This is the year penguins will fly.

Posts tagged “Longboarding

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.

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Photography Adventures

As the title might suggest, this post will be very picture heavy. You’ve been warned!

I always believe that you should make your life an adventure and I often take the time to notice the random things going on around me, making even a trip to the shops an exciting experience. Because of this I usually find I notice things that I would love to photograph but never seem to have my camera on me,  such as the time I saw cows crossing a motorway bridge with the words ‘Rural Revolution’ graffitied below.

I have decided that I need to take advantage of these moments and so, not only am I going to make an easy to carry camera bag, i’m setting aside time every now and again to go on a Photography Adventure. Just me, my camera and an adventure!

Ok so maybe Ash can join on a few adventures. 😉

Not only do I believe that this could result in some great fun and photographs, but I am also hoping that it will improve my photography skills as I challenge myself with shooting on Manual settings and in lots of different lighting and situations.

I went on my first official Photography Adventure on monday. I decided just explore my area, we’ve only just moved here (although it’s not that far from our old place) and I thought it would be a good way to learn about where I actually live.

The area we live in is called Muswell Hill in North London. It quite posh and full of crafty and vintage shops. I should’ve taken some photo’s of the highstreet but I forgot to get my camera out until I had passed the high street and saw this amazing view from a car park just 10 minutes from my house!

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I had to stand on top of a pretty precarious wall to get this shot and I knew that I could get better elsewhere and so I moved on.

I found some amazingly steep and quiet streets and just had to text Ash as they would be perfect for practicing slides and cornering on when long boarding (with a spotter of course). A lot of the houses I found must have had incredible views from their back windows and balconies. I saw so many houses I would love to live in! There were loads of the old Tudor styled houses, the type of house i’ve always dreamed of!

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I wandered along these back streets for a while until I happened upon Alexandra Palace (Ok so I followed the BBC tower as I knew there were good photo’s to be took here). The views from Ally Pally are amazing, it also has an ice rink, a boating pond, Fallow Deer and regular gigs. Plus it’s only a 5 minute walk from my house now!

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I sat for a while, eating a breakfast bar, admiring the view and taking a few photo’s

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Now available on my Etsy! Click for the listing 🙂

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Soon though, my bum became too cold and so I moved on. Wandering down to the paddocks to see Alexandra Palaces Fallow Deer Herd. I only learned they had a deer herd recently despite visiting often, but now I make sure to visit them each time I go.

On the way to the deer I noticed a squirrel sitting in the grass. I love squirrels (yes, even the grey ones) and so I had to take some photos!

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Another that is available on my Etsy! Click the image for the listing!

For these shots I played around with a very shallow Depth of Field and feel it really adds to the shots making the foreground out of focus and so the squirrel is the main point of interest.

Next I found the Deer. They were quite far away from the fence to begin with but soon started travelling towards the right hand side of the paddock. I ran over (yes I actually ran) so that I could get some good shots of them walking towards me. Unfortunately, in my excitement, I forgot about the manual settings and so a lot of the photos came out too dark, even for editing. I did manage a few good shots once i remembered though.

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Again this one is available on my Etsy! Click the photo for the listing!

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Whilst taking these images I got talking to a man who was walking his dogs. We both agreed that these deer were just beautiful animals!

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Click the image for the Etsy listing of this adorable buck and fawns!

Soon my hands we’re feeling frozen and so I had to tear myself away from these beautiful animals. I decided it was time to go home as I already had a pretty bad cold and didn’t want to get any sicker.

On my way back home I passed the boating lake where this coot was hunting for food. I took a few pictures of it diving under the water before finally heading home to see the spoils of my adventure!

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I really hope to do another adventure soon and already have a few places in mind!

Anyone else been on an adventure lately?


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!


First Surf

Last weekend Ash and I went on a trip to cornwall to try a new sport. Cornwall is well known for it’s surf and this has been something we’ve both been wanting to try for a while so we figured why not.

A couple of friends joined us too, they also happen to be the guys we’re looking for a house with once our lease is up in a couple of months and so we decided it would be our first official house holiday (and also a chance to see if we could really live together).

Men doing Manly Things

Our campsite was nice, what more do you want other than a field, toilets and a shower really?

As it had been a  4 hour drive it was already afternoon and so once the tent had been set up and food cooked we just chilled out together for the rest of the evening.

The next day we went to Newquay. It was a nice relaxing day playing in the surf, building sand castles and sliding around on our skim board.

Skim boards are designed for very shallow water and literally ‘skim’ the surface. They’re pretty fun and fast but don’t expect to stay on your feet for long.

The next day was far more active as we decided to brave the surf. We had a two hour lesson with a surf school on the beach, there were cheaper ones which did whole day classes but they had all been sold out and actually in hindsight we don’t know what they could have even done with us for a whole day.

Ash was the first of us to manage to catch a wave and stand but I wasn’t far behind.

We found the hardest part was the catching of the wave, the timing and speed were difficult to get right and we were often left behind whilst the wave raced to shore.

We also found that it was extremely tiring, our arms began to ache in the first hour and the constant battling against waves to get out to sea took a lot out of you. But the moment you caught a wave it really felt like you were flying and made all the effort worth it.

The shock of being able to stand is evident on my face

We ended up renting our surfboards and wetsuits out for the rest of the day (For only £10! Bargain!) and surfed until we could surf no more! They also had a photographer who took pictures of us surfing and CDs we’re available to buy afterwards for £10, that worked out as £2.50 each as  we bought one between the four of us,  bargain!

We all slept well that night.

The next day we drove all the way to Wales as my mum was visiting her boyfriend and I hadn’t seen either of them in such a long time.

The four housemates and a castle

As soon as Ash saw the first hill he fell in love.

We met with my mum and Andy before going on a nice (steep) walk to see the Welsh countryside  and explored and old castle before sitting in a pub for a well deserved pint. Wales really is beautiful country and I’d recommend anyone to go visit, the views are just spectacular.

We finished off the holiday by visiting the Brecon Beacons. We didn’t go far, just found a nice, quiet road for Ash to finally skate on with some amazing views.

All too soon it was time to come back to London. We had a really awesome trip away and we think we want to make Cornwall and Wales a regular thing (although maybe not at the same time)

Slides with a view


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!