A Commercial Photographer and Filmmaker's Blog.

Giving you a bit more detail about some of the things I get up to with a camera for moving and still images.

Closing the Blog
July 2023

the blog book.

I've decided to shutter my blog for now because I update almost daily on Instagram so you'll get a better insight in to my work from there than you would from infrequent updates to this page. Find me on Instagram as @sportsfilmsuk. If you've been a regular visitor here, thanks for taking an interest and I hope to see you over on Instagram.

A New Year of Sport
January 2022

Image of showreel one thumbnail.

We've arrived at a new year and I'm sure we're all looking forward to many busy month's worth of sports action. Whilst we wait for the events calendar to hot up, I've been using the Christmas downtime to put together a new showreel or four to highlight some of my favourite motorsport moments from the 2021 season. There was a great variety of action, from World Superbikes through to British Touring Cars, all of which brought their own unique qualities to the footage I created. It's been great fun to put these showreels together and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have filming and editing them. See the showreel here. Happy new sports year to you.

Work in Print
Digital Camera Magazine
November 2021

Image of the article in the magazine.

I was very pleased to see my work featured in the November 2021 issue of Digital Camera magazine. I was asked to write an article about photographing local sports and to also supply the images to illustrate it. This was quite easy for me to write as Iíve always used local, low key sports as a way of practicing and trying out new techniques. There are so many events that take place, perhaps under most peoplesí radar that are just as exciting and interesting as the large events so many photographers always want to photograph. The article was across three pages with one image used across two pages and thatís just how I like to see them, used large.

Lockdown Time
How I Kept Busy
May 2021

Image of a Caterham Seven.

As weíre seeing some hope of the end of lockdown in the UK, hereís a little look back at what kept me sane through those unprecedented months of national inactivity. As a business owner I found like most others that enquiries dried up very quickly once the lockdown started which left me with a dilemma and an opportunity. We all had a lot of time on our hands so the dilemma was what do I do with that? I canít look to get out and make new work or visit clients or shoot commissions so I decided to use that time to make new work from my archive. Luckily I have an extensive collection of diverse work especially from motorsport so I was able to dive in to that and look to create new edits to share via my social media channels.

The challenge for me has been to create new and interesting work on an almost daily basis. I experimented with new editing techniques, new looks and new styles. Not only was I stretching myself technically and artistically, every post was an opportunity to see how my audience reacted to the work and gauge the feedback to those new looks.

I might not be out and about but I can still maintain a virtual presence for my business by posting to the usual places and tagging in other accounts that might be interested in what Iím putting out. We all know how social media works now so I know I wasnít alone using this strategy but Iím happy I explored these new horizons for my work. I think I used the time wisely and Iím proud of what I created during the lockdown. Who knows if it was effective but I know I enjoyed and continue to enjoy the challenge of keeping that new work output.

Find me on Youtube and instagram here:



Using Social Media as an Alternative
April 2021

Image of a sauber mercedes c9.

If you follow technology developments youíve probably heard of blockchain, a data structure that supports crypto-currencies and other systems to provide secure and unchangeable auditing of financial transactions.

When someone makes a transaction connected to a crypto-currency, the transaction is recorded within the blockchain and canít be amended or removed. This becomes a permanent record of ownership that canít be changed. This avoids fraudulent attempts to steal the currency by providing trustworthy ownership records.

If youíre a photographer youíre probably well aware of how easy it is to copy images posted on the Internet and hard it is to prove ownership of those images if thereís a copyright infringement. Whilst there are now systems in place that use blockchain technology to record ownership of images, these are still new in the creative world so itís yet to be seen if blockchain for photographers and creatives will take off.

There is though an alternative using existing public access systems. That alternative is Twitter. Obviously this isnít a recognised technology for proving copyright ownership but it does time and date stamp tweets so any tweet with an image attached can be shown to have been published by someone at a certain time. These tweets canít be changed by the public so work in a very similar way to blockchain.

Iíve used my own tweets to prove I own copyright to my work when it had been used without permission by a third-party. Of course Twitter isnít designed to be used this way at all but it can be useful for confirming who published an image first.

Video Editing
Using HD Video in Vertical Format
March 2021

Image of a motorbike racer.

If like me you've seen how successful vertical-format video has become on Tik-Tok and Instagram's Reels you're probably wanting to start making your own clips too. I certainly was and thought that I had lots of great video to use in those clips. However I found that they're 1920x1080 and vertical-format doesn't fit that shape. I've written an article about how I worked around this to create my own Reels using my 1920x1080 video. Find the article here.

Sports Photography and Filmmaking
The Lockdown Continues
January 2021

Image of a Lotus 81.

Here we are in January 2021 and in the U.K weíre still under Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Like everyone else Iím frustrated and disappointed that this is dragging on because I want to get back out in to the world of sports and create fresh work. The plans I had for 2020 vanished very quickly once access to sporting events was stopped so I hoped things would have cleared up by 2021 so I could kick start those plans again.

Iím still hopeful that there will be a return to some kind of normality but right now this is looking like itís some months away, maybe even Easter at the start of April. If Iím going to be positive I can say thatís only 10 weeks away and hope the vaccine rollout has a substantial impact meaning that normaility weíre all desperate for can return.

Like a lot of other people Iím making the best use of this time away to practice new techniques, learn and also put together new examples of my work. I certainly donít feel like Iíve wasted this opportunity of extra time and tried hard to make best use of it and have enjoyed this time. That said, I canít wait to be back in the great outdoors filming and photographing sports once more.

Wishing you a happy new year and here's hoping we get some of that normality back very soon.

Sports Photography
The Excitement of Published Work
August 2020

Image published in Octane Magazine.

I count myself as very lucky to have seen so much of my work used in the national press, magazines and book covers which as a media producer making a living this way these are the places I want to see my work. I remember the first time I saw my images in print, it was an article about photographing hot air balloons at a festival dedicated to the sport. That was a huge thrill to open the magazine and see my work on the page.

Even today I still get excited to receive a magazine in the post from the publisher who has very kindly sent me a copy. That thrill hasnít diminished in any way. My latest published work is in the pages of the August 2020 edtion of Octane, a high-end motoring magazine in the UK. They featured an image of Jamie Chadwick testing in her Douglas Motorsport F3 in heavy rain at Donington Park. You can see the image featured in the magazine in the picture here.

I think most creatives would say that theyíre spurred on by the excitement of seeing their work published and itís a motivation to see more of it. It certainly drives me on thereís no doubt. (No pun intended but it fits quite nicely!)

Sports Photography and Filmmaking
The Lockdown Continues
January 2021

Image of a Lotus 81.

Here we are in January 2021 and in the U.K weíre still under Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Like everyone else Iím frustrated and disappointed that this is dragging on because I want to get back out in to the world of sports and create fresh work. The plans I had for 2020 vanished very quickly once access to sporting events was stopped so I hoped things would have cleared up by 2021 so I could kick start those plans again.

Iím still hopeful that there will be a return to some kind of normality but right now this is looking like itís some months away, maybe even Easter at the start of April. If Iím going to be positive I can say thatís only 10 weeks away and hope the vaccine rollout has a substantial impact meaning that normaility weíre all desperate for can return.

Like a lot of other people Iím making the best use of this time away to practice new techniques, learn and also put together new examples of my work. I certainly donít feel like Iíve wasted this opportunity of extra time and tried hard to make best use of it. That said, I canít wait to be back in the great outdoors filming and photographing sports once more.

