Otello – Astra Theatre

I must admit that I have never been to an opera. Not my cuppa but there is a first time for everything. It’s not something I would want to do every weekend but I must say I throughly enjoyed it. 

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

These images were taken at the general rehearsal where the whole cast and crew go through the motions and iron out any last minute problems. As you can see the stage was set up beautifully. The actors and singers gave a great performance, you can’t put the camera down, you know you will miss something if you do. 

To view more images you can also visit the Facebook gallery here.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Bugeja Carnival – 2013, what a journey!

What a journey it has been. When the 2012 Carnival ended I started editing footage a friend of mine (thanks Anthony) had shot during various performances by the Bugeja Carnival Company. I immediately started thinking that for 2013 we must up the ante. All the effort, sweat, blood, tears that go into creating these costumes which really are works of art must somehow be acknowledged and not kept hidden. 

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Cue September 2012. Work on the costumes had started in earnest and dance rehearsals were underway. Joe and Doris, the husband and wife team who run this Carnival company from their garage were all too willing to be a part of this documentary of sorts. So once they gave me the go-ahead, shooting started. There was no brief, I pretty much had total creative control when it came to ‘behind-the-scenes’ filming and interviews. All Doris and Joe wanted was to show the tremendous amount of work and commitment they undertake each year. How to capture this was up to me.

I had never attempted something of this scale before and with being a still photographer this was a steep learning curve, and definitely out of my comfort zone. 

Shooting the interviews was fun, one can really see how the mind of these massively talented people work. Doris and Joe are very protective on who to bring in their inner circle so I expected them to be hesitant in front of the camera. To mitigate this, I roped in Alison and Anthony and together we came up with all the questions for the interviews.  With Alison’s familiar face, I think Joe and Doris were more at ease for the interviews. 

As weeks and months passed by I got really immersed in this project. At times it wasn’t easy. To get a few clips I sometimes had to wait until the wee hours of the morning – these people sometimes keep on working until 4am! Other times I really felt like I was intruding but that was probably just me. 

While I was present for the laughs, I was also there for the arguments. Doris runs a tight ship and woe betide anyone who dares question her judgement. Well, that’s only partially true as she listens to opinions but she has final say and honestly, she rarely gets it wrong.

The couple of weeks leading to Carnival 2013 were crazy. Emotions ran high but thankfully I survived to tell the tale. Unfortunately the weather didn’t help but Anthony did manage to get enough performances shots. We did manage to spend an afternoon filming the dance at the heliport runway. This gave us the opportunity to film the dance from different angles. A huge thanks goes to Joseph Theuma from the Ministry of Gozo for helping us get the necessary permits for this. 

And so this nine month adventure has come to a close, during editing I had to condense a huge amount of material into a film of no more than 90 minutes long. Hopefully I managed to tell the tale of this merry gang who each year set out to celebrate the Gozo Carnival in style and manage to impress all who watch them. 

The clip you see below is just a short preview. Anyone who wishes to view this DVD just contact me, I will be more than happy to provide you with a copy. 

Thanks to all contributors and the talented dancers and an even bigger thanks to Doris and Joe who gave me this opportunity. Looking forward to (hopefully) seeing you again next year.

Let it snow in Ortisei

You can never have enough of Venice and I will be back for sure one day but the time had come for the second leg of our Italy trip. An early morning departure from our hotel took us to the train station where we boarded the train to Bolzano, a pretty town surrounded by lush rolling hills. 

image
These hills were the cause of some concern as we were expecting snow covered mountains ready to offer us some kick-butt skiing challenges. There wasn’t a patch of snow to be seen but fear not, we still had a bus ride to take us into Ortisei in the Dolomites. With green hills all around we departed from Bolzano and started a dizzying trip through narrow mountain roads. Amazing sights and more importantly snow covered peaks started could be seen the higher we went.
image
Grins couldn’t be hidden when we arrived at Ortisei. Postcard picture houses welcomed us, all covered in a thick layer of the white stuff. What a relief! Our hotel, La Perla Alpin & Vital, was immaculate with very friendly staff. I was up at sunrise nearly everyday checking out the amazing scenery. Sure glad I did as those were some fantastic photo opportunities. 
image
Hailing from an island where snow is an alien concept we took every opportunity to fool around and lap up every snow flake we could. The highlight of the trip was sledding down the mountain, there were some heart stopping and embarrassing moments especially when we were overtaken (more than once) by eight year old children. 
Those were a few days of relaxation and soon enough we were back in Gozo. I have plenty of other posts coming up and hopefully it will not be months between each post. 
image

