Plenty going on.....

My third month in and it has got busy.....great.

I am going to school and learning Mandarin, Monday to Friday sees me on the bus to Taipei at 08:30 school books in my bag. The morning light in Taipei is by far the nicest I have seen since I got here, it is clearer and less hazy as the humidity hasn't filled the air with vapour. I can see that I will have to be up earlier and earlier to make the landscapes I want. That is cool though, I like to be up and about when everyone else is still sleeping. I don't know when the first bus to town is but I will soon find out.

Sadly though the weather has changed and we are in for a week of rain, I am not worried too much about it and will look to make some shots of the wonderful reflections in the wet streets. Writing that has given me a great idea where to start.

It is not just school that has made me busy, I have had several shoots too. First up was an opportunity to cover Taproot. A guy called Tony Collridge is behind Taproot. He is an American Taiwanese with roots in the Taiwanese indigenous people. The short story is that many many moons ago Taiwanese set off from this beautiful land and began to populate islands, they finally ended up in New Zealand. The Maori people are directly descended from indigenous Taiwanese. Tony had organised a cultural exchange and a group of Maori students where coming for a whirlwind trip to Taiwan. I was asked if I could spare a couple of days to cover the trip. Of course I was into that and soon found myself heading on a train to Taichung. I had not been on a train in Taiwan before, I don't have the best track record getting around on public transport. I even managed to get the wrong bus, then the wrong MRT (underground) to college the other day and I had been going there for a week. Seems like luck was on my side and about 5 hours later I made it to my destination. No sooner had I got there than I was out to the night market with the students. What a great laugh that was, they sure knew how to shop. I think it was the best trade that town had seen in a while, shoes, trousers, T's the lot, loaded down with bags it was back to the accommodation to get set for an early, and full day.

I have been waiting for an opportunity to use the Rogue Flashbenders (www.expoimaging.com) I was supplied a few weeks back (I had had a little test and you can see the results below), So as the sun was up and I wanted to use a bit of fill in flash, this was the perfect opportunity. The Rogue Flashbender is a simple but effective speedlight (flash) modifier, they enable you to bounce the flash and therefore not have a hard light that the direct flash would give. I only used one, and hand held it as you can see reflected in the glasses, it softened the flash and filled the subject with a nice even light, perfect.



 As I said I had already had a little play around with the Flashbenders, the main reason for the practise was because Travel in Taiwan Magazine (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/travel-in-taiwan/id588665954) had asked me to cover a feature on Kumquat Farmers as part of their ongoing focus on food in Taiwan and also a great Indigenous Artist. Demedeman (https://www.facebook.com/Demedeman?ref=ts&fref=ts) creates her pieces with a mix of traditional materials, feathers beads and shells mixed with modern materials such as safety pins and nuts, as in nuts and bolts. I have to say the generosity and overwhelmingly warm welcome I got from both the Farmers and Demedeman was extremely heart warming. The people here are amazing, I just love them. The features will be in the March issue of Travel in Taiwan, I am contracted not to show the photographs so you will have to wait, sorry. You can check out other issues from the link above, I certainly will be looking forward to more shoots for them and the opportunity to meet more of Taiwan's wonderful people as well as seeing the beautiful country.

The shots I can show you are from the tests. I first shot a still life, using one Flashbender as a main light and a second formed into a tube to create a snood (spot).....


The second test I made was with portraits in mind. I set up one Speedlight and Flashbender on a stand to light the plants and also bent it to create the light on the shoulder. Two directions from one Speedlight, sweet.The second was hand held and used to fill, and counter the sun. The model is of course my lovely and super patient wife :-)....


And finally, Dominic Paul (http://dominic-paul.com/), a talented Make-up Artist I shot for in the summer got in touch. He had been approached by Zélé (http://www.zelemagazine.com/) who wanted to publish some of the shots....


So like I said at the top, it certainly has been a busy few weeks. I have finished my promo book of "The Collectors" and it is off for a proof print soon. I am very excited about that and hope it will bring plenty more portrait shoots my way. I am back to the UK on new years eve and then am looking at a possible trip to Singapore. At the end of January I am heading to Hong Kong, if you need anything or anyone photographing while I am there get in touch to confirm dates.

Next time I will post the shots from my first Urbex adventure, I got some beautiful shots and am eager to collect more soon.

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