Sunday, October 25, 2009

Winter does have it's benefits after all.

GMT started last night,  signalling the start of winter and so many things to look forward to starting with my son's birthday next week and rapidly followed by halloween and then bonfire night. Fab!!

After doing this halloween shoot, in an attempt to be super green and not waste anything, I roasted all the seeds to give to the hens and then I made a pie out of the pumpkin flesh. I've never made one before and it was delicious, you'll have to try it!  No, I'm not going to make it for you - you'll have to make it yourself but here's the recipe.

  • 3/4 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 15oz cooked, drained and mashed pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) exasperated milk
  • unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
  • Whipped cream (optional)

sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. 
Beat eggs in large bowl. 
Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.
Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes.

 Reduce temperature to 350° F; 
bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. 
 Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Double, double toil and trouble

As promised here are a few of the pictures for halloween. They are a bit scary so those of a nervous disposition maybe shouldn't look.

Double, double, toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble


Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake; 
Eye of newt and toe of frog, 
Wool of bat and tongue of dog, 
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing, 
For a charm of powerful trouble, 
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. 

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf, 
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf,
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark, 
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew,
Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips, 
Finger of birth-strangled babe, 
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab, 
Make the gruel thick and slab: 
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron. 

"Well, actually, I prefer a more up to date spell myself. here goes. "

Izzy wizzy let's get busy!

Scary witches at work!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Answer: Me and nursery school teachers

So what's the question?

The question is: who gets to build halloween sets for  children that don't belong to them?

The good and bad thing about being terminally unable to throw anything away is that I have loads of props knocking about for various projects.  Astroturf anyone?

 Following another one of my bright ideas I have spent all this afternoon creating a small set at the studio ready for the  not insignificant  stream of small children who will be passing through it over the next week or so.  What a great excuse to play with fake spiders and spiders webs. Tonight I'm carving a pumpkin ready for a shoot tomorrow.  My family have been threatened with pumpkin pie for tea tomorrow. None of them seem particularly thrilled by the prospect, I wonder why?

All was going swimmingly with the set build until one of the staff came in to chat for a minute and thought the fake spiders real, she let out a blood curdling scream, pointing frantically at my lap while backing quickly out of the room. Scared the living daylights out of me!!

The finished set will be ready for photographing tomorrow so I'll post some pics then for you.

I've noticed the blog now has a follower. Hi, (waves cheerily), welcome to the blog, hope you find it interesting.

This Sunday we will be exhibiting at a wedding fair at The Dunkenhalgh, Clayton le Moors.  It starts at 12 midday until 4pm.  It should be a good one and it certainly is a lovely venue so if you're thinking of getting married in the next 18 months or so why not pop in for a chat?  To get you in the mood here are some images from Scott & Emma's wedding at 'The Dunk.'

It was a cold, wet and blustery day so most of the photographs had to be taken indoors. We did manage to get a couple of the magnificent facade before the weather drove us indoors.

 We'd been out for a pre wedding shoot the week before the wedding as Emma had been a bit worried about the camera. She shouldn't have worried, she's absolutely gorgeous and any nerves she may have been feeling she certainly managed to conceal well.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Seeing double

So while I was babysitting the other day I decided to clone a quick version of Ellie and then pop her and her newly cloned self into a couple of flowers.  I bit of tinkering around later and, et viola!!

Oh alright then, I admit it, I did it all in photoshop. Wouldn't it be good though if..................

I'm quite liking this grungy and swirly thing going on here, what do you think?

Monday, October 19, 2009

While we're on the subject of babies...

This little munchkin turned up at the studio on Friday.  Tiny babies are incredible, this one is two months old and performed like a pro.  Aaahhh! After the shoot we had lots of cuddles before I reluctantly handed her back to her Mum.


With a bit of spare time on my hands his afternoon I decided to have a play about with an image of my grand daughter, Ellie. What a cutie ( I may be a tad biased).

Wedding Fair Season part duex

The wedding fair season is in full swing now.  It always makes me chuckle when I see the cutesy spelling of 'fair' that is popularly used. I always think that 'fayre' looks Victorian and cutesy, not our style at all so I shall go against popular opinion and stick with the more down to earth, 'wedding fair'. 

OK, stream of consciousness over.  Wow!  What a busy day we had at Park Hall yesterday, it went from empty to mobbed in about three seconds so Bob and me were kept busy pretty much all day. Hello and welcome to all the people who have come on here for a look as a result of yesterday, feel free to leave comments and talk to me - I don't feel like I'm talking to myself then!

I love to hear about all the different ideas people have for their weddings, we met one couple who are planing to get married at Ewood Park Football Club.  In a moment of supreme blondeness I asked them what the colour scheme was going to be.  They looked at me stunned for a minute before telling me it was  blue and white.  Sometimes I amaze myself!

