Ashley Morrison's Blog

July 25, 2017

An enchanted castle in wilds of Ireland.

One doesn’t often see this here in Ireland…
“Weather
.. but when you do and you have a Client who is based on the other side of the country, that is wanting an image to help them target the market that they wanting to appeal to, then one does need to try and make the most of it.

And so it was last Monday, because back in May we had talked to Howard – who’s other 2 castles we had shot before, which I talked about here: How much does it cost to take a picture – about shooting Markree Castle here…
“Drive
.. which is partially moated by the River Unshin, as seen here…
“River
.. in County Sligo – and is one of four castles that are listed under Romantic Castles Ireland.

So this was one of the 2 images he was looking for: “An enchanted castle in wilds of Ireland – away from it all.”

Anyway, July was the month we were waiting for, as the other image he was after was this one…
“Garden
.. which was at the back – “The perfect venue for your wedding” – and so we obviously wanted the garden to be in full bloom… hence July, as that is when it will be looking it’s best.

So 2 shots: one was a morning shot, the other was an evening shot – so the ideal situation would be to shoot the front one showing the river in the evening, stay over night and then do the garden and terrace area at the back in the morning – as I reckoned the one at the front would need to be shoot at around 8pm and the one at the back would be around 8am.

That would be ideal – and could have worked out just like that here too, bar the fact that there was a wedding on, and they had booked the entire place for both Monday & Tuesday.

Anyway, a decision had to be made, because like I said at the start, you don’t see a weather forecast like that every often here in Ireland – and so I emailed both Howard and Claudio that morning to say:

“Car is packed – so I’m going to go for it – as it could be another few weeks before we see sunshine like this again, according to the forecast.
So I should there around 6pm.”

To which Claudio replied:

“Perfect! I’ll be there at about the same time.
Will they get the props u think?”

The ‘props’ he was referring to, was of course the outfits for the fisherman and the people on the horses – which they had talked about here…
“Concept
.. in reply to “Our Thinking” back in May – when all of this was discussed and they had told us who they were wanting this image to appeal to, as well as what they wanted it to say to that market, etc, etc.

Anyway, I emailed Claudio back to say:

“Don’t think they will be there – so anything you can get your hands on would be great.
The main thing is the castle… everything else is an extra”

Howard did however email back to say that the hotel manage had been informed about us coming – and that a fisherman had been organised and would be there at around 6pm too.

So with a 4 hour drive ahead, I hit the road – and about 30 minutes later I received an email from Claudio to say:

“Boots, trousers and rod sorted.”
“Props

To which I replied:

“Excellent stuff – now just need a few people on horses to ride past.
Seriously though – it’s the castle looking good that is all important here – so will be giving it my best shot”

Anyway, I arrived around 5:30pm and immediately set up the camera and started to shoot – because as you can see here…
“First
.. the sun was already hitting the front of the castle.

Close to prefect, I reckoned – as I didn’t want the sun to come around to much behind me, as that would then start to make it look flat. So basically that was it – one click and I was done wink

So by the time Claudio arrived, I was nowhere to be seen…
“Behind
.. but was obviously still around – as I’d clearly given the shirt of my back
“Behind
.. to do a bit of fishing instead wink

Away, new shirt on and back behind the camera…
“Behind
.. as Claudio helped the member of staff into the waders and boots…
“Behind
.. before he ventured in…
“Behind
.. to help complete the story.

Perfect timing too…
“Behind
.. so I snapped away…
“Behind
.. each time he throw the line out…
“Behind
.. which with the Flexbody, is like one frame per second minute wink

Still, I only needed one frame – and this was it…
“Behind
.. as he finally managed to get the hang of it – and was actually starting to enjoy it too, before he lost the weight.

Add a few puffy white clouds – as one would expects to see that here in Ireland – and this was the final result:
“Markree

“Excellent stuff – now just need a few people on horses to ride past.”

– was still at the back of my mind as we began to pack – when all of a sudden Claudio spotted 2 girls on their horses down by the river.

