Saturday, 8 February 2014

Alpiglen Photography

GMS Photography is no more as it got confused with similar names.

I now operate under the name Alpiglen Photography.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Moving Camp

All future updates in this riveting blog shall be posted directly into my blog page on my website at

Monday, 28 March 2011


The little town of Gruyères is more like a small Disney theme park than an actual town. Sitting atop of a small hill with its quaint houses lined up on either side of a large cobbled market place which in turn leads up to the medieval castle, you could easily expect a horse pulled royal carriage to come trundling out of the gate, or a mob of angry villagers storming the castle to finally do away with the evil Doctor and his grotesque monster. However, since neither of these incidents happen, it is a lovely little place to visit, even on a cold midwinter day.

Actually, it was better in winter as the last time I had visited, it was mid summer and the entire courtyard was full of tourists (of which, of course, I wasn't one) which made it feel all the more like Disneyland. This time, it was quiet and relaxing and we had a pleasant stroll around the castle before sipping a cup of coffee in one of the outside cafes.

That was until the busloads of American students suddenly descended and we found ourselves in the midst of a Hannah Montana movie set.

We left.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Anniversary Trip

Last week, Elaine and I celebrated our tenth anniversary. We'd planned to do something special for it since some anniversaries have gone by without so much as a meal out, so we arranged to get away for two nights. Elaine wanted to stay somewhere that she could see a lake and hills from our room, suggesting Ullswater or Windermere as possibilities. Being somewhat a little more adventurous and never missing any available opportunity for such a venture, I booked somewhere that did indeed have a view of a lake and hills. In this case, the lake was Lac Léman (or Lake Geneva) and the hills were the French Alps.

We stayed in a lovely little village near Vevey in amongst the vineyards. Having only one full day, I was determined not to rush Elaine about the country but to take it easy and drift about the immediate area at a leisurely pace. Unfortunately, we failed utterly on this and ended up heading over a couple of passes, but it was great fun and better than being middle-aged Brits looking vacantly in shop windows, tut-tutting at the prices.

I've never been to Switzerland outside of summer and it was interesting to see it in another season, although I was expecting a bit more snow, especially up in the mountains. One day, I hope to see it in full winter glory but on this occasion, we made do with  cold, overcast post-winter conditions.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Scottish Wedding Event

For the past few weeks I have been busy preparing for my first major wedding show, the Scotland Exclusive Wedding Event set in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Being my first occasion to display myself before the public, as it were, I was keen to leave a unique and professional impression, so I built the displays myself, including lighting, monitor screen, leaflet dispenser and even a cupboard to hide away personal items. The large size prints were top quality and a good friend completed the effect with a display of flowers that caught the attention of many visitors.

The two day event was very tiring. Such is the nature of the day that there was almost no time for getting a snack or even having a seat. We lasted each day on a bottle of water and some hastily scoffed snacks. As to the visitors, we had a very good reaction. There were 12 other photographers at the event (about 120 exhibitors in all) and, due to the layout, I was the last photographer to be seen. This meant that visitors were rather weary of speaking by the time they got to me but then, I would have been their last memory of a photographer. Even so, I had good feedback and many people filled in enquiry forms (most visitors are there to get information and generally book afterwards). The other exhibitors were very friendly which helped to make the whole event quite fun.

One thing I learnt was that I get a very warped view of wedding photography from the internet. Due to increased competition, many well established photographers fight back with scaremongering tactics, insisting that customers are dicing with death if they choose photographers that are not a member of some society, or suicidal if they're not insured, and as to the amateurish equipment, just don't go there! I was all set to face potential clients armed with these probing questions. As it turned out, not on person brought up any of these subjects. At the end of the day, couples want to know what your photos look like, how much you cost, what do they get and are you available. That's the thing about wedding photography; it's not rocket science and anyone can do it. It's just that some are better than others.

So thanks to everyone who visited my stand and left positive comments. I am most humbled and grateful. Big kudos goes to Steve of SMK Photographics who, while not having a stand there himself (he's at the SECC next week), stopped by for a chat and was very complimentary about my stand and work and wished me all the best. That is a sign of true professionalism.

Of course, the other big thanks goes to my wife, Elaine, who's smile and good nature stopped passers-by who would normally have ignored the shifty looking character next to her.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Even on a rainy day

During a brief post-Christmas break in the Lake District last week, I was a little disappointed in the dark, overcast weather, especially after the wonderful winter scenes that had been around just the week before. However, it was a good time to relax and chill with the family.

Of course, a photographer can't last a week without getting his camera out at some point so I took off for a few hours to "do my thing".

At the far end of Derwent Water is a small hill that proudly stands at the head of the lake like a little boy that refuses to stay in the shadows of his larger brothers. I've always wanted to climb the hill, known as Castle Crag (which would indeed have a castle if Ludwig II had had his say) so I decided this was the time. Unfortunately, as I started the ascent, the thick clouds got thicker, the mist descended and the rain started to fall. Usually I would have given up at this point but I decided just to persevere. After all, you never know what photos you me get, even on a rainy day.

And indeed it was worth the effort because, to my unexpected surprise, the summit consisted of an abandoned slate quarry. That would have been good enough but the best part was that unknown visitors seemed to delight in erecting many of the large slates in upright positions. Moreover, the mist wafting through the slates added an atmosphere that certainly would not be there on a sunny day.

So the moral is, don't give up looking for photo opprtunities if the weather seems against you. You never know what's round the corner.

Monday, 6 December 2010

The Tree

There are certain photos that every keen landscape photographer in Scotland has to take at least once in their lives. Buachaille Etive Mor is possibly top of the list. The Forth Bridges are a must, as is the Old Man of Storr, Eilean Donan Castle and the Callanish Standing Stones among others. Another is a small unappealing tree by the banks of Loch Lomond at Milarrochy Bay.

There are hundreds of photos on Flickr of this tree and I felt it was time to add it to my library, so on a recent gorgeous day in the snow, I walked from Balmaha to the bay car park. Not knowing the exact location of the tree, I walked the length of beach in front of the car park but couldn't see it. I walked back again. I walked back yet again and once more. Eventually I stood in the middle of the car park looking out at the loch wondering where this stupid tree could be when I realized - I was looking straight at it. It was so small and uninteresting that it was almost invisible compared with the other trees. I couldn't see the tree for the forest, so to speak.

So here it is. Apparently, it's often sticking out of the water when the level is high but I had to make do with snow, but at least I can tick it off my list.

Now how do I get those standing stones....