Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

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 –

 

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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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.

Next up were a band that I had yet to see. I had seen their lead singer, Blaze, in his Iron Maiden stint, though had never managed to catch Wolfsbane on tour over the many years they had been regularly active.

The set was monstrous and the band were just on it from the word go. Blaze is the consummate frontman and really doesn’t care who he upsets whilst on stage. Meet him off stage and you chat with a most humble and kind chap who even gives you two minutes whilst he’s tying up his stage boots.

It’s been great to hear that they are continuing as a band and have some live dates pencilled in. Blaze of course also has a solid solo career too which has spawned some quality material over the last few years.

If they play near you I’d certainly recommend them.

See what they are up to here – Wolfsbane

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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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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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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?

February saw us have an almost complete calendar filled with equestrian competitions other than one weekend of gymnastics in Wigan for the NDP 3 qualifying.

The equestrian work continues to grow and our images have been used in both the Equestrian Life and Horse & Hound Publications since we began. As I have mentioned before the work is not particularly difficult other than standing outside for several hours at a time. When the weather is kind, the job is great though if the weather is not so good then it can be a real headache. With persistent rain I usually start shooting and see how things go. Sadly if the images are being spoilt by the intensity of the rain and its affect on the images then I pack up and go home. I did stick it out in the early months of 2017 though quickly realised that we had not, and still have not, sold a single image when it is either raining or misty.

Thankfully all of the dates that I covered in February all stayed dry and so I captured full days of competition.

The NDP 3 Qualifying event at Wigan was almost a repeat of the NDP 2 event, the previous month. More fierce competition with competitors trying to grab the all important points to take them into the national rounds. Again the day was a success for us on both the image and sales fronts, though thats now it at Wigan until the Autumn when the NW Championship series returns.

Some equestrian images including jumps.

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I first had the pleasure of meeting this band when Wayward Sons supported them earlier in 2017. I managed to shoot them at both York & Nottingham, on that particular tour, where both performances were absolutely on point and delivered with true professionalism. Our paths crossed again at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London with them supporting Steel Panther.

Whilst it was a shortened support set this time the band managed to steam roll through a selection of songs to which the crowd warmed. I had noticed in Ireland that the typical Panther fan was not going to be the biggest fan of the support acts on the tour, yet both supports gave 100% and won a good percentage of the crowd over.

Inglorious have one major factor that sets them apart from many other metal bands and that is Nathan James the lead singer. He possesses a set of vocal cords and lungs of which many singers would wish to have. Listen to one of their albums, or indeed them all, then hear them live and then you will appreciate what he has to offer. The rest of the band are also good solid musicians and also a sound bunch of fellas to boot. From the dual guitars of Andreas Eriksson & Drew Lowe to the solid rhythm of Phil Beaver and boundless energy of Colin Parkinson the whole Inglorious machine, grabs you by the scruff of the neck and shakes every last ounce of energy from you throughout their set. If you’ve not seen them or own an album I would heartily recommend them.

Photography wise this was easy, though I didn’t stay in the pit for the full three song allocation. Just grabbed a few of each band member and waited for the image below to drop into place. The lighting was generous, as it had been for Wayward Sons, so settings were easy and uncomplicated. I didn’t even exceed 100 images opposed to the usual mad rattling of the shutter in an attempt to get that all important set of worthwhile printable or publishable images. Once I had the image I was looking for I was out of there for a nice cold bottle of water, before simply packing up and coming home. I never even stayed in the hall to watch Panther, as having seen them twice I knew there was nothing different to be had other than a few altered jokes or one liners. Personally I’d prefer less of the joking about and more of the music being played, though I guess its this format that has got them to where they are now, so who am I to suggest change lol.

Image is Nathan James.

Check Inglorious out HERE

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