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!!

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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…..

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

 

Book Launch Film Promo

This week I was approached by an Edinburgh based author to produce a 30 second video clip that can be used to promote her debut novel on social media sites and the internet.  More authors now are realising the importance of digital marketing techniques  and the use of social media to promote their works.  One of the possible locations will be Loch Carron which is not far from Skye.  It looks like I may be camping so am looking forward to this project as it will be nice to get up into the highlands again.  Again I can only hope and pray for dry weather.  More updates to follow folks.