Shooting with Ryan

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Shooting with Ryan

Location shooting can give you some of the best dramatic shots but it can also give you cold, wet and uninspiring places to work.  This was the challenge Ryan, a new model working in Norwich, and I faced.  We had timed the shoot to get the sun dropping in the sky but was given rain, snow and cold which would take several hours recover from.

We headed out into the centre of Norwich.  We were aiming to grab some urban fashion shots for our instagram so decided to make use of the dark and cold feeling and headed to an underpass for our first location to get some moody shots.  An off camera strobe, shot through a soft box, gave me enough light to balance the darkness of the underpass, the strip lights along the roof of the underpass and Ryan.  We tried a few different shot from different angles and focal length, but I found the location lent itself to symmetry and many of the best shots made use of this.

We moved location and tried out another couple of sites.  Each location gave a different look to Norwich and I really enjoyed showing the City in a slightly different way.  There are many stunning places in the City but it also has its fair share of industrial and less elegant parts.  These locations didn't have the level of beauty as others but they made up by having so much of character and texture.

While we kept away from the normal tourist areas we did head for cover in the Royal Arcade.  This locations is beautifully Victorian in it architecture and one of the stunning locations Norwich has to offer.  I could have shot this to make the location grand and majestic but this would not have been in keeping with the narrative of our shoot so I kept it low key, with muted tones; trying to make the shot more introspective.


Gear used

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2017, what a year!

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2017, what a year!

After a short while off to have a break and join the masses suffering with flu like symptoms, I'm back and keen to get going.  So, before I start to look to 2018, it is always worth taking the time to reflect on the previous year and pick out some of my favourite shots.

2017 was a full-on year which gave me so much in building networks and added to the constant learning curve.  Being on the side lines during Norwich Devils games was a great experience, as well as seeing them put my shot to work in their promotional literature for both their adult and junior team.  2018 will see the team enter the National League and I look forward to being back on the field capturing the drama of the game.  

I worked with a wide range of models during the year which gave me the opportunity to continue to craft my style in portraiture, glamour, fashion and contemporary fashion.  The best part of this work has been meeting some amazing people.  While an image captures a fraction of a second, I have the pleasure of spending hours with them working towards a common goal of getting a great shot.

2017 has taught me more than just technical skills.  It's taught me that making it in photography, especially in the East of England, takes more than just being able to expose an image and edit it.  It takes energy, drive and not stopping when things go wrong (which, inevitably, they will).  One of the big revelations has been the need to get my work out there.  If I have a passion for what I do and put work out into the world, I will find an audience; keeping images on my hard drive will not lead to bookings and work.

Last year saw a big investment in equipment.  There is a real risk that photography can become about collecting kit and thinking equipment will make an image.  There is no doubt better kit will make things easier; better ISO performance means I can get wedding shots I couldn't get easily with older or less expensive cameras and there's no beating images from large sensor cameras.  However, it's the skill of seeing an image, composing it and conveying the concepts to collaborators which makes the shot. 

So what will 2018 have in store?

This year I'm going to focus on shooting more images and building my social media accounts.  This means more blogs, more posts to facebookinstagram and twitter and maybe a behind the scenes YouTube channel.  I already have some exciting shoots lined up but always looking for new collaborators with new ideas; give me a shout via IM on FB, IG or Twitter or via my website.

 

2017

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Norwich Devils Awards Night

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Norwich Devils Awards Night

It's not every day you come across a group of people who have a singular sense of purpose, focus and ambition.  Since meeting the Norwich Devils for the first time at the beginning of the year I've come to the conclusion that I have.  The dedication of the team, their coaches, support staff and supporters has seen them win games by a clear margin during an undefeated season.  Things are looking good for the team to enter the National League next year.

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The team has been wonderful to work with, full of character and passion on the field and, as I found out at their awards night, in equal measure off the field.  

The awards night held in Norwich and was a great chance for the team to recognise the efforts of people on and off the pitch as well as grab a few formal and informal photos.  To my surprise the team presented me gifts for my work with them this year.  I was not expecting to receive anything but I am very grateful for the presents and also the opportunity to work with such a great team.

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 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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