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! 🙂

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

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.

A-flitting and a-fluttering

I loooove these new shots from Brian (Martinphoto), taken up in Fife earlier this year. Brian had been feeling really unwell in the days beforehand but heroically endured the prospect of shooting with me nevertheless, instead of cancelling last minute, and we ended up having lots and lots of fun in the local camera club studio, despite the flu-induced lack of game plan!

Today’s excuse for posting so many images is my theory that if you scroll down the page really really fast and perhaps squint your eyes a bit to add to the already-very-cool effect of flash + slow shutter = movement blur, you can watch a little fairy/angel dance! 😉

Also, I’ve had a few emails before asking me about this skirt – it’s one of my bellydance skirts that I customised, perfect for sheer delicate movement and swishing!

…And the ‘ta da!’ finish!

Fairy Paintings

I was booked recently at Paul’s Studio by an artist wishing to begin a project he’d had in his mind for a while. Philip Malpass will be painting 4-6 large canvasses by sometime next year, from which prints will be made available through a new site devoted to fairy art. Meanwhile he is making a series of minipanels which will eventually be sold via small galleries. I feel very lucky and happy to have been chosen for this project, and think the two panels below (digital files won’t do them justice, I’m told and can well believe, but nevermind) are absolutely stunning! So magical!

Although Philip has been painting all his life, he has had a six year break until recently, so this project is hugely exciting for him and a creative release! We had a lot of fun in the studio, with me interpreting ‘fairyness’ by way of flitting and jumping, perching and skitting about as though flying and journeying between flowers and trees… 🙂 (I love how my job allows me to indulge myself in utter, utter girliness sometimes.)

As they are completed I hope to be able to show more. Phil tells me that painting with oils on such tiny canvasses (5″ by 5″) is a real challenge, but I think they must look so wonderful and special!

Here’s a file to give an idea of two of the minipanels created so far. I can’t wait to see and show more as they are painted! (You can click the image to make it slightly bigger, but remember, the intention is that it’s a small work of art!)

How beautiful!!

Turning the Wheels

Sometimes, you’ve just got to cartwheel across the grass. It’s an overwhelming urge, especially when you used to do gymnastics (I spent hours and hours doing ’round offs’ in the garden. Cartwheeling and hand standing always makes me feel about 8 years old).

These were all taken on the Isle of Wight by Mark Davy-Jones, whose whimsical, sometimes ‘twisted’, style of post processing is brilliant, and who I’ll hopefully be working with again at some point next year. Mark and his lovely wife kindly fed and put me up overnight amongst their gorgeous maine coon cats (sadly I failed to entice one onto my bed at night).

I’m modelling here alongside Miss Kayleigh Lush, who you’ll have seen on this blog before. Click to enlarge as always…

Wings & Rocks in the Land of Pirates!

Yet another blog entry today, and already a few more ready and waiting in the pipeline… don’t say I don’t spoil you..! 🙂

Today’s offering comes from a weekend trip to the stunningly beautiful West Cornwall I made at the end of June, working with Perry (of Imagesse photography). I am thrilled with some of these images. When Perry mentioned before the shoot that he would quite like some kind of ‘wing’ theme, but wasn’t sure how possible that would be, I immediately thought of Isis wings, which I’ve modelled in and danced with before (they’re an oriental dance prop), and ordered some of my own in time for the shoot. I chose some large silver translucent ones, which I thought would shimmer in the light and look delicate enough to let it through in certain conditions – I personally prefer them to other colours I’ve seen and used before, but you can get them in all different shades to suit your skin tone; traditionally you would match them to the colour of your costume. I love the permanent pleat structure on them, too, which can look a bit like the veins on a leaf (or, er, a wing). As a prop they can be difficult to work with in windy conditions, as they literally feel like they will take flight at times, so balancing in delicate poses isn’t as easy as it would otherwise be. They also reflect a lot of light (which I think is a good thing). I am so pleased with how these came out and think Perry caught some absolutely jaw-droppingly beautiful scenes, some vivid colours and along with the reflections in the water, it was definitely worth the 5.5 hour train journey each way!

When I got off the train in Penzance, I was immediately greeted by pirates. Someone had joked to me previously ‘watch out for the pirates’ but, bizarrely enough, there was well and truly an official ‘pirate day’ celebration, or something going on that weekend. (That’s as much as I could get out of the cute little girl who befriended me as soon as I arrived in the hostel with Perry; she even followed me in to the bathroom, showing me her eye patch and pirate dress, which she was concerned wasn’t a real pirate dress, but which we agreed looked pretty all the same… so I had to give her a task to do, asking her to take my bottle of water to my bag in the reception area, to distract her so I could pee in private. SO cute!). The entire area of Cornwall seemed hungover from the night before, and there was mess everywhere as though a bomb had dropped, and people gallavanting around in costume. Quite a contrast from the serene, natural scenes Perry and I were shooting at!!

Anyway… With thanks to Perry, here are some of the results from a drive around different parts of West Cornwall, from beaches, to rock formations, to stone circles:

P.S. I nearly forgot to thank my ‘support group’, without which I would perhaps not have made it down to the beach in those first shots at all!!!!! In order to get down there, we had to climb/scramble down a very steep rock face. This was nothing for Perry, who does mountain climbing in his spare time (but who admitted the route was more precarious than he’d remembered from visiting the area when he was younger), but for me (in my Diesel flip-flops, as brilliant as they are), it was a little panic-inducing. There were some people climbing up and down the narrow bit who took it upon themselves to pass my bag down to Perry then direct my feet into specific places so I could get down. I said to Perry afterwards that I should just have waited a minute or two longer and they probably would have passed me down between them like a sack of helpless spuds… Hahaha. (I am adding the ‘Damsel in Distress’ tag to this post, I think.) Nothing like a bit of early morning fear to get a good set of photographs. Since then (bearing in mind my backpacking trip later this year), I have purchased some more suitable footwear… All good practise, eh? 🙂

I have, since this shoot, worked with Perry again in another stunning location (to be blogged soon I’m sure!), and hopefully there’ll be a third shoot together sometime in the future!

Wings!

I love these recent shots from Karen Jones, taken in her barn in Milton Keynes. This was the fourth time we’d met, and the third time we’d worked together. When Karen contacted me for a booking and mentioned ‘flower fairies’ as an inspiration, I got quite excited as I loved the illustrations (by Cicely Mary Barker) when I was younger. We were definitely on the same wavelength as to how these should look – pretty, innocent and girly, without being overly ‘fancy dress’. The wings were light and sheer, and the moth ones in particular were beautifully-shaped – they made me want to flit around!

The first two here are probably my favourites – I just love the lighting and treatment, and think they have a strange, magical, mysterious feel to them. The second two are more disney-like, I think, in pastel colours (and probably closer to what we’d intended to achieve).

More to come from this shoot, as we also deviated from the theme fairly significantly after fairy time…