Photo Workshop Carlisle – FULLY BOOKED

The Photography Workshop in Carlisle Cathedral in November s now fully booked. Once again, photographers are travelling from as far as London for the day.

I’m sorry if you’ve missed your chance to come on this excellent day of photography and tuition. The cathedral offers many wonderful opportunities for great pictures, and I am right there on hand to help you achieve your aims.

The demand for these one day workshops is really very positive and I will have to get around to arranging some more.

For those who have missed the Carlisle Workshop, there are still a few places available on the one day Photography Workshop in Kirkcudbright on Saturday October 15th – and at a cost of just £40 for the day, it really is a bargain for those photographers wanting to improve and learn.

So don’t miss another chance BOOK NOW

Film – is it child’s play?

I was about to click the send button on this photograph of mine when I happened to take a closer look at the small package held in the child’s hand.

Tunisian woman with child in market, Djerba, Tunisia

The photograph was taken for The Sunday Times many years ago in Tunisia. So what is the child holding in his hand as he peeps over his mother's shoulder?

I had just re-scanned the image and was sending it to a photo agency which has shown an interest in some of my vintage stock travel photography. This picture was taken some 25 years ago in Djerba, Tunisia, and I still use it to demonstrate the advantages of using good sidelight to the students who come on my Photography Courses.

What did I noticed when the image was enlarged to 100%? Well I’m pretty certain it’s a packet of Agfa colour film.

So maybe the child’s mother was a keen photographer, or the little one was the youngest snapper in the world.

The child will be all grown up now – and I wonder if he’s kept his interest in photography. He’ll certainly have a good subject if his mum’s still wearing elegant straw hats and traditional robes. Perhaps if he sees this post he’d like to come on a photography course or holiday.

I think Agfa film might still be available form Lupus Imaging and Media – I never used it myself, but know that it had many dedicated users. I remember is was much-loved for its strong colour saturation.Agra Film in child's hand

The magnified section of the photograph shows a close-up of the film packet – although I can’t quite make out the writing completely, it definitely looks like the old Agfa logo to me.

Photography Workshop Response

It was great to see the response to my post about the November Photography Workshop at Carlisle Cathedral. Within hours of posting, two photographers booked a place on the workshop.

Photography Workshop, Carlisle Cathedral

Keeping it steady on the font - our good friend Gerwyn Jones gathering pictures during a Photography Workshop in Carlisle Cathedral. Gerwyn will also be returning to Menorca in September for a second Photography Holiday

Welcome aboard Janys and Martin.  Janys will be travelling up from London for the day, while Martin is a local man. You will both be made very welcome.

There are now just two places available for the Photography Workshop on November 12th. For only £58, you can be assured of a great day of photography with lots of professional tuition.



Photo Workshop Carlisle – some places available

There are still a few places available for the one day Photography Workshop in Carlisle on November 12th.

Photography Workshop in Carlisle Cathedral

With an amazing array of subjects to choose from backed with lots of professional tuition, the one-day Photography Workshops in Carlisle Cathedral represent a great day for just £58

The last of these photo workshops, which are based in Carlisle Cathedral, was fully booked and I expect this one will be too. So please get your booking form to me as soon as possible.

The cost of just £58 includes a full day of tuition, the use of the cathedral’s excellent conference room in the cathedral grounds and permission to use tripods for part of the day inside the cathedral – a rare privilege. Numbers will be limited to a maximum of 12 photographers, so there is plenty of time for me to offer individual help during the day.

You will get help with photographing in low light situations, photographing stained glass windows and lots of practice with tripod technique. We might even have a session of street photography withing the cathedral grounds – it’s a perfect place to learn.

The response to the first of these Photography Workshops held earlier this year was tremendous and all the comments were very positive. The success of the day even persuaded Margaret McKinney, one of the photographer on the day, to book again for the Photography Holiday in Menorca in September. That will her third holiday with us.

Photography Workshop Carlisle Cathedral

Photographer Margaret McKinney decided to book her third Photography Holiday with me after enjoying her one day Photography Workshop in Carlisle Cathedral

So, if you want a great day of photography with wonderful things to photograph – backed by lots of professional tuition, get yourself booked for the Photography Workshop in Carlisle November 12th.

