Thursday, 28 February 2013

Finding the Right Brand Image

A brand logo is a difficult thing to get right and it has been a long journey to get to the point where I have now found something I am happy with. And this is the result of the hard work by John Rourke Creative.


The journey started three years ago when I needed a separate brand identity for MacLean Photographic from my PR business MacLean Communications but it also had to reflect the fact that the photography side of my business was an extension of, and not separate to, the PR business - as a professional photographer it was an extra service I could offer my clients.

In 1996, when I set up MacLean Photographic and Sporting Images, the first logo I adopted was a MacLean tartan background with a big 'M' in a old fashioned font.  I don't have an electronic copy of that logo in my files but it was too complicated and too fussy, but at the time I didn't know any better.


Fast forward to 2009 and the new logo was a take on the existing MacLean Communications logo, using the same font but with the colours changed to a more photographic feel (ie black and white). The addition of a silhouette of a White Tailed Sea Eagle I took on the Isle of Mull added a theme that was personal to me (ie wildlife photography).


I was happy with this logo until the start of this year but I was beginning to feel that I wanted something a little more 'snappy'.  I started to play around with some ideas and eventually settled on an oval theme with a new font to give more of a vintage feel that would reflect the old fashioned values that the service I offers reflects.  I included the date '1996' to underline the fact I have been in the business for 17 years.

I lived with this logo for a few days before making it live. The reviews I received were mixed, with many feeling it was a little too old fashioned for the style of photography I was producing.  This resulted in a major rethink and a call to John Rourke Creative to discuss the possibility of designing something for me.


The discussions went along the lines of 'keep it simple' and 'it has to be personal, there has to be a reason for  the logo'.  As MacLean is my Scottish family name and I'm proud of my heritage, it had to be something that reflected this.  I remembered visiting the MacLean Cross on Iona and seeing the celtic knots carved into the worn stonework and I decided this was the symbol I was looking for.  John recommended a simple font (the fonts I had been experimenting with were a bit 'left field') and we settled on Gill Sans.

A late night pushing ideas backwards and forwards and I had a new logo that is just stunning and something I will be proud to show to clients and the rest of the world.

For more information on John Rourke Creative and the service they offer visit their FB page here or email John at info@johnrourke.co.uk 


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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND JOHN ROURKE CREATIVE AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Piece of Family History

I do get asked quite a lot why, when my name is Jeff Carter, is my company called MacLean Communications / MacLean Photographic? I have to explain that my full name is Jeffrey Stuart MacLean Carter and the name comes from my Great Grandmother, Jane, whose maiden name was MacLean and she married my Great Grandfather, Samuel Carter, who came from from Gatehouse of Fleet in Dumfries and Galloway.  


My Great Grandmother grew up in Greenock which is a little further along the Clyde river from Glasgow.  Her Father ran a coach firm that ran a service from Largs and Inverkip to Greenock and they also did coach tours around the region.

This is the a postcard I was given by my Grandfather which shows his Grandfather (my Great, Great Grandfather) Thomas MacLean with his horse and coach.  He is the gentleman wearing the bowler hat.  Apparently my Great, Great Grandmother, Marion (her maiden name was McNeil), is also in the picture sitting behind the horses and I always assumed she is the lady holding the reins.

The caption on the postcard says 'McLean's Inverkip Coach at Holmeston' and 'Also Circular Tour round the Gryfe & Loch Thom.'  I don't have a date for this picture but again we estimated it to be the late 1880s or 1890s.  Thomas Maclean died in December 1906.

I keep this postcard in my office on display to remind me of my MacLean heritage and I am proud to have that name for my company.


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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Peak District Sheep Farm


This was taken in the Derbyshire Peak District near to the village of Priestcliffe just off the A6 near Buxton.  We'd stopped to take some shots of Lichen on a wall when I saw this scene on the other side of the road just as the clouds started to break.  

Sheep are curious animals and when I stood behind a dry stone wall to get the shot the sheep just stood there staring at me while I got the shot.  After a couple of minutes it went back to eating grass but not before the sunlight had lit the scene.

Nikon D800 - Nikon 17-35 f2.8 AF-S - Lee 0.9 ND Soft Grad filter
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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

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Monday, 25 February 2013

MacLean Photographic Website Updates



The MacLean Photographic website has been given an early spring clean with a new carousel of images on the front page, links to the new MacLean Photographic 500px web pages and updates to the gallery section, including a new 'Travel' gallery.

The gallery section now reflects the four main areas that MP is known for - Landscapes, Wildlife, Travel and Automobile - and these will be updated on a regular basis throughout 2013 and beyond.  The final change is a fresh new font style - comic sans - which has given each page layout a fresh look.

If you have any comments, good or bad, please let us know.

Visit us at www.macleanphotographic.co.uk







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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

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Sunday, 24 February 2013

Statue at Pont de Neuilly, Paris



Paris has many beautiful statues all over the city and I saw this one on my way to a meeting near the Pont de Neuilly Metro station. 

This is a lifesize bronze statue of Sisyphus, the Greek king condemned by the gods  to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever as a punishment for his many crimes against the gods,  including stealing their secrets.

The statue is situated so that it look like Sisyphus is rolling the bolder up the incline towards La Defense, an inspired choice that makes the statue a comment on the never-ending nature of modern industry. Look hard and it's easy to imagine him slipping as he nears the goal, and the ball rolling all the way back to the Arc de Triomphe, which can be seen in the distance.

The image was taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 with the standard 23mm f2 lens.
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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

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MORE IMAGES CAN BE VIEWED ON FLICKR AND ON OUR WEBSITE




Saturday, 23 February 2013

Picture of the Week: Winter Sun Over the Peak District

The beauty of shooting landscapes in the winter is the fact that the sun never gets very high from the horizon, allowing you to shoot longer than you could in the summer months.

When we visited the Peak District last week we were given a fantastic light show by Mother Nature (see this BLOG POST) as the wind pushed the clouds across the landscape at an incredible rate of speed.  

When we arrived at Curbar Edge the scene was very different, with bright sunshine over the Peak District.  I took this shot from the top looking towards the West using a Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 AF-S lens at 17mm, fitted with a Lee 0.6 and a 0.9 soft ND grad filters, to balance the exposure between the sky and the land, and all sitting on my trusty Slik tripod.


Within 20 minutes of this shot being taken, the next weather front had closed in producing the dramatic pictures seen in the previous blog post.


Image taken on a Nikon D800 with 17-35mm f2.8 AF-S Micro lens
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Friday, 22 February 2013

Icicles


While out and about in the Peak District we came across this rock face covered in icicles where the water flowing off the hill had frozen.  With the temperatures rising the ice had started to melt and the rock face was covered in water drops, some running down the icicles before dropping to the ground.  

We set about capturing the scene before the temperature melted the ice, being careful note to get the cameras too wet from the falling water, which was like rain under the rock but also being careful to be hit by icicles that were falling off as the ice melted.

This shot was caught at the perfect time as the water drop formed on the tip of the icicle before falling to the ground.  I used a Nikon SB600 flash gun on wireless remote to light the back of the ice. 









All images taken on a Nikon D800 with 60mm f2.8 AF-D Micro lens
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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Durham Cathedral

On our way back to Grantham from Berwick upon Tweed we decided to stop in Durham to walk around the Cathedral.  We hadn't visited the city since 1998 when we had a short break to take in the beautiful architecture.  


The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Durham. The Bishopric dates from 995, with the present cathedral being founded in AD 1093. The cathedral is regarded as one of the finest examples of Norman architecture and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with nearby Durham Castle, which faces it across Palace Green.

Here are some of the images from our short stay in Durham





The entrance to Durham Castle



For more information on Durham Cathedral CLICK HERE


All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 with 23mm f2 Fujinon lens and WCL-X100 wide angle converter
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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Kelso Abbey


On our trip back from North Berwick in Scotland to Berwick upon Tweed in England we decided to detour out to Kelso to see the ruins of the famous abbey that became victim of the border wars between England and Scotland.

History of Kelso Abbey

Kelso Abbey is what remains of a Scottish abbey founded in the 12th century by a community of Tironensian monks first brought to Scotland in the reign of Alexander I. It occupies ground overlooking the confluence of the Tweed and Teviot waters, the site of what was once the Royal Burgh of Roxburgh and the intended southern centre for the developing Scottish kingdom at that time. Kelso thus became the seat of a pre-eminently powerful abbacy in the heart of the Scottish Borders.

In the 14th century, Roxburgh became a focus for periodic attack and occupation by English forces and Kelso's monastic community survived a number of fluctuations in control over the area, restoring the abbey infrastructure after episodes of destruction and ultimately retaining Scottish identity. From 1460 onwards, life for the abbey probably grew more settled, but came once again under attack in the early sixteenth century. By the mid-century, through a turbulent combination of events, the abbey effectively ceased to function and the building fell into ruin.

CLICK HERE for more on the history of Kelso Abbey



Inscription on one of the grave stones


The information board at the gate to the abbey - Click to read

Kelso lies next to the River Tweed


All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 with 23mm f2 Fujinon lens and WCL-X100 wide angle converter
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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A Day in North Berwick

On our trip to the borders we spent a few hours in the Scottish town of North Berwick, which is located 25 miles east of Edinburgh.  

According to the official website North Berwick is one of Scotland's best coastal resorts with beautiful golden beaches and a vibrant town centre offering boutiques and art galleries, complemented by delicious local produce and the finest wines and spirits.


The town is home of the award winning Scottish Seabird Centre and National Museum of Flight, and lie between the impressive ruins of both Tantallon and Dirleton Castles.   Further afield there is John Muir's Birthplace, Musselburgh Racecourse, The Saltire Centre, Myreton Motor Museum, Raceland and Glenkinchie Distillery – ensuring there is an activity for everyone, come rain or shine.  
















All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 with 23mm f2 Fujinon lens and WCL-X100 wide angle converter
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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

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Monday, 18 February 2013

Low Newton by the Sea, Northumberland




One of the places we visited on our two day whistle stop tour of the Scottish Borders was to Low Newton in Northumberland.  A beautiful sunny, if cold, February day saw us walking for miles across the golden sands and we weren't the only visitors as dog walkers, joggers, cyclists and families joined us.  However with miles and miles of golden sandy beach it didn't feel crowded.

Low Newton by the Sea

Situated at the end of a small road not far off the A1 Great North road, Low Newton by the Sea is one of the most picturesque villages on The Northumberland Coast. The small 18th century fishing village attracts visitors all year round with its beautiful sandy beach with views across the bay to Dunstanburgh Castle.

Owned by The National Trust, the village consists of an open-ended square of cream-washed cottages set around a green and looking out to sea across the beach of Newton Haven. The hub of the village is The Ship Inn (originally known as the Smack Inn).

The village is owned by the National Trust and parking is very limited down by the entrance to the beach, but a large car park at the top of the hill means visitors can enjoy the views and the beach without clogging up the village with cars.

For more information on Low Newton by the Sea and the Northumberland Coast CLICK HERE







All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 with 23mm f2 Fujinon lens and WCL-X100 wide angle converter

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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'

MORE IMAGES CAN BE VIEWED ON FLICKR AND ON OUR WEBSITE