Of Castles & Gold

From one long-standing shooting tradition to another, how lucky I am to have worked again recently with Jeremy Howitt on another little adventure – this time in the north of England, around Northumberland!

It was the usual (finely) organised chaos of early starts and day-time cat-naps, so that I lost track of what day was what, where I’d been, who I was… etc… by the end of the fleeting trip, but we had such a lovely time! I love the results – dramatic beach scenes with castles and vistas as the sun winds up or down – and we even managed to squeeze in a trip to Alnwick Castle to see where some of the scenes in Downton Abbey (and Harry Potter) were filmed (and by the way, I hope you’re all glued to your screens this season in case I make a fleeting appearance in a couple of scenes; I’m going to miss it while I’m away and am making my Mum record it all for me!); and for me to be utterly beaten by the world’s biggest ice cream, which covered me in delicious chocolate and had me rooting around for tissues to clean up me/my clothes/the bench. I was such an embarrassment; clearly out of ice-cream-eating practise (I don’t normally ‘do’ ice creams, but had a sudden craving. It was all very ungraceful.).

Anyway, I’m off to Indonesia for a month now, so things here may get a little slow, but will be back and raring to go in mid-November and am (by the way) taking bookings now for November, December and January; and from April onwards. Things are getting all a bit inter-continental again, and I like it! 🙂 I will be snapping away while away on this trip, I’m sure, so my instagram will floweth over in all likelihood, since I am clearly addicted to it these days. (and oh, I am going to miss Sir Fluffalot terribly while I’m away; I hope I survive without his enormous fluffy face looking alarmed at me. I know, I’m ridiculous, but LOOK AT HIS MAGNIFICENT FACE!!!)

OK, those mermaid scenes and so forth, forthwith (thank you so much again Jeremy!):

You can also read Jeremy’s version of events here. (I’m so glad he posts these threads, not least so I can remember where exactly I’ve been. He knows me well enough to know how terrible I am at knowing my way around places (and knowing whether to turn left or right out of a hotel, despite having been there for three days, for example), so it will come as no surprise that the place names became a slight blur after the early morning starts, even if the places themselves are spectactular; it really is a miracle that I can travel solo as well as I do. Nevermind. If I was the sort of person who would end a blog post with a hashtag, it would be #cantbegoodateverything (but I wouldn’t do that, because then where does the full stop at the end of the blog post go?) – I’ll put it here: .

Queen’s Well, Glen Esk

Hello from Scotland! I’m having a ‘catch up’ evening here in my lovely fresh-laundry-smelling room in Edinburgh (well, let’s be honest, almost every evening is a ‘catch up’ evening when on tour), and wanted to update my blog as I hate leaving it for a week without updating!

It’s been a brilliant trip so far, travelling through Edinburgh, Fife & St Andrews, Dundee, Perth, Strathcarron, Glasgow and back to Edinburgh for a final shoot tomorrow. Everyone on this trip that I’ve worked with has been wonderful, and some beautiful images have been made! The first part of my trip shocked me by showing me some glorious weather, and I actually got a bit sunburned while in Dundee making the images below – could not believe it!! (Don’t worry, the sunburn has already gone.)
It’s been a usual conglomeration of memorable moments, this trip. From guiding a nervous woman through Birmingham New Street Station on the way up (she said that particular station scared her, though she didn’t say why… and then she told me that she was on her way home from her father’s 80th birthday party. ‘Was it good?’ I asked, and she said ‘It was a bit strange.’ It turned out she hadn’t spoken to him since she was 12. She seemed desperate to talk to someone about it. I got her on the right train at Birmingham anyway), to being bought a tartan-scarf clad duck doorstop at Strathcarron’s local weavers, from riding a horse nude to sinking in boggy amber heather in my specially-bought-that-morning polka dot pink wellies, from enjoying a delicious Scottish Brie and Grape sandwich with China Rose Petal tea at Glasgow’s famous Mackintosh Willow tea room to buying socks for a shivering, bare-foot homeless man after realising I had no cash, but only my card (and knowing from various nude situations that having wet feet is the worst thing about being cold) – he seemed so pleased to be given them, and smiled dreamily into the bag looking at them, but I watched him for a while in secret and I did not see him put them on… 😦 
Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed all of my shoots so far – it’s been an action-packed 10-day trip (though it’s not over yet!) and I’m confident that everyone I’ve worked with has gone away with some brilliant images – and it’s been a lot of fun seeing new parts of Scotland!
These images below are courtesy of photographer Jim Furness. We had a great day and got on brilliantly (such that we’re shooting in Switzerland in a couple of weeks!). Reading the blurb on his website, I knew we’d be on the same page in terms of intention and inspiration, and creating. I stayed at Jim’s house the night before and met his lovely family of Bollywood enthusiasts, and we had a fun evening watching clips in their lounge! Considering I love India (and hope to go back there to see more of it sometime – anyone want to book me there..? :-)), love Indian music and love dancing, it became increasingly ridiculous to think that I’d never experienced a Bollywood film. I would seriously love to be in one. The dance moves are a real mix of styles that I already know – contemporary, street, bellydance – flamenco even – and I’m inspired to watch some films once I’m home! After this shoot, by the way, Jim blasted Bollywood music out of his open-top car as we drove back to his via some typically gorgeous Scottish scenery – a surreal, triumphant end to any shoot!! 🙂
First, we walked to Queen’s Well, built over a site where Queen Victoria stopped for a drink at a spring on one of her pony treks in the Angus glens. On the way, we saw an adder – the only poisonous snake in the UK, if I’m not mistaken. Then we continued the water theme on the way back, with me balancing on a rock and Jim balancing perilously himself to get the shot. It was such a beautiful day – no one was around so I really got to enjoy the sunshine! You can see a slideshow with music here
Please click on the first image and scroll through to see them bigger, as always. Small shots don’t have so much impact. 🙂

Many more updates on their way!