Posts Tagged ‘action’

Firstly I need to clarify which Wayward Sons band I am writing and discussing here. The band is the Wayward Sons band formed by former Little Angels vocalist Toby Jepson and not the American band of the same name. If you would like to see what they are all officially about then head over to Wayward Sons Official Website or their Facebook page at Wayward Sons Uk Facebook. If you like the look of all that then you can always become a member of the Wayward Fans official Facebook page too. There’s certainly lot’s going on around these guys with a very positive buzz from the critics.

My connection with the band started in 2013 when Toby was gracious enough to let me shoot a couple of his tour dates, namely the O2 at Sheffield and Hull Fruit dates. This assisted me greatly with my BA(Hons), when certain teaching elements said it couldn’t be done and I am eternally grateful for Toby’s assistance. Recently he moved back from the solo work to forming a the new said band. This has produced an album, “Ghosts of yet to come”, which is to be released on 15th September 2017. The band decided on a quadrilogy of video’s, to support four singles from the album, for which they decided to use fans and acquaintances as extras. A general request was sent out to which I replied and waited. A couple of emails later and I’m booked to attend the video shoot in Leicester.

Check out the bands video’s –

“Until The end” – Watch here

“Alive” – Watch here

“Crush” –Watch here

“Ghost” Watch here

As part of my BA I had produced a photobook of images from the dates, which I wished for Toby to sign one day. The video shoot was the perfect opportunity, to get it signed, so the book came with me. At the end of the day the book was signed and I asked who would be covering the first live gig a few weeks later. Toby essentially said he hadn’t thought about that and so I jumped on the opportunity and sold myself, to which he accepted.

The 26th July 2017 was the first live date the band were to perform live together. With a four hour drive to get down to Bristol it was an early start to get there when the band did. The gig was to be held at The Louisiana in Bristol. Even with some internet searching I wasn’t able to find much information on the size of room, lighting, stage or basically anything. To say the least images of the place were rather thin in the google searches and this started to fill me with dread. I knew the room had a capacity of 120 so this was going to be small, intimate and a bugger to shoot properly.

My reservations about the room were indeed justified upon arrival. A small rectangle of a room, box stage at one end, mixing desk at the other and to my horror barely half a dozen of the new LED stage lights to illuminate things for me. These lights are a pain for the cameras. Colours yes but those precious lumens lighting the stage where just not in attendance. With dozens of them yes you can quite confidently shoot away but this was going to be hard, very hard.

The room taken on my iPhone upon arrival.

IMG_2770

Now you can see what I mean by intimate. Even the mixing desk is situated in what was a small function room bar to the rear. The daylight is from a balcony fire exit which was opened for some fresh air.

I had a couple of hours to see what suited my cameras and lenses best and it quickly became apparent this was indeed not going to be easy. Low speed, wide open and huge ISO’s just to capture the guy’s setting up were not a good start. A few hours later and we where ready to go. I left the band in the dressing room having taken a group image of them all and made my way to the room. It was almost pitch black, other than those lumen free diet LED lighting units at the stage. They didn’t even face the band as situated on the sides of the stage.

I made my way to the stage, sat on it, placed down my two 5Diii’s armed with grips and 24-70mm f/2.8 / 70-200 f/2.8 lenses respectively and felt the intense wall of heat hit me. I, as was everyone in the room, sweating when things began to roll.

A large roar of approval, and introduction from the DJ, the band step on stage and Boom we are go……..

Wide open at f2.8 the ISO’s where on the limit at 12,500 regardless of 100th sec or 250th sec shutter speeds. The bands front three just never stood still either, which just made things worse. Undeterred I simply wet for it with the 24-70mm wide and 70-200 zooms I had to hand. Being literally sat on the stage I was unable to fit the whole band into any single image. I looked back and saw a young lady shooting away with a DSLR whilst being jostled with the crowd moving. I decided that was not an option so I made the decision to go intimate. I knew there would be 100’s of phone images as upon looking back I could see them all glowing away.

Close up and intimate still gave me a challenge, though I began to like what I saw when quick reviewing the images between bursts. The set was short and before I knew it we were on the last song of the night. For this I made my way to the back of the room and shot over the crowd. Being unable to direct the crowd and band to my vantage point the camera was firmly to my face and finger on the trigger for any opportunity that arose in those last minutes. I grabbed a few and was pleased with the overall results.

Post gig the band made their way downstairs, to the bar area, and mingled with the fans. I took a small selection of fan pics with individual members of the band and then made my way home, arriving back at the ungodly hour of 4am.

