Freedom Tour 2013 – Aspire Photography Workshop

Today I ventured out with a fellow photographer to just outside of Bristol for the Folio Albums & Aspire Training Freedom Tour. This is a chance to meet other photographers, talk shop and enjoy the styled shoot.

Armed with camera’s, lenses, lots of enthusiasm and a bag of sweets for the journey we made our way down the M5. Even on a boring motorway journey we admired the lush green fields and talked about our plans for future projects (both together and separately).

We arrived at The Compass Inn rather early, so we grabbed a cold drink and went for a mooch around the pretty grounds. As more photography enthusiasts and professionals arrived for the event the models had finishing touches put their hair and make up. The Aspire Team had set up two vehicles – a VW camper van and a stunning old Jaguar along with props. There were ten of us for the first hours shoot and, if I am honest it was a bit of a frenzy of snapping away at the same model all trying to get “THE” shot of the day. My idea was to start away from the others with the pretty Jaguar and a lovely model sat reading a book. Throughout the hour I took lots of photo’s and even a few of the whole group at work.

The hour was over all too soon. We then had the chance to meet the Folio Album Guru’s – knowledgeable about their products and even answered questions about non leather products for vegetarians.

So here are a few of my favourites from the hours shoot, hope you enjoy them….

Mel

xx

 

 

 

 

Stop just for two minutes and look….

Spring is one of my favourite seasons. A time where things come to life after the long, cold, wet winter. New born lambs in the fields seem to arrive earlier and earlier, really is a sight that can always make anyone smile. Of course when the clocks “Spring” forward and the nights get lighter, the migrant birds start to return and the sun comes out to play. We start to potter around our gardens, go for evening strolls and plan our holidays. Sometimes I do feel that we should all stop just for two minutes and look. You never know what you might be missing.

In the past week we have had some amazing sunshine and I have been out doing lots of walking (training for my trip to Nepal later in the year) on the Malvern Hills. In my short five minute drive to the hills I pass fields, woodland and residential streets. One thing that has come to my attention in the sunshine is how colourful and fresh everything looks. Magnolia tree’s in people’s gardens. Cherry blossom and daffodils out at the same time this year too. The fields vary from neatly farrowed soil to the bright yellow of Rapeseed flowers or green pastures.  Just on the outskirts of Ledbury the apple orchards, for which the county is famous for it’s cider making, are in blossom too.

Yesterday I discovered the sweet smelling bluebells have started to appear. There are a couple of my favourite bluebell spots not far from me. Jubilee Drive up by Malvern Hills Hotel, and Hollybush near Eastnor. Both will be a blanket of blue in the next few days making for fantastic photographs if you get there early enough to get the lovely soft light.

I am sure I have said this already on here but I do feel very lucky to live in Ledbury. We are surrounded by ever changing countryside for which most people take for granted. Being a photographer (and a nosey parker) I do not miss much and  I like to pay attention to the little details.

Next time you go out for a walk just stop for two minutes and look for the little things. It might not be bright yellow and staring you in the face but I bet it will make you smile.

Holi-Powder Photoshoot Package

You may remember a few weeks ago I did my experimental Holi-Powder photo shoot? We had so much fun I have decided to make it a permanent holi-powder photoshoot package for everyone to join in – Parents vs Children, Boys vs Girls, Couples, Friends.

The powder is traditionally used at Indian festivals and is non toxic so can be safely used by children and adults and does not damage the environment.

The package itself will consist of a 2 hour shoot on location where we will get some “clean” shots and then get on with the good stuff of powder throwing! After the shoot you will be able to choose which image you would like to put  on canvas or acrylic panel  and which 5 you would like as low resolution images (which will  be watermarked) to show off on Facebook and other Social Media (All this included in the price). You can order more prints if you require at additional cost.

The Holi-powder is included in the cost of this package but you will need to supply your own white t-shirt that you don’t mind getting stained.

This price of £150 is for 4 people based on the amount of Holi-Powder that will be required for the shoot. Should you wish to have more people then please do contact me for additional costs.

So, all you need to do now is contact me to book and then pick which side you want to be on!

Let’s have some fun

Mel xx

Brighton Marathon

For those of you who saw my post on my Facebook page  last night you will be eagerly awaiting, what I promised would be exciting news.

Most of my business photography is wedding’s and lifestyle shoots but in my spare time I like to photograph landscapes, motor sport and have taken pictures at Mud Runner (Eastnor) events when my friends have entered. Something completely different and things that I have loved and been involved in long before my life as a photographer.

This leads me on to my news. I have been asked to be one of the photographers at this years Brighton Marathon by the sponsors, Saucony UK & Ireland . Of course, I have said yes!

On Sunday April 14th I shall be capturing the atmosphere of 11-12,000 runners pounding the streets of Brighton and their supporters who will line the route to cheer them on. Lots of images showing the sheer volume of runners doing it for all sorts of reasons & charities. Also showing how demanding it can be and people’s struggle and determination to “Find Your Strong.”

I am very excited to have this offer and be a part of the UK’s 2nd largest Marathon. I will share my story on here after the event.

Mel x

On the Border

Living in Ledbury offers so many great walks and views. From my front door I can take a five minute drive (or half an hour walk), skipping over the Herefordshire/Worcestershire border, to the stunning Malvern Hills.

As a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the Malverns are a great view point. On a good day you can see the Welsh mountains, rolling hills of Herefordshire, May Hill in Gloucestershire, the Obelisk on the Eastnor Estate and the Cotswolds. Whats not to love?

These hills have a huge place in my heart. As a child I remember going for walks with my aunty, my cousin and the dog, in awe of the views and the fact I could see into another country! Wow. I also remember watching the para-gliders, soaring gracefully like buzzards in the thermal winds. To me that was Summer time. I also spent time just sat, sitting , watching and listening with my best friend back in 1996 as an 19 year old and deciding that I wanted to give up my partying lifestyle and move back here.

