Firstly a polite notice – All images are subject to copyright and no permissions are given, in any capacity for any media, for usage beyond this blog. Please contact Cecil Paul Studio’s for commercial usage rights and pricing structures.

Hand Of Dimes were next up on the bill and though I was not entirely up to speed on either the band or their music I thoroughly enjoyed their set.

The band were down one member and had brought in a rock guitar legend, from my youth, for the day. Oh yes Mr Bruce John Dickinson of Little Angels Fame was to be found setting up his infamous “Eat My Dust” Gibson guitar backstage and was kindly posing for pics too. I politely asked for one too, for which he pleasantly obliged. Many a band could learn a thing or too from the likes of Bruce.

The set was excellent and I would say that I captured my favourite image of the day and possibly to date too. Bruce just looked straight at me, smiled and I took the shot.

The Band –

Neville MacDonald, Neil Garland, Colin Edwards, Mark Maybry, David Stephenson.

Substitute guitarist for Stonedeaf – Bruce John Dickinson

Find them Here – Hand Of Dimes

Pics –

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And that favourite of the day……….

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Firstly a polite notice – All images are subject to copyright and no permissions are given, in any capacity for any media, for usage beyond this blog. Please contact Cecil Paul Studio’s for commercial usage rights and pricing structures.

So Stonedeaf was also my first main festival as a photographer. As Chrome Molly were my reason for being there and, also being a fan of the band, gave this a nice buzz for me.

Now being a band photographer has an added advantage to the other photographers at any gig as you get to shoot the entire set, whilst they only get three songs to capture their images. If you ever wonder why some artists seem to produce exclusive live photographic images its because they save particular poses or stunts purely for their in house team or chosen photographer.

Chrome Molly had no such intentions of selective imagery and gave the same 100%, as did all the bands on the day, from the first bars of the first song. I was just lucky in having that additional time to pick out images and clearly the back stage / pre set preparations. The whole thing was over in a heartbeat and we were soon backstage, with a cold one or two, discussing the set.

This isn’t a review, though I continued to capture things for them until they finally went on their way. At this point I was lucky enough to have been given an all access pass so decided to shoot a few other bands too.

Chrome Molly are –

Steve Hawkins, John Foottit, Andy Barrott, Nic Wastell & Greg Ellis.

Find them here – Chrome Molly

Pics –

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Firstly a polite notice – All images are subject to copyright and no permissions are given, in any capacity for any media, for usage beyond this blog. Please contact Cecil Paul Studio’s for commercial usage rights and pricing structures.

The all new Stonedeaf Festival.

Edit – The Stonedeaf Festival is now currently known as the Stonedead Festival. After the success of the 2019 event someone claimed copyright on the Stonedeaf name etc.

Held at Newark Showground, this one day rock festival has emerged owing to the beliefs that all too many festivals have now become just corporate monsters. I’m inclined to agree that the good old one day, one stage festival worked well and indeed allowed you to enjoy everything on offer. Whereas some current festivals can have multiple stages, with multiple bands playing at once, the whole Stonedeaf ethos was one stage with one band playing. It’s horrible being at a festival and having to choose which band to miss, when stage times clash. To then find that the small tent, housing that chosen band band, is at capacity is even more demoralising not only to your brain but your wallet.

So this new one day, one stage festival kicks off with quite a statement by showcasing a band effectively chosen by the public. Any band can put their name forward for this opening slot, with just a few minimum requirements set by the organisers. From several rounds of online voting the final few bands are then scrutinised by the organisers and a winner is chosen.

The first band onstage and winners of the public vote were Newcastle rockers Fallen Mafia. Led by. almost powerful female vocalist, they certainly had the passion, musical skills and presence to win over the fledgling crowd. Not only did they win fans, via an excellent set, they also have the accolade of being the first ever band to play at Stonedeaf.

Although there for Chrome Molly, we had driven round to the stage and I grabbed a few images of the Fallen Mafia set, whilst the lads met up with the stage manager and others involved with the stage production.