So the images taken and how did they turn out? Well to be honest I was actually pleased with a good 75% of what I took. From almost individual portraits to the close up where you could see beads of sweat on their faces I had accomplished what I decided to do. I’d even taken a quick scoot through them upon getting home due to my concerns about the available light etc.

This was my view at 4:11am with a nice cold refreshing beer in hand. Amazingly being up for nearly 21hrs at this point, driving some 400+ miles and done a live shoot I was wide awake on adrenaline. Great feeling.

WS1

The image shows L-R,  Sam Wood, Toby Jepson and Nic Wastell

I have agreed that no actual images from the event will be made public without the express permission of Wayward Sons therefore this blog post is almost anorexic in imagery. One small montage which I can show is below. I compiled this for the fans page as a momento of the evening and it has the bands approval to be published.

WS2

 

The band are L-R Dave Kemp, Sam Wood, Phil Martini, Toby Jepson & Nic Wastell.

The gig itself was superb and the whole band did themselves proud. The enthusiasm, energy and belief on stage was visible to all and received enthusiastically by the crowd. The setlist was a trial run for the new stuff, which is superb, mixed with a few Angels classics thrown in.

The setlist as recovered by Mr Damian Gore –

WS3

Final image here is of Toby and myself just before I left the Louisiana. Taken by an unknown person on my phone my shirt was finally drying out and I was not looking forward to the impending 4hr drive ahead. Smiles anyway.

Toby

Moving forward Toby mentioned me doing some more live gig photography for the band on their upcoming support tours around the UK. I hope he’s good to his word on that, as I love the live gig stuff, and would love to be involved with the band at some level going forward. I think they have a bright future ahead of them.

All images are © to Cecil Paul Studio’s and Wayward Sons Band UK and may not be copied, reproduced or used in any manner without approval.

Advertisements

Sunday saw us booked to cover a regional qualifying round for the British Riding Clubs UK Championships. Winners and, I believe, certain others would be qualifying for the National finals in a few weeks which is quite some achievement when you consider what they have to do on a horse.

Horse jumping has always intrigued me, especially those jumps where the height simply doesn’t appear achievable, yet the horse somehow gets over without knocking off the poles. So, as a non rider myself, the fact that people can actually make a horse complete any number of manoeuvres, which include almost dancing, to me, is exceptional. I know full well that many hundreds of hours go into practicing and training so when something goes wrong even I tend to be a little disappointed for the rider. Equestrian riding is almost an art with the subtle ways in which they guide and instruct the horse. There are no verbal commands just fine control of the reigns, stirrups and seating position of the riders. There may be more and I’m happy to be corrected if there are.

So take the difficulty of equestrian competition and place a twist into the mix, with the twist being two horses doing the same routine at the same time. Oh yes and with a maximum of 20% of the allotted time spent apart with the other 80% of the routine side by side, around the arena.

I saw this “Pairs” riding for the first time on Sunday and was totally impressed with the four groups of competitors who took part in their respective groups. The look of concentration was clear for all to see on their faces throughout the routines, with the elation of finishing what they obviously knew was a solid routine visible too.

As a photographer this was no different to any other equestrian event I shoot with just one exception, capturing the 2 horses in complete harmony and literally mirroring each other step for step. Now that sounds easy yet I assure you it isn’t. This actually happens only a few times in any routine owing to all the turning and change of step etc. Ideally, so one pair told me, they have 2 horses of the same size etc etc. As this is not too easy to find at club level you tend to get one horse which is slightly bigger than the other. This is like having one tall human walk alongside a smaller human and expected to walk stride for stride for 8 minutes. It rarely happens but thats the image they want capturing.

Knowing my strides and turns I was able to second guess when the pairs were likely to come together in that perfect harmony moment. Even then only two of the four actually achieved this whilst travelling in a direction that gave a suitable image. Standing and watching this happen as they trotted away down the arena, away from you with bums and backs onshore, is rather demoralising. In those instances you simply capture what you can from the opportunities given when they are correctly positioned in their line of travel.

The day for us was great with the lovely weather and a few cool drinks to boot. With many of the competitors asking about images we also hoped for a good response with the galleries which I am pleased to say has actually been superb. We have also received several messages complimenting the quality of our images.

I know, from a riding friend, that a lot of the local clubs either use someone they know i.e. a rider or parent for photography, with some clubs having serious amateur or even alleged professionals shooting them. Now I am not here to slag anyone off so I will just say that a lot of these  images tend to be somewhat lacking in technical ability.

