Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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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The next gig on my calendar was a band which I had no knowledge about yet they completely blew me away.

Mostly Autumn are a relatively local band, hailing from the York area and have a somewhat large following. This is testament to their quality as they remain, by choice unsigned and do everything themselves. If you want to see a band that genuinely do it on their own, have a huge following and several albums out then Mostly Autumn are one of those rare bands out there.

The band is several strong and full of multi instrumentalists. The sound is simply sublime and rather than me trying to describe them just pop and listen to them on the likes of Youtube etc.

The Welly stage isn’t the biggest so things were a little cramped for the band yet they nailed the whole night. With no support band, they simply played two large sets, with a short interval between and completely filled the evening with the most wonderful music. This was super prog with angelic voices to boot.

Again my review and all images can be found on the DTFM website – Here

Here are a few images from the night though –

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Next up with this months work was covering the band Riverside for pictures and a write up.

Again, this was for Down The Front Media with the gig being held at the Manchester Academy 2. This venue is around an hour away from home and so nice and easy once you get parked. I say this as it’s on the widely expanded University grounds and so parking anywhere near the building is totally pot luck. The council don’t make things easy for anyone reference parking. It appears to be the blanket, get public transport to the venue, which is of no help to people like me in my situation. Well luck was on my side and as I drove into the University area a vehicle moved off and I plonked my van in the now free space.

The staff were fine with directions and assistance getting my pass and I was soon in the main hall ready to shoot.

Support band Mechanism were on first and excellent. Part of the DTFM policy is that we also cover all support bands were possible. It’s sometimes a close thing with traffic, parking and getting in etc but they are part of the evenings entertainment and should be suitably mentioned in reviews and pictures. It’s also worthwhile that every now and again the support band end up being better than the main act of the evening.

Finally the mighty Polish Prog Band Riverside begin their set and it is truly a light and sound show of considerable proportions. Sadly it is also a smoke fest and so with just three songs to shoot them things are rather difficult. Add to this I’m supposed to be reviewing the set, things take a turn for the worst when the over zealous security people escort us from the room after the third song. They are expecting us to descend all the way down to the foyer, grab another pass, lose our equipment and bags and then come back up two floors to review. I ask what are we supposed to do with our bags and they explain there are lockers in the foyer. Well thats not happening and so the review is completed from what I saw in the first 3 songs.

Catch this fabulous prog band here – Riverside Band

Some of the Riverside Images –

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On the day and indeed the time of my father in laws death I was at work in Manchester covering a small club event at Salford Trampoline Club.

Whilst we knew Michael was gravely ill it was suggested that my son and I still covered this event, rather than letting the club down. There was no guarantee that this would be the day of Mike’s death and he had been hanging on for well over a week at this point. My son and I duly left and covered the event, receiving the news of Mike’s passing, from my wife around lunchtime.

My son and I had a little wobble and the club were great about it all. They were aware of what was going on and the fact we still turned up so when they saw us together, whilst I was on the phone to Lisa, things were stopped for a few minutes. This was a lovely gesture and fully appreciated, as were the teas & coffee’s supplied all day.

The event, for this club, was a first and ended up being a fabulous success for them and indeed us. On a business stance it proved, once more, that the grass roots eventing produced more than so called higher prestige events.

With the presentations over we were both quickly on our way home. Some days just don’t make sense and this is one of those days.

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For the last year my Father in Law had been ill with vascular dementia and other ailments, including the likes of a leaking heart valve.

On the 4th November 2018 he sadly succumbed to this devastating illness and passed away surrounded by his two daughters and one son. Ironically it was his birthday and thus has the dates 04/11/1945 – 04/11//2018 on his memorial stone. We are pretty sure he held on just to hear the birthday cards being read out, before finally going to sleep for that last time.

I first met Mike some 26 years ago when I had first started dating his daughter Lisa, who has in turn became my wife and rock. We met at a family BBQ, held by his wife at the time and just hit it off from there. A few quiet words about my intentions towards Lisa, whilst sharing a few tinnies in the garage, a warning about his wife and how volatile she could be and the family was let loose upon me.

He was soon divorced and lived the rest of his life on his own. An old sea dog, he had his routines, lived the lifestyle he wanted and wasn’t too fussed if you cared or not. He was happy in his quiet world and that suited him just fine. Disrupt him and you would feel his wrath, though he soon settled again where a cup of tea and biscuit became involved.

We saw him, as a family, when we could over the years and had some fun times. Trips to see his sister Josie in Liverpool were always fun and he would always end up asleep in the car on the way home. He never ate much so seeing him attempt the annual xmas dinner serving at ours was funny, as was taking him out for a carvery or meal where he would almost appear to be about to burst when he’d finished.

There were negatives to Mike, though to mention those would be disrespectful to a man of high principles and a distinguished maritime career. He should be remembered for the happy go lucky attitude, complete lack of colour sense when painting, a garage brimming with tools and things being fixed (some over the 26yrs I knew him), his infectious laugh and most of all being a Dad and Grandad to those that mattered most to him.

His final journey …..

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Beyond parts one and two of October 2018 were the final couple of things that topped the month off.

First up was my first job for Down The Front Media, which was to cover a local, quarterly music event called Rockzilla. I had joined DTFM the month before having been recruited by their head of Photography, who I had shot alongside at a few music events previously.

Rockzilla is a hull based music event showcasing up to four bands. The bands are all of the same rock genre for each individual event, so you can have a prog night, a doom night, a thrash night etc etc so hopefully you get it. Held at O’Rileys in Hull, promoted and organised by the very amiable Shane Outhwaite it still amazes me that certain local critics continue to complain that the Hull Music Scene is dead. Dead it is not, people just need to get out and support venues, other than the big two council carbuncles in town.

Tonight we had Weird Wolf, Phoenician, Xiii and Voodoo Blood all ready to showcase their talents to the small yet appreciative crowd.

The night is a roaring success and there have been others since, which I will pop on here as I catch up with life and jobs in 2019.

A full review of both evenings including complete galleries of images can be found via the DTFM site here – Down The Front Media

Second up was to shoot an old hero of mine from the 80’s Ross The Boss. Guitarist in the mighty Manowar rock / metal band, he is now out touring with his new band. The chance to capture him was too good an offer so off to the Corporation in Sheffield I went. Now the C3 room holds around 100 people max, has a small bar to one side and a smaller stage. Lit by just a couple of alternating lights this is no picnic for a gig photographer, indeed its almost as bad as it can get.

Anyway Ross and his band did the business and I managed a few pics that were publishable. It was interesting that another photographer gave up after just one song and trudged away complaining about lack of light. Why venues won’t, or don’t seem to want to, invest in lighting is beyond me.

A pic of each band from Rockzilla –

Voodoo Blood – Voodoo Blood

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Xiii – Xiii

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Phoenician – Phoenician

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WeirdWolf – WeirdWolf

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And one from Ross The Boss –

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