Wishing you a happy new year and here's hoping we get some of that normality back very soon.

Sports Photography and Filmmaking
Keeping Busy in Lockdown
June 2020

Images from the Dunlop British Junior Squash Finals.

Iím writing this in mid-June amid one of the most extraordinary events of recent world history: the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown. Never have I known such restrictive measures imposed on a population to try and bring the spread of the virus under control. Of course the actions taken made complete sense, staying indoors, isolated, business closures and the cancellation of all events.

Seeing the temporary end of sports for over three months (so far) has been hard and having to stay inside has been equally as difficult. However as soon as all of this kicked off and we all had to stay indoors I knew I had to make the most of the time and turn this lockdown in to something positive. I looked to my database of sports footage and imagery to make new work to promote my business. I wanted though to not just keep making the same things but to try new techniques and ideas. This meant being inspired by the work of others and seeing why I liked what they did. What was it that caught my eye? Itís important to me though to take only inspiration and not to copy what others have done. Itís easy to copy great work in the hope that some of that workís Ďsuccess dustí is sprinkled on to ours but that is kind of hollow. For a real sense of achievement I try to push my own boundaries. Of course thereís nothing new under the sun but to keep exploring new ways to create work for my skill set is important.

Iíve made a number of new motorsport movies and a couple of my favourites are Redgate Corner and The Sound of Motorsport. Both are celebrations of motorsport but in very different ways. With the film about Redgate I wanted to capture the excitement of the first turn of Donington Parkís iconic race circuit. Itís at the end of the start/finish straight and not only is it the first point of difficulty after making a start, itís the pain of corner that forces you to slow down after going flat out down that lovely long straight. Itís also the point where a winner can begin to take in a victory or a memory of a poorly judged line or braking point as the gravel trap looms large. The Sound of Motorsport is all about the feeling of listening to the cars. Iím not alone in enjoying the sound of a screaming F1 car or the squeal of brakes. Maybe one day we can add smell to the mix and get the full motorsport sensation.

If you want to have a look at the films they can be found here.

Iíd like to say a humble thank you to all of those people who worked through the lockdown in key roles to keep us all safe, help us to recover, served us in the shops, continued to make our food and essentials plus a multitude of other workers we needed to keep our society going. So many people have risked so much for all of us. Thank you to you.

I hope thereís some light at the end of our lockdown tunnel and we can return to getting out there once again and enjoying these events. In the mean time, stay safe.

Sports Photography
Dunlop British Junior Squash Championships
November 2019

Images from the Dunlop British Junior Squash Finals.

I was very happy to return to The University of Nottinghamís David Ross Sports Village to shoot the last two days of the Dunlop British Junior Squash Championships for England Squash. This meant covering the quarter-finals and semi-finals on the Saturday and then all of the finals games on Sunday.

The venue has a stunning glass court surrounded by seats on three sides and gives the audience an incredible view of the game. The fourth side, the back wall, has a photographerís pit and from here is the most incredible view of the action on court. At foot level looking back at the players and what a privilege it is to shoot the game from there.

The game is so fast it takes some concentration to track the play and catch the game at the peak of the action. As Iím shooting with an editorial perspective, the challenge for me is to capture great action and at the same time show both players in the frame. Also, to ensure each player is seen at the front of the frame and at the peak of the action with the ball. This means that the editors always have a Ďwinner in actioní with their opponent also featuring in the pictures to use for the match reports for the media following the game.

The images featured here show the winners from the Under-19 Boys and Under-19 Girls finals.

A Look at my Video of the
McLaren MP4/1 - October 2019

The McLaren MP4/1 in the pit garage.

I was very lucky this week to have the opportunity to film an iconic piece of motorsports history, the great Niki Laudaís McLaren MP4/1. This was down at Donington Park to test with owner and driver Bobby Verdon-Roe. I had a chat with Bobby in the paddock and he told me the car hasnít been on a track for three years. It was seeing the light of day again after an engine rebuild by the team from Historic Automobiles who were there with Bobby for the test day.

I put together a video of the car on track mixed with stills from the pit garage including one shot of the car without the aerodynamic bodywork. What an amazing sight it was to see the monocoque and the how the car is built around it. Itís a surprise to see how little protection there is for the driver in comparison to todayís formula one cars. How brave they were to drive these competitively and on the edge.

On the day Bobby didnít push the engine and took it easy doing just a few laps all day. At times it was also raining heavily and combine that with a number of red flags as other cars went off then the day's track time was all too often disrupted.

With just a few laps to capture the car on track it was a challenge for me to get enough footage to make an interesting car profile however I had just enough to mix with the stills to make something I was happy with. The finished film has proved very popular on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube with the McLaren having once been Nikiís car likely to be stirring up the interest.

If you're looking for a car or driver video profile for your team or brand, get in touch and we can discuss what you'd like to do.

To see the video click here.

Hull Cartridge Company
Brand Ambassadors - March 2019

examples of the brand ambassadors portraits

This was an interesting Ďshootí, no pun intended really, well maybe, working with the Hull Cartridge Company photographing their latest brand ambassadors in formal portraits and outside in the shooting environment. All of the people in front of the camera were top clay pigeon competitors, including world champions and commonwealth games medal winners, who help to promote the Hull Cartridge brand to their target audience.

On the day we had to get a number of portraits of each person in a variety of poses all of which were against a white background. Then we had to go outside and get shots of each ambassador shooting clays, from different angles and backgrounds. This was a challenge as not only are there very strict rules about health and safety in these environments and quite rightly so, it was blowing a gale and raining. This meant we had to work very quickly outside to get the shots Hull Cartridge needed from the day. Everyone was up for getting the images I the bag and each and every ambassador was only too willing to ensure we got what we needed despite the awful weather.

I was very pleased with how the images turned out and had a very enjoyable day working with Hull Cartridge Company and their brand ambassadors. As you can see from the images here, the photography looked fantastic.

Creating a Daytona-style Image from Scratch - February 2019

before and after of the gulf porsche on the track.

As a photographer and filmmaker I enjoy stretching my creative muscles to come up with something unlike anything Iíve made before. These little projects are never planned, they kind of appear after an idea has materialised in my mind. The latest work that came about because I wanted to see what it would look like if I took an image of a sports car, already on track but transformed in to a 24 hour Daytona style, night time image. Not just stopping there though, it has to be raining too.

The image I chose was of a car that competes in these very long events and was equipped with headlights. As it happens, the before photograph, whilst taken in broad daylight, features the car with its headlights on so this kind of gave me a little step up to start.

Without boring you with the details of how it was done, broadly, I had to cut out the car from the original background and create a night-time scene from scratch, adding the road, dark sky, spray at the rear of the car and light in front of the car from its headlights. There are a few subtle touches such as the red light at the rear of the car from the taillights, the white line at the edge of the track, the glow of the panel in front of the driver and the raindrops. I also added the headlights of a car further back in the rain and mist to enhance the sense of a racing scene in bad weather. The only part remaining from the original image is the car. As you can see from the start and finish images here, itís quite a transformation.

I think it turned out very well. So well in fact that Iíve added it to my portfolio. See the image in my portfolio here. If youíre looking for a photographer and filmmaker who specialises in sports Iím always available for a chat about what youíre looking for.

Those Photographs We Don't Take - December 2018

the blog book.

