Hello Croatia

Man standing on bow of yacht with arms outstretched.
Man standing on bow of yacht with arms outstretched.

It’s the summer and we are saying ‘Hello Croatia” as we travel around the islands and explore the salty seas by boat .

We will be photographing lifestyle for leisure, financial and tourism around the enchanting sun drenched islands. On board will be photographer and captain, that’s me. Crew to include Anna the wife, stylist and cook. Jens, male talent, assistant and deck hand. Derek and Greg assistant trainee captains. We will picking up various talent along the way to help us create fresh new engaging imagery to engage your customers.

This popular image happened by chance. It was early morning, I mean early, not even all the crew were out of bed. The light was beautiful. This is the perfect conditions time for shooting using gentle natural light. Assisted by Jens my assistant we untied and manoeuvred the yacht out of the harbour. The light wind was perfect so Jens began to hoist the sails. At that moment I saw the shot, grabbed my camera and started clicking away, directing Jens into various positions and postures. A series of images in this series have been very popular with clients in the financial industry.

The image suggests a vitality and well being of the person, who embraces a new day with open arms ready to take on new challenges.

 

Underwater photography

Male swimmer underwater blowing bubbles
Male swimmer underwater blowing bubbles

I live in a condo apartment which has a 25 meter swimming pool. Looking out my window at the pool made me decide to have a shot at underwater photography.

I had my underwater housing for my camera which I use when I capture on the surface seascapes so I thought I would test it fully submerged and try to get some shots of a swimmer swimming overhead. An external light at times directed down into the water helped to define the images.

Mark is a fellow resident who uses the pool daily, for a rigid 1 1/2 hour routine. He borders on professional, always competing with himself to improve a time or style and can be heard in the pool early every morning, his consistent, good technique drumming a rhythm as he ploughs through the water. He agreed to let me test my underwater photography skills on him, grateful to use the images to analyse his technique and style.

I was pleased with the results and have photographed more people with my new found techniques. a found it difficult to keep alongside the swimmers until I purchased some fins to speed me up and keeping on the bottom of the pool is also a bit of an effort, one I intend to improve by using diver’s weights.

Link to more images here.

 

Caribbean travel photography

 

Young afrian american woman stands waist deep in sea in antigua, feeling the water with her hands.
Young afrian american woman stands waist deep in sea in antigua, feeling the water with her hands.

Let the imagery lead you on a  journey of indulgence and immerse yourself in the glittering Caribbean sea.

Last  month we escaped to the island of Antigua for some Caribbean travel photography. We explored the beaches, bays and hideaway homes.I captured Akia, our talent, exploring the natural elements of sea, sky and land. Link to more images here.

Knowing a good location is always important for this type of shoot which would normally mean a day spent touring the island location scouting. However, I knew this little corner of Antigua from previous visits to the island. Ffryes Bay on the east of the island is one of my favourites, it has beautiful water, shallow for a long way out and a clean horizon with the sun setting over the sea. I have shot here before using a variety of different talent. I wanted to photograph Akia in the water to see the contrast of her dark skin against the turquoise water, highlighted by the low light from the sun. She delighted in the feel of the cool water, her hands gently playing over the surface of the water.

I ventured to the east of the island and found another little gem, a private beachfront cottage in Long Bay. A lovely, secluded location perfect for escapism and relaxing but most importantly it was ideal for the next scene in my Caribbean travel photography project. A jetty reached out into the peaceful breezy bay, here I took photos of Akia on the balcony and the jetty just ‘catching the breeze’ and having a real carefree moment.

For all your Caribbean travel photography needs, from production to photoshoot get in touch. With a wealth of knowledge of the Caribbean islands and an experienced team we can assist in locations, bookings, travel and final production.

 

 

A Cuba journey

Couple kissing in street in Havana, Cuba
Couple kissing in street in Havana, Cuba

Cuba is almost untouched since 1959, its beauty still visible in the crumbling buildings and in the innocence and openness of its people. With the impending possibility of increased tourism from America I travelled a Cuba journey to record the Cuban lifestyle as it is today.

