Sawston Fun Run 15 May 2011

Sawston Fun Run images available now! View Gallery Wonderful weather in Cambridgeshire today for an excellent and Fun Run through Sawston village.

Event Charity Photography: Pink Rose Ball 20th November 2010

Alex Orrow photography will be attending the Pink Rose Charity ball on the 20th November at Clifford Hall, Cambridge. The money raised will go to the Cambridge Breast Cancer Research Unit. Images from the event will be available online here: Gallery > No longer available.

Event Charity Photography: Living Sport Awards

I will be attending the Living Sport Awards ceremony on the 17th November 2010 at the East of England showground, taking photographs of all those attending. Images will be available from the online gallery soon after the event. View gallery >

Living Sport Gallery

Remember that you can use RSS feeds to see images as soon as they start to appear in the gallery!

Volunteer Photographer – Calendar Competition

Cambridgeshire Mencap’s 2011 calendar is now complete and available to buy. All the brilliant and beautiful winning art work was photographed in July.

To support Mencap and the work they do for people with learning difficulties in the Cambridgeshire area the calendars are available to buy from Cambridgeshire Mencap’s website

Cambridgeshire Mencap Calendar 2011 - Local support for people with learning difficulties

Cambridgeshire Mencap Calendar 2011 - Local support for people with learning difficulties

Sawston Fun Run recce

Just had a look round the Sawston Fun Run route, and have identified some great places to capture all the action. Plus met two very keen participants training for the big day!! Looking forward to it gallery will be available here. Sawston Fun Photograph gallery

(IMAGES AVAILABLE NOW – visit the gallery here)

Magpas Medical Emergency Charity Photography

After waiting for almost 1 year I finally got a chance to photograph a team at the Medical Emergency Charity MAGPAS. The charity operates a team of volunteer doctors, paramedics and community first responders. MAGPAS is solely funded by donations and receives no money from the NHS or other Government funding. I had been approached by the press and PR officer at MAGPAS to help with updating their image library. As this might be an opportunity to photograph a helicopter hopefully in flight and possibly even the team in action I jumped at the opportunity.

After meeting and visiting the MAGPAS team it was not until a year later that the photo shoot was organised and executed. We agreed that the photo shoot would take place at two locations. the first was to be the airfield at RAF Wyton to capture the team with emergency vehicles, unfortunately in flight shots or images of the team in action for real where not possible. The second was to be in a domestic/community environment. Most likely to be where a community first responder might find themselves. The images to be taken at the airfield would involve two members of the emergency team with both the helicopter and response car. MAGPAS make use of two helicopters either the East Anglian Air Ambulance or Cambridgeshire Police helicopter.  A scout of the airfield was a necessity as I knew from the outset that I wanted to light the team with mains powered flash. Luckily there was a 240v power outlet very close to where the aircraft is landed. The hero shot was to be two members of MAGPAS posed with the police helicopter.

The day chosen was confirmed in the morning after weather checks and we met at 3pm to commence shooting as the sunlight levels dropped and darkened. Due to both the unpredictablity of the police helicopter  and their  training schedule meant I had about 30 mins to set up and shoot the main image. Before doing this there was time spare to capture the team with the response car and both the response car and air ambulance.

MAGPAS photography

MAGPAS photography

Both images were set up quickly using a single bare Nikon SB800 on a stand providing a main source of light from high camera right. Although shooting these would have been fine with available light. The addition of the flash provides more shape to the two team members allows for a faster shutter speed helping to darken the sky and keep the highlight from blowing on the car and aircraft.

Example of a daylight only image.

At this point the temperatures were reaching below freezing and although I could have continued I think the two team members would have disagreed and may have needed to be plied off of the freezing car.

For the next set up with the police helicopter it would have been ideal to have had all the lighting setup and ready to go but due to the dangers of the heavy downwash it was impossible to have any photographic gear near to the landing zone and so I had to wait until I the helicopter was fully stationary before attempting to setup lights and run cables etc.

I chose a dramatic lighting set up and one which is favoured by many music and sport editorial photographers. This consisted of 1 bowens head with beauty dish mounted on boom centrally in front and above the subject. x2 elinchrome heads with barn doors on both one each on the left and right behind the  two team members aimed back towards them. Another small SB800 was placed on camera left and parallel to the aircraft aimed back towards aircraft, in order to bring in some light to dark areas of the fuselage. See diagram below.