As photographers weíre supposed to interpret the things we see in an instant by capturing the scene with our cameras. We can then all look back on what we saw and how we described our vision in a photograph for everyone to see.

There are times though when Iíve seen a potential photograph form in my mind and then not taken a picture, choosing instead to walk on and leave the scene behind. However I find these missed opportunities almost haunt me. For some reason as time goes on I tend to remember these non-images in great detail and feel ever disappointed that I didnít take the shot. In some ways Iíll use the memory of the images I didnít take as a motivator for not missing a shot ever again. I really donít like to think about those missed pictures and adding to that missed library collection.

Itís that time of year again, so Iíd like to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year. May 2019 bring you everything you hope for.

Motorsport Photography - November 2018

Example of automotive photography.

A small blog post for this month as I wanted to highlight the new collection of motorsport images I've put together. I've been shooting a lot of cars these last few months and there are some great images which you may not get the opportunity to see, so I've put a little collection together via the link below. It's always difficult knowing which images to add to my portfolio especially at times like this when there are quite a few I like and would include but really only one or two should go in there otherwise it becomes diluted with pictures of cars which doesn't give an idea of the cross-section of my skills.

The link to the collection is here.

British Junior Squash Championships - October 2018

squash images.

Really enjoyed working with England Squash last weekend to shoot the 3 day Dunlop British Junior Squash Championships in Nottingham. The quality of the play from such young athletes was incredible and a joy to watch. (Albeit through the viewfinder of my camera.)

Squash played at this high level is a fascinating mix of moments spent in quiet contemplation between points and bursts of high energy attempting to win those points. Much like any time-level spot these days there is an important mental side to the game as much as the physical and it was interesting to see how the players find their own ways to gather their thoughts on court.

The challenge for me as a photographer is to be able to get action shots in circumstances that are quite frankly very difficult for photography. Whilst the lighting at the University of Nottinghamís brilliant glass court was the best it could be, it still only allowed me to shoot 1/500th at f2.8 and ISO 2500. It was useful to find the court lighting was daylight balanced so some thought had obviously gone in to the quality of the light. The speed with which the players move demands a fast shutter speed otherwise many of their movements are captured only as a blur and frankly these images arenít much use.

The court was designed with media in mind and provided a window and media pit below the wall of the court so I was able to shoot towards the players. This is essential for great Squash images as otherwise the only other place to work from is behind the court which severely restricts the photography options.

This was a great tournament to shoot and a great team of people to work with.

Getting Cold and Wet for a Great Picture - September 2018

racing mini in rain and spray.

Sports photography is a dramatic genre freezing fractions of a second and capturing the intimate detail of a moment the human eye has no chance of seeing. Think two footballers chasing a ball, pushing and pulling on each other as they battle to gain possession. The frozen expression, muscle and desire ca only be seen in the image.

For me as a photographer, as much as I love to shoot that kind of work, I love the drama bad weather adds to a picture. Itís easy to be out there when the sun is shining and the landscape is nicely lit but this adds little to the image and can be a boring backdrop. Given the choice between a glorious sunny day and shooting in appalling weather conditions, Iíd take the latter every time. The rain, wind, cloud and cold of poor weather adds a whole new level of drama to any image and makes for a great photograph just as much as capturing that decisive moment ever does.

Take the shot here, where a racing Mini Is making its way through the spray down towards Melbourne Hairpin at a wet, rainy Donington Park. Without the power of the poor weather this would have been a most boring shot but add all that grizzle and for me this is a very moody dramatic image.

It can be quite hard to get motivated to go out in these conditions as really we can expect to get soaked, frozen and at times feel most miserable but the payback is shots like this that we just canít get on the safe days. Give me bad weather all day long and Iíll take a towel to dry myself off when Iíve finished.

Latest Sports Showreel - August 2018

showreel image for sports.

You may have noticed the new showreel on my homepage. From time to time I like to put together a new collection to reflect my latest work and to mix it up with some older work too. Whilst the reel is only 2 minutes and 30 seconds in length, it always surprises me how long it takes to put one of these things together. For me the process starts by finding a piece of music that fits with my vision for the reel. For this reel I wanted the music to be upbeat and exciting but with an interesting ebb and flow to work with the imagery and footage that isnít so fast paced.

Now the editing begins and I can start picking out which new work I want to include, older work that goes well with the newer stuff and retrieving it from my archive. I then decide how I want to order it all. I like to have a flow through so thereís generally a reason why one piece follows another although sometimes unless youíre in my head you might not spot it. Sometimes itís a colour, a shape or the background. Once I have a rough order of the clips and images aligned with the music I being the process of refining the cuts and the pan and zooms of the images. Itís never right first time so a few renders and reedits are needed to get it just right. Thereís always a temptation to put it online too quickly so once I think Iíve finished I leave it overnight and view it again the next day with fresh eyes to see if Iím still happy with it. Itís taken about 2 days to put together.

You can see it here.

My Work on the Big Screen - July 2018

chris baxter the basketmaker holding willow.

Living in Nottingham and being involved in the creative industries, thereís an independent cinema in the centre of town thatís a bit of hub for creatives and hugely popular with people interested in the moving image. That cinema is called Broadway and itís my venue of choice to watch movies, both blockbuster and small indie. For me it has a bit of a cult status and always seems to have a bit of a buzz around it, even when Iím dropping in for a coffee. Such is its reputation it has a screen designed by the Nottingham-born world-famous designer Paul Smith.

It is then with some pride that my latest short documentary, The Basketmaker, has been selected to feature as part of the Short Stack evening that shows a curated collection of short films at Broadway. It will be very exciting to see my work up there on a screen that Iíve often visited to watch the work of others. For anyone whoís interested, the evening is open to all starting at 6:30pm on July 15th.

Making Documentaries - June 2018

the blog book.

Itís Friday afternoon and Iím thinking about tomorrow when Iíll make a start on a new personal filmmaking project. Whilst I donít want to reveal what the film is about just yet, itís a new additional to my engineers and creatives series where I film people who use their skills to create and make.

These projects are always a journey in to the unknown in some respects. Of course I have an idea about what I want the film to look like and what it has to say but along the way thereís usually a surprise or two that I couldnít have foreseen and planned for. These little things that come along like this can have a big impact on the story so my plans for the story board have to be flexible enough to accommodate the new material.

I have also been considering shooting some of this project in raw as all of that glorious detail can only add to the beauty of the finished film. However the file sizes raw requires is immense and I might just give it a miss this time. Many many gigabytes of data are required just for a few minutes of footage and thatís just not something I want to work with right now. However it will definitely be in my plans to be able to shoot raw footage as soon as possible.

I always get excited about the start of a new film, the chance to dive in to a new story and turn that in to what is hopefully an interesting film that people will enjoy.

Making Documentaries - May 2018

the blog book.

In last month's blog entry I wrote about my latest completed short documentary The Basketmaker. As one personal project finishes Iím always on the lookout to start another and happily I have something lined up. At the moment Iím not going to reveal the details as I prefer to talk about finished work rather than use blogs and social media as a platform to go on about how Iím working through something.

Iíve noticed that finding interesting people about whom I can make a short documentary can be as tricky as putting the film together. Whilst there are lots of people out in the World doing interesting things that easily capture my imagination, not all of them want to feature in a film which can be quite a disappointment especially as some folks probably have a fascinating story to tell. However I totally respect their privacy and not wanting to be out there on the Internet.

