This is the year penguins will fly.

Posts tagged “longboard

Slovenian Birthday and KNK long boarding 2014

On the 27th of last month it was my birthday and for the first time in roughly 3 years (since my trip to China) I wasn’t in the UK! This also happened to be my first real holiday without my mum.  For Ashley it was the first time he’d been out of the UK for nearly 10 years! We went to Slovenia which is an absolutely GORGEOUS country! The scenery was just stunning and the people really friendly.

But it wasn’t all fun and games, there was a reason we went was because of a Longboarding event Ash and some of our friends were attending. KNK Bear guts is a downhill free ride which takes place near Olsinca at the very bottom of Slovenia.

In all honesty I was quite nervous about him riding, it is a very steep and long hill with terrifying drops at the sides of the roads, but Ash is a sensible person and stayed within his comfort zone only having a few falls.

On the first few days of the free ride it poured it down with rain. The skaters from Britain seemed to relish it though, probably because of all the practice they’ve had this winter! The track was super slidey and they had a great time trying to stay on their boards in the slippery conditions.

Luckily, for me and my camera, the conditions soon brightened up and we had some days of brilliantly hot sunshine. Now the skaters practiced more at keeping up their speed and some we’re really rather fast! I found myself in some very dubious positions in pursuit of the perfect shot and more than once had a longboard flying in my direction. If you are watching a high speed event then posts are your best friend! I was saved several times by standing behind something sturdy, and the riders were saved by the hay bails throughout the course!

The girls we’re shredding just as hard as the guys!

On the last day Ashley decided he’d had enough of wearing leathers, much to my disapproval, but promised that he wouldn’t go fast, instead he wanted to have a day of fancy slides rather than speed. He did get one scrape on his hip but seemed to have so much more fun that I’m glad he did it.

Ash in Leathers tried his hand at speed!

But soon enough he discovered he preferred to practice his slides which is a lot easier without leathers!

The event as a whole was really well run and there were only a couple of serious injuries, all the skaters seemed to have a great time, and so did I!

I just wish I could have explored the country more, myself and Ashley are hoping to be able to afford to go next year as well but to go a week early so that we can do just that!

But all too soon it was time to come back to England and, quite honestly, i’m sort of wishing I could go back to Slovenia.

I had an interview at work the first day back as there were two permanent positions up for grabs, unfortunately I didn’t manage to get it but those who did definitely deserve it. Hopefully I can at least work there again next summer, now it’s just a matter of finding a job over winter. My car insurance also came out, taking with it the money I owed for the holiday but at least I could afford it (although only just) and then I had a very bad few days of lots of little things going wrong, such as dropping half a cheese cake on the floor!

New birthday toy!

But it’s ok as I got to open all of my birthday pressies and then to play with them! My mum got me a drawing tablet which I’m so excited about and have already practiced with! It’s going to improve my digital drawings so much!

A simple Lion as it was World Lion day yesterday!

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Because Racoons are cute!

 

I also have so many great ideas for new items to make, and even plan to be revisiting my passion for jewellery soon, plus there’s lots of photoshoots to go on and many more exciting things for The Penguin Theory.

Claire x

 

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Experimenting with Exposure

Yesterday I went to a good skate spot with Ash and our friend Milan.

I took both my board and camera along, hoping to make some good progress with both. The board, unfortunately, was not my friend as the last time I had skated it was lovely and wet where as now it was dry and a lot more grippy. The fact that I (again) hadn’t skated in a long time meant i was more or less starting from scratch.

It did seem to come back to me quickly though, but my bum saw the pavement far too many times. I tore a hole in my bottoms, the sign of a true skater, and then proceeded to tear through my skin leaving a nice graze on my rear. It was a wonderfully painful drive home once we’d finished.

After I had wracked my bum cheek (and before we went home) I decided it was time to get my camera out before I did any more damage, I knew I was getting tired and would only hurt myself more if I carried on despite wanting to.

As it was dark I wanted to experiment with long shutter speeds and my flash, i think the results were very interesting.

One of my favourites as it’s just soooo creepy. I love how the board is in good focus and you can see Ash doing the trick and looking back at where he just was.

I set up my camera on a tripod and set it so that I controlled when the shutter closed and opened so that I could get my timings spot on (theoretically).

