Ashley Morrison's Blog

August 5, 2017

So a decision had to be made.

After shooting the Experience suites the day before – which I talked about here: Between the showers – it was out to shoot the front terrace…
.. the follow morning.

OUR THINKING: Front terrace.

“We like this angle as it shows your unique wicker seating and the contrasting facades.
We would also like the grey storage box removed so we would see a clean line of your wonderful large pots with the olive trees.

6 people, 1 staff would give this area a buzzing atmosphere.
2×2 male and female and 2 ladies.
The 2 ladies would be in the foreground, so how they look would be very important, think ladies in their 30s.

Smart casual dress as they have been shopping, props to suggest.

Food requirements: Coffee and biscuits for the ladies. Club sandwiches and drinks for the table in the background with staff serving.”

So with the camera in roughly the same spot…
.. on what was looking to be another dull day – Claudio when ahead and set-up the lights…
.. but as you can tell from the look on Dianne’s face here…
.. she wasn’t impressed when she looked at this image on the screen…
.. as those three 3K’s were doing very little, as you can see.

No, it wasn’t looking good…
.. as there was no sign of the sun – and I really couldn’t see that it was going to appear anytime soon

So a decision had to be made – as I obviously couldn’t light up the whole world, never mind the front of this building, to make it look like the sun was shining – and so as you can see I wasn’t too happy…
.. as we said our farewells…
.. and started to load the wagon…
.. because there was no pointing in me wasting everyone’s time here.

But then for some strange reason, the Land Rover refused to start…
.. which as strange as it may sound – could have been because of what could be seen on the bonnet – because yes, that was a blue sky…
.. which by the look of it, I still wasn’t too happy to see wink

Seriously though, I couldn’t believe it – so with the camera back in it’s place…
.. the next image on the screen confirmed…
.. the sun was now shining – and so just one light was required this time…
.. to add a touch of fill…
.. to where the main group of people were going to be.

.. and out…
.. just like the sun…
.. but we where almost there…
.. as I explained how I saw them…
.. to myself by the looks of it wink

Still the ‘Big Guy up above’ must have been listening…
.. because a few minutes later, I was smiling from hear to hear – at this the final result…
.. which may never have happened had the Land Rover started wink

Which it did I’m pleased to say, after a little boast – and so that’s the story behind this image…
.. which you can now see on their website – with Claudio & Dianne way in the background too.

So a big thanks to everyone involved here – and especially to the ‘big guy up above’ – because I know I could not have pulled this off without your help 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 to 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 galvanized​ steel mesh bolted on to the roof bars of the Land Rover.
.. which is a 6′ x 4′ sheet of galvanized​ steel mesh – which they designed some bolts for, as seen here…
A 6' x 4' sheet of galvanized 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 galvanized​ 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.

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

October 3, 2015

Discovery II

One look inside my camera case…
Hasselblad system.
.. and you can tell right away that I’m the type of guy who loves a well made classic – which is exactly what the old Hasselbald V system is to me.

A workhorse – that has been beautifully made – which is now almost 20 years old but still going strong… and I love it.

Old School Smile

It’s the same for most of the other equipment I use as well – and so it was again this week ​when I decided to upgrade the wagon.

I remember reading many years ago, about a start-up company called ‘eBay‘ – and how it was fast becoming the place to buy & sell almost anything – which they reckoned back then, would even include things like cars one day.

No way, I thought!!

Well some 20 years on, that was exactly what happen this week – as I’d always wanted a really nice version of the Discovery II – which like the Hasselbald V system, is in my opinion, not only a thing of beauty but a real workhorse too.

Hard to find a really good one now, as they are more than 10 years old; however, after months of looking, I finally saw one in Poulton-le-Fylde – which not only looked like a superb example but also according to Mick from Preesall Garage, who had carefully looked after it for the past 5 years – it was a stunning one too – both inside & out.

Well, here it is…
Land Rover Discovery II ES Premium finished in metallic Java black with Alpaca leather seats.
.. the Land Rover Discovery II ES Premium, finished in Metallic Java Black with Alpaca leather upholstery – now sitting outside the studio – after Marie & I traveled over last week to see it.

So there you have it, the workhorse and it’s all new carriage now awaits… our next Discovery II Smile

February 15, 2014

A lighting challenge.

After a relative easy week shooting in the marquee at the five-star Doonbeg golf resort (which I read this week in the Irish Times, has now been bought over by US property mogul Donald Trump), where it was basically all lit – this week wasn’t so easy.

So we were back down in County Clare again, this time to shoot a number of areas inside Dromoland Castle, with the Land Rover fully loaded…
Unloading the camera and lighting equipment from the Land Rover outside Dromoland Castle in County Clare.
.. as I knew this was going to be a lighting challenge for sure.

