a little portrait I took of her earlier, as she was sitting in my leather armchair, just chilling out :)

Enjoy ...

For the photographers ... 1D IIN, 85 1.2 (at 1.2) Daylight from office window :)

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Print Orders ... Extended Deadline !

Hi guys ... just to let you know I can offer an extended deadline on reprints ... the deadline for orders is Monday 15th December !

You can come to me direct, or go through the ordering system in Client Area, right up til Monday's deadline :)


Monday, 8 December 2008

Winter Wonderland ...

Every Sunday we head off to The Chase ... we are very fortunate to have this wonderful piece of countryside and woodland right on our doorstep, considering we live in such an urban area of the UK ! Tess absolutely loves the stomp, getting muddly, drinking from streams, running through them and watching the ducks. Actually, she managed to get through a hole in the duck pond fence yesterday and nicked a piece of their bread ! We also came across one of the gamekeepers, walking a ram ! Boy, she really didn't know what to make of that one LOL

The frost was thick on the ground where the sun had not hit, but we were wrapped up in our winter woollies, hats and gloves, big thick socks and walking boots, so we really enjoyed the fresh air and beautiful scenery ... then it was on to the chippie for a rather unconventional Sunday lunch of fish, chips and mushy peas ! Yuuuuuuum ...

For the photographers ... I was putting the new Canon G10 through it's initial paces and am really delighted with the results. Shooting in RAW proved a challenge to process (read: LR is not compatible yet - grrr) but I got there in the end with ACR plugin for PS4. the camera is small, discrete and packs a punch of 14.7 mp's :)

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

London DWF GTG :)

I decided very last minute to join a few other photographers for a get-together (GTG) in London on Tuesday. The plan was to meet at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) then on for a few drinks and a chat about photography, no doubt !

I decided to treat myself to a First Class trip (honestly, book in advance on thetrainline and save LOADS !) on Virgin's pendolino train ... absolutely marvellous ! Those things actually lean into corners !!! (Best to ignore the Heat magazine ... moving on ...)

An hour and a half from Stafford (I know) I got to Euston an hour early and was delighted to meet up with my friend, Yvonne Blume. We mooched along The Strand to check out a church (St Mary Le Strand) she is shooting at on Saturday and all I can say is WOW ! Absolutely beautiful and slap bang in the heart of London, surrounded by stereotypical buses and phone boxes ! I had my little Canon S5 with me (the bloomin' Canon G10 hadn't turned up yet - booooo) and so took a couple of photos while there (the exception is the iPhone photo in the NPG).

No visit to London would be complete without the tiniest bit of sightseeing ... whilst I have seen a lot of London, there are bits I still have yet to experience ... so we dropped by Somerset House which is set up in winter with an outdoor skating rink, and got a shot of the front of the Waldorf Hotel :)

Then it was on to the NPG for the Annie Leibovitz exhibition. I'm not a mad fan of Annie's work, with the exception of the David Beckham portraits and probably the Demi Moore pregnancy shots, but was curious as to what else I was missing. Needless to say, I didn't stay long and didn't buy the book either. That said, I did pick up a gorgeous book by someone I am a HUGE fan of, Mario Testino "Portraits", full of inspiration and just beautiful images.

Here's Yvonne studiously admiring Annie's work ... sorry, I mean, being bemused, then mildly irritated by the amount of shots out of focus !!!

Some of the guys were a little more enthusiastic :) (taken with iPhone due to gallery security lurking around LOL)

The group were heading to The Salisbury pub for a few drinks but Yvonne and I side-tracked to a little Italian restaurant for a girlie chat, some great pasta and wine, of course. Then it was off to meet the others for a couple of hours catching up on all things photography, before heading back to Stafford on the late train :)

A great day out, as always. Lovely to see everyone again and meeting some new faces too.

Client Testimonial ...

I love my job. Have I ever mentioned that before? Love it with a passion. I get to work with really cool people on the happiest day of their lives (my wedding clients, of course), with people who want me to make them look good (model shoots or corporate head shots), at locations wide and varied, all over the UK and abroad ... I mean, let's face it, there aren't too many other jobs with such job satisfaction and variety.

I am especially happy when my clients just LOVE the images ! One of the best parts of my job is watching clients look at the photos for the first time, reliving all the memories of the shoot, whatever it was. And I feel all warm and fuzzy when I get the feedback, too :)

I received a lovely thank you card from a wedding I actually covered for another photographer ... remember David Pearce's little baby who died 2 days before? I guess this one was especially poignant for me as they had gone to the trouble to find out my information and get a hand-written card off to me.

Dear Gill, thank you for the amazing photographs you took of our wedding day. They are truly fantastic! So many people commented on how great the photos are and how much fun you were on the day. It really helped make our day so special. We LOVE the photos and are struggling to choose our favourites, there are so many good ones ! Looking at them brings back great memories of some of the poses and fun we had :)
Sarah & Mark, Kent, July 08

You can read their blog post and the full story here.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Wedding Photography IS real ... Poll Results !

So, the votes are in and it is definitely unanimous ... Wedding Photography is REAL ! 21 votes for "Definitely" and only 1 "unsure" ... I'm so pleased with this result and thanks to all who voted.

I'd love to hear some comments (see link below) as to why you all felt that way ... my thoughts are this: what we do is take photos of real people, celebrating with friends and family, on the happiest day of their lives (so far !) ... years of planning and choosing all those little details which make their day unique makes it clear why so many choose a good photographer to record it all ... the day after, everything is gone, forever, the wonderful dress gets boxed up and forgotten in an attic, the shoes are trashed (I know mine were), the food has been wolfed, the cake cut and eaten, the flowers are dead before long ... you get the point ! All you have left are the photos, that's it.

Thanks again for confirming my belief :)