Next Sunday, 26th October we will be at the Dunkenhalgh. Why not pop in for a chat? 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Secret vice

It's not a terribly well known fact that I love fireworks. Every year we trot along to Southport for the Musical Firework Championship.  which was last weekend.

It's fair to say that I could be a firework groupie, Bob, as normal, just humours me when I decide that we simply HAVE to travel to wherever because there's a firework display on. I wonder if I could talk him into taking me to China? They should be really good at fireworks, after all, they did invent them.

Here are a some pics from last weekend. I'm quite chuffed with them really as I only used my little compact camera that goes everywhere with me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wedding Fair Season

The wedding fair season starts this weekend.  To kick it off we are exhibiting at Sparth House this Sunday, 11th October.

We like it at Sparth House, not only because they feed us well, although I have to admit it's definitely a contributory factor - you wouldn't like me when I'm hungry, but because we have shot several wedding there over the years and we know that they take really good care of their brides and grooms.

Doors open at midday, the fashion show is at 2.00 p.m. Why not pop down for a chat and a look through the new sample albums?

Next weekend, 18th october, we will be at Park Hall, Charnock Richard.

Busman's holiday?

So. What exactly does a photographer do on their day off?

Go and see another photographer, obviously.

The BIPP NW Did us proud and managed to get the great Martin Parr to speak at the meeting this month.

Bob and me ordered our tickets as soon as it was announced, this was one meeting I really didn't want to mss as Martin Parr is one of my favourite photographers and biggest influences I  studied his work in depth while I was at college.

It's fair to say that we weren't disappointed. He was quirky in a slightly eccentric, quintessentially English kind of way, funny, informative and fascinating to listen to. To see his photographs and hear the story behind them from the man himself was an inspiration. Me, Bob and approximately 248 other people sat awestruck as he spoke.

At this point in the tale I'm working really hard not to fall into a lecture about the genealogy of photography and how it's possible to establish who was influenced by who by studying their work. Names like Francis Frith and  John Hinde along a potted history of photography are being bitten back as I write because I know you don't find it anywhere near as fascinating as I do, your eyes would be glazing over in seconds, in 5 minutes you'd lose the will to live.  I'm such a geek -  you know that's why you love me!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Last week my artist friend Cassie came to visit for a couple of days.  Before she moved away she was a regular model and source of inspiration and also one of the few people I could discuss art and photography with without her eyes glazing over after a couple of minutes.

Cassie doesn't do chocolate box art, she is a conceptual artist, her work really gets the old brain cells working overtime.  One time she wanted me to do some reference shots and create a look that resembled a body coming out of the ground. We tried to do it by clever lighting and using shadows but the definition between the two wasn't positive enough so eventually I came up with the idea of lining the bath with a large studio backdrop, filling it with water and plonking her in there to get the definite line we needed. I ended up standing on the edges of the bath photographing her as she stuck various bit of herself out of the water, only occasionally coming up for air.  That was one of the very few occasions when I've thought, 'Please God don't let anyone come in, they'll wonder what the hell is going on!'  I'm sure you'd love to see those pictures!

It seems that since she moved away she has also been suffering from a lack of people to bounce creative ideas off and so it was a real treat for both of us to get together and pore over art books, discuss ideas for future projects and create images for the pure joy of it.  Plans are afoot for an exhibition in the future but in the meantime here are a couple of images from our short playtime in the studio on Friday.

I'd dashed down to the market to get in some incense sticks so we could shoot the smoke trails. My, they make a lot of smoke! I'm surprised we didn't set the fire alarms off.

I love how you can see the tubes and spirals in the smoke, funnily enough, both me and Cassie said that the most enjoyable bit was watching the flash hit the smoke, it was like watching our own lightning storm. Brilliant ( you needed to be there, it looked loads better than it sounds, honest)! We had to hold our breathe a lot of the time because the slightest movement sent the smoke everywhere. That meant no laughing (tricky). We also had to turn the heating off because it's a big  hot air blower, not good for languid and meditative smoke photographs, the smoke just went everywhere then disappeared. Eventually the cold drove us out of the studio and back to the office for a look at the results. These  are my favourites.

I love the zen like simplicity  and the negative space in these two final images. They are the  kind of image that get people saying, ' what's it supposed to be, love?'  You either get it or you don't, it's all subjective - and that's a good thing. Wouldn't it be awful if we all liked the same stuff?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Photoshop fun

I have a few images of our lovely grandchildren from  a studio shoot we did a few weeks ago. While I had a bit of time on my hands last night I decided to play about in photoshop to see what I could come up with as a birthday gift for my daughter in law. Family opinion is divided as to which picture would be  the better option.  I know which one I prefer, what do you think?

As it turned out, daughter in law didn't want either of them, she had her own ideas. Oh well, can't win 'em all!