The recent “Strangetown Booster” shoot that I ran through FOTO-CLUB gave a small group of photographers the opportunity to photograph four models in my Strangetown Studio and around the Telsen building in which it’s based.
I was more than happy to have an excuse to bring back the gloriously beautiful Charlotte “Lottie” Locke for the event and as it was mid-summer, the light evening meant that we were able to use both natural window-light, studio flash, and ambient light (augmented with our own LED lighting) elsewhere in the building.
Always an utter delight to work with, Lottie managed to cover everything from classic high-key beauty to grungey urban rock-chick in a single evening. Note to self: Book her again soon!
Every couple of years, the photography club(s) I run (now called FOTO-CLUB) stages an exhibition but I decided to do something different in 2016 and opted instead for something that became known as “the book project”.
Club members were offered the opportunity to each submit a series of six themed images and ten brave souls rose to the challenge. Some of the group attended my five week evening course called “The 6 Pic Project” to guide them in the development of their submission. The result is a wonderful 8″x 8″ softback book which was launched officially at the club’s December meeting at the 1000 Trades bar, just over the road from the studio. Club member Andrew Crawford is responsible for superb design finish of the book.
I think the book was a very welcome and inexpensive alternative to our usual exhibition and so I anticipate us doing it again next year. We were given an excellent printing deal by Dunns in Cradley Heath and I’d like to thank them once again for their support. Dunns were so pleased with the book that they chose to display it at a recent trade show. But most of all, I’m incredibly proud of the club’s photographers for their excellent work.
The FOTO-CLUB trip to Spain in September was based at a beautiful villa in the Mijas Golf development just inland from the Costa del Sol. The quaint “white village” of Mijas was a fifteen minute drive from the villa and provided an ideal backdrop for a “gypsy”-inspired shoot with ex-pat model Kristi.
I lived near Mijas for a number of years and so knew which parts of the village might make the best shoot locations. Apart from the narrow streets lined with whitewashed traditional houses, we also used the church door, village square (and it’s water features) and the “balcon” area that overlooked the coast below.
When needed, Kristi popped into local shops to change outfits. The white buildings acted like huge reflectors, bouncing the natural light beautifully even on the sunniest of days.
And finally, as you might imagine, in a busy tourist town like Mijas, our shoot attracted quite a bit of attention, with groups of Japanese tourists gathering to take photographs over our shoulders but I think this last photo sums it up – a man and his young son stop to watch Kristi as she walks by while his wife walks on ahead…
I’m slowly getting around to editing my own images from the week of shoots in the sunny Costa del Sol with the very first FOTO-CLUB international photography holiday. I’ve started on them alphabetically so the first images I’m going to show you were actually taken just a few hours before we flew home.
The location is an eerily beautiful abandoned villa amidst large but very overgrown gardens. The house was once a B&B but the owner left a dozen or so years ago and has never been back. Consequently, the house’s decor is “quaint”, possibly even “quirky” by the standards of that time. But it provided us with a wide range of shooting possibilities. After a few abortive shots using the strobe, I usually ended up using the abundant, and lovely, natural light.
Here are a few of my favourite images of the lovely Abby…
Abby in one of the very odd bathrooms.
Abby on the terrace
Abby on the staircase.
And if you fancy joining us on the next trip in March 2017…
Once in a while, you discover a shoot location that simply demands a certain theme. When I first heard about, and saw photographs of, a “lost chapel” in woodland near the nearby border with Shropshire, I knew I had to find it and see if was as amazing as it looked. It was.
But it wasn’t easy to find – the student who told me about it had failed to find it on the first attempt and it was only due to a slight detour and a warning about what to expect, that helped me to find it on my first expedition. I walked for 30-40 minutes uphill through beautiful countryside before having to wade through brambles and tree branches to actually reach the building. Once there, though, it was clear that this was a very special place and I decided that, as I had imagined, it was the perfect place for a “fairytale” themed workshop/shoot.
The model I had in mind (who was local, and had the look I had in mind) dropped out with just a few days notice so I turned to the most versatile model I know – Emilie Walt (who you’ll spot in various guises in previous posts). Emilie lives some distance away and public transport to our location early on a Sunday morning was non-existent so I arranged to drive her there. As usual, Emilie went above and beyond what would normally be expected of a model, making her own hooded cape and bringing along other suitable props.
Even though I’d been to the location before, it still wasn’t easy to locate when I arrived with the group on the Sunday morning (there was much more foliage and even taller brambles, for a start). But we were rewarded with an excellent shoot and far too many images to post here.
Thanks, as ever, to the brilliant Emilie.
So once the light dropped to “unacceptably-high-ISO” levels during the “Special Studio Evening” with Roseanne, we headed back indoors for the more usual Studio Evening stuff… namely, studio lighting. In the studio.
So here are a couple of shots from the indoor section of the evening…