Chorley. Astley Hall All Lit Up.

Astley Hall is a historic manor house on the outskirts of the Lancashire market town of Chorley. It’s favourite place of mine, I like to visit it with my camera as the seasons roll and change through the year.

It has a changing sequence of events taking place through the year which always add to the pleasure of any visit. A more recent attraction is Astley Hall Illuminated, a light show that takes place in the grounds on one night in November and I was able to make it to this years performance. As well as the lights there were other attractions, living Christmas Trees walking around, children being terrified and intrigued in equal measure and a Brass Band from the Lancashire village of Tarleton played Carols throughout the evening.


SPARK Line up outside the Hall

The highlight for me though was a drumming troupe by the name of SPARK. Their appearance was completely other worldly. They wore illuminated costumes, the colours changing as the beats of their drums changed. Throughout the evening they marched in formation around the Hall and it’s grounds like ghostly Pied Pipers with the crowds following in their wake. It was a truly magical experience.


SPARK attracts the crowds.

I’ve already made a note to check out the date for next year, a tip if you go wrap up warm, it’s Lancashire and it’s November. I warmed up afterwards with a hot chocolate from the Hall’s Cafe Ambio, a lovely end to a great evening.


Drums and lights in a circle from SPARK. 







I Spy With My Little Camera Eye

I am a people watcher, I think most photographers are. The header image was taken at one of my favourite events for candid shot gathering, the Edinburgh Festival. It’s not a perfect image but it was a combination of elements that drew my eye and made me press the shutter release.  The casual stance of the man plus the combination of the corduroy jacket, black narrow legged jeans and the R.M Williams boots. His face is not in the shot but the young lady’s is though partially cropped out of the frame. This is a result of a bit of tidying up of the shot, taken with a small compact which I was carrying and shooting with from waist level. The location was the side of St. Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile. 

19/08/13 EDINBURGH, The Royal Mile. Gramaphone Jass Band Washboa

SCOTLAND, Edinburgh, The Royal Mile. The Gramaphone Jass Band entertains the Fringe Festival crowds, with the washboard player strumming up a storm.

A little further along the Gramaphone Jass Band where kicking out a lively beat to the crowds, the washboard player being amongst the most animated of the group, who specialized in that 20’s /30’s jazz style.

19/08/13 EDINBURGH. The Fringe on the Royal Mile, guitarist.

SCOTLAND, Edinburgh. The Fringe in full swing on the Royal Mile, a guitarist waits his turn on the stages.

I’m never quite sure which approach yields the best results, do I pick a vantage point and let them come to me or do I try and move unobtrusively through the crowds all the while keeping my eyes open for the photo opportunity. This musician was patiently waiting for his turn amongst the acts lined up on the Royal Mile.

25/08/13 AVIEMORE. Thunder in the Glen. Ciggie time.

SCOTLAND, Aviemore. Time for a cigarette at the annual Thunder in the Glen Harley Davidson weekend.

A different approach this time, not a compact but the DSLR and long lens. Taken at the Thunder In The Glens Harley owners meeting. This smoker was part of a group enjoying a very animated conversation and again it is the combination of the expression on his face, the wrinkles around the eyes, the beard and I managed to catch the hand and cigarette in just the right pose.  Originally a colour image I felt the elements of it as I mentioned above, plus the swept back, greying hair cried out to be de-saturated to a B+W image.

20/08/14  AVIEMORE. Thunder in The Glen. Wine Tasting.

SCOTLAND. Aviemore. Wine tasting at the 2014 Thunder in the Glen Harley Davidson Owners meeting.

Sometimes it doesn’t go quite to plan but often I have found myself with a pleasing image by accident. The plan was to have more of the foreground pair in the frame but I got too close in but trying to get the shot I wanted I ended up with something different but which I think works, with the foreground  pair on the left acting as a frame for the two men in the distance on the right.  

Editing these shot is always a voyage of discovery, I know what I was looking for  when I pressed the shutter release but its the other little details that creep into the end image.