Another Manic Day!

Its taken me far too long to publish this post, but I hope you’ll forgive me as it turned out to be a rather eventful day! Quite excitingly, my role as photographer for “In Concert” was expanded vastly for the Manic Street Preachers gig. Not only was I documenting the behind-the-scenes events for the “In Concert” team, I was also liasing with the BBC Interactive team to get photos up online as soon as possible and, quite scarily, undertaking my first ever commission taking the press photos for BBC Publicity!!!

Because of my involvement with the BBC Publicity side of things, I’m not able to say too much about what went on during the day and the photos that I did take remain copyright of the BBC. However, I have been told that I am allowed to use the photos for my portfolio and so I don’t see any harm in posting a few photos here and then pointing you in the direction of the photos on the BBC Website!

Anyway, enough of all that – it was a very long day which started with me leaving the house 7.30am in order to jump on a bus, two trains and then a taxi in order to get to Blackwood Miners Institute for the Press Photocall at 12.30.

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We were then all whisked off for a whistlestop tour of Blackwood which proved to be a lot of fun despite the freezing weather!

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As you may have guessed, the entire tour was being filmed for the BBC red button which meant that I spent my time having to dodge the cameras and make as little noise as possible! While we were waiting for the band to arrive at one of the locations, we got chatting to the director who mentioned that he had been looking back at the Paolo Nutini event and commented on how much he loved the photos. The radio 2 producer and I couldn’t conceal our grins as she pointed out that it was actually me who took those photos! I have to admit that his comment made my day!

From there, it was back to the Miners Institute where the Manics did an acoustic session which was also filmed.

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I would have loved to have heard the entire set but I needed to dash off and get my first lot of photos off to the press which, I have to admit, I found rather nerve-wracking! All the photos seemed to get away ok and I was really happy to find that one of the photos from the acoustic session appeared in the next days “South Wales Echo”!

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After a bit of time in which I was able to catch my breath, it was onto the main event. Beforehand, I was required to take a few shots of the support act, Denuo, who were very good!

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I then managed to get up onstage to take some shots of the audience and from there I hot-footed it down to the press pit where I was allowed to spend up to 3 songs – again dodging the tv cameras that were filming for the red button. However, with the press deadline looming, I only spent one song in the pit before zooming off up to the balcony to grab some wide shots and then hiding myself away to download, process and email the photos to the press.

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I have to admit that the responsibility of having to get the shots in the first place and then send them off to the press (and what a long list of press contacts it was too!) was rather stressful but I enjoyed every minute and can’t wait to do it again!

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A London Wander

Last weekend, I headed into London which meant setting off pretty early.

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As luck would have it, a rescheduled christmas meal coincided with the first London photowalk of the year. I figured that Mark and I would have just enough time to join the photowalk and even fit in a drink or two before I needed to head across town to meet my friends for the meal. The first train out of Chippenham meant arriving in London at about 9.40am which should have left just enough time to cross town. Unfortunately, the train was delayed and so by 10am we weren’t even on the tube! In addition, I hadn’t realised that engineering work was also taking place and so we decided that it would be more beneficial to go with plan B and do our own mini-photowalk instead.

We started down at Westminster – there is always a wealth of photography opportunities there – Houses of Parliament, London Eye etc…

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I went a bit overboard with the “dutch tilt”!!!

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We then took a wander through Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.

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Pixie Picks #1

Pix.ie is a fabulous and friendly photosharing site. I upload many photos there throughout the year. At the end of the last two years, the Pixie community have voted for their favourite photos of the year. I viewed many amazing photographs on the site last year but, when we were asked to nominate our favourites, I had lost track of many of the photos that had originally grabbed my attention!

In order to keep track of my favourite pics I am periodically going to try and document them here so that I have an archive to refer to later on. Hopefully this will also provide some much needed inspiration for my 365 project. There are lots of undiscovered gems on Pix.ie and I’d love to hear if you find any other amazing shots. Also, if the shots below grab your attention then please head over to Pix.ie and comment on the images – social interaction is, after all, one of the best things about the site.

This first image I’ve chosen is “Bull Island” which was taken by redmum. Bull Island is one of my PhD study sites and so I am always interested in photos taken there. This one is one of the best I’ve seen. Mind you, I’m a sucker for silhouette photos – I love how simple yet powerful they can be.

