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Tag Archives: rock
climbing in the beautiful chek canyon. sidney poutier once visited this area in the filming of shoot to kill.
good session at a few spots in squamish on sunday. my first true crack climb. i’m actually at ground level here. extreme eh?
here are some of my favourite images i shot over the course of 2011.
as january’s go, this one was pretty cold. me and jen witnessed salt water freezing and one morning my camera packed up on the beach on a day that i reckon had to be less than -10 degrees in the wind. as land-based predators were able to walk on water, this swan became easy pickings for hungry scavengers.
coastival ended february and the levellers played to a packed crowd. having never really shot any gigs and without having a press pass i was running around in the crowd with only one lens. i got a few ok crowd shots and some nice shots of the previous band but the levellers had difficult lighting. i guess he liked the scarborough crowd.
ok, jen took this one but that dude is handsome, if a bit gormless.
a couple of mates were competing in the northern downhill race at alwinton so i headed up there to photograph a proper bike race. i may be wrong but i think this guy was the eventual winner.
it’s difficult illustrating speed and steepness in bike photographs sometimes, everyone says it, but if you look how far off the back of his seat he’s riding it gives some indication that he’s dropping down what is probably a 75 degree hill.
though i have the larger size of this image and i can see all the horrible distorted edges from combining 3 of the cheapest nd filters money can buy, about 4 quids worth, at this size i’m quite happy with this.
obviously those rocks are purple in real life as i don’t even use photoshop.
family holiday time in volcanic lanzarote. blue skies and white buildings, it’s clichéd but i like it.
there aren’t many decent thunder storms in the uk but in july we had a few days of good one. i’m glad this worked out ok since i got drenched and fell down a muddy embankment. those rain clouds on the left passed by really slowly and there was the occasional lightning bolt acoss the sea. had i caught one of those in this picture this entry would simply read ‘WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ but instead i have to do this interesting description.
photographing jen is easier than she thinks. firstly she’s more photogenic, or photojenic, than she thinks. secondly, i can just grab her head and move it to where i want it, something other subjects might object to.
we took these to use on jen’s website on a hot day in a meadow, one of scarborough’s best places to go on a hot sunny day. shame about the stupid poodle that ‘won’t hurt you, unless you have food’. i’ll happily punch a dog in the face if it eats my food.
i’m lucky that i rarely rushed to work on a morning, so it was easy to take a long route, or a different route every day. most days i’d get chance to take a couple of photos first thing. this might have been better in black and white, who cares. there seemed to be many ways to interpret their looks, like those paparrazzi photos that capture people in half blink and claim they’re paraleticly falling out of a club. i’m not sure if she’s looking at him in disgust or inbetween smiling. part of me thinks she’s probably looking at him to say ‘aren’t you going to fix this bloke taking a picture of us 10 feet away?’ but the fact they’re in a moving tram may have protected me.
surf comp time at cayton. from this moment on i vowed to sell my zoom lenses and buy fast prime lenses in future. after day 1 shooting specks of people surfing at full zoom, with cropping the images were awful. i went home and spent the evening thinking about how to shoot differently. on day 2 the conditions were far better, cleaner surf, breaking closer to shore, and with more people watching, i was able to get better wide shots and show more of what the surf competition was like as a whole, rather than focusing on the individual surfers.
there were still some sneaky sets coming in and a howling wind. white horses and white ships.
i’m happy with this mainly because of that light from the stained glass window. there’s not much else to say other than the band is the wind up radio sessions and i shot some photos of them while i was in montreal visiting my mate matt, in the blue shirt.
i took this a matter of days ago, when matt (above) visited us in vancouver. this lake provides vancouver’s drinking water.
water is plentiful in british columbia. it rains for days on end, the streams flow rapidly almost constantly. coming from the uk, where you pay for water, to a country powered by it, where water is free, highlights the differences geography can make to a place. while one country wallows in abundance, another struggles with scarcity.
it’s been a turmultuous year on earth, and while water doesn’t relate to all the problems inflicted on the world, it is the backbone of our human needs, accepted or craved, the one thing that we need to get right above all else. look around you, all that other stuff is superficial.
at 6pm last night when we set off out to pickering in the car, it did not look good. when we pulled up in the car park at the hole of horcum, it looked even worse. phone assured us that it would clear up at 9pm and visibility would be excellent but whilst we sat in the car the sky had gone black and it was lashing down. with 3 miles to walk to get to the stones, we were either going for it or going home.
needless to say we bit the bullet and set off in the dark down some tracks david vaguely recalled. it clearly worked out good though since we got there without a single moment of getting lost and also without a single instance of seeing any interesting creatures other than rabbits as dalby is completely devoid of animals, no matter what the forestry commission will have you believe.
pretty much right on cue, the clouds began to part and reveal the stars. the moon was a bit bright as we were really hoping to see the nebular cloud clearly, but the ferocious wind created some really fast moving clouds and the moon, which was unbelieveably bright, provided some really nice sidelighting and backlighting for a couple of shots. we could see a couple of far off thunder storms, probably 100s of miles away.
these were my favourite 4 from the evening. i’m a cloud blur fan. had it not been so cold and so bright we may have done some really long exposures but sitting down and doing nothing for an hour wasn’t a tempting prospect.