Anyway, first up was to create a meeting style image in the newly decorated Terrace Room – so after Marie had finished setting it up…
Marie setting up in the Terrace Room at Dromoland Castle.
.. Carl blocked the sunlight, which I wasn’t actually expecting…
Setting up in the Terrace Room at Dromoland Castle.
.. and we had our first image in the bag…
The Terrace Room set-up for a business meeting at Dromoland Castle in County Clare.
.. before heading to the Lounge area, where it was clear from the start that this is where we’d have to work for our money…
Setting up in the lounge area at Dromoland Castle in County Clare.
.. but thanks to everyone and especially to Carl here…
Setting up in the lounge area at Dromoland Castle in County Clare.
.. who worked hard on the lighting – and then posed as the waiter while Marie lit the fire…
Setting up in the lounge area at Dromoland Castle in County Clare.
.. it only took us 2 hours to create this image…
Fireplace in the lounge area at Dromoland Castle in County Clare
.. which I was very, very pleased with – as this one had really worried me.

Then it was back into the Terrace Room again…
Setting up in the Terrace Room at Dromoland Castle in County Clare.
.. this time to shoot it as it would be setup for a banquet during the day…
The Terrace Room at Dromoland Castle in County Clare
.. and /or at night…
The Terrace Room at Dromoland Castle in County Clare
.. so basically we shot it both ways – to be sure, to be sure, as they word say here in Ireland smile

The following morning it was into the Cocktail bar…
Setting up in the Cocktail bar at Dromoland Castle in County Clare.
.. which was formerly the Castle library – so while Carl set up the lights outside…
Setting up in the Cocktail bar at Dromoland Castle in County Clare.
.. we moved the furniture so as to see the fireplace…
Setting up in the Cocktail bar at Dromoland Castle in County Clare.
.. before adding the finishing touches to create this image…
The Cocktail Bar at Dromoland Castle in County Clare
.. which again I was personally very pleased with – as this one had worried me too, mainly due to how I would light it.

After that, it was over to The Inn at Dromoland to shoot the Presidential Suite, which required a bit of work as they wanted just one image to capture it all – so while Marie did her thing…
Setting up in the Presidential Suite at The Inn at Dromoland in County Clare.
.. Carl & I did our thing – and for the fun of it, being close to Valentines day and all that, I decided to add a scene from the film Gone with the Wind – staring Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara
The Presidential Suite at The Inn at Dromoland in County Clare.
.. and Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes – who I was named after it seems smile

So that was it – after what I can only describe as a major lighting challenge – it was time to load-up the Land Rover once again…
The Land Rover outside Dromoland Castle in County Clare.
.. and head home in the rain – very tired but very pleased with the end results.

Anyway, just like to say big thanks to everyone involved – especially to Mark & Fiona from Dromoland Castle for making us feel so welcome.
From Marie, Carl & me @ in County Clare.

October 19, 2013

The head or the heart…

Filed under: Travel,Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 5:03 pm
Tags: , , , ,

.. are often the two main things that it comes down when making a buying decision.

The head is the logical stuff which one’s accountant will talk about.

The heart … well, it’s often not logically at all, but it’s like the stuff that dreams are made of – which in my line of work, is often what it’s all about – as they do say: “Image is (almost) everything”.

And so for me over the past weeks, I tried to let both have their say – but when I saw this…
Black 2002 Land Rover Discovery TD5 ES Auto
.. the heart won hands down smile

Still, there was some logic behind my decision, as I know quite a bit about these wagons now – having owned one and having had to do a lot of work to it, over the past 3 years.

So I asked all the questions about what had been done to this one – going through the full list of things that I had to do to mine – and naturally had a real good look at the chassis too.

“Better the devil you know than the one you don’t” they say – so here it is…
Black 2002 Land Rover Discovery Td5 ES Auto with black leather interior.
.. a top of the range model this time – which has been fully kitted with just about everything Land Rover could offer at the time:

Black Leather interior.
Electric seats, windows, twin sunroof & door mirrors.
Heated front seats.
Reserve parking sensors.
Centre diff lock.
Traction Control.
Active Cornering Enhancement.
Harmon Kardon amplified audio system.
Cruise control.
Drivers & passenger airbags.
Anti-lock braking system.
Traction control.
Remote central locking.
Alarm + Immobiliser.
Dual zone climate control.
18 inch alloys.
Front fog lights.
Headlight washers.
Heated windscreen.
Rear step.
Side steps.
Extended roof rails …

… and most importantly of all, it’s been Waxoyled underneath…
Waxoyled underneath the Black 2002 Land Rover Discovery TD5 ES Auto.
.. which the previous owner didn’t seem to be aware off – nor to the fact that it had had a spring conversion done too – which was one of the first things I did with my last one, as I got tired of sitting at the side of the roads, waiting for the air suspension system to sort itself out.

Oh, I could write a book about all the problems and things I had to do to my last one – but it’s like none of that really mattered – because I just loved it so much.

This one is however slightly different – in that it’s much smoother and less Defender like to drive, for some strange reason – even though it’s basically the same wagon.

A ‘work horse’ that’s also a bit of ‘show horse’, is how I’d describe it.

