Client: CAR Magazine
Location: Marrakech, Morocco
Client: CAR Magazine
Client: CAR Magazine
Location: Marrakech, Morocco
Each year, one hundred and fifty thousand petrolheads flock to the mecca of motorsport, Goodwood's Festival of Speed. Held over three days, the show (unlike any other) lets fans get up close and personal with iconic cars and celebrities as they hurtle up Lord March's 1.16 mile driveway.
This year saw the FoS celebrate it's 20th Anniversary, whilst McLaren looked back over 50 years of remarkable achievements. From one legendary icon, to McLaren's next? Sergio Perez climbs out of Ayrton Senna's MP4-4 and into the eagerly awaited McLaren P1 hypercar, making it the car's first public debut.
Behind closed doors and with exclusive access, I'm given three minutes to shoot portraits of Checo. Gates unlocked, the car would then weave its way through a sea of spectators before catapulting CAR Magazine's Mark Walton up the hill with McLaren's test driver, Chris Goodwin.
Despite covering 373 miles in two days (most of which before dawn) and spending two full days at the show for just three minutes with famed Formula One driver Sergio Perez, it will remain a career highlight.
The P1 up close is breath-taking, especially in "Amethyst Black" with more exposed carbon fibre than you can shake a stick at.
A mass of intricate details, numerous tell-tale signs show that McLaren's F1 background has engineered the P1 to be a race car for the road. From it's indented nose that channels clean air into the roof-scoop, to the lightweight titanium-alloy wire mesh that surrounds the exhaust. Awesome! To read about Mark's experience in the P1 and see further images, check out October's issue of CAR Magazine.
Ask a professional table tennis player to serve eight balls towards the camera lens and guess what happens?
Eight out of eight shots soar into the lens hood at breakneck speed, blink and you'll miss it. This just goes to show why Andrew Baggaley will be representing Great Britain in this year's London Olympics.
With Andrew holding the title of Britain's leading Table Tennis medallist of all time at the Commonwealth games, it didn't take long for him to showcase his talent. Precision, stamina and tactics all play an important part in the game he explains. Ranked as England number one in every age category (U10, 11, 12, 14, 17 and 21) and coached by his brother Stephen, the Baggaley brothers are a force to be reckoned with.
Having recently attended the kitting out session at Loughborough, Andrew arrived home to his training ground of Milton Keynes complete with various Team GB outfits. Unbeknown to me, Table Tennis is actually ranked as one of the most watched Olympic sports worldwide. Enjoying a quick game or two myself, it would of been rude not to knock up with Andrew, and as you can imagine I didn't stand a chance.
Sponsored by the Swedish brand Stiga, Andrew currently plays for SV Pluderhausen in the German Bundesliga and can often be found jet setting between various international venues. Highly regarded as a possible medal winner for the upcoming games, Andrew was selected as one of the London 2012 Olympic Bid ambassadors. I'm sure you will all join me in wishing Andrew the very best, hoping he can bring home another gold medal. If you are on twitter, follow Andrew's progress here and send him some support!
Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, Blue Planet, Human Planet, Life and Ocean Giants are documentary titles you're probably familiar with. Created by extraordinary individuals, these programs are filmed over lengthy periods of time in often what are uninhabitable conditions.
Doug Allan is one of those cameramen, pushing boundaries, risking life and limb for our viewing pleasure. Winner of four Emmy and four BAFTA awards, he's clocked up over 500 hours of filming under the ice and can often be found at the poles capturing unforgettable footage.
Having just finished his "Life Behind The Lens" tour, it was now time for him to step in front of mine. I was lucky enough to attend Doug's nationwide tour in Somerset where he had me hanging off his every word. During the interval and in between book signings I approached Doug and asked him if he'd feature in the "I Am..." series. A few quick e-mails later and we have a date for our photoshoot.
The whole idea behind the "I Am..." Series is to capture the individuals in their working environment, however as you can imagine it would be hard to get out to Antarctica for a day! We tried contacting a few locations to see whether they would let us in to photograph, but sadly to no avail. Not to be defeated, Doug grabs his dry suit and we head down to Clevedon to simulate what Doug is widely known for, filming in and underwater.
I must stress at this point, to spend the day talking with someone who is an inspiration to you is a real privilege. Conversations from camera equipment to tales from the Artic left me feeling like I’d known Doug for years.
I'm often mocked for the amount of equipment I take on location, however Doug put that to shame as we piled in the numerous Peli cases. Parking up as close as we could, families on their easter holidays were relaxing nearby. It amazes me, that despite Doug walking through the car park in a full dry suit carrying the 25-30kg underwater camera housing that was used in "Ocean Giants", and myself lugging various bits of lighting equipment around we drew very little attention. Doug thought it must clearly be an everyday activity for them.
The coast is always windy, and I started to feel a little bit sorry for Doug on his day off as he climbed into the cold Bristol water, however when you consider he's used to temperatures of -25°C in Antarctica I’m sure it felt relatively warm.
