Autumn shoot

Finished Set

Today I am shooting autumn again with my professional model. I forgot to tell her she has to be pregnant!

I spent 4 hours yesterday planning, getting things together and building my set. I finished it off in an our or so earlier, the lights have all been tested and everything seems to be fine.  
I have decided to use a large softbox as the key light and a small one as a fill in light. The 3/4 light has a soft yellow gel on it to add a warn glow to her hair – I haven’t tried it out yes ( only me here), it might be a bit much so I’ll see how it goes.

Never work with animals….

Well, after all my preparation, I made a gown Christian Dior would be proud of, scoured the shops and car boot sales looking for a mirror, got the candle, and all the other props together. Battery for camera, check, refector, check – you know the drill.

One hour before the planned summer shoot ie requiring bright sunshine, the heavens opened, the wind blew, it got very dark and then it thundered.

Trying to convince myself that it was only God washing the dust off the grass for me, we set off for the shoot.

Our horse had been bathed, chalked and had his mane plaited neatly especially for us but the weather didn’t get better and the horse was decidedly skittish because of the thunder so we decided to postpone the shoot.

Preparing for tomorrows autumn shoot

Most of this morning has been spent in the studio planning the shoot for tomorrow. It’s quite big production number and getting in all the symbolic elements I want in there is tricky.

Mabon ( the autumn equinox) is the time for the sun god to ‘die’  and descend into the shadow lands. The symbolism is to signify the cycle of birth and death.
The Goddess, now grieving for the dead Sun God, is pregnant with his child, next spring the child she carries will be the reincarnated Sun God.

The cycle for the Goddess is also important: she began at Belthain as the Maiden, has become the Goddess of fertility and soon will become the wise woman teaching the next generation.
The symbolic elements are: oak, autumn leaves and flowers, chrysanthemums, apples, nuts, seeds, acorns and gourds.

winter pics and spooky trees


This is one of the dead trees in my field, it doesn’t look terribly spooky by day so I went out one evening with a flashgun and ran round it flashing (ooh, Mrs!!) while the camera was set to various long exposure settings. The blur in the top right hand corner of the bottom pic is me.


Malissa up a tree

Suddenly realised I haven’t posted any pics from my winter shoots last weekend

Bank holiday Monday and I have two models coming up to do shoots, both for winter, well, if I have to do a big production number on the studio I might as well get the most out of it.
The first shoot was with a girl who hadn’t modelled before, Malissa. What a great girl, listened as I explained the concept and really took it all on board. She was a real trouper.
After the studio shots, I rang the farmer who owns the field next to us to get permission to go in and continue the shoot with his dead trees. Which are better than my dead trees.
Again, Malissa was brilliant. Took my guidance a little bit to much on board and looked a bit grumpy rather than fierce but she gave it everything she had. Fantastic.
Later in the afternoon Gemma came to do her shoot. She also did extremely well, her brief was to imagine herself as the victim of the cruel and often lethal winter storms and winds. I think she did brilliantly, and I’m really pleased with the results.

Spring shoot cont…………..

I have been riding round today looking for a suitable meadow with a woods behind it, facing the in the right direction for the light, for my spring reshoot next week.

I saw a great meadow near what used to be Walkers Steel. I had to drive down a very bumpy track to a farm taht looks like it has been cobbled together from bits of wood. I got attacked by the guard geese as I was knocking on the door of the house. The door was wide open but although I shouted, knocked and rang the bell no one came, and all the time the geese were hissing and trying to peck me!!

Just as I started to drive off an old man came to the door so I told him what I was after and he was fine with it, he even offered me rhubarb from his garden.

I found some horns on ebay, hopefully they will be here quickly. I have appraoched Brian about modelling for me, he likes to idea of being a God but not so keen on the ravishing of maidens as he’s gay.

I have also found a new model, Sarah, she is through Debbie Hardy of Studio 25. Thanks Debbie. I phoned Sarah this morning and left a message, just waiting for a return call. I saw pics of her and she is lovely. Should be a good shoot.

Industrial Advice

The industrial advice part of the brief has been puzzling me a bit. I can’t think of anyone who specialises in pagan photography – but anyway, I contacted Gareth and Debbie Hardy who specialise in people photography.

They, like me are primarily social photographers who love their subject. Doncha just love it when you can talk about photography till you are blue in the face and nobody’s eyes glaze over?

I was a bit nervous about showing my workbook, musings and scribbles, not to mention my pics to pro photographers but it was really useful .

They gave me a lot of critique on the photographs, confirming what I already thought about some of them. They also contacted a model for me who will work for a cd of pics, I have seen images of her on MySpace. and she looks perfect for my Spring reshoot.

What they did say was, why am I not using men? Good point, never thought of it. Since they have said it though I am thinking of asking a chap I know if he will model on the spring shoot as the horned stag of Beltane:

“The Beltane rite is, in fact, the Pagan version of the modern marriage ceremony…. On Beltane Eve, a very long time ago, the young men of the village would go into the woods and don stag horns and skins in a kind of ‘play fight’ with the rutting stags to see which was bravest. The man who got the better of the stags (a kind of Old English version of the bullfight) would take on the roll of the Stag Lord for the Beltane revels on May Day. This is still called the ‘Stag night’.

The Goddess, at this time of year is dressed in white, her head wreathed with May blossoms and with a veil hiding her face. This aspect of the Pagan Goddess represents the young maiden who is about to become the Mother.”

HHmmmm wonder where I will get some stag horns from. Time to make a phone call.

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