Seville … a city break

For my birthday in May I travelled to Seville with my sister, looking for some relaxation, culture and an escape from the dreary UK weather. Two out of three ain’t bad!  There was so much rain that we had to dash between shops and churches to stay dry – but there were occasional bursts of sunshine that lit the city up. Old Seville is simply beautiful with the contrast of old and new architecture making every turn a new experience. Our first visit was to the Parasol Metropol – a few hundred yards from our hotel and we had breakfast each day in its shadow. It looks like a giant mushroom and walking around the top gives splendid views across the city. Seville Cathedral is absolutely astonishing inside with neck-cricking wonder and with the Giralda (the minaret of the mosque which was previously on the site) it can be seen from almost everywhere. The Palacio Real Alcazar is a beautiful building with intricate mosaics and arches – and again you spend a lot of time looking up. Unfortunately the gardens were closed due to the weather but from what we saw would have been a great area to explore and relax. Church interiors are overwhelmingly glitzy and although rather full of “bling” for my taste – stunning in their abundant beauty.

There are parks too – the cool shade of the Parque Maria Luisa was welcome – on of the few sunny days we had and Plaza Espana with the carriage rides, mosiacs and tile work, vendors and fountains is also worth  visiting. We also saw the World Press Photographer of the Year Exhibition.  The images were powerful and affecting – the size of the prints add even more impact – I was so glad to catch it as I’d missed the London showing. The show at the Museo de Baille Flamenco was spellbinding and we sat so close to the stage that I feared the dancers would actually kick us. Add in an amazing choice of restaurants and tapas bars and you have a perfect city break.

For more information about what to do in Seville: www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/seville#experiences

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April wedding at Southend Barns

Lex and Andy married at the stunning venue of Southend Barns in Donnington near Chichester. The beautifully restored and decorated barns are part of a working farm. The day was simply gorgeous. Everything went smoothly, including the spectacular Chinook fly past and as a friend of the family it was a privilege to be invited as a guest as well as photographer. Obviously my celebrations didn’t start until work was finished, although I did enjoy taking candids of the after dinner dancing and craziness! The meal and canapes by Food and Fork were fantastic and the flowers by Wild Willow were simple yet stunning; fresh and natural and perfect for this stylish wedding.

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CEREMONY

 

CEREMONY

CEREMONY

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Dilapidated Portuguese Doors

Doors!!!  One of my favourite objects to photograph. So when I realised yesterday that I hadn’t written about any of my recent travels, doors seemed an excellent subject to share. After Skye in February I have been quite busy but managed to travel to Spain and Portugal. I’ve been busy with photography for community projects in Sussex and Aberdeen and hope to post updates from those too.

In Portugal I joined friends in a a villa near Tavira in the Eastern Algarve. It’s a beautiful, peaceful town with access to fantastic beaches. I visited Olhao, a nearby fishing town for lunch and a wander. Although an extremely busy fishing port with a large canning and export business, it nevertheless has some lovely tranquil streets in the old town and a stunning church. There were so many dilapidated doors that although light was fairly harsh, I couldn’t resist recording them. I do love an old door!

www.lauramorganphotogallery.co.uk

Doors - Tavira

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Beautiful Skye – tranquil and stunning …

In February 2016 I travelled to the Isle of Skye, just off the west coast of Scotland. A relatively small but rugged island, beautiful Skye can be reached by road (over the Skye Bridge) or ferry. It’s a trip not to be missed. Many travellers will agree when I say we often don’t see enough of our own countries. We’re always keen to seek out the exotic and different. To explore new lands. Although I lived near the west coast as a child and had a day trip to Skye (which I barely remember!) I’d never had an opportunity to explore its beauty.

The jagged coastline, innumerable peninsulas and mountains create new vistas ever time you turn a corner. The weather can change from sleet and mist to sunshine in minutes and the scenery varies dramatically from east to west and north to south. There is a deep sense of history and I felt my Scottish roots more strongly than usual. It’s stirring, stunning and a glorious place to enjoy.

