Up until recently, I’ve always concentrated on nature photography, with a mixture of wildlife and landscape. I’ve photographed in a variety of places, including the local area in Somerset and my native Devon, as well as my spiritual home of the Scottish Highlands and the Lake District while in transit to Scotland. While I’ve done a little carnival and event photography and some architectural photography, that’s pretty much been it.
Recently though, I’ve been stuck in a bit of a rut. Some of that is down to the pressures of work, leading me to feel too tired to do anything other than recover and recharge my batteries at the weekends. The trip to Finland would have been my only shoot this year, apart from odd things here and there, if it wasn’t for a couple of events organised by Sydenham Camera Club.
Now, I’ve never really been interested in portraits, beyond photographing family special occasions. However, the camera club have organised some interesting photo shoots. The first was back in July, when a shoot was organised on a farm in the Quantocks, owned by one of the members. Not only was I able to photograph some horses, but we also shot with four different models, Cerris, Leigh, Roxy and Sophie. Lighting was difficult, as it was one of the hottest days of the year, but we were able to find some shade and some filtered light, allowing my creative juices to start flowing.
Next up was a very ambitious project at Hestercombe Gardens, just outside Cheddon Fitzpaine, near Taunton in Somerset. This was an evening shoot involving 18 photographers, 8 models (Hannah, Leigh, Sophie, Roxy, Emma, Portly, Zoe and Maxine), plus make-up artist and hairdresser (who also modelled later), with an extra helper, in 7 separate locations. This allowed me to use flash, something I tend to avoid, but also one shoot allowed me to shoot with a model on my own, in perfect warm, late evening lighting, the sort of light I like. This really allowed me to be creative, with my penchant for narrow depth of field, as well as some contre-jour shots. Make up was by Indie, from Vanilla Skin.
All in all, they were both successful shoots and I particularly enjoyed the shoot with Hannah. I think the combination of Hannah’s natural poise, the lighting, the lack of flash and being able to shoot alone, really opened up my mind to some creative shots.