I pressed the shutter button early and held my external flash separate so that I could operate it exactly when I wanted. I quickly flashed light at the subjects before releasing the shutter button on the camera. I was hoping that this would mean there would be long trails from the skaters finished with a clear image of them.

One of the clearer images I captured. I like how it almost looks like flames coming from behind. 

To some extent it did work and definitely gave me some very eerie photographs, but I know there’s room for a lot more improvement!

Of course I will keep experimenting. I plan to try different times of day/lighting, different shutter speeds and different apertures as well as new techniques in photoshop to really bring my photographs to life!

As you can tell, we take safety very seriously all wearing helmets and the boys (who travelled a lot further and faster than myself) in high vis jackets. Milan even had a head torch!

I love challenging myself like this as it really helps me to learn new techniques and understand my camera even better. I really do want to try more nighttime photography now that I have a tripod again and aim to have a few wanderings once the sun has gone down.

Claire x

A hill parallel to the one we skated. This one has an amazing view of the city.


Messing with Manual

I’ve decided that it’s finally time to figure out how to use my camera on manual settings so a few days ago I joined Ash and some of our friends and tried to take pictures of them skating.

I spent most of the session just trying to figure out how to use the camera (I’ve lost the manual and so had no idea what all the buttons actually did) but eventually I managed to get a few good photographs. A lot of the photo’s came out blurred, out of focus or just too dark to begin with, but i’m sure with a bit of practice I can be taking even better photographs than I was before!

Unfortunately the weather was a bit dreary which meant that it was hard to get my ISO low enough for the fast shutter speed I needed and I had to crack out my flash quite early on. But this was also a good learning experience as I haven’t used my flash much either!

Shutter speed too slow, but I do like the feeling of movement in a way.

A little out of focus 😦

Somehow using a very shallow DOF and focussing it slightly too to the left of the subject. Otherwise this could have been good.

Getting the hang of the focus and practicing with my flash

I like the movement in this one, but the photo came out too dark originally meaning it is a little grainy.

 

If there’s any photographers out there that could give me some good feedback or tips for shooting manual than please don’t hesitate to comment! I’d very much appreciate it 🙂

There are more on my facebook page here

But for now I’ll leave you with my favourite photo from the night, it might be a little over exposed due to the harsh flash, but I like it 🙂


Vandem Fashion

Although I was mainly at Vandem for the gnarly skating shots and to support Ash and our skating friends, the fashion loving side of myself also kept my eye on the clothing which was coming down the hill.  There were a lot of bright, fun shorts, vest tops, and colour matching; from the normal skater to the quirky and distinctive.

There were a lot of full leathers, obviously you want to keep yourself as safe as possible when travelling 40+mph on board, and quite often these were not only colour co-ordinated with their helmets but also their boards!

Some went for bright colours

Some a bit more toned down

There were a lot of brightly coloured shorts.

Muppet shorts and official T-shirt

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Colour co-ordinated with his board – which, by the way, is the board I really want.

Ash even sported a few Penguin Theory tops along with his own bright shorts!

And of course no event is complete without a bit of fancy dress!

There to keep order, protect the innocent and shred hard.

There was even this beauty spotted partying the night away:

The jacket to rule all jackets?

But my favourite fashion find from the weekend was around the neck of a skater named Ryan Swanton.  Not only did he look pretty cool in his sporty shorts and vest top, but he was wearing a nice black beaded necklace to which he had attached an old rusty bearing.

Ryan has been skating for around 2-3 years but this was his first time at Vandem. I asked how he found his Vandem experience and he told me that ‘it took a while to ease in, but all today i’ve been getting faster’. He agreed with me that it was extremely well run and he would definitely be coming again next year!

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I actually have some old ruined bearings in my drawer and so think I might make some jewellery out of them for myself.

Thanks for the inspiration Ryan!

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‘Till next time!


Vandem Freeride 2013

A few weeks ago I went to an event in Exeter. It was a downhill longboarding event called Vandem Freeride. I didn’t actually take part in it as I don’t think I would be able to keep myself safe but was there taking pictures for a girls sports mag called Boardettes (you can find their facebook page here).  Ash, however, did take part along with some other members of our skating group.

Pre Skate warm up

The event was run over two days, thats two whole days of skating down a steep hill with no worry of cars.  Skater heaven.

There were hay bails on the sharp corners to stop people hurting themselves too badly and at the end to make sure they stopped before the road that hadn’t been closed off.  A bus would then take skaters from the bottom to the top of the hill again.

