The Final Furlong

I’m on the final wind-down of FOTO-CLUB training courses and workshops. The last one-off workshop was a Fashion-themed workshop with the stunning Bethany Reynolds at my very own Strangetown Studio.

All that’s left now are these two 5-week courses which start at the very end of February and 1st of March. I’m happy to report that, like the final workshop, these look very likely to fill up (with only a couple of spaces remaining on each). And so after 14 years or so of these events, I’m looking forward to them… and dreading them in equal measure. The last class will be a sad day (well, evening) indeed.

But if you or someone you know fancies the first (and last) ever 5 week DSLR For Beginners or Advanced Photography course, I’d suggest that they sign up soon.

Woodland Fairytale

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.

Rapid Descent

Every time I’m doing a Photoshop demo for my students, I like to dig out an image I haven’t used before if possible, just to keep it a bit “fresh” for me as much as anything. This week, I trawled one old hard drive and found a very static image of the lovely Bethanie Stokes which I’d taken during a workshop in Digbeth, Birmingham, a couple of years ago.

I used this image to briefly demonstrate the “quick selection” tool and a couple of the motion filters, settling on the “motion blur” filter to give an impression that Beth was rushing down the steps, sliding the hands down the handrails as I used to do as a  kid. All done in about four minutes so not the finest piece of editing I’ve ever done but for once, I decided to save the image at the end of the session rather than delete it. I kinda like it.

Daniel In The Photographer’s Den

As a nice little finale for the Portfolio Booster II course, I arranged two very different male models. One was Daniel Specta, a heavily tattooed young fella with a great look and wonderful taste in sunglasses. Like most of the group, I photographed Daniel using only the continuous modelling lights of the flash heads and then the ambient lighting that can be found in the corridor outside my studio. And that is where I took this shot. Daniel’s ace shades were just crying out to be messed with in post-production, so I did.

New Blood: Tanya Barad

I love our “New Blood” shoots. I get to meet and work with 3 new models in one evening and I’m rarely disappointed with the models that I’ve selected from the many who answer my casting calls.

This is Tanya Barad. She’s an incredible mixture of Iranian, Spanish and lots more and has a great look, I think.

Tanya Barad by David Rann

Tanya Barad by David Rann