Ashley Morrison's Blog

May 1, 2014

Hidden Charms.

Is the title of our latest published work in the June 2014 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine…
Pages 72 to 75 in the June 2014 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine featuring Fiona and Conor O'Kane's detached Victorian Gentleman’s residence in Belfast.
.. on pages 72 to 75 – featuring Fiona and Conor O’Kane’s detached Victorian Gentleman’s residence in Belfast.

“Fiona and Conor O’Kane saw past the dubious decor and overgrown ivy of a faded period gem and restored it’s sparkle.”

Which we shot last year just before heading down to shoot at Mount Juliet in county Kilkenny – and so I have just noticed that I’ve totally forgotten to write about this one – which I must now do over the weekend wink

Anyway, for now, you can now read all about Fiona and Conor here…
Fiona and Conor O'Kane in the living room of their detached Victorian Gentleman’s residence in Belfast.
.. and see their hidden charms, in this top selling national magazine which is currently on the bookshelves.

From Marie, Mandy & me @ ampimage.com

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A Blank Canvas

Is the title of our latest published work in the June 2014 issue of Ireland’s Homes Interiors & Living magazine…
Pages 80 to 91 in the June 2014 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors & Living magazine featuring Ciara Nelson's three storey semi-detached villa in Belfast.
.. on pages 80 to 91 – featuring Ciara Nelson’s three storey semi-detached villa in Belfast.

“Ciara’s four bedroom Victorian semi in Belfast had recently undergone a major renovation which had been done to a very high standard and had left the property pretty much a blank canvas. Using her existing furniture and accessories along with a few new bits and pieces, she is now well on her way to her prefect home.”

Which we talked about here: It’s all in the detail – at the time when we shot it, and more recently here: Over 6000 views in less than 48 hours – when I talked how one of the images of the kitchen here in this home, had surprised me on the number of views it had received on Flickr – which currently stands at 7,162 views.

Anyway, stunning repro as always – which is what I love so much about this magazine – so this is just a quick note to say a big thanks to everyone involved here – and congratulations to Ciara here…
Ciara Nelson in the sitting room of her three storey semi-detached villa in Belfast.
.. once again, for making it into this beautifully printed Irish glossy magazine.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com

April 27, 2014

Left or Right.

Well we decided to employ ourselves this week – as we couldn’t think of anyone better or nicer to work for wink

So set-up a few shots in the kitchen area of Marie’s house here…
Setting up the dining table shot in the kitchen area of Marie & Alan McMillen's renovated 1960's Belfast home.
.. which she has been working very hard on over the past few weeks.

Lovely…
The dining table in the kitchen area of Marie & Alan McMillen's renovated 1960's Belfast home.
.. as was the light; however, as you can see…
Setting up the dining table shot in the kitchen area of Marie & Alan McMillen's renovated 1960's Belfast home.
.. we still had a wee bit of pushing and shoving to do…
The dining table in the kitchen area of Marie & Alan McMillen's renovated 1960's Belfast home.
.. to get it right for the camera.

The big debate, however, was over this area…
Setting up the corner sofa shot in the kitchen area of Marie & Alan McMillen's renovated 1960's Belfast home.
.. which in the end we decided to shot two ways – close in on the corner sofa…
The corner sofa in the kitchen area of Marie & Alan McMillen's renovated 1960's Belfast home.
.. and further back to show more of the room…
The corner sofa in the kitchen area of Marie & Alan McMillen's renovated 1960's Belfast home.
.. which is the version that Marie wanted and liked best.

Reminded me of this sign…
Men to the Left because Women are always Right!
.. however, I think she may have actually been right here too wink

Anyway, more to follow – as this was when Marie decided that that was enough for one day – and so we left it at that – which I think was the right decision too smile

From Marie & me at ampimage.com, creating images for others to use.

April 21, 2014

All American Dream.

Set in beautiful New England countryside, Mary Ann and William Lewis have built their dream retirement home – and this was it…
Mary Ann and William Lewis' detached cedar shingle house near Hanover in New England.
.. which was the last of homes we shot, on this back to America trip – which I’ve talked about over the past few days.

The New England town of Hanover is home to historic Dartmouth College – one of only eight Ivy League Colleges in America. With its’ beautiful college buildings, squares and elegant townhouses, it is everyone’s idea of how an old American college town should be. So much so, that it clearly left a lasting impression on William Lewis and his college roommate when they were medical students at Dartmouth. ‘We promised ourselves that one day when we retired, we would both return to the area’ recalls William.