The start line

There were marshalls at all the corners making sure the skaters were aware of any unseen dangers by waving coloured flags and the skaters we’re scattered at the start line, a group going off after every horn that sounded.

The hill itself went on for longer than you would expect and catered for the experienced riders, bombing it as fast as they could, to the less experienced, who started slow whilst they gained the confidence.  It is quite possible to reach high speeds though, most skaters we’re hitting around 30-40mph but the top speed recorded was around 47mph!

Some crazy people even luged down the course!

There were several places you could sit and watch from the sides and there was a really nice atmosphere amongst the spectators. I was sat with another one of the skaters girlfriends and friend who is also called Clare. It was really nice to have some girly time for once and to have someone to sit with too!

Lots of sliding to slow down

Sitting at the bottom of the hill was great as everyone who came of the course had the biggest grin on their face and would immediately highfive each other and talk about the run before sprinting to the bus for another run.

Some added to the fun by dressing up!

Lots of skaters were colour co-ordinated

Later that night we retreated back to Skirmish Paintball Centre which was on the road that had been closed off and had been rented out so we could camp there. They serve hot food which was excellent, they had the usual greasy burgers and chips but then they also had pizza and chilli which were delicious!

That night there was a party complete with heavy metal, dubstep, table dancing, a massive bonfire and even cake! Skaters really do know how to party!

Yes, there was even a mosh pit.

We didn’t drink anything, due to lack of money and not wanting to be hung over, but we still had a great time watching everyones antics.  A lot of the skaters found it fun to jump over the big bonfire.  But don’t worry even when a few didn’t quite make it over, there was a surge forwards to drag out any failures. No injuries, maybe just a few singed eyebrows and bruised egos.

The fire jumping also made for some great shots!

Because what’s a party without cake?

The next day we noticed a huge improvement in all of our friends riding.  Milan (the other Clare’s boyfriend) and Ash were both managing to pick up more speed and getting lower to the ground.

Ash and Milan after coming down the hill. Ash said he felt like he was going to throw up when this was taken.

As you can tell, Ash was sporting some Penguin Theory clothing! I made him a t-shirt and printed on an old jumper as well as printing on one of my t-shirts. I’m hoping to make more soon for my shop. I have lots of different designs in mind!

We also had a friend who was meant to be skating Vandem but unfortunately broke his leg and ankle in several places a couple of weeks before. We decided we would write him a nice message in chalk and I managed to get a few good pictures of people sliding over it.

Get Well Stel!

The whole event was really well run. They made sure that crashes were kept to a minimum, there was great communication between marshalls, when there were bad crashes the marshalls were quick to react, the paintball centre was a great idea and everyone was having a lot of fun. Seriously great job by the team and we will definitely be going next year! Hopefully I will feel confident enough to skate it by then!

Dat Slide…

One of the tamer crashes…

All in all it was a great weekend with some great company. I will have more posts soon focussing on the fashion side of skating including an interview or two so stay tuned for that!

‘Till next time!


A New Start to An Old Adventure

I have recently been thinking a lot about my old love of photography. I have a big, old DSLR and I’m always taking far too many photographs, but yet I do nothing with them.

So I’ve decided now is time to get back into photography, start seriously editing again and maybe even adding a few to my shop. Of course I will still be sewing (although i am finding it hard to stay motivated with it right now) but I also want to start selling prints.

If anyone knows of anywhere I could get prints done cheaply and easily that would be amazing (for the uk), I have a few places in mind but any help from photographers out there would be greatly appreciated.

I absolutely love messing around on photoshop with an image, it is definitely one of my favourite things to do, and so last night I decided to experiment with a few images I took of Ash longboarding. You can click on the images to see them a bit bigger.

I started off with a more simple edit, just adding texture, adjusting the colours slightly and playing with the levels.

I like how I made this feel slightly grungy but with Ash really popping out of the centre with his bright colours.  I’m glad I managed to catch him as his arms made such a nice line and his board had started to slide. I also really love the concentrated look on his face with his tongue sticking out (although he hates it), it really makes me chuckle. 🙂

The next photograph I decided to be a little more adventurous and play with the background by taking out all the colour. I wanted to really make him stand out as the background is quite busy with all the leaves. I also cropped it slightly to create a better line and draw your eye to him even more.

