Shadows, Snakes and Studio Photography

Having a makeup artist friend when you’re a portrait photographer is pretty much a golden ticket. Not only is she talented, she’s gorgeous. So, when I had an idea for a dark, Medusa-inspired photoshoot, who else would I ask to be involved other than my gorgeous makeup artist friend, Katherine, who has three pet snakes? Although I’ll soon be creating a whole new website and blog for my photography work, I just couldn’t wait to share a few of the final photographs from this one.

I built up my ideas for the shoot over a few days and, seeing as this was my vision, she gave me free reign on her hair and makeup. Big hair, tight curls, dark eye makeup, green contouring on the face, neck and collarbones, pointed, long black nails. I knew the lighting setup I wanted, I knew the poses I wanted to capture, I knew the snakes were gunna play a huge role. I was so excited and for good reason too – it turned out to be my favourite ever photoshoots.

Although colour was a massive focus during the shoot, I fell in love with the darkness of black and white. Here’s a few of the final black and white images!

Snake Studio Photography Black and WhiteSnake Studio Photography Black and WhiteSnake Studio Photography Black and WhiteSnake Studio Photography Black and WhiteSnake Studio Photography Black and WhiteSnake Studio Photography Black and White

They say never work with animals… man, those snakes were hard work but they were worth it. I absolutely loved this session with Kat and she’s just as over the moon with the final images as I am.

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What do you think?

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My Year in Review #3/3 | Photographs

They say a picture speaks a thousand words… Throughout 2016, I took over 5,000 of them.

Despite how overwhelmingly rubbish this year was, when I look back on all of these beautiful photographs, I can’t help but feel thankful that some good came out of it. I saw some wonderful things, I made a lot of life-long memories and I grew hugely as a person. Yes, a lot of these memories were made as a way to distract myself from the big black dog but that doesn’t make those memories any less important!

So, to recognise all of the good that came from this year, I’m going to focus on those best bits in my final instalment of ‘my year in review’.

Here’s my best bits of 2016, summarised in photographs!

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Happy new year to all of my lovely followers, friends and family. 

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

Did You Know I Love Snails?

I’ve had this weird fascination with snails since I was really young. If anything, it’s kind of just getting stronger as time goes on. I love the unique patterns on their shells, their complexity, their cute little eyes and those wiggly tentacles. I even find their slime charming.

Even now, I’m still learning new things about them. Yesterday, I found out that snails have hearts. You’re probably mumbling how stupid I am for thinking that these beautiful, living creatures don’t have hearts but it’s something that never occurred to me before. I guess I didn’t ask questions about the anatomy of a snail as a child and, as my interest in them never faded, I didn’t bother questioning it as an adult.

Did You Know I Love Snails?

A cute little snail in Welton, Yorkshire

When I was younger, I kept snails as pets. I’d walk down the alley, search through the weeds and collect some in a shoe box full of greens and a little tub of water. Obviously, that wasn’t the nicest of things to do to those little snails who were just enjoying life, but I genuinely thought I was giving them a better quality of life (and I really did love them)! I gave them names, I’d stroke their shells and I’d place them on my hands for exercise – yep, that happened.

Eventually, when my brother found out I’d been keeping snails, he thought it would be funny to kill some of my little friends. That’s always stuck with me. It’s not that I resent him for it, not at all, but it’s one of those childhood memories that stayed with me. He hit them in the air with a tennis racket and cracked their shells… Children are grim. The poor things. After I screamed bloody murder at him to stop, I released those that he didn’t get his mitts on back into the alley to live the rest of their lives in peace.

I don’t keep snails anymore, of course. Can you imagine if I brought a tank home full of snails? I think Matt would die laughing. Instead, I just save them whenever I can – if I find a snail in the middle of the road, I’ll pick them up and help them cross. Last week, I saw one of the weirdest snail phenomenons. As me and Matt began our 12-mile hike into the countryside, we wandered down a quaint street to find (I’m not over-exaggerating) 7 or so alive snails crossing the road. Around them were dozens of squashed snails who, presumably, were crushed by passing cars. It was the weirdest thing.