Today, just before 8am I set off with my camera on a joint mission. Firstly, as a small training walk to help in preparation for our trip of a lifetime in September to Nepal. Secondly, an excuse to get some fresh air and get out with my camera. Admittedly it has been a couple of weeks since my boyfriend and I were up on the hills but in that short time so much has changed. I like this about the hills.

I feel extremely lucky to live in such a beautiful place where this sort of thing is literally on the doorstep. It should never be taken for granted and always enjoyed at any opportunity.

Go on, get out there. I know you want to

xx

Black, White and snowy Ledbury

Beautiful market town of Ledbury has been made even more beautiful in the past few days with the help of the snow. Although it has caused chaos on the roads there is no denying snow makes everything look so peaceful and serene.

Last Friday, whilst it was still snowing, I went for a wander around town. There were parents towing their children on sledges and men wearing big furry trapper hats and walking boots with their dogs.  The sweetest thing I did see was an elderly couple making their way back from the shops. The gentleman was steadying the lady by holding her hand and carrying the bags in the other. I heard him ask her if she was O.K and to go steady. Made me smile and warm inside.

One of my favourite photographs taken on Friday is of The Feathers Hotel. If you have ever visited Ledbury I will put money on the fact this hotel is one of the photo’s you have taken. The other two “must take” pictures are of the iconic Market House and the lovely Church Lane and its cobbled path.

Ledbury is a fabulous place to live and work all year round and I am very lucky to have such great inspiration.

Muddy Weekend

With NOTHING but rain, grey sky and a bit more rain you would think the last thing people would want to do was to run a 10k trail around the Eastnor Estate in a race called Mud Runner!

Mud Runner – Oblivion venue was Eastnor, just outside Ledbury. This was actually the event that should have happened in April but due to heavy rain, high winds and fallen tree’s the decision was to postpone it. So 30th June & 1st July were the chosen dates to try again!

Like I said at the start of this post we have had nothing but miserable, unpredictable weather  – and this is supposed to be Summer! BUT, the added bonus for the weekend that it was beautiful and sunny. Amazing blue sky and those fluffy white clouds that remind you of candy floss. Ahhhhhhhh, anyway……

Normally the Deer Park and Estate are tranquil scenes and wildlife havens but for this particular weekend just over 1000 runners, plus their supporters, it was to be a playground and for some, home. In the runners village (start/finish line) there were marquees where you could purchase hoodies and tee-shirts, somewhere for spectators to buy a brew and of course “The Muddy Tub of Love” – this is basically a huge communal bath of warm water to clean off after!

Men, women & children of many shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels were all excited to get started. The first wave of runners or more elite athletes chomped at the bit to get going. The following waves were mixed and included people in fancy dress! From where I was stood I had a good view of the start/finish and the long slow gradient up to the Obelisk. From there on after it would be a waiting game for the lead runners to work their way around the course which included some of the Land Rover test tracks, man made obstacles, woodland and not forgetting the lakes!

The first adult over the finishing line was a local lad who runs with Hereford Couriers in a time of 50minutes & 16seconds! From then on there was a steady flow of muddy and exhausted runners crossing the finish line, including our friend Matt who ran the course on the first day in a gas mask!

What a setting for such a great event. Everything so lush, green and, oh yeah, muddy! The next time I wander around the Estate I will imagine myself doing it covered in mud! If I can pull my finger out I will also be taking part next year…..

 

Great to be British

Two thousand and twelve or twenty twelve…. whichever way you say it, it is an incredibly exciting year to be British. So far this year in Ledbury and across many towns and cities in the country we have already welcomed the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay and celebrated our Queens Diamond Jubliee.

Thursday May 24th 2012 was the turn of beautiful market town Ledbury and the excited local residents, business owners and schools to line the streets all in the hope of catching a glimpse of the Olympic Torch and flame. It is estimated that a whopping 10,000 people came to see the once in a life time event in their high street. People were already taking their places, prime positions before 8am when the road was closed. By the time I got out there was already a party atmosphere.

Ledbury is a friendly and social place and love’s any excuse to close the high street and have a get together. Attracting young and old and all those in between, with red, white and blue everywhere the market town looked amazing. “Welcome to Ledbury” the banner across the street read. All the local businesses were draped with union flag bunting and most people were wearing colours of our flag too.

As the time approached for the torch to be coming through, sponsors vehicles led the procession “warming up” the crowd (not that we needed it), giving out Olympic torch memorabilia and playing loud music.

I was lucky enough to have been offered a birds eye view by one of the shop owners and this gave me the chance to take some fantastic photo’s.

In the distance at the top end of town I could see our first torch bearer surrounded by Met Police Officers and hear the screams of excitement get louder. As they got nearer I felt a lump in my throat and realised, even with all the bad things on the news and in the press the Great British public really are GREAT and we do know how to throw a party and pull together. With this the torch bearer walked past me waving and smiling at all that greeted him, totally soaking it all up.

What an amazing experience.

Ledbury and all the people who worked hard to make that possible, turn everything red, white and blue and made the torch welcome should be very proud of themselves.

Ledbury Photography

Ledbury Photography

I moved to Ledbury nearly six years ago to be with my boyfriend. It was only a skip and a jump across the county border from Malvern but it feels like another world.

One thing I have found about being a photographer in Herefordshire is that I am constantly inspired by the quaint market towns, the rural landscapes, wildlife and the close knit communities.

So with this section of my site I will be posting photographs of Ledbury and the surrounding areas of Herefordshire so that I can share the beauty with you too.