Cherry Bombs – Eastbourne Roller Derby B team

In July last year I retired from playing Roller Derby – the sport that had been my obsession for well over 3 years. I still Benchcoach the girls’ A team (meaning I stand on the sideline and shout things) and on occasion I like to take photos too.

I find sports photography incredibly difficult…

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Inspiration at inconvenient moments

Tonight I’ve been writing. I hadn’t planned on it, but as I was putting the shopping away (Wednesday is shopping night) an idea popped into my head, inspired by the little brown amazon box that was sitting on the hall table when I got home. It was the sort of idea that I only get once every few months. Not a whole story, just an image in my head that had possibilities, the kind that I just can’t ignore. So I stopped with the shopping (luckily the frozen stuff was already away), grabbed my pen and notebook and started scribbling right there in the kitchen. Nothing might come of it, but it is an idea, and now I’ve begun putting it down on paper I know there’s a chance it might just grow into something good. 

Inspiration for me is a tricky one. If I force myself to sit down and write, I might get something decent – especially if it is on a pre-existing story. But more often than not what I force out is a page or two of nothingness that I forget all about the moment I stop writing. If I get an idea like tonight, that’s when I really enjoy it and most often get something worth keeping. The question is though, is it that I’m struck by a great idea and that’s what galvanises me, or was I already in the mood to write without even knowing it and that’s what’s made the idea seem so good? Chicken or egg?

Either way, it’s good to be writing. Ive been working on my second comic script (my first one was the Human Next Door – nice review here) over the last few months, but other than that I haven’t really written any fiction. Hopefully this will help me get back into it. 

Tonight’s writing has been accompanied by the Coraline soundtrack. A couple of years ago Jen got me the Mondo vinyl edition, which I still absolutely love to this day. Perfect writing music, when you tend to write creepy weird stories like me…

Biographic series – Vincent van Gogh

Ammonite Press have recently launched a new range of books called Biographic, which are design led, infographic-style biographies of artists, writers and scientists. They are, simply put, gorgeous.

The first that I came across was Biographic: Van Gogh, but the range will also soon include:

The idea of using an infographic-style presentation for a book works fantastically, with so much information presented in an easy to digest way that also looks great. I’ve learnt a lot about van Gogh’s frankly tragic life, which I probably never would have otherwise, not being a big fan of heavy historical biographies.

I’m excited to get my hands on the rest of the series.

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There are some affiliate links in this article, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I love these books.

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Lewes with the Canon EFS 24mm

I work in Lewes, a very picturesque little town between Eastbourne and Brighton. At lunch I’ll often have a walk around (and up and down – it’s a hilly place), so when I got my new Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 prime lens a spate of amazing winter sun gave me the perfect opportunity to give it a test run.

I’m not going into detail about vignetting,  chromatic aberrations or technical stuff, this is just a chance for me to share my feelings on it.

My feelings are good. I like this lens a lot. It’s a pancake lens (very small) so is discreet and lightweight, making the Canon 500d I use feel more like a bridge camera than a DSLR. I should mention that as an EF-S lens, it is specifically designed for crop sensor Canons (eg 500d, 1000d, 70d) and won’t work on full-frame cameras (eg 5d).

f/2.8 is fairly fast for such a low-cost lens, so you can get some really nice bokeh when you want it, much more than a typical zoom lens in the same price bracket.

Like with the 50mm prime I got last year, I was immediately impressed by the clarity the lens offers, it’s a great piece of glass for the price (look to pay about £130). There’s something about prime lenses that I don’t think you get with a zoom, a sense that you’re seeing a unique perspective through your camera.

Here’s my perspective on Lewes…

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Please note there are a couple of affiliate links in this post, but my thoughts on the lenses are genuine and this post has not been sponsored in any way.

Blark and Son

Blark and Son is a new series based around the sometimes mundane, sometimes insane lives of Blark and his son (called Son). Each episode is just 30 seconds long and is broadcast through Instagram.

I’m fascinated by animation in all its forms and I’m fascinated by social media, so something that combines them both in such a unique way is great to see.

Here’s the first episode:

MLK Day – "You know what a Jr. king is? A prince."

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It’s funny, irreverent and beautiful in its own hideous way. But for me, it is the behind the scenes process that is most interesting. Rocket Jump Film School recently did an episode on Blark and Son, which you can watch here:

Getting past awkward in portrait photos

I love portrait photography. I like engaging with people, and capturing who they are in a moment.

It is fair to say, though, that I haven’t got the whole ‘photographer patter’ down to a tee quite yet. Whenever I take a portrait, unless the person is unusually self-possessed, there is always that moment of awkwardness. They don’t know what to do (do they look at the camera? Cheesy smile? Awkward face it is, then). I don’t know what to say (do I make a joke? Should I be directing?).

What I’ve found, though, is that eventually there is a moment that breaks the tension, the awkwardness. Sometimes it happens quick, sometimes it takes ages, but it always happens and when it does there is that moment of relief of the subject’s face, that smile and relaxation that is so natural it is hard to capture at any other time.

Now that I’ve realised how good that moment can be, I’m going to chase it. We can be awkward, they can look uncomfortable. What I want to do is to find that thing that breaks the ice, and when it happens, to capture it.

Miss Nyss. #portraitphotography #portrait #skatergirl #s1helmets

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Vimeo & YouTube Top Picks #2

This is the second, as the name suggests, in my top video picks series.

Nixon Faces: Aaron Draplin

First up, I love these sort of behind the scenes videos of creators. I find people that create so inspiring, and Aaron Draplin is a real character.

OK Go – Upside Down & Inside Out

OK Go are a fun band that make creative one-shot videos. This one takes it to new levels, as it is actually filmed in zero gravity.

Outdoor Photographer of the Year – Portfolio One Book Trailer

I filmed the intro to and edited this video, so putting it in my “Top Picks” list is pretty low, but I’ve done it anyway because I’m quite pleased with it, and I think that the photography in the video and in the book is well worth seeing.