I travelled to Cuba as a photo journalist to capture some Cuban lifestyle in the camera with a wide brief which excludes crumbling buildings, fat cigars or Vintage American cars – there is an abundance of that out there.  I wanted to get to Cuba  before Americans destroyed it by installing McDonalds and neon signs at every corner.  I travelled through Nassau, Bahamas into Havana as I was travelling with a US passport and advice seemed to suggest this caused fewer problems, I had no problems clearing immigration either way.

The itinerary was to explore areas of Cuba from Havana to La Boca, Trinidad, then back up to Havana for a couple of days then out to the west to submerge ourselves in the National Park around Viñales where the fields are full of tobacco plants. I planned to say in Casa Particulares, the Cuban equivalent to Airbnb, families opening their homes for 25 CUC a room for the night, followed by a hotel in Havana for a treat in the middle of the trip.

I got up at 3:30 am to catch a train to Miami at 4:45, a plane to Nasseau, Bahamas,at 9:00 am then another to Havana at 11 :00am.

As Havana is never in a hurry ( a pleasant virtue, not a criticism) by 2pm I was in a queue for exchanging money – you have to get your CUCs in Cuba, ( CUC is the tourist currency, locals use Peso) At 2:30 we were still there! I believed an American Visa card could be used in most hotels and restaurants but  soon discovered this is not so. Thankfully my wife’s trusty UK Barclays debit card saw us through the week and never got swallowed in a machine, it was all we had!

I picked up a pre-booked rental car and got on the road, getting lost leaving Havana and being stopped by police for a document check, thankfully all ok there.

The journey continued, long winding roads which wound through national park and mountains. The sea came in and out of view, another 30 mins would see the end of the road. Suddenly, on coming traffic was swerving as objects appeared in the road! Moving, scuttling and sometimes frozen to the spot, dozens of large red crabs took over the route. I tried to avoid them as many others had not, alas soon it was clear the swerving was, A. dangerous and B. impossible to dodge a carpet of crabs!

We did eventually arrive at our first Casa Particulares in La Boca, Trinidad. We were booked in at El Galeon but ended up at La Terraza – another casa belonging to a brother, great place with lots of space, bathroom, air con, breakfast etc. We ate at El Galeon in the evenings. Both highly recommended.

Trinidad is a Spanish colonial town seemingly  untouched since 1850. It was built on the fortunes from sugar plantations in the early 19th Century and it has stayed the same way as if clocks have stopped. The arrival of tourists in 1988, when the small city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, has not prevented the charm of this enchanting, quiet, sleepy outdoor museum where the clip clop sounds of horses hooves mingle with the leather faced, local cuban bands which can be heard around street corners drawing you in and making your hips sway. The cobbled streets, dusty roads, colourful buildings and red rustic roof tiles are all part of Trinidad’s soul. I hope it never changes.

While having drinks on the steps of Casa de la Musica, I met Di a single Chinese traveller taking pictures of herself with her camera and tripod. I got chatting and found out she is a freelance journalist from China and  had the same desire, to explore, photograph and capture Cuba as it is today. We teamed up and wandered the streets taking photos of Di as she explored the Historic town. We climbed the bell tower at the Museo Historic and peered down at the rustic red roofs, we listened to Cuban music and wandered in and out of the little squares and streets. We ended our morning having drinks together listening to a Cuban band at a cafe on the steps of Casa de la Musica, where we watched as the locals showed their best salsa moves and we couldn’t help but join in with the beat.

Next we headed back to the city to explore Habana Vieja ( Havana Old Town). I expected to see the crumbling buildings and historic cars which were in abundance. However, I was not prepared for roads dug up and left, holes, open drains full of rubbish, wandering stray dogs. I wasn’t getting any vibe. Tourists are constantly hassled for taxis or hotels and it takes the pleasure away from exploring. Later in the evening we did find Plaza Vieja which was regenerated and a nice place to people watch. We learnt there are 4 squares in Old Havana like this and they are worth taking a stroll to along with a meander along Mercedes a pedestrianised street ,so no hassle for vintage taxis or bike taxis.

