Scottish Travel Blog, Scotland

All Change

I am a big believer in just going for the things in life that you want. And if that involves life changes then all change!

Five and a half years ago I set up my photography business whilst still working full time. Lots of hard work, sweat and yes, some tears (no blood) have paid off and this is now my sole job. So you may be surprised to learn that I am moving home and business to Perthshire, Scotland, as of October 2015.

Why?

This is a question and response by many people by whom we have told about our move. By “our” move I mean me and my long suffering, photography widow, partner, James.

Our reply “why not?” For many years our holidays over the border have captured my imagination with awe inspiring mountains, views and wildlife. After spending nearly a month in Glasgow last year as a volunteer for the Commonwealth Games, I also loved the kindness, generosity and friendliness of people. If that is not enough reasoning behind our move it may be right to say we both love the outdoors (walking, canoeing, photography etc) and want a change of lifestyle.

So, it is with mixed emotions I shall be bidding my life in Ledbury, Herefordshire a fond farewell. Thank you to everyone who has supported me – clients, suppliers, family and friends.

In my new chapter, I shall be offering the same creative services in Perth and Kinross with long term goals of something very exciting. You will be able to keep an eye on my new adventures right here on the blog or Facebook page. All change!

Thank you once again

Mel x


Scottish Travel Blog, Scotland Scottish Travel Blog, Scotland

 

Bluestone National Park Resort Review

This post is slightly different to anything I would normally post on my website and blog but I was invited as a #BluestoneBlogger to spend 4 nights at the resort and to take photos then blog about my experience at Bluestone National Park Resort. So here goes:

From our very first Tweet my experience with Bluestone was nothing short of First Class. Booking was simple and within minutes a confirmation email was sent with details about activities, hire services, spa treatments and facilities on site. Given time to look through this email my partner and I decided we would treat ourselves and book time at the Well Spa (more about that later). We chose not to hire bicycles or a buggy but it looks really easy to book online as do the other activities.

So, fast forward one week and it’s our day of arrival. Minus the fact that ten minutes down the road from the resort a lorry spat a HUGE stone at our windscreen and making an equally huge chip we arrived safe and sound having followed the signs from the M4. As a guest arriving you are able to use facilities on site from 11am but not have access to your lodge until 4pm (For an additional cost you can have access from 1pm to your lodge). We queued at what looks like a fast food drive thru to be greeted by a very helpful, smiley member of staff. Given an information pack and instructions we had just 15 minutes to wait until the barrier allowed us access to our free range break.

I must at this point tell you that it was just me and my partner, no children, so I am unable to comment on the activities for families and children. Although we did venture into the Adventure Centre to get some photos.

We had been allocated Ramsey Lodge, which boasts upside down living. Rightly so, as we found out it was at the side of the lake, giving a gorgeous perspective over the lake looking toward the village and up the hill. Stunning.

 

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First thing is first – unpack and then venture to the pub and check out the local hospitality! Yes we really did! The Knights Tafarn in the centre of the village is great for couples and families alike and a welcoming roaring open fire. A bonus point from my partner’s point of view is that they had “proper ale” on tap too. We didn’t eat on this occasion but it did look and smell divine.

The next two days were wet, grey and fairly grim if I am honest but we are hardy outdoor types and ventured out with our walking boots and waterproofs on. There were families making the most of the indoor facilities and off to the Blue Lagoon but we explored the trails around the resort. We found Camp Smokey and although at this time of year is closed we could see that it’s a fabulous location down in the woods (one of many good excuses to come back later in the year). All the trails are well marked and vary in length and difficulty. Through the woodland, along streams with some steep hills. Great Free range adventures. Trees covered in damp moss and lots of squelching mud – brilliant! Yes I really am in my 30’s and saying brilliant about mud!

There is only one thing to do after getting back soaked and covered in mud and that is to have a hot chocolate at the bakery in the village. Accompanied by a lemon and poppyseed mufin (other flavours are available). Please note the lack of any muffin in my photo below – I had devoured it by the time I thought to photograph it! Ooooops……

Back in the lodge it really is home from home. The kitchen equipment and facilities allowed for us to cook on three nights of our four night stay. The open plan living area upstairs was beautiful. For those visiting with children there is plenty of room for them to play and remain safe as there were stair gates already fitted top and bottom of the staircase. With just the two of us in the lodge it was great. Peaceful. I did quite a bit of reading. I have to say that the wet room was probably one of my favourite places. Powerful and hot shower after being out all day. Bliss.

After all the walking in the cold we were more than ready for our Celtic Spa Experience and aromatherapy massage in the afternoon. We were greeted and given robes, a towel, a pair of flip flops each and shown the changing rooms. We had decided to split our time in the Thermal Rooms in two. One hour before our massage and one hour after. Relaxing in the sauna, steam rooms and invigorating ice room was a great start. The massage was just what I needed. My therapist talked me through the oils she would use and level of pressure she should use on me and what I wanted to gain from the massage. She was absolutely spot on and managed to find several rather large knots in my shoulders! Possibly the best massage I have had in a long time.

