I was having a couple of weeks break over the past fortnight and decided to try and digitise some more of my slides & negs. However, I didn’t have that much success!
One of my main problems is this. For as long as I can remember I have been a Nikon user, so much so that when I needed a slide and negative scanner, I automatically chose a Nikon. And very good it has been as well except, when I tried to update the software and drivers etc, I was very politely informed that Nikon do not make scanners anymore and hence, there is no updates to the software! Now I fully understand about product loyalty, but I wonder what the head(s) at Nikon think about Customer Loyalty? Or does that not exist anymore at that level? Perhaps they expect their distributors to handle that tricky end of the deal!
Having said all that, here is a dreadful pic of a wonderful occasion. The original slide is perfect but the scan which I had to do on my all-in-one ain’t so good. The occasion was the first photo session of a brand new idea and invention in percussion, specifically Arbiter Auto-Tune Drums. This pic shows l-to-r, Ivor Arbiter the inventor and Music Industry legend, me (with a droop face as I am suffering from Bells Palsy at the time) and the great Carl Palmer, he of ELP holding a Snare Drum. Carl was a tremendous help during the final stages of testing the equipment, as was many other fine drummers including Jon Hiseman who toured the kit all over Europe with his various bands, Coliseum II. and Tempest with the late and great Irish guitarist Gary Moore. I guess the photo was taken around 1977/8.
Well I turned up an hour before the shoot was due to start and was directed to the ‘Guard Room’. It was just inside the portcullis. I got a backdrop up and a couple of strobes and did a few test shots and waited. The Record company boss turned up on time with the Make-Up Artiste and his assistant, we then waited for Queenie to show. Unfortunately, she had an art exam that morning and was late getting away from school but she duly arrived with her Mum about 45 minutes late.
Next the Make-up girl had to do her thing, unfortunately (unbeknown to me) Queenie is having some trouble with her skin/complexion at the moment and requested the make-up girl to use Queenie’s make-up. So by the time all was finished I guess we must have started the shoot proper about an hour late!
I had a couple of main problems:-
The record company had no specific requirements. Now this may sound fine, as I have free rein, however, if you don’t know what the customer wants, how are you supposed to give it to them? I would have liked to have had an idea of what the forthcoming album was going to be like. I mean was it going to be Katy Perry or Ethel Merman?
The Guard Room was cold and it was giving Queenie goose-bumps on her bare arms.
We had too many people in the ‘studio’ which was having an effect on Queenie, bearing in mind she is only 15 years old (hence the skin probs).
The complexion and the Goose-bumps caused me so many problems, trying to hide them as much as I could via the camera, to save me time in post production.
Anyway, we finally finished, Queenie was a little angel. She never once complained (even though it was obvious she hadn’t done any modelling before) and she just tried everything that people were shouting out to her (including me, but I was allowed). The last thing she said to me as she left was “thank you very much and can you please touch-up my skin before you submit them?” I repied that I would add a little blur here and there if it was needed, she said “NO not a little blur a whole lotta a blur!” And she was deadly serious.
I must say that I did need a lot of time in the digital darkroom but at the end of the day the record boss selected about six or seven shots that he liked and that was that. As many photographers will know, it is strange how the client never choses the photos that you think are the best. They always chose the ones that you wished they hadn’t for various reasons.
I have included a small number herewith, not fantastic I know but chosen by the company. Please feel free to comment, I would welcome any feedback good, bad or indifferent.
I am just about to leave the house to go to Caldicot Castle. I have a commission to shoot a new young girl singer, her name is Queenie May and she appears to be about to break into the big time!
She certainly has a very sweet voice from what I have heard, but I’m sure most of you will know that it doesn’t end there, sometimes it doesn’t even start there! Image is so important and of course the quality of the song. Apparently, her single which was released not so long ago was released very surreptitiously and yet still managed to make the number 4 spot on the Amazon Chart. It is currently at 34. Not bad at all for a first release from a singer with a self penned song.
Once the shoot is over, and the pics processed I will post some for your perusal and feedback. Meanwhile, Queenie – who incidentally is only 15 – can be found on iCloud and Facebook.
I know, it’s been an age in between posts! But I have finally found a few minutes to jot something down.
During my recent trip to the Golden Valley, I was fortunate enough to actually get out and explore the immediate vicinity, (my apologies if I repeat myself here and there).
You will recall that I went to a village in the Valley known as Vowchurch. Well this time out I went in the opposite direction and visited Peterchurch. Then the next time went back to Vowchurch and then on to the next little village which really was like stepping back in time. However, the first thing that I saw as I entered Peterchurch was a Second WW US Army Ambulance up on a ramp! Not something I expected to find in the depths of darkest Herefordshire.
Kind of weird really and something that made me stop in my tracks and just look at it, and wondered who would have driven it etc.
