30 June 2014

I don't like cricket...

I don't like cricket... say the lyrics of the 10cc song Dreadlock Holiday.  Until my evening at the Rose Bowl, sorry Ageas Bowl, I had to agree.

I'm not quite sure "I love it" though, but I certainly had an entertaining evening while watching the Hampshire vs Gloucestershire 2020 game. 

I'd never even considered cricket as a form of entertainment before this event, least of all actually making the effort to go to a game.  However when an invite came to a networking event at the Rose / Ageas Bowl, with complimentary afternoon tea and then a complimentary ticket to the 2020 game later in the evening it seemed like a no brainer.

It's cricket Jim, but not as we know it...  with loud music pumping out of the sound system whenever anyone scored a point or 6, and cheerleaders shaking their bits, it was all a bit of a win win.  Add to that a relaxed atmosphere, and the ability to walk around freely taking photos and it really was a most enjoyable evening.

28 June 2014

Emiliana Torrini in Brighton

My love affair with Iceland grew a little stronger the evening I went to see one of my favourite singers Emiliana Torrini in concert at St George's Church in Brighton.  She was good, most excellent good.  However I'll leave the review her concert to others, I want to talk about the photography.

First of all a big thank you to promoters Melting Vinyl for their hospitality on the evening and of course for giving me permission to photograph the gig.

As normal with most gigs you are given the first three songs to get your photos.  I never really thought much about the reason "why three songs?" before this concert.  I just assumed it was enough time for any half competent photographer to rattle off enough photos to get a handful of keepers.

However the more probably real reason as two people explained to me was that you get to take the photos before the artist gets hot and sweaty...  so you get them looking their best.  Makes sense.

On some of the concerts I've seen, the gig doesn't even come alive until several songs in.  The recent series of Peter Gabriel gigs are a good example of this, with the house lights staying on for the first few songs.  Thankfully Emiliana was straight into her set, so no problems there.

For the first time when shooting a concert I used the Olympus OM-D EM-1 along with a 75mm f/1.8 lens.  The more I used my Micro Four Thirds (MTF) system the more I am impressed by it.

Three songs worked out at around 12 minutes and 351 photos.  From which I selected my favourite 12 images, plus a few more candid moments.

Talking to another photographer, who had done his research into Emiliana.  He told me that she nearly always has her eyes closed while she's singing, so if you're waiting for the shot he said, it's probably not going to happen.

19 June 2014

Photographing a singer-songwriter

I've photographed Danica Hunter on two occasions, and its a picture from our first shoot that accompanied this article on Danica and her new EP in the Reading Post in June 2014.

Photoshoots aren't all about glamorous locations, with this image being taken in an old and somewhat run down industrial estate in the centre of Southampton.

I wish Danica much success with her first EP. 

Give her a listen!

16 June 2014

Sunset over Portland Bill

Portland Bill in Dorset is one of my favourite places in the UK.  I've been there many times for photoshoots, and now twice for a Seascape Photo Experience Day

The two days were both very different, with the first enjoying heavy rain for the majority of the day.  However they did have two things in common, two rather amazing sunsets.

On my first visit I concentrated on long exposure images (ie blurry water), but this time I left the tripod in the van and concentrated on the sunset instead.

09 June 2014

The Colours of Holi One in Southampton

On Saturday I got to photograph something rather new to me...  Holi One - a colour festival.   Don't know what a colour festival is?  Well, look at the pictures below to give you a better idea.  Essentially people throw flour like consistency coloured powered at each other.

This is apparently supposed to be fun, and actually it really was.  Not only that it created some fun photo opportunities.  The only trouble was how to keep this ultra fine powder away from the inner workings of my camera on what was a rather windy day in Mayflower Park.

Other photographers used plastic bags, I even saw one using clingfilm.  Some didn't bother with anything, and their cameras were covered in the colour dust.  Without a full service clean it's hard to see how they got their cameras clean.

I ended up using a rucsac dry bag, which is a kite like material, supposedly waterproof, although that wasn't important here.  I cut a small circular lens hood size hole into it, which was they attached to the lens hood using gaffer tape.  This meant that the pointy end of the camera / lens was protected.  I could just blow off any dust that got into the lens.

I used a longish lens (70-200mm equivalent) to keep myself a reasonably safe distance away from the worst of the hourly "colour throws".  Once home I was able to brush off the dust that did get on my camera with a paintbrush.  No apparent harm was done to the camera or lens.

The music, although not really my cup of tea was mostly quite good, although the annoying DJ who kept saying "What is it?" like a stuck record really got rather boring.   The Indian drummers and dancers were my favourite though.

Given the relatively small area within the park the festival occupied, not letting people out and back in again seemed like a weird decision from the organisers.  I'm sure they had a good reason for it though?

Overall, much fun.  Thanks to Helen, Laura & Georgina for their company through the day.  I'd go again!

06 June 2014

WBFF UK @ June 2014

The second WBFF show in the UK happened on Sunday 1st June 2014.

It was again at the Indigo O2 - which if you've never visited is without question the best stage I've seen for any UK fitness event.

I got to see things from both back and front stage, and it was hard to find a fault with the way the day happened.  The backstage operation was super slick.  From the military like precision timing of Sophie's make up team to the on location spray tanning booths at both registration and backstage.

The competitors, the majority competing for the first time all looked great.

Special mention to winner Susie Woffenden who I did a "little black dress" photoshoot with just a week before for winning.  I still think she needed a bigger diva outfit though! ;-)   Also to Dee Red, who was by far the happiest winner of the evening!

While I wasn't there in any official capacity, more just to network, be seen and hopefully get some photos that people liked.  Everyone I had the pleasure of talking to over the two days was positive, and hopefully plenty of new friendships were made that weekend.

Kudos to Paul, Allison, Shaun & Toby for bringing WBFF to the UK.   I'm already looking forward to the November event back at the same venue, and I'm trying really hard to get myself to Las Vegas for the Worlds in August.

Below are a fairly random collection of images from the day.  The top one though is probably my favourite, and arguably the real diva's of WBFF!   Sorry, Toby, Youssef, Nathan, Paul, Shaun and Dennis!   As always, official stage photos are only available from Toby Harrison.