Ashley Morrison's Blog

February 14, 2018

Twinkle

Filed under: Photography,Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 10:52 am
Tags: , , , ,

Life sometimes has a way of carrying us all in different directions…
“Never
.. as change does seem to be the only constant.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I have done a shoot with Marie – however, we do stay in touch and hook up from time to time, as over the years we have created a pretty major picture library together – plus being good friends for so long, we do talk about lots of other stuff too…
Though we may seem far...
.. which included her laughingly telling me about this new project she had started on – which was this 20-year-old “granny wagon”…
20-year-old caravan
.. is how she described it

“Sooooo – what’s my vision ?????

I’d actually like to give it a kind of Neptune feel…
20
.. It will be fun”

– she wrote a few months ago.

Anyway, long story short, last week we decided to combine a business catch up with a fun shoot of her little caravan – which she called Twinkle btw!!

And all I can say is her vision…
Marie
.. and ability to transform something so ordinary…
Marie
.. into something like this…
Marie
.. once again amazed me.

So here’s to a day filled with good food…
Food in the caravan
.. and good friends – on Valentine’s Day with a Twinkle

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January 26, 2018

Neat Fit.

Filed under: Publish work — Ashley Morrison @ 5:34 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

In Homes & Gardens magazine…
Page 154 in the February 2018 issue of Homes & Gardens magazine.
.. on page 154, this otherwise wasted space beneath the stair return…
Shoes under the staircase in Charlotte Hamel's modern apartment in Dublin.
.. has been put to good use as a display area for shoes in this apartment – which we talked about shooting here: A wee touch of France in Ireland.

So “Way to go” Charlotte…
Charlotte Hamel.
.. for that very neat fit – in Britain’s oldest decorating magazine that showcases classic design that stands the test of time – from Marie & me

January 24, 2018

I want to explore the world.

With just two things in my hands – and from the top of the Altare della Patria, or Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele ll, or the wedding cake building (take your pick!)…
The view of Rome from the Altare della Patria's roof.
.. one has a backdrop second to none – so yes, it really was beautiful, especially at the end of the day as the sun began to set – and therefore the perfect place to take a selfie wink.

Anyway, the Colosseum or Coliseum…
The Colosseum.
.. also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre…
The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre.
.. is an oval amphitheater in the centre of the city of Rome.
Built of travertine, tuff, and brick-faced concrete…
The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre.
.. it is the largest amphitheater ever built.
Construction began under emperor Vespasian in AD 72…
The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre.
.. and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir Titus.
It is situated just east of the Roman Forum
The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum.
.. also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum…
The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum.
.. is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings…
The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum.
.. at the center of the city of Rome.
Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space…
The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum.
.. originally a marketplace…
The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum.
.. as the Forum Magnum…
The view of the Colosseum and Roman Forum from the Altare della Patria's roof.
.. or simply the Forum.

“I want to explore the world with just two things in my hands, a camera in one & your hand on the other.”

And so that was Rome for me

January 23, 2018

Divine light.

On the ceiling in the Gallery of the Candelabra…
The Gallery of the Candelabra in the Vatican Museums.
.. “Arts pays homage to Religion” – and there is even an old plate camera to be seen…
The Gallery of the Candelabra in the Vatican Museums
.. in the Vatican Museums – which are obviously inside the Vatican City…
The entrance to Vatican Museums.
.. which is a country located within the city of Rome that I always wanted to see.

The light was beautiful – so like everyone else I took lots of pictures in the “Courtyard of the Pinecone”…
Pinecone Courtyard inside the Vatican Museums.
.. and of the various statues, including the Laocoön
Laocoön and his two sons sculpture inside Vatican Museums.
.. as well as in the Gallery of Geographical Maps
The Gallery of Maps is located on the western side of the Belvedere Courtyard in the Vatican Museums.
.. where once again there was just so much to see.

All of which reminded me of this work I did some years ago…
The guidebook for St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh.
.. for St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh, which was definitely an assignment I will never forget for many reasons – but that’s another story for another day wink.

Anyway, back in Rome, our tour guide, Arianna, pointing out many very interesting things to us…
Our tour guide, Arianna, pointing out one of the most famous paintings in the Raphael Rooms is the School of Athens.
.. incuding one of the most famous paintings in the Raphael Rooms, which is the School of Athens…
In the Raphael Rooms is the School of Athens painting representing philosophy and science.
.. before we entered the Sistine Chapel, were one is not allowed to take pictures, unfortunately.