As unprepared as I was, Doug very kindly lent me his wellington boots to wade out in. With my Elinchrom Quadra kit on the nearby dry bank and the fact my boots were now filling up with water, the distance we could head out was limited. Doug found that he was too buoyant to get any lower in the water level, and proceeded to weight himself down with large rocks placed on his legs! Kind passers by helpfully held my Deep Octa as it started to take on the properties of a kite in the wind. Trying my best to lean over and get my 5D Mark II as close to the water level as I dare, without filling up my boots with any more water it made the shoot a challenge.
Ironically, I think I ended up wetter than Doug did. I cannot thank him enough for taking the time out of his busy schedule to feature in this series; he's an absolute legend! If your interested in learning more about Doug and his fascinating career, feel free to take a look at his website here. The next time your watching a documentary such as those listed above, you can think of Doug as he spends nearly ten man hours filming for one minutes worth of television.
I can thoroughly recommend his book "Freeze Frame - A wildlife cameraman's adventures on ice", packed full with 35 years worth of unseen imagery, thoughts, tales, and insights from the far ends of the earth. Jokingly, as we parted company Doug mentioned the next time we shoot it should be underwater... More than happy to take you up on that offer! :)
His accolades boast becoming a world rowing medallist in the lightweight men's four for both 2010 and 2011. This time however, Chris Bartley is aiming for gold at the London 2012 Olympics.
Chris is another olympic hopeful who i've been privileged enough to meet and photograph as part of the "I Am..." Series. In the space of 24 hours, we arranged to meet at the Borlase Boat Club near Marlow where Chris both works and trains. As we were photographing on a launch which was in constant use, I decided to keep things simple and make one light portraits. With the club being supported by 2XU Clothing and Hudson Sculls, Chris was quick to get changed and step in front of the camera.
Given the recent bout of sunny weather, I used my all time favourite setup. An Elinchrom Quadra system combined with a Deep Octa, Tiffen 77mm VariND filter and a low aperture lens. I used a number of different diffusion setups with the Deep Octa, making it one of the most versatile pieces of equipment I own.
Chris is pictured in a single scull, however he is better known for competing (and achieving several gold medals) in the Lightweight Mens Four. After shooting some portraits on dry land it was time for Chris to get changed and hit the water.
With a whole host of titles under his belt, many years of experience and backed by Rampant Sporting, Chris is certainly a strong contender for this years games. Best of luck Chris!
If you can't stand the heat,
get out the kitchen...photograph it. I'd like to think I can cook, but when you spend five minutes in the company of a professional chef it dramatically brings you back down to earth with a bump.
In the idyllic setting of Potten End is Martins Pond, a friendly family run pub with a fast growing reputation for great food. Owners Melanie and Neil have developed an uncompromised commitment to flavour using the finest quality, fresh and locally sourced ingredients put together with a fine dining twist.
To say I enjoyed the experience of being in the buzz of a working kitchen is an understatement, and was thrilled to meet Andy Mayersbeth (head chef at Martins Pond) who showed the same kind of passion and devotion to food as I do photography. Watching somebody with this level of skill at work was a joy.
With the aim of creating environmental portraits, I wanted to depict the heated and pressurised environment a chef works in. Flambé, a technique Andy was only too happy to demonstrate as flames licked up the kitchen walls. Neil (owner and chef) meanwhile stands calm and proud in the foreground leaning on what I later found out to be a very expensive knife, oops. This image can be seen at the top of this post, and was created using two speedlites. A Canon 580EXII was placed camera left into a 38" Softbox with a 1/4 colour temperature orange gel whilst a 430EX speedlite hides out of shot, carefully positioned behind the left pillar to illuminate Andy, his mountain of fire and provide a rim on Neil's knife. All of these lights were triggered via the PocketWizard Flex system which makes setups like this quick and easy.
Despite the crazy atmosphere of a kitchen, the attention to detailed carried out by Neil's team is second to none which really shows the passion for their trade. Each dish is lovingly prepared and presented with absolute precision in a way that can only be described as art. Every plate that leaves the kitchen really does taste as good as it looks.
The pub itself dates back to 1924, however the actual site of the public house has been a source of hospitality since the 17th century. Under the watchful eye of Neil and Melanie the pub has undergone a recent transformation which sees customers attracted from far afield. I'll have to admit that one perk of this photoshoot was sampling the delights that come out of the Martins Pond kitchen in their recently refurbished dining room. The Sous Vide Beef was quite simply out of this world!
Interested in visiting Martins Pond? Check out their website here. The extensive hand selected wine list and local real ales are a great accompaniment to their menu, especially after you have walked through the beautiful surrounding area.
If you're interested in having your career featured for the "I Am..." series, feel free to get in touch. Thanks to Neil and Andy for taking time out to feature in this project. Look forward to having you on the website once it's launched.
Sunrise, 7am and 4th generation artisan baker Steven Oxford has already been working through the night to prepare Oxford's traditional English breads.
