Plane crazy ..

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Heading home on Ryanair and yes, believe it or not, both these shots were taken on the same small 90 minute flight back from France to Manchester. No prizes for guessing which shot is Manchester. In fact, one little girl behind me asked her Mum “Why is it not sunny at England?”..

I’ve always loved aircraft, and taking photographs of aircraft, and just plain old standing and gawping at aircraft. As a lad I used to catch the number 500 bus to Ringway Airport, as Manchester was then called, just to stand on the roofs of the termini for a couple of hours watching and snapping the jets. And yes, you were allowed to stand on them in ‘the old days’ – right above the gates and mere feet from the jet-fuel smell and the screeching engines. It was great ..

Thing is, I never got to go on a jet until I was 18. My parents simply couldn’t afford to take us anywhere. And I know that plane-spotting isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but when I left for France last week I saw the saddest sight I’ve seen in a long time. Ok, keep it in context but ..

.. as I was at the gate, waiting to board, I was back to being 15 and excitedly watching all the aircraft taxiing past me. A plane I didn’t immediately recognise was identified for me by an app on my phone, and I was delighted to realise I was looking at my first Airbus A350. I strained my neck to watch it disappear around the corner then looked down to see .. a boy of about ten, with his back to the jets, playing games on a tablet. I almost threw up on him ..

Anyway, gotta go dust off my 500mm mirror lens. I’m off to the International Air Tattoo this Sunday..

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All at sea ..

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It’s all getting very real! Our move to France has stepped up a gear now that we’ve started getting quotes from removal companies to ship all our gear across the Channel. Another two months and all our worldly goods will be boxed, packed, wrapped and on a big lorry heading for South-West France.

This, of course, brings up the big question of what exactly we take over with us. Do I really need that old copy of the NME from 1985? Yes, of course, it’s got The Smiths on the cover. And that advertising brochure for the Nikon FE2 from ’83? Naturally! That’s part of my photographic history. And so it goes on. I have managed to throw out one or two things. There are only so many copies of The Face and Spin magazine that a man needs but, apart from that, I’m finding it very, very hard to part with any of my past. Perhaps I might start thinking differently once the quotes start coming in ..

Sunshine after the rain ..

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Like the Tory manifesto, this morning’s blog was going to be full of light and goodness, of hope and optimism, of the feel-good factor ..

.. and now I just feel like having a grumble!

Firstly, because of the weather. I awoke to pouring rain on a day when my car is going to have its air-conditioning re-gassed – for the intolerable high temperatures, don’t ya know – and on a day when I’ve got to wait in for the delivery of an inflatable plunge-pool to take to France – for the intolerable etc., etc., etc …
Oh, the irony ..

And then there’s the fact that I’ve just had some emails from a hotel at which I shot a Wedding recently. “Can you send us some of your shots for a booklet we want to produce?” they asked. “Of course” I said, and mentioned a repro price that was sensible yet reflected my undoubted skill, artistry and genuis vision (!) “Oh, we’ll leave it then” they said “We thought you’d supply them free of charge” ..

I shall leave a pause here for you to imagine the angriness ..

And so to today’s photograph. What has it to do with the blog? Sod all, but I shot it in France so it makes me feel better. Oooh, the sun’s coming out ..

Now you see it ..

blossomI’m writing this on a typical Friday night before a Wedding. I’m charging batteries, cleaning sensors, dusting lenses, formatting memory cards .. all to make sure I’m good to go in the morning. So it was nice that I got a chance to get out this afternoon, walk the dogs, get some fresh air .. and notice all the blossom, already falling to the floor. That’s Wedding Photography in a nutshell. A Wedding Day is such a fast moving, fleeting thing that it’s vital you have a good photographer to capture the entire feel of the day whilst it’s there. Sod this modern “fashion shoot” approach to Weddings. Get in there and get some proper documentary photography done. Sermon over ..

Hels Bells ..

Bad weather? Well, I’m not saying it was windy at yesterday’s Wedding but just take a look at this. The bloody veil blew off! Then it drizzled, then it rained, then it absolutely hammered down .. and all the bride and groom’s family group shots had to be done indoors. Still, we managed to get every picture the couple wanted, and more power to Helen and Simon for braving the elements just to please little old me. Many congratulations, guys. Oh, and Hels Bells? It’s not a misprint, it’s Helen’s name on ye olde Book of Face.
Hell’s Bells indeed ..

Food for thought ..

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Apparently it’s now the done thing to show ‘behind-the-scenes’ shots from one’s PR work. “They” say it helps er .. something or other .. so who am I to argue? A few weeks back I was booked to shoot all the food on the menu of a new outside catering company, but the space we got to do it was .. well, the gap behind the boss’s desk! Each dish was brought in from the design kitchen and plonked in front of my camera, and I was then left to work my magic as best I could. I shot mains, starters and a selection of pies, all on a little table in the corner of an office. It ain’t glamorous, but it just shows you what a good photographer can do when he has to. Food for thought, eh? ..