Still, like I said before, the light was beautiful throughout – and inside St. Peter’s Basilica…
The altar inside St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City.
.. it was no different – as well as outside too…
Members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard outside St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City.
.. where the Pontifical Swiss Guard wore their tricolor uniform, which was lovely to see.

And so there you have it, a little bit of divine light within the city of divine inspiration…
The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in Vatican City, within the city of Rome.
.. for millions throughout the world, by little old me

January 22, 2018

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

While enjoying a cold beer…
Pit stop on the way to the Pantheon from the Trevi Fountain in Rome - where I sent this image via email to Katy, to her know where I was and where I was going to next.
.. last week, I tried to figure out what I should do next.
Because if you know where you are and you know where you want to be, then obstacles are [just] those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal – as Henry Ford once said.

So while I waited to hear where I should be, as well as went I should be there – I when to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore first…
The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore or church of Santa Maria Maggiore, is a Papal major basilica and the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome.
.. which is a is a Papal major basilica and the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome – before heading to the Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps (Italian: Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti) are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.
.. to see lots of people looking at their phones…
At the Spanish Steps
.. from every angle…
At the Spanish Steps (Italian: Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti) are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.
.. before heading to the Trevi Fountain
At the Trevi Fountain (Italian: Fontana di Trevi) is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. Standing 26.3 metres (86 ft) high and 49.15 metres (161.3 ft) wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world.
.. to basically see more of the same…
At the Trevi Fountain (Italian: Fontana di Trevi) is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. Standing 26.3 metres (86 ft) high and 49.15 metres (161.3 ft) wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world.
.. with one of the most famous fountains in the world…
At the Trevi Fountain (Italian: Fontana di Trevi) is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. Standing 26.3 metres (86 ft) high and 49.15 metres (161.3 ft) wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world.
.. in the background this time.

Then it was over to the Pantheon
The Pantheon with its circular domed cella is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome.
.. with its circular domed cella – which created absolutely beautiful light inside…
The Pantheon with its circular domed cella is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome.
.. which I tried to capture…
The Pantheon with its circular domed cella is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome.
.. as well as others too…
The Pantheon with its circular domed cella is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome.
.. from every angle…
The Pantheon with its circular domed cella is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome.
.. which was interesting to see…
The Pantheon with its circular domed cella is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome.
.. and obviously, take pictures of too…
The Pantheon with its circular domed cella is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome.
.. as everyone was looking at their phones…
The Pantheon with its circular domed cella is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome.
.. but then again they do say…
The Pantheon with its circular domed cella is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome.
.. when in Rome…
The Pantheon with its circular domed cella is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome.
.. do as the Romans do wink.

November 24, 2017

Black Friday.

“No room lights on” is one of the things that a lot of editors insist on these days, which actually became like ‘a rule’ 12 years ago. So when shooting a home which we are hoping a national or international magazine will run with, that is something that we would obviously keep in mind.

Which for the most part isn’t a problem, as many homes are quite bright to start with, as most of their walls and ceilings will often be painted white or a light colour.

But that wasn’t the case here as you can see…
One of the first images taken in Peggy Bell's townhouse in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. in the sitting room of this townhouse which overlooks Ballyholme Bay – which did look good with all the room lights and lamps turned on – however, when turned off, well as you can see here…
One of the first images taken in Peggy Bell's townhouse in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. even with two 3K’s blasting through the windows on this rather dull day, it was still looking pretty dark in there.

And so yes, this one required some serious lighting – and that look on Dianne’s face here…
One of the first images taken in Peggy Bell's townhouse in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. kind of summed up how I was feeling too when trying to shoot this up-stairs sitting room area wink.

Should definitely have hired an assistant for this, as I reckon I actually had to pump about 3 times as much light into this room than I normally would; however, I must say I was very pleased with the final result here…
“Peggy
.. as Peggy posed to perfection.

A house which as you can see here…
“The
.. I had actually shot before – and talked about here: House of fun.

Couldn’t be more different – but yet in some ways it was the same, as it was all about the details…
“The
.. as every area was like picture perfect.

Still, it was black…
One of the first images taken in Peggy Bell's townhouse in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. and the weather didn’t help – however, I have to say that it did look good in the end…
“The
.. and definitely a little bit different to the norm.