They never lost sight of their dream and eventually heard about a large site that had come on the market in what’s known as the Upper Valley overlooking the Connecticut River. Retirement was still a long way off but they felt it was too good an opportunity to miss and bought the land which had more than enough space to build two large homes.

When it eventually came time to design and build their dream home, having had lots of time to think about it, William and Mary Ann had a clear vision of how it should be. They enlisted the help of an Architect and good friend whose number one priority was to ensure that the exterior was in keeping with the location and insisted on materials commonly used in the area – namely cedar shingle.

And what a dream it was – as was the craic with friends on the veranda…
Mary Ann and William Lewis outside their detached cedar shingle house near Hanover in New England with friends.
.. which to me, really did sum up this All America Dream – and us wanting to stay on forever.

Inside was pretty amazing too – with things like this huge island unit in cherry wood with a soapstone worktop…
The kitchen in Mary Ann and William Lewis' detached cedar shingle house near Hanover in New England.
.. where everyone congregates it seems – when not out on the veranda – for a coffee and a chat.

Loved the panelled ceiling too – which added interest and depth…
The living room in Mary Ann and William Lewis' detached cedar shingle house near Hanover in New England.
.. as well as help define this space as seen here…
The living room in Mary Ann and William Lewis' detached cedar shingle house near Hanover in New England.
.. from the dining area and kitchen – which clearly doubled up as the prefect place for their Golden Retriever Berkley
The sitting room in Mary Ann and William Lewis' detached cedar shingle house near Hanover in New England.
.. to have a wee nap smile

Impressive to say the least – as was their collection of oriental rugs throughout the house, which included this one in their bathroom…
Bathroom in Mary Ann and William Lewis' detached cedar shingle house near Hanover in New England.
.. where Mary Ann had added beautiful blue ginger jars and plates to tone with the bathroom rug.

And outside – down at the bottom of their garden – was the Connecticut River
William Lewis down by the lake outside his detached cedar shingle house near Hanover in New England.
.. which for me, just completed the Dream – which Mary Ann and William here…
Mary Ann and William Lewis down by the lake outside their detached cedar shingle house near Hanover in New England.
.. along with Berkley, were clearly enjoying.

A little disappointed that we didn’t manage to get this amazing home into any of the UK national magazines; however, a local property magazine give it an amazing spread…
Pages 12 to 18 inside issue 24 of Templeton Robinson's Property Life magazine featuring Mary Ann and William Lewis' detached cedar shingle house near Hanover in New England.
.. which was really lovely too see, almost 3 years after we had been there.

And so like Mary Ann and William here, who never lost sight of their dream – neither have we – as we still love to show these images to others and tell them about this amazing home, which was the last one we shot on our 10 day return trip to America.

Hard to believe it’s been 9 years – as it just seems like yesterday – but here’s hoping we will be back again real soon.

So that’s it for now – which once again just leave me to say a big THANK YOU to everyone involved here – and especially to Mary Ann and William for giving us this opportunity to share their dream.

From Marie…
Marie McMillen outside Mary Ann and William Lewis' detached cedar shingle house near Hanover in New England.
.. & me @ ampimage, it’s back to the UK, before… well you’ll have to wait and see smile

April 18, 2014

Christmas in the USA

The main reason for us being here, was due to us being asked by Rachel – the commissioning homes editor at the BBC – if we would be interested in going to America to produce and then provide her with some images of a home in New England, for her to use in their up & coming Christmas issue.

To which we had to think long & hard about… for all of 2 seconds, before saying YES Smile

So this was the next one on our list and the main reason for us being here… in August.
Not exactly Christmas time, nor did it feel like Christmas – but nevertheless, when we arrived at Jackie & David’s New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont, we knew Santa wasn’t far away, as one of his little helper was already there…
Young deer outside Jackie Ennis & David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. out in their garden, keeping an eye on us all smile

Anyway, needless to say, a lot of work when into this one…
setting up the living room shot in Jackie & David's New England farmhouse near Stowe.
.. as we were shooting this totally out of season…
Jackie Ennis & David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. and so, therefore, everything had to be set-up so as to make it look as Christmasy as possible…
Jackie Ennis & David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. while the summer sun was shining brightly outside.

The storyline:

Jackie, originally from Manchester in the UK, who now works in tourism & marketing for New England, said: ‘When I first met David, we were both working in Boston but he is originally from Vermont and had always wanted to return there. We knew that Vermont would be very different and much quieter than Boston and decided to stay here for a six month trial period to see if it felt right. We stayed in the small town of Stowe which is quite near the Canadian border and at the end of the six months, I was totally sold. Vermont is famous for its beautiful scenery – particularly in the “fall” but I also loved the whole lifestyle aspect. The population in Vermont is surprisingly small; crime rate is low and everything is clean and well maintained. The summers are hot and sunny and wonderful for cycling, walking and kayaking whereas the winters are perfect for skiing and sledding. Even though Stowe is quite small, it has a really nice social scene with great restaurants, theatres and art galleries. We both agreed it would be a perfect place to settle down and raise a family.’

