The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

Fife Ness, Scotland

An update my friends is long overdue!  I am currently editing a vlog on my recent trip to the Outer Hebrides in Scotland.  I was fortunate to be able to do the North Harris Snorkel trail while on a holiday with the Perth British Sub Aqua Club.  We had a fantastic time, the weather was 15 degrees with a mixture of sunshine and rain most days.

I have submitted an article to the British Sub Aqua Magazine with photos and that should be printed in  a future publication.

I continue to enjoy using my new found format – the Olympus Pen and have been enjoying doing some Monotone Street Photography with the Kinross Camera Club.  It’s great to get out into the Scottish countryside or coastal areas and take photos with other enthusiasts.  I also enjoy doing macro photography of flowers and insects I find in the Fife and Lothians areas.

The Kinross Show will be on next month and I’m looking forward to getting some shots of the Vintage Tractors with the Pen.  So, rather than rattle on about the Harris trip, I’ll upload the video(s) when edited shortly.  Watch this space!!

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Olympus Pen

Water Droplet Macro Shot

After recently attending an open day sale at Edinburgh’s Wex branch I came away with a new camera!!  I had had no intention of buying any more camera gear but I thought I’d have a look anyway.  I arrived at the store and the event was well attended.  I weaved my way around the crowds looking at the different stalls selling Sony, Olympus, Pentax, Panasonic, Canon and Nikon.

I was on the lookout for the Micro Four Thirds sellers.  There was a rep from Olympus but I was drawn to the used table with an array of lenses and camera bodies.

I did notice an Olympus Pen body and it was the cheapest item on the table at only £179.  In comparison, I noticed a Sony A7 full frame body at £700.  It suddenly occured to me – I needed a back up body for shooting weddings!!  Every wedding photographer should have two bodies for the big day and I realised I had an opportunity.

The camera body came with not much else – the box, a power lead, manual and disc were all that were on offer.  I had never owned an Olympus before and was excited at getting my first Pen – and – supporting the Micro Four Thirds industry – and – helping to save the planet by recycling camera gear rather than buying new.

I took the new camera body home and excitedly attached my Leica 12 to 60mm lens to see what would happen.  To my delight the camera was functioning fine with this lens.  Then I tried my Panasonic Macro lens and that too provided excellent shots.  I was experiencing the same joy as I did when I opened the box of my first new micro camera in 2018.

I sourced two spare batteries and charger from Amazon so cheaply I couldn’t believe it!!

I tested the Pen out by shooting some macro round the Loch Leven area and got some amazing water dropet shots – I was really enjoying myself with this new body.  It is so light compared to my other ‘big brother’ micro camera.  I was also astounded at how long the battery was lasting.  I had 7 separate macro shoots before the battery was empty!!

Not only now do I have a back up body for weddings but I can also enjoy macro photography too.  I then decided that I would quite like to try some street photography as this is what the Pen was deisgned for – being compact and discreet.  My Leica zoom is a little too front heavy for the Pen body.  After getting a copy of Amateur Photography I discovered Park Cameras and sourced a used Olympus 14 to 24 zoom lens which is exactly the lens that should have come in the box!!  I got this lens for only £59 – how about that!

So I await my lens and during the summer months I will enjoy doing some street photography in ‘Auld Reekie’ and new town of Edinburgh City.  I will experiment with the monochrome mode against some of Edinburgh’s most amazing architecture.  Students from all over the world come to study Edinburgh New Town’s architecture.  When you walk along George Street you notice that each house has its own unique stone design and motiffs.

I have now ordered a handy camera case to protect the camera while travelling and will keep you updated on my adventures!!

Aid for Africa

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It’s 2019 and the Easter Weekend has arrived with glorious weather here in Kinross, Scotland.  We’ve spent the weekend at Tullibole Castle near Crook of Devon, Kinross at the wedding fair.  We enjoyed meeting some couples and demonstrating some aerial photography.  We also enjoyed feeding the Peacocks some of our lunch and in return they put on amazing feather displays for us and some singing skills too.  So am looking forward to doing some more work with Tullibole Castle in Future.

I also will be working with Jo Middlemiss of Kinross who runs the Ethiopia Medical Project which is carrying out aid work in Africa so am feeling blessed for the tools I can use to help Jo with her mission.

More updates to follow!!   Watch this space…..

