Arbroath – Tayport

Always nice to shoot with Jim Furness, whose multi-camera set-up allows for some landscapes extraordinaires!
These were taken in Scotland the other day, including a place called ‘The Devil’s Head’ (or ‘the deil’s heid’):

I suggested this spot in the image below as it seemed to me like I’m at the top of a cracked earth; Jim’s clever fish eye makes it extra odd:

And, to finish, we got a lift in a yacht, so that I could do (a version of) my Kate Winslet impression. Thankfully I managed to stay upright-ish, clinging on in the wind:

… All in a day’s work. πŸ™‚

Europe

Happy Wednesday everyone. A fine day.

Despite technically having a little stretch of days off between modelling trips – I’ve been a busy (tres Oxfordian & cultural) bee with my new book group, poetry workshop, volunteering, piano lessons (and I’ve been asked to play at my brother’s wedding later this year, which is both amazing and terrifying!). I’ll be baking the unbelievably-delicious-n-nutritious ‘glo bars’ again today in time for a couple of friends visiting tomorrow (I REALLY recommend the book as well as the food blog: http://ohsheglows.com/). I’ve also booked my flights for Vienna for next month, which is exciting – along with Venice that will be two new cities I’ve not seen before in just one month. I blimmin’ LOVE living in Europe – all this amazing beauty and culture and history right on our doorstep, all with so much variety and diversity within one continent.

Here are some shots from Thomas Bichler, who was a pleasure to work with in the south of Germany recently.

He wrote about the shoot over on his websiteΒ here. πŸ™‚

It was such a lovely trip in general, with lots of hiking around to get to the perfect spots; this shoot required a really beautiful walk down to the lake, after amazing views from the top. Plus a few other locations…. Very much looking forward to working with Thomas again in future.

I must be a mermaid

‘I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living’.Β 
– Anais Nin

I was so glad I’d decided to pack my raqs sharqi costume (which I generally call my ‘mermaid’ outfit) for my trip to Norway. I can’t imagine a better scene in which to show it off than at this rocky coast in moody weather; the colours worked so beautifully. I wrote a bit about Norway on my last blog post so I won’t repeat myself here – but here’s a little update on some edits I’ve kindly received!

By Hakon Gronning:

By John Erik Setsaas:

πŸ™‚

Norway part 1: Arctic Winds, Rainbows and Midnight Sun

I’m really excited to be able to show these so quickly after my trip to Norway. It is so appreciated when photographers send things to me so soon after a shoot! Hakon Gronning had invited me to Norway for 4 days to shoot with him and, on some days, a small group of other photography enthusiasts. I’ll say straightaway that this is hands down the coldest I’ve ever been on a shoot. It was almost debilitatingly cold, and I became absolutely best friends with a blanket between shots, though even with several layers of knitwear, a huge padded coat and this thick wool blanket, I still felt very cold, so there was definitely quite a lot of insanity required to do this. The main reason for the cold was the fact that the arctic winds were blowing directly at us!!!! Not very comfortable…. Luckily, the photographers were all completely understanding of the need to shoot (and for me to pose) efficiently, with absolutely minimal time ‘unwrapped’ in the wind. They were also very appreciative of my efforts, which goes such a long way! All of them were very creative and lovely to work with, warming me up with lots of tea afterwards!

Considering these conditions, and the very short time frames (maybe 1-2 minutes per go), I think we did quite well. I’d brought one of my pairs of dance wings in my suitcase and the light just washed through so delicately, like they were insect’s wings! It kept raining (and there was a brief rainbow behind us!), but the ‘midnight sun’ (these were shot around the summer solstice!) was just incredible. Such a magical place and yet another opportunity I can look back on with pride and excitement that I did it!

I hope you like these as much as I do. There will be many more from this trip from different locations and from different photographers – I’m just being impatient and showing these straightaway! πŸ™‚

… And behind the scenes from earlier that day: me with my best friend:

Fires and Falls

Hi everyone. I’m back from a hugely productive trip to the incredibly visually eye-mazing country that is Switzerland (images and video to come!), and raring to update this little portion of the internet.

As part of my trip to Scotland last month, I worked with GDelargy Photography. The plan was that he would pick me up at a point in the Highlands where I’d just finished shooting and drop me off at my accommodation in Glasgow that evening, shooting along the way! What a clever idea, making the best possible use of travel time between locations by shooting at all the beauty hotspots along the way! Scotland, of course, has more than its fair share of picturesque scenes…

…Unfortunately, the amazing weather I’d experienced at the beginning of the trip took a little turn for the worse, and we were quite limited in what we could do, even with my newly-bought pink polka dot wellies from a Highland cornershop.

Still, it was a wonderful drive. G was great company. Glen Coe was beautiful despite pouring rain. We stopped at one location for a possible shoot but the wind was so severe it just wasn’t going to happen. Fortunately, G had a couple more places up his sleeve. One was an area of the most exquisite, fiery orange-coloured heather. (I’m calling it heather; it might have been something else.) I squelched my way across the boggy ground, found the most colourful part and lay down in it.

Later, we politely ignored the ‘danger, slippery rocks!’ signs to get these shots at the Falls of Orchy. I love the strong levels of contrast in these images (I’ve got such a thing for rich blacks), and my pale skin really pings out of them. Several quick poses here, but I think the first is my favourite. We got to Glasgow late after a quick stop for pizza at Dominoes. I suppose I don’t eat there often as I apparently broke normal pizza-buying ettiquette by enquiring about the herbs (i.e. do they count as one of the toppings, since they are listed? What are they?). I started requesting basil and oregano, and was met with a baffled look. Apparently, herbs are just herbs. All the herbs in the world ever go on the pizza, maybe. Fine. It tasted good.

I’d like to get on with arranging a second trip to Scotland for this year as there were a few people whose dates I couldn’t match up with, and am considering another (briefer) visit, but am left pondering my diary heavily, wishing I could insert a month or two between August and September. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Happy Monday!

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!! πŸ™‚
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.Β 
Please click on the first image and scroll through to see them bigger, as always. Small shots don’t have so much impact. πŸ™‚

Many more updates on their way!