Yesterday’s boot camp route took me onto the South Downs. And, you know you are having a hot summer when you find there are zebras roaming around up there. 🙂
Or, perhaps the effort and dehydration were inducing squiffy vision… 🙂
Brighton and the i360 to the south.
Make hay while the sunshines.
The view from Ditchling Beacon to Seaford.
The Mill and the Moon
Jill Mill at Clayton and the moon at…well…in space 🙂
All the images were taken on the Olympus TG-5 except the last two which were captured Olympus OMD EM1 MK2, Lumix 35 – 100 f2.8 at 100mm and F2.8 for the Mill and F8 for the horses.
It was a great morning for a run yesterday, the sun was shining and all was good with the world. But what’s that you say? The photo is slightly out of focus? Look, have you any idea how difficult it is to hold the camera at arm’s length whilst running, looking back and trying to give the impression you are not gasping for breath and in danger of tripping over your own feet? 🙂 With 18 weddings in July and August alone, I need to be fit for those 12 hour days, so, dear wedding couple, please know I’m doing this boot camp for you. 🙂
The camera being used is the Olympus Tough TG-5. For sometime I’ve toyed with idea of a GoPro but settled on the Tough for its 4k video, high ISO capabilities, its durability, stabilization and its amazing microscope mode. It’s more of an all-round camera when compared to the GoPro. It can be mounted on selfie sticks, kayaks and surf boards etc for action videos in the same way as a GoPro but it also doubles as a very capable stills compact.
I also chose the Tough because of my familiarity with the Olympus menu system. Alongside my Nikons I’ve been using Olympus micro four thirds cameras since the introduction of the OMD E-M5. Moving to the OMD EM1 MK1 and now the EM1 MK2. The MK2’s menu is deep and complex and rightly has a reputation for being so, in comparison the Tough’s menu is a breeze.
Bride and groom Sammy and Steven pushed the boat out for their fishing themed wedding, a fabulous event that they managed to personalise brilliantly, complete with camouflage fabric waistcoats, fish carvings and a fish-themed wedding cake. I’ve never seen anything like it – completely wonderful – and it added a thrilling new dimension to my wedding photography role. Here’s a peek into one of the most fun and unusual weddings I’ve attended for ages.
Wedding photography Hilton Avisford – A wonderful themed wedding
Sammy and Steven had been together for three years when they got engaged. Then they waited another ten years to actually get married, an event that took place on their 13th anniversary… not the least bit unlucky! They were keen to make their wedding personal, tailoring ever aspect of it so it reflected their lives, loves, hobbies and personalities. That meant only one thing to this very special couple: it absolutely had to have a fishing theme, in line with Steven’s passion for the sport.
Having said that, they let me know that the most important thing to them was having all the people they loved – and who loved them – there to celebrate. Close family and friends made it even more special, many of whom had travelled a very long way.
The couple were married in Steven’s family church, the same church where their two children were christened. Sammy and her dad were driven to the church by her brother in law, then Sammy’s mum surprised the couple with a very special Jaguar, the exact same car that she’d had for her wedding ten years ago as well as Steven’s favourite marque. Afterwards the couple made their way to Steven’s beloved fishing lake for photos before heading for the smart Hilton Avisford for their wedding reception.
Sammy’s gorgeous wedding dress, a glorious fitted confection in creamy floaty fabric with a long fishtail, was chosen by her mum and best friend and maid of honour, a lovely touch, and the dress was finished off to perfection with elegant low-heeled wedding shoes. A hairdresser friend did the bride and bridal party’s hair, and the make-up by a lady Sam discovered on Facebook, creating a pretty natural look. The flowers also came via Facebook, a task Sammy managed remotely via Facebook messaging. The resulting teardrop bouquet, stuffed with fragrant, delicate roses, was a small masterpiece.
Steven was determined to tie his wedding outfit in with the fishing theme, with camouflage waistcoats made by a brilliant seamstress who found the exact right fabric in the USA and made the waistcoats especially for the groom, best man, father of the bride, stepfather of the bride, father of the groom and the couple’s son.
The fishing theme continued thanks to three hand-carved wooden fish made by the bride’s children’s child minder’s brother, fish place cards and a fish drop box, a fishing net with fish and worm sweets hanging out of it, and the piece de resistance… a three tier white wedding cake with two beautifully made carp as the cake toppers, all made by a good friend of Sammy’s – and it was the first time she’d ever made fish. How clever.
The couple’s two children hand-made a sign welcoming guests to mummy and daddy’s wedding, and Sammy made little activity boxes for the children to keep them entertained and happy during the meal. Their son carried the rings down the aisle and their daughter read out a poem she’d written about her mum and dad, something that really did bring the tears to my eyes, a really special personal touch. Another lovely thing in a day packed with loveliness – the bride’s wedding ring belonged to her nan, a ring Sammy had kept safe for 13 years until her own wedding.