So I grabbed the 503…
“Behind
.. and started to shot…
“Behind
.. because this was the image I had in mind all along…
“Markree
.. as Howard had originally said:

“I think this one featuring a fisherman and a horseman would work.”

Or what about walking along the path Claudio…
“Behind
.. or better still, along the road…
“Behind
.. as that would be much easier for me to create an image like this…
“Markree
.. or even this…
“Markree
.. although that may all be a bit to much – as it now looks like you are no longer away from it all – which was part of the original message I was trying to say here.

Anyway, the best shot of the day was this one…
“Behind
.. as far as I was concerned – although this one is pretty good too…
“Behind
.. so would just like to say a Big Thanks to Claudio for all his help here – as well as for these two wonderfully images to complete the story – because even if no-one else likes them, I love them – as this is what I call “living the dream” at an enchanted castle in wilds of Ireland – away from it all smile

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May 15, 2017

The Chinese Drawing Room.

“So what do you think…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare
.. not bad I guess…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare
.. but how much will it cost me…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare.
.. just work us all into the ground over the next few days, Ashley, and it’s all yours.

You’ve got to be joking, Ivan – then let’s shake on it…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare.
.. because you’ve got yourself a deal” smile

Yes we were back at the fabulous K Club and what an amazing place it is – but joking aside, I would first really like to say a big thanks to my team here, because they really did go the extra mile for me on this one, as they never stopped from sun up to sun down.

So yes we were back once again – this time to capture rooms like this…
Recce shot of the Chinese Drawing Room at the K Club in County Kildare.
.. which they called the ‘Chinese Drawing Room’ – which they wanted to show set for high tea.

So with the camera in place, we started to move the furniture around a bit…
One of the first pictures taken in the Chinese Drawing Room at the K Club.
.. as we didn’t really want to be looking at the back of the sofa.

Then checking the screen to see how that looked…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare.
.. and then – well we basically turned the room upside down…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare.
.. but as you can see we were starting to get here…
One of the first pictures taken in the Chinese Drawing Room at the K Club.
.. as it was basically naturally lit…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare.
.. with a little help from what the guys had set-up outside smile

So inside it was decision time, now that all the furniture was basically in place – white table clothes or not…
One of the first pictures taken in the Chinese Drawing Room at the K Club.
.. was the question – and so the ironing begun…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare.
.. followed by more test shots…
One of the first pictures taken in the Chinese Drawing Room at the K Club.
.. with Susie and Dianne standing in – followed by Claudio and Ivan having a go…
One of the first pictures taken in the Chinese Drawing Room at the K Club.
.. and then there was more ironing to be done…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare.
.. before Denise (who recently got married here it seems) arrived to become The Star of the show – as Ivan…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare.
.. Dianne…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare.
.. and even Claudio here…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare.
.. all seemed very eager to make her smile – before I stepped in to show them all how it was done…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare.
.. which obviously took the smile right off her face smile

Seriously though – one last look at the screen with Oral here…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the K Club in County Kildare.
.. who is the Senior Marketing Executive – and this was the final result…
The Chinese Drawing Room at the Kildare Hotel, Spa and Country Club in County Kildare.
.. to show the Chinese Drawing Room – at the fabulous Kildare Hotel, Spa & Country Club in the beautiful Irish county of Kildare.

Delighted – and so were they – which means we had only 9 more to go, before they would tell us to pack our bags and go home – which one obviously doesn’t want to do, when you are staying (or even working) at a place like this smile

Anyway, next up was the Liffey Deluxe River View bedroom – which was on the far side of the hotel – so for now that’s it, from Dianne, Claudio, Ivan & me @ ampimage.com

May 12, 2017

The new & the old.

Kicking off early the following morning in the the Lobby & Reception area…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. were they wanted to show the new & the old – and how it worked well here together at Dunboyne Castle Hotel.

This was the big one as far as I was concerned – because besides the size, the different areas and the contrast between dark & light – it trying to time it too, so as to avoid disturbing their guests to much that morning.

Anyway, with the lights up outside…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. and inside too…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. thanks to Ivan for health & safety…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. and Claudio here…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. (as I can take some good behind the scenes shots too) – the floor was given a once over…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. and then it was time for me to show everyone their positions…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. while Dianne kept a close on eye how they all looked.