For the people I do feature in my work though, itís always a pleasure and an honour to be allowed to get to know them a little and to see how and why they do what they do. Iím especially interested in fellow creatives, designers and engineers. Perhaps at opposite ends of a Ďmakingí vibe but ultimately to me theyíre all people who combine the skills of their minds and hands to make things. Sometimes engineering looks likes art and at times art looks like engineering. I can look at a bridge or a car in the same way that I might stare at a beautiful painting. The great thing thing for me is that Iím able to meet the kinds of people who make these wonderful things and tell a little of their story. An honour indeed.

My Latest Documentary - April 2018

chris baxter the basketmaker holding willow.

Iíve just finished my latest short documentary film, The Basketmaker, about Nottingham-based maker Chris Baxter. I met Chris whilst doing some research for another film project and was quite taken by her work. Chris creates her baskets using willow, which she either grows herself or buys commercially. Regardless of how the materials are obtained, I liked that the raw material for products was 100% sustainable and comes from nature with little environmental impact.

When I decided to make the film I felt it important that we include that sustainability because today more than ever it is so important for the future of the planet that we find ways to move away from our reliance on plastics.

For anyone from Nottingham, including me, there is added interest here as Chris tells us about how basketmaking and willow production was once a huge industry in Nottinghamshire. I was certainly not aware of this. Part of Chrisís practice includes running courses to teach others the skills of making a basket and she often goes in to the historical origins of basket making in the area.

I really enjoyed making this with Chris, it was not only an opportunity to see the craft in action but to also discover more about the heritage of the place where I live.

To see the documentary click here.

New Season New Season - March 2018

book with blog on the front.

March is the month when Spring is supposed to return and with it many sports start their new season. I say supposed because as I write this thereís all sorts of predictions for late Winter bad weather which will delay all that glorious Spring sunshine.

One sport in particular I look forward to covering and thatís Canoe Slalom. Living in Nottingham means Iím lucky enough to have a world-class slalom course on my doorstep at Holme Pierrepont. March will see the premier division paddlers making their first visit to the course. For me, they are the ultimate water sports competitors. No other sport seems to offer such action and drama as Canoe Slalom. The athletes battle with some wild water conditions and all their efforts and emotions are visible right before us amongst the water spray.

It has always been a minority sport in the UK despite it being very exciting to watch so it doesnít draw huge crowds which is a shame. I for one will be really looking forward to getting down there to see the new seasonís paddlers in action and hoping the winter weather is long gone!

Stories, Not Gear - February 2018

book with blog on the front.

As visual-media creatives weíre all in to gear to some degree as without it we canít create our work. As a filmmaker/videographer Iíve noticed over the last few years that the progression to new standards such as 4K, HDR and looming on the horizon, 8K has quickened. Thing is, these new standards are rolled out as features of new gear which seems to generate a sense that existing or older standards arenít good enough anymore. Brands are very clever at making the new stuff very appealing to us creatives which I suppose is what theyíre there to do; sell stuff.

Really though if we take a step back and think about this, do we really need to have the latest and greatest bit of all-singing-all-dancing kit to produce our work? The full HD standard is still a great format to work with and yet many now are hooked on 4K. I totally see the appeal of the bigger format and there are some real benefits when it comes to composition if the final work is to be shown in HD. (Filming in 4K allows the frames to be cropped down to the full HD standard and offers the editor additional scene options). There though is one of the fundamental issues with 4K, who is really watching anything in 4K? Of course some people are but I expect that the majority are still doing their viewing across the Internet using full HD.

Iíve always believed that the story should top everything. If itís more important that something be filmed in 4K than what the story is about then weíve lost something. An interesting piece made in a small format is always going to top a boring piece made in glorious 4K. If filmmaking is about the gear then the filmmaker is probably not going to make very interesting stories. Gear doesnít matter, itís only ever about the story.

New Year, New GDPR Law - January 2018

happy new year 2018.

So here we are in 2018 and looking forward to fresh challenges as a creative and as a small business owner. There are of course the usual thoughts about how to grow my client base and making new personal work that expands my own experience and knowledge and offers me some creative satisfaction. This year though there will be a new challenge for the business; GDPR or to use its longer title General Data Protection Regulation. This is a new European law that comes into effect in May of this year.

GDPR is designed to give individuals more power and protection over their own information. This means businesses both large and small have to look afresh at how they manage personal information stored within the IT systems. These new regulations are a big step forward compared to existing data laws in terms of protecting an individualís information and how business has to accommodate that. For instance new data-specific roles may have to be created within the business which obviously has an impact on employee numbers, roles and responsibilities. Just this requirement alone is quite complicated in that the person taking on this role cannot have other responsibilities within the organisation and has to almost be independent of the businessís use of the data but is responsible for the regulation around that data.

As photographers and filmmakers we have to consider our imagery as data so we need to understand how this fits in to the new laws. This blog is not big enough to go into the details of the new laws but it is important that all business owners are aware these changes are coming and ensure theyíre compliant.

Obviously this blog post is meant as informative only. Should you need expert advice, you are advised to seek the services of a knowledgeable person.

Great Big Storage? - December 2017

book with blog on the front.

I was recently asked to find a storage solution for a network where the storage capacity was about to reach its maximum. This was down to the increased use of video files, which, as we all know can be huge. For many years the users of this network shot photography almost exclusively so managing the thousands of images was no problem at all. However the recorded videos became very popular and thereís no going back.

After investigating some storage solutions, such as adding more disk to existing servers or adding more servers, I decided that a NAS (network accessible storage) unit was the answer. The device I selected was a Buffalo which included 4x2TB hard drives, giving a total capacity of 8TB in a flat file system. Whilst that 8TB of space would have been nice, there was no redundancy capacity. This means that should a hard drive fail, all of the files are lost, regardless of which drive fails. The NAS can be configured quite extensively and one of the options offers a configuration of the drives to avoid data loss. The option I selected was the RAID5 config, where the disk management within the NAS places the data across all of the drives and should one of the four drives fail, all of the data can be recovered when the failed drive has been replaced. The penalty for this is a loss of some storage space so they ended up with a little less than 6TB of available disk space. For me the trade-off is well worth while because I know they have a robust file protection system in place.

I set this device up to use the Ethernet network connection but it also has a USB interface which should cover most peopleís connectivity requirements.

Other things I liked about the Buffalo NAS was the web-based management interface, accessed simply by entering the IP address. I also liked how the device integrated in the Windows network management and seamlessly worked with network user permissions making security settings a doddle.

As photographers and filmmakers weíre always looking at how we can store our ever-growing archives of data and this neat little NAS is a great solution for mass storage at a reasonable price. I would certainly consider one for my own storage needs.

It's that time of year again with Christmas and new year just around the corner so I'd like to wish you all the very best season's greetings and a happy and prosperous new year.

Time For Another Blog Entry Already? - November 2017

book with blog on the front.

I write something for my blog every month and yet I know from my Google Analytics that itís rarely read by anyone. So at times it does feel that Iím rather wasting my time. Iíve asked myself many times, what the hell point is there to this? Coming up with something slightly interesting on the off-chance someone actually drops by the blog page?