the walk back was interesting, especially when we met a farmer while walking across a field at midnight with headtorches. he was pretty friendly though, not friendly enought to offer a lift though.
this is becoming almost a weekly feature, this week my mate matt answers some questions. here’s a bit about him and his band first.
matt, apart from being the best man at my wedding last year, is a musician living in montreal. he plays in a folk-influenced 3 piece cited as ‘one of montreal’s finest up-and-coming bands’ (meet you at the show) along with brothers marc and dan kiely. their band, the wind up radio sessions, are currently working on their second studio album after a year of gigging and the promotion of their first album, red brick house (which you can listen to on spotify).
me and matt have been friends for years. we used to play together in bands. covers, hardcore, folk, basically from age 13 onwards we covered the musical spectrum from end to end. matt took music further than me (due to his talent and ability, and my lack of) and from the very beginning it was obvious his interest was greater than most. due to the geographical barrier we mostly speak over email these days. he emailed me this interview after i’ve been pestering him to do it for a few weeks now.
what is your musical history? where did it all start for you?
i was 11 when i started. at first, i took classical lessons, went through the grades and at the same time taught myself the basics on electric guitar. learning classical turned out to be the best starting point, as it gave me an incentive to keep going. over the years, i’ve carried on playing and evolving as a musician. in the band, i’ve been able to work on playing bass, ukelele, keys and percussion. i still consider guitar to be my main instrument, but the idea is to get the fundamentals of a wider range of instruments and always keep things fresh.
how do you think you’ve evolved musically from when you first began playing?
my approach has definitely changed a lot. i used to be more perfectionist and more bothered about just learning songs i liked. over the years i realized it was more important to put my own stamp on the things i play. now it’s a continuation of that – finding my niche, so even if it’s a chord progression done a thousand times before, there’s at least some honesty at the core of it.
are you working on anything at the moment that you are particularly excited about?
currently we’re recording our next album, which I’m very excited about. we’ve done two full sessions at a friend’s studio here in montreal and we’ll have a few more sessions over the course of the next two to three months before the mixing and mastering process begins. it’s been over a year and a half since our debut, so I’m eager to get some new stuff out there.
aside from the new album, it’s worth saying that we’re 100% independent, so we’re excited about the challenge of getting the necessary exposure. as of now, our reach has been through web reviews, blogs, podcasts and some college-radio. hopefully we can work on getting more of this exposure and once the album drops do a proper cross-country tour, touch wood.
do you write separately to the band and how much different do you think that is?
on my own, i’m always trying to find a good hook or a melody that plays out well over a guitar-part. lyrics-wise, I tend not to write anything down and instead I rely on my memory. it takes a long time before I’m satisfied with my lyrics, and most the time the emphasis is on the sound of the words as opposed to telling a story. with the band, it works differently – in many ways, dan is the nucleus of the group as he brings a lot of the ideas and we work on structure collectively. ocassionally, me or marc have an idea that comes to fruition. we also have a couple of new tunes that have been written in equal parts.
as for preference, I honestly couldn’t say as each method has it’s own merits.
who’ve been your biggest influences musically or otherwise?
my biggest influences in music are people who write memorable songs and have unique voices – for me, it’s all about the voice. marc e. smith, tom waits, don van vliet, joanna newsom, bill callahan … the list goes on and on. i listen to and appreciate all styles and since moving to montreal have come to realize just how many talented musicians there are. outside of music, i’m influenced by meeting interesting people. i’m lucky that in my day-job i’m surrounded by a lot of like-minded, intelligent folk. also, playing in the band allows me to meet people from all over the place.
with the saturation of talent, across many creative fields, and the ease of self-publishing and promotion, what do you feel the impact on music and musicians has been? do you ever see a future with music being your sole income or are you happy working to supplement your creative outlet?
it’d be great to not worry about money but realistically it would take some kind of miracle to get to the point where i can say it provides my income. i actually consider us lucky enough to break even from the shows we play that we can at least pay for our jam-space and travel expenses without dipping into our own pockets. it’s also worth saying that even though canada is a small market, there are government grants available. we were lucky enough to get a small grant that paid for most of our first album to be recorded. we’ve recently applied for another grant, so fingers crossed.
in general though it’s safe to say that it’s always been an extremely tough business in terms of sustainability and probably even more so now when every band uses the internet to promote themselves and in many cases give away their music for free.
being internet savvy is pretty much essential for any band and we realize how important it is for almost everything we do – getting shows, networking, finding out about other bands. it’s true there seems to be a saturation of talent but it’s not a bad thing. it just means you have to try extra hard to carve out a niche, as well as accept the fact there’s a hundred other artists in your neighbourhood alone.
for me it’s actually exciting to focus on these things and discard the idea of being ‘successful’ in a monetary sense. it gives perspective and as long as we’re happy with what we’re creating, we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing.
bass rock is a small rocky island just off the coast of east scotland. david attenborough described it’s 150,000 strong gannet colony as ‘one of the wildlife wonders of the world’. the result of this huge bird colony is the snow covered appearance and mass of tiny white specks surrounding it.