Our third day – last full day, we woke to a hard frost, blue sky and sunshine. We decided to find out directions to Black Pool Mill and have a walk off resort. After asking for a map and directions at the office in the village we set off. It only took us about 25 minutes to get there. We then came back a different way through more woodland paths – all marked.

On our last night we decided to try out the fish and and chips that we had seen on our first visit to the Knights Tafarn. Not at all disappointed by the food that was put in front of us. Sadly, again I have no photo of my dinner but believe me it is well worth it.

I haven’t paid much attention in this post to the fact that the resort is mostly a car free zone. Upon unpacking your vehicle on arrival you must return it to the car park near the entrance for the duration of your stay. This makes for a much better environment to be in. It is safer and obviously has less impact on the environment. Bluestone pride themselves on their guests being able to be Free Range and this is a great ethos.

There really is so much to do on site for families and couples alike. Something for everyone. Indoor or outdoor. My post only scratches the surface to what is on offer. So what, the weather didn’t come up trumps for us in early February. We had an amazing time and came away thoroughly relaxed and re-charged.

Thank you Bluestone National Park Resort for your kind hospitality. It’s not goodbye, it’s see ya later…..

Mel and James x

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Mud Runner – Ice Breaker

Last night I had a super exciting conversation with someone from the Peachy Snaps team who have been photographing Mud Runner Ice Breaker, Oblivion and Classic for some years now. Today I can tell you that I will be joining the team and shall be armed and ready to shoot (photo’s obviously) at next months Ice Breaker too.

Such a fabulous and local event – with LOTS of mud, some grit and determination thrown together with crazy people running and cycling through the Herefordshire countryside on a Sunday morning in February – It’s going to be epic!

I look forward to seeing some of you there

Mel x

Head back to the Home page here

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And the Winner is……..

Massive Congratulations to Maria Knight (and her Hubby to be) on winning a photo shoot in Iceland with me.

Maria entered the competition by emailing me and on News Years Day her name was drawn from the “hat” (a pasta bowl).

I have visited Iceland (this time last year) and fell in love with the people, landscape and whole feel and culture of this stunning Country. So many photo opportunities and amazing light from a photographers point of view too. Brilliant chance to share it with others and help them get some great holiday snaps!

Looking forward to planning the trip with Maria and HTB for later in the year. I LOVE making plans for adventures especially when it involves photographing lovely couples and epic landscapes. We can travel in style too thanks to a discount on car hire offered by Thrifty.

What an amazing way to kick off 2015. Thank you to everyone who entered.

Mel x

 

Family Photo Shoots

This Autumn Half Term involved lots of throwing of leaves, a pillow fight, walks in the woods, lots of laughter and meeting some lovely families….. The stuff photographers dream of! Some really great family photo shoots.

I thought I would share these with you on a blog post rather than just putting them up  in a gallery.

Two hour location Family shoots are available all year round and cost £90. All images uploaded to an online gallery from which you can download and print.

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WIN a Photoshoot in ICELAND

In January I shall be celebrating 5 years in business and I wanted to do something rather special for this reason.

COMPETITION TIME

I am offering one couple the chance to WIN a free photoshoot in the beautiful country of Iceland. All you have to do is email me – mel@melaniechadd.co.uk before Midnight December 31st 2014 to be in with a chance of winning.

Rugged landscape, beautiful lighting and gorgeous beaches – all on one island. So many photo opportunities. What’s not to love?

Please ensure you read the following Terms and Conditions BEFORE entering

Terms and Conditions

A full day photo shoot (locations to be decided) in Iceland. The winning couple must make own arrangements and pay for flights and hotel etc. Dates to be arranged and mutually convenient. Valid Passport will be required for flying. Melanie Chadd Photography holds no responsibility for any travel arrangements and delays caused by any third party or act of God. Couple shall receive all images on a USB and will be featured on my blog. Images may be used by Melanie Chadd Photography for future advertising and promotions. Copyright shall remain with Melanie Chadd Photography.

Good Luck xx

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Seasonal Floral Crown

Every now and again it’s nice to do something COMPLETELY different – non wedding or family orientated. For quite some time I have wanted to use antlers, yes things that grow on the heads of deer, for a photo shoot. How about a rather seasonal floral crown? So after using Pinterest for ideas and develop my own idea’s I selected a small team of local Ledbury wedding suppliers and knew I wanted a very specific look for my model. I put out a model call to my Facebook page to my friends to see if anyone knew of a female with red hair and a pale complexion. My prayer was answered and Clare was “delivered” to me. Brilliant!