 

Edinburgh Glamour Nights

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The Golden Era of Edinburgh’s most glamorous Business Networking nights seems like a distant memoir.  Classy venues such as Bonhams, The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Divino Enotica, Gusti, Hotel Du Vin, The Old Waverley are to name just a few of the night spots where Edinburgh’s most stylish clientele did the Business.

Two ladies ran the glamour roost in my opinion – Fiona and Gordana.  I did some of the photos for their events to help promote what they were doing and I even managed to gain some clients myself.

Taking the photographs didn’t feel like work, more fun and a chance to socialise with a variety of people from diverse business’s and backgrounds.  With these events there was no entry fee, you just payed for your drinks and the networking was up to you.  At many of these events drinks and nibbles were provided free of charge by the venue hosts.

Fond memories indeed.  These events happened in the  early millennial era and now that it’s 2019, they seem so distant.  I now network in rural Kinross-shire – early mornings!!  A different networking experience altogether – our venue is Loch Leven’s Larder and once the sun is above the horizon, you’ll hear cocks crowing, tractors happily plough the fields while your doing your 60 second elevator pitch.

The business breakfast networking is organised by the Kinross-shire  Partnership and for a small fee you receive a hearty cooked breakfast with tea coffee and orange juice.  I of course supply photos for the business section of the Kinross Newsletter glossy magazine.

Event’s photography is one of my favourite types of job, there’s usually a positive atmosphere in the room.  Edinburgh is a cosmopolitan city  and so you get to meet such interesting people from all different parts of the globe.  Kinross is central Scotland and you never know who you’ll bump into in this secret beauty spot.

But what of the golden era of Edinburgh’s Classy Business Networking Night scene? Who knows, maybe a revival is in the pipleline?! Maybe glamour Networking will be resurrected!!

Mine’s a Martini on the rocks, shaken not stirred…..

Fashion Modelling

03When I was approached this year to carry out some modelling photography, I was somewhat surprised – after all, the source of the job was most unexpected – a nice lady from the Green Hotel in Kinross had passed on my number to an up and coming model who had been looking for a photographer to help him produce a portfolio.  Apparently he had contacted Photographers in Edinburgh as he didn’t even think there were photographers in Perthshire.

There was also the added complication that although Edinburgh based photographers were available, their prices were OTT.

As a local photography and videography service in Kinross, I know what people can and can’t afford so am always able to speak with clients to see what I can do on their budget.

We got together on a frosty February morning, and started the best way of a shoot with lovely roasted coffee from Jocks Lodge bar at the Green Hotel.  Kinross by the way is a fantastic location for doing photography and videography.  It’s central to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife, Ayr, and Perth.

My model arranged the different types of clothes he wanted to change into and we started by doing some lobby and stair shots in the hotel.  We moved out into the centre garden court for some shots by the waterfall.

After a change we drove down to the Loch Leven where the water was frozen, so we had great fun slipping and sliding on the ice to get some shots of the frozen surface.

Then it was back to the hotel for more coffee!!  That’s what I like about photography or filming – the coffee breaks and fortunately for me, my client likes his coffee as much as I do!!

This experience made me realise that you don’t even need a studio to do modelling photography – all you need is imagination, which for me, is a prime requirement for a photographer or film maker.  The image capture begins with the thoughts in your head, and being creative in your head.

There’s nothing quite like shooting out in the countryside, surrounded by the natural environment – it’s invigorating!!

After visiting 3 different locations around the loch we were wrapped up after only four hours.  Of course we had to end the day with a final coffee at the Green Hotel which is a place I will be using for a discussion group in the not too distant future.

My client was happy with his edited shots so I look forward to doing more modelling work if possible in the near future!!

 

It’s Wedding Season !!

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Vu – West Lothian

 

It’s 2019 and this year we launch Wedding and Civil Partnership Photography with the new Micro Four Thirds Camera System.  What makes us different?  We know that weddings are a costly event for all and so I am offering affordable packages to suit most budgets.

I will also be offering Video at Weddings as an added extra for couples who would like to have some mini interviews and messages recorded on the day.

Fingers crossed I hope to have a Drone for doing your aerial shots in the near future.

I look forward to covering some of Scotland’s most amazing venues and locations – Perth, Fife, Clackmannanshire, West Lothian, Bathgate, the Borders and Edinburgh!!

 

The Sky’s the Limit

propertymeHi Folks, it’s been a wee while since my last blog, however I’ve been busy with attending networking events and experimenting with my go pro while out with my sub aqua club.  I’m now a member of the British Sub Aqua Club so that I can enjoy going out into the Scottish waters with even more divers.

