This is the year penguins will fly.

Posts tagged “skating

Clicking with the Subject

“the most important thing is not clicking the shutter, it is clicking with the subject”

                                                                                                               -Alfred Eisenstaedt

This quote has really struck a cord with me recently and made me analyse the way I take photographs. I noticed that a lot of the time I tend to hold my finger down on the multi-shot feature and just take continuous photographs, especially when shooting fast moving people or objects, but this is most definitely not the best practice.

Alfred Eisenstaedt is thought by many to be the father of photojournalism and one of the greatest photographers of all time. He was the master of candid photography and usually only carried around one camera.

This image of children imitating a drum major really shows his skill in really capturing the moment, perfectly showing it to it’s full potential.

Drum Major, Ann Arbor by Eisenstaedt.

I decided that I need to step up my game and really start working with the subject I see through my lens, as Eisenstaedt suggests, and I got the perfect chance to try this out a few weeks ago at Cantelowes skatepark in Camden.

Ashley and a few friends chose a wonderfully sunny day to go there and skate, i’m not comfortable with bowls and know that it gets busy there so  I decided to try out my camera instead.

At the beginning I was only taking simple shot like this one successfully.

To begin with I followed the skaters around the bowl with my camera but, although my pictures weren’t bad, couldn’t seem to get any impressive shots. The sunshine wasn’t helping as the stark contrast between the over exposed sunlight and dark shadows in the bowl made it really hard to find the right exposure levels.

After a while I started to watch the skaters more closely and understand their movements and where I could get the best shots of each individual skater. Luckily I’ve skated with and watched Ash and Milan a lot and found it really easy to predict their movements making for plenty of good photographs but, as much as I love to shoot them both, I really wanted pictures of everyone there.

Milan with some sweet moves

Ashley received some good lessons from Newtons Shred. This was the first time he dropped in successfully!

I even managed to capture the celebrations afterwards and a rare smile! Well done Ash!

I noticed there were certain areas of the bowl where every skater would get high or try something interesting and so decided these would be the best areas to train my camera on. I also noticed that certain skaters, particularly the more experienced ones, were practicing certain moves over and over so that they could perfect them. This was exactly the information I needed to really improve my photographs!

I trained my camera on these sections, depending on the skater, which meant I could set my shutter speed and focus ready for the subject to make their appearance into frame.

It took a bit of practice to really get the timings but eventually I managed to get some shots that I’m really proud of, not only that but all the shots I was taking started being useable rather than having a lot that i would never use.

I’m really proud of myself for the improvements i’ve made from just one day, and not just me, Ash learnt to drop in too with help from a good friend from Newtons Shred. A very successful day!

I am trying to be a lot more aware of my surroundings from now on, and not just when I have my camera on me. I really think that learning to recognise memorable moments will help improve my photography immensely.

I think there is a lot to learn from other photographers, both old and current, and so plan to do lots of research into others, particularly other nature photographers. I’ll be sharing my research with you all in future blog posts, probably once a month, and use their influences in my own photoshoots. I think it could make for some very interesting results!

You can see the rest of the photographs for this shoot right here on my facebook!

Claire x

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365 Project : 10th – 16th March

On Monday 10th I took a picture of this plant to send to my sister. She bought me it to say congratulations for getting my new job. I was so surprised that it was still alive I had to share it with her! (I’m terrible with plants)

On the 11th the plant was still alive. I decided to take a few closer shots as it was so pretty.

On the 12th I finally ate this chocolate lion. I’ve had it far too long and decided it was just too pretty to eat! I’m sure it tasted better when I first bought it.

On 13th I decided it was time for a haircut, but all the hairdressers around are either out of my budget or I don’t like the look of (i’m a little picky sometimes). So i decided to try cutting myself, i cut Ash’s hair all the time and we need to save money so i thought I may as well try. It’s not perfect but not too bad for a first try! Hopefully I can afford for a professional to do it next time.

On the 14th I ate some of this rice pudding i’d made. It’s so easy and makes delicious little snacks in these pots! I think this will have to be a regular thing.

On the 15th the sky looked awesome.

On the 16th I finally uploaded some skate photographs onto my facebook page. I will be writing a blog post (if I ever get a day off work) but until then you can find them here.

Next week will be very exciting with my new job starting, but i’m also working 6 days out of 7 and several 12hr shifts. ouch!

Claire x


365 Project : 3rd March – 9th March

I’ve decided to start updating these posts on Mondays instead of Sundays. It makes a lot more sense as if i’m busy on Sunday (like I was yesterday) I don’t get a chance to edit and upload the photo from that day. But I shall still be posting photo’s from the first monday to the sunday. Hopefully this will make it easier to stay up to date with this project.

On the 3rd I made some delicious brownies! I really must do a recipe for these as they’re divine!

The 4th was shrove tuesday and of course meant that we ate lots and lots of pancakes! Yum!

On the 5th I met up with my sister for the first time in ages. We had some burritos and then went out for a couple of cocktails.

On the 6th we went skating late at night. I took some awesome creepy photo’s with long exposures. You can see more of these here.

On the 7th I took a few pictures of a new item, the gorgeous blue tie in the middle, and then spent the rest of the day editing.

You can find my tie section of my Etsy shop by clicking the image!

The 8th saw me relaxing at home, still doing lots of computer work but taking breaks staring out to the sunshine.

Yesterday I went to Cantelowes Skatepark in Camden with Ash and some friends. I didn’t skate (I don’t have a suitable pool deck) but a good friend from Newtons Shred taught Ash to drop in and I managed to take some great pictures which I will be sharing with you all soon. We finished the day with cider and stew. Perfect!

Back at work next week and so not as much time to frolic, but I will still be making sure I take lots of photographs!

Claire x


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 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!


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!

IMG_1896

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

‘Till next time!

IMG_1898


Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Sorry I haven’t been around for a while, life seems to have got in the way as well as some frustrations with my screen printer.But i’ve already had a busy day practising (although I seem to have most of the paint on myself) and now I have a few bags just about ready to be sewn together! So i think it’s finally time to announce the winner of the second competition of May!

It seems like there’s more on my hands than on the fabric…

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! 🙂

Photo on 2013-05-20 at 16.45

Slightly silly, very safe.