Fallen Mafia are –

Hannah Neil – Vocals
Chris Johnson – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Stephen Hope – Guitar
Jack Martin – Bass
Adas Cowan – Drums

Find them here – Fallen Mafia

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Well August was a most busy month indeed for us at CPS towers. I have therefore decided to split the posts into separate segments, which will allow me to give specific details to the biggest event which was the Stonedeaf Festival.

We also had several equestrian events, a couple of dog shows, a regional trampolining competition, another horse portrait session and a newborn baby shoot all crammed in there. This was 31 days of controlled chaos with editing of the 12,000 odd images taken, almost driving me to distraction. Headaches were becoming a regular lunchtime visitor as were stiff legs from just sitting too still for too long. On the one hand it is great being in demand and being fully booked, though on the other it becomes a real strain keeping the output going at acceptable levels. Ultimately it also affects the family as I’m just spending too much time either sat editing at the kitchen table or in the study and not enough time with them. It becomes a real wake, edit, eat, sleep repeat routine.

My over view image for this brief introduction to August is actually a random snapshot I took at one of the dog shows. This really shows that regardless of all the posed images that the impromptu ones can have just as much impact.

This dog was not in the show and its owner had only stopped to watch what was going on. From the centre of the show arena I spotted to pooch looking at me and took the shot. The owner was so delighted with the snap she bought a couple of copies.

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July 2018

Posted: October 26, 2019 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

The year is rolling along at great speed and things are starting to clog up slightly. There’s plenty going on with the equestrian work, though there seems to be a ton of smaller jobs peppered between which again cause the repetition of shoot, edit, shoot, edit and before I know it we are rolling into August.

Thankfully the weather has been good all month and so the outdoor stuff is looking good. Indeed the weather has seriously been our friend with 8 of this months 9 events all being held outside. Outdoor events are truly at the mercy of the weather so this luck is warmly welcomed. This in turn means sales are extremely healthy and as such my mood is buoyant, regardless of all the sitting inside editing whilst the sun shines.

The image I have chosen from our July events kind of says everything about the weather for the month. Everything we did outside was just hot, dry and dusty. Horses especially just kick up dust as they run around and photographing them whilst hot and sweaty simply means you come home covered in a thin veil of that dust. Indeed all of the equipment gets a fine dust coating which has to be removed once home.

Taken at the Patrinton Mill show ground one hot sunny day in July.

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June was busy with something on every weekend. Horse shows were in full flow and I continued with the Manor Grange events as always.

Added to the equestrian work were a dog show in Hornsea, A studio shoot with newborn twins, a multi horse portrait shoot which included the family, MDT at the Yardbirds and finally the Cumbrian Trampoline Championships held up in Penrith.

With this workload the weeks seem to blend into one as you are just editing, shooting, editing, shooting and in-between constantly preparing equipment such as batteries. A grand total of just over 5000 images were taken and edited through the month. It’s sometimes easier to just undertake a single huge event, take, edit and publish 10,000 images in one go. At least with this you can get a few days break between events, which are clear from editing or enquiries.

As a business, things are flying and we are in demand. Indeed so much so that being unable to cover some events, being already booked, is becoming a little too normal.

The image I have chosen for this month is actually one of my daughter. I took this before we started the horse portraits and it was primarily for camera settings only. As with many unplanned portraits this one has stuck with me as a favourite of many. A simple sit down, relax look at me and click …… done.

My Daughter.

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May was a slightly quieter month, than usual, though it also became one which would see my live concert photography coverage expand.

Things started with Chrome Molly at the Yardbirds in Grimsby. Chosen to be one of the initial bands to play at the newly created Stonedeaf Festival in Newark they embarked on a small Uk tour. Knowing how promotion works I offered to cover the Yardbirds event and subsequently splash some images about, thus creating a buzz for both the band and festival alike.

