Ashley Morrison's Blog

May 13, 2018

Total tranquility in Killarney.

Keeping it simple…
One of the first pictures taken during the shoot at the Killarney Park Hotel in County Kerry.
.. so it was Lights…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Killarney Park Hotel in County Kerry.
.. a few candles…
One of the first pictures taken during the shoot at the Killarney Park Hotel in County Kerry.
.. a Camera…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Killarney Park Hotel in County Kerry.
.. a quick check…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Killarney Park Hotel in County Kerry.
.. Action…
The Spa in the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish County of Kerry.
.. and then basically repeat…
The Spa in the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish County of Kerry.
.. in the Spa & Wellness centre.

“One of the finest spa hotels Killarney has to offer, the Killarney Park Hotel Spa is the perfect place to unwind and luxuriate. Devote a day to your relaxation and regeneration or indulge in some post-sightseeing pampering; however you decide to use our indulgent Spa facilities, you will emerge refreshed and renewed in our oasis of calm.

You will find a wellness space that encourages total escape from the pace of everyday living.”

Five-star massages & reviving treatments…
The Spa in the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish County of Kerry.
.. at The Spa
The Spa in the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish County of Kerry.
.. your haven of peace and total tranquility in Killarney – by Dianne, Claudio & me

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October 25, 2015

The pool with the view.

Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea, is what they wanted the picture to say at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in County Down.

So after agreeing on a price – for me to produce and then provide such an image, for them to use in multiple media for 1 year – I went along to have a look at the pool and took some quick snaps like this…
One of the reference pictures taken of the swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in Newcastle.
.. which I felt looked most impressive; however, it didn’t really say: Pool with a view.

Liked this angle too…
One of the reference pictures taken of the swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in Newcastle.
.. and yes, one could now at least see the view, which was pretty Wow on a nice sunny day like this was.

However, there was something about this angle I liked…
One of the reference pictures taken of the swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in Newcastle.
.. whereas you can see here in this darker exposure…
One of the reference pictures taken of the swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in Newcastle.
.. one could see the sea too.

“The pool with the view, where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea” – perfect.

Now all I had to do was shoot it for real – meaning: Produce an image that they want to use enough, that they would be willing to pay me some money for – which as good as these were, I reckoned they wouldn’t be quite ‘good enough’ to meet their usage requirements Smile​

So a date was sort of set – as getting good weather I knew was going to be key here if I wanted that view to look as good as it did here.
There is an old saying here in Ireland: “If you can see the Mournes, it’s about to rain – if you can’t, that’s because it is” – which isn’t far of the truth.
And so it was very much a case of just having to keep an eye on the weather forecast and then making the call that “it’s on” at the very last minute.

The above pictures were taken on the 20th of May; however, due mainly to us being busy at that time – because we had just been commissioned to shoot all of the various Carlton Hotels around the south of Ireland – it wasn’t until Friday the 29th of June that I made that call, that it was on.

Arrived around 1pm and as the first images appeared on screen…
One of the main​ pictures used to create the final image of the swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in Newcastle.
.. I was thinking to myself, this is going to look great once I’ve lit it.

So I set-up the lights, re-positioned the camera slightly and then I heard a splash…
One of the main pictures used to create the final image of the swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in Newcastle.
.. Nooooooooooooooooooo!!! I cried, as the guests who were staying at the hotel jumped in and started to swim about.

The pool obviously hadn’t been closed, like I’d thought it had been when I first set-up – and so it was like: “Houston, we have a problem” – because that Black Tiled pool just didn’t quite look as welcoming when the water wasn’t still & clear… to say the least.

The view outside was okay, as you can see here…
One of the main pictures used to create the final image of the swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in Newcastle.
.. but not really as good as I would have liked – and so I just had to sit here and wait, and wait, and wait some more – in the hope that things would get better.

A member of staff had also been informed that she may be called upon to doing a bit of modeling too – and so I knew that she would arrive around 3pm – which naturally gave me plenty of time here to figure this all out.

And so I waited.

At 2:45 it looked like this…
One of the main​ pictures used to create the final image of the swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in Newcastle.
.. which overall wasn’t bad I thought – so maybe in another 15 minutes or so, the water will stop moving and I’ll be okay.

But then I hear another splash…
One of the main pictures used to create the final image of the swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in Newcastle.
.. and a few seconds after that, this girl jumps in under the water jets…
One of the main pictures used to create the final image of the swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in Newcastle.
.. and so once again I heard screams inside my head: Noooooooooooooooooo!!!

Anyway, as it turned out the girl was actually the member of staff that I had been waiting on – so I asked them to turn off the water jets and decided to proceed as if none of this other stuff mattered.

Two minutes later, that was a rap…
One of the main pictures used to create the final image of the swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in Newcastle.
.. as I honestly felt I was just wasting everyone time here – as this was clearly never going to work cry

I had this really great picture in my head too – and it obviously looked amazing – but as you can see here, I didn’t really have very much else roll eyes

Anyway, not one to be beaten after 25 years – and since the thought of having to go back and trying again didn’t appeal to me – I decided the following morning to have another look at what I did have here.

