Summer’s gone, school’s back

Remember all that beautiful weather back in April? Around us the farmers we in a bit of a tizz worrying about their crops. Well, the warm dry spell didn’t last long. In fact, it’s been a pretty miserable summer. Damp, cool and unsettled,

kent field

At the end of next week, many schools are back. And guess what? The forecast looks much more promising! Still, at least we don’t have Hurricane Irene to worry about.

hairoun beer, bequia

Talking of tropical weather, we did get away this summer and enjoyed some hot sunshine in Bequia, Mustique and Barbados. Three very different islands but all charming in their own way. We’ve been travelling to Bequia (it’s in St Vincent & the Grenadines) for many years. Barely developed, it still provides a taste of how the Caribbean used to be 40 years ago.


Mustique is just seven miles away (we took a speed boat) but might as well be in a different solar system. It’s a private island dotted with palatial homes owned by the super-rich and famous. It’s so well tended it has the feel of a Berkshire golf course. Great fun though – especially the tiny airstrip. And finally, there was Barbados – or little England, as it’s affectionately known. Safe, sunny and sophisticated – it has it all.

Holiday over and it was straight in with a back to school job. We’ve worked with one of the major suppliers of school meals before (think of a device to get your bearings). This time they wanted images of a new range of food in time for the start of term. The food’s great – genuinely tasty and well-balanced but we had precious little time to enjoy it.

chocolate & sultana sponge with hot custard

Our task was to plate and shoot the food, edit the images and then project manage the production of a series of ten flash cards (for use in the kitchens and so that the children can identify with what’s on offer). From shoot to print there were only a few days so we had to be organised and disciplined.

Given the lousy weather forecast I opted to play it safe and ditch my favoured light source – daylight. Instead, I went for a three head (fluorescent) set up on a plain white shooting table. The designers had specified a wide shot so they could crop on a consistent basis – OK for me though I prefer the close in stuff.

fruit jelly

The shoot went well. With three people in the kitchen and me out front with my Nikons, we made short work of the ten dishes. Then it was a couple of hours processing the RAW images in Lightroom before a fast drive to the designers with a CD for them to start their work. My part of the job done.

toffee & raisin sponge

Next week the flash cards will be printed and on display in school kitchens throughout the south-east. It was a great commission to work on. Jobs like this will never get us a place in Mustique but they will keep us happy.