Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Spring Fling 2015 - many thanks to many wonderful people

Spring Fling is now over for another year. Across the course of the 3-day weekend, 454 people came into St Johns to visit me and artist/sculptor, Morven Browne - which is just about twice as many visitors as I had last year. Many thanks to Amanda for letting us use her fabulous space, which I would highly recommend as a great venue to hire.

Throughout the event I was doing photography demonstrations - showing how changing the light can dramatically alter the mood of an image. Thanks go to Maria, who was my model for the weekend. Warm, friendly and good company, she put up with my requests, frustrations and inane bletherings with extraordinary patience.


Demonstrating light with Maria 

Huge thanks also have to go out to fellow photographers, Andy Jardine and Pete Robinson who came to my rescue, lending me equipment, after I discovered a problem with my camera that wasn't going to be fixable in time for Spring Fling.

Thanks also go to Allan Wright who lent me another camera to have a go at doing some time-lapse photography - something I'd not tried before. Most Canon cameras don't have this function, although you can buy extra equipment to bolt on. However, many Nikon's have it built in. I use Canon, but Allan didn't hesitate to hand me one of his Nikon's - and the instruction manual.

It took a little bit of fiddling about, but eventually I got the hang of it, so did a few short sequences over the weekend, which I've now edited together into a short video.



There are some professional photographers out there who consider all other photographers to be competition, and might even smirk if another was in trouble.

I count myself as extraordinarily fortunate that I know some really great people who were prepared to go the extra mile to ensure I'd be OK.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Spring Fling 2015 - Studio 29 on the Pink Route - Win a Photography Session


My image in the Spring Fling Brochure

There's an old saying in photography that the beginner thinks it's all about the camera; the more experienced thinks it's about technique; but the master knows it's about light.


Film Noir style is all about light and shadow

This weekend (Saturday 23rd to Monday 25th May) will be my 5th Spring Fling - the annual Open Studio event that takes place each year in Dumfries and Galloway, where over 90 artists and makers throw their doors open to the public.

In previous years I've printed up large framed versions of some of my best images and told people the stories behind their creations; I've taken photos of people smiling and staring into the camera; and I've even photographed visitors dressed up as Humphrey Bogart, complete with trench coat and trilby.


I'm Humphrey Bogart and So's my Wife

This year I've decided to do photography demonstrations throughout the weekend, showing how changing the light within a scene can dramatically alter the mood and emotion of an image.

My wee studio in the front room of our house is way too small to do this (and accommodate a stream of visitors at the same time), so I've changed my venue to a wonderful old church about 5 minutes walk down the road from where I live.

St John's used to be a fully operational Roman Catholic Church until they made the decision to sell it due to structural problems. The new owners did all the repairs and restored it, and now hire it out as a venue for anything you might want a large space for.

If at all possible, do come along and say hello.

And like last year, you can even enter a draw to win a photography session


Last year's winners decided to go for a Fred and Ginger theme

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Chasing Bluebells

It's mid May and the sun now doesn't set until 9pm, so an evening stroll in the woods reveals the most wonderful light. Low sun cutting through gaps in the trees highlighting patches of moss, unfurling ferns and budding leaves.


Beech leaf


Unfurling fern


Mr Snuffleupagus?

But now the bluebells are also out.

Ever since the camera became my primary creative outlet, at this time of year I've attempted to capture bluebells through the lens. They are one of my all-time favourite flowers, with a delightful scent that always takes me back to childhood. But taking a photo that captures that sense has continually eluded me.

This evening, however, I think I got as close as I ever have.





As always, click on the images for larger versions

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Election Shock - Redux

As the country goes to the polls tomorrow, I went back through my blog to discover what I'd written about the last election, 5 years ago.

I came across this and realised we could be in for repeat reaction...

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In a massive surprise, the population woke up this morning to discover politicians had been elected to govern the UK.

People have been seen shuffling aimlessly about the streets, wearing pyjamas and dressing gowns and clutching cups of tea, with looks of shock and disbelief on their faces.

"I think we've all been duped," said Castle Douglas man, Kim Ayres. "Of course, when you think about it, we should have seen it coming. But we didn't. Politicians..." At this point he gave an involuntary shudder.

When asked who he thought we'd all been voting for, a look of stark confusion spread across his face. "I dunno really. Real people, I think. I mean, you know, people with feelings. People who care about more than just themselves. Personally I was hoping that nice woman in the post office would get in. She always gives me a warm smile and helps me work out the best way to send a parcel."

At this point our attention was drawn to the upper window as Mrs Ayres, a local mixed media and textile artist, was seen leaning out screaming, "Bastards! Politician scum!" A small cheer went up from a group of OAPS on the other side of the road.

Scenes like this are being echoed across the country as it is slowly dawning on the population of the UK that it could be years before they get another chance oust politicians once and for all.

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Think carefully how you vote, folks, or we will be trapped in a never-ending cycle - doomed to repeat this scenario every 5 years for all eternity...