Anyway, I managed to stay within my budget, which the head told me I had to do no matter what the heart said – and I think this is a pretty good one too for the price I paid. Time will tell of course – but for now this is the new wagon, which will hopefully transport me & the ampimage team safely, to some wonderfully places across Europe, over the years to come.

So there you have it – the headaches and the heartaches of my recent buying decision smile


A few days later…

.. and still no real joy in finding a new wagon – but I have at least narrowed it down to either an estate or another Land Rover… if I can find one in good shape.

The big estates, like the Volvo V70 or Audi A6, tick all the boxes – but there’s just something about the Land Rover that tugs at my heart strings.

Which in a way, I guess, is a bit like this stuff we are currently shooting – people will buy it based more on what their heart says than what their head says.

And so with that in mind, our aim here was more to do with selling the Sizzle than just showing people the Steak.

As a result, Marie set-up another area in her house…
.. where we produced a series of images like these…

.. as well as shooting some paintings from a new artist to the team – to be launched next week…

.. and finally the first of a series of hand painted vintage furniture items…
.. before deciding to call it a day.

Now back to more important things – the hunt for a new wagon – which is really all that I’ve been thinking about over the past few weeks, while poor Marie here has been busy focusing on the thing that is most important to her – which is the launch of Natural Calico.
Which I must say, she has done an amazing job on, so be sure to check out her website sometime – as well as her Blog.

October 17, 2013

It’s time to say good bye to an old friend.

Filed under: Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 10:27 am
Tags: , , ,

Well this old Land Rover served me well over the past 3 years, as I recorded it on a number of occasions – from the day it arrived in the rain…
XLZ 1904 arrives
.. it’s first outing in the snow…
The Land Rover out in the snow in front of the studio.
.. side steps & roof bars fitted…
Sidesteps & bars
.. then the roof rack which we picked up on our first trip down to the south of England…
Roof rack
.. and then it on the way back from shooting another job in London a week or so later…
.. loading up to going to collage with my daughter Chloe…
Of to collage
.. at Mount Juliet County Estate with Marie & Stuart…
Mount Juliet
.. and at Doonbeg Golf & Spa resort at the start of the year…
Land Rover sitting outside the Member's Club house at Doonbeg Golf & Spa Resort in County Clare.
.. and so on.

It was my work-horse over the past 3 years, as it was great for carrying not only the crew & the gear, but all sorts of other stuff too…
Loaded up
.. which I need to carry while working on renovating the Hen House studios.

But then a few weeks ago I noticed this underneath…
.. which at first I thought could be repaired, until I saw this crack…
.. which unfortunately went all the way around – meaning the chassis was actually split in two here.

So after talking it over with a few different car body repair companies – and weighing up the cost involved in fitting a new chassis – it was clear from what they all said, that it was time for me to say goodbye to my dear old friend icon_cry

A major blow for sure and very sad to see it go – but anyway… 3 weeks on, it’s now time to say hello to my new friend – so more on that later smile

April 7, 2011

The roof rack trip…

.. which is what I think I will remember this one most for.

This was the first really long trip in the old Land Rover – and it sure was a trip to remember – as we covered a lot of miles over the last 10 days.
Other than the rear suspension acting up a few times on the first day, it was wonderful.
Left with a box on top and came home with a roof rack too – after placing a bid on eBay a few days beforehand, which I never thought I’d win.
Land Rover Discovery II

So we picked that up on the route; however, it took me a few days to figure out how to get both home, as the box was slightly longer than the rack – plus I still needed the bars, to hold the box in place. But as you can see it all worked out great in the end – so I now have a full width rack, should I need to throw more gear up top – and the big box too, which usually contains a full backup lighting system, as well as other bits & bobs, which we occasionally need when shooting on location.

Anyway, what a great trip – and I can’t wait now for the next one.

December 17, 2010

Time to Rock & Roll…

Filed under: Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 10:29 am
Tags: , , ,

.. and put the Discovery to the test – because as you can see…
The Land Rover out in the snow in front of the studio.
.. we are getting a White Christmas in Ireland this year.

So time to get out there and make the most of it by getting a few exteriors in the bag…
Sarah and Geoff Mitchell's Victorian gentleman's detached house in the coastal County Down town of Bangor.
.. for next years Christmas issues.

December 3, 2010

It’s cold outside…

Filed under: Travel — Ashley Morrison @ 9:59 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

.. and although we saw lots of snow last week as we traveled down to Kildare – this morning saw the first of the snow here at the studio.
(I would estimate it was at least a millimeter deep – but it could be as much a 2mm in places) 🙂

Anyway, we are all set to go this winter with the new wagon…
Land Rover Discovery Td5 in the snow.
.. should it continue to snow – and really looking forward to a white Christmas this year.

But I think it’s time to pay a visit to Rohan because it sure is getting cold outside.

Top of the list has got to be a pair of Winter Fusion trousers, a Merino T-shirt, and a Thermocore shirt. Because as much as I love the snow, I hate being cold – and it’s amazing the difference, that good thermal clothing can make – including socks, hats, and gloves.

So as lyricist Sammy Cahn once wrote: let it snow, let it snow, let it snow !

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