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!


Doors - Tavira

Doors - Tavira -2Olhao Doors

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.

Outwood_Live_US_Mar_2016_0172 (2)

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!

Fund raising - Swoovathon for CANFund raising - Swoovathon for CANFund raising - Swoovathon for CANFund raising - Swoovathon for CAN

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.

Fund raising - CornerstoneFund raising - Cornerstone Fund raising - Cornerstone Fund raising - Cornerstone

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.

Trinidada - Movement-1 Trinidada - Movement-2 Trinidada - Movement-3 Trinidada - Movement-4 Trinidada - Movement-5

Dementia UK: Art for Good works!

The Alex Wilson Memorial Exhibition on 19th September raised over £3,500 for Dementia UK. We sold more than thirty of Alex’s paintings ensuring his art lives on and will continue to be enjoyed – art for good! Our father would have been so happy to hear the favourable comments his work received; such a pity he’s no longer here to appreciate it. We still have some of the larger pieces available and plan another exhibition to continue raising funds for Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurses.

Donations: www.justgiving.com/Alex-Wilson-Artist

Alex’s gallery: www.lauramorganphotogallery.co.uk/Alex-wilson/

Photography by Steve McDonald

Art for good …

Catalog for exhibitionOur father, Alex Wilson, died earlier this year in a care home In Hailsham. He had Dementia with Lewy Bodies, a distressing form of the disease affecting mobility and muscle function as well as causing cognitive impairment and hallucinations. He was an artist but even in the early stages of his illness became unable to paint or draw. He had been prolific, creating a diverse portfolio of work and exhibiting in Sussex over the years. He leaves a large body of abstract paintings and to honour his talent and creativity we are exhibiting around fifty pieces of work and all proceeds from sales of his work, donations and a raffle will go to Dementia UK via our JustGiving page.

The exhibition is being hosted by Lindfield Arts Festival on 19th September 2015. LAF is a community arts festival celebrating music, art, crafts, drama, poetry and comedy. It’s an ideal family weekend with events for everyone. The exhibition of Alex’s work is at The Stables, All Saints Church, 122 High Street, Lindfield from 10am to 4pm.

Dementia UK provide Admiral Nurses with the vision of  ensuring “People living with and affected by dementia will receive compassionate expert care and support that is right for them, to live positive and fulfilling lives”.  Both Alex and his immediate family would have benefitted hugely by having this type of support and we hope to raise funds to help others in the same situation.

You can visit his online gallery to browse or even purchase his work or get more details on our event Facebook page if you’d like to come to the exhibition.

Artist’s Statement:

I am often asked about the sources of my ideas and there isn’t a simple answer. My work is primarily spontaneous and intuitive and I paint from the heart – letting the colours and texture do the talking. Of course I have been influenced (and who hasn’t!) by many of the great artists, and this rich store of imagery and ideas feeds my subconscious and inevitably contributes to my output. I use a variety of brushes and sculpture tools; some work features impasto whereas in others paint is applied very thinly to the surface. I love to experiment and this has resulted in work in many media, including pen and ink, watercolour, acrylic and oil.

The title of a piece frequently presents itself at a late stage or even after the work is complete. Abstract pieces tend to develop without any preconception on my part and much of my enjoyment comes from the different interpretations placed upon my paintings; people see a variety of shapes and designs that may be inconsistent with the “theme” or title. The finished painting is therefore only half the equation and it becomes whole only after the concept or idea communicates with the viewer.

Alex Wilson, 14th July 2005AGW - Poster - Final - smlSome examples of Alex’s work:

Acrylic On Canvas Pine Frame 61 x 61 cm 71 x 71 (framed) Memorial price £185 (List price £400)

Acrylic On Canvas
Pine Frame
61 x 61 cm
71 x 71 (framed)
Memorial price £185
(List price £400)

Acrylic On Board Painted Frame 76 x 61 cm 86 x 71 (framed) Memorial price £200 (under offer) (List price £400)

Acrylic On Board
Painted Frame
76 x 61 cm
86 x 71 (framed)
Memorial price £200 (under offer)
(List price £400)

Mixed Media On Board Pine Frame 61 x 92 cm 76 x 107 (framed) Memorial price £250 (List price £600)

Mixed Media On Board
Pine Frame
61 x 92 cm
76 x 107 (framed)
Memorial price £250
(List price £600)