Friday, 12 August 2011

Vrygrond Township -Photographic workshop

I could and perhaps should call this a tale of two workshops in the light of my forthcoming PODAS workshop at Weston Park

A little over a year ago I took a workshop for underprivileged youth in the South African township of Vrygrond, near Cape Town

My good friend Katherine Holley shot this short film of our time there.

Vrygrond Township, South Africa from drew gardner on Vimeo.

It makes me want to do more for these guys.


Life changing, for me at least.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

London Riots

Difficult to know what to say really.

Naked criminality with the root being poor parenting....where do they think their kids are going at night?

with the school holidays and good weather being factors too.

I just came across this time lapse of the Tottenham riots.

Video by Prokopi Constantinou @

Score by Dogtanion @

Monday, 8 August 2011

Fun with email scammers....

With the world banking system facing oblivion and areas of London smouldering post riot I thought I would share this with you as a humorous Monday morning distraction........

From: Drew Gardner <>
Date: 4 August 2011 22:08:30 GMT+01:00
To: Reservation Departament <>
Subject: Re: Hotel Camelback Inn, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa  made wrong transaction
Thanks for your email

I can send you the money but I have a small problem

During my stay I lost my wallet and I'm certain it was one of your cleaners who took it

Her name was Marianne

We had a good time together then she took my wallet

If you could help me with this matter I will be very happy to see that you receive the money


Mr Trew

Sent from my iPad

On 4 Aug 2011, at 20:42, "Reservation Departament" <> wrote:

Dear guest! 
Transaction: Visa 5159923_O 
This letter notifies that on July 26th, 2011 Hotel made an error of transaction from your credit card. Total sum of decommissioning is $1473 
Due to the termination of service contract between Hotel and Booking Company this Hotel was divested accreditation in our company. 
For the return of funds please contact your bank and fill information in the attached form. 
In the attachment you will find expense sheet with the sum of wrong transaction error of transaction. 
Company just mediates and bears no responsibility for any money transactions made by Hotel. 
Thank you for understanding. We trust you can solve this unpleasant problem. 
Tertius Cookingham, 
Manager of Reception Desk & Reservation Departament 

I'm still awaiting a reply....... 

Friday, 5 August 2011

If Drew Gardner shot weddings......

Followers of my Twitter feed will know that I did just that on Saturday, when I shot my Niece's wedding.

My first full wedding shoot since 1981.

It was actually a lot of fun, but bloody hard work.

With so many bases to cover, the day just races by.

I now have enhanced respect for wedding shooters.

I shot the whole thing on a pair of Canon 5D MkII's and shot the vast majority of the day with the wonderful 'L' Series 35mm F1.4 and 85mm F1.2 lenses.

Even with the right focusing screens, in this case the Canon Eg-S super precision matte, the attrition rate of soft shots could be a bit worrying at times when shooting wide open with these lenses.
(If you own a fast prime lens and you don't have one of theses GET ONE! it is the cheapest way to get the best from your camera and lenses)

Like anything in life when you live to your 'Edge' it isn't easy.

But shoot wide open with these lenses and get it right, the angels sing.

Practice is the only course to take I'm afraid.

It's not all about primes though, and my general purpose lens to 'fill in the gaps' was the 'L' Series 24-105

I shot this rather 'Drew' ish shot with it.

I wanted to create something special and different that was 'me'

'Signature' is all in this world of 'Sameness'

There was this great view from Belvoir castle which dominates the valley beneath, and it came into my head to put the bride and groom at the centre of their own 'Painting'

Being part of but not totally dominating the scene, something which you could hang on your wall without being too cheesy....

Followers of this blog will know I gain much inspiration from the great painters

I lit the couple with a pair of Elinchrom Rangers, triggered with PocketWizard TT5 transmitter and ST4 receivers on the packs (no cables, and good range make them a very good choice)

I modified the light camera left with a Chimera Medium soft box and other on camera right just had a kill spill.

I mounted the set up on a pair of Manfrotto 'Stacker' master stands, which extend to over 3.5 metres. But thanks to their clever stacking design clip together and take up the least amount of space in your bag possible, with their very 'flat' profile.

A long but really lovely day.

I want to talk about the edit which I did in half a day.

Yes, 1500 shots edited and processed in half a day.

Am I a genius?

Certainly not, but with Capture One 6 and its fast and flexible local adjustments it enabled me never to go into Photoshop - at all.

This and a now sparkling sensor cleaned by Canon at Elstree.

Time IS money.

The less time I spend on the post production the more time I have to do other things.

So not having shot a wedding for 30 years, guess what I'm doing tomorrow?

Shooting another.