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Friday, 21 September 2012

National Trust Photography Day

Last Friday I ran my second photography workshop for the National Trust at Hardcastle Crags.  I'm quite new to this sort of thing, but I am thoroughly enjoying it!

I was joking the other day that Hardcastle Crags has almost become my second office, I do seem to spend quite a lot of my time down there.  There's always something new to discover, and I love how it changes through the seasons.  It's the perfect spot to run a photography workshop.
We spent time in the lovely cafe in Gibson Mill, discussing different ways to make our photos stand out, and developing our styles as photographers.  Then we took our cameras and ideas outside to try a different approach in capturing an image.

It was great for us all to share our photography stories.

And discuss where we'd like to take our photography in the future!

I am always inspired by people talking about their photographs, what they like taking pictures of, and the stories behind the images they take.  I'm really looking forward to running more workshops in the future!

If you'd like to come along, the National Trust have asked me back to run a series of Photography Days in 2013.  I'll be posting news about these.  Or if you'd like to join my mailing list, please drop an email to

Friday, 7 September 2012

Lights, A Camera & A New Website

I was so pleased when Hannah (maker of beautiful lamps),  told me the other day her new website had just gone live!  It has been great being part of such a creative process, buzzing with ideas, discussing the style and feel of the photographs I was going to take for the new site.  Plus - working with your friends, that's pretty cool too!

Hannah came back from her adventure in Japan, head full of ideas and bursting with inspiration.  It was a rainy morning, so we saved the walk we had planned, and popped out for a cuppa instead.  She showed me the most beautiful book she'd picked up on her travels - 'Flower Book' by Rari Yoshio. 

photo by Hannah Nunn

Packed full of gorgeous images and delicate line-drawings, stylish in its simplicity, it formed a good source of visual inspiration for the new look site.  You can see and read a little more about it here

To start us off - we went to Hannah's workshop for the first day.  It's a beautiful space at the back of Radiance with natural light pouring through the window - perfect!  We wanted to create simple, clean, beautiful images and this style developed throughout the day. 

We carefully selected props that Hannah had in the studio to reflect the style, and angles to reflect the workspace.

From these shots the super duo Ffion and Robert started on the website.  Ffion came up with some stunning designs and it was really great to see my photos coming to life on the pages!

Then came the lamps themselves.  I knew this was going to be a bit more challenging technically.  I wanted to capture the glow of the lamps and to show them within their surroundings.  Our eyes are very clever and they can differentiate light sources, but it's a little harder to achieve with a camera.  I didn't want the lamps to come out too over exposed in the photos and lose the delicate designs.  So, I created a little burst of fill light with an off camera flash in a softbox.  It did the trick. 

I also wanted the warm colour of the lamps to be consistent, so I played around with the colour temperature until we were happy that what we were seeing in real life was reflected on the back of the camera!  

We had the occasional trip out to pick up flowers & props from the Antiques Centre.  Then, at lunch, we sat round the table to chat with the web team who'd walked down the hill to join us.  It made a change from quickly scoffing a sarnie at my desk!  It was a very pleasant couple of days.

Then came the editing.  The web team were busy working behind the scenes, waiting to put the photos into place.  Ffion works calmly, creatively, and at super speed.  She popped round after the shoot and edit.  We would select an image, re-size, and in no time at all, the image was then uploaded to the website.  

I SO have my eyes on this wall panel for my office!

We also spent a bit of time taking a few photos of Hannah's book Illuminate coming out in November. Have a sneak peek and a little read about it here - it's gorgeous!

Sometimes, photographing and editing can be quite a solitary thing.  I don't mind my own company,  but this website project was a real change for me in the way I work.  It was great to be included from the initial concept and to be part of a creative process.  But for me, most importantly, as part of a very lovely team. x

Take a look at Hannah's  new website site here. 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Former Life Behind The Camera

I worked out this morning that it's 4 years ago to the day when I left my last job before entering the self employed world! I was Film Manager for Wandsworth Council.  When Film or TV crews wanted to film in the borough, it was our job to facilitate it.  It was a very rewarding job, and I certainly wouldn't be where I am now without this background.  The job allowed me to go out and about with my camera, taking pictures of different locations to pitch to the film crews.

I was based in Battersea Park, which has amazing green spaces, carriageways, a riverside walk and a beautiful lake.

I met lots of photographers who used the many different locations in the borough for their backdrops.  I'd pester them about the gear they used, set ups, their backgrounds, and how they started out.  I even had a little chat with Lord Lichfield once (albeit about him driving the wrong way to the location!).  He was a very lovely man and asked me about me and my camera hanging from my shoulder.

One of my favourite locations was Tooting Bec Lido with its colourful painted changing room doors and sparkly water.  It also holds a special place in my heart, as this is the first photo I had published.

I can't believe it's been 4 years since I worked here.  Time has really flown.  Here's wishing Jack and the Film, Events & Arts Team the very best.  And to Maria, the current Film Manager, I know you miss my very proficient tea making skills! x

Monday, 3 September 2012

A Mini Trip

We managed to have a couple of days away last week.  We didn't venture too far but it just felt good to recharge the batteries.  I love Kirkby Lonsdale on the edge of the Lake District.  It's a beautiful little town.  I associate it very much with Christmas having spent a couple of Christmas Eves there.  For anyone who knows me, I do have a penchant for the festive season!  It was nice to explore it in daylight, albeit a bit rainy and stormy.

There are some great street names.

And lovely shops selling local produce.

And when it chucked it down and started to thunder, the cafe with the fire was very welcoming!

Ever since watching The Trip, I've been wanting to follow in their footsteps and visit the restaurants to sample all the amazing grub!  Just down the road from Kirkby is Hipping Hall, and it didn't disappoint.  It's a beautiful place, set back from the road.  It has lovely gardens and round every corner you catch glimpses of the history of the place. 

I love that they have their own garden just round the back, growing lots of seasonal produce.  It reminded me of Mr McGregor's garden in Peter Rabbit, especially as it had a couple of brave bunnies racing around it!

Hipping Hall also had some lovely quiet corners to catch up on a spot of reading.

With full bellies, it was time for an explore closer to home.  I can't believe I've never visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park before now.   It's great to just amble around and stumble upon things.

In the middle of it all is Bretton Hall, where I nearly went to college.  Strange to think about that now, but London was definitely calling!

There is so much to see, certainly too much to try to cram into one afternoon!

Needless to say, I will be going back to YSP.  It was the perfect end to a mini trip.  Looking forward to the next one!