Hunstanton Sperm Whale 2016

When the sad news came along on the Friday that a large Sperm whale had beached on the North Norfolk coast at Hunstanton all I could hope was that it would be able to get back out to the sea and be on its way. Unfortunately despite the best efforts of lots of rescuers I just guess there is no way to move a mass of over a estimated 30 tons and nearly 40 ft in length quickly and in a way that will not harm it.

To make a sad story even sadder it was a shock when more whales ended up in the same position further up the coast at Skegness only a few days later.

I debated for a few days if I would actually go and photograph it and when my mate Tom messaged me and a few other people said I should I though I will go and have a look and see how I would do it.

We arrived just as the tide was going out and the whale was still rocking about with the waves so we had to wait for 45 minuets for it to be stationary so we could shoot it with long exposures. In that time I was shocked at the number of people that were coming to have a look even though it was now nearly 9 pm. Some were just having a look and others were talking a selfy while hugging it. I could not thing of anything worse than hugging a whale that had been dead for 4 days.

The shots we lit using the Wescott Icelight and painted it with light and I have to say I think this has to be the biggest and strangest thing I have light painted so far.

We then packed up and began the 20 minute walk back to the car and half way back we heard this almighty explosion and 30 seconds later the worst smell you could imagine. So I can only guess that we had had a lucky escape and not been covered in parts of the whale, unlike the 10 people who we left at the whale.

Sorry about the shortage of photos but each one took about 30 minuets to get right as we were having to run around on slippery rocks and it was for sure a interesting but yet difficult subject to be illuminating.

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Children In Need-Aviva Call centre.

Another one of those phone calls from my mate saw me popping down to do my bit with the camera. My wife and daughter even decided to pop along and have a look as well and that was rather nice too.

This time it saw me popping to the Aviva call centre in Norwich to photograph some of the 150 staff who had volunteered to man the 100 phone lines in just this building. It was nice to get in while it was still nice and chilled, but by the time we had finished photographing it was evident that the show had started and the phone lines were now very busy so we decided to disappear and go watch the show at home.

 

I hope you enjoy the pictures

 

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The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. Norfolk 2015

What is it all about then, taken straight of the website of this great charity

http://www.gentlemansride.com/

‘I SAY! WHAT A SPIFFY BLAZER. WHO IS YOUR TAILOR, SIR?’

Sadly, sentences like these are not often declared anymore. For one day a year, thousands of distinguished gentlemen (and genteel ladyfolk) in hundreds of cities worldwide don their cravats, press their tweed and sit astride their classic-styled motorcycles to raise funds for prostate cancer research and awareness. It’s a day about spreading merriment whilst raising awareness of a pressing issue.

DAPPER FOR A CAUSE: WHERE WE’VE COME FROM AND WHERE WE’RE HEADED

On Sunday September 27th 2015, more than 30,000 smartly-dressed gentlefolk in over 400 cities will straddle the saddles of their café racers, bobbers, scramblers and other marvellous custom motorcycles to raise awareness and help fund the cure for prostate cancer.

In grand style, dapper gents and elegant ladies shall ride their steeds spreading merriment and joy throughout their communities whilst raising awareness for men’s health.

In 2013, over 11,000 participants in 145 cities around the world raised over $277,000 for prostate cancer research.

In 2014, over 20,000 participants in 257 cities in 58 countries raised over $1.5 million (USD) for prostate cancer research. Our fundraising goal for 2015 is $3 million (USD).

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was founded in 2012 in Sydney Australia, inspired by a photo of Mad Men’s Don Draper astride a classic bike and wearing his finest suit. It was decided a themed ride would be a great way to combat the often-negative stereotype of men on motorcycles, whilst connecting niche motorcycle communities together. That first ride brought together over 2,500 riders across 64 cities. The success of the event encouraged the founder to consider how it could be used to support a worthy cause. And the rest, as they say, is eloquently attired history.

