The Flying Scotsman. Cornwall’s buzz word for the day.

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The Flying Scotsman. Cornwall’s buzz word for the day.

For me there is a personal connection, I recall seeing this 1923 Pacific steam locomotive in a train museum as a very young child along with the Stephensons Rocket. I don’t believe it was in a very good condition after being rescued from the States.

As steam engines go, few are as iconic as this one as thousands of residents across the Duchy came out today despite the poor weather. 


The engine is special on more than just a personal level though. It was the first locomotive in the UK to reach 100mph and it certainly seemed to be at an optimum cruising speed today, blink and you would have missed it going past!

The history of the steam train is full of near scrappage and rescue. Being stranded in the US after a lack of funding and of course a repetition of bankrupting its owners.

Wherever this engine has travelled it has drawn huge crowds and been a proud symbol of Britian’s glorious engineering and steam age. Not only travelling by ship to the US where it ran for a year with a modified cow catcher but after it’s rescue again it was even shipped to Australia for the Bi-Centennial celebrations. Both times gave large risk to the heavy engine breaking free and either rolling off the deck or going down with the ship in rough seas or storm swells. Thankfully it made it there and back on both occasions for us all to continue being able to enjoy it.

There is something magical about a steam engine. It maybe a man made machine but you can’t help but feel like it has a living and breathing life of it’s own. Today was utterly amazing as I stood in a field with my wife and my 1 year old son watching this magical puffing monster racing towards us.

Something I spotted today was the sign at the front of the engine so I looked it up. What did we do before Google! “The Cathedrals Express”, what did that mean if the train was called The Flying Scotsman. Well, turns out that the Cathedrals Express was a named passenger express introduced in 1957 on the Western Region of British Railways. It connected the cathedral cities of Hereford and Worcester to London Paddington. It was basically a title to say hey I’m the bee’s knees so book me just like the cruise ships blue ribbon status for speed and luxury.

Now if only it could become more of a regular event with a mixture of trains and the railways backing, imagine the extra tourism and enjoyment potential that has!

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Would you shave your head for ME?

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Would you shave your head for ME?

 
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Today Sarah Summers from St Austell has done something that few will ever dare to undertake. In the name of an important charity that affects her family she has had her shoulder length hair shaved completely off!

Sarah's mother suffers from ME and her involvement in this fundraising has been directly affected by how she has seen her mother's condition change day by day for many years.  What is so prominent to Sarah's message is that the goal of her fundraising has not just been to raise money. It’s a condition that has few or no external signs to others. As a result those who suffer can go unnoticed and therefore her aim has been to vitally raise awareness about ME as a condition.

So simply put what is ME? Ok take a breath and try to pronounce this... Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is characterised by a range of symptoms from mental and physical exhaustion, muscle pain, cloudiness of thinking and trouble sleeping. The lists are extensive so this is just a snippet and no one knows what the causes are.

Just imagine how difficult some of these symptoms could be to live with. Personally I need my sleep and the thought of my body not allowing me that or constant feeling tired is scary. You wake up to a feeling that you have already done a full days hard work, you ache and you haven’t yet got out of bed. You may need to get work, you may have dependants that rely on you and no one could know what you are going through. It must be not only be depressing but also extremely frustrating for those who have to do it alone.

Sarah’s hard work and support from her family has even reached the M.E associations website which is amazing! But we want everyone to share this story and help educate others about what ME is and where to go if you need support.

 
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Well done Sarah, everyone is very proud of you, no one more than your mum. To read Sarah's story, see how much she’s raised or even make your own contribution just follow this link to her donation page https://goo.gl/JmezX8
 

If you think you are affected or know someone who is affected by ME check out the following link for symptoms, management and additional support.

http://www.meassociation.org.uk/

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Snowflakes

Snowflakes

Follow the link for 9 macro images of snowflakes on our windows here today.

Logan Loves Snow

Logan Loves Snow

Follow the link to see 32 photos of Logans 15 minutes braving the snowy garden. Wishing you all a wonderful day with the family from us.