Both headpieces were designed and made by Kathryn from Bamboo – The Flower Gallery, a local and very creative Floral Designer. I gave Kathryn the brief of my idea’s and a few bits and pieces like pearls, feathers, conkers and antlers – you know, normal stuff that EVERYONE wears in their hair, she just did the rest! For the make up I had quite a clear idea of exactly what look I was going for and Maria from Sprinkle Magic did a sterling job of making Clare up perfectly. Lisa, the hair stylist managed to tame the curls of my beautiful model enough for an updo (to be pulled back and hidden completely) and then released them and accentuated Clare’s natural colour and curls to be slightly wilder!

The first head shots we did were of the oversized floral headpiece and once on location with the sun shining and I was in love with how well my design had been created by people who, luckily for them, can’t see inside my head!

Now the second look, although in my head I knew what I wanted, took a very different turn from the first. Slightly wilder, more sultry and sexy feel to it. With a change of make up, hair and now adding in a stunning fur wrap (kindly loaned by Vintage Tramp, Ledbury) and a set of antlers we were off again.

Clare instantly added her own sexiness to this and with some small direction for posing she worked it! Who knew she had never modeled before?

These photo’s were also blogged on Plans and Presents

FeaturedOnI think a stunning seasonal floral crown could catch on, don’t you? Anyway, I hope you like it. Enough of my blathering on, take a look…….

 

 

 

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Banksy or not?

The question is: is it a Banksy or not?

Yesterday in the sleepy market town of Ledbury some rather good street art appeared on a wall of one of the local businesses. From the front of the building you would never have guessed it was there but just feet away from the hustle and bustle of  the high street, down Tilley’s Alley, a picture of John Masefield had appeared. The words from a Masefield poem also accompany the work “I must down to the seas again.”

At the moment it is mere speculation as to whether we have been visited by Banksy or if it is a P.R stunt by the Ledbury Poetry Festival (which, as it happens, is starting this weekend – 4th July). I am led to believe in a local paper interview, Ledbury Poetry Festival have said they a not responsible to the art work.

So I suppose now it is just a waiting game to see if someone admits to it. In the meantime I shall continue to enjoy it as it’s about 50 yards away from the office.

Ledbury Banksy or not?

 

Sunny Photo Play Days

Mid way through March already and in a couple of weeks the clocks will “Spring Forward” meaning we will be getting more daylight. After feeling the warmth of the sunshine at the weekend I know I am definitely ready for some sunny photo play days.

As well as planning pre-wedding shoots for the lovely couples who have booked me as their wedding photographer I am looking forward to some Lifestyle sessions too.

Lifestyle sessions are usually held outdoors in the natural light at a location of your choice. Somewhere special to your family. It could be the park, woods, the hills or the beach. You can even bring the dog! They are not all about sitting and posing more about capturing natural moments. The smiles, laughter and loving looks make for the best photographs. They show your family or you and your partner having fun and can tell a story, without saying a word.

It is a good idea to choose clothes that co-ordinate with the rest of the family or your other half, but that are not exactly the same. Choose a colour scheme with a few different shades or colours to mix and match. Jackets that can be taken off to create a different look. Don’t be afraid to show your personalities, after all, these are YOUR photos. Ladies go all out with a colourful necklace, earrings or scarf. Gents, how about rocking a flat cap or straw trilby? Fun shoes also make a  good photograph.

Oh and props, well they are ALWAYS welcome.

If in doubt you can always pop over to my Pinterest boards for inspiration.

So if you do fancy having two hours of fun, whilst getting photographed then please email me. 

Every day is a school day

Last Sunday I attended a wedding workshop held by Mick Payton. Mick has 20+ years experience of photographing some of the worlds biggest bands, motor sport and weddings. Today he is the UK’s leading Erotic Art and Fine Art Nude specialist.

Mick also does various tuition workshops  for weddings, boudoir and studio work.

So, armed with camera’s and lenses I set out on a road trip to Walsall. The group was small, me and 6 others. A nice mixed group of all abilities. We had the pleasure of having a beautiful model called Helen as our Bride for the day. The flow of the day was relaxed,  giving chance to direct the model, talk to other photographers, have your images viewed by Mick for constructive critique. Thankfully the weather was good to us and we were able to spend most of the day in the garden.

Whilst talking to one of the other female photographers I was asked “If you have already shot weddings, why are you here?” Good question…..

My reasoning behind  doing workshops is continual improvement, motivation and inspiration. I think everyone should learn something new every day. So my answer to the question was “every day is a school day and there is ALWAYS something new to learn. If you think you know it all you may as well give up!” In the grand scheme of things I am still relatively new to this but my passion, my idea’s and the people I meet are my driving force.

I have met some really lovely people and I hope that with my continual development and ever growing passion I will meet many more. I am looking forward to showing you more of my inspiration and motivation through other workshops but for now, enjoy these images taken on Sunday.

 

Mel

xx