Well, ​I did have at least a few images of the pool when the water was totally still – all be it from a slightly different angle.
I did have a few images that showed the Mountains of Mourne sweeping down to the sea – all be it the sky was white.
I did have a few images where the overall pool looked okay – all be it there was no view.
I did have a person in the pool, looking as if they were enjoying the view – all be it there wasn’t one.
And I did have this image…
Millisle beach.
.. which I’d taken a few years early, down at the beach in Millisle, close to were I’m biased​.

So… they said they wanted me to produce and then provide them with an image that said: “The pool with the view, where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea” – well okay then, “let’s do it” I thought to myself wink

And a few hours later, this was the result…
The swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in the County Down town of Newcastle.
.. after it had been seriously amped as Marie would often refer to what we do.

Anyway, needless to say, ​after seeing the above image, 1 years use very quickly became 3 years use in multiple media – like this double-sized billboard…
Double size billboard showing the Spa at the Slieve Donard Hotel.
.. and at the end of 3 years they obtain a new license for unlimited years use, I’m pleased to say too

And so that’s the story behind the image which you can still see to this very day on the Hastings Hotels website…
Page on Hastings Hotel's website about the Spa at Slieve Donard Hotel in County Down.
.. showing “The pool with the view, where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea”.

The magnificent Slieve Donard Resort and Spa is nestled in the heart of County Down where the ‘Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea’. Standing on 6 acres of private grounds, the hotel has been providing the best of Irish hospitality for over 100 years. The Percy French restaurant provides a cozy and friendly atmosphere. The Spa has all the facilities you need to relax and unwind from today’s hectic pace.

In 2015 the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa were awarded a Gold Award in the Green Tourism Business Scheme.

Creating images – because that’s what we do… just for you @ ampimage dot com smile

May 24, 2013

Shooting me shooting you shooting…

.. was how the day started, as we set-up the camera & lights…
Shooting set-up
.. while waiting for the sun to come out and play – for at least a few minutes.
Then it was shoot, shoot, shoot…
Shooting them shooting
.. followed by that hand nail bitting: “Did I get it ?” moment…
Did we get it
.. as I flicked through the images on screen, while the Scottish guests (our models here) looked on.

Because this was another shot that I’d worried about…
Clay pigeon shooting at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.
.. but I needn’t have worried, as I think this is my favorite shot of the week.

So happy with that one – it was ‘pack & rack’ time – and then over to the driving range to produce some images of their golf Pro, Sean Cotter, in action.

Looking good Stuart…
Stuart waiting
.. but where’s the blue skies & sunshine ?

So while we waited, Shane practiced his swing while Sean gave him a few pointers…
Getting some lessons
.. meanwhile Stuart – by the looks of it…
It's time to start
.. prayed for sunshine Smile

Clearly it worked – because minutes later we had blue skies and sunshine…
Looking good
.. and so with everything set-up – thanks mainly to Stuart – it was a very simple one to capture in the end:
Sean Cotter the Golf Professional teaching at the driving range at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.

Anyway, since the sun was still shining, we headed across the golf course and quickly set-up…
Behind the scenes
.. to capture Sean in action…
Sean Cotter the Golf Professional at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.
.. with his buggy in the foreground and the Clubhouse in the background – to complete the story.

Quick check…
Check the screen
.. and then it was over to the putting green in front of Mount Juliet House…
Shane with reflector
.. where we did a double take…
Sean Cotter the Golf Professional at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.
.. so ‘no Shane, you aren’t in the final image’ Smile

Going well – but with the totally unpredictable weather, we decided to leave the family shots for another time.
So to finish of the day, we headed back over to the Spa to discover this lovely young lady…
Treatment room set-up
.. who happened to be Shane’s wife – was all ready to go…
Beauty treatments in the Spa at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.
.. and then go again…
In the relaxation room in the Spa at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.
.. in the relaxation room – which is like the perfect way to end the day here at Mount Juliet.

Hard work or hardy working – either way, it’s Guinness time Smile

May 23, 2013

In & out

Well, the weather forecast indicated we would have a few hours of sunshine today; however, there wasn’t much sign of it the following morning.
So we continued where we left of the day before in the Spa, shooting one of the treatment rooms…
The Spa at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.
.. which have these beautiful shuttered windows.

Then it was over to the swimming pool…
Pool set-up
.. to capture two different versions of the same setting.
One aimed at appealing to those who want a well deserved, relaxing break…
The swimming pool at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.
..and the other appealing to families…
The swimming pool at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.
.. whose children are invited to join the Little Rascals Kid’s Club, between 1-5pm each day.