Hand Painting A Backdrop

Hand Painting A Backdrop

Hand painting a backdrop was fun, messy and certainly time consuming but these sessions can now be booked and at just £20 it's going to be popular! My son likes it judging by his little smile!

Spooky Goings On

Spooky Goings On

Whether you believe that the origins are Gaelic, Pagan or Christian, All Hallows Eve is here an it seems no-one really knows how it got started.

Halloween to most mean pumpkin jack-o'-lanterns, bonfires and sweets. So this year for a laugh we decided to make pumpkin soup with our leftovers and have a little spooky Halloween party in the studio.

Honestly, I never expected a Witch, a Zombie and a "Zom-Bee" to get so into character. I am still having nightmares at being biten and turned so I have no idea how Dan Aykroyd can sleep! Thankfully we had a great firefighter tag a long to keep us grounded with some serious jokes!

Here's a few chilling images of us mucking about!!

 
 Hissssssss!!!

Hissssssss!!!

 

My makeup abilities are poor at best even with fake blood! While I see several great ideas online such as the 'Mexican Day of the Dead' look I just cant do it. With a big beard and glasses I end up either skipping past the ones I really like due to my small necessity to see (I cannot wear contacts) or my ability with face-paints to do. After the fun from this year I will ensure that next time I am suitably prepared as it's been such a good laugh dressing up and I am amazed at how the kids of all ages have just gone with the flow.

To add a bit of creative spooky fun to our evening we posed for shots using our imagination, crawling out of mirrors and walking down misty streets!! Whatever you're doing this year be safe and have a wickedly terrifying time!

Red Arrows - Fowey 2017

Red Arrows - Fowey 2017

with a streak of red the sky fills with colour over fowey


Flying over the bay

It's understandable that since so many past issues with aeroplanes at events, co-coordinators are careful where displays fly even more than ever.

This year the wonderful display by the Red Arrows was primarily over the bay outside of Fowey. Although they didn't feel as close as they once did as a kid, at times they felt as if they were flying at or below eye level due to the wonderful height of the clifftop fields that everyone was sat in.


MY favourite image

Despite having over 60 images from the show that I love, I think is one of my favourite images from the display. It shows the angles, the precision and the smoke trails. For me was the shot I was after to make the weather and the narrow lanes all worth the trip.

Cornwall Burning In The Heat

Cornwall Burning In The Heat

It's late afternoon and the full power of the sun is hitting Cornwall.  I had just suffered walking up Carn Brae in the dry heat to scout out my route to photograph some of the tin mines when something caught my attention. On the horizon cutting through the the clear blue sky and the sun is what could almost appear to be a Volcano pouring a hot plume of smoke high into the sky.

I finish my walk looping back to the car and decide to pay it a visit once grabbing some food for dinner. On arriving at St.Agnes my plan was to photograph the sunset with one of the local tin mines. The road was shut off and the Police advised that it was blocked by fire engines battling the blaze. Instead I took a chance and drove down to Chapel Porth. I prepared for another steep climb and loaded all the equipment and drink into my rucksack before leaving the car and heading up the coast path.

The wind had changed direction and the smoke now appeared to be heading out to sea but in my mind I knew this also meant it was now turning on the firefighters and causing them some issue again. I finally made it up past Wheal Coates and was met by a blaze of fire, busy firefighters and air support.

According to the Cornwall Live website the outbreak started at about 3pm and by the time I was stood there after 6pm the fire had covered more than the equivalent of eight football pitches.
Crews from all over the County were called to attend with more than 45 firefighters helping to control the corse of the burn.

I take my hat off to all those involved to help put this out. Not only do they deserve our respect and thanks for fighting fires that goes without saying. But I honestly cannot imagine a worse day than a scorching hot afternoon to dress in dark firefighting overalls like boiler-suits and carry equipment up a hill to tackle a fire.

What can I do for businesses?

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What can I do for businesses?

You all know I spend a lot of time photographing people in my studio, but did you know that the truth is I also spend a lot of time photographing products for businesses?

Commercial photography is a wonderful creative avenue I stepped into about 8 months ago and I am now working on multiple on-going projects to supply high quality images for a range of purposes from flyers to e-commerce websites.

