Dairy Diary Date

Saturday 12th September was blessed with surprisingly kind weather, even more surprising because I had an assignment which very much relied on being outdoors, which of course normally means torrential rain has been predetermined.

On this particular day though, I arrived at Littlewood Farm in the village of Frampton, near Dorchester, in brilliant sunshine to cover a sort of open farm event. I say sort of because this was open farm by invitation. Dairy farmer, George Holmes, invited suppliers, retailers, fellow farmers and politicians to see the operation at his farm so they could gain a broader understanding of how a modern dairy farm works, the products its milk goes into and to air the issues faced by farmers as milk prices come under pressure from falling world prices.

My task was to document the event for pictures to be featured on twitter as well as to capture a PR image for local press which would show George, the local MP Simon Hoare and Minette Batters of the National Farmers Union with a cow.

The cow part of the brief troubled me a little because they’re big beasts and not always easy to arrange for a photo, but when I saw the pens of young calves in the calving shed, I knew we had an opportunity for a picture that would jump right into the local press, carrying the story with it – which is the point of a PR piece after all.

I was on-site for a couple of hours, and in that time I built up a collection of images featuring people enjoying the tractor trailer tour of the farm, watching the cows being milked and interacting with the calves as well as getting a few stock images of cows for the client to use later.

The PR picture worked and made its way into the Dorset Echo as well as a good range of industry publications, which goes to show that a well-considered photo really can get useful coverage and exposure for an event and the brand behind it.



Fun Experience in Frome

This week is mainly a thank you to Frome visitors Imogen and Ben who became accidental models when I was out and about last week with work experience photography student Becky Collis.

It was a quiet Monday afternoon when we took a stroll up Catherine Hill seeking a photographic opportunity for Becky to get to grips with. I spotted this stylish couple, classic film cameras in-hand, walking up the hill and approached them to ask if they would pose for us for a few minutes.

They were gracious enough to agree and patient enough to let Becky and I take turns at posing and photographing them. I decided we should apply newspaper rules to the task, so the photo had to have a news feel to it, would require captions and a speedy turnaround at the end.

The photos below show Becky in action, followed by her portrait of Imogen and Ben, then her action shot of me followed by my version. Just click to see them larger and to cycle through the set.

Becky caught some nice light outside Kushi clothing store, who also kindly allowed us use of their bench, while I opted to bring them away from the window front. The light wasn’t as pretty, but I got the separation I wanted from the background. My preference would have been to use portable lighting to lift the daylight, but this was also an exercise in minimal equipment (precisely because I didn’t have portable lighting with me).

Within about 40 minutes we’d returned to the office, processed and captioned our images and delivered them to online galleries in the same way as we would have delivered them to clients. Job done and a nice little exercise.

So thank you Imogen and Ben (good luck with your studies!) and thank you Kushi for the loan of your bench. It was the perfect bench test!


Welcome Break

Welcome back after my holiday hiatus.

One of the wonderful things about doing what I do is that whenever I go on holiday, I always have a professional photographer with me. Not everyone is so fortunate and there is even a growing trend to hire a photographer to take your holiday snaps for you.

Don’t worry though, I’m only going to talk briefly about my Summer* holiday and show you just a couple of the photos I took during my week off. The point being, as much as this blog is for showcasing what I do for my clients (and hopefully for you if you become one of them), it’s sometimes good to share what I do outside of my paid work so you get to see how I think when I’m not tied to a photographic brief.

My trip this year involved a week’s camping in South Devon; Slapton, to be precise, and to be even more pedantic, during a week-long weather warning from the Met Office. Yes, it rained quite a lot and got so windy that my windbreak broke.

In spite of all that, I had a wonderful time relaxing with my lovely partner. Long walks (we clocked up in the region of 25 miles in the first 3 days) and some of the most incredible seafood I’ve ever eaten.

And when I’m on holiday, yet still carrying a camera, what do I look for in a photograph? Well I do occasionally find myself taking some of the same clichéd photos that any tourist takes, but mostly I look for something unusual to sum up an experience in a less obvious way than simply lifting my camera and recording what’s in front of me.

It’s always a balance between enjoying the holiday and its moments and using the camera to record them. I certainly resist taking photos until I see something I really want to capture, and rarely trouble myself with anything that thousands of people will already have captured ad-nauseam.

Hence the two images here. Both are simple and both lack any real context. Looking at them, you wouldn’t necessarily know where they were taken, but for me they form the kernel of much bigger memories. I hope though that in spite of that, you can see some beauty in them that doesn’t rely on you knowing the context in which they were taken, so they stand on their own as pictures worth looking at.

Enough artyfarty nonsense, here they are.

*I heard a lovely quote the other day, I’m only sorry I don’t know who originally came up with it, but it goes “I love the English Summer. It’s my favourite day of the year.”