Hello, strangers… long time no speak! I know we’ve been really quiet lately, but the truth of the matter is that we’ve finally had our gag order lifted after our “secret quarter” that preceded Photokina.
Over the past few months we’ve been working with many of our clients, both testing as well as producing photographs and videos for products that were being launched in Cologne. So we’ve been locked in the studio a little more often working on stuff that was previously top secret, but that now we can finally start talking about!
Of course, one of the big things from Photokina was obviously the announcement of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, which really is a phenomenal piece of kit. As the Olympus Principal I was honoured to be flown over for the launch where I got to meet, greet and present with some of my fellow European Visionaries. Suffice to say I’ll be sharing a lot more about the E-M1 Mark II as and when various embargoes are lifted, so stay tuned!
The stunning new Olympus 25mm f1.2 PRO lens is something that I’ve been testing a lot in the studio, and this really might be the new must-have lens for everyone shooting micro four-thirds. It’s THAT good. I’ll be doing a full write-up in due course, but take a look at a couple of the test shots and I think you’ll agree that it’s a real “wow” bit of glass.
Something that I know has created a bit of buzz is the Elinchrom high speed trigger for Olympus systems, which again we were working on before Photokina. This one was so top secret that Elinchrom USA didn’t even know the product existed when we started releasing our images taken using the device! Like I’ve always said, you have to get up VERY early in the morning to beat me to the punch!
And lastly, the thing I’ve genuinely been most excited about is the hähnel Captur system, which saw Team McGillicuddy undertake one of our most fun and enjoyable shoots ever! To illustrate the brilliant sound sensors that trigger the system, we created a series of water balloon portraits that went down brilliantly both in Germany and at hähnel HQ in Ireland!
Farewell to an Old Friend
The job for hähnel actually marked a pretty big occasion, as the water balloon shoot was the last ever shoot conducted at Oakbase. Yes, the time had finally come to move on – as those of you who’ve visited Oakbase will know, it was built to accommodate gigantic sets to be constructed and lighting rigs to be used and so on. But the fact is that we’ve progressed from our days of shooting rails of products for Matalan or building replica kitchens and homeware facades for B&Q.
As our business has evolved and as the stuff that we shoot has evolved, and especially as the equipment that I actually shoot with has evolved, we decided to move to a space that was a far better fit for the work we do today – and a space that far better accommodates the education that has become such a big part of what we do.
So the next time you come to a workshop with us, it will be my privilege to welcome you to my brand new purpose-built studio in the heart of Widnes – which, as my regular students and Mentor Me delegates will be pleased to know, is a far cry from the traffic and parking misery of Chester! The new studio is not only far more convenient to get to (and that includes for me!), but there is abundant free parking and it is far better served with local hotels, eateries and entertainment.
Stay tuned for a full blog post and a “guided tour” around our new digs. Lesley and I have put in a great deal of time, effort and expense not only to design a fantastic user-friendly studio, but also to create the best educational space possible. In the meantime, here’s the last picture ever shot at Oakbase following the last ever shoot held there, featuring the crew from our water balloon portraits session. At least we went out with a big bang… or should that be, a big splash!
New Workshops And Roadshow Dates
We’ll be unveiling our full slate of autumn and winter workshops soon, but the first opportunity you’ll get to shoot in the new studio will be our Halloween extravaganza – the much anticipated Silence Of The Glam Part II horror workshop, taking place on Sunday 30 October . This one is going to be a little bit special, as we’ll be incorporating professional-grade prosthetic makeup to create some uniquely dark and twisted beauty. This won’t be your standard tacky gorefest; think more along the lines of Silent Hill and Jacob’s Ladder with a pinch of the usual McGillicuddy magic!
Then coming up next month we’ve got a two-day workshop that will be nothing short of epic. For Foam Couture Photography on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 November we’re teaming up with the one and only John Davis, better known as “The Foam Wizard”. Over the two days John will share the secrets of his special effects background as he shows you how to build your own custom collar or bespoke breathcatcher, then I’ll share my photographic secrets and show you how to light, pose and shoot your creation on our professional model with full styling and makeup!
And if you fancy coming along to a completely FREE masterclass, hosted by the SWPP at its Digital Imaging Roadshows, the last dates for 2016 are coming up on 09 and 10 November. First we’ll be on my home turf of Widnes http://thedigitalimagingshow.co.uk/events/widnes-2/, at the Select Security Stadium, then we’ll be at The National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull http://thedigitalimagingshow.co.uk/events/solihull-2/. Come along for a talk and lighting demonstration, and see how I actually use my kit from the likes of Elinchrom on a live shoot!
How It Was Done
And finally, as always, I’ll leave you with one of our patented behind-the-scenes breakdowns explaining how we shot some of our recent images. And in this case it’s the water balloon portraits we shot for hähnel’s Photokina presentation, which have been very well received!
I genuinely had so much fun on this shoot and the hähnel Captur units performed absolutely brilliantly. THIS is what photography is supposed to be about: the simplest of set-us (it’s all shot with speed lights, as obviously you don’t want anything that plugs into the mains when you’ve got water going everywhere!), a group of your mates together having a giggle, and producing great pictures that are as fun to take as they are to look at afterwards. Hope you enjoy!