LAND & NATURE | Marriage of Colour

I love looking at water, not so much the sea, although I do enjoy it’s sparkle on bright sunny day’s. It’s the flow of a river or stream that can hold my attention, It’s like your own personal gallery, where the pictures are painted personally for you and only for today, moments, as tomorrow the curator, light; has gathered a new collection. Standing on the banks or as in this case on a walk way bridge with enough room for one person at a time to pass, studying a rivers flow I can get lost in thoughts, dreams, enjoying the marriage of colour that run and bleed into each other, as though an unseen hand of an artist is putting water colour down on some beautiful textured paper. Japanese culture has an entire philosophy for a similar thing called Shinrin Yoku – translated as ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’ or, more metaphorically, as ‘forest bathing’. I’m not sure western culture has such a beautiful name for enjoying the flow of water as river bathing conjures up other thought’s.

These watercolour’s are part of the river Avon in Warwickshire, England.

The river Avon that runs past Ashow in Warwickshire England UK.

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LAND & NATURE | The Allotment

Our desire to produce healthy food which is good for our families, and the joy you can feel being amongst plants, seems to be making itself out as if it was something new, the modern mans approach to healthy living. I know for a fact it’s been around far longer. I remember reading an article in Vogue magazine back in the 70’s of a family doing just that, growing fresh produce for their restaurant.

I have known and passed by this allotment, a very British thing to have, for as long as I can remember. It sits just at the top of Arthur Street in Kenilworth UK and just before you walk or drive over the railway bridge that my dad used to fire the steam trains that ran up and down the tracks. I would love to have a piece of one just like it, but I live in Australia now so not much chance of that. Hence I have started my very own veggie patch in the garden, not very big but I do live in hope. Now I have a huge learning curve ahead of me, as my wife would attest to the fact my fingers are more to the red spectrum than the green, but I am rather excited about growing my own food.

TRAVEL & PLACE | Border Country.

What can you hear? I can hear bird song along with the hoarse, grating caw of a crow. There’s no cow bellow as they are busy munching away on the rich green Welsh grass, or is it English, I cant tell as I was in border country. I was idly wondering around the small twisty country roads of this beautiful piece of Welsh English landscape, when I happen to pass an opening in the hedgerows that revealed this mesmerizing view. I cannot resist this beautiful light that I have only seen in Europe and the UK, it’s like the suns rays have to penetrate through millions and millions of tiny pearls of moisture invisible to the eye. I think you could indulge in all your passions of wanting to live in the countryside here, standing soaking up the atmosphere. I know I did, even if it was for only a moment.

TRAVEL & PLACE | Caersws Magic

I hope you can forgive me, but when it comes to my home country I have a very soft heart, I seem to go all glossy eyed and romantic when I think of this beautiful piece of the world.

Wales, it rains a lot, but without that rain you wouldn’t have Wales. The smell of the earth, it’s life. No wonder there was so much industry in this little country, the ground on which we walk hides a wealth of minerals that seemed to keep the world moving forward at one stage. Now, Wales give’s great pleasure and relaxation to the millions who visit it every year to go walking it’s great peaks, and it caters for the hardier as well as the less hardy or merely the ones who want to lie on one of it’s outstanding coastal beaches if the thought of walking makes you come over all tired. On some days though you become witness to scenes like this and you can still believe your an explorer. You could also be forgiven in thinking you have seen the dragon of Wales silently glide from around that distant mountain and clear the mist just long enough to catch a glimpse but still not sure what you saw. It is true you know, if you stand still long enough you can hear the sounds of gurgling streams, the sound of sheep on the mountain sides depending on the time of year. But for me as a photographer it’s light that gets my creative juices flowing and on this day God was putting on one incredible show, after all this is His favourite country.

I was staying with my brother on one of my bi-annual visits from Australia. He lives in the small hamlet village of Carno, Powys in the Parish of Montgomeryshire, it’s one of those places you seem to pass through on your way to greater things. His cottage, I might add you can now hire for your next Welsh escape, lies alongside the main A470, the main road that takes from the south to the north but being so rural you wouldn’t think so. The name of the village is said to have derived from the welsh word for cairn (carnedd), as there are many ancient cairns on the hills surrounding the village. One claim to fame for this little place is the designer and entrepreneur Laura Ashley who is buried in the churchyard. Anyway. I woke one autumn morning to witness this beautiful show of weather moving down through the valley. Grabbing my camera I photographed some of these scenes from the bedroom window, until I couldn’t contain myself any more and just had to get out and soak up the best of Welsh mountain weather and we hadn’t even eaten breakfast as yet. It was early and very still with a quietness you can expect in such a beautiful piece of Wales, no cars, no walkers, just this peacefulness with a smell of earth. We drove up to the top of the mountain pulling into the side of the country lane just the once to let the local farmer through with his tractor, not quite at the top we pulled over to make more images, the valley of Caersws seemed to want to be photographed this day.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

CIRCUS DAYS. PART TWO | The People.

