Falling In Love Again

Marlene Dietrich – Falling In Love Again

The Canon 5d mk II has its limitations it must be said, but then perfection is beyond all of us, so in the couple of years that I had mine, I loved using it.  It felt at home in my hand, co-operated with most of my requests, and on occasion gave birth to some wonderful images, but all things must pass and in this case disaster struck.   After an unplanned trip to the seaside she began to misbehave and despite my efforts at perseverance eventually had to accept that something was seriously wrong.  The insurers confirmed the worst; I was never to see her again.

For a while I got by with an old flame and the help of friends, but eventually I had to move on, and today my new Canon 5d Mk III arrived.

Like any first date, there was some initial awkwardness.  The new partner felt good against my skin, but things weren’t where I expected them to be!  There were new aspects to the relationship that I wasn’t sure about.  I was going to have to work at this.  The new model was faster and sounded softer, and capable of so much more it seemed, with many more points to focus on.  New levels of creativity were possible.   My own weaknesses had been anticipated and addressed.  There is real potential here.

Have I found my new love?  Perhaps.  The early signs are encouraging and I can’t wait to try more.464A0009-Edit





Thanks to Sev for agreeing to be photographed by the guy who hadn’t even worked out the new autofocus arrangements at that point!!!!  She still gave me a beautiful smile despite it all.


Living for the City

Stevie Wonder – Living For The City

I’ve lived my life in and around Sunderland, and for the last 20 years the settlement has had the status of being a City, yet for me it falls a long way short of what I enjoy about cities; historical, artistic, gastronomic and architectural gems are few and far between.

And now for the heresy.  I don’t care, because these elements are still within easy reach in Sunderland’s long-standing rival; Newcastle.

You might not understand this if you’re not from the North East, but the rivalry is deep-seated and dates back nearly 400 years to the English Civil War when the two towns supported opposite sides.  People had died in Sunderland as a result of Charles I’s decision to award coal trading rights exclusively to Newcastle.

Nevertheless I love Newcastle, especially as a photographer.  A short city walk provides opportunities to capture all manner of contrasting but interesting imagery and you can do so without resorting to the usual shots of the Tyne Bridges or Grey’s Monument.

Even buildings that have stood for decades can be viewed in new ways with a little imagination.

No surprise then that I should see so many other photographers about.  I felt it was time to include one of them in this series of pictures, so welcome Maureen (a fellow Canon user!).

The downside of street walking is of course that you’re limited to how much kit you can carry.  Wish I’d had a reflector to bounce some light into her eyes to compensate for the overhead sun, but then I would have needed an assistant to hold it too!



It’s a family affair…

Holly and I met an interesting man in the supermarket this morning.  Unusually we were the one’s on the receiving end of a conversation about photography.

The man who began it had spotted the Canon slung over my shoulder and began by asking about the model, telling me that his wife (who had wandered on, focused on some serious shopping) also used a Canon.  He went on to tell us that he’d been an amateur photographer all of his life, loved his Leica, and warned of the perils of copyright infringement when you upload your pictures to the web.

I was sure he’d be my subject today, once I told him about my project, but I was to be disappointed.  His reason for refusing?  He didn’t have his false teeth in!!!  (That’s a first.)

Still, it wasn’t too much of a problem, because I already had some images to share.  My Canadian in-laws have been in the UK for the wedding mentioned yesterday, and as my niece Abby is of a similar age to my daughters, I’ve long been planning to get all three of them into a studio to photograph them together, and last week it all came together.  I didn’t get the chance to post on the day as we were preparing for the trip to Surrey that followed, but better late and all that.

I hired the excellent (and world famous) Bananastudios in Newcastle, knowing that Eric would be on hand for any help I needed, and also booked the fantastic make up artist Alex Pretswell, so it was a real treat for the girls.  As my sister-in-law Dawn, and mother-in-law Thelma dropped in to watch I even had the chance of a larger family group.

Whenever I’ve shot in the studio before, it has always been part of a workshop with other photographers, and so there is a fair amount of downtime between shots to relax and have a drink or a nibble.  Very different when you have three girls in rotation between outfits and make up and different sets to shoot too.  I was surprised to find myself working up a sweat as the afternoon progressed.  Who’d have thought that you could get a workout from a shutter release!

Here are just a few from the day including Dawn, who was adamant that she wouldn’t be photographed.  Glad a little misdirection prevailed!

Thanks are also due to Sly & The Family Stone who saved me from having to entitle this “Three Girls and a Banana!”

Sly & The Family Stone – Family Affair