image

image

image
image

Venice – The Floating City

image

Last December Clarissa and I took our first trip to Italy. After a few years not having a proper holiday we decided it was time for some rest. Being the first time I was flying with Ryanair I wasn’t prepared for the packing ordeal. I do not travel lightly and my luggage was already slightly overweight by the time I started zipping up the suitcases. Didn’t want to start the holiday with some stewardess frowning down on me so amongst other things I had to leave my laptop and the camera flash at home. The little voice in my head kept nagging me all the way about the cleverness of such a move. We were going to Venice and my intention was to capture a few (a lot of) photos, where was I going to back up all my cards? I had no option but to take the risk. Another thing I really wanted to take was my tripod for some amazing sunrise and twilight shots but I had to compromise.

image
Venice, WOW! Loved every second of it, walking down the narrow alleyways, crossing bridges, a gondola trip, amazing architecture, great food, it’s Italy…what do you expect? Sometimes you just have to stop taking photos and simply enjoy the moment. But with our friends Anthony and Alison willing to step in front of the camera I had to combine the amazing scenery with some portraiture. I love the photo of them with the gondolas and the Izola di San Giorgio in the background. 
image
We went to some really good restaurants but Vini Da Gigio takes the crown. Lost in the maze of canals, bridges and alleyways it’s located a world away from our hectic lives back home. Has a cosy and warm atmosphere I didn’t want to leave. If for nothing I will certainly go back to Venice just to enjoy a bottle of wine and taste THAT food at Da Gigio again, oh, and it must be during Carnival with all those masks and costumes. 
image

image
Also visited the islands of Murano where you can see some amazing glass works (and one very small but expensive gondola) and Burano with its colourful houses. Made the short hop to Verona where we grabbed Juliette’s breasts, being a statue I’m sure she didn’t mind and everyone was doing the same! Still, I had a feeling she was going to slap me when my turn came up. It was our first meeting and I wasn’t sure if that’s how you greet an Italian lady on a first date!
image

image

image
Well, the time came up to pack our bags but we still had the second leg of our holiday to look forward to…lazying up in the Dolomites, but that’s for another time. 
image
image

image
image

image

Gozo Carnival 2012

I have practically abandoned the blog of late. Had a much needed holiday in Italy at the end of last year, will definitely be sharing photos of the trip soon. Also working on plenty of projects so stay tuned for more.
We recently had Carnival in Gozo which until a few years ago was not something I really looked forward to. This changed when I was introduced to Bugeja Carnival Company and their amazing costumes. Every year they manage to come up with something original and they certainly didn’t disappoint this time around.
I try my best to cover other groups and this year I had more time to explore and did manage to shoot other groups. You can visit the Gozo Carnival 2012 galleryon my website to view all the photos from this year’s Carnival. However in the end I always end up going back to this amazing group. 
My compliments go out to the whole gang who dedicate long hours to perfect their art of dancing gracefully in high heels and elaborate costumes. This year they even managed to dance for thirty minutes in driving rain. I did manage to get a few shots but wasn’t really ready to test the weather sealing on my cameras, some other time maybe, or maybe not!
Thanks guys and girls, because of you I am enjoying Carnival in Gozo again. Below is just a tiny selection. The theme and costumes are a nod to Greek mythology with a twist!

image

Alison as Aphrodite the goddess of Love and Beauty.

image
Ares the god of War.
image

Ruth and Therese, a couple of Aphrodite’s companions. 

image

I think we really made this old man’s day when I took some of the girls in a nearby garden for an impromptu shoot.

image

image

image
Fabian who donned Hephaestus’ robes and certainly looked the part.  

image

image

image
Little Clara gave us great facial expressions as Pandora while running away from Hephaestus.  

image

image
Great effort from the whole group on a rainy evening. To their credit the crowd stayed to watch, can’t think of a better compliment than that. 
Until next year, well, not from me…hope to be back blogging soon!

Artigli Sliema Opening

Recently I was invited to cover the opening of a new Artigli outlet, this time in Sliema. The event was well attended, in fact the shop was overrun with shoppers. Also had to shoot a small fashion show with great models and some fantastic clothing.

Below you can see Claire (centre) who runs the Artigli shops with models Christabelle, Maria, Jennifer and Katrina whose makeup was by Inglot Malta.

image

image
image

image
image

image
image

image