Christmas card and snow fright

Friday, 14 December 2012 12:25

December has turned out to be a poor month for business. So I have had the time, the first time for a number of years, to make a Christmas card. It started out as a little project, to create as soft a light as I could. But also directional for mood and modeling. I collected a few bits from the garden and started work. It took the best part of a day, but I am really happy with the outcome. As a result I have got to know my printer again, and have really enjoyed making prints. 

I had an interesting trip up to the Isle of Skye. I was working with Marcello Tully at Kinloch Lodge which is always a good experience, great food to photograph, lovely people, and the weather was cold but clear and sunny, so it was a real joy to be there. However..... on the way home, having stopped for a break, the weather changed and the snow fluttered down. From the warmth of the Cluanie Inn with its Christmas decorations and a bowl of Cullen Skink in front of me all seemed well and a dusting of snow on the hills only added to the feeling that Christmas was just around the corner. I set off on the long lonely stretch to Invergarry and the dusting on the hills had become a covering on the road. At this point with 4 hours of driving ahead a few ‘what if’ permutations were running through my head, I drive a VW Passat and along with all German cars it would seem, absolutely rubbish in the snow. I had a truck ahead of me and it and was clearing the snow leaving welcome ribbons of black to follow...until the turn off. The truck roared onwards toward Loch Ness, strangely you have to turn off, but continue on the A87 and the climb into the hills before descending to Invergarry. The road was white. On the first slight incline the anti skid kicked in and the engine revved as the tyre’s failed to get full traction. My heart sank, miles of climbing ahead, a narrow road, no turning points or stopping points, no signal for the mobile phone, no other life of any kind! I suddenly felt vulnerable. How could I be so stupid to turn onto this road. To stop and reverse down a winding road where the verges were now snow covered seemed just as reckless. I had to push on and sure enough at the next incline the car revved and lurched and slowed, I knew if I stopped I would be stuck. The car skidded again and moved sideways onto the other side of the road and got a grip I was moving, however the reason for this was there had been traffic coming down the hill slushing up the snow. 

So there I was on a winding hilly road, on the wrong side, where the traffic was heavier. Brilliant. Hazzards on, full beam, fingers crossed, at least I was moving. Then a summit appeared ahead. I knew I couldn’t be on the wrong side of the road at this point. However, I now had momentum, I eased onto the correct side, and kept going. Just then a car came over the summit and passed at some speed. Two things occurred, one, that was lucky. Two the road ahead must be clearer.  And much to my relief, and disbelief as I climbed higher the weather cleared and so the road. 

In the end a small incident. Perhaps not even worthy of anecdote. But at the time in the middle of the Highlands, remote and snow covered, it gave me a bit of a turn I can tell you. 




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Monday, 05 November 2012 16:45



Very busy couple of weeks, the last Christmas job done and online. turkey and other goodies available now. Lot’s of other photography- raw meat mainly- for their revamped website which goes online very soon. Very different from how I envisaged doing raw meat pictures. But Lee, a Farmison creative, had a really strong idea which turned out to be extremely practical as well. Will be intresting to see how it all works online. 

The Ashoka Cookschool book was launched last week “Simply Jiggy’ it’s called, and I’m really happy with it. The food looks great and I am particularly happy with the portraits. Jiggy is a stunning looking woman anyway but I changed from my usual lighting for this, and it really works. Very Vogue like, quite directional lighting, after all these years the first time I’d used this type of lighting. 

The Inverawe Christmas catalogue came in the post the other day. Surprise surprise, I think it looks amazing. Really nicely produced, the food looks sumptuous and luxurious. They will do very well with this I am sure.


mushrooms raw meat and the brothers

Tuesday, 16 October 2012 19:37

Last time I wrote it was about a masterclass with Frances Atkins, well since then another masterclass came along. This time foraging for mushrooms. So I had a wonderful couple of days at the very comfortable Ardanaiseig Hotel in the beautifull Argyll countryside with the perceptive and entertaining Michael Raffael for company. Chef Gary Goldie took us around various places to harvest his mushrooms, then he cooked them on a campfire with scallops on the edge of the spectacular Loch Awe. It was a memorable experience, so simple but so good. Then back to earth- raw a shed... in a butchers yard.... in Wigan. Yup it’s a glamourous life being a photographer. You know what? In a very different way just as interesting. The meat was in such good condition, the different cuts, where they come from on the beast. All fascinating stuff....honestly! Had a lovely job in Edinburgh the very famous Caledonian Hotel is now a Waldorf Astoria and the food offering has been entrusted to the Galvin Brothers, who have several restaurants around London. Really decent guys, east London boys who know the score so posed happily and hey ho we got nice pictures



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