 

I’m currently designing new publicity materials to push ahead with getting the Property Photography business off the ground.  I live in Kinross  where property is being bought and sold like hotcakes however surprisingly it’s still hard to let the locals know I live here and am keen to do their property photos!!

I simply love doing property photography and I use an Ultra Wide Angle Lens to present your interiors in the best visual way possible.

Now, my new addition to the service will be a Drone complete with pilot – he’s Lee Richardson (photo to follow) , he’s got his aviation licence and I’m pleased to announce he is now on board so that if you require aerial shots of your country mansion, estate or industrial factory, we can get that in the can if required.

The law requires that your property is a minimum of 150 metres from the nearest populated area, so if your property meets this requirement, we’re good to go!!

We will be pleased to shoot your property in the areas of Fife, Perthshire, Clackmannanshire, Stirling, Lothians indeed anywhere there is demand.  We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Location Location Location

If you’re looking for a fantastic location for your Film production or Photography fashion shoot – Kinross may just fit the bill. Located in central Fife, Scotland, Kinross is within a short commute from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Dunfermline, St Andrews and Clackmannanshire.

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Loch Leven Castle

The area is steeped in history and perhaps the most famous historical icon of Loch Leven is Loch Leven Castle where the legendary Mary Queen of Scots was captured while she tried to escape the English crown in 1568.  Interestingly, this year (2019) a Mary Queen of Scots movie was released in the UK cinemas – I’m not sure if any of it was shot in Loch Leven, and the main cast being Americans and Australians.

The castle ruins themselves provide a very haunting and atmospheric scene for your movie, documentary or photo shoot.  The castle can be accessed during the summer months via boat from the Historic Scotland office which is located by the Boat House.

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Model Shoot, Green Hotel Kinross

So, lets begin our location tour, starting at the Boat House restaurant.  Here you will find a small jetty where you can take the boat to Loch Leven Castle.  There is ample parking and you are also close to the giant wall that protects Kinross House, which keeps the local population well at bay.  Kinross house is rented out to the rich and famous for various functions.   

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Boat House Jetty Location

All the locations can be found round the road which circles the entire loch.  You can leave your car at the handy car park which has ample spaces.  From there you can walk the path towards Kinross house which after 15 mintues walk, you’ll find another small jetty which I used as a backdrop for a fashion shoot.  You can also drive along a small road from the town centre to get to this location and park at the small jetty. Close by is a haunting graveyard which belongs to Kinross house but is accessible to the public.

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2nd Jetty along from Boat House

Next on your tour you can drive round the loch either direction until you pass by RSPB Vane Farm visitor centre and cafe.  Don’t stop there but just past Vane Farm you’ll find Loch Leven Lodges cafe and picknick stop.

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Drystone Wall, Loch Leven Lodges

There is a car park and you can walk down to the sluice gates where the river flows into the loch.  There’s a country lane with a small bridge and drystone wall which I’ve used for a backdrop.  You are also a stone’s throw from the waterside with panoramic views of the Ochil Hills.

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Beach Location at Loch Leven Lodges
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Historical Scotlandwell

Continuing on your location hunt, you may wish to stop at Scotlandwell.  This historically famous location is where the magical mystical healing well rests, its healing properties have been used by the red monks in mediaevil times.  You’ll find a car park next to Scotlandwell church, and from there you can cross the road and walk up the the Kilmagad woodland walk.  You just follow the path and it will snake up the hill giving you several vantage points showing a backdrop of Loch Leven.

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Kilmagad Woodland Walk Vantage Point

I used this location to make two horror micro movies.  A word of warning – if you’re shooting in this location during the winter months, wrap up warm!!  The winds cut right through you so best to wear waterproofs to cut out that windchill.

Your final stop will be at Burleigh Castle, another historical place where Mary Queen of Scots used to dine with friends before she was put under surveillance. 

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Burleigh Castle

The Castle is a mini castle and makes a haunting backdrop for any movie or photo shoot requiring atmosphere, especially on a foggy day.

So there you have it – Loch Leven is beautiful in all weathers and everywhere is accessible by car.  There are plenty of cafes and Farm shops where your cast and crew can dine in style.  You also have the town of Kinross nearby with amenities, petrol stations and hotels.

