30 October 2016

The wrong kind of nut

Upon arriving on Brownsea Island today with my Photo Experience Days group we headed straight to the area that had proved so successful last weekend.

Another photographer had beaten us there by a few seconds, and as I was laying out my nuts on the log (peanuts!!) he kind of politely asked me not to, saying something about them over exposing in the photo and not looking "natural" enough.  At that point he got a different kind of nut out of his pocket and laid them out.

Although I didn't entirely (at all) agree with him, I respected the fact that he was there first, so let him have his way and instead photograph in a slightly different place.

Fast forward a few minutes and we hear him talking to a woman who had tried to help him by putting down a few nuts.  Unlike with me where he was polite, this was a full blown argument, that could be heard some distance away.  I even went over to the woman after she'd retreated promising her that most photographers weren't anywhere near that grumpy (yes I can see the irony in that statement).

Fast forward a bit more time, and said grumpier photographer got a talking to by one of the National Trust staff.  We were sure if he was being told off for throwing sticks at the rather annoying peacocks, or if the woman had complained about him (she'd have been well within her rights if she had).

Either way, he slopped off after the talking to, never to be seen again.

We smiled.

30 August 2016

Rewind Festival in Henley - Day 2

Day two started well with warm sunshine which made for a much nicer atmosphere than the rain scattered Saturday.

On stage through the day were

The Beat
Earth Wind & Fire Experience
British Electric Foundation Featuring Jaki Graham, Mari Wilson, Peter Hooton, Claudia Brucken, The Lotus Eaters, and Glenn Gregory from Heaven 17.
Living In A Box
Annabella of Bow Wow Wow
Roland Gift
Heather Small
Marc Almond
Adam Ant

With a change of scheduled timings I missed all but the last 5 seconds of the final song from The Beat because of a little walkabout around the festival grounds.

Two highlights of the day for me, the big one on stage was Adam Ant, who I think I summed up nicely in a Twitter post by saying "Utterly bonkers, Utterly brilliant".  I'd read some comments online a few days before where people were saying how disappointed they were in his performance at one of the other Rewind festivals.  I took them with a pinch of salt because I read similar things about The B52's and Tom Bailey when they played Rewind - both of whom were exceptional.

Adam didn't disappoint, and he bounced around the stage like a 20 something.  Sadly I wasn't able to see the end of his set as I was knackered and wanted to escape the car park before the 2 hour queues that would come after he finished.

The second highlight of the day, was Mike Read going out in the rain to buy myself and another photographer tea.   What can I say, I'm easy to please when I have a cup of tea in my hand.

Oh the rain, yes it came back again, quite heavily for around an hour during the BEF set - at one point there were only 2 other photographers out there with me braving the elements.

The photos...   Only one missing is Living In A Box because I was drying out in the press tent drinking tea bought for me by Mr Read!

28 August 2016

Rewind Festival in Henley - Day 1

This was the third year in a row I've been lucky enough to photograph Rewind Festival in Henley, and its become one of my favourite weekends of the year.

Photographing 12 bands a day over 10 hours for two days is physically quite tough, but oh so much fun!  More so because you know the lyrics to most of the songs, and you can just walk around badly lip syncing to them.

It's awesome!

On the Saturday we had Tony Hadley and the Southbank Sinfonia Orchestra, The Real Thing, Lloyd Cole & the Leopards, The Trevor Horn Band, Toyah, Hazell Dean, Snap!, Jennie 'Belle Star' Matthias, Leo Sayer, Jimmy Somerville, Rick Astley & Erasure's Andy Bell.

I was sitting in the van in the car park while Tony Hadley was doing his soundcheck (before the festival opened), running though several whole songs.  Even from half a mile away, he sounded on top voice.

Overall Leo Sayer was the highlight of the day, not only was he brilliant on stage, he was also very personable in the press tent, expressing an interest in the photos the photographers had taken of him, posing for selfies, and thanking everyone as he left.  Top guy!

The best group performance was from The Trevor Horn band, who for me were in a different league to everyone else.

Again I was the only photographer (out of around 15 others) there not using a "proper" DSLR camera, but this year quite a few of my colleagues were expressing an interest in my kit.  I was using an Olympus OM-D EM1 with 40-150mm f2.8 and EM5 Mark II with 12-40mm f2.8.  If Olympus can sort their marketing out and find a way to get their cameras into the hands of other working professionals, there will surely be less and less big bulky DSLRs being seen in the wild.

Without sounding too much like an Olympus advert (I'm not paid or working with him!), holding a few of the hefty DSLR's for just a few seconds, I'm glad to be working with a much lighter, and mostly just as capable micro four thirds system.

Anyway, the photos...  Just one photo of each act.

03 August 2016

Afro Celt System at Folk By The Oak

Folk By The Oak was the second time in a little over a week I had the privilege of photographing Afro Celt Sound System.

Folk had a very laid back feeling, perhaps a little too chilled out, even for me.

I had my normal backstage, frontstage access, and again I tried to make the most of it.  Moving around, capturing their set from all angles.

The stage lighting was all but non-existent at the front of the stage, which meant that whenever the band ventured into the front few feet of the stage, they plunged into darkness.  This made the photography much more of a challenge.

I'd been told about the fireworks at the end of the set.  I arrived with my tripod, and made sure to talk to the firework guy beforehand to get as much information as possible.   I also scouted out the location I'd shoot from.

The band are doing a tour of the UK in the autumn, and if they are playing anywhere near you, do try and get to see them.  They really are a most excellent bunch of musicians (and people).

Afro Celt Sound System at Larmer Tree

Although it was my second time photographing Afro Celt Sound System, it was my first time shooting a festival gig as a guest of a band, which was really quite a privileged position to be in.

It was my first time at Larmer Tree Festival, a delightful little festival with a wonderful feel good atmosphere.

Although the band had some technical problems during their set, which thankfully wasn't noticeable from the audience, they still put in a great show.
Thank you to Simon, Johnny & N'Faly and the rest of the band for making me feel so very welcome.