Anyway, we tried a variety of different things here – but this was basically the final result…
The Lobby & Reception area at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. to show now the new and the old worked beautifully together in their Lobby & Reception area.

Next up was the Tara Suite…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. which they wanted to show 2 ways – half size & then the full size.
So it was simply a case of getting the table in the foreground right to start with…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. and then taking it from there – one table & chair at a time…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. then checking to see how that looks from the camera’s point of view…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. while observing what the others were doing…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. as they were all clearly very busy too…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. well most of the time…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
wink

Seriously though, the team was in top form – as they had it all lit up in no time at all…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. leaving me with little to do but watch the screen…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. and press the button every now and then…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. after the 7 or 8 things one needs to do to get this camera system to actually work smile

Anyway, again we tried a variety of different things here – but this was basically the final result…
The Tara Suite at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. as Rosalie stood-in once again to complete the story they wanted to tell about this room.

And so that was it for now – as we then had to wait for the last shot of the day – which was of the IVY restaurant here…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. plus there was the Tara suite to be shot again, to show it’s full size – and there was also this Drawing room too…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. all of which were fully booked for the day – so we just had to wait… as that’s Part 3 of this story smile

May 11, 2017

Boardrooms

After a quiet few months at the start of the year – which gave me plenty of time to finally watch the Game of Thrones (which was partly filmed down the road at Titanic Studios in Belfast, where I helped Nels Israelson back in 2010, produce the original cover image of Ned Stark on the throne) – the phone started to ring again smile

So with Spring in the air – and new rear air suspension and front suspension fitted too – it was time once again time to polish and pack the wagon…
Land Rover packed and ready to go.
.. as we were of to produce some more new images at Dunboyne Castle Hotel – where we the last time shot Only Bedrooms.

So no bedrooms this time, as it was the rest of their hotel they wanted us to capture – starting with the Francini Suite on Sunday evening – which on our arrival they had all set-up ready for me to take a picture of, as it had been booked out for the rest of the week.

“Looks good” I thought – until Dianne started to point out a few things on the screen…
Behind the scenes during the shoot in the Francini Suite at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. and here was me thinking I had already finished…
Behind the scenes during the shoot in the Francini Suite at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. but there was no chance of that, as she had only just begun…
Behind the scenes during the shoot in the Francini Suite at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. so it was like: lets start all over again wink

And in the meantime, Claudio and Ivan here…
Behind the scenes during the shoot in the Francini Suite at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. worked on the lighting – while I stood and watched, not only Dianne here…
Behind the scenes during the shoot in the Francini Suite at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. but Rosalie, Claudio and the maintenance guy too…
Behind the scenes during the shoot in the Francini Suite at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. all doing their thing.

So one last test shot…
Behind the scenes during the shoot in the Francini Suite at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. fix the hair…
Behind the scenes during the shoot in the Francini Suite at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. and this was the final result…
The Francini Suite at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. which I naturally will take all the credit for – especially since I can’t see what the others did – which is often our goal, as we all work very hard to make it look like we did nothing at all wink

Next up was the Alder Suite…
One of the first pictures taken in the Alder Suite.
.. so lights up…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel.
.. someone standing here…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel.
.. me back there…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel.
.. a quick test shot…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel.
.. yes sort that out…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel.
.. straighten those…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel.
.. fix those…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel.
.. and we were almost done.

Time to position our business man…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel.
.. and this was the final result…
The Alder Suite at Dunboyne Castle Hotel in County Meath.
.. after it was all pieced together.

Delighted at how well we had done, bearing in mind that this was the day of rest, it was time to enjoy a few pints of the black stuff…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at Dunboyne Castle Hotel.
.. around our own boardroom table smile

So lots more to follow – as the big shots were the following day – but for now that’s my notes on day one.

Cheers
Ashley @ ampimage.com

February 27, 2017

Taking a gamble to live the dream.

As one commission lead to us shooting 9 homes which resulted in 12 magazine features – and the best part (besides the amount of money that we ended up earning), was we had the time of our lives – which is what I would call “Living the dream” smile.

