Tag Archives: photo

St Lucia Jazz – HOT Couture Fashion Show

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Last night I went to my first cat walk fashion show and it was very exciting as Michelle was one of the modals :D

I love going to see Michelle when she doing her thing! Its like watching a different person out there as she changes to the different  roles that are required of her. The first time was last December when she took part in a Bikini Bombshell competition. She was the first girl to walk out (must have been scary to go first!) Everyone went crazy for her and that was not just because Simon and I were in the audience telling people to haha. She was able to make the whole crowd fall in love with her just by walking out with a beautiful smile on her face. She of course won the competition!

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Last night was a completely different story. It was all about selling the cloths and of course she rocked that to! Her first out fit was part of the forth collection and I remember feeling a mix of excitement and nerves waiting for her to walk out from behind the wall on the run way!

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I know what your all thinking a biased opinion from her boyfriend but its all good ;) I am very proud! The St Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival is one of the biggest festivals not only in St Lucia but in the Caribbean so I have a great deal to be proud of :)

I was also surprised to see another friend of mine Chacho who is the Activities Manager at Smugglers a resort I work at.

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I started the night going to the show to support Michelle not knowing really how it was going to go but I left 100% enjoying myself. The free wine and the after party might have had allot to do with that to ;)

 

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Visit to Seaton to see Dad

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My last weekend back at home in March was set aside to do the long but beautiful drive to go and see my Dad in his new flat in Seaton Devon. Kat was doing all the hard work in the driving seat and I was able to sit back and watch all the views as we drove across the country on yet another gray morning! Still we had an amazing driving CD that Kat had put together and I got to see Stone Henge along the way.

Sadly my iPhone does not do it justice!

Sadly my iPhone does not do it justice!

Dad has found this second floor flat that over looks the English Channel, that really is a stones throw away! I tried it when no one was looking! Up in the flat they have these floor to ceiling patio windows and even on a gray cold day the view can still keeps you mesmerised all day long with the epic views.

It was a special weekend for another reason to as I got to meet Dad’s new girlfriend Barbra for the first time who is very nice. Even though it was very cold outside we all got wrapped out and had an explore. After a hearty Workman’s Breakfast at the Trotters Cafe (well worth checking out if your every hungry for a proper fry up!)

We set off to a place just down the road called Beer (must run in the family) and of course took some photos :)

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That was not enough for my Dad! Being an avid follower of my blog he had spotted the photos I did of Michelle on Choc Beach just before I left and just had to try and recreate the Devon version!

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Well sort of…

 

Thanks Dad for a great weekend and it was great to catch up with you and Barbra.

I also want to say a quick good luck to my sister as she is back on her travels again and is currently in New Zealand!

If you have liked what you have seen don’t forget that follow button and there will be more coming soon. :)

 

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Running Down to Choc Beach

I know its been a long time and I am sorry about that! We have had allot going on over here in St Lucia that has required my full attention. I have some exciting news though… I AM GOING ON HOLIDAY :)

I am going home for 3 weeks! It will be the first time I have been home in 2 years so its a well over due trip!

I have been promising Michelle that we would go out and do a photo shoot since Christmas so we set a deadline for before I left.

We got up at 5am to catch the beautiful morning light and it did not disappoint!

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She makes it look all so easy :) Just a short one for now but hopefully I will have some stories to share once I get back on UK soil :) Can’t wait to see you all.

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Beach Fire

Grabbing me a Piton from the awesome new cooler! :)

I have visited allot of beaches since living over here in St Lucia and been faced with a couple of problems. The first, once you find your self a nice spot you either have to walk a million miles to get a drink or bring it with you and it gets very warm very quickly and secondly, you find some coconuts or other amazing fruits that you just can not get into! (the tough problems I face huh :) Yesterday I fixed both of these problem I bought a cooler and a cutlas :D

The new cooler

Last night Michelle and I were sat in the room trying to work out what to do with our Saturday night. The cooler was in the boot of the car and quietly calling both of us to go and try it out. Very quickly we both agreed that we should buy some beers and go to the beach to test it out.

