Monday, 11 March 2013

Lawson Champion Tour, 02 Academy, Bristol, 5th March 2013

 On Tuesday 5th March 2013 I was given the amazing opportunity to photograph Lawson during their Champion Square Tour at the 02 Academy in Bristol along with two supporting acts, Mike Dignam and ROOM 94.

I have been very fortunate to photograph in a variety of press pits before, some outside such as The Big Chill, and some inside such as Pilton Party, so I had a good understanding of which camera settings I wanted to use beforehand, however that always changes when you get to a venue. It was all very exciting for me.

I arrived at the venue just before 7.30pm, just in time for the first act, Mike Dignam. Mike Dignam is made up of five members; Mike Dignam himself, a 23 year old singer/songwriter from Preston, Roo Walker a guitarist, Sam Hocking a mix engineer, Sam Lord a bass player and Charlie Keeny on drums. Altogether the different members of the band have worked with a variety of A-List musicians such as Janet Devlin and McFly.
Mike Dignam.

The video on the left was made by Mike Dignam's videographer/photographer. The name of this gentleman is unknown as I did not have enough time to ask, but if I did, then credit would be given where credit is due. If you watch the video all the way through, you will see me numerous times in the stage pit. The video on the right is a Mike Dignam cover of a song written by Ella Henderson 2012.


To view more information about Mike Dignam, see their website: Mike Dignam.

Four membered band, Room 94 from London, of which three are brothers, were the following act to appear on stage. Kieran Lemon, lead vocals and guitar, Dean Lemon, backing vocals and drums, Sean Lemon, backing vocals and guitar who are joined by mutual friend Kit Tanton on bass.

During ROOM 94's performance, I kept seeing their sneaky photographer popping up in different places on the stage. I can't begin to imagine how difficult it was to move amongst the bands equipment.

These two left images are of Kieran Lemon, ROOM 94's lead singer. He was incredibly active, so I had to be able to think on my feet in order to make the right photograph of him. Kieran didn't make it easy, but I enjoyed the challenge. I have never known a lead singer to play with their hair so much! He was playing with his hair in the majority of the images that I made of him.

The video on the right is a new single from ROOM 94 called 'Chasing The Summer' that will be released shortly. The video is not the official video. Have a listen. ROOM 94 do not currently have a website, but they are on Twitter: ROOM 94. By the looks of it they have a lot of exciting things planned for the next few months, and they are currently on tour with Lawson, so I would definitely keep an eye out for them in the future.

LAWSON. The moment I was waiting for had arrived, the London based band Lawson were about to walk onto the stage. It was all very exciting as I could feel the adrenaline running through me. Lawson is made up of four members; Andy Brown, lead vocals, Ryan Fletcher, bass guitar and backing vocals, Joel Peat, lead guitar and backing vocals and Adam Pitts on drums. They played a variety of their best songs including 'Standing In The Dark', 'Taking Over Me', 'Learn To Love Again' and 'Die For You'. It was all very exciting. For the majority of the time that I was shooting, the band were stationery so without knowing, they made it so much easier for me to make photographs.

Here are some atmospheric images. The left image is Lawson's song list, and the right image is a sign that says "crowd surfing and throwing objects will get you thrown out".

The image on the left was taken by ROOM 94, and the image on the right was taken by Lawson. I didn't realise quite how busy and packed the venue was! If you look carefully at the image on the right you will be able to see me in the press pit.

Overall I am really happy that I was allowed the opportunity to photograph in the 02 Academy, so thank you to Aaron Buckingham and Mikey Jirku (Lawson PR) for making this possible. I'm very pleased with some of the images. What do you think? Have you ever been to a Lawson gig before?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Focus On Imaging 2013

I have been very busy lately, so I apologise for not blogging in a while. A lot of exciting things are happening soon.

In the past few months I have seen a lot of advertising for Focus On Imaging, the amazing photography convention that allows picture making lovers the opportunity to view a variety of seminars, try out different lenses, and meet other photographers along with much much more. So on Monday 4th March 2013, my mother kindly drove us on the 280 mile round trip to the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham where the convention was taking place.