Which 10 years ago, is what we would have regularly done – and so day I’m going to talk about the one that we were actually commissioned to shoot, by Rachel from the BBC Worldwide – who was the Houses & Property Editor at that time for a magazine called Good Homes.

The commission by the way, like most of the commissions that I would receive from magazines (as well as from other types of clients too), was simply what I would call a Purchase Order – as it just informed me that they would agree to pay me X amount afterwards, for the Rights to use my images – but ONLY IF after having seen the final results, they did still actually want to use them (so be sure to read the small print too) wink.

So no, this wasn’t a “Work Made For Hire” type of agreement – which is where the client would agree to pay me for my time & expenses, irrespective of the results – this commissioning document that the BBC had sent to me beforehand, was just to let me know how much they would be prepared to me afterwards, for the Rights to use my work – should the Editor (after having seen the final results) want to use my images for a one time only editorial feature in one of their magazines.

Which like I said before, is pretty much the standard deal with most magazines – as they only want to pay for the use of the work, rather than pay me to do the work for them.

And so when I would have agreed to take on these type of assignments, especially the ones which would have involve a lot of travelling – I would have looked upon the original commission as being like ‘My ticket to travel’, to see what I could produce in that part of the world – not only for the commissioning client to use, but also for others to use as well.

A gamble – yes – but it was one that usually paid off – like it did in this case, as I managed to turn the original commissioning amount, into around £14000 worth of sales over the next few years. So with that sort of money to play with, naturally we had a lot of fun – as we tried to make the most of these opportunities that I had been presented with.

And what an opportunity it was, because if there is one name that will help open doors in almost any country in the world, it’s the BBC.
Which is another story for another time wink.

Anyway, like I said before, the original commission here was for me to provide the BBC with some images of Helen and Peter Hannick’s 18th century Italian farmhouse here…
Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. for them to use in their magazine called Good Homes.

Lying between the Tiber and Nera rivers, Poggio le Stalle is a 250 year old estate, not far from the town of Amelia here…
The Italian town of Amelia near Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse.
.. in the Umbria region of central Italy.

Inside was quite dark…
Behind the scenes at Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. so I was glad we had driven over with all the lighting gear – as this was one that I actually needed to punch quite a bit of light into – which I did while Marie & Rachel worked on what was in front of the camera – before it was time to photograph Helen here…
Helen Hannick in the living room of her Italian farmhouse near Amelia.
.. looking like she was “rather pleased with herself”, as Rachel would often say wink.

So while the girls turned the place upside down…
One of the first pictures taken in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. before putting it all back together again…
One of the first pictures taken in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. I worked away on the lighting – and this was the final result…
The dining area in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. before moving into the kitchen…
One of the first pictures taken in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. after some serious tidying up from the night before – as Rachel had flown over with some of her friends, who were also enjoying Helen and Peter’s hospitality here, as well as some of the product from the local vineyards wink.

So no shortage of bottles – especially empty ones – which obviously were removed along with the dishwasher…
The kitchen in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. before doing the return shot…
Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. and then it was time to go up the stairs…
Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. to shoot some of the bedrooms and bathroom.

After that, we headed outside…
Behind the scenes at Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. to shoot Helen once again…
Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. this time with Michael, who helped her maintain the place – and who also over the next few days, not only show us around but also introducing us to the locals too…
Marie & Michael talking to the local polizia in the Italian Umbria region town of Amelia.
.. as he informed them all that The BBC was in town smile.

Anyway, that was the commission – and this was the result…
Pages 140 to 149 in the March 2007 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine.
.. which meant I did get paid in the end – for having taken a gamble to live the dream smile.

So a big thanks to Rachel from the BBC for this, as well as to Helen and Peter for inviting us in – and should you ever be in Italy looking for a place to stay, then Poggio le Stalle may be the prefect spot for you to live the dream too smile.

February 10, 2017

You’re a Genius.

Which is what Dizzi Alfons said to me several times throughout the day – when we were shooting his 18th-century former farmhouse here…
Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. called La Fattoria – which is set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.