Lighting setup

Results from a about a 15 – 20min window of opportunity from setup to execution.

Emergency Paramedic and Doctor with helicopter

MAGPAS - Emergency Medical Charity action photography

MAGPAS - Emergency Medical Charity

MAGPAS - Emergency Medical Charity and Police Helicopter crew

MAGPAS - Emergency Medical Charity

I used a boom throughout at an approximate hight of 9-10ft. This meant that it was very close to the aircraft rota blades, and after being reminded by the officer in charge at my side, that each blade costs about £13,000 I could feel the tension mount next me as I inched the boom closer and closer to the aircraft. Soon after this image was taken the police helicopter crew were called to an incident, powering up whilst I quickly dismantled my equipment and packed away all loose items. I grabbed a few last shots of the medical team in the half light with their first response car, using an stand mounted bare SB800 on camera left to provide some separation side light.

MAGPAS - Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Emergency Medical Charity

Cambridgeshire Mencap Photography

My first shoot for the Cambridgeshire Mencap project took place at St.Johns College, Cambridge University. Cambridgeshire Mencap provide a catering & hospitality training course in the college’s kitchens. Students meet for classroom activities and then more hands on work in the college kitchen and canteen. Both environments leave little room room for manoeuvre. Where possible I would choose a background which had either colour or interest, this sometimes meant rearranging and placing objects which were either relevant or added to the perspective and composition, not only in the background but also in the foreground as well. Lighting in working environments is also challenging. The kitchen environment could have been very difficult, with overhead fluorescent lights and stainless steel backgrounds. The kitchen was a busy place and so not somewhere lights could be placed easily, I used both on camera flash bounced and one small light on a stand  placed at a right angle to subjects and slightly behind. The catering course tutor suggested a scenario with a student stirring a large vat of meat stock, this worked well as the student could interact with kitchen staff and both the colour and steam from the boiling vat made a dramatic composition. The students and kitchen staff were very co-operative to my instructions and made the shoot a very enjoyable experience.

Cantellday the designers for the new website and printed material were also present at the shoot to lend a hand and art direct. This was useful and helped with getting the right approach which would hopefully continue throughout the project.

The entire shoot encompassed many different environments and lighting considerations as well as developing trust and hopefully a rapport with the subjects which made for some spontaneity. Allowing a photographer in to your home is not always comfortable, keeping lighting to a minimum and using lights which are mobile  while not requiring an extra pair of hands to set up, was essential. I used throughout Nikon SB800’s with the Nikon SU800 Commander unit and also pocket wizards. At present the SU800 cammander unit is not reliable enough in situations where the environment and subject  changes very quickly and there is a very little control over the direction the shoot will take. Using small flashes triggered remotely with pocket wizards enabled me to position lights anywhere I could place a super clamp or light stand. Typically out of the way of young children but supplementing the existing light. In some cases I relied only on the available light due to requests by Cambridgeshire Mencap service users.

The final printed material produced can be seen below.

Photography Cambridgeshire Mencap Brochures

Photography Cambridgeshire Mencap Brochures

Photography Cambridgeshire Mencap Brochures

Photography Cambridgeshire Mencap Brochures

News: Cambridgeshire Mencap Photography and New Website!

At the begining of the summer of 2009  I was asked by the marketing and communications team of Cambridgeshire Mencap to undertake photography for a new website and to update existing library images. The work involved visiting many of the homes, services and activities of the service users over a period of just under 3 months. With the aim of the photography to capture creative natural and fun images of volunteers, activities and service users.

Work is now complete on the new Cambridgeshire Mencap website and the site is now live. Cambridgeshire Mencap is a charity based in Cambridge, UK and supports local people with learning disabilities. Their important work encompasses supported living, access to community activites and training. They also support parents and carers providing them with information, advice on relevant issues and backup when they need a rest. Undertaking photography work for Mencap was a real joy and great learning experience for me, and gave me a better insight into the lives of those with learning disabilities and the conditions associated with having a learning disability. As well as the parents and people who support and care for them.

More information about this interesting commission and examples of the results can be viewed here.

Cambridge Mencap Photography Commission

2 month Cambridge Mencap photography commission close to completion. Results and insights posted here soon. Currently completing final images for the new Cambridge Mencap marketing campaign with new leaflets and website.