 Here is a recent setup for a bottle of alcohol in my studio.

Here is a recent setup for a bottle of alcohol in my studio.

I'll let you into a little secret.... Its being photographed on a wardrobe mirror from my bedroom as a child!

Suddenly all my reflective surfaces, vinyls and worktop off-cuts that have been stored in the studio are making sense and more importantly making the difference to my customer products being photographed!

Now you may think "meh, bet the final image doesn't look all that impressive", but I think it does so here it is! 

 This was a test product image taken from the camera with the exact setup from above and a little editing on the pc after.

This was a test product image taken from the camera with the exact setup from above and a little editing on the pc after.

If this was an image for a customer I would re-centre the label at the top of the bottles neck using Photoshop just to ensure the product is show at it's best. This was an alignment flaw in the packaging process on this one but I decided not to do this for the test. With a little creativity and know how an image of a product can be elevated to a more stylish and interesting image to get it noticed.

How much do my commercial fees cost?

Although each job is priced up according variables like how much time is spent photographing, post processing and travelling etc, the average ball park figure is £10 per image (product). For this you get the high resolution image and a copyright release to use the image where-ever you like.

If you run a business and want to chat about your products being professionally photographed then drop me a message or give me a call.

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We have had a Baby!

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We have had a Baby!

expectations

I have always tried to write a blog to ramble on about my endeavours and I usually fail despite my own personal expectations. This time I find myself with too much to cover! Do you ever feel like there is so much to do or say you just don't know where to begin. This is how most of my weeks seem to start and usually I am more organised than Mr Spock.

washingmachine

To explain a bit, in January my wife gave birth to our first child an exciting and utterly traumatic experience for us both. This created a surge in my domestic training, also equally traumatic in my opinion, after all why should a washing machine have 16 programmes when you only ever use 2?!!

This was a time of early mornings, late evenings and sleepless nights but we got through the difficult stage by working together as a team. Despite all the disruption to our routine, especially working from a home studio, I still continued to push on bookings and projects. But something had to give and so I let the posting on my business page slide. 


Fingers Crossed

My son is now 12 weeks old and I find myself starting to catch up, looking back at all the things I am and have been involved in. Most of these projects and sessions I haven't told anyone about and really should share. So my aim, (while sitting by the burning firepit) is to start my ramble/blogging from me to you. I will of course be keeping my fingers crossed that it's well received and something of interest. So give me a thumbs up to tell me what you like.

 Our son at just over 2 weeks old.

Our son at just over 2 weeks old.

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Playing With Colours

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Playing With Colours

Challenging The Normal Style

Just for a bit of a change and to add some fun I decided to tinker with the usual portrait style I love and spend hours perfecting and create a collage of three images inspired by the famous photographer Jill Greenberg.

While Jill's images are iconic I think for me I can't bring myself to edit the child to the extent that she goes. So I have found a balance between her style and mine where I am happy to smile and think, yeah that's fun!

Love it or not, what do you think? Leave a comment below and tell me your thoughts.

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Festival of Light and Sound

Utterly amazing and a must to see.

This year the Eden Project has put on a light show alongside the Xmas festivities. Lasers shooting colourful beams of light piercing through the air overhead. As you walk through the biomes you are introduced to a curious visual narration about the moon and the sky.

However while the tropical biome is interesting most of my love for this came from the Mediterranean. Truely an assault on the senses the hairs on the back of my neck were in overdrive. From Dalek trees and overhead lasers you are accompanied with a massive bass driven chant that made your very chest vibrate. Just utterly brilliant.

Here are some photos I have entered into a competition but either way something I hope they repeat!

Sick Fire Spinning for 5th November 2016

If anyone is interested in having mini photo sessions for fire and wire wool spinning then please get in touch at williamallen@kernowinfocus.co.uk or check out the Contact page.

Why So Quiet?

Why So Quiet?

Click now to understand why I am so excited. I haven't posted anything online for 15 days and in an online social media saturated world that's a long time. I have been travelling to a magical place of brides, blues skies and little or no internet. I have climbed mountains, sought out wildlife, and photographed the local people as I travel to Italy and I want to share it with you all.