Immediately opposite the truck was the church of Peterchurch. This was a bigger one than the previous church I had visited but part of the same group (not the correct term I know) and administered by the same clergy. In front of the church was a magnificent example of an ancient Yew tree. The tree is recorded as being at least 850 years old! Apparently, in the Middle Ages many of the churches were used as a refuge and ‘forts’ as the villages were regularly raided by Celtic warriors from over the border in Wales. The main weapon of the day was the bow and arrow and, what wood do you think the bows were made from? Yes absolutely correct Yew. So that it is why in most of the church yards in the UK you will find a really old Yew tree in the yard.
The next village was back to Vowchurch and then on to the old village of Turnastone. As I entered the village it was just like stepping back in time, the first thing I saw was an old farmhouse. It was pretty old but also it was empty. What once was obviously a magnificent family home, was now just sitting there rotting away. From what I could gather it appeared the farm business was another victim of the current economical downturn that is affecting everyone.
Turnastone Court really would have been a beautiful place to live back in the day, and its garden backed on to the little River Dore. However, if I thought this was quaint, I wasn’t any where ready for what I was to see next.
It was almost like stepping onto and Ealing Studios British Film Set. It was absolutely wonderful, well it was for me, I must have take about 60 pics of the place from every angle.
I eventually came to St Margaret’s church and I went in side, it was a sweet little church and once again steeped in history. I took a number of photos many of which are still in the workflow but I will show them as soon as. Meanwhile, I will leave you with just one more pic. This was one I took of a memorial plaque on the wall inside the church.
It is written in old English where the ‘S’ looks like an ‘f’ and the Stonemason would abbreviate words to suit, as he was engraving to ensure it all fitted on the stone. The way that I read it is that young John Roberts Junior died just after Christmas on December 29th 1768 at the age of 22. Then just 12 days later his wife Catherine who was 25 also died as did their daughter Ann. I couldn’t find out anything out about the family or why they perished, but the Plague and the Pox were around at that time along with all the other diseases of the day, and obviously without any real pharmaceuticals to treat the illnesses with.
The poem at the bottom reads: In youthful years through pain and grief, we here retreat and find relief. Waiting in hope out of this dust, to rise and reign among the just.
Trying to get out as much as possible, but time is always a problem, however, finding some interesting stuff in my archives.
In sifting through some old memorabilia the other day I found this signed photo of Lonnie Donegan. It was my first visit to a theatre and my my first live show. I was blown away! I stood outside the stage door for an hour waiting for an autograph. When he finally came out he gave me this pic. Little did I know then that in 12 years time I would be playing in his group!
On the subject of Spring however, I did manage to get out for an hour just to my local patch. I didn’t see a lot of wildlife, but I did manage to get this shot of, what I believe to be a sparrow with dinner for the family.
This is a photo of one of the products I shot for a new client recently. It is of an old fashioned ‘Cut-Throat’ razor. Apparently once you have a shave with one of these you will never be satisfied with any other blade. My client says he sells a very large number of these on his internet site. He doesn’t know who the persons are who are buying the product or what they will use it for! I just wondered if there should be some kind of check in place. For example one is not allowed to sell any kind of blade, knife in the UK to anyone under the age of 18 (I think) could even be 21. So even if you have a young apprentice chef, he or she would not be allowed to purchase a set of knives for their work if they were under age. Yet anyone of any age can log onto the ‘Razor-Site.Com’ and purchase this lethal instrument.
It appears that there is a lot of interest in this Chepstow based band. Readers of this blog will be familiar that the band won a National contest, now they have been offered a record deal by Welsh based record company Optimum Records.
The band are in the studio at the time of writing completing their EP and will not make a decisions as to which label they will aim for until all tracks are in the bag.
Spent the day with new client’s Rancid Monkey. They are brand new studio band and make a great sound for just two guys. The photo shoot was prompted by the fact that they have jus one a National Music Mag competition and needed some PR shots urgently. So, by some quick rearranging and burning a bit if midnight oil, we managed to fit it all in in and the pics were all done and dusted by about 4.00 am and emailed to the mag by 8.00 am.
Hot Graphics Foundry Did a photo shoot for new clients Rancid Monkey. A heavy but melodic studio band that have just one a National Music Mag competition. It seems that if plans materialise for a planned tour the guys are going to have to recruit some like minded musicians. http://www.youtube.com/user/TheRancidMonkey
It always nice when someone comes out of the blue and sees one of pictures and likes it enough to buy it! It’s especially nice when the buyer is a large organisation who are able to shop anywhere and still they choose you.
That is exactly what happened to me. Insight Guides the well know ‘Guide Books’ publisher chose a pic I had taken of Tenby Harbour in West Wales UK. Came as a nice surprise when I received a cheque from my Agency.
And then suddenly, on the 8th of September I am getting call for photos of Autumn! I am also informed that Christmas is just 15 week away. Guess I had better start planning for next spring’s picture calls.