Homeless in the Streets of Birmingham

Birmingham is one of the largest and most racially diverse cities in the country.

Each year it hosts the Frankfurt / German Market and it’s visitors increase greatly over this Christmas period.

What we perhaps don’t see are the number of homeless people tucked away…I say tucked but that is perhaps inaccurate as they are in plain sight – just ignored by the majority of passers.


Their are many reasons why these people find themselves living on the streets, some due to an unfortunate set of circumstances leading them to a place they never expected , others cannot hope with the confines of buildings and find a certain comfort in the lack of restrictions. Who are we to judge? Sadly there are also the organised gangs that professionally beg….the ones who arrive an hour or so before the early morning commuters to set up their little sleeping bags to give the pretence of being there all night. Perhaps these are the worst, they are preying of the real street people – next time before parting with goodwill, have a talk to them… find out their story and make sure you are actually making the difference you believe you are.


Autumn Winter Fashion 2015

We are just getting out of the the depths of winter now and spring clothes are starting to hit the high street….however the retailers are currently shopping for the Autumn Winter range!

Moda Exhibitions hosts the trade fair for fashion retailers and February sees the Autumn Winter Fashion showcase, here retailers can choose from the huge range of designers showcasing their clothing and accessory ranges.

This year seems to be bucking the trend of autumn clothing following autumnal colours with a swathe of bright colours and bold designs to warm up any chilly day.

LEO GUY showcased their knitwear, bringing a dash of french fashion to deliciously luxurious knitwear

bold colours in knit
LEO GUY luxurious french knitwear

Italian brand Elisa Cavaletti once again didn’t fail to impress with their range of beautifully tailored clothing, I was particularly taken by this piece which would be at home both on the high street and when dressing to impress.

Elisa Cavaletti
Italian style and grace

James Lakeland (rapidly becoming one of my favourite designers) opening collection included this bold gradient coat, echoing the interest in geometric shapes and bold designs we are seeing.

James Lakeland
bold gradient design coat

Amongst other autumn fashion we are likely to be seeing the use of fur, both real and faux. Faux fur is today almost indistinguishable from the real thing, which is a great stride forwards in the ethical treatment of animals.

Here we see a great design by James Lakeland where he has blended traditional autumnal themes with bold lines and trimmed it with a luxurious fur trim. This is a design which cannot help but get you noticed.

James Lakeland
fur trimmed James Lakeland design

Winter Fashion

The intention had been to shoot some Winter Fashions in January 2013. I had hoped to take advantage of the crisp winter mornings with perhaps a bit of mist gently rolling in the distance.

Unfortunately what we were presented with was mud, glorious mud, lots of it. Standing puddles and soggy leaves…not quite as envisaged but as professionals we worked round it….


Stacy is a very versatile local model with a good range of looks as well as being very professional and happy to take any challenge thrown at her.



Of Stripes and Bars

I would love to say that the day started off with gorgeous sunshine and a blue sky littered with fluffy white clouds. However this is England and it rained, not just rain but that heavy driving rain that starts off by soaking you and then sucks the life from your very veins…..vampire rain, yes it is vampire rain.
My model for the day was the delightful Charli Lambert who is an absolute treasure to work with and a natural fashion model, requiring very little direction and is one of the politest people I have ever had the good fortune to work with.
The shoot was styled by, and make up provided by Leanne Hume of leanneelisabethstudios.

Shot outside the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

shot in Priory Place, Coventry city centre

again shot in Priory Place

Coventry (old) Cathedral

So youve seen the stripes, why the reference to Bars……nope nothing to do with windows, merely the location we chose for applying make up was a bar in Coventry 🙂

a lens, a lens, my camera for a lens….

Once many years ago I had a lens and it’s name was 50. It was a very groovy guy and cost me £50 for a 50mm lens. It was made of plastic but had an aperture of f1.8. It was known as the nifty fifty.
Then one day as it sat on its shelf it looked longingly at the world beyond and stepped hesitantly into the abyss betwixt shelf and floor….fleetingly it caressed my hand before landing with a sickening thud onto the carpet. Its front and rear elements went in separate directions and alas it was a lens no more…
Recently I decided that perhaps it was time to replace that little workhorse and had a look at the various offerings. Canon were now selling the 1.8 for around £90 which for such a sharp lens is pretty affordable.
Sigma also sold a contender but a little voice in the back of my head whispered f1.4….
Canon sold this for around £350 and researching it told me that it was a very good lens for the money, however Sigma also offered the same lens but around £370 or so…decisions decisions…
I was able to sweet talk Sigma into lending me the lens for a few days and so spent this lunch time wandering the arctic temperatures of Birmingham.
This was to be a scientific test so I ensured that I didn’t have a tripod with me and had made no forward plans.
I wasnt interested in how good it was in a controlled enviroment, I wanted to know how good it would be in the real world.
floozy in the jacuzzi
I also tried shooting buildings with lots of hidden detail, for example on this picture I saw the vapour trail from the plane but only when editing did I see the bird flying high over the roofline.

So far the little Sigma lens is performing remarkably well. It also comes with a little petal hood, not sure how much use this would be in reality as it is quite small – but it is not offered with the Canon version…

As a totally unscientific test I wanted to catch some lens flare, I was interested in the way it presented itself across the lens. I think you will agree that it is quite pleasant?
So after a couple of hours play what did I think?
Beautifully sharp lens, cute lens hood AND has a 77mm front element – which matches the filters I already own…
Its about £30 more than the Canon equivalent but I would probably spend that on a new filter for it….it also has the lens hood…
Dear Sigma I appear to have misplaced your lens……I think I may be raiding the piggy bank!!!