A postscript: I’ve just been sent a press release for a star gazing package at La Samanna in the West Indies. http://www.lasamanna.com/web/omar/packages.jsp What a perfect experience for a honeymoon. La Samanna is one of the Orient Express hotels, so I think you can take it as read that it will be utterly fabulous, even though I haven’t actually been there.
This one is from the archives and aimed mainly at my families, but come to think of it, it would make an amazing date night too. I wrote it for family magazine Jump. Star gazing is so magical at this time of year, especially on November 16th 2013 when the Leonids are in full view all night. And night begins early so now is the best time!
The night sky offers the perfect opportunity to launch a journey of stellar discovery with your child. Fiona Campbell looks to the heavens.
“There is a moon monster and he eats the moon every month,” explains one imaginative young audience member at the Glasgow Science Centre Planetarium, where my five year old son and I are watching a performance of A Starry Story.
‘It’s the perfect place to spark inquisitive young mids, eager to explore the magical, murky realm between fact and fiction that is the cosmos.
“Astronomy is a beautiful and fun entry point to science and a rich tool for bringing a new dimension to children’s sense of reality,’ concurs Dr Carolina Oddman, head of UNAWE, an international charity that uses the wonders of the universe to inspire kids from underprivileged backgrounds.
“Children don’t have to understand difficult concepts to enjoy the universe,” she adds, pointing to the fact that even a simple appreciation of the stars above can help youngsters in very down-to-earth ways – making them feel more connected to their own environment, or in overcoming a fear of the dark, for example.
So, how best to introduce your little one to the joys of the Big Dipper and beyond?
For under fives, the key is to keep things simple. Start with the moon, and very possibly some of the very brightest stars, and ask them questions to fire their curiosity. Why does it get dark at night? What is a star? Encourage them to share their ideas with one another and to let their imagination run wild.
Another great way to get them looking skyward in wonder is to read them any one of the numerous stories inspired by the stars. If the colourful Greek myths that explain the origins of the various constellations don’t grab their attention, then why not turn to Tintin, whose adventures include Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon?
Once your budding astronomer is hooked, it’s time to get them stargazing for real. It’s here that a little homework on your part can go a long way, and a quick visit to the International Year of Astronomy website (astronomy 2009.co.uk) will keep you abreast of forthcoming events and activities that you can get along to, as well as any special celestial happenings that you might want to catch.
You may be tempted to fork out for a super-zoomy telescope, but as Dr Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society points out, when it comes to stargazing gadgetry, less is more, particularly for novices. “Telescopes are vry difficult to use, even for adults,” he explains. “You are better off starting out with a good pair of binoculars fitted to a tripod.”
Dr Oddman, on the other hand, suggests putting a picture of the planet Saturn up on the wall indoors and getting your children to have a look at it. Then get them to look at the picture through a telescope… the first time is always a surprise! Once the kids are used to the telescope, you can take it outside for a spot of moon watching. The Galileoscope (available at galileoscope.org) is a high- quality telescope priced at about £20 including shipping from the US.
Due to light pollution, many city-based kids will have only seen the very brightest of the stars and planets. If your little ones are missing out, then be sure to take advantage of the clear night skies the next time you find yourselves away from the bright lights of the metropolis.
Camping trips in particular afford a fantastic opportunity to sp0t even the most faint of celestial bodies. Alternatively, track down your nearest planetarium for an uninterrupted galactic gander.
Your kids may not be able to go to the moon, but that’s not to say that you can’t bring the moon to your kids. Even the shortest of attention spans wont be able to resist getting to grips with a chunk of genuine moon rock – over 4 billion years old and, well, from outer space! Schools can apply to the Science and Technology Facilities Council (scitech.ac.uk) for a free loan from their priceless collection of lunar lumps, and the Natural History Museum (nhm.ac.uk) also has a selection of rocks available.
– How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
– Cosmic! The Ultimate 3-D Guide to the Universe by Giles Sparrow
– Zoo in the Sky, A Book of Animal Constellations by Jacqueline Mitton
– The Glow in the Dark Book of Space by Nicholas Harris
– Children of the Sun by Arthur John L’Hommedieu
So I promised you the full low down on the fantabulous Sarra’s shoot. I loved this shoot because Sarra was totally open to being creative and trying anything. She was keen to get some glamorous photographs to present to her husband Steve for his birthday. She also wanted a serious photo for her linked in account. She came exhausted but with a full gamut of glamorous clothes, ‘Should I wear the Manolos or the Jimmy Choos, do you think?’ She has a little bit of Brideshead about her – I imagine her in the thirties being presented at court, somehow. She’s also a serious technical industries PR executive who has owned her own PR company. And that must seem like a piece of cake compared to the three children she manages at home! She has a certain masochistic streak, clearly demonstrated by the fact that she volunteered to run the creche at her local school while on maternity leave. It was high time for some pampering and Anna and I stepped into the breach.
We started with a soothing make over courtesy of Anna Mosbruck http://anna-mosbruck.de Anna is a German make up artist who has just moved to London and she did a wonderful job.
Before and After:
Anna at work:
For Linked In and other Professional websites:
I love that the red dress (right) is the one Sarra met Steve in – 11 years ago!
So what is contemporary portraiture? It is a bespoke service that aims to capture women as their true selves, only on an exceptionally fabulous, slim, beautiful day. For some women it’s a useful way to get a good Linked-In portrait, for others it veers more towards boudoir for their husbands delectation. It can be alluring, emotional, business-like or all three.