Having dinner that evening, people watching in the street, looking up at the architecture and identifying different eras and styles, watching the men proudly cleaning their American cars, the city grew on us. It dawned on us that this place is stress free. No shop fronts, neon signs, sale signs. People chatting, kissing, holding hands, no heads buried in iphones. No heavy police presence..had we seen any? Happy, healthy people and well educated, the literacy rate is 99.8% .

 The next day I went out early to get some shots in low light around the harbour and a walk in the cool before the sun got too hot, then back for breakfast.

I decided to use a taxi for the next leg of of the journey. I liked to idea of a road trip in one of the classic American cars, with the potential of turning the drive into a photo shoot. However scouting the taxi ranks I found the prices inflated and lack of potential model appeal in the sweaty faced, bloated bellied local drivers.

Then I spotted Alejandro. Having dropped off a fare he was proudly polishing the dust off his 1959 Chevrolet Belle Aire. He was young, friendly, genuine and full of energy.  I negotiated a price ( 50 CUC ) and arranged to meet at the same place at 1pm and we all arrived on time, setting off on our road trip to Soroa, a National Park in the region of Pinar Del Rio, deep in tobacco growing country.

The following day we took a trip to Viñales, a beautiful drive through the National Park, winding roads , lush vegetation, valley and hills. We passed fields full of tobacco plants and drying huts, it was possible to see through the cracks and broken doors thousands of leaves hanging up to dry. Before heading back we enjoyed a panoramic view- and a gin and tonic, over the valley in a little cafe run from a house which we discovered at the end of a side road in the town.

The next day I summoned Alejandro to take us to the airport. He appeared as if by magic as we ate breakfast, the sound of the reliable vintage Belle Aire rumbling up the drive and our happy, enthusiastic driver leaping out with a welcome “Buenos Dias Gary!”

Link to more images here.

Silver sea

Mature woman in red stands in stormy ocean
Mature woman in red stands in stormy ocean

The joy of my job as a lifestyle photographer is producing my own shoots. I enjoy having an idea in my head then capturing it in the camera. I had previously made a similar image in the same location in Key Biscayne. This is a favourite of mine, it is away from the skyscrapers in Miami allowing for a clear horizon and shallow water making it easier for models, crew and photographer working in the water.  This time I wanted to use a mature female model with natural, long silver hair standing in the sea, hence the title Silver sea. The idea was to see how the long hair mimicked the gentle waves breaking on the surface of the water.

When the wind chose to change direction and stir up the calm seas and clouds gathered in the sky it was looking like my vision would be abandoned. However, with perseverance and patient talent we waited for a gap in the cloud and took a few shots. What transpired was powerful and engaging. I could not have planned the weather, in fact usually I plan around it. Yet this time the stormy weather made the shot. The contrast of the woman’s red costume against the greys of the sea and sky and the strong wind blowing waves through the woman’s hair make the viewer entranced and curious.

Superheroes

Superheroes with capes on the beach
Superheroes with capes on the beach

A big kid at heart, Gary’s favourite things are trains, planes, boats and the sea.

Where he can he incorporates these elements into his work along with a bucket load of fun!  We took some creative kids to the beach with a cardboard plane and lots of imagination, soon they turned into superheroes.

For this shoot we cast some street talent, there are some very naturally talented young people out there and we wanted the kids to play spontaneously. We found these three through a friend, also a model so she recognised the potential and the qualities needed in them. In fact, they took direction when needed really well, were extremely enthusiastic , not to mention a lot of fun. The shoot was themed around role play with the emphasis on girls in stereotypically boys roles too. Girls want to be pilots, astronauts or superheroes too!

One way to create a genuine imagine is not to prop and style too much. We provided the props but let the kids try them out, build, create and style themselves. In this shot they ran around the beach chasing each other then did this….. We just made them do it again for the camera.

A fun shoot…but exhausting, kids have so much energy!

Girls with dreams

Girl puts robot head on boy in the woods
Girl puts robot head on boy in the woods

Girls with dreams came to life when we took a few kids and some junk, mixed them up with some creativity, sprinkled some imagination and topped it off with a bit of fun.