Which is something that we would always be on the lookout for, as would the editors too.

A challenge…
One of the first images taken in Peggy Bell's townhouse in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. especially when I need to turn the room lights off…
One of the first images taken in Peggy Bell's townhouse in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. but then I guess if it were easy, everyone’s images would look like this…
“The
.. and then it really would be a Black Friday for me wink.

Anyway, just want to say a big thanks to Peggy and Phil for inviting us into your amazing home and to Sean too, from Dianne & me on this Black Friday.

November 6, 2017

We’re having a white Christmas.

Filed under: Publish work — Ashley Morrison @ 4:23 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Is the title of our latest published work in the December 2017 issue of Your Home magazine…
Pages 88 to 91 of the December 2017 issue of Your Home magazine featuring Amanda and Keith Holly's renovated double fronted mid terrace house in Belfast at Christmas.
.. on pages 88 to 91 – which features Amanda and Keith Holly’s Victorian townhouse in Belfast.

“Amanda and Keith Holly stripped a Victorian townhouse to the brick to create their romantic, shabby chic home from scratch.”

Which I talked about shooting here: Belated Christmas.

So congratulations to both Keith and Amanda here…
Amanda with her children in their Victorian townhouse in Belfast at Christmas.
.. as well as to her sons Bailey and Oliver too, for making it into this top selling national magazine – which is filled with great ideas to make this Christmas year your best ever.

So from Marie, Mandi & me – we wish you all a very merry white Christmas smile.

October 3, 2017

To be sure, to be sure.

Over the last few weeks, I have been busy updating all my computers; as well as my backup systems too – which is something that was long overdue, as it’s been nearly 10 years since I have really made any major changes to my set-up.

“If it’s not broken, why fix it” – type of thing Smile

Anyway, having noticed that some of the computers were now starting to play up a bit and/or seemed to be running quite a bit slower than they should – with a bit of time on my hands, I decided to update a few of those things inside these boxes to the right of the screen…
Mac Pro and G-RAID
.. as well as some of the boxes too.

So after a few weeks looking on eBay, to see what others were selling, I’m now only about 7 years behind the times – having purchased a Mac Pro 5.1
macOS-Sierra
..to replace my 3.1 system – which I also decided to updated too, by using Carbon Copy Cloner to move everything over onto a new hard drive; as well as installing Yosemite and then El Capitan onto a 2nd new hard drive.

Which means it can now be booted up from either hard drive – should I wish to use Mac OS X Snow Leopard (version 10.6.8) like I did before or El Capitan (version 10.11.6) which is the max Operating System version that I can use on that Mac Pro “Eight Core” 3.2 (2008) model.

Anyway, that makes for a good backup computer system – with the Mac Pro 5.1 now begin my main workhorse, which is the last version of these big classic looking aluminum machines…
Mac Pro 5.1 work station
.. which has room for 4 internal 3.5″ SATA hard drives, as it has 4 individual ‘sled type’ mounting bays.

A beast of a machine compared to Apple’s latest Mac Pro version, which they released at the end of 2013 – but I don’t mind that, as it works great with the old Hasselblad & Phase One camera system that I use…
Hasselblad system
.. as well as the old MacBook Pro too, as FireWire 400 & 800 is what they both mainly use.

Anyway, with 4 internal bays to play with, all new hard drives were naturally bought – each of which can be seen on the right-hand side of the desktop screen…
Screen shot of the desktop screen.
.. along with the G-Raid, a ‘DropBox’ folder and the all-important Photoshop icon.
So with “Automatically hide and show the Dock” turned on, it’s just these few main icons that appear on the screen to start with – so minimum clutter, which is how I like it Wink.

The hard drives…
Screen shot of the Hard drives on the desktop screen.
.. the first of which is the (Macintosh HD) main one that I use, to basically do everything with…
Screen shot of the Hard drives on the desktop screen.
.. and put everything on to start with – so I used a 1TB Solid State Drive here, as that is about as fast as it gets these days – plus with no moving parts, then it should be pretty maintenance free too, I would have thought.

Time will tell, talking of which, the Time Machine then records whatever is on that drive – on the hour, every hour – into the 4th Hard Drive here…
Screen shot of the Time Machine hard drive.
.. before saving each day into a single fold.

So great for what I would call ‘short-term’ backups – as it records everything that is on the main hard drive, including all the programs and applications too – so should the main hard drive ever fail or should I delete something throughout the day by mistake, then this is the drive that will suddenly be worth more than it’s weight in gold Wink.

