Friday, 30 December 2011

Clare Neruda

Clare Neruda, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Just one photo from the extensive selection of images created at a recent Boutique hotel shoot.

This was taken at the end of the day when quite frankly we were all very tired! The lighting for this was accomplished using a beauty dish as key with two gridded SB's camera left and right. I dragged the shutter and zoomed out on my 24-70 for the effect.

The shoot was an editorial idea themed around a suicide/murder in a plush hotel suite - two multiplicity shots and will certainly post them when I have finished their post production.



Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Sunday, 20 November 2011

In a forest.

In a forest., originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Another shot from a prevous shoot with the lovely Fliss. HAd spent most of the time trying to recreate the Sun using a ranger only to suddenly have the real thing!

Learnt a lot about using smoke that day :-) The more foliage that the sun has to go through the more impressive the smoke then looks.

Hope you like


Friday, 21 October 2011

The Yorkshire Patient

The Yorkshire Patient, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Why are all my photoshoots on location freezing cold? I look at the likes of Drewshoots shooting models on beaches at sunset and feel there must be something Karmic afoot.

That said Fliss did a wonderfull job (as usual). This one was the last shot of the day as it started to rain and we needed to pack up quickly. Taken at Brimham Rocks (with permission! :-)) and this time sufficiently out of the wind that I could use a softbox - oh for an assisstant.

Lighting-wise this was pretty straightforward with the ranger providing key via a 100cm deep octa with both baffles and a single quadra with a full CTO cut to act as the search light.

The whole aim of the story telling to relate to the film the English Patient with Fliss playing the part of the wounded wife waiting to be rescued by Ralph Fiennes. With a little fashion edge.

Hope you like - more on my Flickr stream -

Thursday, 6 October 2011


Charlie, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Fantastic opportunity to learn from the "Big Dog" himself, Mr Damian McGillycuddy. Without a doubt the best workshop I have been on and this was represented by the seriousness of the ability of the other photographers there.

This was taken using an interesting studio set up - namely a bare bulb El BXRi shooting through some toughspun attached to a man made "window" in the studio. Having intially taken shots using this as a key light we then moved on to adding a key with a beauty dish and feathering the light.

The biggest things I learnt included real attention to detail in posing the model so that her pose is believable in the context of the setting. I realise that thsi may sound self evident but real skill and thought are required.

The other great thing I learnt was odd fact that light coming towards the camera (from lights positioned as rim lights for example) are perceived as brighter by the eye than as measured by the light meter.

Lastly I saw the improtance of shooting with smaller apertures when using flash than I typically do.

All in all great and I am pleased that Damian has agreed to mentor me - onwards and upwards :-)

Til next time


Saturday, 1 October 2011


Tony, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Got up early for this one - but almost not early enough. Used an app on the iphone to see when sunrise was but had not taken into account the walk out. Still pleased with the results and really digging environmental portraiture. Also got a number fo great shots with Tony hitting a berm and then a jump - more to come on Flickr.

Lighting wise I used a lastolite trisync with 2 580's - gelled with a 1/4 cto and a third for a touch of rim lighting camera left. All controlled with the flex pw's and an AC3.

Great setup - hope you like


Friday, 23 September 2011


Sophie-Anne, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Just one shot from the "Rhythm and Rags" fashion show held in Chester. More photos available on my website -

Once the models had been through hair (Tony and Guy) and makeup I had the opportunity to take a few shots. I set up in the corner of a busy bar and cracked on!

I had taken my ranger and using a gridded beauty dish I was able to separate the models from the otherwise busy decor!

Good night was had by all.


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Nicci B silhouette

Nicci B silhouette, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Something a little different from me for your consideration. Taken in a great little (and reasonably priced) studio here in Leeds.

But really the main reason for me posting today is to celebrate my successful submission to the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers. As of today I have some new letters after my name - LSWPP - "L" standing for Licentiate.

Need to keep up the work and aim for the next level - Associate.

Other news - I am shooting at Chester Fashion Festival next week so you can expect to see some run way stuff here soon.


Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Skyler, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Haven't blogged for a while - not because I have been quiet - rather I just have not had the time :-)

Still this shoot today more than merits a mention. Had a good fortune to work with Skyler who was over from the US and able to fit in a shoot. The shoot took place in NDP studios (well worth a visit if you happen to be needing to do a shoot in Leeds....)