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Helping out in Calais September 2015

This blog.  is just intended as a ‘diary’ of my personal  experience when I went over to Calais to  help out.  I was there to primarily to help out with manual tasks therefore  the photography side did come second . The images are watermarked and low resolution. If you need to use anything feel free to ask and I will happily supply you with the full resolution unwatermarked copies

 My friend Matt  and I were  saying how we  would like to somehow help with the Refugee crisis in Calais in the North of France, knowing I could fill my car with tents and sleeping bags and having heard that this was the type of stuff that was needed we made contact with l’auberge des migrants and a man named  François. We arranged to drive over and collected over 40 tents from Izzi who had started the 1st mass collection in Norwich, Norfolk with Calais……

We did not know very much about what was going on or what to expect, and even though the weather was atrocious and the ferry crossing was the worst either of us had ever encountered we were both excited to help and looked forward to actively supporting those in need. We arrived in France, the relentless rain welcoming us to the country in a deluge of hail, strong winds and flying  debris. By 1 am we were still 3 km from our motel and almost had to crawl the car at 10 mph due to  the rain lashing onto the windscreen. As we took a battering  we chatted and hypothesised how bad the conditions were going to be the next day at the Calais camp as a result of the storm conditions.

Later that morning, after a few hours sleep in the cheapest motel we could find, we headed off into even worse weather to a remote location which we  were told belonged to a man called Christian. Upon arrival at about we spotted about 4 other vans, 2 with British number plates and within 5 mins the kettle was on and we were unloading our car of the 40 odd tents, roll mats and sleeping bags and then proceeded to sort through a pile of bags and suitcases that had arrived the previous night.

The first few bags I opened were filled with the ‘right’ type of items the refugees needed,  it was full of men’s clothes. After that we then started to discover that more and more items had been sent over –  like ladies high heels shoes and underwear,  this, although charitable and donated with good intentions are not what is currently needed. Therefore this had to be sorted and recycled for use elsewhere. So, If you are considering donating anything yourself – bear this in mind- check what’s needed and what will make little impact.  At first there was about 5 of us sorting through the donated items and then slowly more people started to arrive.

All we could hear now was the wind and rain as it was now blowing at around 30 mph,  we carried on emptying vans that were still arriving. A few hours passed until this task was complete we then walked into a small room at the back of the large farm building. It was a sight to behold, one of the  most efficient packing areas I have ever seen. People were packing food into  packages to take out to the Refugees later that afternoon. we got in line and started to help out, in total we packed up 1000 parcels and  loaded these into the back of a large transit vans  I don’t want to sound ‘corny’ but it’s true when you hear philanthropist say that charity is a universal language, as even though we did not all share the same 1st language it was not a barrier to us communicating. We seemed to manage to find something useful to do and all worked symbiotically … Cutting bread, emptying boxes, taking trays of food parcels to the van outside, putting specific items in the small bags to hand out and clearing away empty boxes. By Now it had just passed 11am and I was  asked if I could cut onions by Christian’s wife. Not my favourite job, but I  started on a 25kg sack and cut them then threw them in a large pot, not having a clue what I was making but just following instruction,  I went back to filling up the van and about 30 mins later I was surprised when  we  were all offered a bowl of stew that had just been cooked up. This was the perfect ‘pick me up’   and we ate whilst a team briefing took place on what was to happen next when we all drove to the Calais ‘Jungle’ as it is called by many.

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After the briefing we were on the road to Calais  We travelled in a convoy,  eager to get there,  to make sure people were ok after the previous nights storms.

Upon arrival at the Camp I have to admit initially I felt vulnerable, it was my  first time in a camp  like this and I am really thankful that we went though the correct way to help out, using l’auberge des migrants and reassured that this was an organised experience., unlike some reported unannounced drop off’s that have been less than successful and have been the cause of some conflict for both the Refugees and those  donating.   People were  waving to us and smiling, welcoming the convoy of volunteers .  First we stopped off at Kais’s tent with Rob and Esther (see picture below) and dropped of a few pairs of socks and shoes  this is the guy who  helps out people when they 1st arrived at the camp, to orientate them, offer support and help if they need medical attention.

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We jumped back into our vehicles and drove a little further along the track, said ‘hello’ to a few Sudanese people who were in their camp, Rob was telling us the day before they (the Sudanese people)  had cooked him some Food and insisted that he stayed to eat as a thank you for helping them out. To be honest this caught me a little off guard as it was the last thing I was expecting to hear happening due to the stories I had heard from the press over the last few months which I truly now know to  is propaganda and I can only assume is written to create fear in the UK of our fellow humans in need  . After a chat we jumped back into our motors and drove into the centre of the camp to start handing out  food parcels.