On Sunday and ,as an example of this, we had a very ice lady who came to stand near us to photograph several different horses, all from one club. She quite openly declared herself as the club photographer, for those horses, and was most impressed with our setup and the way we conducted ourselves. After the first horse she captured, someone came over and asked her to turn the camera flash off. She had a Canon DSLR, with pop up flash, the camera set to auto and was just clicking away happily with the flash trying to doing its thing against the sun. She asked for some advice and I suggested changing the settings to either TV or AV and adjusting those to shoot what she wanted. She admitted to having not much of a clue so I showed her two options that would improve the images shot and, more importantly, not require flash. Did she listen …. nope she went to the other end of the arena so the sun was more to the side of her. Oh well you try and help lol.

So the images we took. I’m going to keep this down to the usual couple of images I like to add at the end of a post.

If you would like to see the days images click here – Cecil Paul Studios Equestrian Galleries

Image One :

The one where it all comes together, just at the right time, right angles, riding positions and just togetherness. Riding like this for an 8 Minute routine is not easy.

Pairs1

Image Two :

When you just know it was excellent. The elation at completing a quality equestrian pairs routine. I do believe these two ladies came first and thus through to the national finals.

Pairs2

 

When not on a commissioned job, or working in the studio and I actually have a weekend free I like to take a look at local motor racing circuits and see whats on. Usually there’s nothing of interest happening or the wife has something organised for us. Last weekend however my Saturday was free, yes totally free and with the VMCC holding one of their racing events at my local circuit Cadwell Park I was on my way.

I love Cadwell Park as the place is quite simply a superb circuit, non of the flat round and round places that are all too common these days. Full of hills and sweeping bends with the infamous mountain it ticks all the boxes for spectators and photographers alike. The VMCC events are totally open so you can have a good, unrestricted wander around looking at the machinery on show. The facilities are good, there’s always a burger van there for lunch and coffee which is reasonably priced and finally the toilets are clean and functional. There is a hospitality building, if that’s your Raceday thing, excellent access to a good 80% of the racing with just one small strip inaccessible. Official photography is exclusive to one chap, which I find odd for such a big place. Access to the prime spots is therefore a non starter, though there are plenty of places you can stand if the crowds aren’t too big. A nice 200-400 zoom or fixed 400mm 2.8 would create an even keel though as you could reach across to achieve those angles. Justifying the £8k spend to the wife would be a tad difficult though lol.

I enjoy this racing for two reasons. Firstly I rode motorbikes in my youth having range of Yamaha’s from 350cc through to 750cc over several years. Fabulous carefree times where the adrenaline rush of twisting a throttle and being catapulted down the road made my youthful brain buzz. Living in Germany for three years and having speed limit free autobahns made fun for modding the latter, bigger engined machines, and in the early 90’s and quieter roads having an absolute hoot out there. Secondly I love capturing motorsport and movement. Motorsport, like gymnastics, needs to have a perspective of movement. All of the top publications will show on track imagery with a sense of movement. This will be within the tires and spokes of the vehicles as nothing else really moves. A adjusting settings to continually provide this effect, coupled with some clever planning helps produce some lovely imagery. Doing this consistently to provide a gallery of the days events takes some skill. I see many online images that are simply awful in tat the bike has been shot at such a high speed it simply looks stationary. Not ideal when trying to provide that sense of movement.

I was actually approached by a group of men, from a local amateur photography club, who stated they were struggling with aperture speeds around the 1/1000th of a second. They had recognised my “Gear” and labelled me either Semi Pro or Pro so popped over for a chat. Lovely blokes, well mannered and respected the fact I was cracking on capturing the racing. In short they where simply after the fastest shutter speed they could grab to freeze the action. They almost had a seizure when I showed them a shutter speed under 1/250th sec. To put it simply they tried it, failed at the panning and surprisingly went back to high shutter speed, high ISO’s and medium apertures of F4+. Using stock kit lenses didn’t help their cause on flexibility but with the day being clear and bright they could easily capture imagery like mine with a bit of effort. Even under 1/250th and an ISO 100 gave me apertures of between f.35 – f11 through the day. Anyway they stayed at their super speed options as I came across them again when I moved to the chicane. Blasting away on high speed shutter with high speed apertures and ISO’s it was like they were shooting some rare, single moment, wildlife rather than repetitive circuit racing. Oh well.