Skyler is a professional ballet dancer and very easy to work with. In the space of four hours we managed about six different set ups. Helping me was Natalie Greenwell doing the make up. We have worked together and today she provided two themes.

Not enough hours in the day for editing - but finshed with around 60 photos which I am very pleased with.

Lighting was using my Elinchrom stuff (largely due to familiarity) rather than the Broncolor in house stuff. I used the quadra ringflash extensively either as fill or key light. This shot was taken with the El Octabank camera right (with ranger), a qhadra in the 100cm deep octa cam left and a strip lit (quadra again) recta with egg box cam left.

All comments welcomed!



Friday, 2 September 2011

In the garden of delight.....

In the garden of delight....., originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Used the garden at home for the first time today - funny how somewhere so close tends to get overlooked....

What can't be seen here though is the steepness of the garden :-) Fortunately I was able to use the extending legs of the manfrotto mini combi boom to good effect.

While I tried to get some help with this one - I ended up running around trying to get the smoke right - good work out. Best thing though was using the power tracking feature of the pocket wizards. I used the tt1 on camera, the st4 on the ranger and a flextt5 on the quadra. I also used 2x 590exII to light the trees and provide a little fill. Using the AC3 meant that I could then alter all the lights from the top of the camera - fantastic.

This one really benefits from being viewed as large as possible and more will be posted to my Flickr as I get around to the PP.



Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Anyone for a glass of milk?

Anyone for a glass of milk?, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Great shoot this and very much a collaborative effort.
Taken from a workshop with aurumlight - head over to their blog for more info on future workshops.
Two day shoot - first involved taking the base frames and then a full day of photoshop :-)

Lighting by way of two Paull Buff Einstein units using Elinchrom Recta light mods. Einsteins were used as they can provide very short flash duration so that the milk does not blur when thrown.

And yes lots of towels were used - but no cows were hurt in the process!

Let me know what you think


Friday, 20 May 2011


Boxer, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Great opportunity today to shoot the current welter weight tri service boxing champ. A true gentle giant.

Shot with an elinchrom ranger through the 135cm deep octa. I removed both inner and outer diffusers then put a silver deflector on to create a large beauty dish. This was then placed high above and looking straight down at Tam. Behind was a large mirror that then provided a touch of rim lighting.

Post production was in PS using a new trick I've discovered with unsharp mask then b&w conversion in SEP 2.

Reminds me of a certain famous shot of an Afghan woman in Nat Geographic but perhaps that's me being conceited!

As usual more on flickr.

Thanks for stopping by


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Self Portrait

Self Portrait, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Looks sad I have been told - but far from the truth as I have finally gotten around to creating my website!

Have a look at and please let me know what you think.

Kind regards


Sunday, 1 May 2011


Enlighment, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Such a great shoot this - thought I'd share thoughts on another from the day :-)
Hired some kit from Provision in Leeds. They were incredibly helpful and I will definately be going back there again. I turned up on a Monday morning while they were preparing kit for shooting Emmerdale - I had to ask if there was a prize for being their smallest customer that day......

This shot similar to the previous one on my blog (but make sure you check out the one entitled "Leap of Faith" also) was shot using the El Octa hidden behind a pillar. This was almost the last shot of the day - time was running out as was the Ranger battery - great kit and I have not often had to change a battery during a shoot (only really when I am shooting on full power through the Octa.)

Post produciton was with Lightroom to do the raw conversion then I used a few of the Oneone plugins I have recently aquired - well they were massively reduced this month and I could not resist :-)

PP consisted of adding a little blue sky thinking through the window which was otherwise blown out and then working on overall tone and contrast.

I may very well use fractals to blow this one up large and print it.

Hope you like and all comments welcome.

Kind regards


Wednesday, 20 April 2011


Grace, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Photo from recent shoot in Kirkstall Abbey. Only had couple of hours and the time flew like the wind. Two great dancers - Fliss and Helena who performed beautifully. More photos will be uploaded as soon as I get a chance :-)

This shot was lit using my El Octa hidden behind a pillar and triggered with a pocketwizard (as the sky port seemed to have a problem with the stone work......)

Post production was done in LR and SEP2 for the b&w conversion.

I had an assistant along and this proved to be incredibly helpful - thanks Steve!

Once again hope y'all enjoy


Saturday, 16 April 2011

Time waits for no man

Time waits for no man, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

This is taken from a commissioned shoot today - for the MUA's final degree show. The brief was for 1920's theme - got the work from my Film Noir shoot with Dani previously.

