Archive for January, 2020

Thankfully the last big booked event of the year was the following weekend. I obviously had no idea what was about to happen on a personal level, which I will cover in a separate post, so any additional bookings would have been a nightmare at the time. The event was the annual North West Championships, held over the entire weekend, some 600 competitors and one of our more lucrative bookings. To make things more fun this was the 50th anniversary of the event.

As with previous years the work was hard, the shutter counts into the tens of thousands, though the desk was kept busy from the end of flight one on the Saturday.

This event is one that almost celebrates the inclusion of all levels of competitor. From the basic level entrants, at all ages, to the elite competitors who we see at national events and finals the competition is intense whilst fun.

As always the downside to this type of huge event is editing and uploading the images afterwards. 10,000 images will take roughly 3-4 days of solid editing from 8am to 7pm to process and upload to the website. Things vary with upload speeds and indeed batch processing speeds. This brings on some mamoth headaches and can send your vision a bit funny at times. I have started to now take deliberate beaks where I leave the house for a good hour and visit a coffee shop. I don’t take my phone and simply enjoy an hour of relaxing away from all things digital.

With the images uploaded the emails arrive from parents wanting montages or other products which then takes up the final days and any remaining time of the week processing those. Before you know it you can be packing and driving to another event and not actually done anything other than stare at screens all week. Not great.

The event was a success, mostly due to the organisation and inclusion of so many clubs who have excellent experience of competing at this level. To keep things running smoothly, especially with hundreds of competitors, takes some doing. I have seen many similar events descend into chaos and its not fun for anyone.

The galleries for the day can be found within our main galleries – Click

Some of the winners.

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December started on a positive note and with my biggest shoot to date. I was off to the Manchester Arena with passes to shoot and review a favourite band of mine, Nightwish.

Regardless of band changes the group have continued to appeal with their excellent fusion of rock and opera style lyrics. I have to fully admit to being a little giddy at the thought of shooting them live. Once through the thorough bag & ID checks I found myself  waiting to be allowed into the pit.

The first three songs were a no go for the togs, owing to the amount of pyro being used. Safety is paramount and I asked why we could not have been offered the opportunity to shoot from the sound desk to capture the spectacle. The blanket blame of security was used and I was in no mood to rub anyone up the wrong way so patiently waited. One tog however took things further and argued the “Security” point which, as I expected, simply ended up with him leaving the venue with immediate effect and driving home ……… allegedly to Scotland. Not sure of the publication he was there for but you have to respect those that work there and the information and rules they are asked to work too.

Regardless of how silly and ineffective some rules can be at times, I am old enough and worldly enough to know when to keep quiet. Keep quiet I did.

Our three song limit in the pit was more than adequate and the band also helped those of us there with some nice posing. Nightwish are no three minute song producers and thus composition and settings are better quality, thus benefitting publications and the band alike. Pictures aside, the sound of 12,000 people behind you cheering at the end of each song is a real spine tingler. Just as you focus on your chosen band member hoping for an end of song pose this wall of sound simply ploughs its way through your body.

All too soon I am back at the side of the pit and packing up my gear. I’m happy with the opportunities given and a quick check of images tells me there are some nice images. At this point the real downer hit home. I had a pass to review the concert too and thus asked for access to the seating point allocated for me. I was told that I had to take my gear out first and thus I politely asked where I could securely leave this roughly £12k of gear. “It has to go back to your vehicle and then we let you back in to the venue” was the reply. There were only five of us there and we all gave the same look, the same answer and were all soon on our way home.

Many venues will give you an allocated room or area to store gear for this additional reviewing task. At smaller venues some allow you to continue shooting, whilst you are taking notes etc of the gig. I fully understand the MEN Arena’s plight here, owing to the previous horrendous event that happened there, though having been through a two stage security check this is where a blanket policy fails. This is where being the bands own photographer, should they have one, is a huge advantage and something to aspire to on this scale.

As always my review and publicised images can be found at Down The Front Media and a full set of images can be found on my website at Cecil Paul Studio’s.

A few of my favourites –

 

As always the bread and butter work continued. Two weekends saw us cover both the North West BSGA and Yorkshire BSGA Trampoline qualifying events, with a third covering a local gymnastics Competition in Bridlington.

The British Schools Gymnastics Organisation (BSGA) hold regional qualifiers before zonal semi’s and ultimately the main GB finals. Regionals tend to be in the same venues with zonals and the finals being rotated, year on year, to keep things fair and equitable on the travelling front.

We again have the Northern Zonal to cover followed by the main finals. Quick reviews of these events will be posted here as always.

The link to all the photo galleries is here.

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More gig photography that week though almost back local, well Sheffield, at the Corporation for German band The New Roses. In the medium room, at this three room venue, the band are showcasing the One More For The Road album.

The album is solid and so is tonights set. A packed room of punters soak up the music and atmosphere alike. This is a band making waves within the current scene and they appear to have the ability to go far. As always Lady Luck will need to play her part for global domination.

As always my review of the evening, along with a full set of images can be seen on the Down The Front Media. The entire set of images, including the support band, The Brink, can be found here at my website Cecil Paul Studios.

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The live music coverage requests continued to roll in for November and again I found myself in Manchester with cameras in hand. This time at the popular Rebellion Bar I was covering the well known American band Nashville Pussy. This was loud, raucous and completely over the top and delivered with a superb passion to such a small venue.

You sometimes see bands simply touring for the sake of touring yet these guys where on fire for the whole evening. Add to this mix a healthy, on stage, diet of Jack Daniels and what could possibly go wrong.

As always my review and selection of images can be found at Down The Front Media. For all things Nashville Pussy related give this a click here – NP

As always a few from the set –

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