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: .

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Earth Blood

I’m just about ready-ish for my imminent far-flinging-of-self to outward geographical extremities, from Kuala to koala, with some rice paddies, dragon-formed island cliffs, yoga classes & treehouse bars, ‘old quarters’ and kaleidoscopic underwater creature-greeting in between. I’m getting those last minute heebyjeebies, of course (well, they’ve been creeping up for a while..), but I’m used to that and I know things always tend to work out once you’re there. It’s hard to tear myself away from home, but hard not to! Adventures are calling.

I’ll be back sometime before Christmas (I’m not currently sure exactly when), and am now taking bookings for January. (Also, just to note, I’m keeping a list of photographers who’ve asked me to contact them to let them know when I’m back, in case we can fit something in before the end of the year. Please let me know if you’d like to be added to that list. My email address is ellarosemuse@live.co.uk.)

A final update before I go:

Modelling for the extremely talented 19-year-old woman that is Katie Eleanor was a pleasure. I had a quick jaunt to Hampstead Heath on a recent Saturday, to cavort with papier maché toadstools and have paper cut-out moths stuck to my body, before meeting friends in a Caribbean bar staged in an old shipping container in Shoreditch.

Katie is such an exciting, passionately creative person, and her style and penchant for whimsy and ethereal confusion and myth, stories and (tainted) nature is right up my street.

These were shot on film, then painted by hand afterwards. I think they’re a bit Victorian looking; a grown up flower fairy minus the flowers? I’m excited about following her work and seeing what she does next!

Gaia, Jetty

I have yet another collection of images to show you from photographer Jeremy Howitt today. A recent concoction of curves, bokeh, grass and reflections…

Jeremy found this beautiful location in Sussex and I had the immediate idea that I should lie down for this first close-in, abstract crop – I have no idea why, it just felt obvious when I saw the frame of the long grass in the foreground and water behind; and Jeremy got it pretty much how I’d imagined, if not better, with a slightly voyeuristic hint and beautiful focus – I love the three little dots of bokeh in the diagonal line as well! Then Jeremy played around with some reflections as I sat/stood/lay on the little wooden jetties that surrounded the lake. To finish, we did a little ‘Gaia’ set in the nearby field. We don’t often do portraits so thought it would be a good idea, then finished with some explosive hair, naturally.

Blue Sky Desert

Aaaah, Joshua Tree National Park. How we enjoyed you. 🙂 I have such good memories of this place – I was soooo excited to see it! In particular, one happy (but cold) evening was spent lying on top of rocks staring up into the dark sky, watching for shooting stars, huddled under layers and hiding whenever the (very occasional) car came through, pretending to be rocks. Haha. And I have a clear memory of someone sighing in the dark, saying they’d just yawned and hurt their jaw, and we laughed when I pointed out the importance of ‘warming up’ before yawning. Looking forward to hanging out with these friends again!

The following images are more daytime-orientated, evidenced by that unfamiliar (to Brits) azure hue in that-there upward space. You can probably get a sense from these images of how bright the sun was, even early in the morning. I saw two coyotes in this desert!

Taken by New Zealander Brian Connor, with thanks for taking me there.

2012: a Retrospective

My New Years Resolutions are going to be quite pared down this time around. I’m actually not keen to change a huge amount. I’m feeling happier than I’ve felt in a while and am gratefully aware of it. This last year has been hard in certain ways, but I’ve got through it by frequently reminding myself how much I have to be grateful for, how independent and capable I have become, and also relying on my (full of questions, full of curiosity) spirituality. I am extremely lucky in so many ways and thankful for it! On top of that, I feel like I’ve finally found my ‘tribe’ in terms of dance classes, which are very important to me (missing them terribly over the Christmas break, but I would like to officially announce that I at least went on my exercise bike ON CHRISTMAS DAY, in between fistfuls of ferero roches), have made lots of new friends in the last few months by putting myself out there and meeting up with people based on shared interests, and am feeling more confident that I will be free to finally focus on what I want to focus on, now that upset and confusion are out of the door. I also have a lot of very exciting possibilities to look forward to!

Anyway, enough of all that. I’m shamelessly copying something Ivory Flame did last year, and showcasing some of my personal favourites from my 2012 year of blogging. What an amazing year it’s been!!!

