Monthly Archives: August 2012

Little Summer

I had been meaning to see Little Summer for a while but May being full of work and Holiday/Anniversary it wasn’t til July before I could get up to Arbroath. Summer is the beautiful daughter of Chris and Joe Cargill, I did pop in for 20 mins before but wasn’t armed with a camera so after a little re-arranging we organised a day to take some pictures. This is Chris Cargill :-

Not all went to plan though, I was to pop into Halfords get a radio fitted to the car, a job that should have taken 1 hour tops. Anyways 3 hours later, radio still not fitted and I’m busy phoning Chris to say sorry for the delay, eventually radio was fitted  and working after a fashion. I jumped in the car and headed up to see Summer, this time camera in hand. Like a pro model she had a few costume changes and a wealth of poses, the poses lasted for 100ms at most. We got some good shots though, mostly because Summer seemed mesmerized by the AF light on the camera, there was quite a few images with a bewilderd look on her cute face….she’s a bundle of fun 🙂


and toys….

Thanks to Joe and Chris for letting me photograph their first born.

PS when I got home I found that Halfords had fitted the wrong radio module for my car model, cheers Halfords…….


How unpredictable is this Scottish weather…very!!! I was down in Nottingham in May for 2 weeks and during the first week it was cool with rain showers and I was hoping for better weather for the weekend between as I had booked Fizzy for 3 hours. Being away from home I didn’t have much chance to come up with a new location so I plumped for doing a different area of Little Ballo, where I had taken Chrissie earlier. I picked Fizzy up at the station, complete with an unfeasibly huge suitcase and we zoomed off to the country…we were also hoping to catch up with Chrissie as she doesn’t live too far away. We arrived at Little Ballo….in very different circumstances than my last shoot, it was piggin freezing….there was a slight cold damp wind and the temperature was quite chilly. Poor Fizzy is really was too cold for comfort…we did some test posing around the trees and other bits of the forest, then quickly off with her clothes…pose….quickly on with clothes again, move to another area and repeat the same thing. After a while I couldn’t let her go on getting cold, I had a coat, scarf and hat on and I was on the cold side. I called it quits after nearly a couple of hours, she was a bit worried that I wasn’t getting my moneys worth but I said no…it was my choice to come here and not hers therefore she gets paid in full so we chatted, compared wellies and joked as we walked back to the car and headed for Chrissie’s flat, unfortunately she was out buying carpets…but Fizzy got to catch up with her later in the year.

Brrrrrr…….the images below we taken off the beaten path, in what we thought was a secluded area, erm….no, we passed it from the other direction on the way back to the car, where Fizzy posed was in clear view from the path, luckily no-one came along. One bonus was that there was no midgies!


Hopefully I’ll work with Fizzy again…..this time I promise to take her somewhere warm!

Madame Bink

For a while fellow camera club member Rory Wemyss had been talking about his new studio so I cornered him with requests for using it. I had an email from Bink asking if I was interested in a shoot and it seemed like an ideal situation as Rory’s studio is 10 mins away from Tentsmuir Beach. We came to an arrangement and a 2 hour slot was had in the studio, I had a quick look at it before Bink arrived…good grief, brand new purpose built studio with all the latest toys you’d ever need…Perfect!!
This was my first time with Bink, obviously I recognised her when I picked her up at the station, we had a quick coffee/hot chocolate before heading over the Tay to the studio. There was one feature in the studio I was keen to exploit…the make up mirror!

This is one of the first out of the camera….

and this image went ballistic on 500px

And then the mirror!!

And two of my favs from the mirror….


Then on the beach….blessed with a sunny day!

Bink is a fire, burning bright and with passion, strong with a hint of adventure. I can see why she is such a popular model, hard working and full of fun…lovely girl. Everyone should have a Bink experience…highly recommended.