It was this Time Machine hard drive I was able to use, for example, when my Mac Pro 3.1 stopped working – a few days after I bought the 5.1 model – so after installing a new hard drive (as that was what had died) I was able to go back in time and resort everything – so when it finally booted up again, it was just like it had been, on the last hour of the old drives life.

A perfect copy too – as everything worked just like it did before.
So when it comes to saving one’s bacon, the Time Machine definitely gets two thumbs up from me – especially when it comes to ‘short term’ backups.

The 2nd hard drive (HD2-4Tb) is where all the finished jobs and/or final pictures are saved to – which I then put into ‘yearly folders’ at the end of each year…
Screen shot of the 2nd hard drive.
.. so lots of folders within folders here – as each folder may contain lots of other folders – as the ‘Licence to use’ documents, behind the scenes shots, quotes, invoices and anything & everything else that had to do with each job, is saved into different folders within each of the Job folders – which starts with the date in reverse, followed by a name, e.g. 20171002-Today – because the computer will then automatically put then all in order, with the most current Job being the last one.

So that is what I use the 2nd hard drive for – which is a fast 4TB HGST Deskstar NAS drive – as I would put a copy of each image in there too, after I had finished saving it onto the main hard drive.

The 3rd hard drive (HD3-4Tb) is were all the Raw Capture files from each Job are saved to…
Screen shot of the 3rd hard drive.
.. similar to how I save each Job on the 2nd hard drive.

Which normally I do, before I would start processing any of them on the main hard drive – so these would be like the original raw files, just like the ones from the Job, that would have been transferred over from the MacBook Pro… which is backed up using it’s own Time Machine, onto a small portable fast hard drive – like the one sitting on top of the G-RAID unit here…
Mac Pro and G-RAID
.. which has 2 FireWire 800 ports, as well as a USB 3.0 port at the back.

So everything is basically backed up – and then backed up again and again throughout each day, onto each of these hard drives inside this machine.
Plus everything on the 2nd hard drive (HD2-4Tb), at the end of each day, would be then be copied onto another external 4Tb hard drive, which I would keep in the back of the Land Rover – so it’s kept ‘off-site’ in a pretty safe place, which is always close by – even when I’m out on location, hundreds of miles away Wink.

And so that is basically what I have been doing for the last 10+ years – and I’m pleased to say, that pretty much every image that I have produced, since I started shooting digital back in 1999, is still safe and sound Smile

Still, since I was going to all this effort to upgrade everything here – which included putting a new 1TB Solid State Drive into the MacBook Pro as well – I started to read up on this thing which I had heard a lot about, but had never really looked into that much, as it actually sounded a bit scary, to be honest – and that was RAID.

RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a data storage virtualization technology that combines multiple physical disk drive components into a single logical unit for the purposes of data redundancy, performance improvement, or both.

Data is distributed across the drives in one of several ways, referred to as RAID levels, depending on the required level of redundancy and performance. The different schemes, or data distribution layouts, are named by the word RAID followed by a number, for example RAID 0 or RAID 1. Each schema, or RAID level, provides a different balance among the key goals: reliability, availability, performance, and capacity. RAID levels greater than RAID 0 provide protection against unrecoverable sector read errors, as well as against failures of whole physical drives.”

Anyway, as it did sound like something that I could use to back up all of the above to – thanks to all those who talked about it on the internet over the years, as well as to those who have posted various YouTube videos about it all too – I now have a G-RAID removable hard drive unit, sitting beside the Mac Pro – which I put two 8TB HGST Deskstar NAS drives inside and set it to RAID 1…
Screen shot of the G-RAID hard drive.
.. which Carbon Copy Cloner then automatically copies everything onto at the end of each day, that has been put into both the 2nd hard drive (HD2-4TB) and the 3rd hard drive (HD3-4TB).

And because it has been set to RAID 1, then that means that everything is automatically copied onto both 8TB drives at the same time – both of which can then be removed from the G-RAID unit and used as single or independent drives if need be.
Which was something that I was actually worried about, i.e. if the actual RAID unit itself were to stop working, could I still somehow read what was on the two hard drives ?