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what shocked me the most was the mess that had been left from the previous nights storms, also from when people are arriving independently and unannounced and dropping of aid – As nice a gesture as this sounds, what normally happens is that the items in bags have not been sorted or checked so the wrong type of items are dropped off such as  woman’s and children’s clothes and underwear, but as there are not very many women and children on this site the stuff just gets left.  The women and children  stay somewhere else and I have  been invited to go help out there on my next visit.

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 François and his organisation   are structured and professional, this became evident whilst we were  preparing to distribute a van full to the roof with food to 1000 people. A long line was quickly forming  and the throws of people disappearing out of sight, even though there was a lot of people there, François ran a tight ship and the food was distributed without a hitch and without any problems.   I noticed a TV crew filming it on the ground and also up in the sand dunes – apparently my car was on French News! .Every single person wanted to shake François’ hand,  he made sure people stood in line and we all got ready to help. I was asked to stand and make part of a wall so people could not squeeze into the line and get food and not have to que up like everybody else, luckily there was only 4-5 people who tried this and they just went and joined the line. Another van with members of a Paris group Called Muslims Hands (from memory) arrived and also started to distribute food alongside us.

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After all the food was handed out people soon started to come back to say thank you again and wanted to shake our hand,  we stood and chatted for a bit. Walking and driving through the camp it was great to notice that the community was strong and everybody helped everybody. Prior to arriving I did have some pre-judged fears, I was worried  about something happening to my car. I was told to keep the car locked at all time’s while not in it, Obviously this is sound advice but upon reflection, when you hear these people’s stories, of their lives and challenges and hardships they have faced it feels a little silly and inconsequential of me to be concerned about a physical possession. I felt welcomed, valued and had a sense of doing the right thing and as a result I have learnt a lot about people, community and kindness after spending time here, I have felt more intimidated walking home  at night after photo shoots carrying my camera equipment, than I did while I was there. Again I feel this is all due to the bad press that in distributed and thrown down our necks. and also that our trip was supported by l’auberge des migrants

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We followed Rob and Esther through the camp, passed the shops selling essential items, and again we could see how difficult the living conditions were, floods everywhere and bad sanitation just 2 of the things I noticed. The nicest thing we saw was the Afghanistan people playing cricket . Eventually we got to the community on the other side of camp an popped our head into a makeshift kitchen with a fire in the middle.  We were offered a beverage,  a cup of steaming hot Tea leaf Tea and it tasted mighty damn fine too. Seconds after finishing our cups of Tea were invited by Jacub to come into his makeshift house and offered a cup of hot milk and cinnamon. There were a few volunteers and  refugees sat in the makeshift house made, recently, out of tarpaulins, pallets and blankets to insulate it. The temperature outside was around 15c but with the rain and wind it felt a lot colder, as soon as we took of our shoes and stepped we noticed how wind-proof and warmer it was.

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A soon as we had finished our drinks were were asked if we would break bread with them and have food with them, even though we all said no , they insisted. So there was now 8-9 of us in the house eating meal. 4 volunteers and 5 Sudanese who were asking as many questions about us, as we were asking about them. After an hour we then said we had to start getting ready to go as we had to catch a ferry. Rob asked them if they needed anything and he said the best thing he could get would be a mobile phone so he and his brother could call what was left of their family also stuck in another country, so rob decided to take it upon himself to go find a Mobile phone knowing how happy it would make them feel.

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As I got out of the room one of the Sudanese asked if I could take a photo of everybody, this was a first as it had normally been me asking everybody to be polite. So I happily obliged to that request.

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Then just as we were leaving yet another car arrives announced and the inevitable happens as everybody wants a bit of what is inside 🙁

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And just as we are walking a little further up the track and as the rain very quickly stops I look to my left and spot the most amazing rainbow popping out of the trees. To me that just summed up the day. Even thought I set of wanting to help and made sure I did exactly that and then some more food good measure I know that I will be coming back to help out more as soon as time will allow, or more like I sort out time so it can happen sooner.

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AWDC Comp safari race. Norfolk 2015

Spring farm just outside Taverham in Norfolk hosted this leg of the AWDC Comp safari race.. Jesus christ it was fun to shoot. I came away with mud in my hair and all over my face. Loads of fun and cant wait to do something like this again. Cheers for the heads up about this one Adi 🙂

What is compsafari?