Next up, it was into the gym where Stuart & Shane stood in, while we set-up & tested the lighting…
Gym set-up
.. ahead of the girls turning up for the final image…
The Gym at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.
.. looking very relaxed – as if they are enjoying their stay here.

After a bit of lunch, with some sign of sunshine on the horizon, we headed over to the equestrian center – which is one of the most impressive equestrian centers in the country – where once again Stuart & Shane stood in while we set-up & tested the lighting…
Stables set-up

Nice try guys, but I’m not sure if I’m convinced smile

Anyway, while the girls organized the horses…
Stables set-up
.. the sun flickered in & out behind the clouds, creating a lovely shaft of light within this American style barn.
So with my fingers crossed and all the horses in place, we started shooting for real – and after many sleepless nights worrying about this one – it all came together beautifully…
The Equestrian Centre stables at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.
.. making this one of my personal favorite shots of this 4-day shoot.

We were now on a roll – and so with some more sunlight in sight, we headed outside to capture the jumping arena.

While the jumps were being set-up…
Horse jumpimg set-up
.. I started shooting…
Horse jumpimg set-up
.. examining the results after each take…
Horse jumpimg set-up
.. moving the jumps for the camera…
Horse jumpimg set-up
.. waiting and waiting, until finally the sun came out…
Horse jumpimg set-up
.. and then that was another one in the bag…
Horse jumpimg
.. which actually came together very quickly in the end, as almost every jump was perfect.

So we finished off the day with an exterior shot of this American style barn…
The Equestrian Centre at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.
.. before headed over to the clubhouse bar for a few pints of Guinness – which is of course always the perfect way to end any day at Mount Juliet Smile

February 1, 2012

You love a challenge!

We were back down last week to create some new images for our long-standing client Doonbeg Golf Resort. It has been fascinating to see how they keep adding to their guest experience – and each time they bring something new to the table, needless to say, they want it captured for all to see.

Their latest offering is a very stylish beauty salon which is ideally located beside their luxury White Horse Spa.

With no natural light and lots of mirrors…
Capture-162243
.. Ray (Marketing manager) simply said: You love a challenge!

Anyway, as always, it was a pleasure to work with them…
Hair & Beauty Salon at Doonbeg Golf & Spa Resort.
..on the various images…
Hair & Beauty Salon at Doonbeg Golf & Spa Resort.
.. so we wish them every success with this latest venture.

We have shot lots Irish style bars over the years – the key is to convey a sense of warmth and atmosphere – a cold empty looking bar is never going to make potential clients say “I want to be there”.

So when we were down last week, we also shot their bar and restaurant in the golf club, which they call Darby’s bar.

The black wooden ceiling look great to the eye…

.. however, it sure didn’t make my life easy from a lighting perspective…

.. so a serious number of lights had to be used for this one – which needless to say was a challenge…
Trump's Bar and Restaurant - formly known as Darby's bar - at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in County Clare.
.. as we pieced the image together…

.. while their guests looked on

Still, I think in the end we managed to capture the warmth of this very appealing bar…
Trump's Bar and Restaurant - formerly known as Darby's bar - at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in County Clare.
.. without disrupting too many people, which is always a factor when doing this type of shot !!

Anyway, big thanks to Ray and all the staff at Doonbeg here, who worked alongside us to create these wonderful & challenging images

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com

January 7, 2010

Christmas at Doonbeg.

Yes, we are still producing Christmas images one week into January – so as you can see here behind the sliding glass entrance door into the lobby…
Setting up the fireplace shot at Doonbeg.
.. it was all hands on board, as Paul & Marie worked their magic to help create what has got to be one of my all time favour Christmas images…
Christmas at Doonbeg Golf & Spa Resort.
.. which really does say, in my opinion, “A very warm welcome” to Doonbeg at this time of year.

But it wasn’t all about Christmas, as they also needed some images created to show their beautiful Spa area too – which is called ‘White Horses’ – down in the basement…
White Horses Spa.
.. meaning: not much natural light.
Still, after setting up a few lights and Paul lit a few candles…
Setting up in the Spa.
.. it was showtime..
The Spa area.
.. and another “Money shot”, as Ray the marketing manager calls them, in the bag.

However, with no natural light down here…
Setting up in the Spa.
.. needless to say, it was a challenge to create images like this…
The Spa area.
.. or even this one in the hot tub – which I completely missed the focus on…
Hot tub.
.. but everyone still seemed to love it anyway – so go figure that wink

So yes, it was a pretty major lighting job for sure…
Setting up in the treatment room.
.. as Paul had to work hard here…
Setting up in the treatment room.
.. and Marie naturally too on the styling – but I’ve got to say, I think it was worth it – as this has got to be one of the nice spas in the country…
The treatment room at Doonbeg.
.. in what I would say is one of the best hotels in the country too smile

Anyway, next Christmas you will no doubt see many of the other images we created here – but until then, this is how we will remember Christmas at Doonbeg – which was a great way to start the New Year.

So from Marie, Paul & me @ ampimage.com, make it a good one smile

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