Gavin's musings

The challenges of a photo shoot

Sometimes it is tough to get the photos you like. Although sometimes it feels tough to me too, I can't say I have anything like the challenges that Corey Rich is facing in the shot below.

This week I shot my second pageant. New setups, low light challenges, and very eager customers. Weirdly enough, these things inspire me. If I look back on the activities I have taken up, I think I must have an element of being an adrenalin junkie. 

How many of you see patterns in your lives?

Thing is, I get so much satisfaction when I see my photographs putting a smile on the recipients face that it is well worth putting in what is necessary to hit that jackpot.

I like to check out the venue, plan what equipment I will use (and how), to get the shots that I believe will really have a wow factor. Doing all the preparations gives me confidence, and many planned options so that I can deal with whatever unexpected situations that arise.

I think it shows in the results!

Photographer Corey Rich stands above climber Alex Honnold. (Via Imgur.)


East African adventure . . .

Since my last post, I have been rambling around East Africa, with the main event being Rwanda - what a wonderful country, with special people!

I arrived at Kigali, and then journeyed south west to Nyungwe Forrest, with a look at some key coffee attractions on the way.

In the picture below, you see the coffee washing station run by Nordic Approach.

Motherland coffee washing station - Rwanda

Nyungwe Forrest has a lot of tea plantations around it, making it a really beautiful stop.


The A R G U S

Time marches on, we have got to March already . . . and there are many extra people in Cape Town at the moment, a lot of them for the Argus cycle race.  The winners have completed in 2 hours 35 minutes, over a course of 109 kilometers!  Although today was great conditions - no wind and no rain - the terrain is tough, with many ups and downs for the more than 35,000 cyclists.

The event brings over 80,000 people to Cape Town.

So, what a great time to have a re-union, and that is exactly what a bunch of us from one of my previous employers did.  Some of the attendees (Richard and Maggie Chalmers and Andrew Morris) took the opportunity to do the cycle tour too.

I have to say, living in Cape Town is fantastic!

Christmas time . . . .

One of the great things Mandela did was to get us all out there doing something for the society in which we live.

One of my ways of giving is to do the photographic shoot for a great institution that has helped many people who have really needed help, and who have often paid society back in massive ways.

That institution is Christine Revell Children's Home.

In fact it is catchy, because my sister in law has also overseen the making and delivering of a bunch of crochet blankets for the kids!

Well, this week was the annual Christmas party, and hot off the press here are some pics:

CRCH has a wonderful group of people associated with it, and as always in life, it is the people that will draw you in.  This is really comforting, when you consider that they are the only family that many of these orphans will remember.

If you feel that you can contribute to their future, you can pop though to the CRCH web site ( and make contact with them directly.

All that is left, is to wish you a very blessed Christmas with your family and friends, take care, drive carefully and make the most of the important people in your life.


It is the time to be . . .

Christmas seems to bring out the best and the worst us all . . .

Mostly, I guess, it is focussed on the family, their relationships and their spiritual connections.

However, we do make it quite a thing in the work place.

 Friends and colleagues "enjoying" each other

Friends and colleagues "enjoying" each other

It seems that rather than have our beliefs in centre focus when we have a variety of them, we would rather play together.  I must say, that is probably a good call.

Before sitting down and sharing a meal, this group enjoyed bashing into each other.

Family do

I don't do many shoots where the brief is simply "record my family".

Usually, there is an event involved, mostly a wedding or occasionally a birthday even a reunion!

This week, I got invited to shoot a family.

This all got me thinking, what a wonderful thing families are, how much we depend on each other, and care about each other, even when we are nit on the best terms.  It is a real privilege to be part of recording the precious moments, and during the day I had any thoughts on how and when this group of diverse and close-knit people would pull out the images and remember that this was them at an instant.


These two girls are cousins and they embody the spirit and future of their family - while I shot the adults, their gran read them stories and acted out all the ups and downs, when they got bored, they climbed and ran and did all that we love about our children.

They found me, a strange out of place "oomie", a curiosity piece, but I guess they will not even remember me in 5 or 10 years, I hope that they will still pull out these images and remember their childhood, there grandparents and their close-knit family!

What a privilege!

Rantings and Ravings

So, am I alone?


I have steered away from the accolade pages, I always feel that so much of todays world is smoke and mirrors, what is there to prevent an eager sales oriented person from exaggerating to the point of fantasy?

However, I guess on the other hand, in this day of online life, we all look at reviews and evidence from other humans that we are on to the best option in our daily quests, so, perhaps I should concede and post some accolade comments.

I was particularly happy to receive the following from one of my most recent brides, and I guess that did stir up a little of a back peddle on my behalf - what do think, should we or should we not?

And - Hil says:

IT HAS ARRIVED!!! You did a wonderful job Gavin. Thank you SO much. I am delighted and love the way you have laid it out with small pics together with the big ones. The one photo you have taken of me is perhaps the most flattering picture I have ever seen of myself. There are many special ones, like the laughing one as we exchanged rings and . . . 