I couldn’t just leave the rest of them to get crushed. One by one, I went on a snail rescue mission and popped them into the nearby roadside weeds. I felt like a little savoir all day.

I don’t know what it is about them but I just think they’re ace.

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-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

Crazy Squirrel Lady

No, really, I love them. In England, you don’t see red squirrels often – honestly, I’ve never seen one in real life – so you have to settle with the common grey squirrel. I’m not complaining because how damn cute are they? Those fluffy tails, tiny little front paws, the way they bound across the grass, how they hold food and nibble on it… Ah, it’s too much.

Crazy Squirrel Lady Nature PhotographyCrazy Squirrel Lady Nature Photography

I’m not quite sure where my obsession with squirrels came from. One of my earliest memories of cooing over squirrels was when I was very, very young. I was playing in the park with my giant brick of a mobile phone, probably thinking I was really grown up. The only ‘music’ it had on it was a beepy tune of the Mission Impossible theme. Every time I played the song, a squirrel would appear. I don’t know why and I’m sure it was some sort of massive coincidence, but I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I kept on repeating the tune, pausing and stopping to see what the squirrels would do. They were darting across the path and in between trees, doing dramatic head movements and wobbling their tails to the beat. Luckily, I was with a friend – if I was alone, I’m sure I’d be then forever known as the creepy, hysterical, loner squirrel girl. I’d make a pretty sweet superhero though.

Since then, I kinda stuck with the whole love for squirrels. In Disney’s ‘Up’, I would madly giggle when Dug shouts “SQUIRREL”, I own lots of squirrel jewellery and if I see something pretty in the shop that’s squirrel themed, I’ll probably buy it. I just can’t help it.

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Cute, right!? Some people consider squirrels as vermin. I’ll never ever understand those people! Don’t even get me started on my absolute love for pigeons either…

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

A Funny Little Dream

I woke myself and Matthew up in absolute hysterics this morning. Without a doubt, that is the best way to wake up. I had to share this with you today, because I can’t stop thinking about it… Honestly, I still think it’s funny.

Lovely dreams are so rare for me! I always have nightmares, so when I don’t dream about something frightening they’re properly prominent in my memory! This morning’s dream, though, was just insane. Dreams are always fun to share too!

Pigeon Dream

Hint, hint – it’s about pigeons!

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It was 7:30am and, initially, I was absolutely adamant that Matthew had woken me up to tell me this little story that sent me in an uncontrollable laughing fit. It turns out that Stephen Mulhern, our much loved British presenter, magician and Britain’s Got More Talent host, had told me this anecdote and with it being a dream… I actually became Stephen Mulhern.

After a very dramatic partial nightmare (something about cows, that’s all I remember), I met up with Stephen and he told me a little story about his trip to the park or his trip somewhere touristy… something like that. That – obviously – isn’t the part that made me laugh uncontrollably.

He said that a Chinese couple, who were both super friendly, smiley and normal looking by the way, asked him to take a photograph of them with the pigeons. Pretty normal so far, right? It turns out, they handed him a shotgun. Apparently there’s a camera or something attached to this gun that captures the moment of the poor animals demise. Brutal, sadistic and completely not something I agree with – dudes, I’m a vegetarian who’s completely opposed to hunting.

Anyway, what’s worse is that the couple of Chinese tourists wanted him to actually shoot towards them and the pigeons, in hope of killing a few of the birds whilst taking the photograph. Basically, they wanted a *lovely* photograph of them stood between a mass of pigeons flying for their lives – some of which would probably be killed by the gun! Oh my! At this point, I (also who was Stephen Mulhern at this point) was freaking out.

Stephen was too shy to say no, so he tried to shoot in the direction of the pigeons. None of them bat an eyelid. They didn’t care. They knew he’d miss. He started to go mad and full on shot two pigeons directly in the head. He missed. He tried again. He missed. His face was so full of… I can’t even properly explain the face he was making, it was hilarious… it was full of frustration, determination and embarrassment. He tried again and finally, with feathers and shrieks of shock from every angle, he killed a pigeon. The Chinese tourists were absolutely mortified in the end.

