It's like hanging out with friends!

The year started in Glencoe..

and for most of 2018 it was to be our ‘office’. We are lucky... we felt privileged on our commute, to be able to be able to share this most spectacular of landscapes with our clients. We went enthusiastically to work and ended up hanging out with friends. I love being outdoors.. and we love ‘The Pass’ it’s beauty never diminishes… Koala even has her own ‘tree’. The Glencoe Mountain Resort cafe was to be our warming sanctuary.. to retreat to, a place for bacon rolls… but no coffee after 5pm in November? Who knew? And why? I would become strangely familiar with the mosaic of stickers, loving placed by snowboarders and outdoor types, to the cistern above the mens urinal...!? I smiled.

What makes 'EPIC' in Landscape Photography?

Do you fancy a trip to the Outer Hebrides… to Harris?

The opportunity to spend a weekend on a spectacularly beautiful island was just too good to miss.. especially in November!  ‘No feckin camper vans!’  Koala was excited.  This was to be an unexpected fourth trip to Harris within a year.  I was excited too, if indeed a little apprehensive.  We wouldn’t be travelling alone.  This was to be a ‘proper’ photo trip.. with photographers.  Proper photographers… with proper tripods… and a drone with a Hassle-bad(?) lens.  Apparently that’s a good one.

The ULTIMATE Top 5 Autumn Locations in Perthshire

The Sky was turning a magical shade of pink.

I had to admit, Koala was right… again.   The autumn clouds really do make a sunrise.  I would have acknowledged it to her but at that moment of realisation I was struggling to keep pace as we ran along the track beside the River Lyon.  She wasn’t however really in the mood to accept any form of supportive dialogue, as she clutched her chest, complaining that she ‘hadn’t worn the correct sports bra for this shit’

She was a little irritated.  The sun was rising too fast and we really needed to have been in position half an hour earlier on the hillside above.  She was right again.. we should’ve got out of bed at 4am.. be on the road, not get stuck behind the milk truck, wear the correct clothing… and be in position in front of a rock that we didn’t know the location of… before the sun rose.

For the LOVE of the Highlands… and Construction!

I like couple shoots

Sorry… ‘we’ like couple shoots but I have come to realise that the success of a day, or not for that matter, is dependent on 2 factors.  The Scottish weather will always provide an unpredictable level of excitement that is directly proportionate to Koalas use of ‘colonial’ language on the lead up to a shoot!  Secondly… and the often overlooked, is the relative enthusiasm of the male in a couple.  Invariably, our enquiries are made by women, perhaps looking for a romantic image, that captures the love, or drama, of a relationship.  Certainly in my experience, the guy hasn’t been the one driven to contact us after watching the second series of Outlander or harbouring a secret collection of romantic images from Scottish shortbread tins!  No, it is generally the lady who makes the approach and ‘suggests’ that the idea to spend the day with an excited Koala and a cynical Yorkshireman.. is actually his favoured choice of Highland pastime.

Creating images you will LOVE with your Portrait Photographer

‘…Ohhhhh that is EPIC!”

EPIC.  The word of the moment?!  A buzz word for images that inspire and provide a certain ‘wanderlust’ to the viewer.   It is also the word most often used when I am contacted by prospective clients for a ‘People in Landscapes’ portrait shoot.

‘I’d love you to take an EPIC portrait of me… can you do that?’

Yes, of course I can…. if I was a magician and a mind reader!  However, I am merely a portrait photographer and there are a couple of factors that need consideration before I achieve ‘Epic’… and there is planning.  Epic needs planning and if you want it, you need to be able to work with your landscape portrait photographer to ensure that you have the best chance of achieving the epic you think you want.  And yes, I say chance…. because that is also a factor!

Whisky and Bad Decisions

‘Whisky and Bad Decisions’

I have this logo on a tee shirt.  It has a penguin on too but I’ve never really known why?!  Once upon a time I thought that this tee shirt was an ironic reflection of my life, like some badge of honour, perhaps to make me look interesting or perhaps a comedy alternative to my ‘Jesus Loves You!’ or ‘Iron Maiden’ tees.   True, there will always be poor choices in life, some that you can blame on whisky,  whichever way you decide to spell it… but mostly I think that life just happens and you do what you think is right at the time.   I certainly have made a few decisions that have been ‘questionable’ but then again I’ve also sampled a lot of whisky that was entirely enjoyable,  except for that one night in a remote village in Corsica.. bad whisky and bad decisions.. but that’s a story for another week.