Little Ballo with Chrissie Red

By May it seemed like an age since I worked with Chrissie but it was only 3 months since our last shoot, even still it seemed too long. Now I had this location for a long time, it’s one of my favourite haunts for wildlife…full of deer, foxes, hares and all kinds of birds, however it is also full of broken down trees. During the last two years we have had some violent wind over the winter months and this has caused a lot of devastation to the local forests but this particular place has been actively worked by the forestry commision and as such some trees trunks have been left lying to rot. In the Autumn these trunks take on a silver hue and add to the dying landscape of fall, in the spring though they add an interesting contrast to bright green foliage of new shrubery and grasses, and of course the yellow of the broom and gorse. The idea of this shoot was to do nudes, the contrast between the gnarled trunks and Chrissie’s pale skin would work well. Fortunately this is a very quiet and little known location so working with a nude model is easy though a wary eye is still needed for the occasional dog walker.

Another lucky thing was the weather, sunny but not enough to cast shadows and warm enough for Chrissie to pose in comfort.

After avoiding a couple of dog walkers we moved on to a different area

and further own down the path…..

and on the way back…….

Chrissie was radiant, the sun and light played on her features and skin tones, there’s just too many pretty images to post.
This area has so much potential……I would be back again soon but in different circumstances.

Strathyre wildlife and Loch Katrine

Once upon a weekend my wife and I were invited by friends to the Trossachs for the weekend, there is a lovely hotel and restaurant called the Creagan House, it’s a tad olde world but a real country cottage hotel…four poster beds, old wood panels, wood fires…a perfect escape for the weekend. We stayed there in April and although it wasn’t cold it was the shape of things to come for this summer, cloudy and rain then bright sunshine, very very changeable….very very wet.
If you ever find your way into the Trossachs you should seriously consider staying at Creagan House, the surrounding countryside is just stunning and full of wildlife, at the back of the hotel is a woodland walk that can take to the heart of the hills. Not far away is a less rustic walk around Loch Katrine.

As you can see it wasn’t long before we got soaked and had to turn back and seek refuse in a small glass of something, however I did manage to catch a pied wagtail (cropped to an inch of insanity)

In the garden of the hotel I saw for the first time ever siskins, seemingly they are regular visitors to the hotel (but never allowed a glass of wine) along with pine martins and red squirrels. All in all a very pleasureable weekend 🙂

It was at this point I wondered about buying the Nikon D800 but that’s another story…

Ivory Flame

The Return of the Flame!!

Well, what can I say in this blog….Once upon a time in Scotland…we had a sunny day!!!
shock horror scandal….the end!
Ok we did stuff in between however in there lies a story of sorts. In my previous blog I say how I went location hunting and found Castle Monan and Lady’s Tower so when Holly said she was coming up and would you like to shoot I knew where to take her. However there was one place I had earmarked to take her and that was an old abandoned airstrip near Crail, it was called RAF Jackdaw.
The potential for shoots in this place is absolutely amazing.

However I just couldn’t help listening to the little voice inside me that said no….don’t take anyone there. As I was wandered round the place I bumped into the owner of the site who was a little hostile or suspicous at first but once we got chatting he agreed to let me shoot at any time and was quite friendly…..however I just couldn’t help this feeling of that I shouldn’t be here. So with reluctance I rejected the location and took Holly to Tentsmuir beach…what a result!!!

And this image has had a FIAP acceptance

It was so hot that day I had to borrow some of Holly’s sun tan lotion for my head!…in March!!!
Holly braved the cold water and damp sand but soon warmed up in the sun, such a scorching day I got sun burnt. Anyways of we went to Castle Monans

By this time we were running out of time…and we still had Lady’s Tower to do!!

and this portrait has had a FIAP acceptance

Holly was as stunning as ever…… truely full of grace.


