It certainly beats staring blankly into your Smartphone while waiting for your lunch...
A proud Blackpool businessman has joined forces with a talented resort photographer to create an eye-catching mural that’s got Bispham talking.
Steve Hoddy, who has run Bispham Kitchen in Red Bank Road for 41 years, commissioned drone pilotStephen Cheatley to create this striking aerial image of Blackpool Prom.
The finished image was then made into washable wallpaper and now takes pride of place along the entire length of the cafe’s 23ftx4ft long wall.
And it has proved a massive hit with customers after social media and good old word of mouth shared the spectacle.
Steve, 71, said: “We’ve had people come in and be blown away by Stephen’s work. They want their picture taken with it and it’s had such a positive impact. It was picked up on social media and people have gone back to the hotels and their friends and told them about it. It has definitely been good for business.”
Nostalgia-buff Steve, whose company Bispham and Cleveleys Kitchen Ltd run six restaurant cafes and one takeaway in both areas, has other images depicting Blackpool through the ages adorning the walls of the cafe.
He explained how this more modern image came about.
“I’ve always tried to create a feeling of nostalgia because I believe that is the underwritten sentiment when people come to the seaside,” he said.
“They remember buckets and spades and the seaside takes you back in time.
“I had impressionist prints around the walls and people admired them. But I thought can we create nostalgia in a different way? We have clusters of pictures which is like the Comedy Carpet which we call the Bispham Comedy Wall featuring Morecambe and Wise and Bruce Forsyth, using some of their famous lines like ‘Nice to see you to see you nice’.
“But we had this 23ft wall and I commissioned Stephen to take a panoramic image of the revamped Prom. It took a few goes to get right but it looks fabulous. It was printed on washable wallpaper and it has created a real wow factor. It has become a real focal point.”
He is now planning on repeating the technique in his other venues, which include Cafe Royal in Red Bank Road and the Bakehouse and Cafe Marina in Cleveleys.
“Stephen deserves a lot of credit,” says Steve. “He’s done a really great job.”
Stephen, who is licenced by the Civil Aviation Authority to fly the drone, said: “I was thrilled to be asked by Steve to supply a panoramic image for the wall in the Bispham Kitchen restaurant because I know how popular the establishment is, and that it would potentially be seen by thousands of visitors. The 23x4ft aspect ratio did prove a bit of a challenge though and we were originally thinking of a shot from ground level, mainly to capture the new sea wall and other more recent features. I then had the idea to capture the panorama via a drone because it would allow much more of the town to be visible, including the surrounding area.
“I was so pleased the image came out as amazing as it looked on my computer screen because we couldn’t quite be sure if the detail would hold on the print. It was a real thrill to see it on the wall in all its splendour.”
So...how did he do it?
Stephen added: “The image is a 19 frame, full 180 degree panorama which was stitched using Photoshop. I captured the image on an evening when the sun dropped low enough to give a nice golden light. I used a fixed exposure for all the shots and made sure the horizon was dead level throughout. Due to the sheer size of the mural I was a bit concerned at how it would look, seeing as I’d never had anything like this printed before, so I had to use my best equipment.
“The drone I used was a DJI Inspire 2, which has an independent camera system fitted with a very high quality camera. The camera has a fairly average resolution of 20 megapixels, but uses a much larger imaging sensor than most drones, which can be beneficial for printing large format.”