Wedding Photography – Mount pleasant Hotel – Beth & Dan

It was huge pleasure to be asked to capture Beth & Dans big day.  They had booked me quite some time before their actual day and it was one i was eagerly awaiting as it would be my first wedding at Mount Pleasant Hotel near Doncaster.

I always enjoy shooting at new venues and take the time to explore them beforehand with the couple, normally at their pre wedding photoshoot.  Mount Pleasant had a fantastic array of photo location opportunities but i don’t think they were expecting to have photos taken in the car park, more about that later.

The day started with the hustle n bustle of the bridal prep at Beth’s mums home with Make-up by Lizzy Brown & Hair by Uber The Salon.  With 8 people needing their attention at was a busy place.

Once the girls were all ready it was off to the church for their ceremony and then onwards to Mount Pleasant Hotel for their wedding breakfast & reception.  The room looked amazing with decor supplied by Sophia’s Final touch.

We had a short period of time ahead of the wedding breakfast & speeches to take some group images before exploring the beautiful gardens for some couple portraits and just before heading in for their meal the wedding party had a ballon release sending love to the skies remembering absent family & friends.

After a short but heavy downpour, and i do mean heavy, some guests were stranded under parasols outside for some time, i took a look at the sky and instantly thought we could make the most of what others would probably avoid.  I took the couple to a far corner of the car park, found a bit of a puddle and made some epic images.

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The rain didn’t dampen their spirits, intact their day was full of emotion, happiness and some truly emotive moments and from start to finish it was a real pleasure to be a small part of their special day.

Beth had gone to town with the detail & planning and wanted a timeless emotive portfolio of images and judging by her response i think i fulfilled the brief.

I hope you enjoy these images below as much as i enjoyed making them!!  If you would like to find out more about my wedding photography services please do check out my website & Facebook page or get in touch via email.  I’d love to hear from you.

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Travel Photography – Cluj Napoca, Romania

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I’ve just returned from a group trip i organised exploring a little corner of Romania that has been on my bucket list for some time.  Cluj Napoca, the unofficial capital of Transylvania is steeped in history dating back to the Roman Empire and offers a multitude of photographic opportunities.

I’d researched what to expect, areas i’d like to visit in the city, and also a little further afield, with the wealth if information already available on the internet.   One day was used to visit Corvin Castle which had association with Vlad the impaler but the other days were spent exploring the streets and mostly the old part of the city which did not disappoint.

Street photography has always been one of my favourite genres but, make no bones about it, it’s hard work.  Trying to capture spontaneous candid moment or qwerky compositions is no easy task but it gave me the opportunity to work on my zone focusing techniques and also a little shooting from the hip.  Using the Fuji x camera app also got used too.  The light was harsh throughout the day with clear blue skies compounding the difficulties but it was great to be put under pressure and work hard to produce what i think are some worthy images.  Take a look at these and let me know what you think.

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The city of Cluj has a colourful history from the many ruling factions dating back to the middle ages and the Roman Empire to most recently the last Romanian Revolution of 1989 which saw the end of authoritarian communist rule and the ousting of Nicolae Ceausescu after nationwide demonstrations.

The ‘old city’ offers plentiful medieval gothic architecture interspersed with neo gothic and renaissance architecture all within a small area.  With a bountiful assortment of cafes and restaurants you could spend more than a couple of days exploring this part of the city.   The city has a busy bustling feel about it with many cafes and bars in the main square but be a little brave and explore some of the side streets and you will find some amazing hidden gems.  One such place is Roata restaurant which offers local traditional cuisine at an amazingly affordable price.  Again, here are a selection of images from that area.

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Day two saw us heading out on a road trip to Corvin castle briefly venturing off the beaten track for a short distance to the abandoned fortress of Coltesti and then a short walk through the village of Rimetea with its Germanic inspired architecture at the foothills of the Carpathian mountains.

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Corvin Castle was one place I’ve wanted to visit for some time.  It’s association with the story of Bram Stokers Dracula is often misplaced.  The real association is that Vlad III, commonly known as Vlad the Impaler, was imprisoned there for many years and whilst held prisoner the Hungarian military leader who ruled the area, John Hunyadi, executed his father.  On his release Vlad III entered into a political alliance initially but then sought his revenge for his fathers death and went on a killing spree using impalement as his favoured method of execution.

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Photographically the castle is best viewed from the northern side, either at dawn or dusk, but to get a clear view you have to be relatively close so a wide angle lens would definitely be required.  My xf14mm on my Fuji X-T1 was at the very limit of what i could fit in view.  That said i did attempt a few multiple image panoramic shots which turned out ok.  A wide angle tilt-shift lens would have been ideal.

Throughout the trip i was thankful for my lightweight Fuji X gear.  We were out from early in the morning returning to our accommodation late in the evening and much of that time was spent on our feet exploring, apart from the frequent stops at many of the local cafes.  All of the images were taken on my Fuji X-T1 with the XF14mm & 35mm primes and the 18-55 & 55-140mm Zoom lens’ and, when required, supported with the Lee Seven5 Filter system.

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So, that wraps up this little blog please feel free to share this and to leave me any comments or questions.  There is much much more to explore and find in this wonderful city so i’ll be organising another small group trip soon.  If you’d like to join me then please do get in touch.  You can take a look at my website for more from this trip and details of any future tours when they are planned or catch up with me on social media on twitter, Facebook or instagram @robferrolphoto

Travel Photography – Ukraine & Chernobyl

Ukraine is a country steeped in history and there is much going on in the country today that will be read about in history books in years to come.  Many of us will recall  an event in Ukraine’s history that had a wider impact on much of what was then the USSR and also Europe, that was the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant disaster.