That day I had just put my 50mm 1.8f on to my 400D and put it in the back of the car. Every day is a photo shoot :)

We arrived at Vigie beach (the one near the small airport that I have mentioned before) and got sat down. Michelle went for a wonder and started dragging this big dead palm tree leaf and said she wanted to make a fire…

Awesome… The small boy in me who went to scouts (purely to learn how to set things on fire properly) came rushing out! If my girl wants a fire I am going to give her a fire. Now leaves don’t burn for too long but they were a good start. Resting up behind one of the beach restaurants was an old pallet which I quickly grabbed and started to chop up using our new cutlas!

Not drinking shandy…

It did not take long before we had a raring fire that only took 1 match to light! (Dingle my scout leader would have been very proud)

We had such a romantic night under the stars by the sea with our open fire and we got to use both our new toys!

Don’t forget that wonderful follow button if you like what you have read. More coming soon.

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Dollar Sounds Full Moon Beach Party

Blade by the Ruins

When you come to the Caribbean and turn on the radio your ears are flooded with the sounds of Soka, Local Hip-Hop, Calypso and sadly bad dance music that is all mixed, no not mixed, smashed together with some annoying air horns or some other midi sound. It’s a shame because I really like some of the local music, its acutely quite good but the DJ’s just ruin it! Luckily there is a man on the island who knows about good mixing and he has had enough to!

Every three months an Expat named Ian rounds out some of the best local house DJ’s in St Lucia and gives them a stage to play on. The parties he puts on are hidden away in secret location that no one knows about until a few weeks before. The guys don’t advertise either, its strictly word of mouth but they still manage to pack out a location.

This weekend was no different; the location was Pigeon Island, normally a quite tourist attraction with old military remains and some stunning panoramic views. The Island used to sit out in the sea all by itself until the 1970’s when the tourist board built a new marina. All the earth they dug out to make the Marina they used to build a road to the Island, now it’s a national Park. Two attractions for the price of one! Go St Lucia :)

Blade Chilling

The party was set up at the bottom of “Signal Hill” near some ruins and right on the east coast of the island so you had a stunning backdrop of Rodney Bay lite up by a full moon. The restaurant, Jambe De Bois, that is set into the some remains played the part of bar beautifully. All that is missing is the massive speakers, allot of bass and some DJ’s.

Starting off the night was Blade, I manage to catch up with him after the weekend to have a chat with him and he was very pleased with how the night went and is looking forward to the next one. As am I!

Blade in the mix

Next was DJ Top Class playing a mix of rocking house tunes and Caribbean classics with a twist, keep all the locals happy.

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As Halloween was just around the corner we where bound to get some costumes and Shay Smalls did not let us down in that department!

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Then the man of the hour Ian finishing off the night with some quality tunes.

There was a great atmosphere all night and we were treated to some surprises, including some witches spinning fire works and a mummy climbing up the side of a ruin and dancing all along top!

Shout out to Michelle for helping me with the flash haha

If you’re lucky enough to hear about the next one you should definitely come along. I will see you there ;)

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One Year and Passport Pictures

Today is a very special day for this blog and for me! Today its one year old :D

I can remember discussing at home with one of my best mates Thom about doing a blog before leaving for the ships and it took a while for it to come in to about. I have been looking back this morning over all the things I have done, the places I have been and how much has changed and its all there. It makes me very proud and the fact that you lovely people want to read about what I get up to is even more touching. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has ever just looked at one of my posts and hope you keep it up.

Anyway… (wipes a tear from his eye… haha) on with the blog :)

The other day Michelle and I were chilling out in my room and she was being very nice to me! Shortly followed, in a very sweet voice;

“can we take some photos with your new camera?”

Jump out of my seat, Eyes light up with excitement and I run to my car all the way in the staff car park to get my light stand.

I moved the TV cabinet across so we had some white wall in my room to play with, set up my camera and light and I am waiting for Michelle to put the final touches to her make up. When she is ready she stands in front of me and say;

“right, I need some passport pictures…”

Silence… haha

Of course we did the passport pictures but then we had some fun :) As we hand taken some shots in this very hotel room before I always like the challenge of making a space look different each time. I set up a flash on the floor behind the stool that Michelle was sitting on with about 4 full blue CTB gels on it and then the main light with an umbrella and a sun 1/2 CTO gel which meant I can drop my white balance down an get deeper colors in the background. Then add a Michelle playing around and we have some camera magic :)

If you like what you see don’t forget about that follow button and here is to another year!