Sarra wanted some glamorous pictures of herself for her husband’s birthday and some business portraits that she could use for her social media work accounts. She’s a mother of three who works in PR and her days are just… packed. We made the shoot into an oasis of calm where she could relax while lovely make up artist Anna sorted out her hair and make up, followed by her portrait shoot. Here is a little preview of the shoot. I have held back this post to coincide with her husband’s birthday, so Steve, if you are reading this, Happy Birthday!
Before and After:
It was a tremendously fun shoot and amazing to see the difference it makes when a woman is allowed some time to herself just to sit down and take it easy. I loved capturing the true Sarra, and I think she’d give Kate Winslet a run for her money on the front of Harper’s Bazaar in some of these. I’ll post the rest of the images when Steve and Sarra have had a chance to look at them.
Loved photographing the brilliant Holly and Tom at the Barbican. Holly works in the NHS, and Tom is a doctor specialising in anaesthesia and trauma injuries. So, both courageous people then! They met at Oxford, and have been together ever since. Now they live in Islington, just down the road from me.
It poured with rain but they were not deterred, and we had a fantastic time creating these pictures. There was a short interlude where the umbrella went for a swim in one of the fountains, but luckily the Barbican has lots of shelter so we were able to create all the photos we needed without getting overly wet.
I love these photos. The Barbican gives them a wonderful sculptural structure, and the Autumn colours work well with Holly and Tom’s outfits. Holly has the most amazing hair! A beautiful couple and tremendous fun, and we are neighbours, so hopefully they are keepers. I love it when my subjects become my friends.
Holly and Tom are getting married at the Connaught at the end of March, and I’m greatly looking forward to photographing their wedding. The Connaught is an interesting place to photograph, because it is very stylish but has fairly dull light so I will create the light, using my box of tricks. Can’t wait!
It began inauspiciously. The morning of Katy and Phil’s shoot saw a proper English rain shower. We talked about whether to postpone, but finding a new date was going to be hard. Yr.no my favourite weather prediction service, promised clear skies from 3pm and sure enough at exactly the moment we arrived at Virginia Waters, the weather cleared. We were blessed with gentle light and spectacular Autumn leaves.
Katy and Phil met in a pub at Kings Cross. He is in IT, she is a political events organiser. One thing led to another, and they’re getting married next year. Katy is from Hong Kong and Phil is from Kent. Excitingly, together they formed the charity, futureforeignpolicy.com, which encourages young people to engage with international politics.
Katy and Phil came to me because they won a pre-wedding photoshoot at the Brides Conde Nast Wedding Fair last March. I’m really glad they did, because we had a magical shoot in the glorious Autumn colour of Virginia Waters. Wishing you both a creative and happy future!
A little while ago I was invited to a real treat; a wedding at the Savoy Hotel. Olympus have created a new camera, the OM-D EM-1, to rival Nikon and Canon, and they wanted me to give it a whirl, along with 10 or so other leading photographers. It was such fun to hang out with my peers, and we were invited to photograph a sumptuous, creative wedding at this stunning venue, the Savoy Hotel in London. The wedding was planned by the fabulous Alex from Boho Bride.
I was very impressed with the Olympus camera and its large selection of lenses, and had a great deal of fun on the day. I probably would need a bit more time to get used to it, and I’ll be sticking with my Nikons, because I just have a lot of fun with them and I think they do a beautiful job that suits my style, but if you handed me an Olympus kit tomorrow and told me I had to use it, I would not lose too much sleep over it. I know a few of my esteemed colleagues vowed to switch. Thanks so much to Olympus’ lovely team for all their hospitality, and to the glorious Savoy hotel.
Flowers by Blue Sky Flowers @BlueSkyFlowers http://blueskyflowers.co.uk/
Wedding Stationery by Ananya Cards @AnanyaCards http://ananyacards.com/
Wedding Cake by SK Cakes @SKCakery http://www.s-k-cakes.co.uk/
Wedding dress worn by model from Ellie Sanderson @EllieSanderson1 http://www.elliesanderson.co.uk/
Suit attire worn by model from Stephen Bishop Suiting @SBSSuiting http://www.stephenbishopsuiting.com/
Shoes from Cindy’s Choos @CindysChoos http://www.cindyschoos.com/
Jewellery worn by model from Olivier Laudus @OlivierLaudus http://www.olivierlaudus.com/
Hair & Make-up by Tori Harris Make-Up @ToriHarrisMUA http://toriharrismakeup.co.uk/
Event styling & co-ordination by Bijou Bride @BijouBride http://thebijoubride.com/
I happy am!
Powerful, curving, arching
Peerless predators flanking our boat.
Back on my tail, come with me, come with us,
we had some fish. Wheee!
Curving through the water, swish,
Come with meee. Let’s have fun!
Hello, you, I love you, kiss!
Bubbles, wash, swish,
It’s easy! Hey! Hoooo! Rakatakataka! Preeep!
Work hard, play hard, play and work at the same time, why stress?
you come with me… we are playing…
Aren’t these two just adorable? What I love about this is that this is actually several months after their real wedding. And they are still so in love! Aw. I have been trying to get this post out today but I’m not quite going to manage to finish it in all its glory so here is a preview… This is a wedding ceremony at the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, next to the Savoy Hotel, as part of my Olympus OM-D trial. Great camera, gorgeous day!