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Saturday, 25 August 2012

Memories Of Summers Past

My family are coming over to Hebden Bridge today.  It's still August and yet I have the light on in my office, the rain is pelting on the attic window and the thunder has just started!

We haven't had much of a summer it has to be said.  With the folks coming over, it has reminded me of summers we enjoyed in the past in Grassington & the Dales.  I don't know if my memories are playing tricks, but it always seemed to be sunny in the school summer holidays.  Sandals, shorts & t-shirts and the smell of suntan lotion in the air!

We went over to Grassington a few weeks ago and went on one of my favourite short walks down to the river and then back up into the village.  It jolted many happy memories.  We set off from Mum & Dad's house along the lane and down by the side of the cricket pitch.  I spent a lot of time down here either playing or lazing around in the grass, watching the sky, with the very pleasing sound of the cricket bat hitting the ball and little ripples of applause.

The path is a little more overgrown now than I remember.

I used to just come down here sometimes and sit on these rocks, throw stones into the water and think about stuff.  I love this bit of The Wharfe - it's called Ghaistrills.  The water churns and bubbles and has carved out many rock pools and eddies. 

There is a grizzly tale behind one of the deepest rock pools here.  Locals call it the Doctor's Bath.  Back in the 1700s, the local blacksmith, Tom Lee, murdered the village doctor in a drunken brawl.  Allegedly, this is where he dumped the doctor's body.  We always used to dare each other to swim in the pool.  The water always seemed to be a little cooler in this one than all the rest!

We used to bring an inner tube down here, sit in it and let the current take us downstream.  SO, much fun!  Now, I'd rather sit and watch the water and take photos of all the lovely rocks and the plants that have made their home in the limestone. 

It's such a pretty walk.  If you're ever over in Grassington, give it a go! 

With a little bit of sun left in the sky, we sat out in Mum & Dad's garden and had a little glass of fizz..

and a slice of this rather nice pudding...

As we were relaxing, it made me smile to think back to those lovely days with friends, discovering and exploring, thinking we were in Swallows & Amazons.  

Come on summer of 2012 - give it a last push!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Here For The Beer & Pub Pets

I've had some fantastic commercial shoots over the past couple of months.  A few weeks ago, Rebecca from The South Pennines Local Distinctiveness Project, commissioned me to take photos for the new website Here For The Beer.  When it's launched, it will celebrate the micro-breweries in the area and the pubs that sell the beer.

It felt like a road trip, discovering new places and landscapes that really aren't that far away from where I live.  One of my wedding couples had kindly given me a bumper bag of Yorkshire mixture, and this became our sweet of choice for the trip.

On the first day, we called in to see Angela Smyth's amazing South Pennines map.  All the details are so lovely.

We popped over to the Greenfield Real Ale Brewery in Saddleworth.  I wish I'd taken a picture of the landscape around us, it seeemed like a different land - strange trees and stone escarpments.  Very beautiful, but different to round here.

Then to Uppermill and the great location of The Church Inn.

On our travels, we noticed that quite a few of the pubs had their own resident pets.  The Church Inn had a couple, including a very proud peacock with a penchant for salt & vinegar crisps!

On day 2, we tootled to Cat_I-Th-Well in Wainstalls .  They didn't let us down with their pet.  Here we met a cat called Dog!

 We dropped in at The Pack Horse Inn - Widdop.  They have a very fine collection of whiskies behind the bar...

It was great to visit Bridestones Brewing.

 And then go to the local pub, the New Delight, to see it being served.

On the next day, we drove over to Slaithwaite (I can now say this properly!) and dropped into the Empire Brewing Company.  Here, Bonzo looks after the ale!

Next, to Marsden to visit the Riverhead Brewery Tap & Dining Room, home to the Ossett Brewery Co. Ltd.

It's the first time I'd stepped inside The Jubilee Refreshment Rooms at Sowerby Bridge train station.  What a treat!

We had an amazing drive up to the Fleece Inn - Holmfirth.  It was really busy with lunchtime diners.

Our road trip was nearly coming to an end.  We visited Mallinsons Brewery in Huddersfield.

And managed to soak up some of the sun at the Holmfirth Vineyard.

I loved being part of this project.  Being out and about, seeing new places, hearing people's stories and anecdotes and learning a lot more about the processes involved.

And meeting all those pub pets!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Room To Grow

I was SO chuffed when I was approached to take photographs for this commercial shoot.  Guy from Tall Ltd had been commissioned by Room To Grow (a children's bed company), to give their current brand a bit of a refresh.  Guy had seen my pictures from a teddy bears' picnic portrait shoot, and he thought my style really matched his vision for the new website.  

So, we met up for a cuppa and a chat and talked over some ideas.  The idea for the photography centred around children's dreams and we wanted to take the beds out of a studio and place them in a more magical setting.  Step up Skipton Woods!  When we went for a recce, it brought back memories of school lunch breaks wandering around these very woods, eating Seabrook crisps and talking about our plans for the summer holidays.

We knew it was the perfect backdrop.  So, just a week later, there we were, walking through the trees with the beds, props and camera equipment, looking out for the magic light.  And oh my, did we find it!

I took a few test shots before our fantastic models arrived for their moment in the spotlight.  Here's a nice one of Guy doing his tree hugging bit!

And then our brilliant models arrived and kept us on our toes for the next few hours!

And then it was time to change the feeling a little bit, to enter into the dream ideas we had for the shoot.  Cue the inquisitive fairy!

Then, a little rest and a bite to eat.  There were sandwiches a plenty and we all sat around on the forest floor discussing how it was all going before setting up the next shot....

Cutlasses at the ready for a pirate in the making!

After a quick review, I knew we had the shots we wanted.  So after a great day, we all tootled home, me wishing I was much younger so I could have one of those beds with the steps!

It was a wonderful shoot in a place I love and I'm really looking forward to seeing the re-vamped website.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Published in PSNLive

I can't imagine a time when I don't get excited about seeing one of my photographs published.

Mal from the Trades Club just brought me a copy round of the music magazine PSN Live.  In it, there's a great little article about the thriving smaller music venue and the Trades Club is featured.  I'm so pleased, as one of the main pictures to accompany the article is one I took of the Smoke Fairies down at the Trades Club last year.

I saw the Smoke Fairies for the first time at the End Of The Road Festival a couple of years ago and became an instant fan.  Haunting vocals, beautiful harmonies, steel slide guitar, what's not to like?!

 If you fancy coming to check them out - they are back at the Trades Club on September 28th.  See you down the front!

Friday, 3 August 2012

A familiar walk and lens testing

I've been thinking about getting a new lens for some time.  Seriously thinking, not just the 'Ooo, that would be lovely' bits of kit I have on my wish list!  I am increasingly enjoying shooting with prime lenses.  Instead of relying on zoom, I have to shift myself to get the composition and framing.   Before I commit to buying it, my camera supplier let me rent out equipment to give it a test run.  So me, my camera and a potential new lens went on a little trip out this morning.

Before I even left the house, I noticed a few shadow patterns the sun was casting.

This set the scene for a little amble up to Nutclough Woods - a walk I love and it's very close to my house.  It has changed dramatically since the floods.  The water ripped out massive chunks of the path and changed the course of the waterflow.  But it is recovering and all was still in there this morning.

The sunlight was creeping through the trees casting little beams, like a stage spotlight picking out different parts of the woods and the foliage.

I loved the way the light was highlighting the different textures in the bark and the tree rings.

I don't know what this little chap is - like a sticky bud, but it was very proud, craning its stem to be photographed..

After a lovely little wander in the morning light, I don't think I needed much convincing that this lens should definitely have its own compartment in my camera bag!