Valencia, the perfect backdrop to learn about lighting and posing

I attended a Scott Robert Lim workshop in August to learn more about posing models and the use of natural light, flash and video light in the environment. The workshop was part theory and a lot of practical work when we had the opportunity to pose the models and decide what form of lighting to use. We explored the magical old town of Valencia with historic backdrops, glorious plazas, towers and bridges, finding grand vistas and hidden corners everywhere. The ultra modern City of Arts and Sciences also provided a fantastic location, with a very different feel to that of the older buildings.

Scott is a well known educator, running workshops across the world and is a favourite on Creative Live, a superb free resource for photographers. He is also a well respected photographer in his own right, with a wonderful portfolio of weddings and portraiture. Although working with models is not my typical genre I learned many techniques easily applied elsewhere. I also, as is typical on photo workshops, met some lovely and talented people. Working in small groups on the final day was an excellent opportunity because we could pool our knowledge and take turns to hold the lighting apparatus. Many thanks to Koreena, Kam and Chris for their support.

The models, Aurelia Liansbergaite, Nika Orazem, Dejan Vučić and Rachael Van Harmelen were fabulous, endlessly patient and helpful to a large group of photographers.  Unfortunately I had a mishap with my images, losing them when making structural changes to my hard drive. I have recovered many through a deep search of deleted files but will have to redo my post-processing work The images in the gallery below survived!

Kingley Vale, West Sussex

Kingley Vale in West Sussex near Chichester is an ancient wood full of fascinatingly twisted veteran yew trees. Some are amongst the oldest living things in the country. A trail leads you through the woodland and onto the chalk grassland. It’s a beautiful walk, full of variety and is the habitat of many different birds and butterflies. We visited on a bleak and misty afternoon in January so wildlife was scarce but were lucky to occasionally see glimpses of sunlight through the dank and dark woods making it even more mysterious.Kingley ValeKingley Vale 2

Luca Love – a non-profit full of heart


I was extremely excited to join another Momenta Workshops trip last October, travelling to Colombia to provide photographic services to Luca Love. This opportunity was long-awaited. A chance to visit South America again – Colombia in particular – and learn more from Momenta “guru” Chris Anderson. Irresistible! We comprised a small group of four students, our Colombian expert, Emanuel Echeverri and of course, Chris. We were based in Medellin, a city which has fortunately outgrown its reputation for being the drug capital of Colombia. There are still areas not safe to travel in as a tourist but it is increasingly visited by travellers from all over the world. There is a museum of work by the Colombia artist and sculptor Fernando Botero, whose work I have loved for years and it was a special treat to see the massive sculptures in Plaza Botero and his paintings and smaller sculptures inside the gallery.

But my main activity was working with the non-profit Luca Love, a fairly new organisation set up by Paulina Tobin (based in Houston) and her sister Daniela and mother Marleny in Rio Negro, Colombia. Marleny’s husband Jorge is also involved behind the scenes. Luca Love sells bracelets made by local women around Rio Negro, about an hour’s travel south of Medellin. Marleny designs the bracelets and teaches the artisans how to make them. By visiting the women to deliver materials and collect finished work she enables them to work from home and still look after their families. Luca Love currently funds an English teacher to work in the local school in La Esmeralda and have provided other local community support on an ad-hoc basis. Currently they are developing their product line and growing their small business to be able to put more of the profits back into the local community.

My task was to spend time with Marleny and her artisans and also visit the school benefiting from Luca Love’s support. I could then provide a portfolio of images to be used in marketing, blogging and on the Luca Love website. With regular technical and planning guidance from Chris, I built relationships locally with those involved and created lots (and lots) of images. I was able to see the process from design and selection of the beads through to seeing Marleny train the women in new designs and then watch them making the jewellery and gift bags. I spent time with the children in their English class and in the playground and local swimming pool and met many of the parents and teachers. The kids loved practising their English while teasing me about my funny Spanish! The final selection of images delivered to Luca Love are those that Paulina and her team can use to create visuals that tell the story of Luca Love. They illustrate its inception, its purpose and the direction they are headed in. It is a very exciting new venture for the family and the community.

Below are some of the images from this collaboration and I will blog again with more about this project. For me it was extremely rewarding; I met many fascinating and friendly people, I improved my Spanish, enjoyed excellent wines and delicious food and I improved my story-telling photography skills. I also made new amigos (!) among my fellow students and Marleny, her family and friends. It was a really wonderful trip.









These images were taken on the Momenta Project Colombia Workshop 2016 in Medellin, Colombia. Photo © Laura Morgan/Momenta Workshops 2016.

These images were taken on the Momenta Project Colombia Workshop 2016 in Medellin, Colombia. Photo © Laura Morgan/Momenta Workshops 2016.











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:

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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.







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!

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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 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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