Category: General

The Phantom Celebrates another 100

The Phantom Celebrates another 100

This post is steeped in history.

It starts 100 years ago and comes together in 1943. My connection started unbeknown to me in 2010 and it all joins up in 2020.

Let me explain a little. I am talking about a WWII veteran born in 1920. He was part of a rookie crew that took delivery of a Lancaster Bomber, a quite famous ‘ton-up’ Lancaster. It flew 121 sorties. It was assigned to 100 Squadron.

Now in 2010 I took photo of the Lancaster with its Phantom nose art, and in 2013 I wrote a post about the Phantom of the Ruhr talking about that aircraft with an extract from BBMF’s website on it’s operational history and crew.

I’d taken many photos of the Lancaster, but loved this artwork and the processing of the photo. I thought the black and white really brought out its detail.

So, whizz on now to 2020 and I receive an email out the blue from a Flight Lieutenant Aicheler at RAF 100 Squadron enquiring about the photo.

It turns out that the daughter of the Rear Gunner, later Squadron Leader, Geoff Green, contacted RAF 100 Sqn, asking if they could request the use of the photo as a birthday card for her father’s 100th birthday.

I have to admit, it was a total surprise to get this email and after talking to Flt Lt Aicheler I was happy to help with the request.

The card was made with my image and the 100 Sqn badge and was given to him on his birthday by people from 100 Sqn

I received a letter from the Squadron with a copy of the card and squadron badges.

It’s nice when you can be involved in something like this, even in such a small way and the fact it involves one of my photos adding to a little bit is history is quite memorable.

You can read a little more here on the RAF website – Veteran Celebrates his own Century

Valentines Maternity Review

Valentines Maternity Review

It’s Valentines Day, Happy Valentines! and what better day to review a few past Maternity Photoshoots.

I’ve beed doing these types of shoot now for many years and they are one of my favourite types of shoots to do. Partially because I have 3 kids, and enjoyed shooting our own maternity shoot and partially because I get to combine my 2 main styles and create lovely shots with floating materials.

My maternity shoots are a combination of black and white images and colourful materials.

As its Valentines Day, let start with a classic black and white image. This one shows both Mum and Dad to be with a classic hand Heart pose.

or another classic low key colour side lit image.

I like black and white photo, I think they create some lovely images with great lighting and I love my material wraps. So here an image combining both.

Saying that, you just can’t beat colour and my wrap really adds colour! Here is one, a lovely golden orange wrap, taken on a dark background.

Just a simple draping of the wrap creates a love image.

I have lots of wraps, so you can chose your favourite colour and have a lovely floating wrap photo, or go for a classic blue or pink.

Or some with a bit of punch!

It doesn’t have to be on black either to have an impact. If you prefer something slightly soft but still impressive, it can be shot on white with a slight colour added to the background but still in a classic pink…

…or again something a little brighter!

I have so many variations on these styles to choose from to put in this post. If this is something that interests you, please visit my Maternity pages to have a browse, oh and Happy Valentines!

Lee Orchard
North Devon Maternity Photographer

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Once again, we have a new year! I hope everyone had a great break over Christmas and the Holiday season.

What plans do you all have?

For me, it is continuing where I left off last year, with more tutoring and photography, but this year I have a new camera! My old one packed up in November. So a new year and a new camera!

Hope you all have an easy and gentle start to 2020!

Sports Fitness Portraits

Sports Fitness Portraits

I recently had the opportunity to take some photos for a lady who owns a gym.

This was a great chance to create some interesting images which were more than just a standard portrait.

We shot a range of sports styles, Boxing and Weights and even threw in a football at the end for some fun.

I set up a punch bag and we got to work…

Adding a bit of movement and smoke to create a bit of atmosphere…

Then time for a rest…

a little bit of showing off the gloves and posing with them.

We shoot some photos with the weights too.

I then wanted to try a boxing ring set up where she posed for some photos that I would then add in the ropes and background in post editing.

I had some metal textures, so put those in to make them look a more more ‘fight clubish’

I did a similar thing to the football images I took and created this.

I was really pleased with how all of these turned out, especially as some where a bit of any experiment on the processing side.

Digital Backgrounds

Digital Backgrounds

Last year I created a lot of digital backgrounds (which are available to buy) that can be used to add texture to a plain background in a portrait photo.

For example, the photo below shows the portrait, taken again against a plain white background and processed in Lightroom. I have then added a digital texture overlay in Photoshop and blended into the background area. Move the slider to see the result.

As you can see, it adds a little interest to the back and make it look as if it is taken against material and a texture.

I have also been creating some smoke overlays. These really add atmosphere to the photos and can give some dramatic results.


It can even be made to look like fire.


Digital backgrounds can even be used to make photos look old and as with the next photos, like a painting on textured paper.


You can see more examples of this in my Textures Gallery below or buy them from my Etsy shop, or use the links in the blogs sidebar.

Another New Year!

Another New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone.

I’ve done a quick look back at what I’ve done and helped people with over the past year.

Although not a conclusive list, it covers a range of topics.

My main project last year was at Torview Vineyard.
I photographed life at the vineyard for a year, from pruning, to grapes growing and harvesting. As well as the wine creation progresses, bottling and finished product photos.