For some reason this shoot seems like years ago but it was only February, I had just come back from a RPS advisory day….it was advised that I shoot more, a wide variety was needed for a distinction. So of I went with a mission to hunt down and shoot as many models as I could this year, fortunately Joceline was doing a studio day at Elgin Studios. Now Elgin is a 3 hour drive for me but I did manage to wangle to do some work up there so it worked in very well with this shoot as I got the hotel and fuel paid for…always a bonus!
So I had this idea to do just a nude shoot with just a simple prop, a six foot staff made from Japanese Red Oak…called a Bo. I wanted Joceline to work with the staff , we worked together on posing and which stances and body positions would work well. Its amazing how quickly a one hour studio slot vanishes.

It’s hard to believe that the staff is 6 foot tall…Joceline is very tall.

And this portrait has had 2 FIAP acceptances so far

An hour isn’t long to get to know someone but Joceline is a lovely girl, throughly professional and worked hard to get the desired results.
On this shoot I even brought my Canon AT1 loaded with film, however I broke the horseshoe diecast on the camera and couldn’t use it with the stduio flash trigger…no biggie, its now relegated to landscapes or location shots.

An experimental shoot

Back in February I had this idea for a ‘wet material’ shoot. I was kinda looking for a clinging see through material that would ripple on the skin. I had no idea if this would work as I wanted the shoot to be lit with stage lights not studio flash. This would of course mean very high ISO and very long shutter speeds as the stage lights would be the only lighting. Chrissie Red agreed to do the shoot in her new flat and that was just ideal as her flat hadn’t been finished yet building wise and was still a little bit rough at the time. Now, having shot images in her flat before I knew that some of the images at ISO 6400 lost detail when printed at A4 size, it was just a very dark and difficult for the camera to autofocus on a previous shoot. So this time I set the ISO to auto but max at 2000, this meant shutter speeds of nearly 1 secound though most turned out to be 1/8s. The other factor was that the stage lights had 4 colours which rotated at regular intervals if there was no noise, if you shouted or made a noise the lights would go random colours…basically they are noise to light based. The other good thing I liked about them is that they made a pattern and each lamp looked different, another added bonus was that because the shutter speed was so low the lights could change within the 1/8s giving a different clour from the existing  four. It was all very experimental and random, we used  gause type materials of green and brown and cream, sometimes we would throw the gause in front of the camera during the shot…just generally trying ‘in camera’ effects. We had a lot of problems though, one of which was that there was no hot water, so we used freezing cold water on the material and a spray gun of icy water to skoosh Chrissie with….I have to say….she did squeal…hehe. Anyways it was a fun intereting shoot though the results were a tad unusual and a lot of shots just didn’t work out. However we did get a few shots that were very different.

I think I would return to this idea at some point, prehaps spend more time on creating effects using more material and getting an assistant would help a lot.

As always Chrissie is a star!

Location Hunting and the BBC

Ok ok so I’m maybe a tad late with this blog…only 8 months but I do have a very valid excuse, I’m just bone idle. So let’s kick off with a story that led to an interesting and unexpected outcome. I had been working in Fife at the beginning of the year, somewhere along the fishing villages so I decided to use the chance to do a little location hunting. I drove around Anstruther and Pittenweem area lookng for somewhere around the shoreline to freeze a model, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for but I did see a couple of castle type ruins from the road, the first one was St Monans castle.

Plus the tower off to one side

I thought this had loads of potential so carried on to the next ruin, Lady’s Tower which actually isn’t a ruin just a folly however really nicely situated on a small cliff

This folly is a little walk from a car park and on the way there I came across and startled a buzzard with a fresh kill, I had my camera in my hand but didn’t get a chance to take an image. It was so close to me that I think the bird and I were stunned to find each other, however it recovered quicker than I did and flew off without its kill. On the way back to the car I came across a heron which had found the buzzards prize and decided to steal it, fortunately I was prepared this time and caught a number of shots. This following image was accepted and added to the BBC wildlife magazine, the heron picked up the feast which was a vole and flew off with it. The image was featured in the August edition of the magazine.