Having been involved with the Chernobyl Childrens Lifeline Charity, you can read more about this here, for a number of years a few of us decided we would like to experience their side of the story, learn more about their every day lives & struggles and to also visit the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant itself.

Travel photography is something I’m aiming to do a lot more of as having spent much of my earlier working years traveling the world, sadly the photography bug had not yet bit.  Its now time to put that right. So, what more of an excuse could one want, to do a little travel photography, and explore somewhere were there is a personal connection?

I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t do much research before heading over to Ukraine and was somewhat unsure if there were any constraints with regards to photography etc.  I suppose that a little bit of me still thought of it as being very much a controlled state.  As a youngster growing up in the eighties i felt somewhat intrigued and mystified by the old Soviet cold war era and some of that mystery still lives with me today.  In reality though i couldn’t have been further from the truth.  Ukraine is a bustling country eager to have its own unique identity, with symbols of patriotism almost on every corner, and many a stranger happy to say hello and chat, with the obvious language barrier though.

For the trip i had a reasonable luggage allowance so took a full compliment of gear including my two Fuji XT-1’s, the xf18-55mm & xf55-140mm zoom lens’ and also the xf14mm, xf35mm & xf56mm primes.  I’ve got to say though, that i found myself mainly using the 18-55mm which is totally opposite to the way i normally work when shooting weddings etc where the primes are the only lens’ i use.  The 18-55mm, with its image stabilisation, is such a versatile lens and coped well with the many situations i found myself.   There is one thing i will add though and that is that the airport security was a nightmare.  Every item of photographic & electronic gear had to be taken out of my rucksack and placed in a separate tray for the x-ray scanner.  It was a lengthy process and chaos of re-packing everything while you have the constant stream of other peoples stuff pushing you along was a bit of a nightmare.

Anyway, gear aside, i wanted to experience, or at least see, the Ukrainian way of life.  In particular that of the more rural setting where many of our visiting children come from.  We were lucky to see many aspects of their lives from the hustle and bustle of the town markets to the self reliant lifestyle many lead with their own small holdings.  People from all walks of life, complete strangers, were happy to welcome us with open arms as if we were family, an experience that was overwhelmingly humbling.

The trip would not have been complete without a visit to the infamous Nuclear Power plant of Chernobyl.  Reactor number four catastrophically exploded on 26th April 1986 and immediately changed the lives of thousands of people and sadly, to this very day, still affects the lives of many more thousands.

The exclusion zone can only be visited by prior booking a guided tour.  There are a number of companies on the internet selling tickets but its only once you arrive at the first 30km check point that you realise just how much of a tourist attraction this place has become.  With the mystery of the many abandoned villages and the stories they hold to the somewhat imposing steel structure that now covers the reactor, who wouldn’t want to visit the site of the worlds worst nuclear disaster?  I know, its not for everyone, but it was a very emotional experience thinking of the time when many people gave their lives to avoid an even greater explosion and thus saving the lives of many and even the existence of the European continent.

So below is a pictorial collection of my visit, from the humbling family encounters, the emotional visit to a local orphanage and to the poignant visit to Chernobyl & the abandoned city of Prypiat.  If you’d like to know a little  more about my visit please do leave me a comment or get in touch.  You can also find a Youtube travel blog i made here.  Finally, more of my work can be found on my website which you can find here.  I’ll look forward to sharing images of my future travels with you soon….Rob

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Monuments from the Soviet era celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Soviet symbols celebrating WWII victory

Monuments from the Soviet era celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany.

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Korosten, an important rail hub in the Zhytomyr region. Fire crews from here were some of the first to attend the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster.

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Busy markets in Korosten with Salo (cured fat) in abundance.

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There were wild dogs everywhere, some quite placid while others harassed the busy shoppers.

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Children in a local school were intrigued by their foreign visitors.

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Typical rural houses in Ukraine.

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Chernobyl and the queues of tourists waiting for their guides.

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Items discarded in a village that was hastily abandoned shortly after the nuclear disaster.

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Nature rapidly reclaiming what it once owned.

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The city of Chernobyl.

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Our guide showed us how the background radiation levels fluctuated within relatively short distances.

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Childhood toys lay abandoned in a village near Chernobyl.

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The infamous reactor 4 at Chernobyl, now with its new steel confinement.

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The road to Prypiat. The city that offered a new beginning, and new hope and a new life to many. A city that only had a life of 16 years.

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This amusement park was never used. It was due to be opened on 1st May 1986, just a week after the nuclear disaster.

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The Soviet Duga 3 ‘over the horizon’ radar close to the Chernobyl Nuclear power plant.

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Soviet military wall painting.

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An abandoned Soviet missile bunker.

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Soviet era newspapers pasted to the wall of an abandoned missile base.

 

Inspiration

I often trawl the net in search of inspiration and browsing the photo streams of my Flickr contacts is a fantastic starting place, but, inspiration not only comes in a visual sense but also a written one too. To get this double pronged boost you have to see an individuals website, blog or book and there are many fantastic examples to be found on the Internet. There are a few thought that I’m constantly drawn back to, one of which exhibits the stunningly fantastic work of bruce Percy. http://www.brucepercy.co.uk/index.html

As a photographer based in Scotland he is perfectly placed with an abundance of stunning scenery on his ‘doorstep’ and he shows it at his best, but he doesn’t stop there, his adventures around the globe prove that he is a photographer who is just a capable out of his comfort zone.

His images have a sublime mesmerising dreamlike feel to them, the sort of image you can just look at for ages but if you download his free video podcasts from iTunes you’ll be in inspiration heaven. Be inspired at http://www.brucepercy.co.uk/index.html