The official website is filled with information about the area, recommended trips, what’s on and more about the history of the Isle.

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Community – 175th Anniversary, Haywards Heath Railway Station

The local community will be holding a two day event on 17th and 18th September 2016 to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the opening of Haywards Heath railway station. Operating from 1841-2016, the station has  developed significantly over the years. It is located on the extremely busy commuter route from Brighton to London Victoria. The station facilities are currently undergoing upgrades as part of the town’s Ten Year Plan.

I have been asked to assist with photography for this community led project and have already had some opportunities to get involved with events building up to the celebrations.

Haywards Heath is twinned with Traunstein in Bavaria and Bondues in France and has an active twinning association (HHTA). Recently Wabach Musi a young band from Bavaria visited and performed at a dinner organised by the HHTA.  They also played for shoppers in The Orchards Centre in town on a cold, breezy day.

The HHTA have commissioned Oliver Budd to work with them on the creation of a mosaic for the refurbished station and also to work with local primary schools to create a second mosaic for the station platform. Six primary schools have come together with designs the children have created and there will be collaboration on the final mosaic design.

The celebrations will have a Victorian theme and The Bluebell’s Stepney will be at the station on 18th September. There will be lots for families to do and see including train rides, land trains, horse and carriage rides, children’s station adventures, marching bands, a procession and a Victorian Fun Fair.

Wabach Musi

Wabach Musi at The Orchards

 

 

Outwood Live and the ‘US’ band

Outwood Live is a new venture promoting live music with great wine and locally produced beer. Their first event showcased “US” in the beautiful Lloyd Hall, Outwood in Surrey and it sold out quickly. Fantastic music, a warm atmosphere and an eager audience made it a great success, boding well for future gigs.

The band comprises Herbie Flowers, one of Britain’s best known and loved session musicians, Chris Spedding, Malcolm Mortimore and Derek Austin. The band bios below show a phenomenal breadth of experience and talent. The show was wonderful and extremely well received; my own pleasure was heightened by being the photographer for Outwood Live.

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After Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Herbie Flowers is probably the UK’s best known session bass player. He was co-founder of Blue Mink, a member of David Bowie’s band for the Diamond Dogs album, joined T Rex, and famously played as session bassist for Elton John (Tumbleweed Connection) David Bowie (Space Oddity) Lou Reed (Walk on the Wild Side and Transformer album) Harry Neilson and Cat Stevens. Outwood_Live_US_Mar_2016_0169More recently, he has performed with Chris Spedding in Jeff Wayne’s tour of The War of the Worlds. He is a very entertaining raconteur of wonderful stories from the music industry.Outwood_Live_US_Mar_2016_0155

The four piece band features guitar hero Chris Spedding. Apart from his hit single Motorbikin in 1975, Chris has been a mainstay of the British session scene since the late 60s. He has played with just about everyone from Dusty Springfield, Jack Bruce, Elton John, Tom Waits, Joan Armatrading, Brian Eno and Roxy Music to Paul McCartney and Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. He famously once turned down the possibility of replacing Mick Taylor as a member of the Rolling Stones. As a producer, he produced the Sex Pistols’ first demo. Outwood_Live_US_Mar_2016_0125

Drummer Malcolm Mortimore was a member of 70s progressive rock band Gentle Giant and Ian Dury and The Kilburns. He continues to tour as a member of The Three Friends, a band starring former members of Gentle Giant www.threefriends.info. He has played with many other famous names including Mick Jagger, Chris Jagger, Arthur Brown, Tom Jones, Big Jim Sullivan, Tina Turner and guitarist Charlie Byrd.