I would just like to say a massive thank you to all those at Webers Circus for allowing me free rein in moving around where I wanted too and the giving me of their precious time to make this series. I couldn’t have done it without any of you.

When I started this series I was hoping I didn’t get too caught up in making pictures that where cliched and easy to make. As circus acts are full of colour and fast action with lots going on, it would have been easy to concentrate on as it’s quite wonderful to watch. This series was to be about people.

A circus is not a circus without it’s talent and talent only comes from people who put in long hours of work, training and practicing their skills. The following portfolio of images was made over two days at the end of an evening’s show. I wanted each image to show the person and not be specific to any act, just a study. Not having anytime to pre-plan any of these shots I had to bite the bullet and wing it. I started off by shooting the ring master centre of the ring but it just wasn’t working, the image needed layering, I noticed this early as the camera was tethered to a computer giving me a much larger frame for the eye to explore and notice any problems, which it did, plus the subject can see what is working and what’s not, this helped with things like props and lipstick. Lighting was natural,   whatever was available in my space supplemented with a flash fired through a soft-box. ISO was set high to get as much detail as possible and I allowed light to bleed where it wanted so that I could get the cinematic effect I was chasing. Colour grading was done as much as possible in Capture One with things like curves, levels, dodging and burning done in Photoshop later.

This series has been a dream for me to shoot and I have enjoyed every last moment of it, it’s taken a very long time for the opportunity to come round and Im grateful to everybody. Thank you Webers Circus.

Wonita and Tim

Wonita and Tim

Webers Circus

Megan and Cody

Justin

Justin

Wonita

Wonita

Paul and Emma

Paul and Emma

Webers Circus

Dakota

Jake

Jake

Webers Circus

Wonona

CIRCUS DAYS | The world of the Big Top

Here today, gone tomorrow, circus days.

You can forgive yourself for thinking everything’s possible in the circus except acting your age and being all grown up and sensible. That’s for the boring real world of grown up people. This is part of my project on Webers Circus and the people who make the magic happen.

The circus is a place to be exhilarated and enthusiastic, be a child again and celebrate the joy of being alive.  In the circus there’s magic, mystery, fun, and laughter of childhood. A wondrous place to behold. Adventure awaits for those who enter the secret world of the Big Top, as you enter with anticipation and excitement of things that can only be imagined.

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Drama, out of control activity, courage and beauty, the energy of mad as a hatter clowns, trapeze artists that seem to defy gravity, juggling, tumbling through air. You can see your childhood played out in front of you as you hold your breath. Protected from the real world by a thin layer of canvas magic, under which music plays and special smells fill the air, magic has come to your town and filled your heart. The audience clap and laugh, excited, lights light up the faces of children standing close to their parents who’s faces shine almost as brightly.

We now live in a world that seems to want to take away the wonder of childhood, but the people of the circus work hard to erect the Big Top and keep the thrills alive defying those that would want to spoil those special memories. But the tent is just the beginning, measurement’s must be made, lights set up, seating placed, then it’s all got to be checked before the acts can get in and start to practice, making it all look so easy. These are the details that go on so we the audience can escape in to that world of make-believe.

Crowds around the world have been inspired, enthralled and entertained by the circus for many years and as it’s been far too long a time since my last visit I can’t help but be one of them. I revel in the magic of the show, lights, music, smells and noise.

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

It would be a shame to lose all of this, if it goes what will we have lost? There will be no more dreams to escape into, when circus days, like the good old days, like the dreams you had, like the child you were, are gone.

The desire to travel, the mystery of packing up your tent and slipping off into the night. Adventure awaits, escape is the next town. The circus is always the same, it never changes.

TRAVEL & PLACE | Siege of Kenilworth

In June 1266 having turned down the chance to make peace on King Henry’s terms, the rebel supporters of Simon de Montfort prepared to defend Kenilworth Castle. King Henry moves his men to Kenilworth and the siege begins.

I covered the event over the beautiful long weekend of August last year as the 750 Anniversary of the Siege took place.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.