On the photographic editing notes, there was lots of Lightroom tuition helping people learn to edit and maintain their photos and memories. Allowing them to get the best from the photos they’ve taken , find them and more importantly safeguard them.

I helped people backup, secure and free up space on their computers.

I’ve sorted email issues, setup printers, helped with slow running macs and advised on upgrade issues.

Other tasks I’ve done for people, have ranged from creating and setting up Child Apple IDs so the parent can have child free iPads and iPhones again and help on iPads and iTunes.

I did a couple of photo restorations for someone, for use with the WWI commemorations.

The other big project for me was running a days photographic workshop on Dartmoor with a follow up half day editing session at a local retreat.

So, as you can see, it been a varied year, with a range of tutoring sessions which hopefully have enabled people to learn new things and progress with their business, or hobby.

For me, this is all in a day work, so if any of this is something the you could benefit from, please give me a call.

Tutoring & Workshops

Tutoring & Workshops

If you regularly visit my website or facebook page, you would know that I’m also a Tutor as well as Photographer.

I offer tutoring in photography and also editing or photograph management using Lightroom, Photoshop or your preferred piece of software.

My tutoring takes place at your location, and your level of ability. The sessions are 1-2 hours long and are tailored to what you want to learn.

I also run workshops on Dartmoor so you can learn more about using your camera out in a real environment. This is then followed up with an editing session to help you get the best from the photos you have taken.

Here is a photo from a recent workshop on Dartmoor.

Brentor Church

Brentor Church


Brentor Church was a ‘additional extra’ on my recent workshop. I had planned to include it, if it wasn’t too late in the day, if it wasn’t raining, and if people weren’t too tired.

As it happened, my workshop photographers were all keen to visit the church, one of them especially as he photographs churches. So, it was a good choice!

Brentor, as it’s name suggests, is a village, which has built up around a hill, in this case a Tor, Brent Tor. Brentor Church, actually sits on top of the tor!

It is approached from a nearby car park, which actually has toilets and you follow a well trodden path towards the church.

The church dates from about 1130 AD and sits at a height of 335m above sea level and approx 50m above the car park. So a little climb is required, but the views are worth it.

Towards the end of this day, the clouds were starting to catch up with us, but it made for some dramatic skies.

Unfortunately though, it did decide to rain this time, but I managed to get one fine photo before the downpour.

This is a nice short walk, but does have a bit of a climb, but you do get great views.

It’s A New Year, Learn Something New.

It’s A New Year, Learn Something New.

So, another New Year. More new years resolution, more plans to get fit or just exercise more. Maybe learn something new?

What about combining a bit of walking, with learning something new. Get out in the fresh air, and learn photography?

I’m offering a days 1-2-1 photography lesson with a bit of walking around Dartmoor.

Click Here to Contact me for full details

Belstone’s Maidens and Tors

Belstone’s Maidens and Tors

Last week I had the chance to get back to Dartmoor, so I thought I’d head back to Belstone and go in search of the stone circle called, ‘The Nine Maidens’ then get up close to one of the Tors. This was going to be about a 3 mile circular walk, nearer 4 if I included the distance from the moor to the car, but I was prepared for it.

I was too prepared as it happened, the temperature went up and wind dropped so I found myself too wrappped up. I think I’d prepared for winter, or at least very cold Dartmoor winds!

I headed onto Belstone Common via a different entrance which ended up being a long steep hill! Not what I’d expected to start the walk, but there was no turning back! Once onto Dartmoor again I followed a ‘footpath’ which gave me a great view of the Tors and where I was eventually heading for.

I found the Nine Maidens next, these stones date back to the Bronze Age. I thought they were taller, but neither-the-less, it was still impressive to see this circle that dates back so far in time. The Bronze Age started about 2500BC until 800BC!

After the stones I followed the footpath further and found a stream. Taking this shot was straight towards the sun, so a little blown out in the sky, but I left it in the photo as I liked the aircraft contrail.

Next on my list was to try and get to the top of the hill next to the Tors. This would be a first for me. The route wasn’t straight forward, a rocky climb, but these rocks are so big they made a sort of climbing path around them.

A tough climb, but worth the view from the top at Higher Tor and a great place for a bit of lunch at the half way point!

As well as a great view, you also have up here, near Higher Tor, The Logan Stone and Irishman’s Wall. I realised these wall was what I was searching from at the bottom when I first visited, but I never got that far.

So, following the Irishman’s wall all the way down was my way back to complete my circular walk. At least is was a shallower walk down than the other side.

This route gives you are great view of the opposite hills and on the footpath below, a view of Yes Tor.

This was my last photo in this trip. It had taken 2.5 hours, well I did take lots of photos! In all I came back with nearly 50 panorama and vertorama photos which will be slowly working their way on to the site.

If you have the Dartmoor 365 book, this walk cover squares B9, B10, C10

I’ve now setup a gallery just for my Dartmoor Photos

If you fancy visiting Belstone, here is the walk I took.
I parked in Belstone Car Park and walked through the town to the moor.

There is a pub, The Tors before you get to the moors and a Tearoom (only open Friday-Sunday), otherwise it is just moors and the walkers.