Derek Austin is a prolific soundtrack composer for film and TV, an orchestrator and session keyboard player. He has worked as arranger and keyboard player for artists ranging from Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee to Status Quo, Caravan, Peter Green and David Bowie. His film work includes The Empire Strikes Back and TV work includes Blind Date. Outwood_Live_US_Mar_2016_0134

Bio source: Plymouth University’s HOT-15 show    Outwood Live website

 

Fund Raising Fotos – Fizz Friday and a Swoovathon

I really enjoy offering my photography services for charity events to assist with fund raising. Recently I photographed a fund raiser hosted by Esther Rose Featherstone of Swoove Fitness. The Swoovathon at the Clair Hall in Haywards Heath was in aid of Community Action Nepal, a charity whose aim is to help the mountain people of Nepal.

Esther and her instructors have raised over £10,000 for charity since Swoove launched in September 2015. The classes combine great music with funky dance moves and attract men, women and children to their fund raising sessions. Swoove expertise and being very fit are definitely optional when it comes to community fund raising – bring only your enthusiasm, money and a sense of humour!

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I was also fortunate to be invited to set up a Fizz Friday Foto Booth at Cornerstone’s “Fizz Friday” event at Aberdeen’s prestigious Trinity Hall. I’m always happy to assist with fund raising for this very worthwhile charity, whose CEO Edel Harris has recently been recognised as Aberdeen and Grampian Director of the Year.

The lovely ladies who attended raised a few (!) glasses of Prosecco, bought raffle tickets, browsed gift stalls and enjoyed a fashion show all the while psyching themselves up to grab some props and strike a pose! CEO Edel joined in the foto fun with many of her colleagues and the evening raised £7,500 for the charity. Cornerstone provides care and support services for adults, children and young people with disabilities and other support needs. Visit their Facebook Page for more information and to see my images from the Foto Booth and photographic event coverage by Brian Doyle.

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An October wedding – Southern style!

Last month I was privileged to attend and photograph my partner’s son’s wedding near Kingsport, Tennessee. The wedding was organised and styled by April and Jon with lots of help and support from their families. It was held at lakeside venue run by the venerable Katie and was a stunningly beautiful day, with the sunshine and location bringing many and varied photographic challenges!

A fun celebration of love, joy and family, the entire day was brimful of laughter. I even managed to slip into a couple of the group photos but most of the day was incredibly busy as so much happened – processionals, dollar dances, cake-cutting, group dancing and a host of other moments – many traditions completely new to me. Hospitality was typically Southern with delicious food and drinks flowing throughout the evening. Favours and gifts were very personal and included jars of handmade apple butter, a local speciality. It was a delightful day and a pleasure to photograph; my very best wishes to April and Jon for a wonderful life together.

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Humming birds ….

Wow these tiny birds move fast! Beautiful jewels with wings that flap at aroud 50 times per second. Capturing humming birds on camera in a bird garden in the Cloud Forest, Mindo, Ecuador was a challenge. I used my Canon 5D MKIII with a new 70-200mm lens, handheld and many, many of the images featured nothing but the feeder such is their speed! They are fascinating to watch but a devil to photograph!

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Humming Birds, Mindo, Ecuador

Exploring my creativity …

I have been neglecting my creative side. Recently though I’ve been engaging with art and artists: during my father’s exhibition, at Lewes Art Wave and the Brighton Art Fair and I’m feeling an urge to do something beyond capturing images with my camera. Not that I don’t love it … but sometimes I feel I’ve been trying too hard to improve technically; working too hard from my brain instead of my heart and losing some of my spark. I have a backlog of images made in Cuba and Galapagos and have decided I’m going to experiment more with my post processing. Some lend themselves to being a pure representation of what I experienced – traditional travel photography, which I enjoy immensely – yet others I think can be explored more deeply. It occurs to me that I can use the blog as a form of digital sketchbook and this is a trial run …

I shot a series of images in Trinidad and Havana as I was fascinated by the colourful painted walls and doorways that were in often in great disrepair, particularly in Havana. I captured people as they walked past, sometimes early in the morning as I stood casually in one place. People do have a sixth sense though and many people noticed me which I quite like.

I wanted to add movement in post production so used layers, masks and varying transparency to create a sense of time passing. Not an original idea by any means but something to start me off! The development of one of the images is below, from the original shot to the (perhaps?) finished image.

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