Creative Photography Workshop Spring 2017

This was the last week of a ten-week term for our Creative Photography Workshop. The group of eighteen enthusiasts of varying skill levels and photographic interests, from landscapes to steam engines or still life, brought in their work each week to show the rest of the gang. Here is a handful of their submissions.

Mobile Phone Photography

Modern mobile phone cameras can now produce image files bigger than those of my first DSLR. With this ongoing development has come a variety of image enhancing apps, so that we can now, quite easily take a photograph, tweak it and post it on Instagram in less than a minute. But is it art? Well yes, if you can produce an image and be creative, surely it is; and the technology is only going to get better. And so, as much for my own amusement as any other reason, I have posted a blog on my website solely for photographs taken with my mobile phone.  

James and Tom

Heaton Park

Autumn; love it, love it, love it! Gorgeous light and amazing colours. 

When an old school friend that I haven't seen for years (since leaving school, in fact), asked us to photograph his boys, we headed straight to the park for that autumnal backdrop. Everywhere we looked was awash with golds, reds, yellows.... Ironically, my friend chose a lovely selection of black & white images :s

On the Beach

Polkerris Beach

Another fun location shoot, this time on PolKerris beach in Cornwall with cousins Sophia and Demi-Rose. The beach is a fabulous place for a children's shoot, with plenty for them to explore and space to run around.  

Demi-Rose, who was already feeling under the weather, decided that this would be the ideal opportunity to try applying vaseline into her hair, which no amount of shampoo or Fairy liquid was able to remove. Kids – you've gotta love 'em. 

In any case, once the girls were on the beach, bad-hair-day and sniffles were soon forgotten

Vinny

Last Sunday was a desperately sad day. We lost my dad, Vinny Parker, after a mercifully short struggle with a brain tumor.  He was a humble and gentle man, and extremely good at what he did. He was well respected as an exceptionally good pianist, especially on the jazz scene, although he worked with some great artists of different genres.  

Today was the funeral and reception afterwards for family and friends; those who knew him best. Surprisingly, this was not a sad day at all, but rather a celebration of dad's life. There were around two hundred people in attendance at the funeral.  Afterward, a few of his old musician pals got together for a final blast in his honourorganised by Bassist Dave Turner, sax player Michael 'Munch' Manship and a host of great players. A great send off for a great bloke.  

The stock-music on this video does not do the gig justice, and if I had been thinking more clearly on the day, I would have recorded the event.

Little Evy

Photographing children is always a real joy, especially when they're having fun. We decided long ago that posing children in the studio is totally not the way to go. But when they're showing you their toys, or playing in the park, they burst into life.

With little Evy, we started at her home where she made us some delicious imaginary tea with her little tea set. Next we ventured out for a walk along the canal tow-path where mum and dad were on tenterhooks watching her, not because of the canal, but because Eve loves dogs and fearlessly bounded over to every hound that came along – big or small.

We went home exhausted but with some lovely shots in the bag, having had a real fun day. 

10 August

Manchester Location Shoot

 

I've said so many times how much I love Manchester and that it has some fantastic locations for photography. Today we met up with MH and Aisha for their 1st anniversary portrait shoot and it couldn't have gone better. They're still very loved-up and both looked fabulous. Aisha wore a traditional hijab which accentuated her face and beautiful eyes. Though the top half of her costume was black, the lower half was a rainbow of colour. MH wore a more western outfit and looked really smart. We walked them both around the cobbled streets of Castlefield, stopping at various points to take photographs. We had an extremely enjoyable morning which resulted in some great images.

Luxurious Italian restaurant in Wakefield

We were commissioned by Versital, the other day, to photograph Capri, a spectacular new Italian restaurant that they’d fitted out in Wakefield. There are several eating areas on different floors within the building, including patios and verandas. Versital’s bar and table tops give the luxurious finishing touch which makes the venue look extra special.

Click on the image below to see a 360-degree image of the main eating area:

...and a few more still images:

Photography Class - Learners Work 2016

From October 2015 to June 2016, I have had the privilege of teaching three classes per week at Bury Adult Learning Centre in Bury, Lancashire. All three classes have been a collection of fabulous people of various ages, from 18 to retirement. They have all made great progress as they have progressed from point-and-shoot photography with the camera in auto mode, to being able to take control and have the confidence to use the manual settings as well as develop a creative eye for composition and design.

 

It has been a pleasure to teach this year’s learners. Here is a sample of the work that the learners themselves have selected as their personal favourites. 

1940's weekend

We managed to catch a few impromptu Images of Ramsbottom's 1940's themed weekend with authentic costumes, vintage vehicles and memorabilia, in association with the East Lancs Railway. Great style and great people, all kindly willing to be photographed.

Beautiful Bread & Bakes

Manchester based digital agency, Digital Next, recently approached us to provide photographs for a website they were designing for their client Hills Bakery in Hale. Situated in the heart of Hale, Hills pride themselves in being a well-established family business since 1912. They are a close, skilled team, producing a wide selection of quality fresh bread and confectionery.

It was our job to capture that pride, quality and individuality in pictures.

'The Room' a short film by the Wednesday Photography Workshop

I hold a photography workshop every Wednesday evening at Bury Adult Learning Centre. The learners are a great, good-humoured bunch and so I decided to exploit this nuttiness and put together this short stop-start animated film. The crew brought in their own props and all had some input into the order of events. 