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Horror Movie Location

 

D.I.Y Property Photography

D.I.Y. Property Photography – the Pros and Cons

I’m a media provider based In Kinross, which can be found in central Fife, Scotland.  In fact Kinross is part of Perth Council and is located near Stirling, Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Kinross is a vibrant town for property development and has a growing housing market.  Homes here are being bought and sold like hotcakes – why?  Well Kinross is situated next to the M90 within commuting distance of Edinburgh, Perth, Glasgow and Stirling – it’s smack bang in the centre of Scotland.

Kinross is a tourist location and is rich in history.  Loch Leven castle is the famous location where Mary Queen of Scots got captured while trying to escape the English crown.

So!  Now that you know where to find me, I’ll get on with it.

When you’re selling your home, first impressions count.  Even before prospective buyers put their foot over the front mat, they will have most likely viewed your property on line and perhaps in an estate agent’s glossy brochure.

It never ceases to amaze me, just how many people try to skimp on paying for professional property photography and shoot their own property photographs with their mobile phone.  If I were to sell my home I would not skimp on anything – especially if I’m trying to sell my home more quickly.

Pros of DIY Property Photography

  1. It’s Free
  2. There isn’t a number two

Cons of DIY Property Photography

  1. Image quality will be darker
  2. Angle of view will be limited
  3. Your rooms will appear small
  4. Creativity of shots will be limited

On a subtle level, prospective property buyers when judging the quality of images, could easily come to the conclusion that if the owners have skimped on their photos – what else in the house have they skimped over?

Pros of Professional Property Photography

  1. It’s not expensive – the costs will be a fraction of the sale value of your home
  2. Superior Image quality – a professional camera will have a larger image sensor
  3. A Pro camera will produce diffused brighter images with use of a flash gun
  4. A Pro camera will have interchangeable lenses that can offer a variety of angles
  5. An Ultra Wide Angle Lens will show more of the rooms in a single image
  6. Image file sizes will be much larger which is required for printing brochures

Cons of Professional Property Photography

  1. You will have to allocate a time slot for photography
  2.   Photographers have no control over the weather eg if it’s a cloudy day
  3.   The rooms have to be arranged right first time

As a local Kinross Property Photographer, all my clients have been happy with my work.  The advantage of using a local photographer is that I have been able to carry out re shoots for clients with ease as I live near the homes for sale.  If it’s cloudy on the day of the shoot, I can offer to re shoot the exteriors when it’s sunny, to show that lovely blue sky.

One thing I’ve noticed whenever my photos are published in magazines is that the image looks a bit darker than the original.  So property owners should be aware of this if shooting with a smart phone.  This is another reason why paying a tiny sum to a professional will promote your sale better in the long term – especially if you’re estate agent is going to print brochures.

Framing the shot – very often when I look at smart phone photography on social media, many of the images are framed so that they include objects in the image that can distract the viewer from the main subject.  Some images are just plain squint which can be like looking at a lopsided painting on a wall – you just want to straighten it!!

Flashing:  Smart phones have a tiny flash which will light up only a certain portion of the image in the direct line of view of where the phone is pointed.  When using a flash gun, the photographer can produce a bright enough image and also direct the light so that no parts of the image are brighter than the rest.  There is also less chance of seeing horrible flash reflection on shinny surfaces such as wide screen tv sets. 

Post Production:  if you use the services of a professional photographer, each image will be edited and optimised before being sent to the printer.  Many smart phone shooters will be less likely to want to spend time editing photographs when they can just email the whole lot to the estate agent with one touch.

I enjoy the challenge of different forms of photography.  In the past I have carried out HR employee head shots and I enjoy shooting macro shots of nature images.  For me, carrying out macro photography is not only enjoyable but also therapeutic.  It gives me a good excuse to get out the house and be in nature.

Why do I shoot properties?  Because I simply love to do this type of work.  I also find it therapeutic.  I am under no real pressure, I can take my time and I will take my time so that I can be inspired to take the shots that will promote my clients property in the best possible light.  I will even try to be creative with shooting some of the visually spectacular features of the homes furnishings.

If you’re a home owner in the regions of Kinross, Fife, Glenrothes, Stirling, Cupar, Dunfermline and looking for a property photographer who will methodically spend time taking your shots with professional level gear, please get in touch.

You’ll find my prices very reasonable and well worth the investment if you want to sell your home more quickly.

Which Property Kitchen Photo is more Pleasing??

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Taken with a Smart Phone

 

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Taken with a Camera