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Trip to Barbados

I am a little behind on my blogs at the moment and I am being told off left right and center as I have been sat on these photos for quite some time… sorry haha

Back in August… (cough) we had a bank holiday on the 1st, as there are no weddings on bank holidays we had some time to have some meetings over in Barbados. Luckily these did not take very long and we got to go out and play for a little bit ;)

A couple of weekends before Ferg came over to St Lucia and we had the chance to explore some of the island and show him some of the amazing sites. Along the way he took some beautiful photos of Michelle and I, he did not bring his own camera so opted to use my Canon 7D for the first time… and review it…

Now it was my turn. It was very exciting as I got a chance to use the Nikon D800. This has been long awaited and people around the world are still on long waiting lists to get their hands on one so a real privilege.

As you all know I have recently upgraded my camera to the full frame 5D Mkiii and Ferg has been hoping that this was his chance to finally convert me from Nikon to Canon! He didn’t…

While I was waiting for the guys to get ready I was having a play with the D800 getting an idea of where everything was. I put my eye to the eye piece and the little focus square started darting across the screen. I looked down to see what was going on and it was my noise pushing on the joy stick! Not a great start for me.

We set off on our trip to see what backdrops Barbados had to offer and quickly found our self’s at Welchman Hall Gully. At the top you had beautiful views over the rugged east coast where we set up first.

This is also my first time using a 70-200 so a big day for me so I found our first location set up a shot and got shooting.

As I am sure most of you know by know I am a massive fan of flash. This is where we hit our first problem, Ferg has the same set of pocket wizards that I use on my 7D but the D800’s hot shoe is a little further forward to the eye piece so the wheel for the pocket wizard ends up digging into your forehead. Not nice! I can’t put this solely on Nikon though, if pocket wizard are going to make different units for each brand this is something they could have accounted for??

Sadly it got very uncomfortable very quickly so we packed the lights away and went oh natural for the rest of the day :)

Now entering the Gully you truly felt like you had hit the tropics with plants and wild life every where.

Ferg found some nutmeg and mace

Apparently it smelt amazing :)

We found a spot on a fallen log where the beautiful morning light was beaming down through the trees and the full frame of the D800 with the compression at 200mm could really start to flex its muscles.

My next issue was I found the play back very sluggish, when you hit the play button the camera uploads the full file to that little screen, not only does it does it take a while but its not fully rendered the photo or something. To check you what you have focused on is sharp you have to zoom in at least once. Now this took me screaming back in time to my very first wedding I shot in Barbados.

(Que wavy lines and flashback music :)

I got back to the lab after my wedding and uploaded the photos to the computer and opened Photoshop’s Bridge to start my editing, I was flicking through the photos and every photo looked blurred. I had my head in my hands as I thought I had just messed up my first Caribbean wedding on something very very basic as not being able to focus. I could not sit there forever so I opened the first photo in Photoshop to see if I could fix it and to my amazement it was perfectly sharp.Bridge only shows you a preview and as the 7D files are so big it compresses them and they look awful, lesson learnt.

Heart attack over but those bad memories came flooding back! Even using some of the best kit around isn’t going to save you if you can’t keep your shots in focus!

“but it’s a 85mb file” Ferg kept telling me which is impressive and of course can come in handy but when you are trying to catch those little moments extra time checking your shots can mean allot.

The D800 has how ever got this face recognition system on it, when you zoom in you can skip from face to face to make sure no there are no blinkers. Very helpful!

By this point we were deep into the Gully and had spotted one of these creepy looking things.

Once you got your eye in we started to spot them everywhere!

Ferg then very helpfully informed us that he thought they might bite and be poisonous so a nice peaceful stroll looking up through the trees very quickly became a quick march back to the car with our eyes firmly glued to our flip flop cladded feet. (After some research on the internet Ferg found out that it wasnt those that were poisonous but if your going to the Gully I would recommend wearing trainers just in case)

I have always said I love the ergonomics of the 7D by the time I had got to the car my third finger was crushed from holding the D800. It’s still hurt at the airport a few days later! If you had that in your hand all day it could do some serous damage! I did have the 70-200 on it however and Ferg informed me later that he holds it by the lens…

By the time we got to the car we where hungry and very much ready for a beer :) We set off to the east coast to have lunch and finish off our photos at Bathsheba.

I didn’t even have to ask her to do that

One thing I do love is they have put the horizon finder in the view finder! Sadly when I get tired I seem to lean to the right so that was very helpful.