Hope to see you there.


Photography Weekend Fully Booked

The Photography Weekend Break 21st – 23rd October 2011 is now fully booked.

These Photography Weekends are always very popular and I really should arrange more of them.

photography-weekend-breaks-scotlandIf you would like me to put you down for a cancellation place, please just contact me with your name and email address. I will then let you know if a place becomes available on this particular Photography Break.


A lot of Street Photography is third-rate

I have been seeing a lot of re-tweets on Twitter from photographers going all gooey-eyed about other photographers’ street photography. I always follow the links on these tweets to take a look for myself.

Often I am not in the least bit impressed by what I see. I feel I am looking at the Emperor’s clothes – they don’t exist, but no-one seems to have the guts to say so.

street photography in ParisThere seems to be – over the last few years – a trend towards utter lack of good composition, a disregard for the substance and meaning of the subject, and a view that poor timing when pressing the button doesn’t matter in the least.

On that last point, I am left with the sense that this lowering of standards is, in part, due to a delusion that capturing ‘any’ moment is all that counts rather than capturing ‘the’ moment. What amazes me is that some of these photographers actually make a living from this third-rate photography. If these photographers were just keen amateurs then I could forgive them. But many are not. They call themselves professionals – and that’s when I think it’s time someone actually said something.

A great deal of modern street photography is third rate dross.

There, someone’s said it at last!

I will try to illustrate my point by showing two of my street photographs that never saw the light of day. They were both taken on commission with The Sunday Times. One in Paris, the other in Cadiz.

I never printed them or put them with the collection of work presented to the newspaper because I did not feel they came up to scratch.

The timing of the Cadiz shot is just a little out – the man has moved a fraction too far to the right. My fault.

Street Photography SpainThe figure of running child in Paris has got confused with the rubbish bin behind. My fault.

Result – dump both images. These pictures were overs – not fit for purpose. It’s that approach that keeps up standards.

Oh, and while I’m having a good old rant, I read today that one ‘street photographer’ advice was not to photograph ‘down-and-outs’ because if you do you will be taking advantage of misfortune and leaving yourself open to accusations of being too ‘arty’.

What a complete load of dribble. Street photographers should never turn away from any subject that is visually interesting.

And photographing just anybody, simply because they happen to be in the street is not enough. There should always be either – a strong visual reason for taking the picture, or the image with tell a story. Hopefully your pictures will always fit both criteria. In other words, it will have meaning.

If you would really like to learn the art of good street photography, get yourself along to Menorca in September – there are two places left on the Photography Holiday. I will show you exactly how to achieve really high standards.


Photographers’ ‘Thank you’ Cards & Knitting

We have received three really lovely Thank You cards over the past few days. Two  relate to our recent Photography Holiday another is from a lady who bought her husband a one-to-one photography course Gift Voucher.  They are all so nice that I would like to share them.

Thank you cards from photographersI have mentioned before just what a great success the Photography Holiday was, and I have heard from all the people who came – but Linda sent a card with the following note inside…

I wanted to take a moment to thank you both for a wonderful week in Menorca. It was fantastic.

I booked the course in the hope that I would improve my photography skills – to reduce my dependence on luck as I travel around the world. What I hadn’t predicted was just how beautiful Menorca would be or how much fun we would have. Some nights my body ached from laughter!

Just Fabulous.

Thanks again, Linda

The other card was from Rachel, whose husband Paul came to Kirkcudbright for one-to-one photography tuition just before I left for Menorca. Rachel wrote…

I just wanted to send you a brief note to thank you (and your wife) for making Paul’s photography day so special.

The weather was a bit of a challenge but nevertheless, with the help of Pauline and Colin’s garden, he took some great shots.

He was thoroughly inspired by the day and full of admiration of your talent, but also what fun you were.

Thank you so much for making it so special for him.


Aw, shucks, folks – now you’ve made me blush. Thank you

Truth is, the pleasure was all ours.

Photographer's knitting

Wool and knitting needles sent to Norene by Anne Hughes, who came on the May Photography Holiday and is coming back again in September

And Norene and I would also like to thank photographer Anne Hughes, who very kindly sent her some knitting wool and some double-ended needles – Anne was showing Norene how to knit ‘in the round’ while she was with us in Menorca.  I very much look forward to wearing the resulting pair of socks.