See Scotland in a Day

She’s in Gotham

I checked with Wikipedia.  An American actress… and model.   That’s a start.  What is Gotham?  Is that Batman?   Koala didn’t know either.  But it’s on Netflix.  Oh and she was in some Beyoncé video!  She is famous!  Ok let’s just pretend we know.   We need not have worried..   Maggie is a star, in more ways than Hollywood.. which is good because Koala isn’t known to easily stand on ceremony and I’m from Yorkshire!

It's not all Rock'n Roll... but I like it!

Koala is frustrated

It is another blue sky day… very blue.  Almost tropical.  Koala is sun burnt from yesterday.  That won’t help her mood.  Not a day for ‘Rock n Roll Photography’.  I’m not really sure what that is, but I once assumed that life as a photographer would be pretty rock n roll.  Travel to exotic places, epic landscape locations, wealthy influential clients.  A jet set lifestyle that translated to images on the cover of Vogue, Conde Nast….or Sports Illustrated.  I pondered this as I watched a sheep cling to the edge of the cliff, typically searching for the most inaccessible patch of grass.  The sea below did look inviting but I was guessing that the sheep was no experienced cliff diver.  Then I realised that he was just trying to avoid the unwanted attention of an approaching Koala with her camera.  She really was getting desperate now.. if a sheep silhouette was her only option?!

Bribery, children and a bucket of rain

I had bonded! Or so I thought…

We were at the Hermitage in Perthshire with the Huard’s, a French family holidaying in Scotland wanting a momento of their trip.  Right on cue, 3 year old Duncan ran towards me as I knelt on the forest track, coaxing him to comply to Koalas direction. He hugged me with an ‘entente cordiale ’ not seen since De Gaulle and Churchill!?  His parents.. 5 month pregnant mum Emma, dad Mike and sister Leah had assumed their holiday pose but young Duncan had other ideas!  ‘Children and animals’ and ‘…never work with’  went through my head.  Koala looked apprehensive.  I pondered whether Winston and General De Gaulle actually did get on after all?  Perhaps it was diplomatic not to raise that historical question.

Love in Middle Earth

Funny the things that you think to lessen an uncomfortable situation…

It was 3.30am and I am sat on the edge of the bath, reassuring myself that I am not having to have a cold shower, I am not going out to a stressful or life threatening job and perhaps a little  more dramatically, that I am not in Syria!  Non of which actually helps my mood, as I splash water in my eyes, in a vain attempt to invigorate myself.  It was after all… now 3.35am!

Koala didn’t really say much in the way of encouragement, but cautiously presented a cup of tea to me. She knows that usually works.  But it was 3 feckin 41am!  My life was supposed to settle down by now.. I’ve had my share of cold showers!  But Plan A had changed, as it usually did in the ‘whimsical world’ that I now inhabited.  True.. Plan F didn’t pose any real risk of going anywhere near Syria but Koala did have a real knack of keeping me on my toes and perhaps in weak moments.. questioning my life choices!?   The previous evening, the ritual last check of Koalas Met Office app threw a curveball.   The forecast had changed and Plan A had morphed rapidly through into F.

When Sweden met the Highlands

It was a wet Friday morning in Tyndrum in the highlands of Scotland, as I sat waiting at The Green Welly Stop carpark.  On the surface, it was a grim start to the day as I watched a group of Japanese tourists get off a coach in the drizzle.  A tour guide lifted his kilt in an attempt to raise their mood.. they filed by him toward the toilets, particularly unimpressed…  He wasn’t a true Scotsman.

Then it began

Koala walked out of the toilet and strode beaming towards me.  Behind her, like a slo-mo opening to a Charlie’s Angel film, were 3 Swedish women dressed in tartan kilts and Hunter wellies!?

Let your love flow....east!

‘I’m so over the snow!’

The heating is broke.. again, Tesco has sold out of coal …..and logs!  No hot water – no shower!!’

If there is one thing that Koala loves, it is a decent shower.. and preferably a decent, hot shower.  Oh dear I thought…. and briefly pondered whether the need for stinging hot powerful jets of water was a Southern Hemisphere genetic issue?  Then I quickly had to consider the options. The fallout.  This could ruin the weekend.