Actually though, despite this, I enjoy the process of writing. I suppose itís another part of being a creative, that is, making something from nothing in the hope to not only please ourselves but the people who cast their eyes over our work. I find thereís something very satisfying about putting a well-written sentence together. In my opinion of course. I really am pleasing myself here. Someone reading this might think this is drivel. As with any creative endeavour perhaps the biggest challenge is coming up with the ideas in the first place and for me, writing or creative photography can be a challenge to get the ball rolling. Funny though, once that ball has begun itís momentum, sometimes itís hard to stop and yet, other times, the ball seems to be rooted to the spot and will roll nowhere. Maybe thatís something I should write about in a future blog, creative block. Anyways, Iíve waffled on for a while here and put together something that resembles enough text to fill an entry for November.

Social Media and Me - October 2017

an image of a re-enactor in military uniform.

As a visual media creative working in a world of social media, I have the usual accounts, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I know there are more but for me these three are more than enough. I love Twitter and get so much out of using it. I suppose because I follow just the right people who tweet things that really interest me. I also enjoy joining in on the conversations, adding some of my work and sharing tweets about general photography, filmmaking and other creative bits and bobs.

Twitter is easy to use and immediate. Mostly anyway, the Ďin case you missed ití feature is a bit hit and miss. Whilst I understand why lots of people use Facebook, I just donít get the same satisfaction out of the bits of information it feeds me compared to Twitter.

Instagram is such a different platform from the other two. It doesnít feel like a social media platform to me, it just feels like a photo and video sharing site. I enjoy seeing other peopleís work and itís always fun to find other photographers who make great work but somehow the experience of using it falls behind Twitter but actually ahead of Facebook. Iíve been on there for a while and have only gathered a small following which is fine but compared to the following of some people, who have posted very little content and yet have a huge following, I have a tiny number of followers. It does though amuse me how the follower count goes up and down in leaps and bounds. Itís a weird platform in that respect, however Iíll continue to use it because I know a lot of editors and prospective clients use it and theyíre always on the lookout for new work and fresh ideas so I want to keep it fresh and active. I just never know whoís going to come across my work. I've recently uploaded some images from a long-term personal photography project called 'Living History' which features portraits of people who attend reenactment events and dress in costumes of times gone by. Whilst my commercial work is always sports and lifestyle for brands, I like to show an alternative side to what I do to give variety.

Me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/sportsphotographeruk/

Digitising My Archive - September 2017

land yacht remote camera example.

I started my photography career shooting on film so I have quite a lot of imagery thatís very much analogue. Because these photographs arenít digital, they donít get much attention and sit in files and folders generally hidden away and doing a great job collecting dust. Recently though Iíve wanted to make more of this older work as there are some great shots amongst these pictures and itís a real shame they arenít available to me to use for social media, my website and promotional materials. To give this images a new lease of life I had to digitise them but I didnít want to spend a fortune on paid-for services or buying more gear if I could possibly avoid it. I really wanted to try and do this with my existing gear. However successfully copying a 35mm slide or negative is a waste of time without a lens that fills the frame with the image. This means really small distances between the image and the front of the lens. Luckily for me I have just the right gear to do this, extension tubes. These are really cheap accessories that I often use with my 50mm lens and these were perfect to do this kind of work. If youíre interested in learning more about how I did it, Iíve written an article for CreativesGo, link here.

Itís great fun to go back through my collection and rework these images on my computer, breathing a new creative, digital life in to the work. Finding some long forgotten work too has been very exciting. The image here of the land-yachting is one such example, taken many years ago when GoPros didnít exist and wide angles came from the lens attached to an SLR.

Day Rates and Total Costs - August 2017

book with word blog on the front.

As a commercial photographer and filmmaker I never know what type of work I will be asked to shoot next. Each job is very different with unique requirements, client needs and finished works. Because of this it makes offering a general up-front pricing system that meets every eventuality impossible. Whilst I do have a web page detailing the costs of hiring me, this only covers the time I would be shooting the work. I wanted to make this very clear to new clients to avoid any misconceptions about costs, hence I have a quite prominent statement about the extra costs right up there underneath those day rates.

I understand how clients can easily overlook the time it takes me to process the work afterwards. Because of the uniqueness of each commission, the extra time will vary accordingly. For instance I can spend a day shooting and create hundreds of images which take hours to preview, pick out the best work and then edit to bring them up to a professional publish-quality standard. I could of course shoot just a few images and this takes far less time to edit. Hopefully this nicely demonstrates how tricky it is to present a final cost before any details have been discussed.

Iím hired based on the clientís needs and how long it takes to meet those needs and ultimately thatís why my charges are based on time. I canít include the edit charges upfront because of the variety of jobs so the final cost can only be calculated after I know the exact details of the job. I hope this explains why my rates canít be totally final on the day rates page.

Being Creative With Personal Film Projects - July 2017

book with word blog on the front.

I love filmmaking. So much so that Iím always thinking about personal projects and on the lookout for interesting people who might want to make a film about what they do. Working on personal projects allows me to stretch my filmmaking skills in to new areas which ultimately means I can offer clients ever greater options for their films.

Making my own films means I can be as creative and inventive as I like with the subject, the cinematography and the edit. I have complete control and thatís very exciting. Itís satisfying to be solely responsible for the end result, knowing all of my skills made it happen and it certainly makes me rather proud when a film that started out as a personal project is recognised and awarded as was Portrait of a Craftsman.

These projects I consider part of my on-going development as a filmmaker and I hope each film I make challenges me in new ways above and beyond what Iíve made in my earlier films. I would certainly recommend this kind of personal project to anyone who looks to offer their creatives services to clients. Satisfying our own creative desires is very important and whilst I love working with clients, they always set the agenda but with my projects itís very freeing to make whatever really interests me.

Using Video Gear For Better Stills? - June 2017

Camera and lens mounted on video head with example panned image.

I love panned sports images. Seeing a sharp sportsperson set against a blurred background is an old technique but for me it still looks fantastic when done properly. It really picks out the subject in at times a surreal fashion because we never see this lack of clarity with our own eyes, only the photograph brings this new dimension.

You probably know all about the way a panned image is made, swiping the camera across the scene at the same speed as the subject and using a slow shutter speed to add that blur whilst hopefully keeping the subject sharp. One of the little secrets to a successful pan is to keep the camera level throughout the movement so the blur is flat. Moving the camera up and down during the pan makes the blur jump up and down too which kind of ruins the effect. Itís a technique that actually takes a lot of practice and even then, I donít expect a great hit rate but when it works, blimey does it work.

I had an idea in my head for a while about using a tripod with a fluid-dampened video-head as this would mean I could get flat pans that were ultra smooth. Lumping a tripod around just to shoot a panned still was not going to be something I would want to do on the off-chance I could try this out so the idea has been on the back-burner for some time. Until last weekend that is, when I was filming and photographing the first day of the World Superbikes event at Donington Park. I was using the tripod for the filming and was also in an ideal place to shoot those pans. Motorsport was made for panning, bikes and cars move around the circuit in the same direction so are ideal to track. I was using a 300mm lens with a 1.4 convertor and under normal conditions, panning this size of lens is even trickier than normal but when mounted on the fluid head, wow was it good. The dampened left-to-right action was perfect and the results were excellent. Some were still utter rubbish but as I was using 1/40th of a second shutter speed, sometimes the subject's own movement causes unwanted blur and thereís nothing I can do about that.

To see the image of the panned bike click here.

If you want to see the mashup of film and photography from day one of the World Superbikes event, including a couple of those panned images, click here

Craftsman Wins! - April 2017

Beeston International Film Festival Three Counties Short Film Award.