Established in 1911 by Frank Oxford, the Sherborne based bakery recently celebrated its 100th year anniversary. Despite the introduction of modern plant bakeries over the years, Oxford Bakery still prides itself in producing 'real bread', handmade using locally sourced ingredients.
I wanted to ask Steven to star in the "I Am..." Series as I grew up in the local area, eating their freshly baked goods and because I feel they have a great story worth sharing. Little did I know how passionate Steven was, and before long he had taken the time out to show us the in's and out's of baking. Truly gripped by his enthusiasm for the subject, it really hammered home why I want to do this project.
Testimony to their skill and dedication for the industry, Oxfords haven't changed their methods or recipes for over four generations and is what I believe is key to their success.
Ingredients are still combined using the original 1911 dough mixer, before being moulded by skilled hands using techniques that have been passed down between generations. Finally, it is left to "prove" before being cooked in the original Edwardian oven.
With Steven now at the helm of Oxfords Bakery, he's keen to teach and spread the word about 'real bread', running workshops from their bakery near Sherborne. Head on over to their website to find out more.
The original image in this post is my favourite of the shoot and will be featured on the "I Am..." Series website shortly. Shot on a 17-40 F4 L Wide Angle Lens with a Canon 580EXII Speedlite and 1/4 CTO Gel Camera Left in a 38" Softbox. The "rising sun" was courtesy of a Canon 430EX Speedlite with Full CTO Gel outside the window, triggered via PocketWizard Flex's.
A huge thanks to Steven for letting us in their charismatic bakery, a great insight into the history of baking!
The first post of 2012 and the start of something new. Looking back over the past nine months, it's been an eventful time. Photography is like no other career, more of a journey and one which i'm thankful to be a part of. In my relatively-short time as a professional photographer (when compared to others) no day is ever the same, made unique by the people you meet along the way and the stories they have to tell.
Last year, after we finished a corporate shoot in Buxton, I had time to shoot an environmental portrait of a foundry worker. Thrilled by the experience of getting to know the person behind the job, it's inspired me to start a large scale personal project for 2012.
By creating themed and theatrical portraits in their working environments, the aim is to showcase different career paths and the individuals behind them. These will then be catalogued with background information regarding the career on a new website called:
Capturing a career in it's natural surroundings will allow me to convey the characters personality in a single photograph. I'm looking to photograph different careers, from the popular everyday jobs right through to the unique and courageous that keep the world turning.
There is no doubt that this will be an ongoing project, as I could run into several hiccups along the way, i.e. getting permission or the rights to photograph in certain areas can be troublesome.
Each individual that I photograph will receive a fine art print in return for the opportunity they have given me. The photoshoot will then be featured on a behind the scenes blog showing the buildup, with the final image being displayed on the "I Am..." website.
It's going to be a real labour of love, taking large amounts of time to organise these photoshoots, but the outcome will be special.
If you are interested in helping out with this project, or have a career path you want to share, please feel free to get in touch.
I've already shot a few individuals for the project, and have some fantastic opportunities lined up for the coming months. Below are a few shots which kick started the whole idea:
Weather always plays a crucial part in the planning of any location shoot. This week has been a game of chance, checking weather reports online and waking up at the crack of dawn to see what loomed overhead. Earlier on in the week had been poor weather conditions, but at 6am this morning and a brief look out the window with a call to my client means I find myself heading to Porters Park Golf Course in Radlett, Hertfordshire. Despite being open 12 months of the year, this course is maintained to the highest of standards and it's easy to see why that at 7am there were already golfers queing to get out on course.
Matthew Masters is a PGA Teaching Professional. Given that Porters Park is such an idyllic setting, it was a fantastic opportunity to capture some shots of the pro in action. The above image was shot as part of a series, with 2 shots following to show his technique.
Last August I posted a review of the PocketWizard Flex system and this shoot is an example of where they really came into their own. Given that a pro golfer can swing a club at some serious speed, sync speeds of 1/200th won't cut it for the shots I had in mind. In comes the use of their Hypersync function, allowing faster shutter speeds (without the use of high speed sync) resulting in quicker recharge times and a longer battery life. The ability to use faster shutter speeds in an environment like this can provide some striking results such as where Matthew tried to shower me with sand (ISO 160, F3.5, 1/1600th @ 85mm):
Testimony to a great golfer, as despite me asking if it was possible to kick up more sand for the purpose of a dramatic shot, Matthew still managed to pot the ball in one shot! Matthew offers a personal tuition service and is currently undergoing a website revamp, but rather than use stock shots that so many businesses seem to use these days, Matthew wanted a more personal approach with images of himself at his home course:
The 18-hole, 6,362-yard golf course had us spoilt for choices in where to shoot, but with our noble steed for the day we set about making the most of various locations. The weather was ever changing which made for interesting conditions, but we managed to wrap up the 3 hour shoot just before the heavens decided to open.
Everything worked out as planned in the end, and it was an absolute pleasure to shoot Matthew for his new website. If you are interested in training with Matthew, please feel free to visit his website or facebook page and get in touch.