Now that’s what I call a ‘sales pitch’ – but it was also all true – as this really is a beautiful part of the world – and I could totally see why they moved here.

Anyway, it was very hot outside, so naturally we ask them all to dress in their warmest winter clothes…
Jackie Ennis & her son, Callum, the living room of in their New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont.
.. and act the part…
Jackie Ennis & her son, Callum, in the kitchen of their New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont.
.. which both Callum (above) and Antonia as seen here in her bedroom…
Antonia in her bedroom.
.. clearly loved doing – and Antonia even suggested a few different poses of her own…
Antonia in the bathroom.
.. which I obviously had to shoot wink

When Marie asked Jackie to tell us about Christmas in Vermont for the feature, she said:
I’m probably a little biased but to me, this has to be one of the most picturesque places in the world to spend Christmas. We always have snow and everyone tends to decorate their homes in a very traditional way with real Christmas trees, wooden decorations and not too much tinsel.

Beautiful…
Master bedroom in Jackie Ennis & David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont.
.. and so was the amazing spread in the December issue of BBC Good Homes magazine…
Pages 152 to 157 in the December 2005 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine featuring Jackie Ennis and David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. which they ran over 6 pages – as was the 7-page spread and cover of Templeton Robinson’s property life magazine…
The cover plus pages 14 to 20 in issue 20 of Templeton Robinson's Property Life magazine featuring Jackie Ennis and David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. a few years later – which they titled, Christmas in the USA.

Over the moon to be back in America – and this was the main reason for our return – which one day soon I hope to do again.

So in the meantime, I’d just to say huge thanks to everyone involved here – especially to Jackie, David, Callum, and Antonia – for not only making us feel so welcome but for also making a dream come true for both of us.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com, thank you.

February 8, 2014

What prompted you to do what you do ?

As Meryll Frost, the most courageous athlete of 1945, once said:

‘They say behind every great man there’s a woman. While I’m not a great man, there’s a great woman behind me.’

So with one day to go before we headed home – Marie (who has become the great woman behind me) & I decided to go for it – and to take another gamble by putting our money where our month was – because we were here anyway with all the gear, so why not make the most of it !!

David had introduced us to Margaret & Barry Harris, who were from Birmingham in the UK – and they had invited us over to look at their villa…
Harris' villa in Spain.
.. located in Javea on the most Easterly tip of Spain.

When asked: ‘What prompted you to buy a place in the sun?’ they said:

Over the years we have always enjoyed our foreign holidays – there’s nothing quite like that feeling of leaving behind grey skies and stepping off a plane at the other end in balmy heat! But it’s not just about the weather – we love the whole relaxed friendly lifestyle that you experience abroad. Buying a property is a big step and you need to be sure you will get plenty of use out of it. In our case, we run our own business, which thankfully has reached the stage where we no longer need to be at the helm for 12 months of the year. When weighing everything up, we knew that between ourselves, our friends and family, we would get great use out of a foreign home! And although it wasn’t our main motivation for buying, we also anticipated that the villa would be a good capital investment – and with prices rising in the area, this has proved to be the case.

Perfect…
Margaret & Barry Harris' villa located in Javea on the most Easterly tip of Spain.
.. so we have a good story to tell – and so all we need now is to produce some images to go along with that, which would appeal to the magazine Editors & their readers.

So having recced the place a few days before…
Harris' villa in Spain.
.. we set about doing our thing…
The living room in Margaret & Barry Harris' villa.
.. by re-creating each of the original images we took…
Harris' villa in Spain.
.. to bring it more into line with what we felt an Editor would expect to see…
The dining area in Margaret & Barry Harris' villa located in Javea on the most Easterly tip of Spain.
.. and their readers too…
Harris' villa in Spain.
.. whenever they flick the magazines…
Master bedroom in Margaret & Barry Harris' villa located in Javea on the most Easterly tip of Spain.
.. such as these…
Pages 162 to 167 in the October 2005 issue of Real Homes magazine featuring Margaret and Barry Harris' villa located in Javea on the most easterly tip of Spain.
.. (Pages 162 to 167 in the October 2005 issue of Real Homes magazine) – which at the end of the day…
Pages 12 to 21 in issue 17 of Templeton Robinson's Property Life magazine featuring Margaret and Barry Harris' villa located in Javea on the most easterly tip of Spain.
.. (Pages 12 to 21 in issue 17 of Templeton Robinson’s Property Life magazine) – is what it’s all about, as that is all that anyone is ever going to really see.