Anne and her husband Roy enjoyed the Photography Holiday so much, they have booked again to come back for another dose in September!

There are just two places available for the September Photography Holiday BOOK NOW

Baby Photography – my new hobby?

It has been a very special weekend for Norene and me – we have seen and held Isabella, our first baby granddaughter for the first time. She is now six weeks old and we were away in Menorca running one of our Photography Holidays when she was born.

So this is a very self-indulgent blog post.

baby photography

A contented after-dinner snooze for Isabella - our new granddaughter

I suspect that with such a wonderful subject on hand, baby photography may become a bit of an obsession for me from now on – she is lovely. The only problem is that as a model she seems to lack a little concentration, especially after a feed, when she nods off contentedly in mum’s arms.

I found the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 a superb lens to use for the portraits of her, and I suspect as she grows, this lens will be more and more useful.

Zoomed right in to 200mm, and with a shutter speed as slow as 1/30sec, the VR has worked beautifully, and there is no trace of camera shake on the images. I have deliberately blurred the outer edges of this photograph in Photoshop in order to concentrate the eye on the main subject.

One place only for Photography Weekend

There is now just one place now available for my Photography Weekend Workshop 21-23rd October.

These Photography Weekends are packed with photography tuition and are based here in the lovely coastal town of Kirkcudbright in SW Scotland.

The price of just £399 is fully inclusive of all accommodation and meals in the excellent Selkirk Arms Hotel. The hotel is famous for its warm welcome and fine food. Non-participants are made very welcome.

Don’t miss your opportunity for a great weekend of photography tuition in a lovely part of the world.


Coffin Lids on a Photography Holiday?

Surely not! You didn’t photograph coffin lids on a photography Holiday?

Well, yes we did, actually. In fact we photographed all sorts of amazing subjects during our latest Photography Holiday in Menorca.

The photographers remarked on the huge variety of photo opportunities they enjoyed and the extraordinary locations I took them to.

We found the coffin lid when we crossed over to Isla del Rey – also known as Hospital Island, or Bloody Island. It’s just a small island out in the middle of Mahon Harbour, and I’ve been taking photographers there for some 8 years now.

The British built a hospital there way back in the early 1700s for the sick and injured sailors and soldiers of the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet. The hospital was in use by the Spanish military until the 1960s and then it fell into disrepair. This year marks the 300th anniversary of the hospital.

Local Menorcan volunteers have been working to restore the place and we have been visiting and photographing it regularly. The volunteers take us across to the island by boat – a trip that takes only a couple of minutes. We are always made very welcome and after exploring and taking lots of photographs, we are invited to a slap-up breakfast of Menorcan food, wine and beer before climbing into the boat for the short return trip.

Photographing a coffin maker during a photography holiday in Menorca

Great light, great subject - and I even like the half-hidden photographer peeping around the doorway. Photograph by Bill Hammerton

We always make a point of photographing the craftsmen in the workshops. The people are usually busy restoring everything from old wooden window frames to fearsome surgical instruments.

photographers on holiday

Bill Hammerton (left) - the one with the splendid headgear - and another member of the group, Jeff Marshall, during their Photography Holiday. Oh, and that's our assistant Laura in the background

When we went into the workshops this time, there was a chap restoring a coffin – not a photo opportunity to be missed. He was very kind, and invited me to lie down in it if I wanted. I refused politely.

Bill Hammerton took this photograph, which at first I thought would be a whole lot better without the other member of the group peeping round the doorway in the background. Then I started to see the irony of the shot… and I now believe the photograph is a whole lot better for having the photographer in there.

I love the expression on the man’s face. I love the lighting – a good example of Bill taking on board my instruction in the use of sidelight – and I love the setting and I love that half-hidden figure taking pictures.

Altogether I think the picture is a real winner.

So yes, we do photograph coffin lids on our Photography Holidays in Menorca – all part of the wide variety of ‘live’ subjects we enjoy.

Just two places available on the September Photography Holiday – BOOK NOW