If youíre a regular visitor to my blog youíll have read about the nomination of my short documentary Portrait of a Craftsman in the Three Counties category of the Beeston International Film Festival in Nottingham. Iím over-the-moon to report that the film won! The rather beautiful trophy is pictured. Iíve received some great feedback from other filmmakers who enjoyed Craftsman, including one filmmaking lecturer who is going to use it as an example of great short-form documentary story-telling. Praise indeed. Whilst the award is great, for me perhaps the biggest Ďwiní is the encouragement that my skill and vision for making a film is agreeable to people who know about filmmaking.

This demonstrates too how important personal projects are to commercial creatives. Exploring areas outside of our comfort zone is where discoveries are made and new paths taken. I for one will be making more work to explore beyond my ever-growing range of skills.

A big thank you to John Currie, the Festival Director for organising such a friendly and enjoyable event and the judges for choosing Portrait of a Craftsman as the short film Three Counties winner.

Wheelchair Basketball - March 2017

Wheelchair Basketball has fascinated me for ages, it's one of those little-known sports where most games are played with virtually no audience and yet its fast paced and full of action. I love finding these minority sports where it's possible to get really close to the action and work without restriction. Access is restricted only by the playing area and not impeding the play. Before the day started I asked a couple of the players if they'd mind helping me out with a bit of filming, where I would sit in one of the chairs and be pushed along whilst I filmed them moving down the court with the ball. This took only 5 minutes but it's added a lot to the final look of the film. That would be almost impossible to achieve at a larger event. I shot this at University of Nottingham's one-day Wheelchair Basketball Tournament at the end of February.

I really like that in this form of Basketball not only do male and female competitors play together, so do those with a disability and all at the same level. I'm no expert but there's a functional mobility scale, graded by a points system which means the abilities of each side are equalised. A totally inclusive sport for all.

If you'd like to see a bigger version, click here.

Beeston Film Festival Selection - February 2017

I had a very pleasant surprise this week when I found out my short documentary Portrait of a Craftsman has been selected to be shown at the Beeston Film Festival in Nottinghamshire and also nominated for an award. This is the first film Iíve ever submitted to a festival so Iím over the moon that itís been accepted. The film is a personal project made with the intention of exploring the genre of the mini-documentary. Iím very interested in capturing the stories of real people who do interesting things with the added challenge of putting a big story, because a personís story is never consise, in to just a few minutes.

I relish the opportunity to meet people like Robert, the craftsman featured in the film, to find out about them and what they do and to translate what I take from our meeting in to what I hope is interesting imagery and dialogue. The selection for the Beeston Film Festival is definitely a boost and Iím very keen to make more.

If you'd like to watch the film, here's a link:

New Year, New Business Drivers - January 2017

So here we are in 2017 and like most people the annual roll over to a brand new year means thoughts of good intentions, changes and finding ways to improve upon whatís gone before. For me, those good intentions usually revolve around being a small business owner and to ultimately make my business more successful. The Christmas and new year break is a good time to reflect on the past 12 months, to do a bit of analysis of whatís worked, what hasnít and examine how to improve things all round.

After all that reflection, I have decided that I need to look at expanding my customer base and expanding my filmmaking capability. Lets face it, any business owner is never satisfied with how many customers they have, no number is ever enough because without them, thereís no business. Itís a year-round challenge, finding new clients and in a marketplace where there are a lot of photographers, ensuring that my business stands out above the rest. Which leads me on to the filmmaking. Creating great video is a far greater challenge than photography where the creative is tasked with capturing a single, silent moment, the moving image requires the ability to capture a story. Not only has the story got to work, it needs great cinematography and audio too. A challenge I have embraced with both arms. I love creating films and as this is only going to become more popular amongst my clients, I will continue to expand my abililty to deliver great work.

So there are my two resolutions for 2017, to find new ways to market my business and to ensure my skills are what my clients need. Simple eh?

A Bit of Wildlife Photography - December 2016

Being a sports photographer means I have long lenses in my kit and not only are they brilliant for sports they're also brilliant for wildlife too. Have you heard of a place called Donna Nook? It's a nature reserve (and a military bombing range) on the Lincolnshire coast and during October, November and December, it's the rookery for the birth of thousands of Grey Seal pups. Whilst the reserve is perhaps 5 miles in length, there's a specific part of the beach where the Seals come up to give birth amongst the sand dunes and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust set up a viewing area for visitors to see them. The Trust ask people to stay behind the fence and not to interact with the thousands of animals that can be quite literally an arms-length away.

I've wanted to visit for a while to see this amazing spectacle so at the start of December I visited the site, north of Mablethorpe. Such is the popularity of the Seals that there are hundreds of people making the same trip so I left early to arrive about 9:00am. Making use of the overflow car park the seals are only a short walk over the sand dunes and as you crest the dune, the sea, beach and Seals all appear, along with their meloncholic calls. I saw Cows (Mothers) feeding, Bulls (adult males) fighting and both adults and pups sleeping, of which they all do a lot.

The mothers feed their young for about three weeks, thereafter they're on their own and have to return to the sea to learn to feed themselves. The Cows then breed with the Bulls and after a short delay of about 100 days, become pregnant and return to the beach to give birth next year.

It's a fascinating site and really a long lens is not required as the Seals are so close you could use a 50mm and get great shots. I was however looking to get eye-level with the Seals so this meant catching them as they lay on the top of the dunes about 5-10 metres from the fence. In order to fill the frame nicely, the long lens, in this case a 300mm, was needed. I got some great shots of these beautiful creatures.

It's very easy to capture the character of these charming animals even with a phone, so many people though took their pictures from their own eye-level, looking down. If only they had got down a little lower and took the picture through the fence. There's so much more drama to be had by getting the camera down to the Seal's level.

Note the reserve is open all year round but during the week, or if red flags are flying, it's used as a military bombing range so access to the beach is not allowed. The reserve can still be viewed from behind the fence however. During pupping season access to the beach is also restricted at all times.

Advertising Trends - November 2016

Clients want media to promote their product, business or service and thereís no better way to do that than through visual media. Itís well known that customers respond better to visuals so itís very important to get it right for the maximum impact. Itís very easy to get it wrong because customers are becoming savvy and quickly spot a poor sales pitch when they see it. Theyíll easily see past the Facebook advertising, tweets and whatever other adverts they encounter on the plethora of social media platforms we all use now. Thatís not to say they donít work, they do, but customers expect more from their advertising.

Whatís hitting the spot now is authenticity and the Ďstoryí. Seeing real life reflected in advertising is where itís at. Imagery has changed to show not the clean-cut perfectly set lifestyles that few ever actually lived, but the real world of messy homes, spilt ingredients and realistic body shapes. The story is the latest fashion in advertising filmmaking, authentic, documentary-like tales which connect with the brand along the way. These are easier to take for many people, seeing the brand in a way they can understand and connect with, brands in real life.

A good example of this new style is Lidl's current advert for their Turkey products. (See the advert here). It shows a customer describing how she imagines the way the Turkeys are farmed, then she is shown meeting a Turkey farmer who supplies Lidl. She then tours the farm to see the birds being raised and talking to the farmer about how he allows them to freely roam the farm. It's almost like a documentary, with a real story and real people.

For photographers and filmmakers who understand these new trends, they offer their clients new ways to promote and enhance their brand. The creative has to understand the clientís own story to help them reach out to their customer base with authenticity.