As expected got on great with Dani and it was good to meet Samantha (the MUA). Generally i shoot for myself and so it was interesting having a "client" whose needs were different to mine. Hopefully this all went to plan though and I look forward to seeing the prints as part of the show.

I was told where the shoot was to be in advance and so took the opportunity to scout the area. Busy part of Ilkley but fortunately those who did choose to look on left us well alone. The wind was up at times but this did not prevent me using the El Octa. Thus shot was taken from a small stepladder that I brought along in expectation of this shot. The lighting was via a 135cm Deep octa and two quadras. "Chimped" rather than metered :-)

Post production using a touch of liquify and SEP2 (becoming a bigger fan the more I use it.)



Monday, 4 April 2011

Dance (Explored)

Dance (Explored), originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Good day this one in a studio in Stockport. I don't often go into studios as I tend to prefer shooting on location however I could not pass up the opportunity to use their enormous infinity cove.

Had two hours and managed to get my first two photos into Flickr explore from the day (I possibly understand a little more on how to do this- I reckon it involves "proper" comments from folk rather than "awards"....)
Anyhoo back to the shoot. Started with two very large parabolic umbrellas with three speedlights on a trisync bracket - idea being that the duration of the flash would be shorter than that of a studio strobe. Eventually used two quadras left and right in the para-umbrellas. These were powered from the B socket. Swtiching off all the ambient light in the studio we then used the modelling lights to give the camera a chance to autofocus. The 5dMkII did well here despite what I (and loads of others on certain forums) might have thought. I used back button focus and Emma did a pre-bounce to get more height and alert me to her jump.

The infinity cove wasn't lit other than from the spill from the umbrellas and I coloured the background in PP.



Faith, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

My first magazine publication!
Published this month in Professional Photography mag where I managed to get a 1/2 page. Very happy :-)

This was an interesting shoot on a number of levels. Taking a portrait of a colleague and friend and wanting to capture him correctly. Started "in the ring" and was not getting what I wanted in any way. Was using a gridded beauty light and quadras for rim lighting. Eventually moved into the gym proper where there were a number of hanging punchbags. This shot was set up using a strip softbox camera left as key with one quadra camera right. As ususal I was working too fast to make any notes about lighting ratios........
The subject kept punching away and I was looking for the best composition as I moved around and suddenly saw the text on the wall at which point I knew that I had a good shot.
Very happy with the catchlights in his eyes and the intensity that descibes Martin perfectly. I was shooting in monochrome on the 5dMkII and performed the final conversion using lightroom.

Have to say that the colour shots look good also - may even post some soon :-)


Saturday, 2 April 2011

Uplift -EXPLORED !

Uplift -EXPLORED !, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Initially this photo was a bit of a slow burner for me - almost did not post it onto Flickr - but then when I did it became very popular and made it onto Explore.

Good day at a location that I have used a fair bit now - biggest problem was the wind. I almost always use a softbox if I can but due to the wind I had the Elinchrom Ranger camera right with a 21 inch reflector. This gave me oodles of power and I was very pleased to see that I could freeze the action without the ambient light blurring things.
I underexposed the ambient by about one stop and by using a small aperture was able to get a sunstar.

Post processing was done in photoshop to cool the tones down.

Fliss is a dance teacher and was able to keep jumping all day! She gave me a "pre-bounce" to enable me to get ready for the shot and also to give her more height on the jump. I set the AF to servo on the 5dmkII and was pleased that it coped - often focussing directly into the sun is difficult - in essence the large depth of field created by overpowering the sun helps a lot with focus in this setting.

Lastly there were a few climbers around who must have wondered what we were up to but were friendly and left us alone.

Looking forward to doing more dance orientated stuff soon - hopefully in a really cool location I have found - will post soon.

Thanks for stopping by


Monday, 28 March 2011


Poise, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Swinsty reservoir

Just an hour or so available taday and almost didn't do it. But worthwhile shoot none the less. Great dancer - Fliss - someone introduced to me vai another 'tog on modelmayhem (Jixels) and I am very grateful. Very pleasant and professional and superb dance skills and deportment. I have really fallen on my feet!

Shoot used the fantastic El Octa - had a small breeze and caught it three times!

Worth the hassle though as the quality of the light is superb.