We arrived at around 10.00am after leaving Somerset at just after 07.30am. It was a long long road trip, but it was definitely worth it in the end. The first exhibitor I wanted to visit was Canon, and lucky for me, it was right in front of the entrance to the convention. Canon had one of the biggest stands at the convention, with their space being split into two. On one side, they had their smaller cameras and lenses on display with a variety of other accessories including battery grips, but on the other side, my favourite side, the public were given the opportunity to test out the more professional lenses including the 70mm-200mm F2.8, and my dream lens the 400mm F2.8. This is a lens that I am saving up for and I am pretty determined to own one day. It is an absolutely beautiful lens, and I was lucky enough to test it on my 7D body.

After I had finished being overwhelmed by the beauty of these professional lenses, my mum and I made our way to our first of many seminars. Marc Aspland - 'The Art Of Sports Photography' on the Canon stand. I was dying to see this seminar, and it was definitely first on my 'to see' list. Marc Aspland is The Times chief sports photographer, and has been for a number of years, more than 17! Listening to his passion for photography was second to none, and I couldn't put a price on the knowledge and wisdom that I learnt during this seminar, the way he described his photographs, but also let them speak for themselves, it was overwhelming. He showed us a showcase reel of his best photographs from a variety of years and events, one of my favourite images of his that he showed was one from the Olympics this year. You can view my favourite image here: The Times, Marc Aspland, Olympics Pictures. He described the way that he made this image, and its story. For more photographs of Marc Aspland's, please visit: Marc Aspland. I would definitely recommend anyone vaguely interested in photography to view his website, and I'm pretty sure that he would answer any questions that you may have, depending on his time schedule too!

We also viewed two other seminars, Christian Hough - 'Expanding Your Lighting: Softboxes and umbrellas can only do so much, lets get creative' on the Bowens stand and Karl Taylor - 'The Secrets Of Product Photography'. Christian Hough showed us how a variety of different studio lights and accessories can be used in portraiture photography such as a 15° Snoot with a honeycomb fitted, and a Fresnel 200. I found it very interesting to look at the way that he set up his Bowen lights as he only used two to three lights at any one time including a main light, a hair light, and an additional light that was focused primarily on the background. Each light had a different effect on the final image that was made, and I enjoyed seeing the different steps that was taken in order to achieve it. It was such a simple set up,  and one that could be achieved on numerous occasions. Check out Christian's website if you have a bit of time, or if you are interested in studio photography with a twist: Christian Hough.

Karl Taylor showed us a completely different use for studio lighting. He showed us how to take product photography to the next level using a variety of everyday items including tracing paper, and silver metal from B&Q. In his display, he also used two or three studio lights, and orange acetate paper as he was photographing a bottle of Scotch. I don't want to explain his secrets to you, as that's what they are, but he was one of the many photographers that achieved the 'wow factor' with the images that he was producing. I was shocked many times during his seminar as he was using everyday items that I admittedly would never have even thought of using before, to achieve his final photograph including a piece of gold paper that was cut out to the size of the bottle. It was the use of simple things that made me think that you do not need expensive photography equipment to achieve a brilliant image. I would definitely recommend checking out his website: Karl Taylor. He makes everything seem incredibly easy to achieve.

There was also a variety of additional things to see, and stalls to look around including: The Royal Photographic Society, Calumet, The Flash Centre, Fujifilm, Manfrotto and Sigma Imaging to name just a few. There wasn't enough time in the day to look at every stall, but we tried our best.

During the day I accumulated many photography magazines thanks to my mum including the latest editions of: Amateur Photography, What Digital Camera, Professional Photographer, and The Photographer's Guide To Turning Pro. I was also lucky enough to be bought a rain cover for my camera body and lens, an LCD screen protector, and a battery grip. Very happy. I will hopefully be returning next year. If you are vaguely interested in photography, or want to know more about picture making, I would definitely recommending visiting this exhibition next year. You can learn so much, and gain so many contacts. It's brilliant. Did you go this year ?