And how can forget. Everything is backwards! Zooming in and out, twisting lens on and off, increasing and decreasing shutter speed, the light meter everything! There are options on the D800 so you can swap all this around to help people like me but even that feels like a bit of a cope out. You should stick to what you have chosen haha

These are all little things of course and at the end of the day I have grown up with Canon DSLR’s. From the first time I borrowed a camera at university to the wedding I shot yesterday. I have used them now nearly everyday for quite some time so its going to take allot to get me to change that (you where close Ferg until I tried it). You will check out forums and reviews and of course everyone has their own opinion on what is better. The D800 for example has one of the best sensors on the market and for people who are into that real technical stuff like Ferg then he has made the right choice. I think I have always had a more laid back approach to it all and I think that’s why Canon may suit me better.

The most exciting thing about the day was I got to spend the day with my two best friends using the using some truly amazing kit and hopefully I have created some amazing images for them to keep to but I will leave that up to you to decided :)

Phew…

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Upgrading to full frame… Truley a magic moment

I have been looking forward to writing this one :)

I was joking with Sian and Ferg that when a photographer upgrades to a full frame camera, as I have just done with my 5D Mkiii, as you opened the lid on the box a magic beam of light should stream out accompanied with a “AWWWWWWWWWWW” sound… you never guess what… it kinda did ;)
I was very excitedly unpacking my camera and as I was there was a beautiful golden sunset going on out side and this incredible soft light was just pouring through the window. I put on my new 70-200mm f.2.8, set the camera quickly to aperture priority and just started shooting!

A moment I don’t think I am ever going to forget! :)

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Mike Came to Visit… and he brought some toys!

Even Mike has a Montage

Its funny some times working here really does not feel like work but one of my best friends came to visit me so I thought it was a good excuse to take some holiday!

Mike booked 11 nights at the hotel I live at Morgan Bay (worth checking out if your thinking of coming to St Lucia) As you can imagine we had a blast! We went sailing on Hobie Cats nearly every day, Zip Lining through the rain forest, bathing in the sulphur springs from St Lucia’s active volcano, survived a tropical storm and of course spending allot of time on the beach!

The other very exciting thing is that I got my brand new Camera! I am now a very proud owner of a Cannon 5D Mk iii and have taken then momentous leap in a professional photographers life to full frame status!

One afternoon we took a drive up to the north of the island, it was still pretty windy but I packed my new camera to see if we could take some shots. As usual we got lost but found an amazing spot in Cap Estate where you could get great views of the North and East coast from the same spot (they are currently about to start building some new houses up there and for a good price if anyone is interested) Mike is not a shy person but has never really had a photo shoot done but knew how much I wanted to try out my new camera so we took these… God love him :)

A tropical storm is passing by and Mike is up the smallest tree he could find!

Now we are getting into it!

 

As you can see he did a great job letting me have a little play with my camera, we are already planning his next trip back to the Caribbean! Thanks for coming Mike!

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Kat’s Vist (Better late then never :)

I have been trying to make some space on my laptop today by clearing away some old RAW files and the like and I came across some photos that I completely forgot about (sorry Kat x)

I took Kat to the Bottom Bay, the place she sent me on the very first Exchange!

Back in March Kat came out to see me in Barbados for my birthday and we had a blast! On the day itself we went on a boat cruise and if you look very carefully on my Facebook profile you will be able to find an amazing video that hungover Ferg did for us :)

During Kat’s stay we did things properly! On our first day we visited the Mount Gay Rum Tour, after that rum kind of became our unofficial theme to our holiday.

You got a free rum punch with every flier, good job I packed a few :)

Kat learning about legs

Mount Gay Extra Old by far both of our favorites

We drank a fair bit of it for a start, we stopped off in old rum shops and we found this.

During Kat’s stay the country had just kicked into harvest mode, you will find tractors towing rows and rows of cages filled to the top with raw sugar cane slowing the traffic on the high ways trying to get there white gold to the sugar factory’s.  After taking the very informative rum tour we found that this is very relevant to our rum drinking quest! Sugar and Rum are two of Barbados main exports and a third is molasses which is a by product of the sugar process which they use to make rum. Now I think this is incredible, they have turned a by product of one of there main exports in to two others!

I am very sorry that this has taken so long to come out but it needed to done! Better late then never!

More to come soon as Mike is getting here on Tuesday and I will be having some time off :D

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