Most of my gig photography has been in local venues, usually small sweaty bars in the greater Belfast area. In stark contrast to this I stumbled upon a free gig in the more picturesque and exotic location of the Singapore Esplanade Theatre on the Bay. Performing in the Jazz in July concerts were Philippine jazz and funk band Conscious & The Goodness. The band were happy for me to walk around shooting during the sunny afternoon soundcheck and then I was back for the post-sunset evening gig. Quite the difference from death metal night at the Goat’s Toe pub in Bangor.
and once darkness fell…
All shot on digital – the occasion, lighting and Singapore colour too risky to lose the moment for B&W film – Canon 6D with 50mm and 70-300mm lenses
It may one of the lower budget sports competitions in Europe, but Northern Ireland’s domestic football league – the NIFL Danske Bank Premiership – is as exciting as any. I have the privilege of doing the matchday video camera for video analysis and YouTube channel highlights, as well as a bit of photography with Crusaders FC – a fan-owned club in north Belfast. 14 years after nearly going out of business, Crues are one of the top clubs in Ireland. On 28th April 2018, after a neck and neck chase to the title, Crusaders pipped Coleraine FC to become winners of the Irish Premiership by winning away at Ballymena and also gaining lucrative entry to the qualifying stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Most of the players in the league are part-time professional, training 2 or 3 times per week while holding down full time jobs. There is a strong sense of community within Irish football in midst of all the rivalries as the league competes with round the clock multi-platform coverage of the English Premier league and the other large European leagues.
These photos are of the post-match celebrations on winning the title – taken while also running around with the camcorder videoing the event..
The great thing about football is that as the season ends – on a high or in disappointment – we get to do it all over again after the summer.
Kit: Canon 6D, tweaked in Color Efex Pro pretending to be Portra 160
Every so often it’s good to do a studio shoot using a few flash heads. I’ve nothing grand – a cobbled collection of eBay-sourced Interfit units with cheap backdrops and stands. It’s a basic setup with a soft-box facing the sitter and two units at 45 degrees on to the white cloth, then using a black backdrop with a soft-box and brolly two-light arrangement.
To make things interesting, the session with my good friend and singer/songwriter/guitarist Thomas, was to be captured on full-frame digital ( Canon 6D) and on 35mm black and white film (Kentmere 100) using mid 70’s basic manual camera, the Ricoh KR-5. Without a flash meter, the plan was to get a setting on the 6D that looked ok, then set something similar on the Ricoh. So 1/125 at f8 – then play about with the lights.
First up – some low key against the black backdrop,
Then a white backdrop with the softbox straight on.
Next up was a repeat of this lighting with the Ricoh. It’s a very basic but solidly built mechanical SLR. And it did ok
As is often the case, scanning a low key image is a bit tricky – the real test will be darkroom print – but the high keys portraits on the Ricoh were near the mark with the full frame Canon digital.
So a quick photo shoot to compare digital and 35mm black and white film. Next will be to compare negative scanning with a darkroom print scan as well as an indepth look at using the Ricoh.
When you’re travelling around the world, you often experience things that are so different from your normal day to day life – food, language, culture and customs – while other things are pretty much universal. Football, with its globally consistent rules and multinational structures, transcends location and culture.
Turn up at a match and you could be anywhere.
Chiang Rai is the northernmost city in Thailand – a delightful, quirky place about 16 hours by train/bus from Bangkok – and hosts a top division league side – Chiang Rai United. The Thai T1 league has 18 sides from around the country and all have badges, logos and designations in English as opposed to Thai, with many “Uniteds” and “FC’s”. The opposition on this hot July evening was the splendidly named Big Bang Chula FC.
The Singha Stadium is beside the airport about 15 minutes drive from the city centre (taxi is the best way to get there – and make sure you book one for after the match..) and it’s a fine modern stadium. Outside there are the usual hordes of fans in replica kits and a number of stalls selling them – naturally I bought one.
Food is one big difference from the Irish or English leagues. In the absence of cheesey chips, there’s an array of spicy kebabs from 10 baht (0.20 GBP) each.
Inside it’s open, largely uncovered and all-seater with the stands tight to the pitch.
Before kick-off there was the formality of the Thai National Anthem. This seems to have largely disappeared from European sporting events (excepting internationals) but like the States, where the anthem is sung everywhere from MLB and NFL down to local Friday night speedways, in Thailand they like to do the anthem at most public gatherings. And as is common, it’s accompanied by a royal video clip.
On the pitch, there was a mix of players from Thailand and around the world including a few Brazilians. A home team ex-pat favourite is Mark Bridge, an Australian and leading goalscorer. The match itself was exciting affair resulting in a 2-2 draw, the crowd was noisy, the food was good and our taxi turned up on time after the match. A perfect evening.
Canon 5D, 70-300 and 50mm lenses;
iPod (6th gen)