Latest Sports Showreel - October 2016

Just a few years ago if a photographer wanted to show off their work they put together a printed portfolio and carried it around with them wherever they went. Then along came the web and portfolios moved online. Now many photographers, including myself are embracing video and so we have to create a showreel to present our latest work. Not only does this bring on the added dimension of the moving image, it also means we can use sound. I love putting a showreel together and syncing it with some suitable music. It makes the viewing experience a lot more interesting. It's a lot of work to get all of these elements nicely together and finding a piece of music that works with the images and footage and is not infringing on anyone's copyright is tricky. For this then I use a music program that means I can put together my own creations at just the right length with no worries about abusing another creative's work. If you're wondering who Bloke & Swagger is, that's my music-making persona..

Southwell Ploughing Match - September 2016

I love to find off-beat activities and events as there are often unusual and interesting things happening with equally interesting and unusual people doing those things. Yesterday I found an event that fitted the bill perfectly, a ploughing match. This was a local event to me, being in Nottinghamshire, with the official name being the Southwell Ploughing Match. The ploughing might have been the origins of this event but after arriving I found it was more like a county fair with all sorts of the typical agricultural events, stalls and shows that are to be found at these things. It was very popular and the ploughing, whilst well-watched, seemed almost to be a side-show. There were people ploughing with horses, both one or two and tractors coming in all sorts of shapes, sizes and ages much like the people doing the ploughing. To the layman I thin kthe idea was to see who could plough the straightest, neatest furrow within the boundaries the area of each competitor. I certainly couldn't tell the difference between any of the ploughed areas but they all looked very straight. There's a lot of skill required, especially when controlling one or two horses who are pulling a heavy plough.

What adds to the enjoyment of these things is that almost every competitor is happy to chat and there's always an interesting story to be told. One couple I encountered had just celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary and the chap doing the ploughing, on a very old tractor, was 77. Absolutely fascinating.

British Gymnastics Shoot - July 2016

This was a really interesting shoot with British Gymnastics. They were looking to create fresh imagery for a new addition to their library of gymnast photography. Specifically the purpose of this shoot was to capture the athletes who compete and also have a disability which doesn't stop them enjoying the sport. This was a great afternoon and it was a pleasure to work with so many friendly, dedicated and talented people.

The venue was technically very challenging, with a mix of tungsten and fluorescent lighting and there wasn't much of that either. This is the first time I can remember ever having to use ISO 10,000 to achieve a shutter speed of 1/320th at f2.8. For anyone who doesn't have a photography background, if you're outside on a sunny day, you can use ISO200 very easily. Safe to say, it was very dark in that gym. The image you see here of the young lady stretching before starting her session was shot at ISO 10,000. The quality of digital equipment has come on in leaps and bounds (no pun intended), so considering the lack of light, the image quality was excellent.

Most of the session was spent capturing in a reportage style, to get a natural feel to the photography. There was little set up. Whilst this is a much trickier approach, the images are 'real' with a genuine look to them. I was certainly on my toes the whole time, constantly looking out for those little moments of magic that define the brief. Great fun!

My New Youtube Channel.

Being a creator of short films, one of the obvious places to make these available on the Internet is Youtube. Itís the biggest and most popular video streaming site and yet, Iíve never really uploaded much work there, preferring instead to use Vimeo. I like Vimeo very much, itís focused on the delivery of films, not heavy on the advertising and I like the relaxed style of the web design. However as much as I like Vimeo, Youtube is incredibly popular, very well known amongst non-filmmakers and is a part of Google. This ensures thereís a connection between Googleís search results and the contents of Youtube and as a filmmaker, I have to ensure my work is given the opportunity to appear in those search results too. So this weekend I spent some time updating my Youtube channel, aligning it with my business branding, uploading new work and filling in the information about the filmmaking side of my business. Itís important to create identical branding across all of a companyís social media channels and then when drilling down in to a particular platform, ensuring the look is consistent there too. So within Youtube, each of my films has a standardised thumbnail image, using a photograph rather than a frame from the film as this gives a better quality image and also using a standard text font and presentation style. Having this consistent style wherever my company name appears gives a professional look and positive impression of my work. I will continue to keep my Vimeo channel up to date as my work has been viewed thousands of times there and the results are also useful on the search engines but Iíll also have my Youtube channel to present my work too.

The Youtube channel is here:

Sometimes You have to Say No.

As a creative, each commissioned assignment is different because each client needs something unique to them. If you like variety in your work, take up a career in the creative industries because no two days are the same!
There's a daily challenge to ensure that I deliver exactly what the client wants from their commission. when a business is looking for a photographer or filmmaker they want to work with experts in their field who can deliver the goods. A client always has a very good idea of what they want from a shoot and expect the creative to understand the brief. Most of the time creating that work is no problem however every now and again the client's requirement just isn't possible.
Having to tell a client you can't shoot certain things is one of the skills to be learnt very early on because it's vital to understand why you can't always get the shot they want. When explaining this to a client, it's important they understand so there's no confusion as to why you can't give them that shot. If the explanation is full of technical jargon not only will this sound arrogant, the client is unlikely to get why you can't do it and this is a bad state of affairs.
Only with experience can the photographer identify those little client needs that can't be delivered exactly as required. No client wants to hear that their shot won't work but by working with an experienced creative they bring skills to spot those images that can't be delivered and come up with alternatives for the client to consider instead.
Always being ready to find a plan B is critical to getting a happy client over the line and one of the cornerstones of being a successful photographer. Saying a blunt no is not going to make the customer happy, but saying no with options is more likely to keep them smiling. Even when their exact needs can't be met, coming up with solutions with creative thinking is key.

Why I Purchased a Konova Slider

I wanted a slider to add to my filmmaking equipment inventory as they bring a lot of 'dolly movement' type shots to any film production. Choosing a slider has been difficult because there are so many on the market, from cheap copies to expensive originals. I did the usual read up on reviews and liked the look of the Konova K2. However it wasn't just the positive reviews that made me buy this, it was the additional motorised controller and a pan and tilt head Konova also offer which fits this slider. So now in the future I have options to buy a motor that offers perfectly smooth slides and a head that gives extra production value with panning and tilting at the same time as the slide.
First impressions, it's a well-made slider and with a camera and head fitted, the slide is smooth. It comes with a decent carrying bag and legs for free-standing use. I'm looking forward to using it which is always a good sign for new gear.
In the image you can see the slider fitted with my Manfrotto MVH502AH video head.

Small Sided Hockey Tournament.

This was an interesting commission for England Hockey to shoot a new format for the traditional Hockey game. England Hockey have created a new,smaller pitch with smaller teams that play for just a few minutes. I was asked to shoot this opening tournament featuring some of the UK's top university teams. My brief was to capture the games, the look of the new pitch and some of the atmosphere around the tournament on the day. The image you see here was taken during the Woman's finals played at the end of the day. University of Birmingham beat Loughborough University 2-1.

Latest short film - Wildmen and Woodsmen

I wanted to test my film and sound-recording equipment in an uncontrolled environment where I had to work with the conditions I came across, no changing the light, moving unwanted objects or asking for quiet. It was all about taking things as I find them. Quite a challenge. Came across some very skilled, interesting and talented people who made for an interesting short film.