So this is when I realized it doesn’t really matter what it cost us or how long it took us or even if we had been asked to take the pictures beforehand – because all that others are interested in, are the final results.
If the results are good and they want to use our work, then they will pay me for the use of my images – rather than to do the work, as the work will have already been done by then, and so they aren’t really interested in paying for that.

The penny had finally dropped – and so this was the start of a whole new way that Marie & I then moved our business forward – which I’ll write more about over the following months, as it was truly amazing what lead from this change in our thinking here.

From Marie & me @ ampimage creating the dream of living the dream in this beautiful part of Spain.

January 19, 2014

Over 6000 views in less than 48 hours.

Filed under: Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 11:13 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wow !!

I often wonder what one has to do to get others to react to something that I have or am about to create – to click on an image or take time out to make a comment – rather than just do nothing.

So I like to post images up on the web, in places like Flickr, for the world to see – and so after our most recent shoot that’s just what I did.

In less than 12 hours after having posted this image of the bathroom in one of the Heritage bedroom suites at the Ice House Hotel…
Bathroom in one of the Heritage bedroom suites at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina.
.. which we shot last week – I noticed at 11am 1,453 had viewed it – and by 2pm that that figure had risen to 2,422 views – which I mentioned to Marie when she emailed to say:

Morning Ashley
Any feedback ??????

Obviously meaning from the client, to which I replied:

Morning Marie
Yes, this image has so far got the most hits Icehouse-177825 | Flickr – Photo Sharing! – which is currently 1453 after just one day.
The rest have got just over 100 hits, so hopefully, we made a good call for shooting that bathroom 🙂

In other words, what I was saying to Marie here was: yes, I have got some feedback from the general public, who have in a way voted by clicking to view – but not from the client as yet.
Which to me is as important – although I’m not quite sure why – but I do find it interesting all the same, from an advertising photographer’s point of view.
As producing images that get others to react or stop them in their tracks for a few seconds to take the time-out and look, is a big part of what I try to achieve.

Especially on the Worldwide web, where there are literally millions of images for people to look at every day!!

Anyway, just now I checked it again, and to my amazement, it has been viewed 6,159 times now – whereas the other images I posted at the same time have only been viewed about 200 times.

And it was the same last week when I posted this image…
The kitchen in Ciara Nelson's three-storey semi-detached villa in Belfast.
.. of a kitchen in a three-storey semi-detached house in Belfast – which was just the return image of what I would have considered being the main image, and the one which I would have thought would have got the most views.

Currently 6,283 views for this kitchen image – which just blew me away – but it looks like this image of the bathroom is about to surpass that this weekend and may even go on to surpass the number of views this image of the Bamboo studio in myhotel Brighton has received…
The Bamboo studio in myhotel Brighton.
.. which is currently my highest viewed image on Flickr, at 11,628 views.

So what is it about these images – and why do these ones get so many views, but yet images which I would personally consider to be much better / more interesting / more appealing – don’t get people to react in the same way, by clicking to view?

How important is the general public vote on things like this – and is it something that the client should be made aware of??

More questions than answers – or as songwriter Don Henley wrote in the lyrics of his song, The Heart Of The Matter:

The more I know, the less I understand.

Which is very true – and what I’m sitting here thinking today – 30 years on, as someone who tries very hard to create amazing images for others to use, to get them results like this.

So that’s my thoughts & questions for the day – from me @ ampimage.com

January 17, 2014

Better late than never.

Due to the poor weather we had to put our first shoot of the year back a week – still better late than never – so we headed down to Ballina in County Mayo over the weekend to produce a number of images at the Ice House Hotel, while keeping our fingers cross for a wee bit of sunshine.

Weather is always a major concern at this time of year, but there was a 50% chance of some sunshine – so rather than waiting, we kicked off in the bar…
Setting up the bar at the Ice House Hotel.
.. as they had two models booked – and so everyone set about doing their thing, which including rearranging the drinks…
Setting up the bar at the Ice House Hotel.
.. and asking Carmel form The Marketing Department to stand in as well, while I lit it up…
The bar at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina.
.. to capture our first, of hopefully many great images of this year.

Anyway, the rain stopped and the sky turned blue – so it was straight into the restaurant…
Setting up the restaurant at the Ice House Hotel.
.. lights up, get everyone in place quickly and minutes before it started to rain again, we managed to get our second image in the bag…
The restaurant at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina.
.. which I was delighted with, as this was a biggie for both them & us.

