July 2013


The NetMagic Shoot

Bill and Wendy from NetMagic are friends of mine. Bill has been helping me get started with cycling again, after a 20 year rest from regular exercise (I kid you not!!). In a way, that’s a whole blog piece for another time. I’m certainly not willing to share any images of me as a MAMIL until I’m quite a lot fitter, the shame would be much too alarming for my family (and me of course!).

The NetMagic team are working on their web presence at the moment, and Bill mentioned to me that they were looking out for suitable images. I offered to help out with the corporate portraits and an image that gave a sense of the purpose of the enterprise, which is essentially all about helping students (see below).

NetMagic Tuition and Training Services provides:

  • Private tuition (GCSE and AS/A2 level) in a range of subjects
  • Exam Preparation and Study Skills support
  • University Application Advice (Personal Statement Review)
  • Oxford and Cambridge Application support with preparing to apply, the application process and mock interviews.
  • Specialist support for students with specific learning difficulties of all ages, such as those with dyslexia, dyspraxia and autistic spectrum disorder.

The Technical Stuff

I used 2 setups for the shoot. First-up was a black (velvet) background with two flash. The first as a keylight at 45 degrees above the subject, shot through my favorite double diffused, 54cm Lastolite  Professional, Joe McNally EzyBox Hotshoe. The second strobe was a hair-light shot through a grid. Both flashes were on Pocket Wizard Flex TT-5 radio triggers, and so easily controllable from camera. Both lights were set camera-left. The set (on the kitchen table, as it happens) was built with books from my study and props from the kitchen. I have heard it stated that you should use the same quality of light on the hair as with the keylight, but I really like the sharpness of a grid spot on the hair and I think that a lot of photograhers shoot that way.

The second setup was a more traditional corporate portrait affair. Keylight courtesy of Joe McNally, a Lastolite Tri-Grip reflector and a low-tech grey background (a £7 grey bed sheet, courtesy of ASDA), in this case, simply thrown over the velvet background panel and clipped on with A-Clamps to keep it taut. A hair-light shot through a grid, and finally a background light shot through a Lastolite Micro-Apollo softbox. Again all the strobes were on Flex TT-5 radio triggers controlled from the camera.


Given the nature of the lighting, not too much was required. A quick run through OnOne software’s Perfect Portrait 2, the addition of mid-tone contrast from Color Efex Pro 4 and my usual 3-pass sharpening regimen.

The Images

The best way to see them is to swing by NetMagic and check out their excellent facilities. You may well know someone that could benefit from their services and they would be delighted to take your call.



Print Sales Update

Print Sales Update

Barn, Little and Great Grey Owl Prints now for Sale

Just a brief note to let you know that I have extended the availability of owl prints from TDI to include a selection of Barn Owls, Little Owls and Great Grey Owls. Images of the owls were taken in a range of settings including some at night and in the snow, static and in flight. The Great Grey Owls in flight are particularly attractive. This print sales update is in addition to the previously available Long-Eared and Eurasian Eagle Owl photographs.

Prints of a wide range of other birds of prey (including Falcons, Buzzard, Golden Eagle and Merlin), the Deer rut, Seals and a collection of Macro images are also available for purchase under Print Orders from the TDI homepage or other page menu header. Over the coming weeks I will be adding a  selection of Red Kite images and extending the Macro collection with some of my favourite lifestyle images.

Selection of Images from the Owl Collection

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If you live in Cheshire and would like to experience a diverse range of birds of prey at first hand, check out the Gauntlet Birds of Prey Eagle and Vulture Park. They have daily flying displays and knowledgeable staff. They offer a range of bird of prey experiences, for individuals, families, for half days and full days. They also offer photography workshops.

Best wishes,