Again I’m really happy with how this one turned out, I think the contrast between the background and Ash works really well.  The only thing is I still find the background very busy and so I think I might need to play around with it even more, maybe by adjusting the contrast or blurring it slightly. But Ash really likes this one too and has set it too his facebook cover photo. 🙂

The last one I edited I decided to do something a little crazier and this is probably one of my most elaborate photoshops to date! I decided to add this bright orange texture to make ash look as though he was on fire in a way. I wanted to create a really dramatic image that would convey the power and energy used to do the slides Ash was trying.

Again I do really like the image even though its a lot different to my usual photography. I think the meaning I’m trying to convey really does come out and it is definitely not subtle.  I still can’t decide if maybe it’s a little too much though and I think the lighter section in the middle could be more focussed on Ash.

What do you think about my photographs and edits? I would love to hear some constructive criticism!


Impromptu Beach Trip

Ash found the longboard that he’s been wanting for ages for sale second hand. The best thing was that it came with good trucks and wheels as well and all together we would save over £100 than if we’d bought everything new.

So we decided to take a trip to pick it up. The person who we we’re buying it from lives just down the coast from brighton and so, very last minute, we decided to also have a trip to the beach!

We picked up the board and promptly skated down to the seaside. The weather was just stunning, it was so warm and nice it didn’t even feel like england.

I wore a pretty little summer dress with a giant hat that I had picked up from my trip to China last year! I think everyone needs a big silly hat, not only do they look awesome but they are great at keeping the sun off you. This hat has a pretty little ribbon around it which makes it so cute! It also has a piece of elastic to go round the chin in high winds (although I can’t say I’m ever going to use that…)

Click the image to see my look on Lookbook!

I also wore some parrot earrings which I had made myself from a bracelet that was too big. I took out some of the links and the charms which couldn’t fit on the new, now smaller, bracelet and made some matching accessories. I think they’re adorable 🙂

The beach itself was pebbly (I miss the norths sandy beaches!) and stretched on for miles! I couldn’t even see the end! We got changed into bathing costumes and wandered to the waters edge. The water, as usual for british waters, was freezing cold, but we soon got used to it we enjoyed it’s coolness compared to the beating heat of the sun.

I really love the bikini I wore. The top is a really pretty purple and I spent months trying to find the perfect bottoms to match (the ones that came with are too small for my rather big bum). I eventually found these gorgeous bottoms with flowers and sequins which look great! I think they’re so cute together.

Soon enough Ash couldn’t resist the pull of the new longboard and I sat near the path (i was feeling lazy in the sun) whilst he practiced some moves. He managed to do four steps of peter pan (a move where you cross your feet over on the board) which was a personal best for him. I played with my Poi for little bit but it was too windy and they kept getting tangled. The board itself is great! Turns well, feels nice and stable but the trucks are very squeaky so you can hear someone coming a mile off!

Practicing ‘Peter Pan’

We finished the day just laying next to each other in the sun and enjoying each others company, before we decided that we should head home as we could feel our skin burning.

It was a very impromptu trip, but very relaxing. Just what I needed after a hectic few months! It feels like we haven’t stopped still since we started long boarding! Although I can’t complain because we’re always having fun!

Today, though, is full of chores before we’re allowed to go have fun (and do some more skating). I really must get on with some sewing as well!

‘Till next time!


Hog Hill

Every sunday our Longboarding group has a ‘Hog Roast’.

Walking up the hill.

If only it was a real hog roast! They’re so tasty!

No, the hog roast is a day of skating in a place we call Hog Hill. It takes place in Redbridge Cycle Centre in Essex. It’s only £4 for the whole  track, for the whole day (bargain!) and it’s most definitely worth it. The road is lovely  and smooth, with some very big hills, you can certainly pick up a lot of speed from just a little distance, plus the views over london are amazing!

There are no cars allowed and so no fear of a collision with one in the london traffic (only bikes and people to watch out for). It is a great place to practice skating at high speeds.

Pushing off at the Top

At first I was very nervous, i’m not all that good at stopping and my board is a little too bouncy for really high speeds, but i gained confidence throughout the day, gradually starting higher and higher on the hill. I estimate that I got up to speeds of around 15mph. One of the skaters had a speedometer on his wrist and managed over 30mph!