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This next image, entitled “Atrium“, was taken by Falcon7012. I was grabbed by the symmetry of this shot and the powerful lines which stand out brilliantly in black and white.

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Music in the corner” was taken by dave66 and seems to be one of the first images in a 365 project. It’s a simple shot but very well composed. It’s nicely balanced and an inspirational image for my own 365 project.

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Christmas Day Sunset” was captured by Margaret Morrissey. I picked this shot purely because I loved the colours. I don’t take many landscape shots and hence don’t think they are my strongest subject. When I see shots like this, it inspires me to get out and take more landscapes.

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This final image made me laugh – “Miracle on Dame Street” was taken by Nicolas Reuland. I really like that it’s in black and white but what makes the shot for me is the moving car on the left and the expressions on all three faces!

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Documenting Calne

I’ve been living in Calne for more than a year and it has only just dawned on me that I haven’t really taken that many photos here! Apart from the occassional event such as the duck race and bike meet, I don’t tend to head out around town with my camera.

Today, however, after driving myself a little nuts with my PhD work, my sister suggested heading out for a walk so I took my camera along. We headed into Castlefields Park and I ended up taking quite a few shots of Chaveywell Bridge.

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We also took a wander along the 6-mile footpath towards Chippenham, although we probably didn’t even make it a mile before having to turn back in order to feed the twins!

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I quite enjoyed exploring a little more of the village and will have to venture out to take more photos again soon.

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2011 Photo Diary

At the beginning of 2010 I embarked on a Project 365 where I aimed to take a photo everyday. After just a few weeks, however, I came unstuck! The pressure that I put on myself to make the photos interesting or artistic meant that I constantly felt annoyed and unhappy with the photos that I was posting. I had already decided that I wasn’t going to put myself through it again this year but after creating the montage photos for my 2010 round-up, I was annoyed that I had hardly any photos for a couple of months of the year.

I enjoy going back over my photos and re-living events through the memories that the pictures evoke. So I have decided to try the Project 365 again this year! Yes, I know I’m mad but this time I have promised myself that I won’t beat myself up if I miss a day. I’m also not going to drive myself crazy trying to think of things to photograph. I want to treat it more of a photo diary than a collection of amazing images.

I’ve also decided to have a separate, dedicated blog for the project so that I can keep this blog for more long-winded and descriptive posts containing multiple images. So, if you would like to follow my new challenge (and possibly watch me fail miserably all over again!) head over to the new blog and subscribe. If you fancy leaving the odd comment to keep me motivated then I would be eternally grateful!

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2010 – October to December

October

In October I finally managed to meet my new nieces and went a bit overboard with the photos! They definately are fantastic models though! I also undertook a family photoshoot with the Turncocks which gave me a bit more experience in portrait photography. I photographed Sheryl Crow for the BBC and, as a bonus, got to meet Imelda May who was the support act. This month also marked a very sad anniversary – 10 years since we lost our Dad.

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November

In November I photographed Jamiroquai at Air Studios and was flown up to Newcastle to photograph Squeeze and almost got stranded up there when the snow decided to hit the north! A few days later the snow hit us down south causing no end of trouble and disrupting travel plans. At least it made it feel rather festive as the Christmas markets opened in Bath.

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December

In December the snow continued to play havoc with my plans. Luckily, I managed to make it up to London to photograph James Blunt and KT Tunstall although I almost didn’t make it to the latter due to the adverse weather! I was also glad that friends made it over from Dublin during a small window when both Dublin and London airports were open!

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Of course, this has been a very small insight into my 2010. An awful lot more has happened. My PhD has continued to eat up a lot of my time and the option to go “off books” was a very welcome break considering everything else that has been going on! I got a job to keep a bit of money coming in but lost the job when the boss decided to close the shop due to the recession! I started my own business and I’m excited to see where this will lead but can’t devote the time to market myself until the PhD is finished. We have sadly lost family members but also gained some new arrivals. It definately has been a year of extremes and I wouldn’t have been able to predict how 2010 was going to turn out this time last year! I wonder whats in store for me in 2011?! The first things on my list are to get a job, finish the PhD and push my business into new and exciting areas….watch this space!!!