All in all I had a fabulous day. The smell of 2 stroke oil in the air, rasping engines all blessed with some bright dry weather made things great. From traditional motorcycles to scooters, sidecars and the odd rare one off’s that survive into today an excellent day out for any petrolhead. A plus point, for me anyway, being that a few riders came to me for business cards made things worthwhile.

A couple of images from the day now follow. To see the entire days images see here 2017 VMCC Cadwell Park

A Norton, I believe..

bike

These sidecar guys are brave or a little unhinged or potentially both.

bike 2

A BSA Bantam in full flow.

bike 3

Equipment wise all images were captured using a Canon 5Diii with Canon 70-200mm IS ii zoom. Settings varied owing to location and light available but nothing shot over 1/250th sec thus portraying the speed involved.

Oh for one of those magic Media Passes to reach the prime shooting points 😂

So January saw yet another new venture for us at the Manor Grange Stud & Show Centre in Yorkshire. As previously mentioned we were put onto the availability of a photographers position by someone who we knew through regional gymnastics. I will be perfectly honest in that word of mouth and existing customer recommendations have been the most beneficial component to our business growth over the last few years and this was no exception.

A random comment on an equestrian thread which mentioned us, followed by a couple of emails and we find ourselves invited to try things out. We made no excuses to the management that this was a filler job, to our main event work, and as such we would not be able to cover every event. With this in mind they initially took on a second company, though sadly this didn’t work out owing to the rather irrational outlook they had on event photography.

Quite simply event photography is totally hit and miss on sales. You can cover an event one week, take a serious four figure amount with little effort, to barely covering your costs at a similar event the following week. I think the other company simply saw the cost of keeping horses etc and thought that this would transfer into a weekly cash bonanza for them. As a product example they offered a 20×16 framed portrait print of your horse for £600. Yes a whopping £600 for a portrait image framed print. Now I won’t go into markups and profit here yet with our associated costs, for a similar product, I can only see that price as obscene and attempting to take advantage. Oddly they never sold any and found this odd …….. go figure. When the cash didn’t begin flowing weekly they began pressuring the management for the bigger events and trying to squeeze us out. Thankfully the management refused to budge and so the other company bailed on them leaving us a sole photographers. The management subsequently decided to keep us as the primary business and invite random guest photographers in when we are busy. This is certainly working, things are settled & people are happy so we hope it continues without interference. Sales vary at every event and no two are the same even with similar entry numbers.

We are now six months into the contract, things are going just fine for us and the management are happy too. We have developed our imagery with multi image montage options that differ from the gymnastics montages. The equestrian customer prefers soft blending of images and no particular text, other than the location. As a business you listen, tailor and develop your product until people are happy. We have done this and sell quite a few of the montages per month.

An example of a montage –

montage

At manor we cover two styles of equestrian competition which are dressage and jumping.

Dressage is, when it all goes to plan, a wonderful demonstration of harmony between horse and rider. From the basic entry level tests, for beginners, to the advanced where the horses even complete the routine to music is something to see. As someone who has never even sat on a horse I respect every rider out there for the hard work and dedication to just reach these regional rounds.

When it’s all going nicely –

Dressage1

And when things require that exceptional extra control –

_54A7217

Surprisingly I have captured several of these rear-up moments which can appear a little scary at the time. The riders I have subsequently spoken to all seem to laugh it off with the lady above almost resigned to this happening as her horse had been ‘flitty’ all day, as she put it. Well I for one am still impressed at their control of such a situation.

The jumping side of things is far simpler than the dressage side. Dressage riders like the horse to look all flowing and majestic, which can be difficult to capture, whereas the jumpers are simply that, jumpers who like to see them and their horse coming over a jump. A slight angle is normally preferred to show the horse in its fullest so the only real thing we can’t guarantee is the weather. When it rains this particular eventing is awful to cover. Standing in the middle of the arena, wrapped up in waterproof clothing all day, shooting through a steady downpour is no fun. Thank the lord for Canon’s Pro sealed weather sealed cameras and lenses.

A typical jump image –

jump

We have had several of our images published too. Publications Horse & Hound, Equestrian Life & British Dressage all help spread the word that we are out there. Will the call from a major event organiser or publication come asking us to cover a major ever come. Well I never thought I would have been booked to cover gymnastics finals at the Olympic Park, this year, for the third year running so anything is possible.

Horse & Hound –

I have blurred out imagery which is not mine.

H&H

Equestrian Life –

EQLife.jpg

The next six months sees us filling all of our gap days on weekends along with some steady weekday work also from this venture. We have made some new friends, gained a whole new customer base and hopefully something that will grow as the gymnastics has over the years.

Until next time ……