Words which I naturally always remember – as that was obviously quite a compliment – especially from someone like Dizzi here…
Dizzi Alfons outside his 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. who was originally from Austria, but now owns property in Paris as well as here in Italy too – which in my book makes him the Genius, as I have never been able to figure-out how I could afford to do that wink.

Anyway, they say in the photography world:

“Amateurs talk about equipment, Pros talk about money, Masters talk about light”.

So from a Pros point of view here, since that is what I see myself as, the big question for me therefore was: What did he actually mean by that ?

Was it because of my photography skills or my lighting skills – or was it in fact to do, with me having obviously worked-out a way beforehand, to enable me to afford to do this type of work at this level ?

Because let’s face it, what I was actually doing here…
The sitting room in Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. wasn’t exactly Rocket Science.

However, to be able to afford to travel to Italy with a professional stylist like Marie here…
One of the first pictures taken outside Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse near Luccan in the Tuscany region of Italy.
.. wasn’t exactly a cheap thing to do – and since without her help…
One of the first pictures taken outside Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse near Luccan in the Tuscany region of Italy.
.. I knew my images wouldn’t look anywhere near as good – then the real ingenious part as far as I was concerned, wasn’t so much to do with the work that I was actually producing here…
The sitting room in Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. it was more to do with me having figure-out beforehand, how I was going to be able to afford to do this type of work, at this level…
The second floor library in Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. that we were now doing here.

Because I’m 99% sure that there are hundreds of others photographers out there, who could in fact produce just as good an images as I did here…
One of the guest bedroom in Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. IF ONLY they had the budget to play with and/or IF ONLY they could figure-out how they could possibly afford to work at this level…
The kitchen in Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. with a professional stylist like Marie here…
One of the first pictures taken in the dining area of Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse near Luccan in the Tuscany region of Italy.
.. who’s main job is basically to make sure that whatever is in front of the camera looked great…
The dining area in Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. which in-turn therefore made my image look great too smile.

So personally – since I tend to think of myself as a professional, rather than an amateurs or see myself as a Master – I think what Dizzi really meant when he said: “You’re a Genius Ashley”, is more to do with the money side of things – because “No money, No Funny” as one of my friends at college used to say smile.

Which is actually very true, as far as I’m concerned – because if you know that you don’t actually have the money to play with in the first place, then you simply can’t even begin to think of what is really possible.

Anyway, having already figured-out how licensing works (as I’d jointed the AOP back in 2002 and had read their book Beyond the Lens from cover to cover several times, in an attempt to move my business forward) – I was now not only able to live the dream but was also able to afford to create the dream too…
The swimming pool outside Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. for others to see & read about – in the likes of the BBC’s GoodHomes magazine…
Pages 84 to 89 in the February 2009 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine - featuring Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. which is where our work here finally appeared, on pages 84 to 89.

So when I look back at what we did here – The Italian Job – and remember those very kind words of Dizzi’s: “You’re a Genius Ashley” – which obviously made me smile at the time and still do – I can’t help but think to myself, “Yes I was” – because I’d managed to do something here that most will only ever be able to dream of doing.

Unless they too one day, can somehow figure-out a way first, to be able to afford to do what they would love to do – because it basically does all come down to The Money, as that is ‘the thing’ what will ultimately determine what you can afford to do or even think of doing before you begin.

Anyway, all of this happened long time before I started my Blog here, so I’m simply remembering the past today – as I look to the future, to see if I can come-up with another ingenious way to move my business forward – now that I’m older and possibly even a little bit wise too… than a Genius wink.

Seriously though, a huge thanks goes out to Dizzi here…
Dizzi Alfons outside his 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. for making us both feel so welcome at La Fattoria – as we obviously loved ever minute of being part of your dream…
Marie sitting outside Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. which even to this day, we still both talk about – as that was definitely a day that we will never forget, nor do I ever want too – especially as it not ever often that someone will says to me: “You’re a Genius Ashley” smile.

October 9, 2016

By the lake.

Filed under: Photography,Travel — Ashley Morrison @ 9:50 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Back in February of this year, I was asked by the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland, to quote them a price for me to produce and then provide them with 6 images to use – and so after some negotiating of the fee, we were given the green light to proceed.