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2010 – July to September

July

July was mostly taken up with house-hunting as I was required to move out of my sisters to free up room ready for the twins arrival! We decided to document “the bump” and undertook an impromptu photoshoot in Mum’s back garden! During July I was also asked to document the Golden Wedding Anniversary celebrations for a friend of the family. The biggest bike meet in the south-west takes place in Calne every year so of course we had to go and check it out…it was HUGE!

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August

At the very beginning of August I moved into my new house and spent a good few weeks painting, ripping out carpets and visiting furniture stores in order to buy everything I needed! Luckily, my supervisor had managed to organise that I went “off books” from Uni so the PhD was on hold for a few months so that I could get myself organised. Between the building of desks and stripping of wallpaper, I took a very brief trip up to Paisley to photograph Paolo Nutini for the BBC! Not only did this mark my first official, paid assignment for the BBC, but I had free range to photograph Paolo all over Paisley and ended up in his house drinking wine while he showed us his record collection!

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September

In September the photography assignments continued with Maroon 5, Seal and the Scissor Sisters. I also turned 30(!) and spent the evening as a VIP drinking lots of wine and watching Seth Lakeman in the magical Regents Park amphitheatre! Kara and Tom tied the knot at the beautiful Gant’s Mill. Jenny continued to bulge and, mere days after undertaking a final photoshoot with her and Matt, she gave birth to the twins (although I had to wait until October to meet them properly!).

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2010 – April to June

April

In April my sister went for her first pregnancy scan and there was shock and excitement all round when she informed us that she was expecting TWINS!!! BBQ season started and my 365 photo project ended! I admited defeat after I realised the project was sapping all of my creative energy rather than adding to it! In fact, I became so fed up with my camera (and overly critical of my photography) that I probably only took 10 photos in the whole of the month!

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May

After a break from the 365 project, I slowly began to feel more positive about photography again and decided to make enquiries about some possible photography assignments. A couple of years ago, I undertook a few voluntary photography assignments for BBC Radio 2 but being in Dublin meant that I had been unable to take the opportunities any further. With both Keane and Crowded House lined up to perform live sessions for Radio 2 I offered my services and, after a couple of weeks of uncertainty, I was asked to come along and take photos for their facebook page! As a bonus, I also met Jo Whiley, Jeremy Vine and Johnnie Walker! This month I was also asked to do a baby photoshoot and I jumped at the chance (and rather enjoyed it too!). Spring was in full swing and we ventured out to watch the annual Calne duck race which was a lot of fun!

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June

In June, I was invited to photograph two more events for BBC Radio 2 – Steve Winwood and Jack Johnson, one of which took place at the famous Maida Vale Studios. Excitingly, one of my Steve Winwood shots was later featured in MOJO Music Magazine! The appearance of decorated Lions throughout Bath combined with the increasingly good weather meant that I spent a bit more time wandering the streets of Bath during my breaks from the library.

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2010 – January to March

Well, here we are at the end of another year and so I decided to go back through my photo archive and try to depict my 2010 in images. Here are the first three months….

January

The year started as it now seems to be ending – shrouded in snow! Back in January I travelled up to Durham for a conference and almost got stranded due to the weather! I also set myself the challenge of taking a photo every day in order to experiment with my photography. The first month went pretty well and I did manage to take a photo every day. However, the very first photo I took – a silhouette of my sister and brother-in-law at sunset – remains one of my favourite photos of the year. Because I had started at such a high level, I was disappointed in the quality of the photos that followed and my enthusiasm for the project dwindled before it had even really started! It was back in January that I also first met my friends new baby daughter – she was only a month old at the time.

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February

In February I returned to Dublin for a few weeks in order to blitz my PhD. I continued with the photo project but it was becoming increasing difficult to find the enthusiasm to even take the camera out of its case and, combined with the workload of the PhD, the first cracks in the project were beginning to appear. Whilst in Dublin, however, I did manage to find time to catch-up with some friends and even made it along to the Earth Ball at the Guinness Storehouse which was a welcome chance to let my hair down.

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March

By March, I was back in the wilds of Wiltshire and, with the weather slowly improving, we undertook occassional days out to Lacock, Castle Combe and other local beauty spots. March also saw the arrival of Matt’s pride and joy (his decks!) and I was let into a big secret by my sister and bro-in-law which I had to keep to myself for the next few weeks… she was pregnant!

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Merry Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve! I can’t believe how quickly it has come around! Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you all have a fun-filled festive season and that Santa brings you everything you asked for! :)

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