skate park photography.



04/10/2016





About three months ago I learned that there was a skate park in Epsom called Long Grove. I turned up there one day with my camera and shot some BMXers in the bowl. I went back a few days later and shot some skaters. Before long I was over there weekly, experimenting with different vantage points, camera settings, lenses etc. The differences in my shots between the first couple of visits and now is staggering. I wasn't shooting with flash for the first few sessions. The shots were alright but lacked that vividness that gives that sort of photography its flavour. Begrudgingly took my flash over there one night as the sun was already starting to go down, and everything finally fell into place. I now don't shoot skate or BMX without it.


The first night I shot with flash was amazing. Guys who'd already been skating all day found a last bit of energy to throw some shapes for me and my camera, even though I’d turned up 5 minutes before they were about to go home. One of the older and more hardcore skaters Adam Voss really went for it. I think I was shooting a little over an hour, but the amount of great shots that came from that looked like half a day’s work. I turned to Lee, one of the other older skaters, and said that it was cool to see everyone so active. “The flash adds to the atmosphere, you're hyping them up”. He said. That had not occurred to me, but it was amazing to think that indirectly I may be helping these guys push themselves, take risks, and try new shit.


I had said to myself early in the year "I don't want to get to the end of Summer and think I haven't spent enough time taking photos". Well damn, the Long Grove skateboarders and BMXers made sure that there was plenty worth shooting.


I just wanted to give a little shout out to Adski (pictured), Lee, David, Kalen, Micky, Charlie, Chris and the whole Long Grove skater crew, and to the random BMXers that have been super welcoming to me over there also (Joe P & crew, Matt & crew, Connor & Jack & crew, Tomasz & crew). It would have been a much duller Summer without you guys.



huzzah for cex.



11/08/2016





I've had a huge decluttering session recently, taken various gadgets and boy toys into CEX. It worked perfectly alongside having photography as a hobby, as they will offer you a higher value in vouchers than in cash, and the vouchers work on their website. This means that if there's a particular photography item you need that you don't mind buying second hand, searching their website for it searches not only the stocklists of all their UK stores, but seemingly some larger stock hubs that deal with mailorder only. As I'm a Canon guy, most of the photographer bits I want (fast glass, even faster glass, etc etc) are pretty mainstream and almost always in stock in some capacity when I've searched the CEX website. I turned a large sports bag full of unwanted electronic items into £500 worth of vouchers in there, and even chopped in my F/1.8 50mm for its faster F/1.4 brother recently.



july target practice.



31/07/2016





Stopped off in Leatherhead today to catch the Prudential Ride London event. Thought I might have missed the action as I was an hour later than planned, but no chance, riders were still coming through in their thousands. I must have taken 700 photos in an hour. Again great practice for my 70-200mm zoom lens. Next year I will get my fat ass in gear in time and ride it myself.



tim osbourne / oz digital shoot.



16 / 07 / 2016





Met up with Tim Osbourne from Oz Digital this week to do a quick shoot to give Tim some imagery to use for his website and social media. We both accept that shooting specifically for social media as a platform is definitely 'a thing' these days and we set a few shots up specifically to work well as banners and avatars etc. Probably the most productive shoot I've done as we crammed five locations into an hour. So thanks to Banstead High Street for having such a varied choice of backdrops. Bench shots seems to be a trademark thing for me now, I think I've made most people I shoot sit on a bench at some point.

Give Tim a shout if you need a new website, online marketing, social media for your business etc etc as this he can provide professional assistance and service. www.ozdigital.co.uk or @oz.digital on Instagram



may Target practice.



22/05/2016





Pitched up near the Starbucks on the A23 Brighton Road in Hooley today to get some practice in now that I've committed my camera to 'back button focussing' mode. It was the London to Brighton Mini Run so there was lots of colourful moving targets. Got loads of waves and beeps and probably took 500 photos.


Back button focussing is where you designate a different button on your camera to do autofocus rather than a half-press of the shutter button. The result is the camera not losing focus of objects quickly moving towards you/away from you at speed.



Tadworth nights.



13/03/2016





Our neighbour Chris competes in the BMWRDC often shown on Motors TV in his BMW E36 M3. Here's his girlfriend Niccola prepping the car ready for one of the first races of the year. This yard behind our houses has seen us do all sorts of work - Subarus, Nissans, Mazdas, BMWs. We even had to help a guy in a Lamborghini Diablo fix his electric window round there a couple of years back.



january target practice.



25/01/2016





Amazing start to the year for a petrolhead and photography geek like myself. I'm member of a largely dormant drift crew called Wallrats that were locals at the Lydden Hill 'drift what you bring' events for the last few years. We're trackless now because Lydden Hill made a deal with Dover council and scrapped its drift practice days to offset a noise complaint that was about to turn ugly. Bah.