So in August, Dianne and I flew over to see them – to talk more about what they actually needed, as well as see their place for ourselves first hand.

A fairly tale castle…
The Trump International Golf Hotel near Balmedie in Scotland.
.. with a huge Scottish flag in front, is how I would best describe it Smile.

Anyway, one of the last shots we looked at when we were there, was this view from the lake at the back…
The lake at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. which we felt would work well, to show a bride how beautiful their location was, i.e. it would be the ideal setting for her big day.

However, I went on to add in our report…

“Totally weather dependent – so I won’t promise anything here.”

.. as is Scotland after all wink.

Anyway, after lots more talk about what all they needed, last week we headed over to shoot for real – and I had obviously been keeping a close eye on the weather forecast – so instead of starting on the Monday as planned, due to the weather forecast saying Sunday would be good, we pushed ahead and arrived mid-day Sunday, to set-up for this shot…
Setting up the shot by the lake at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. which as you can see wasn’t looking to good at this stage.

Still, it wasn’t long before the sun came out, so having asked at the last minute for a flower girl and a bride to be there, Dianne & I tried to work-out their positions…
Setting up the shot by the lake at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. but there was one slight problem, we didn’t have a bride or a flower girl cry.

Thankfully however, Dianne had brought a wedding dress over with her – and so before I knew it she was wearing it…
Setting up the shot by the lake at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. and was more than happy to stand-in, as some big black clouds started to appear.

But then she disappeared after looking at this image on screen…
Setting up the shot by the lake at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. and re-appeared a few minutes with a new bride…
Setting up the shot by the lake at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. while I watched the sun go behind a big tree, which as you can see meant they were now in the shadows cry.

So lights up…
Setting up the shot by the lake at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. and while Dianne sorted out the dress…
Setting up the shot by the lake at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. Claudio played around with the lighting, to see if he could get the balance right to make it look natural.

Anyway, one of the huge advantages of using a digital system, is you can obviously see the results right away on screen – and so with everything now in place…
Setting up the shot by the lake at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. it was just a matter of trying out a few different poses – and so this was the final result…
Bride standing by the lake at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. with even a swan swimming past, to complete the the story we were trying to tell to their target market Smile.

So with one in the bag, it was time to take a look at this bathroom…
Bathroom in one of the bedroom suites at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. which we had said in our report, we felt would look good shoot in the evening.

“candles, towels, late evening feel, girl in bathrobe standing at the window or sitting on the edge of the bath.”

Decided to go in a bit tighter…
Setting up the shot in the bathroom at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. and so with the camera in position, it was time to work on the lighting, styling and positioning of the model..
Setting up the shot in the bathroom at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. which we checked on screen…
Setting up the shot in the bathroom at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. while we waited for the sun to set…
Setting up the shot in the bathroom at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. then checked again and again …
Setting up the shot in the bathroom at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. before everyone started to smile…
Setting up the shot in the bathroom at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. at this the final result…
Bathroom in one of the bedroom suites at the Trump International Golf Hotel near Aberdeen in Scotland.
.. before we called it a day.

Two done, ten to go – so more to follow, as tomorrow is another day Smile.

September 4, 2016

Forward thinking.

With a shoot coming up a few weeks time, which will mean not only travelling with Dianne & Claudio, but also with all my gear as well as theirs – then it was time to think about how I could put more stuff up on top of the wagon – without spending more than I needed to or putting a roof-rack up there that couldn’t be easily removed by me (on my only) once I was back at the base.

I already have 4 roof bars for the Land Rover – which I bought a few years ago to carry 8×4 sheets of plywood and insulation boards – so at first I considered just using a sheet of marine plywood – which when everything would have been put on top of it and strapped down, would have worked fine.

However, I thought, what about when all the gear is of it – how will I then make sure that it doesn’t fly off ?