Business/Documentary Short film - Nick Chaffe - Designer/Illustrator

This was a short film I made with Nick Chaffe who is a Manchester-based designer/illustrator. Nick has some high-profile clients and this year added the Oscars to that list after he designed artwork for the 2015 ceremony. We shot the film in and around his studio, taking a day to do the filming and the interview. The editing then took a couple of days after that to complete.

Latest sports short film - University of Nottingham BUCS Men's Hockey

This was a short film I made for the University of Nottingham to shoot the Men's Firsts Hockey team as they played Loughborough in the finals of the BUCS Big Wednesday competition. It was a great evening of sport with a super-fired-up crowd from both sides and was rounded off in the best way possible as Nottingham won the match and the trophy for the first time in 50 years. The players were, to say the least, very happy!

On-bike timelapse of a ride around Rutland Water in Leicestershire

This is a 2 hour ride around the 28 mile circuit starting at the Barnsdale car park, heading in an anti-clockwise direction, taking in the Anglian Water Bird Watching Centre and Hambleton peninsula. Very sorry about the compression artifacts as you watch. The original film looks stunning. It's made up of 7484 individual images, each one enhanced for clarity, sharpness and then tone-mapped. Interestingly the .MOV version is 4gb, whilst the full .MP4 file is 346mb. Both files are 1280x720. However to gain that much smaller size there's a lot of compression hence the greatly reduced quality.

U17 International Football

This was an interesting commission for UEFA to shoot two U17 internationals in one day. The first game started at 3:00pm on a cloudy Monday afternoon. This game featured Norway v Romania and took place at Nuneaton FC in the West Midlands. Some images from that game are show here. The second game, England v Slovenia, was a 7:00PM kick-off in Chesterfield so I had to finish a little early from the Norway v Romania game and get myself up to other match in time. Fortunately there's a lot of motorway and dual-carriageway between Nuneaton and Chesterfield so a careful drive ensured I was there on time.

My Latest Sports Film: The Peaks Pilot

This is my latest short sports film documentary featuring Steve Elkins who designs, builds and flies hang gliders in the Peak District in Derbyshire. Steve owns Avian Hang Gliders and sells his gliders to a worldwide market. I wanted to make this as Steve has many great skills as a designer, engineer and pilot which appealed to me as I felt this would make an interesting short film. I worked with Steve many years ago when we shot some on-glider stills images. One of which is still in my portfolio to this day. This was a great opportunity to mix the wonderful on-glider footage with the story of Steve's design and engineering work at his very atmospheric workshop. This film will I think be a work in progress as I want to add more on-glider footage and include a couple more angles one of which I am most excited about and will make the film. Watch this in 720p HD directly on the Vimeo site. (Click on V in the bottom-right-hand-corner.)

A Cheap Timelapse Tool.

I have been shooting some timelapse footage in the Derbyshire Peak District for my latest short film. To add an extra dimension to the footage I have used a very cheap DIY hack to pan the camera across the scene whilst it records the timelapse footage. To provide the movement I have used a £7 egg-timer from Ikea. You can see it mounted on the tripod under the Gopro camera that records the timelapse. To adapt the timer, I inserted a 3/8th nut inside to screw on to the tripod and attached a gopro mount to the top of the timer. All in all about £10 spend. There's a lot of examples of how to do this on youtube. You can set a time (obviously) for how long you want the rotation to last and for my example this was set to about 14 minutes. The timelapse is 1 shot per second. Here you can see the finished timelapse clip on Vimeo

Recording Sound.

I have a little on-going personal project where I have put togther a short film about Colwick Park in Nottingham. I think it's a beautiful place so I try to capture some of that. However my recent update features not water, animal or plant but runners. My sports photographer insticts kicked in here because the Nottingham Marathon passed through the park at the end of September so I thought that would add a nice contrast to the natural feel of the rest of the film. The sound of the runners was recorded using my Rode Video Mic Pro attached to the Zoom H4N recorder. As the athletes ran past I placed the microphone at foot level to record their running steps. I think this adds a very dynamic element to the film as the sound is perfectly recorded. Here's a link to the film about Colwick Park on Vimeo

Know Your Equipment

Being a sports photographer means you spend your working day using technology. In fact you are paid by clients to do that because itís your field of expertise. You know how to use that technology to produce something they need that they cannot do themselves. If youíre thinking of becoming a photographer in whatever genre, it doesnít matter which as my point will still apply, you need to know your technology inside-out. You need to be able to turn to your equipment to change a setting without hesitation in order to achieve the shot. If you find you have to make a change, you must be able to do it without thinking. For instance, you need to reframe a scene because the model has moved. You might then want to move the focus point to allow the camera to continue to AF the subject. This action should be second-nature and completed in seconds, almost without taking your camera away from your eye. The use of any new piece of equipment should be understood well before you put it in to action. Thatís one of the many aspects of being an Ďexpertí.

On-bike timelapse of a ride in Nottingham

This was a bit of fun and a test at the same time to create a time-lapse of a ride I did from Nottingham's National Watersports Centre at Holme Pierrepont to Cranfleet Lock which is past Beeston along the River Trent. The recording was made using a GoPro camera using it's time-lapse function. It recorded a 7mb image every second. This generated literally thousands of individual images which I copied from the GoPro to my computer. After importing them in to GoPro's own 'Studio' software It allows me to create a .MOV file. This file is 2.5gb! Way too big but playing on my screen looks great as it's not subject to very much compression at all. After I've edited it and created a .mp4 file for uploading to Youtube (on this occasion) The new file is down to almost 300mb. Amazing what compression can do. Sadly though this comes at a cost. The compression introduces artifacts in to the footage and on this occasion I think spoils the final film. The problem here is that the footage is changing in almost every frame and compression relies upon most parts of each frame staying the same from one to the next. It's an interesting clip but it's not going to win many fans on the awards circuit! Watch in 720p HD.

Portrait of a Paddler

This is my latest short sports film featuring Mikey Wilson, a canoe slalom athlete based in Nottingham in the U.K. He is, at the time of writing, second in the premier division for K1M and is first reserve for the Great Britain Under 23 team. I had wanted to make this film for a while now as I have a reasl love of canoe slalom. It's such a great sport to photograph. So much action going on with the water splashing up and the drama of the paddler fighting to make it through as quickly as possible. It was a real challenge to film Mikey as he was moving at great speed but it helped to know where he was going and also I used a Zacuto Z-Finder through which to follow the action on my camera. All the normal speed action was shot at 1/125th of a second at various apertures depending upon the amount of light. Luckily on the two days we spend filming we had great light for 95% of the time. Sound was recorded using the Rode Video Mic Pro both on the camera and also with the Zoom H4N for the interview. Watch this in 720p HD directly on the Vimeo site. (Click on V in the bottom-right-hand-corner.)

Early Morning Golf Course

This short sports film featuring a little more gentle imagery an early morning Spring golf course during the quiet time before there's any play.
This was originally a test to try out some new sound equipment but the results looked very nice so I decided to share the footage. It's a nice look at Branston in East Staffordshire first thing in the morning.

British National Cyclo Cross Champs.

This short sports film features action from the British National Cyclo-cross Championships held at Moorways Centre in Derby,UK on the 11th & 12th January 2014.

NDCXL Cyclo-cross Champs.

Action from the NDCXL Cyclo-cross Midlands Championships held at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire on the 8th December 2013.

A Walk up Ben Nevis

My account of a walk up the UK's highest peak, Ben Nevis in Scotland's Highlands. To see the article, click here.

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