So it was incredible to spend a day on some Ministry Of Defence land this weekend at an undisclosed location while our mate Stew gave his Skyline powered Subaru drift car a thorough shakedown. It also gave me some much needed practice with panning shots and moving targets. My only regret of the day was choosing a shutter speed a little too fast, which froze up the wheels in some shots and made the car look like it was parked at a silly angle, rather than hurtling around a corner sideways. Above is probably the best shot of the day in terms of getting the feel of motion right (and even then it's not perfect).



icykal mixtape cover.



01/12/2015





One of the shots from the Croydon photoshoot I did for IcyKal as mentioned in another blog entry. We actually ran out of time and had to rush this, improvising with some railings in a multi-storey car park. The graphics and those intense flames were created by Willkay Oddkingdom (oddkingdom.co.uk) and the finished product is now the front cover of IcyKal’s newest mixtape that came out on Dec 1st 2015. Hoping I can shoot her again soon. ​



Trying to cheat the handheld 'rule'.



26/11/2015





It’s a truth universally acknowledged that when shooting handheld, your shutter speed should always exceed your focal length. I actively try to cheat this rule with my F/1.8 50mm prime lens to see how much I can get away with, and how steady my hand is. I thought I was doing alright until I bought my retina display 15” Macbook which exposed a lot of dirty secrets in my photo archives. Since then I break the rule less, but can’t help myself sometimes. This shot of a Cardiff based busker called Sophie was taken at night at 1/40th with no flash. I almost got away with it.



where it all started.



22/11/2016





A few months back I made the move from a Canon 550D to a Canon 5D mkii. An upgrade for sure, but technically I was upgrading to an older camera, and had to jump backwards from SD cards to CompactFlash. This got me thinking about the ruthless inertia of technology. Digital cameras have more in common with laptops these days than the olde worlde 35mm film cameras they are based on. So I went for a rummage in the gadget graveyard that is my bedroom, and bingo, there it was! My first digital camera, the Olympus Camedia C1 Zoom. One point THREE megapixels! And containing a storage card that stored up to SIXTY FOUR MEG of photos!


It brought back a ton of memories. It was purchased on Tottenham Court Road in November 2001 for £270. My girlfriend of the time and I trudged between the various gadget shops trying to haggle a deal, as the RRP was £300. The girlfriend would later insist that the discount was due to her smiling and twirling her hair at the sales guys, and all I did was get in the way. Hmph.

It went everywhere with me, and I squeezed some great shots out of it, in particular some fantastic urban night shots of blurred busses with streaked headlights. The gratification of being able to see your photos immediately was amazing. Gig shots I’d taken with it appeared on 7” records, and I noticed my shots appearing online in various places (usually without permission but hey, I wasn’t keeping score). In 2015 our £270 would have bought us an entry level DSLR such as the Canon 1200D or maybe a decent little mirrorless like the Sony Alpha A5000, but in November 2001 when we bought it the only DSLR options were the brand new Canon EOS1D with a price tag of $7000, the Nikon D1 for $5600, or the Fujifilm FinePix S1 Pro at $3995.



wh smiths surprise.



04/10/2015





EIGHT of my photos staring back at me by complete surprise, as I browsed Performance BMW magazine in WH Smiths in Wallington!

There is a story: I was meeting up with friends who own Japanese cars in the Summer. As I got to our meet spot a BMW owners meet called ‘Bimmerflex’ was taking place literally opposite us. The organiser hadn’t had the turnout he hoped for, and asked us if we wanted to park up at his event to make up the numbers and our cars were clean and shiny. After taking photos for a couple of hours, the organiser handed me his little point & shoot camera and asked if I could grab some shots for him, as he’d been stuck on the front gate all day. I said “Hey, I’ve taken tons of my own already, you can have them”. I probably should have worded that a little differently given the subsequent feature in the magazine with HIS name as the photo credit! my fault I guess. It was a nice surprise, anyway.



eat food festival, reigate.



25/08/2015





Fluke shot taken at the EAT Food Festival in Reigate’s Priory Park in Summer 2015 which has a flavour of L.S. Lowry to it. It probably only looks good because I did my best to get the symmetry right, and I tweaked it a bit in LR to give the impression that all the people had posed in those positions for me. Anyway, the organisers of the festival picked it up and it is now their main banner image across their Facebook and Twitter accounts. It also got used in Surrey Life magazine. I ate the most glorious Ethiopian street food that day, and I will be back with a hungry stomach and my camera next year, and maybe I’ll try to recreate the same shot!

UPDATE JUNE 2016: This image is the main promotional image being used by the organisers in their adverts in the press to promote their 2016 event!