Anyway, after having looking once again at all the various roof racks available for this type of Land Rover by various companies throughout the UK – including the beautiful Highlander roof rack by Safety Devices (which neatly follows the profile of the vehicle’s roof), which I absolutely love the look of – I finally decided to call in to see the guys at Coates Engineering, one day after going for my daily swim at the Bangor Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Complex – which is were I tend do a lot of my ‘forward thinking’ these days, as I remember those wonderful days in the past, when I was actually able to swim more than 100 metres without having to stop to catch my breath wink

Anyway, this was the result…
A 6' x 4' sheet of galvanised steel mesh bolted on to the roof bars of the Land Rover.
.. which is a 6′ x 4′ sheet of galvanised steel mesh – which they designed some bolts for, as seen here…
A 6' x 4' sheet of galvanised steel mesh bolted on to the roof bars of the Land Rover.
.. to hold it to the roof bars…
A 6' x 4' sheet of galvanised steel mesh bolted on to the roof bars of the Land Rover.
.. from underneath…
A 6' x 4' sheet of galvanised steel mesh bolted on to the roof bars of the Land Rover.
.. which is then held in place from above by this little plate…
A 6' x 4' sheet of galvanised steel mesh bolted on to the roof bars of the Land Rover.
.. and squared of at the back to prevent me from catching it as I push the cases up there…
A 6' x 4' sheet of galvanised steel mesh bolted on to the roof bars of the Land Rover.
.. as some of them are quite heavy.

Perfect…
A 6' x 4' sheet of galvanised steel mesh bolted on to the roof bars of the Land Rover.
.. and I think it looks pretty good to, after I painted it black, since image is everything after all wink

So there you have it – a very simple and cost-effective solution in the end – which simply means we are now already to go, on our next exciting adventure smile

March 28, 2016

Five images…

.. and then some, to tell the story about what all goes on both in front and behind the camera, during what one would assume would have been a wee easy shoot.

Which in this case started back in January, when I received an email from Elaine O’Halloran, Director of Sales at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin, which read:

“Good evening Ashley,

I hope this finds you very well?

I would like to arrange some new photography of our suites here at Dylan. Can you please send me through a costing and your availability?

Many thanks
Elaine”

And so after a few emails to help answer her questions and a visit last month to have a quick look around…
The Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. it was time to load up the wagon once again as I had a story to tell – or five in this case, as that is what we had narrowed it down to, to keep within their budget.

Which started of with me having to replace a flat type…
Flat tyre at the beginning of the shoot.
.. on the first morning, before we even got started rolleyes

Anyway, first up was room 106…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which we mentioned in our concept report after the recce, about this one probably needing two shots – but ideally it would just be one – and possibly capturing a ‘corporate feel’ but still leaving it open to the leisure market.

Naturally I had asked both Marie and Claudio for their help here – so when Claudio had a minute, he took some quick shots to help tell the story of what goes on behind the scenes…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which in themselves I think says it all…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. as it sure wasn’t a case of just turning up and taking some quick snaps of whatever happened to be there, to please this 5 Star client…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. as two and a half hours passed – and so what started out looking like this…
First picture taken in bedroom suite 106 at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. ended up looking like this…
Bedroom suite 106 in the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. with Barry standing in to not only complete the ‘corporate feel’ story, but also to draw one’s eye through to highlight the fact that there was a bedroom area in this room too.

Which meant just one image was needed in the end, rather than two – which was also our goal, as we wanted to stay within their ‘5 image’ budget as well.

Next up was room 101…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which we mentioned in our concept report, about this being the “Experience Suite” -which was a lovely bright room (especially on a sunny day like it was when we recced it) with a large bay window.

Anyway, with the camera now in position, Barry worked on the bed, Claudio worked on the lighting and Marie began doing her thing…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. but as Claudio’s behind the scenes pictures show here…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. this was by no means a quick shot…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. as the every last detail was checked…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. over and over again.

So what started out looking like this…
First picture taken in bedroom suite 101 at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. ended up looking like this…
Bedroom suite 101 in the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. some two and half hours later – with Elaine standing in to complete the “Experience” story – and so that was it for the day, as the light was beginning to fade and so were we wink

Next morning, bright and early, we started in the seating area of the bar…
One of the first pictures taken in the bar area at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which as you can see looked good as is.