Well, I’m pleased to say I can – no problems at all – which Colin also talks about here…
G-RAID Review
.. on G-Technology G-RAID Hard Drive Review Smile

Anyway, this basically now means, at the end of each day, everything is on at least 2 different hard drives – or 5 different hard drives, if I have saved the work into the 2nd hard drive (HD2-4TB) and the 3rd hard drive (HD3-4TB) – which like I said before: I usually would do manually, by dragging & dropping, throughout the day anyway.
Or 6 different hard drives, if I saved it onto the one in the Land Rover – and it could be as many as 8 different hard drives, if it is still on the MacBook Pro and on it’s Time Machine hard drive as well – which normally everything will be left on and won’t be removed or delated, until I need the space – by which time – as there is now a 1TB Solid State Drive in there and few jobs would use up more than 30 or 40GB – everything should have been well backed up on the above.

So that’s what I have been doing over the past few weeks – “To be sure, to be sure” as we like to say… just for you Smile

August 31, 2017

Elegant Transformation.

Is the title of our latest published work in the October 2017 issue of Ireland’s Homes Interiors and Living magazine…
The cover plus pages 82 to 93 in the October 2017 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors and Living magazine featuring Emma and Graham Cooper's Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. on pages 82 to 93 plus on the Cover too – which features Emma and Graham Cooper’s Victorian semi detached house in Belfast.

“By restoring, re-purposing and re-imagining Graham and Emma turned a ‘house of horrors’ in Belfast into an elegantly practical home.”

Which I talked about shooting here: Like something you would see in a magazine.

So Congratulations once again, to both Graham and Emma here…
Emma Cooper in the sitting room of her Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. for not only making it into this beautifully printed top selling Irish magazine – but more importantly, for making it onto the Cover too.

So from Marie, Mandi & me – way to go you two, for this Elegant Transformation smile.

August 7, 2017

Tucked snugly away from the city streets.

The other main shot that they wanted, was this one…
“The
.. of the terrace area in the centre of the hotel – which we knew the sun would pretty much naturally light from about 3pm onwards.

“Adjoining Dylan Bar, the Terrace is an outdoor oasis. Tucked snugly away from the city streets, it features modern mood lit panelled walls and bamboo planting. The décor is finished by a feature red brick wall, giving it a Japanese Garden meets New York terrace appeal. The cosmopolitan space features comfortable lounge seating, providing the perfect space to relax after a long day at work, or to meet friends on the weekend.
The terrace is also the perfect space for watching any sporting event. It features two outdoor TV’s, and the most highly anticipated events are shown.”

So with 3 images now done and time to spared, we quickly set-up the 4th shot in the bar, to show this seating area…
“One
.. which was the area behind where we had taken this shot from the year before…
“The
.. which I talked about shooting here: Five images.

So while Dianne did a bit of polishing…
“Behind
.. as well as some heavy breathing…
“Behind
.. Claudio worked on the lighting…
“Behind
.. as well as his modelling career wink

Happy with that…
“Behind
.. as this was the final image produced to show this area…
“Sitting
.. which does have a very different feel to it than this area…
“Seating
.. which is on the other side of bar.

Anyway, the 5th and final image, as I said before, was of this area:
“Behind

OUR THINKING: Terrace area.

“Day time – after 4pm.

We like this angle as it shows the different wall surfaces in this area, giving us lots of interest.
4 people plus 1 staff member.
Small cacti for tables or something small with a modern feel.
Drinks for the table in the foreground, light beer and nibbles.
Throws. More planting.
Could the people be dressed in casual, nothing too bright let’s keep the colours soft.”

And so we once again started to set it up for the camera…
“Behind
.. check…
“Behind
.. and then waited for a blink of sun…
“Behind
.. before capturing the team in the positions we felt everyone should be…
“Behind
.. just before they all arrived…
“Behind
.. and we made some hand gestures…
“Behind
.. while Claudio here…
“Behind
.. once again, worked on his modelling career wink

Seriously though, between his lighting and the Big Guy’s lighting…
“Behind
.. with everyone now in their place…
“Behind
.. it wasn’t long before I was standing back…
“Behind
.. saying: “That’s a rap” – which it was as you can now see…
“Screen
.. on their website.

And so that was it, time to pack & rack…
“Behind
.. for the second time that day – smiling from ear to ear…
“Behind
.. as we were all delighted.

Which just leaves me to say a big Thanks to everyone involved here once again – especially to Elaine & Barry and not forgetting the Big Guy up above – from all of us @ ampimage.com

Creating images to tell a story… just for you smile

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