The Yardbirds is a lovely little venue that caters for all kinds of rock and always has something going on. Whilst the stage is small, compact and has limited lighting, the sound is superb and to be fair thats what counts.

I took a healthy amount of images, thus giving the band plenty to choose from and link Stonedeaf into them also. This benefits me as the photographer with image circulation, the band with exposure and the festival with additional online tags. Things worked out well with this though I will discuss on a future post.

The second main job of the month was ironically also in Grimsby. I was asked to take a specific set of images with regards to specific apparatus, which again was to be used for promotional purposes. This was done as requested, the client extremely happy with the results, though as of typing this post I have not been paid and thus the images not used. It still bemuses me why people go to such lengths and then claim poverty etc.

Anyway a couple of pics –

Chrome Molly at the Yardbirds

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And the cover image for Grimsby Gymnastics.

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After covering the superb wedding at Loch Lomond in March it was back to the regular bread and butter work. The equestrian competitions were now up and running across the region though we did have two gymnastics events to cover also.

First up was the North West Disability Championships in Wigan. This was our second year of coverage, having been booked at the close of the 2017 event. We have also been booked to cover the 2019 event too. We love them, they love us and the work is most engaging and grounding.

Disabilities come in all shapes and forms so it would take me an age to describe all of the categories we saw over the two days. I can however say that the competitors are fabulous, with no bickering or snide comments that we hear at other events. Lots of encouragement from both fellow competitors and public alike makes a wonderful gymnastics competition. With floor, beam, bars, vault, horse & trampoline disciplines we certainly have our work cut out providing a balanced coverage, though the organisers do help us with staggered starts etc.

Our second main event of the month also saw us covering gymnastics, though this time it was able bodied gymnasts and at Bridlington. A four piece competition, which we have covered for the last few years, saw some excellent routines on the floor, beam, bars and vault by a large cross section of competitors. The morning session was all of the juniors which are usually year 6 and below, with the afternoon being year 7 and above.

We are looked after at both of the mentioned locations with tea, coffee, meals & even cake.Whilst this doesn’t sway our choice to cover its always a plus point when we are driving there early on a weekend morning.

Some of the medallists from both events.

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I don’t usually mention our weddings on here though this one is certainly worth a few words.

Mid 2017 and I received an email asking if my wedding photography services were available throughout the UK, as with our event photography. Yes we cover anywhere and after some messages regarding thoughts, ideas, locations, styles and content we were booked to cover a wedding at the beautiful location of Loch Lomond.

This was to be a three day job owing to travel and the requested coverage by the bride & groom. They had Kindly paid for our hotel room, in their hotel, and the hotel had placed us not too far from them so that coverage would be simplified. How many hotels actually think like that in advance? I’ve never had it before.

The drive up was a steady 5hrs or so with stops and we got there mid afternoon, to sunshine and a brisk wind over the water. The bride & groom were upbeat, as expected, and once we had dropped our suitcases in the room, I was out and about with my camera for some pre wedding images of them both. The evening meal was beautiful and after just a couple of drinks we retired early before the big day ahead.

We woke to solid mist and a view of around 20 meters in any direction. The view of the Loch was literally non existent, though you could ear all the birds out on it. We maintained a positive outlook on the day which was rewarded around 10am when the sun suddenly started trying to make an appearance. An hour or so later we had blue skies and lovely views with just a slightly cold breeze still in attendance.

Before we knew it the preparations were over and the ceremony was underway. One thing about weddings is that those which are planned correctly run seamlessly and keep us busy 100% of the time. We are constantly capturing formal or candid images throughout the day to provide the contracted ,editorial style, overview expected.

The wedding meal is served, to which we have also been invited to, and a traditional Scottish meal is beautifully delivered and gratefully eaten by all.

A break for some in the bar, some in their rooms and others walking outside soon saw the start of the evening reception. Traditional Scottish dancing mixed with disco and classic, join in, singing saw the night fly by to a successful conclusion.