However, since the goal here wasn’t just to see if I could take some pictures of what was there, as they already had lots of pictures like that, then we set about trying to create an image that they would want to use a lot instead – so once again the we started…
One of the first pictures taken in the bar area at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. by first turning the grand piano and thinning it all out – then checking to see how that looked on screen…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. before seeing how it would look with a person in it…
One of the first pictures taken in the bar area at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. more checking the results…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. trying that for real…
One of the first pictures taken in the bar area at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. while Claudio recorded us in action…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. then more discussions…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. and so finally after 2 hours, what started out looking like this…
First picture taken of the seating area in the bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. ended up looking like this…
Seating area in the bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. so that was three out of the five in the bag.

Next was room 303…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. to convey a “shopping message” as we were in the heart of Dublin.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and this one tells a story…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which no doubt I will talk more about some day – as replacing a flat tire on the Land Rover is easy, compared to what looks to be flat out-of-steam Marie here rolleyes

Still the show must go on – and so once again we tried different things – seeing how it would look with people in it…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. seeing how it would look with some food…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. and so some 2 and a half hours later once again, what started out looking like this…
First picture taken of the seating area in the bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. ended up looking like this…
Bedroom suite 303 in the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which meant that was four in the (shopping) bag smile

The final image was of the bar…
One of the first pictures taken of the bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which they had wanted a ‘late evening’ image of, with some guests drinking cocktails and staff in it, to make it look like somewhere you would want to be tonight.

So lights up…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. lots of test shots…
One of the first pictures taken of the bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. before the models arrived and the cocktails too…
One of the first pictures taken of the bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. then it was time to shoot, while Barry and Elaine kept a close eye on the screen…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. before a quick look at the results…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. and so what started out looking like this…
First picture taken of Cocktail Bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. ended up looking like this…
The Cocktail Bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. just before 6pm – which was perfect timing, as that’s when this place became naturally busy, as this was Easter weekend here in the heart of Dublin.

Which meant it was then time to pack – very tired but very pleased with the results – and so to complete the story, Claudio took one last picture…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. of me with all the gear that we had used, to make it look like I used nothing at all smile

So at the end of this (short) story [within this (very long) story, which unfortunately also shows the end of another chapter, which is another story in itself], I would just like to say a big thanks to Elaine & Barry from the Dylan Hotel for this opportunity to tell your story and for also making us all feel so welcome too.

From Marie, Claudio & me @ ampimage.com

July 27, 2015

The Safe House.

From the road, it may not look like it’s much more than a few old barns on the top of the hill – however, if you go around to the back, then you will start realise it’s a lot more than that – as you can see here…
Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse called The Safe House near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. which is the renovated farmhouse of Dominic & Louise, which they call ‘The Safe House’ near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.

And inside – with the help of Swiss Architect, Jean Claude Girard – well as you can see here…
First shot taken in Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. it wasn’t quite what one would expect to see neither in this part of the world.

Anyway, after Marie I had done her thing and I had done mine – we were ready for our first main shot of the day, which was of Louise and her little Jack Russell dog…
Louise McGuane in her renovated farmhouse called The Safe House near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. in the living room – before turning around towards the dining and kitchen area…
Marie in Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. which really did look pretty amazing…
The living room in Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse called The Safe House near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. as this huge window…
Marie in the dining area of Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. the largest I believe in any home in Ireland – and that huge amount of white, did make it feel very spacious – as well as make even this large dining table look quite small…
The dining area in Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse called The Safe House near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. and then there was the stairs and kitchen…
First image taken of the stairs in Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse called The Safe House near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. which believe it or not, required me having to use every light I had with me, as I wanted to draw your eye through the image…
The stairs in Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse called The Safe House near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. because that sure doesn’t look like what one would expect to see inside a few old barns on the top of a hill, especially over on the west coast of Ireland.

Anyway, impressive to say the least – as was the rest of the place – but to see that you will have to wait for it to appear in a magazine, as this is what I’d also call a Safe House for us to shoot smile

So a big thanks to both Dominic & Louise for inviting us in to their Safe House – and we will keep you posted once we know more.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com having fun in County Clare.

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