From Happy New Year, by Ron Skei, Vancouver:

From Rich Caramel Chocolate, by Cam Attree, Mexico:

From Mosquito nets, Metaphysics and Mississippi Mud Pie, by Mel Brackstone, Mexico:

From Pottery, Petals and Peach Sunset, by Cam Attree, Mexico:
From Luxury Strikes Again, by Keith Cooper, Cheltenham Film Studio
From Natural Women, by Stephen Billups, Mexico:

From Bug Off*, by Cam Attree, Mexico:

From Dance in the Studio, by TarMoo, Eye For An Image Studio, Oxfordshire:

From Trips and Leaves, by Robert Farnham, Mexico:

From A celebration, some wedding princessing and some Lions (and a monkey), by Mike Croshaw, Cheltenham Film Studio:

From The Edge of the World, by Billy Sheahan, Mexico:

From Costume Changes, by Mike Croshaw, Cheltenham Film Studio:

From Spring Flower Portraits, by Richard Tuckett:

From Technicoloured Earth, by Billy Sheahan, Mexico:

From Silk in the Dark, by Barry Barker:

From Let’s Dance, by Jeremie Nassif, Paris:

From Mean, Moody and Magnificent Muse in Montmartre at Midnight (post macaroon), by Jeremy Howitt, Paris:

From Strength in the Dark, by Eric Kellerman, Nijmegen, Holland:

From Swathes of Lavender, by Imagesse, Gloucestershire:

From Paris by Day ~ Travelogue, by Jeremy Howitt, Paris:

From Portraits, Box, Stripes and Lightning, by Eric Kellerman, Nijmegen, Holland:

From Postcards – an Exhibition, by Robbie Wraith, Oxfordshire:

From On the Plank, by Vanijzen, Amsterdam:

From Fairy Paintings, by Philip Malpass:

From Lioness Lightplay, by Neil Snape, Paris:

From Trees and Bicycles, by Jules Photography:

From Riverdance, by Britalicus, Edinburgh:

From Extreme Eiffel Tower Exploits, Etc, by Jeremy Howitt, Paris:

From White on Black, by Klaus Kampert, Dusseldorf:

From TWO ~ Ella Rose and Ivory Flame, by Karen Jones, Eye for an Image Studio, Oxfordshire:

From Yerbury Fine Art Nude Masterclass, by Max Operandi:

From Pebbles, by Jeremy Howitt, Brighton beach:

From Public Service Announcement ~ A Book! 😉 (And I’m hoping to start putting together a massive book for myself in 2013, covering various styles) Cover image by Keith Cooper, digitally magicalised by Moonmomma:

From Bedroom Glamour, by Tony Ornstien, Oxfordshire:

From Clouds and Poppies, by Rayment Kirby, Sussex:

From Colouroids, by Steven Billups, Black Forest, Germany:

From Lions, Points and Window Light, by Nige W. Hallam Mill, Stockport:

From Gypsy Dance, by Frank (Pangolin). Gregory Brown’s LoftHouse Studio, London:

From Red Jellyfish and Black Tutus, by Richard Spurdens. Hallam Mill Studio, Stockport:

From Painting with Chaos, by Terry Joslin, featuring Ivory Flame. Eye For An Image Studio, Oxfordshire:

From Sunset, Candle, Tree, by Rayment Kirby, Sussex:

From When We Had Summer, by Max Operandi:

From Hands and Roots, by Steven Billups. Black Forest, Germany:

From Peaches and Cream, by Richard Lund, Buckinghamshire:

From Purple Haze, by Keith Cooper, Cheltenham Film Studio:

From Mr Cupid, by Karen Jones, Buckinghamshire:

From Enchanted Forest, by Calandra Images. Fife, Scotland:

From Solarised, by Zoe Wiseman. Palm Springs, CA:

From Beetroot and Rocks, by Bob Freund. Joshua Tree National Park:

From Cracked Earth, Sleek Fashion and Tumbleweed, by Jeremy Howitt. Lucerne Valley:

From Ourania Ascending Mount Wilson, by Jeff Wack, featuring Anoush Anou. LA:

From A-flitting and a-fluttering, by Brian Martin. Fife, Scotland:

From Mirrors, by Neil Snape. Paris:

From Otters, Rocks and Water Lillies, by Imagesse. Pembrokeshire, Wales:

From Running in Heels, by Tony Ornstien, Oxfordshire:

From Underwater Fires, by Zoe Wiseman, featuring Meghan Claire. California:

From Grapes and Ferrets, by Vincent Rijs, Amsterdam:

From Thinkin’ About Your Body, by OnePixArt, LA:

From Guide us to Thy Perfect Light, by Karen Jones. Eye For An Image Studio, Oxfordshire:

Back to the New Years Resolutions thing, I’ve realised that, for me, black and white decision-making is liberating, though it’s definitely not something that comes easily to me. With that in mind, one new thing is that I’ve decided I will probably no longer drink any alcohol – not because I think drinking is bad (it’s not!), or because I don’t like the taste (I do; wine and cocktails especially!), or because I have a problem with alcohol (I hardly drink as it is!), but because I’ve finally acknowledged the fact that, for as long as I can remember, I’ve shown signs of alcohol intolerance. I looked it up on Christmas Eve when one drop of sherry made my face red, and apparently most of my Mum’s side of the family were tee-total for reasons unknown (hhhmm….); and I’ve since learnt that alcohol intolerance can be hereditary. Ha! Thinking back, as a teenager, there are a few things that stand out: I only started wearing make up on my face to pre-emptively cover up the extreme ‘flushing’ I’d get over my face and chest after just a couple of sips of wine, and I remember sitting with my friends and wondering whether I was wearing the wrong size underwear because my chest felt painful and tight after a few drinks. I also know that the ‘depressant’ aspect of alcohol, especially after drinking wine, is a real thing for me, where a party high is followed by feeling really down the next day. So I’ve decided not to bother drinking alcohol at all. That’s not really a ‘resolution’, though, as it’s not something I feel compelled to do for moral or health or other reasons of self-improvement (and I won’t be strict about it); it’s just a new, official validation of what I’d suspected all along. So bring on the lime soda and cranberry apples! Or something. I can still dance and have fun; I just won’t feel like my cheeks are on fire, and can drive home at the end of it. 🙂