Marie’s favorite next, a bedroom…
Setting up the Riverside bedroom suite at the Ice House Hotel.
.. which actually took some time to set-up & light – and so while Carmel cleaned the raindrops of windows, Ken looked on and captured the moment…
Setting up the Riverside bedroom suite at the Ice House Hotel.
.. while Marie & I added the final touches…
Riverside bedroom suite at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina.
.. to their riverside bedroom suite.

Short days and ever-changing weather meant we then really only had time to create one more image – so it was back to the restaurant…
Setting up the restaurant at the Ice House Hotel.
.. to wait for the twilight moment…
Setting up the restaurant at the Ice House Hotel.
.. to capture a romantic moment…
The restaurant at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina.
.. and an image that got two thumbs up from everyone involved – which was a really nice way to the end the day – before Marie & I collapsed in a heap.

So better late than never – that was day one and our first shoot of the year – which was followed by serval well deserved pints of Guinness Smile

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com in the Ice House in County Mayo.

January 10, 2014

It has plenty of character.

Is the title of our latest published work in the February 2014 issue of Style at Home magazine…
Pages 74 to 76 in the February 2014 issue of Style at Home magazine featuring the office in Jillian Donaldson's 1950's detached house near Holywood in County Down.
.. on pages 74 to 76 – featuring the office in Jillian Donaldson’s 1950’s detached house near Holywood in County Down.

Stylist at Home Jillian, 43, from County Down, has created a stylish home office that’s also perfect for a spot of rest and relaxation.

Shot a few months ago…
Jillian Donaldson in the office of her 1950's detached house near Holywood in County Down.
.. which included some quirky pieces, such as this vintage mannequin…
Vintage mannequin in Jillian's home office.
.. and this sign…
Sign in Jillian's home office.
.. which reads:

Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, other make it happen.

Well it looks like we made it happen Smile
So way to Jillian and thanks once again for giving us this opportunity to show the world you have plenty of character.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.

January 4, 2014

Escape to the Country…

.. sounds good to me – so when we when to shoot Sonya & Glen’s converted barn near Donaghadee in County Down…
Sonya and Glenn McDowell's century-old cottage near the seaside town of Donaghadee in County Down.
.. I was really looking forward to seeing what they had done inside, as this sort of thing really appeals to me – being the son of a farmer and all that.

The storyline:

An “Escape to the Country” storyline along with a massive re-furb.
The barn and stables were derelict and had never been used for residential dwellings when the couple bought them.
They hit major problems with planning consents, etc, but “hung in there”.
Sonya loves pattern and colour and had great fun adding the finishing touches.

Well let me start by saying I sure wasn’t disappointed; however, it was a tricky one to light for a number of reasons – so we started with the kitchen…
Setting up the kitchen shot.
.. which being a Chalon style kitchen with a large 4-oven AGA Classic cast-iron range cooker…
The kitchen in Sonya and Glenn McDowell's century-old cottage near the seaside town of Donaghadee in County Down.
.. got two thumbs up from me.

Then pulling back a bit…
Setting up the kitchen table shot.
.. we captured the kitchen table…
The kitchen table in Sonya and Glenn McDowell's century-old cottage near the seaside town of Donaghadee in County Down.
.. with the kitchen behind – before pulled right back to shoot the whole room…
Setting up the living room shot.
.. which as you can see just looked amazing…
Sonya McDowell in the living room of her barn conversion near Donaghadee in County Down.
.. especially with how Sonya had furnished it, with different patterns and colours.

Turning around to shoot it in the other direction…
Setting up the living room shot.
.. looked equally as good…
The living room in Sonya and Glenn McDowell's century-old cottage near the seaside town of Donaghadee in County Down.
.. as did the rest of the place – which probably explains why it made it onto the cover of Ireland’s Homes Interiors & Living magazine…
The cover plus pages 90 to 101 in the February 2013 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors & Living magazine featuring Sonya and Glenn McDowell's century-old cottage near the seaside town of Donaghadee in County Down.
.. at the start of last year.

So why did I forget to write about this one?
Well a few days later we were in the south of France…
The view from Janet and Ken Hamilton's villa called 'Jasmin' near the French Riviera village of Saint Paul-de-Vence.
.. which I did write about here: Day 4 – so can you blame me smile

Anyway, as I look back at the start of this New Year, I came across this one – and I’d still have to say this was one of my all-time favourite homes – so better late than never as they say – I’d now like to thank both Sonya & Glen here, for our wee escape to the Country.

From Marie, me and the rest of the team at ampimage.com.

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