The stills were shot on a Canon 5DII which does have very good HD video facility, but I wanted that staccato jumpiness that stop-start films have. The average movie has around twenty-four frames per second, whereas our little film has a new frame every 0.75 of a second. There is one hundred and ten individual frames, not including titles. The music was downloaded from bensound.com, and the whole film was put together using Pictures to EXE.

Here's a little glimpse into the crazy world of the Wednesday Night Photo Workshop. It may not be original, but it was great fun to do and it makes us smile. Enjoy!

Delicious by name....

We've had the pleasure of photographing the amazing foody creations of Wendy and her fab team at Delicious Restaurant in the Fusiliers Museum, Bury. Delicious by name and delicious by nature. Although food photography often takes longer than other subjects, I always enjoy seeing the chef passionately create something that looks as awesome as it tastes, and delicious do it really well. We then use our skill to ensure that talent is seen in mouthwatering images that make you want to grab a spoon and tuck in.

Wendy and the team

Wendy and the team

Pitapit Shoot

Yesterday, another shoot for healthy food outlet, Pitapit, in Piccadilly, Manchester. Pitapit produces great fast-food, freshly made in front of your eyes including delicious hot meats in a pita wrap.

There were several aspects to this shoot including a jerk chicken pita, festive pita and coffee to go.

Food stylist Rachael McNeela makes a couple of minor adjustments,

Food stylist Rachael McNeela makes a couple of minor adjustments,

More tweaking for a stand alone shot of a pita wrap

More tweaking for a stand alone shot of a pita wrap

The ‘coffee to go’ shot. The brief was that there should be a suggestion of free wi-fi, hence the notebook in the background. The final coffee shot shows part of the ‘living wall’ in the background. As the name suggests, a huge area of the interior wall is living greenery.

The ‘coffee to go’ shot. The brief was that there should be a suggestion of free wi-fi, hence the notebook in the background. The final coffee shot shows part of the ‘living wall’ in the background. As the name suggests, a huge area of the interior wall is living greenery.

Finishing with the awesome catering pack with a huge mixed salad and selection of pita’s.

Finishing with the awesome catering pack with a huge mixed salad and selection of pita’s.

Then and Now

Bury Old Road from Kirkhams garage looking towards Thatchleach Lane

Bury Old Road from Kirkhams garage looking towards Thatchleach Lane

Then & Now

Back in January of this year, I started my own little project under the heading of ‘Then & Now’ which I featured on Facebook. The goal was to show the transition and development of Whitefield by sourcing old photographs of the area from local libraries, friends etc, and re-shooting them from exactly the same location.

The project raised some local interest and has led to a new lesson starting in September in collaboration with Radcliffe Heritage and Bury Adult Learning. It will be a combination of local heritage information and photography techniques. The pilot course will run from Monday 7th September, each week to 5th October. It is hoped that the course will continue for the long term.

 

Bury New Road towards Lilyhill Street

Bury New Road towards Lilyhill Street

From moss Lane bridge towards Whitefield Station

From moss Lane bridge towards Whitefield Station

Mayfair cinema

Mayfair cinema

Whitefield Town Hall

Whitefield Town Hall

Besses Junction

Besses Junction

Goats Gate, Radcliffe New Road

Goats Gate, Radcliffe New Road

Stand Lane Library, Radcliffe

Stand Lane Library, Radcliffe

Ten Minute Presentation for BNI

This week it was my turn to give us my ten-minute presentation to the Bolton Central Chapter of BNI (Business Network International), to educate the chapter members in what I do, how I can add value to your business and what type of business I’m looking for. Here’s another chance to see the photographs. Maybe you’re in some ;o)

In that in this age of TV, video and internet, good images are crucial to businesses whether that be for promotion in brochures, websites or catalogues. Even profile pictures for social media need to look personable and professional if they’re being used on a business page.

The fact is, people don’t read copious text as they might have once. Pictures are an ideal way to get a message across quickly with impact and to hold attention.

Age UK Thamside

Had the privilege of photographing the rooms and facilities at Age UK Tameside. This amazing organisation provides a range of activities arts and crafts, cookery sessions, holistic health treatments, Tai-Chi, walking groups, bee-keeping, life story work, IT tutoring and much more.

The reason for the shoot was the outstanding work of Luci Living Design who worked with the staff and clients on the designed and fitted out the whole service. The brief was to refurbish the day centre using esearch-based dementia design principles, promoting Independence, helping with memory, using contrast, texture, colour, placement of information, signage etc to assist with issues associated with ageing and particularly dementia.

360 Degree Class Photo

At the Wednesday night photography class this week, big thanks to guest speaker Joby Catto for kindly coming over and demonstrating his expertise in panoramic photography. The class has been running for over two years now and is booked full to capacity each term. We’ve just squeezed our fifteenth learner on the next course so any newcomers will have to go on a waiting list until after the summer holidays.

Click here to view 360 image

Develop Your Photography Skills

We’ve been running this course at Bury Adult Learning Centre since 2012. The course is designed for those who have a good basic knowledge of photography and camera functions and have been able to put this knowledge into practice. It covers the skills needed to make creative decisions and transfer these, through camera control, into images with impact. Here is a short slideshow of images produced by the learners during the summer of 2014