Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A November Day Around Haworth, Brontë Country

I don't really need to have a purpose for going to Haworth. I love the place so much that that alone is enough to keep me going there. But to add to the excitement of my visits I usually assign a purpose to each one of them. And last Monday it was a very different and special purpose. I decided to leave my job and have a slow, stress-free and deliberate Christmas, while I work out my next steps towards building a better quality lifestyle for myself and G. The moors were beckoning again and calling me, so I hurried over for a much needed head clearing and liberating walk.
I didn't want a bright and sunny day; it doesn't really suit the moors, and it wouldn't have quite suited my mood on that particular day either. So I was grateful for the overcast weather with a bit of dramatic and typically broody light now and again.

It was bitterly cold however, and I wasn't really prepared for it as temperatures had been mild previous days. There was no wind which was unusual, but the air was so cold my fingers clad in fingerless gloves felt like they were about to fall off together with my camera they were clutching. I wondered around for about an hour, deeply breathing in the fresh air...the spirit....the freedom.....and then, feeling invigorated in mind and body I was ready for some physical was time to go to the Parsonage and say hello to the Brontës - the most fascinating and inspiring artistic family that touched my life.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Jake - Portraiture Shoot

Now and again I like to try my hand at shooting portraits. Not often, because, to be truthful, I personally find it tiring and rather stressful to take pictures of people; but, if I have a willing and interesting model I do get challenged and excited at the prospect of a photo shoot. 
One of my close friend's twenty five year old son Jake, who is a talented amateur photographer himself, was happy to have a go at being in front of the camera for a change, so on a Saturday afternoon back in August we headed to the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, not far from where we all live, for some portraiture photography fun.

Jake proved to be a great model: he was at easy from the start and natural throughout the shoot; he enjoyed it as much as I did; he came up with his own suggestions and was great at following mine. My idea was to create mainly mood images, and he was all up for it. He was full of energy and wanted to carry on when I was nearly ready to call it a day.

I must say I look back at this photo escapade with great pleasure and sense of achievement. It was the first time Jake and I had a substantial contact, and it was good getting to know him through such a gratifying experience. I am so glad to be able to say that all of these images, my favourites among those we made, have been accepted by online photo agencies.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Still Life With Pumpkin at Halloween Time

To be truthful, I have never been into Halloween very much; well, at least not into its scary, eerie, spooky and what have you side; what I do like about Halloween is the inclusion of pumpkins, the craft of carving them and putting tea lights and candles inside them; and what really appeals to me is the exuberant presence of colourful pumpkins and squashes at this time of year; they are perfect to bring into your home as lasting decoration and symbols of the season.

As part of my regular season celebrations I made this quick arrangement in the corner of my sitting room floor. I wondered how and where I can transfer it for a tabletop still life image, and then it occurred to me that all I have to do is lie down on my belly and shoot!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Recent Images Sales

I am delighted to learn, although a bit tardy, that I have a new French book cover

The story is based on a true investigative work; it is a romance where the main protagonist works in a large weaving factory, hence the choice of a photo of a mill.

My photo, which I took back in 2011, shows Gibson Mill, built in around 1800. It is situated within the beautiful Hardcastle Crags woodland in West Yorkshire. It was one of the first mills of the Industrial Revolution.

I also sold license to the Slovenian magazine "Berem Beres" for use of one of my images on the front page of their book catalogue supplement.

And last, but not least, The UK women's magazine "Candis" have used my photo of a wedding car in their June issue. I must admit I was not familiar with this magazine even though it is one of the best selling women's magazines. I look forward to getting to know it and maybe getting my hands on a copy of the June issue.

Update 24 October 2017

I sent an email to Candis magazine asking if I could possibly buy a copy of the June issue, explaining the reason why, and their Customer Relations Agent kindly put a complimentary issue in the post for me. So here is the page with my photo as well as the front cover of the magazine.

Friday, 29 September 2017

September Still Life

September is one of the months that inspire me the most to create a still life image. My preferred still life work entails using elements from nature, and in September there is so much Mother Nature bestows on us: lots of the colourful summer blooms still persists; red berries, like rose-hip, rowan and pyracantha are springing about, and various lovely fruits have ripened and are being picked.

This year I have gorgeous rudbeckia thriving in my back garden, thanks to our lovely neighbour who gave us a few plants she had grown from seeds. I admire it every day and I thought, with its heavenly looking golden flowers and dark centres, it would be a perfect subject for a seasonal still life. The little set of jam jars in wicker casing beckoned to me from a kitchen shelf, and I thought of blackberries and blackberry jam as good additions. I bought some blackberries from the local supermarket, but didn't get round to making jam this time. I also chose some greengage plums and red figs to put more shapes and autumn colour into the composition.
It had to be a dark, country cottage feel still life, so I used a medium grey fabric background and a dark grunge texture layer in postprocessing.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Cawthorne village, South Yorkshire - A Farewell To Summer

I tend to get a little piqued when at the beginning of September people say that summer is over. Just because kids are back to school it doesn't mean the summer is over. September is usually a beautiful month, and by calendar summer doesn't end till 22nd September. However, I must admit, this year September has been quite disappointing. Instead of the usual mellow sunshine and mild temperatures here in Yorkshire we have had a lot of lashing rain with autumnal chill already present in the air. Now that summer is officially over I thought I'd create one last "summery" post just to celebrate the lavish season and say good bye till next year.
Last year G and I visited the beautiful village of Cawthorne on a glorious late August day. Here are a few photos to summarize the gorgeous country summer feel we enjoyed very much.
All the images below were processed with just a quick and basic edit in attempt to convey the summer colours, light and mood the way they were on that particular day.

It was a Bank Holiday Sunday, and there were a lot of cars parked on the main road and around the village. There must have been some event taking place nearby if not in the village, we didn't get to know what exactly was going on. The village itself wasn't overly busy thankfully, and I believe I did manage to capture the usual peace, tranquility and sense of slower life English villages normally radiate.

A visit to a village like this would not be complete without a spot of shopping, without buying something from a local shop. Both G and I love antiques and were overjoyed to find this lovely antiques store in the heart of the village. Outside there was this metal heron statue that caught both our eyes (you can see it in the photo if you look closely). It looked like a great addition to our back garden, so off it went back to Leeds with us.

So this is it; now I have seen off the summer through reliving a perfect summer day from the past I am ready to move on to the next season - autumn - another beautiful season I love very much and am looking forward to. I can't wait to kick fallen leaves on my walks, marvel at the riot of glorious autumn colours, wake up to the mist in the distant hills, and smell the change in the nature in the air.