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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
I sat for a while, eating a breakfast bar, admiring the view and taking a few photo’s
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!
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.
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!
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!
I really hope to do another adventure soon and already have a few places in mind!
Anyone else been on an adventure lately?
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!
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 🙂
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!
There were a lot of brightly coloured shorts.
And of course no event is complete without a bit of fancy dress!
There was even this beauty spotted partying the night away:
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!
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!
‘Till next time!
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).
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.
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.
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)
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!
Every sunday our Longboarding group has a ‘Hog Roast’.
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.
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. 😛
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!
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!
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. 🙂
‘Till Next Time!
Congrats to Jennie Evans! I have already sent an email and hope to post the bag to you soon. 🙂
And don’t forget there’ll be more competitions to come!
For now though I have some more screen printing to do (and some new designs to try) before going and practicing some long boarding with Ash.
We both have snazzy new helmets from Octane sports to keep us safe now so there’s no excuse! 🙂