Posts Tagged ‘Belfast’

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?

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January saw me given the unique opportunity to shoot the band, Steel Panther, in both Dublin and Belfast in January. Wayward Sons were supporting and I’d had the nod that I could cover these dates. Lets face it, I was never going to say no, so organised my travel and accommodation accordingly.

The week before the dates all hell broke lose with the weather and Britain was covered in several feet of snow from top to bottom. Usually I would have looked at the options for this and was it absolutely necessary to travel yet this weather was not going to stop me getting there. A 4am start saw me tip toe for five hours up to the port of Cairnryan in Scotland for my lunchtime ferry to Belfast. When I finally got there it was nice just to not have to grip the steering wheel in an almost constant effort to keep the van on the roads up there. The roads were appalling, travel warnings advised all but essential travel yet I found myself trundling along with hundreds of other motorists, respecting the weather and driving safely. Yes there were the odd idiots out there and one in particular ended up on his roof not several hundred meters in front of me after ludicrously overtaking two side by side articulated lorries by travelling into the uncleared third lane. What happened next is obvious to most and luckily he never touched anyone else with his pirouetting and rolling. Idiot!!

Not my first time in Ireland, though a first for covering gigs. To be fair they both went well, considering they were warm up gigs for the main UK Steel Panther Tour which started the following week. Dublin was small, almost embarrassingly small, for a band of Panthers following yet they roared through their set from start to finish with total professionalism. If you know Steel Panther you will also know that last sentence is a little tongue in cheek. Totally tongue in cheek, the dirty jokes were rife as was the mocking of not only themselves but the crowd throughout the entire set. It was all soaked up by the crowd in the spirit of how it should be and the vibe from the crowd as they left was totally positive.

Wayward sons also gave a 100% performance. They stomped through a half hour of what now seemed to be more crowd aware songs from the album. The album having been out 6 months now is obviously gaining some traction and there were plenty singing along. Nobody would ever have guessed that the lead singer was as green as a goblin having suffered with a rough crossing from Blighty. Add to this a missing keyboard player, owing to a family bereavement, you would not have guessed with the positive response from the crowd.

Belfast, the following night, was almost identical to Dublin for the SP lads, in fact almost too identical for my liking. I’ll not go into how things may or may not be done, by some, these days which certainly made me think. Sadly the more I heard SP on the tour the more they made me start watching certain aspects of the performance, for repetition, rather than just enjoying the fun of it. They are a great bunch of blokes on and off stage so I will leave it at that. Wayward Sons had recovered from the green sea monster and simply powered through their strict half hour set.

The evening was slightly marred by the extremely punctual curfew at 10pm. Steel Panther had barely finished their main set when it was announced that the show was over. Some bemused punters were wondering what was going on, is it part of the show etc? No it was all legit as the Limelight subsequently turns into a nightclub. Thus not an hour after the show had finished there were DJ’s setting up on stage as flight cases were being removed from the building. Steel Panther thus finished on Community Property and not the planned Party All Day, as per the setlist, which is shown below.

Thankfully I had just a short walk to my hotel before a 6am rise to catch my return ferry back to Blighty. A smile which was accompanied by a spring in my step over a job well done. This all before I’d even seen the images taken on a laptop screen.

For all thingsĀ Steel Panther

Steel Panther live. Images from Dublin & Belfast.

Michael Starr

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Satchel

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Lexxi Foxx

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Stix Zadinia

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Belfast Limelight.

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Setlists.

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