Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday

On a chilly November morning I headed into the centre of Norwich.  This time I was not in uniform and not going there to form up, but to be part of the crowd gathering to pay their respects, carrying my camera to capture the moment.  The forecast was good, November can have such varied weather but in all the years I attended Remembrance Parades, I can only remember it raining once.

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This year was much like the many previous years, a large crowd, a religious service outside of City Hall and City dignitaries present to show their respect.  First past the memorial was the marching band ringing out the pace for others to follow.  Then came the standards and veterans followed by serving military, regular and reserve; finally, the cadet from all military arms.

Once the parade was formed up the religious service and laying of wreaths began accompanied only by the fluttering of the flags as they were snatched at by the growing breeze.

After a short service the sound of the last post echoed through the streets and silence fell.  There is a profound and resonating feeling when a large crowd of people and a city falls silent.  It is hard not to reflect on the reason why everyone came together on this cold November morning; to think of all that has been lost by so many and the knowledge that these sacrifices will continue to be needed.  For me remembrance Sunday is about reflecting on the impact of war and conflict on everyone, irrespective of the side they fought for and who or what ideology led them onto the field only to not return or return forever changed, mentally and physically.  To me this day is important to show respect but also to serve as a reminder to our society of the cost of war, to not lightly enter into conflict no matter the rhetoric.  The most important reason for me is to be proud; proud that if the call is given there are people who are willing to step into the line for me.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old, Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning We will remember them.

The parade marched through the City and down into the cathedral where I was lucky enough to catch up with a few people I hadn’t seen for a while.  Unfortunately, only official photographers were able to take photos during the ceremony in the cathedral but this gave me a chance to put the camera aside and take part.

Norfolk Bonsai Association

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Norfolk Bonsai Association

Working as a Photographer takes me to many different places and I get to meet lots of people with a wide range of interests.  When the Norfolk Bonsai Association contacted me and asked if I could come along to get some shots of their trees I jumped at the chance to try something new.

I was warmly welcomed by the people attending the event and they all took a great deal of interest in how I was setting up my kit.  I set up a small studio in the bar of the Village Hall where the Association holds its meetings and used a 3 strobe, gridded lighting set up.  Throughout the evening members brought through their trees and we spent some time on each to get the right shot for them.  I tethered the camera to my Surface so they could check out the shot before we moved on to the next tree.

They clearly give these small trees a great deal of care and I was keen to make sure I did my best to represent this in the images.  I learnt a lot about what makes a good bonsai tree and that the gaps between the foliage pads was as important as the tree itself.  We found that focal lengths greater than 50mm diminished the gaps and also the angle of the camera also dramatically changed the way the tree looked.  After a few adjustments we managed to get a workflow together and we managed to get through the majority of the trees being shown that evening.

There were a few surprises as not all of the trees were as small as I had expected.  A few were fairly large and it was a struggle to light them evenly.  A bit of time in Photoshop after the shoot was needed to even out the light and clean up the background. 

If you are interested in finding more out about the Norfolk Bonsai Association please give them a shout on Facebook at: @norfolkbonsai

All in all, I am pleased with the results and it was a great opportunity to learn about what makes a great image when it comes to Bonsai trees.


Kit used


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Norwich Devils v Burnley Tornados

Norwich Devils v Burnley Tornados

On a cloudy Sunday afternoon I walked back onto the Norwich Devils home field for the last time this year.  It had been a few months since I last joined up with the team to document their game and I found them in even higher spirits than the last time I saw them.  

Today was going to be their last associate game before heading into the League and they would be pitted against the Burnley Tornados.  With their usual engery, the Norwich Devils entered the game and, at the end of 4 quaters, the final whistle blow on a score of 42-0 to the Devils.

Like most outside events the weather provides a significant photography challenge and this game didn't dissapoint in this regard.  The weather was kind enough to test the weather seals on my camera and lenses and had me chasing the light with my shutterspeed.  This was not going to put me off or temper any enjoyment I was getting from watching the game.

A relatively unquie challenge I face when shooting the Devils is trying to predict their game.  I normally shoot alone and have my field of view restricted to the view down a 200mm lens for most of the game which makes it hard to keep up with the ball and being able to snag a shot of a catch.  Luckly, I had some help this time from Steve Palmer which allowed us to split out focus and try to grab a bigger range of shots.