Sell up in May and go away . . . .

"Not another [expletive] bus" she remonstrated as she scooped caviar out of the tin, with a gnarled and stained finger, shoving it into her mouth.  And, that was just the begining!

She was traveling with her husband and son, some time later, after both had tried to coax her to a modicum of socially acceptable behavior, the son, recognizing failure, finally leapt up, and loudly proclaimed that they would travel by taxi.

The whole bus seemed to release a thankful sigh, and once they had departed, the tittering and gossiping began.

This was our experience as we left Florence, when the airplane we were supposed to leave on, had not been able to make the landing, having been diverted to Pizza, and consequently we were to be bussed there for the journey back to London.

Just in case you are wondering what all this is about, it is a snippet of the experiences we have had over the last month while traveling in Europe.  The whole process had more than a normal share f traveling hiccups, the one above being probably the worst!

I was able to complete a couple of photographic projects, the images of some are on the site, and I guess a few more will probably come along in due course.  One of these projects is an on-going quest to collect photos of bridges.  Albert bridge is below, one of only two across the Thames to have not been replaced, and lit by 4000 lights at the moment, it made a striking subject.

Another project was to capture the Tuscan countryside, I will add some views of that in future posts.

All I can say is - it is really good to be back in Cape Town!

Elizma & Herc's Engagement shoot

We had a good time - weather was kind and the pictures are out!


Elizma, her best friend Rita and Herc were ready at the car park when I arrived, we hung around for a little waiting for Thomas who was playing second shooter for the event - thanks Thomas!

Elizma had taken trouble to look good, make up, hair and manicure all done, a few changes of clothes for both her and Herc, and we were looking sharp.

We walked up to the spot that the young couple had selected, and we managed to get a few locations that we all liked.  The shoot itinerary included shots of the couple in romantic poses (as you would naturally expect) as well as some props that we had agreed to use (all will be revealed in the fullness of time!).


Doesn't Elizma look good?

the images went out to the happy couple a few minutes ago, and once they have had a chance to view them, I will post a few in my weddings gallery.

Engagement shoot - preparation . . .

You may call me dumb, but I need to do quite a lot of prep for any shoot.

The way I see it, whether it is a wedding, engagement or portrait session, it is a special event for my subjects.  For the wedding, it is a once off occasion!  I would rather put in the extra effort up front, than get through the shoot and be thinking - if only . . .

So, Elizma and Hercules have their engagement shoot coming up, and we have already had a few contacts, I know what they are looking for, now I need to get ready.

Their first prize would be to do the shoot in the forest

Newlands Forest

There is a good page of info on Newlands Forest

I found a few good spots so we are all good.  Of course, in Cape Town you can never be sure of the weather, especially in June.  So we need a back up or Plan B.  For this we will use the nearby Rhodes memorial . . . 

Rhodes Memorial - Cape Town

There is rain cover (see the roof under the massive pillars) and those pillars offer many interesting angles & shots.  Although I found the light pretty harsh at midday when I was there, these three seemed keen to pose for me . . . 

GBA00523 small.jpg

So, now it is just the kit and a few arrangements and we will be all set for the shoot!

Enjoy your weekend all . . . 

On-line duh

So, what is it that has changed in my life to make being on line such a necessity?

I guess most things we do these days requires connectivity whether it is emails, Netflix or just being a photographer!

This weekend was no different, I had a bunch of things I wanted to do, and pretty much all of them required that I do some part on the internet.

By the way - don't you just so not enjoy the password game?

Most of my income comes from a job in the tech sector, IT, to be specific, so you think I would be "signed up" to the password game - well score zero, zip nada!  I must have 128 different passwords and all but three of them are pretty harmless.  I would not really want to give the details out in public, but, if they were, it would not be a serious pain.  However, each of them has to have their own password, and of course, we are well tutored to not use the same password - I mean that would be silly!

And each system has to make sure that they are secure right.  That means that the password musty be strong (why on earth strong?) which means it will have to be twice as long as I can easily remember, what is more, it must have caps, lower case, numbers letters AND special characters - whew, so now it is something that is absolutely guaranteed to be non-intuitive!  But folks, not only that!  In addition, it must be changed, not once in a blue moon, but regularly, forced on you by well wishing trolls under the bridges of cyber highways that pop up and tell you CHANGE NOW or never get in again, right now, when you are rushing to get things done, have no inspiration and cannot quickly make a note.  AND just ion case that is too easy, if it vaguely resembles a password you have had in any system since birth, it will be summarily rejected without so much as a hint as to why!

Because this is the life we all lead, I have of course forgotten the password I need to set up LightRooom on my new iPad, and although you would think that is a minor obstacle, my telecom non-service provider together with cunning DNS fairies and yet another password and 256 byte username that I have never needed before have conspired to prevent me doing a single thing all weekend!

Its wine & seafood for me - what else would do . . .