Private jets are owned by celebrities and billionaires, usually. So when I got a call from a friend asking if I’d be up for photographing one, my thoughts turned to – “who the heck has he been hanging out with?!” This guy works in IT, there’s no way he knows Warren Buffet. So anyway it was a real enquiry phone call and it was past 9:30 on a Friday evening, and as he began to explain he was in a bar having a drink with a Gulfstream pilot I got a bit worried. Then I reminded myself that I am a photographer, that I photograph interiors, portraits and commercial business operations, so why wouldn’t some billionaire guy want me taking fantastic shots of his plane? So after a pre-arranged briefing and exchange of passport docs I headed of to Stansted Airport with all my kit to meet Captain Menzies to take us on board. I had been making some notes the past few days on how I might photograph this kind of aircraft. Here are some notes on the craft… The exact model is a Gulfstream G550, built by General Dynamics’ Gulfstream Aerospace in the USA, in service since 2003, a capacity of up to 19 plus 2 attendants, a length of 29.4 meters and a wingspan of 28.5 meters, with a cruise speed of 488 knots (562 mph). An impressive compact aircraft owned by the likes of Tiger Woods and John Travolta, with I imagine who has a bumper stick saying ‘my other plane is a 747’. The G550 cabin is known for its luxury design, great light and views – iconic, wide oval windows.
Arriving at Harrods Aviation facility at Stansted Airport, near London was a simple task – no fuss, just leave the car outside, passport check, jokes with the security staff about having a penknife in my bag (no really, they don’t care) and straight into the small luxurious terminal facility where we could relax and chat about the plane, flying to the Caribbean and general insights into how the other half live (or other 0.1%). We then took an terminal cab the whole 300 Yards to where the plane was, which happened to be parked opposite ‘The Bandit’- Roman Abramovich’s Boeing 767. I spent a good 30 mins inside and out of the aircraft figuring out how to shoot this beast. After a few external test shots I decided to try a few different angles, some of which I thought might look great from an elevated perspective. We had a ground crew of 3 with support equipment including a tractor to move the craft, and a passenger stair truck for view access points. After having the plane dragged from left to right and back a little to get the background scene how I wanted, the stair truck was positioned and up I went with my D800 and 35mm prime lens, were I was literally climbing stairway up to the heavens, very carefully. Such a strange moment, looking down at a £30million aircraft with my modest 36million pixel camera.
We didn’t use any specialist lighting, partly because I didn’t think it would have helped in any real way. The extra restrictions at an airport and a time limit we had, literally a couple of hours, they would have been a hindrance. We were fortunate with the weather, some light rain earlier in the day created some pools of water which give off some nice reflection. But ultimately it was the sky that made the images, cloud with silver linings and a hint of blue and then flashes of green from fields. All the photos were delivered on online, on time and It only look a few days to process all of them and get them looking to a production standard I was happy with.
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“Thank you very much for the photos of the Brain Game, they are brilliant and just what we wanted. I am really pleased with how the new light design came across in the photos and you have captured the evening’s atmosphere wonderfully!”
Amy Downing – Corporate Events Development Manager , Marie Curie Cancer Care
It’s that time of year again when Marie Curie Cancer Care team up with Housebuilder to raise extraordinary amounts of cash for their cause. Supported by Housebuilder Media and NHBC, this event is a major highlight in the Marie Curie calendar. As a seasoned event photographer my task was to capture the energy and excitement this gala celebrity evening had to offer.
Each year I try to build on my own expectations as well as the organisers, such as I might try out some new lighting technique or a new lens. This year I invested in a brand new Nikon 35mm f1.4. This is one of the best general use lenses on the market with outsanding depth of field in low light, perfect for event work. It’s wider than the 50mm f1.4 so better for those for groups and excellent at close range, as you can get really close up into the detail. On my other camera was my 135mm f2 lens – this lens is small and less intrusive than my 70-200mm so works well in crowded rooms and again creates a great bokeh!
Helping generate atmosphere as well as donations there were was a team of well know faces including presenters Anneka Rice, Penny Smith and actors The Chuckle Bros, Linda Robson, Vicki Michelle and a guest appearance from Antonio Carluccio via video link. They hosted a bunch of exciting games and quizzes and it was my job to capture the interaction and excitement generated throughout the eventing. Guests were treated to a 3 course dinner during the quiz action before they were then catapulted into full auction chaos with renowned auctioneer and commentator Jonny Gould.
There were teams from major housebuilders which included Barratt, Crest, Taylor Wimpey and Bellway – mixed with suppliers, lawyers andthe people behind Housebuilder Media all in it for fight to crown themselves with the Brain Game trophy.
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Business conference photography at The Dorchester in London. The event photography was for Huawei’s “Open Roads To A Better Connected World” Pre-MWC Analyst and Media Briefing 2015″
Analysts and Journalists from all over the world gather for the 4.5G technologies briefing in London ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The brief included photographing a series of presentations, networking and business discussion forums in the main ballroom and business meeting rooms throughout The Dorchester. What made this event unique was a combination of things, for a start the client is the largest telecommunications company in the world and the location was possibly the most famous hotel in the world. The event was also a precursor to the Mobile World Congress.
The Dorchester has a great deal of space for large events and Huawei secured the ballroom for the conference and up to 6 business suites for Q&As with company executives and a penthouse suite where private meetings with the CEO were conducted. Photographing all these areas throughout the hotel capturing the conversation and upbeat dynamic image of the event was a challenge for just one photographer. I was also presented with the challenge of only receiving a brief just an hour before the start of the event, unusual but I was prepared for this. With event organisers and clients understandably pre-occupied with other aspects, the photography is often the last thing on their minds! It’s not unusual to receive a programme, site map and scribbled briefings just before the event kicks off. Sometimes a client will want to pick a few images to post or send to someone during the event and this is why laptops are always a life saving bit of kit at events. So anyway, as I’m always cool headed in these situations I just take it in my stride. Though not for the faint hearted!
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