I loved the caricaturist, David Groves, who was there during the day. It was his job to draw the guests and he was so talented. What a nice man – he even gave the couple’s little son some paper so he could draw a picture of his mummy on her big day. The evening saw a magician arrive. In Sammy’s words, “He was just out this world – he was amazing. Looking back at the photos and people’s reactions are brilliant! My guests are still talking about him now, he made my wedding reception”.
Kind words about my wedding photography
Last but not least, I’ve just got to let you know what Sammy said about me. I am still glowing with praise! Here goes. “Well, what can I say about Barry – he is just wow! He was such a lovely man, professional but so funny he got the children and adults laughing and smiling. I booked him as loved his work and really liked him as a person. The main photographs I wanted were sunset pictures and lake photos and he got them and so much more.”
What a day. What a delightful couple. What a pleasure. This is one wedding photography job I won’t forget in a hurry. Thanks again to Sammy and Steve for the privilege. Here’s wishing you an equally magical life together.
South Lodge Hotel is a bit of a legend in West Sussex, close enough to the pretty market town of Horsham for convenience but set like a mellow old jewel in grounds so lovely it feels like you’re miles from anywhere. I rate the place highly, and was thrilled to be called there to cover the wedding of Megan and Adam.
The Lodge is an exclusive five star country house hotel situated amongst acres and acres of lush woodland just outside Lower Beeding. Because it’s north of the chalky downs the earth is nice and acid, perfect for rhododendrons, which is where our story starts. Imagine an outdoor wedding ceremony on a balmy early spring day, 14th April, surrounded by enormous, delicate, colourful blooms set amongst shining deep green foliage. In fact one of South Lodge’s rhododendron trees is the biggest single-stem rhododendron in Britain, a gorgeous thing smothered with enormous, vivid pink flowers. The setting was absolutely breathtaking.
Spring weather in a little slice of English heaven
While the leaves were not quite out on the trees, the skies were blue, the birds were singing and the grounds at the Lodge were at their splendid best. Deep, rich woodland, manicured gardens and lakes, it’s all part of the 93 acres of Sussex downland that the hotel offers. Plus sun terraces with gorgeous South Downs views, a mellow Victorian walled kitchen garden, croquet and tennis, and of course exceptional cuisine. It really is bliss, a little piece of English heaven.
I don’t just take beautiful wedding photos, I create memories for generations to come. And I take my responsibilities very seriously. The Lodge’s dedicated professional wedding support team and award-winning chefs are there to help happy couples create a day they’ll never forget. And what a happy occasion it was, another reminder – as if I needed one – that I’m fortunate to have one of the best jobs in the world!
Beautiful day, beautiful ceremony
There’s something extra-special about an outdoor ceremony, and it isn’t that common here in Britain where the weather is endlessly, fascinatingly unpredictable. I like to take a series of images revealing the scene, the couple making their preparations, the guests arriving, the ceremony proceeding, telling a vivid story that the couple can re-tell in pictures for years to come. The weather played fair for Adam and Megan, and South Lodge was the perfect setting to unfold the day in photographs from the start to finish in memorable detail.
Megan’s dress was a triumph, so pretty with its off-the-shoulder lace, perfect flowing skirts and slim silhouette. Adam looked incredibly handsome and self-possessed in a dark navy blue suit and bow tie. And a scarlet carpet laid on the immaculate lawns made the ideal focus for this very obviously happy couple to enjoy their special day. It really was a red carpet occasion.
A Sussex wedding venue I won’t forget in a hurry
I think this time around my favourite photos are those I took of the couple in the gardens with the most astonishing display of magenta rhododendrons forming the backdrop. Perfect! The candid reportage shots of the bride and groom are also something I’m very pleased with, capturing the joy and pride of the couple, their friends, families and loved ones really well – if I say so myself!
I’m also proud to say that South Lodge found a night shot photograph I posted of the hotel, tweeted it and shared it on Facebook. I’ll be thrilled to re-visit this wonderful venue again, and would highly recommend it to anyone getting married in Sussex. Thanks again to everyone concerned for a magical day – here’s to the happy couple.
Many thanks to Paul Smith the Toastmaster for all his help and assistance and excellent organizing.
I had the pleasure of watching Matt Wainwright Magician enthrall Sammy and Steve’s wedding guests at their wedding 6th May at The Hilton Avisford,
Well done Matt, great show.
March 4th saw the Shanghai-born but now London based pianist Ji Liu play at High Rocks. An impressive solo performance, we were treated to Chopin, Liszt, Bach-Siloti, Ravel, Saint-Saens and Rachmaninoff.
I’ve driven past this church many times on my way through Wisborough Green. It is a classic country church on a hill. A couple of weeks ago I was once again driving past but found myself with enough time to drop by and grap a couple of shots. And, when I’d finished knocking those back, I left the pub and went and took some photographs of the church. 😉