On the other hand, I’ve also learnt that black-and-white goal-making is not so helpful for a person who is already extremely ambitious and has high expectations of herself. So sometimes ‘I will do a bit of x every day, and just so long as a bit of x gets done, I will have succeeded’ is more helpful as a goal than ‘I will do precisely y amount of x everyday, so that by z (where z = an unrealistically short term), x will be completed’. You all know I’m talking about my writing. And that I will probably still aim to do y most days. It’s just that I’ll be kinder to myself if I don’t manage it, so long as I’ve ‘shown up’ and done something. (But see ‘free to finally focus on what I want to focus on’, above.) 🙂

…Wishing everyone a happy and peaceful final few days of 2012… and a fresh, bright and hopeful start to 2013!

Otters, Rocks and Water Lilies

Just in case you don’t notice, I’ve now re-jiggled my blog here to have its very own stand-alone ‘Travel Plans, Schedule & Events’ page (see the new tab at the top!). Pretty snazzy, eh? I’ll be attempting to keep it regularly updated with dates and locations, so it’s the place to glance at now and then if you ever find yourself wondering about my wanderings.

I’ve also added a widget on the right hand side which enables you lovely readers to enter your email address into the box to get immediate notifications directly to your inbox every time I update this blog with news and new images. You might find you like it. (And if not, you can unsubscribe at any time.) Do it! 🙂

*****

At the end of July I went on another two-day adventure with Perry (Imagesse) to Pembrokeshire in Wales. I annoyed myself throughout the trip by having a cold which meant I couldn’t breathe amazingly well (urgh), but apart from that it was another very enjoyable adventure! I had my own beautiful little self-catering converted barn in Lamphey, so that was a nice treat (although I vaguely remember demanding that Perry remove a spider from my bathroom shortly after arrival. I am such a girl, it’s embarrassing).

We visited various locations which Perry had thought looked interesting, and as usual there were some beautiful and striking scenes involved. Sometimes a shoot is a bit like a nature-spotting hiking trip in disguise. 🙂 With thanks to Perry (and hoping to shoot again sometime!), here are a few of the results:

With my dance wings let loose like a cape…

In a tiny old chapel set in a cliff:

Down near the water…

And in a huge lake filled with beautiful water lilies. It was quite difficult to find a spot to photograph here, as to be honest, the lake wasn’t exactly very private, but we took the risk… I love the inky hues of Perry’s mono conversions here, but will also add a couple in colour to show off the amazing vibrant blues and greens!

And of course, I promised otters. Well, aside from joggers of the picturesque-location penchantery, this location was also a hit with otter-spotters. One poor man told us all about his efforts to witness their existence, with little success, before moving on. Around three minutes later, we saw one repeatedly popping its little brown head up before swimming around to a slightly different part of the water, sending ripples and bubbles everywhere and popping up again… We were totally spoiled with otter omnipresence! So obviously Perry grabbed a quick snapshot or two (though he hadn’t got the most appropriate otter-watching lens on at the time!):

Cuuuuute! I really hope the man we spoke to saw one or two before he went home.

I love my job.

Ourania ascending Mount Wilson

I have some stunning new artwork to share with you this early Friday evening before I go out, courtesy of photographer and digital artist Jeff Wack. Based in LA, Jeff’s work has been used in some major international advertisements and campaigns, and his personal work includes this ‘Sensuous Muse’ project, which depicts a variety of muses and goddesses from various mythologies, more of which can be seen here. With me on this shoot was the delightful Aussie model Anoush Anou, who will be heading to the UK in the early summer time… (photographers take note!). 🙂

The image below is inspired by the painting ‘Ein Wiederfinden’ (A Reunion), by Eduard Veith, along with the stories of Ourania, one of Zeus’ daughters who became known as the goddess of astronomy.

As for the significance of the LA landmark, Jeff tells me that there were some important astronomical discoveries made there long ago. The growing city lights obscured the viewing and the older observatories there have long taken a back seat to the more modern communication towers you see in the scene. The area is prone to bush fires, and in terms of intent, the idea is to play on releasing the past with ties to the present…

So, here I am as Ourania, ascending Mount Wilson.