I also took a video of the day which is available to watch here

I’m actually really proud of this video and am really looking forward to taking more! Although I think I will be taking my tripod next time. 😛

Tucking

Next time I will be borrowing other, more stable, boards (ash has said I can use his) so that I might feel more comfortable going at faster speeds. You never know, I might be going from the top!

I’m also hoping to learn a few slides so that I know how to slow myself down incase I become uncomfortable with the speed I’m travelling at, plus they’re always useful.

‘Till next time!


Learning New Tricks in the Sun

Recently not only have Ash and I taken up Longboarding, but we’ve been trying lots of other fun things such as slack lining (walking on a special rope that has been stretched out, usually between two trees) and Poi (balls on string that are swung around in different patterns and rhythms).

I  really enjoy Poi and just have a feeling that this will be something I could actually get really good at if I keep going! (much like my sewing which has been sadly neglected recently, there will be more updates on that soon though I promise!) Ash and Jack taught me my first move, but that was all they knew, some of the longboarding crew also know Poi and a very nice girl taught me some very pretty moves which I am practicing to get them flowing nicely together.

Yesterday Ash, Jack and I decided to relax in the park and practice some of our hobbies. Ash tried the Coleman Slide again on his longboard, he’s almost got it and I think it wont be long until he’s busting them out like a pro!

Jack wiggled around on his waveboard. I really want to learn how to ride it but last time I tried I hurt myself quite badly, one day I will get the hang of it though as it does look pretty cool!

I practiced Poi, trying to link my new moves together. I didn’t quite get the hang of it, at least not smoothly, but i’m getting there.

I wore a nice summery outfit with a comfy maxi skirt, flip flops and a flowery top. Well I say top, it’s actually a little skirt but as I was looking through my wardrobe I started thinking a strapless, flowery top would look nice with my skirt and decided to see what this skirt would look like worn this way. I think it actually turned out really pretty and I’m so excited to now have a ‘new’ item to my wardrobe without spending any money!

The boys were also dressed very nicely.

Ash was very colour co-ordinated in his green and orange shorts and a green ‘sack boy’ t-shirt, even his helmet (green) and board (orange) matched!

Jack wore his usual comfy attire with his nice new shorts from a shop called ‘The New Yorker’ that he found on his recent travels around europe. The shorts were brown with a tribal pattern. I love tribal patterns!

Teaching a few of the new moves

We also took some video’s as I’d like to document my progress in both Poi and Long boarding. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to make a little montage of both mine and Ash’s progression. 🙂

You can watch the video here

‘Till Next Time!


Trouble with Weather

We’ve been planning to go on  date G for a while now but unfortunately what I have in mind is outdoors and the weather hasn’t been kind. We thought we might be able to go today, as well as practicing some long boarding, but as we got to the station the heavens seemed to open and we ran for cover in a local sandwich shop.

We were tempted to go home, but after we finished our lunch the sun was shining once again. Instead of going on our date we decided to visit a nearby park and practice long boarding so that we could easily get home if it rained again.

There’s a lovely little park by a river we know of and so we decided to go there as it had some nice pavements and slopes to practice on. Ash decided to practice sliding, a move that’s commonly used to slow down as well as looking pretty cool. There were a few puddles still left over, although the sun was drying them up pretty quickly, and so he decided to use the water to help his sliding.

Unfortunately he didn’t quite get the hang of it, but he definitely made progress!

I on the other hand was practicing my stance, so as to feel more comfortable. Putting my weight more forwards on the board really did make a big difference and I’ve gained a lot more confidence and was able to go fast with no speed wobbles!

As I was skating around I noticed there was an old burnt out motorbike. I decided it would be great to take pictures of and immediately grabbed my camera.

Mirror

Exposed wires

In the middle of happily snapping away i suddenly felt a cold drop on my cheek. It was raining again. I ran to Ashley, covering my camera under my jacket, and we sat under a tree until the rain stopped.

Water Droplets

The pavement was too wet and so we decided it was home time, we had washing up and food shopping to do after all, plus it was about time i did some sewing!

On the fashion side, I had decided to wear some burgundy, high waisted trousers, a denim jacket, and my t-shirt from H&Ms conscious collection.

Burgundy

Visit me on lookbook by clicking the image!

I knew as soon as I saw this t-shirt that I had to have it! It even has my first initial on it! I really do love H&Ms conscious collection, everything is just so pretty!

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Maybe next time I will actually have some pictures of me skating, you have the rain to blame for that one.

‘Till next time!

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