At that point, Stephen’s descent into madness woke me up. In absolute fits of laughter. I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard – apart from every hour or so since, when remembering the dream. For some reason, it tickled me so bloody hard and I can’t shake it.

It was the most random dream I’ve ever had. Pigeons are one of my favourite animals, I haven’t seen Stephen Mulhern since last Saturday and I don’t know where the Chinese tourists came from! However, I’m sure the shotgun fiasco was 100% related to my recent obsession with Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 on the Xbox One. Definitely.

Generally, my dreams consist of the same three reoccurring nightmares. That’s it! To have a weird, funny and non-scary dream was lovely but to actually wake up laughing, well… that’s just the best.

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Can you remember the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Saturday’s Super Six | Facts About Cats

If I could describe my character with only three traits, cat lady would definitely be one of them. Although I love all animals, cats are just my favourite.

I can’t walk past a cat on the street without stopping to say hi. When it rains, my little heart aches for the strays (and unloved pets) that are stuck outside. Don’t even get me started on how often my own fur babies are on my mind – constantly. I don’t easily settle anyway (I’m a giant worrier) so having two babies to look after is just intense. They are my children. I can’t love anything more than I love them.

Ivy Cat Photography

Our precious little tabby, Ivy.

If you haven’t stopped by before, I have two precious girls called Ivy and Harley. I’ve never seen cats with such personalities and sassiness. Clearly, they take after me. They’re both huge soppy divas who’d do anything for a big cuddle. I’m a very lucky cat mum!

So, because it’s my lovely blog and I adore my lovely cats, today’s Saturday’s Super Six is dedicated to them. It also gives me the chance to share some beautiful pictures of my girls. Win, win.

As always, I hope you enjoy!

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Here are my super six facts about cats:

1. The pattern of ridges on a cat’s nose is as unique as a human fingerprint.

2. Pope Innocent VIII, in the 15th century, believed cats were demonic and ordered them to be incinerated (mean!).

3. Cats can’t see directly below their noses, so it’s not completely their fault when they leave that little tiny bit of food in their bowl.

Harley Cat Photography

Our green-eyed angel, Harley

4. Isaac Newton is credited with inventing the cat flap after his cat, Spithead, repeatedly opened the door and spoiled his light experiments.

5. Cats spend between 30 and 50 percent of their lives cleaning themselves!

6. The little hairs inside cat ears are called “ear furnishings”.

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Do you know any weird and wonderful facts about cats?

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills.

What Does The Fox Say?

Okay, I’ll give you a little bit of back story first, otherwise you’re going to think I’m incredibly weird…

I was watching Glee. More specifically, S5 E7 “Puppet Master” where Blaine goes a little crazy and makes Muppet puppets before the episode comes to a close with their cover of “What Does The Fox Say?” – that super viral, weird sounding song from 2013. I used to hate it, but for some unknown reason (possibly that the Glee cast sang it, possibly that I love foxes) when I heard it recently I thought it was so good. It drove me to hysterics and I just can’t get it out of my head! A little word of warning, you shouldn’t take life too seriously if you’re going to go and listen to that song right now… I’m telling you, it’s weird.

Anyway, it made me think… what does the fox actually say?

Fox Photography

I don’t know about you, but the fox’s call was always a mystery to me. I like to think of them as beautiful cat/dog hybrids (not literally, yes, I know) with fantastic bushy tails. Does that mean they meow or purr? Do they bark? I had no idea. Cows moo, chickens cluck, fish blub… but I couldn’t imitate a fox, and to be honest, a life where you can’t imitate one of your favourite animals is a very sad life to live.

I even used to think they were silent. Ha. Oh, how very wrong I was. Turns out, this is what the fox says:

So, the song isn’t as random as I once thought and foxes aren’t as silent as I once thought. There we go – you learn something new every day!

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Did you already know what a fox sounds like?

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan