Burlesque Big Sister/Brother project - Part 4 : ZeeZee Stardust

I was encouraged to join a group on Facebook, the Burlesque Big Sister/ Brother project, where I could give something back to the community that I have been a part of for a good number of years now. This year I offered a photo shoot per month, winners are selected and I contact them for a date to shoot. 

It’s always nice to get a tip for a nice place to shoot, ZeeZee Stardust had this tip for me, Holland Park! I had never been there before so I immediately jumped on Google Maps to check it out. Lots of leafy lanes and gardens to choose from.

We had arranged to meet outside Holland Park tube station which is a short walk from the park. On the way we discussed shows and previous shoots and performances and very soon found ourselves at the park entrance. Almost at once we found our first location. A set of stairs between a set of palm trees.

Best practice though, is to walk around the park noting locations as we went. I was looking for the leafy lanes as I had bought my Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 lens with me and wanted to try getting a shallow depth of field shot with it. We walked past a scattering of people, more than you would find in Wimbledon Common but with less dogs and found our first garden area. Some people had come here to read, others to sleep and one or two to stare into space… the space was staring back..

No this is not a cafe forecourt… honest

No this is not a cafe forecourt… honest

No cafe tables were harmed in the making of this shot..

No cafe tables were harmed in the making of this shot..

ZeeZee changed in to a fantastic dress and we started to take shots. One thing I have noticed, if you are taking photos with a smart phone… no one cares and will walk in front of you, however if you have a massive looking lens in your hand and a model in a fantastic dress then people either move around you or very patiently wait. As soon as I notice anyone waiting I immediately stop and motion for them to go ahead. It is an odd observation..

Walking back through the gardens we chanced upon a small alcove with wooden seating. This has been previously enjoyed and vacated by a member of the public so we were glad we could use it.

ZeeZee sat in the middle and arranged the dress around her and we took a number of shots here, I made a mental note to find out how to create images using the painterly effect. Think I have got it a little here,

Seats six… but I only needed one.

Seats six… but I only needed one.

Surprisingly no splinters were found after this..

Surprisingly no splinters were found after this..

On the way back to the park entrance we passed a cafe in the center of the park. Here there was a small building with a few bushes growing along the wall. I asked ZeeZee to stand with her back to the wall while I moved back for a few shots, again this is with the painterly effect.

Holding the wall up…

Holding the wall up…

Palm trees? In London?

Palm trees? In London?

We then made our way back to the park entrance to the steps with the palm trees. ZeeZee had a white fur stole with her so we used that for the shot above. This too has the painterly effect but with a more blue tone to it and less ‘bloom’.

After a few more shots on a near by bench we called time on the shoot. A good 2 hours!

I think I will be returning to Holland Park for some more shoots in the future so thanks to ZeeZee for the tip!