We wanted to capture the belief that ‘Girls with dreams become women with vision’ and to show that boys AND girls can have the same ambitions and dreams.

Big brands have been using advertising to spread a message to blur the gender stereotype that often shows males in for example, the mechanical or science industries . The  Verizon’s Inspire Her Mind commercial highlighting girls and science and countless others show that female empowerment has become a significant focus in corporate marketing

For this shoot we cast a few kids aged between 4 and 10, both male and female. Wanting a large play area outdoors to enhance the children’s creativity and imagination we revisited a location we were familiar with belonging to a friend, this wooded area is  her back garden! The kids were local people who knew each other so a good relationship from the start. We made a few props and to start with briefed them that they were to build a robot. Then it became apparent that kids are best if left alone to explore and discover. They made the scenes better, interacted with each other and equally shared the ‘ inventer’ role and the robot role between boys and girls. In a candid way of shooting we watched and clicked away the real things happening. Sometimes it was necessary to get them to repeat something really good…they were happy to oblige!

This shot started a the girl building her robot in the garage then taking it to the woods. She ‘pretended’ to direct it left, right, straight ahead with simple commands. Malfunctions with a loose head meant she had to keep making adjustments which is when this was captured.

 

Woman’s strength, Australia.

Strength coach in Australia exercising outdoors
Strength coach in Australia exercising outdoors

I met Michelle as she got off the bus and straight away saw something I wanted to shoot. She emanated a great sense of independence, strength and purpose getting off that bus with the surfboard under her arm.

A quick introduction and exchange of email lead to a conversation and her keenness to let me photograph her surfing. We met at Manly Beach, her with her surfboard, and a friend. Me with my camera, assistant, light and reflector. We chatted as  we waited for the light to get low and I discovered Michelle was a body strength coach.  This added a new dimension and became the focus for the photoshoot. At sunset when the sun was lower we began shooting Michelle as she demonstrated a woman’s strength in some poses of incredible strength and balance. Moving from the beach I wanted to show the urban backdrop of Manly. This is where the local people work out and get fit. The great outdoors, no indoor gyms for them. Rocks and wooden jetties became the platforms from where Michelle balanced and twisted. She roped her friend in to hold poses together, making shapes with their bodies. Remembering my first sight of Michelle as she got off that bus I intended to shoot something with her surfboard, however it started to rain, but the surfboard was not wasted as it came in handy to shelter under!

 

 

 

Great Natural Light in Croatia.

A sailing lifestyle around the islands of Croatia
A sailing lifestyle around the islands of Croatia

We find ourselves revisiting Croatia because of the great natural light in Croatia which is perfect for photography.

The low light as the sun rises from the horizon or lowers behind  the islands disperses a gentle haze and sparkles on the water.  The great natural light in Croatia means we can travel with less equipment, using the natural light and also supplementing with one hand held strobe light and a reflector.

On this trip to the island of Brac we held a casting in the town of Split. There we met a fun, vibrant couple. Their energy was warm and addictive. Their friendly nature allowed us to capture some engaging shots of a young couple on vacation and exploring the town of Milna on the beautiful island of Brac. Our focus theme was  ‘a sightseeing adventure’ with them enjoying each other’s company ‘away from it all’.

Having such great natural light in Croatia enabled us to use various shooting styles. Sometimes candid and loose, enabling the couple to play and be themselves. Our days started early in the morning to capture the great natural light. We broke for a few hours and shot again in the evening at dusk.

 

 

LGBT couple

LGBT couple at home with their child
LGBT couple at home with their child

For the last year an image I created portraying a gay couple walking hand in hand has been the featured image on the front of the Getty creative website. With this in mind we realised the need for more authentic, relaxed images of real people in the LGBT community. This LGBT couple helped us by allowing us to photograph them while supporting the exposure of the gay community in lifestyle imagery for advertising

We welcomed the lovely couple into our home where they would feel relaxed and confident to be themselves. The addition of a baby to create a little family widened the scenario. The result was a collection of images full of vitality, warmth and energy. Real people in real situations.