We had collectively amassed some 2000 images throughout the day and around 80gb of video too. This was all edited and ready for delivery when the Bride & Groom returned from their honeymoon two weeks later. Another set of huge smiles, the constant thank you’s and the range of emotional reactions to our product told us this was yet another successful day. We left them watching the video’s over again and the messages received later that evening reinforced their happiness with our work.

The image below is being used with the kind permission of Mr & Mrs Ketterick. It’s one of their, and indeed our, favourites of the day. The sun had just popped out from behind a cloud and did the honours of lighting them up for me. No flash required.

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For the Duck Bay Marina Hotel website click HERE

March was one of those months that just flew by, was solid with bookings and when you get to the end of the month you sit back and think, yeah we did it.

The month kicked off with us covering the UK BSGA Trampoline Finals in Belfast. We had been booked for this since our coverage of the previous 2017 event. The organiser had approached us, asked us if we were prepared to travel and after some brief discussions we were booked again.

The journey and ferry was simply a repeat of the January travelling I had done for the Steel Panther & Wayward Sons tour, though this time there was no issue with snow. I’m pleased that this event was just outside the normal poor winter weather possibility as when the van is full of gear, I wouldn’t want to be driving in snow. We set off late on the Friday and arrived at Cairnryan around 2am on the Saturday morning. Into the ferry queue and heads down for a couple of hours before waking to embark on the ferry. Once on it was find a comfy seat and fall asleep again for the two hour crossing. Arriving in Belfast at the crack of dawn, already tired, was not the best start yet the only way we could do this. A quick stop for coffee’s and breakfast still saw us arrive nice and early at the venue.

Once in we got the desk set up, the camera settings agreed and then the show started. It was absolute mayhem from start to finish, as had been the previous years finals. Several hundred school kids vying for their places on the rostrum. Parents & teachers screaming instructions at them whilst judges & helpers tried to maintain some kind of semblance and organisation to it all. To be fair the day could have been a lot worse, the PA kept failing and so communication was sporadic and at times confusing for some, yet everyone in authority just pulled together and shoved the whole machine to the finish line, just over an hour or so late.

We knew things would overrun so booking a ferry back on he same day would be almost impossible to predict and I would be seriously sleep deprived. We had therefore booked a lovely B&B just outside Belfast and, it transpired, from where we could see Stormont on the hill too. I had barely sat down and I was nodding off so an early night was had by all, to which our slumber was only disturbed by our alarm the following morning. Up, showered, breakfast and then back in the van for the ferry, the crossing & the subsequent five hour drive back to home. We arrived home mid afternoon after a no rush, plenty of coffee stop, journey.

Photography wise this was quite simple other than the open glass ceiling lights. The sun was bright and so large sun spots moved slowly accross the trampoline beds throughout the day. Altering your exposure is easy enough, though when you have just done so and the sun pops behind a cloud things can go dark. Thankfully Lisa, on our desk, was up to the job of getting these images onto our screens in a suitable state and as always did an excellent job of selling them too.

Flag bearers from the final awards ceremony.

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March also saw us cover, for the third year, the Yorkshire Gymnastics Regional Finals at Haltemprice Sports Centre. This is an absolute gem for us as its so local we can literally leave home 15 minutes before our access time. As it was our third year we knew exactly what was involved, what was expected and how we would deliver it all.

The day went smoothly and actually finished on time, which is a massive bonus for us, allowing us to have an evening meal at a most sensible time for once. Photography wise this location does not have the best of lighting and so the ISO’s are rather high. As this doesn’t bode well for cropping the pressure to capture things in an almost printable version is high. Not the easiest thing to do though once you work out what sells, where the gymnasts are doing those moves, you simply position yourself and hope things fall into place along with some good general imagery.

Its also great that they all have such a sense of fun too.

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The remainder of March was mopped up with equestrian work and another superb, one off, job which will be getting its own entry on the blog. Loch Lomond anyone?