I'm pleased with the series of shots I took during the game which was, as always, full of drama and spectacular moments.

Back in the Studio

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Back in the Studio

It's been a while since I last shot in the studio and I was please to be back at Butterfly Studios in Norwich for a shoot with Emilee Victoria who had travelled up from Ipswich.

For this shoot I was heading back to my personal style; low key, high contrast images with a mix of glamour and fashion. This was where I started and I still love the look it creates. I love the sliver of light picking the model out of the dark background and seeing bright colours pop against the black.  

Emilee was a great model to work with and made getting the shots almost effortless, allowing me time to focus on composition and lighting rather than directing her poses.  The shoot was 2 hours long but soon flew by.

This shoot required my normal line up of 5D III, Canon 70-200 f2.8 and 24-70 f2.8 but with the addition of my new Godox 600D.  This was the first outing for the Godox and it didn't disappoint.  The battery life was amazing and was it was still showing full power after the 2 hour shoot and the strobe cycle kept up with the tempo of the shoot.  The colour looked great and I didn't have any problems during post with it.

My full lighting set up included my lower powered godox DE300 strobes (a cheap but great value strobe) acting as rim lights.  For modifiers, I used a beauty dish on the key light and a gridded soft box on the rim lights.

The key light was placed above an in line with the model,  pointing down at a 45 degree angle with the rim light off to the models left aiming at the middle of her body.

Post processing was fairly simple.  The images were great straight out of camera needing only a little extra contrast, a slight pull back on the highlights and opening the shadows as global changes before sliding them across to Photoshop for a bit of love from a tone curve adjustment layer, dodge and burn, spot healing and frequency separation.  Finally, I dropped on a bit of colour grading through Color Efex pro and the blue channel on the tone curve. 

Overall, I'm really pleased with how these images came out and enjoyed every moment of being back in the studio. 

Gear Used

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Son of Town Hall

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Son of Town Hall

I'm sure I've said it before; the best part of photography is meeting some amazing and great people.  Meeting the Son of Town Hall was no exception.  The duo put on an stunning show at the Grapevine for Music, Norwich, in June.  Their show offered an interesting mix of comedy and music, and their set ended far too quickly.  Their act deserves respect, so this blog post will be in keeping and anyone who has had the privilege to watch them will understand.

I come across a lot of firsts while shooting photographs and this was another first for me.  It isn't everyday you meet two people who have sailed the seven seas on a junk raft, endured Pirates, ended up sailing up the river Wensum to the Grapevine for Music, only to end up in the court at Guildhall.  This is where I met them discussing their luck at being offered a possible trip to Australia; apparently a fair few people had been sent there from the Guildhall in the past.  

After spending some time with them and explaining what the camera was (no, it does not steal your soul); they agreed to let me take some shots.  The Guildhall was a difficult location to shoot in.  As I was not expecting to take portraits I only had small flash with me and the court was a big room.  I really needed my portable studio strobes with me.  Not to be deterred, I bumped up the ISO and opened my aperture as wide as it could go, f2.8.  Although I was shooting a 5D mark 3 the images did contain a fair bit of grain but this added a bit of character to the images.  

The room was completely clad in dark wood which gave an interesting colour cast.  I did try to correct this in post but it was difficult to get rid of it completely.  Where the cast was causing too much of an issue switching to black and white saved it.

You learn a lot on the high seas, skills and endurance you didn’t know you possessed. Music and storytelling kept us afloat, kept us alive, really. We developed a blend and a sound that led even the sea creatures and the moon to pay attention. We just had to hope that it would translate on dry land.
— Son of Town Hall

Now, these two can tell a tale but I would not do them justice if I were to share their stories with you.  I would urge anyone to visit them when they are next ashore and hear what they have to say or just listen and enjoy their music (strange how they didn't know what a digital camera was but have found soundcloud - listen now).

While I am in no way qualified to pass on their stories, I hope these images captured their character and give you a sense of who they are.  It is the fleeting moments and connections like this which add colour to our lives and I wish them all the best on their next voyage. 

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