Thursday, 25 April 2013
Phew, what a busy few weeks it has been running around the beautiful Isle of Purbeck by bus (sadly my van accrued significant damage at Swanage during the recent winter storms and is now on a lengthy recovery mission at a garage). The local bus service has surprised me with both its punctuality and helpfulness, and I could definitely write another book on all of the local adventures that have happened ... but as this blog is purely of an underwater photography angle, I will swiftly update you with what has been happening here. I will be running One Hour Guided Photowalks at Corfe Castle or Swanage during the summer months which can be pre-booked on request. I will also be offering one hour fast track courses from Swanage Pier to get you up and running with your compact camera, ready for your underwater adventures here in gorgeous Purbeck. Half day and full day courses are available at Swanage Pier as usual and pre-booking is essential. New landscape courses are also on offer and more information about these can be found at my new sister site at Purbeck Visions . If you are coming to visit Swanage this summer, it really is worth stopping by for a few hours to visit Corfe Castle, Studland, Durlston and Wareham. Look forward to welcoming you to the beautiful Purbeck Isle very soon ...
Monday, 1 April 2013
Well, last weekend's dive show across the pond at Beneath the Sea proved to be a very, very special moment for me. I fell in love with Baja California in Mexico when I first visited there in 2001, and between 2002 and 2004 participated in a few whale shark research trips with the Shark Research Institute. It was there I met Erick Higuera who was working at the time as a Divemaster for the Club Cantamar. I was living in Mexico in Puerto Vallarta and was using my Olympus 5050 with my first ever strobe, an Ikelite DS-125. Erick back in 2004 had just bought his first compact camera, the bigger brother to mine in an Olympus 5060. I showed him everything I knew and it is incredible to have seen his journey from working on the Solmar V, a gorgeous liveaboard taking in the very best of Mexico's underwater jewels, to working with Lawrence Grothman on white sharks. He spent 3 years making the film Baja and am very, very proud to know Erick. Here is the video for you to sit back, relax, grab a cool refresco and take in the very, very best of what Mexico awaits for you ... It just goes to show that you just never know where your adventures will take you with your compact ...
Sunday, 31 March 2013
All pictures by Emma Holman apart from the first one where she is taking a photo of the train which was taken by me. The first landscape photography course at Corfe Castle of the year got off to a steaming start on Good Friday with Emma coming all the way from Teignmouth in Devon to sample our Castles, Steamtrains and Waterfalls Photo Day. And what a day it was, Emma brought her Canon Ixus 110 as well as her grander Canon 60D with a combination of lenses and quickly got to tasks with her manual controls and swiftly changed her f stops faster than the passing trains! First it was time to 'fuel up' with a steaming hot chocolate from Cleals coffee shop whilst going through all the basic controls ready to capture the day's action. And off we trotted to take in the steam trains and the localities at the station and even photographed a train all the way from California! The local guards proved super helpful and offered us some photo angles that (for my shy catholic background) I can't include in this blog! After Emma had her fill of steam trains, it was time to hit the village, filling her frames with all kinds of different angles of the castle before visiting the "Smallest Town Hall in the UK" and then time to practice angles again on the local church. By now the sunshine was in full swing and some gorgeous angles coupled with a change in shutter speed provided Emma with some delightful results. Winding our way round the local village, we then found ourselves by HRH Prince Charles and Lady Diana's well as well as in front of many interesting and photographic doors with interesting wreaths to capture and twirl in photoshop later! After a good workout on both Emma's cameras, it was time for a spot of grub to take in the day's events and go through her portfolio. As she hadn't seen the coast before, we headed for Studland via Swanage and had a delicious lunch in Middle Cafe in Studland overlooking the beach. It really proved to be the most brilliant start to the summer's landscape workshops and more are in the pipeline. Just watch this space for more news or drop me a message for more info if you'd like to come along and sample our Corfe Castle Delights workshop for yourself :)
Thursday, 28 March 2013
Well that was the shortest Dive Show that I've ever visited in my history of being at 12 years of shows, both at London and at Birmingham since 2001, but it still didn't fail to blow me away. As I was working a night shift I didn't get to the show until 2 pm on the Sunday, and was met with a show packed with visitors, and all the exhibitors were fully stretched both entertaining as well as demonstrating new products. I weaved my way through the aisles to the Photozone where Alex Mustard was giving an excellent presentation on sharks and sat quietly in a corner putting the finishing touches to my presentation. To my surprise, most of the visitors to his talk, stayed for mine. And even more to my amazement, visitors just kept coming and coming and standing space only it was when the talk started and in a short while, even that had gone!!! Absolutely incredible feeling to speak to about 200 people, with a lovely couple of ladies in the audience telling me how my book had helped them to take beautiful photos and Saturday's course guests, Mark and Jan Dixon, sitting in the audience too. I had to leave straight afterwards to head back on the coach to Dorset for a night shift at a local care home and make sure that their hot chocolate was ready :) .... but I left full of amazing memories of all those faces in the audience and really hope that I will be able to see them again one day personally to say thank you :)
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
So Saturday 23rd March saw me travel to Putney and Wimbledon to help Martin Dixon get off Auto Mode and White Balance and help him get to grips with his Canon Powershot G12, Epoque 150-DS strobe and Light & Motion Sola 1200 Light. Before I even start this post, a huge thank you goes to Roger and the Dive Wimbledon Team for giving me such a friendly welcome and for lending me dive kit. Their hospitality brightened up a very snowy and cold day. Martin started the day showing me his photos, he already had a great eye and it was quite clear from the start that all he needed was a little guidance on the best settings to use and both his strobe and video light would help immensely to bring out far more textures and colour to his favourite underwater subjects. And sure enough, within less than an hour, he had already cracked it - giving a beautiful black background to our make-believe lionfish and super confident to try out his skills underwater. Here are some of his pictures to show off his creative skills in preparation for his upcoming trip to the Red Sea. Well done Mark and can't wait to see your 'real' fish photos.
Phew, once again I can't believe where the time has gone to, so here I am - finally with a laptop - and finally able to summarise what has been happening over the past 3 months. January was a lovely month for teaching, first I helped a lovely couple, Simon and his wife to get to grips with their compact cameras. Simon was upgrading from an Olympus MJU to a Canon S100 with a pair of lovely strobes and a wide angle lens, whilst his wife had a Sony Cybershot. Both of them left feeling confident that there would be no more blue photos in the family album and a great day was had. A couple of weeks' later, again at Jean's lovely Glebe Guest House in Frome, it was time to welcome a lovely group of 9 budding compact camera champions from BSAC in Luton. Again, another great day was had, there was a lot of information to be covered with a huge range of different compacts, from those who had a simple camera in just it's housing to one with the 'Full Monty' kit of wide angle, macro lenses as well a strobe. Camera makes were Sea & Sea, Fuji, Canon and Panasonic. All of them left with big smiles on their faces, astounded that they had spent a day learning underwater photography in an easy, relaxed manner, having lots of fun and using the great facilities and a comfy, welcoming venue that the Glebe House Guesthouse offers. They left to practice their skills at Vobster the next day to make a real special weekend of it all. February was time to head up to Liverpool and give a talk to over 20 underwater photography fans at Aquaventures. A great time was had, with again a whole host of camera options covered and everyone left incredibly happy by the skills that they found. March was time to welcome Valerie Scotto and to help her master the art of her Canon G12 before her trip to Gulen in Norway. Yes, the winter has definitely got to me as I have been living in my van during the winter and the winds have been fierce down in Swanage, but have really had a nice few months teaching.