29 January 2012

B-Fit Expo 2012

Yesterday I spent the day at London's Excel Exhibition Centre for the first of hopefully many B-Fit Expo's.

Inside there were demonstration areas set aside for all sorts of things, from gymnastics, trampolines to a zumba stage and much more.  Add to that several theatre style presentation rooms, a demonstration kitchen  and more.  Clearly lots of time, effort and money had been spent on making B-Fit look the part.  Things did seem to be rather quiet, not nearly as many people walking around as I'd have expected.  Although this made things easier for me, the stands and expo hosts would obviously have preferred more people.

Still, it's only year one for B-Fit and as the expo hosts have proven through Bodypower (which they also run), they have what it takes to make expo's bigger and bigger each year.

I also counted at least 4 "Gladiators" (3 new, 1 old) in the house!

For me, the Excel Centre is a bit of a pain to get to, and everything is all rather expensive.  The main Excel car park only caters to cars under 190cms in height, and has a ban on "Transit size vans", so that was me screwed straight away.  I managed to squeeze into the Novotel car park, and later that day they managed to squeeze £24 parking costs out of me. 


I also object to paying £2 for a small cup of over-brewed tea...  and one of the stand holders told me that Excel wanted £200 for a single plug socket for the weekend.  Needless to say they made do without.

But enough of my moaning, the day was good, I got to speak to a couple of magazine owners who are hopefully interested in using my work in the near future, and I even got a slice of cake and a hug from quite a few pretty girls.

Oh and a big thank you to the owner of the bottle of water I drank while slowly (but quite loudly) choking on a piece of chicken!

22 January 2012

Photographing Fire...

...  on a bitterly cold January evening in the depths of Dorset.

Fire is not the easiest of subjects to photograph well, add in a bitterly cold gale force wind (that would eventually beat us into an early submission) and it was that little bit harder.

This was the first of hopefully several "just for fun" fire shoots this year with a fire performer friend, Thomas Johansson, and fellow photographers Spencer & Karl.

I've photographed fire performers quite a few times, but always as part of a show, and never as part of a controlled shoot.  Here we had some control over what the "crazy German" Thomas would do.  Also to make our lives that little bit harder we had a couple of flash units stuck on tripods either side of Thomas.

With three of us shooting at the same time fancy remote flash triggers sadly weren't an option, so we used the best accessory that money can't buy, namely Spencer, running from his camera to press the button on the master flash unit manually. 

With our cameras set on 10 second self timer mode, we'd do a 3-2-1 countdown and press the shutter buttons, with that Spencer would run across the pitch black field, wait for the cameras to "click" into action, and then trigger the master flash (which would in turn trigger the slave flash unit).

From the moment the shutters opened Thomas then had anything from half to 3 seconds to do his fire stuff, during which time the flash was fired and in theory would freeze Thomas.  Confused much?  Just look at the photos and it should make more sense.

Okay so it's not the best technique, with probably over a 50% failure rate due to timing it wrongly.  However if we just played the numbers game and kept going until we got a few keepers.

I even got in on the action myself, with one of my favourites posted below...

Oh, no photoshop has been used in any of these photos.

09 January 2012

New Forest Photo Experience Days

It was a slightly chilly Sunday morning in January when 10 photography enthusiasts with an eye for a bargain (all of them booked through my Groupon & Living Social offers) all met up in Lyndhurst for the first of my Photo Experience Days of the year.

We met at the Lyndhurst Park Hotel and then walked over the road and up the hill to the Lyndhurst Cemetery and Chapel where the the photography started.  We walked around there and the surrounding area for the best part of 2 hours.  As we made our way back to the hotel via Boltons Bench the grey skies cleared and we were bathed in sunshine.

After lunch the second part of the day was walking up Lyndhurst High Street.  I've driven down it dozens of times, but never have I properly explored on foot.

First stop was Meridien Modena, the Ferrari / Maserati dealership who kindly & somewhat surprisingly didn't mind letting us inside to take photos of their cars.  Cheers for that Meridien!  :-)

After narrowly avoiding being murdered by some old school bikers, it was time to see how many of us could fit inside the rather small "The Lyndhurst Sweet Shop" at the same time.  The answer was most of us!  We continued walking up to "St Michaels and All Angels Church" at the end of the High Street.  Leaving the church well and truly 'papped' and learning that "Alice in Wonderland" is buried there, we made our way back to the hotel and the end of our day.

I really enjoyed the day, and I hope everyone did as well.