Comp-safari ,also known as cross country motorsport is a form of offroad motorsport using mostly but not entirely 4 wheel drive vehicles. The events as they are called are timed against the clock and consist of a number of ‘runs’ anywhere from 4 to 10 runs is common, it depends on the length of the course. Each ‘run’ is normally over 2 miles long and contains features such as jumps, water splashes, logs, narrow gateposts, going through barns etc.
The events added up over a season form a championship with many different classes depending on type of vehicle, engine size, suspension type etc. Although the costs involved of building some of the vehicles may not be that high, the largest expense is in repairs from the harsh terrain. The speeds of some of the vehicles using varied v8 engines and modified components can be awesome.

Each vehicle is identified by a number which is displayed on the windscreen and to the middle of the vehicle as high as possible.The allocated number stays with the vehicle for the year and usually corresponds to where the person finished in the championship the previous year.

More about the event can be found right here

The full album with over 300 images from the day can be seen on my Facebook photography page

 

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The fools summer show at Wroxham barns

This week saw the start of the summer residency at Wroxham Barns for the fools circus troupe. Every year they do a Easter show and summer show and each time it just get crazier and crazier. If you are looking for a great day out then pop along to the farms for the morning and then grab a ticket for £5 to go see one of the shows that are on at 12 pm and 2 pm every day apart from Saturdays.

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Thetford Forest fire

It came as no shock (unfortunately) as this sort of thing happens all to often in the summer, as the news came on saying that there was a small fire in Thetford forest.

It had been blistering hot all week and there had even been a new July highest temperature set for the United Kingdom. Summer and heath fires seem to go hand in hand, but this one would end up burning some 36 acres of forest land and also end up taking 2 days to get extinguished.

When we arrived on the site to see about taking some images, we explained our intent to the Fireman on site who was in charge and he was OK with us doing so as long as we stayed in a certain area that we said we would do so. So we walked around for the time we had before it got dark and started shooting what was left of the woodland and the new form it had become. From the look of what was left a lot of it will recover and be able to carry on doing its amazing thing with nature, but it is still upsetting to see all the wildlife that would have been there now destroyed. At the fires worst it took the resources of over 60 fire personnel to contain the fire and required the joint work of the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire fire services.

We had hoped to get there and get some shots of the sunset and the damage that had been done, but due to the location and other woodland around the site, this was impossible, so we settled for the images that you will see below.

Cheers for the company Darren and Ian

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tUnE-yArDs at the Waterfront

Friday 5th June 2015 saw the amazing tUnE-yArDs who are signed to the record label 4AD play at the Waterfront music venue in Norwich, Norfolk. The support act for the night was a local band called Lets eat Grandma who I had seen a few years ago at the Norfolk sound and Vision festival when my Daughter was playing there.

Tonight was one of the first music gigs I had shot in a long time for fun as I had just not had the time due to me studying and other work commitments. It was great to get in the pit again and also bump into a few friends both in the pit and in the crowd.

I had not been to the waterfront for a number of years, and it was also the strangely the first time I had shot in there as well, everything was as I remembered it, a small intimate venue but with plenty of room to have  a good stomp to the quality music that was being played on the night.

As a whole for the night it was exactly as was described to me, fun music with a great beat and I wish them all the best of the travels with the music flowing around the world with the fun tour that is happening now. If you get the chance I would strongly recommend checking them out.

I hope you enjoy the images, and if you need any for any reason please just drop me a message and I will get back to you.

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Graduation Fashion Show

It was a great privilege to be asked if I could attend on behalf of Norwich University of Arts the Graduation show at The old Truman Brewery In london. So at 9am it was time to jump on the bus from Sunny Norwich, Norfolk and get driven down to the big smoke with all of my camera gear. This event I was unaware of as I had not had a keen interest in Fashion photography until I had shot at the Retailers fashion show for the Norwich fashion week, and I have to say I was bitten by the bug for it. This time it was all the hustle bustle of London and all the comings and goings, but all the same the experience was amazing and loads of fun.

The show being sponsored by big names such as Georgel’oreal, and bourjois so it was a very big deal for the students who attended the show with their masterpieces on display.

The names of the students who showed of their work on the catwalk were:

Yu Mio. Gina Vettese. Naomi Cunningham. Sapphire Plant. Kirsty McKendrick. Sami Hogg. Samantha Fynes. Madison Rose Clay. Victoria Miller. Amy Bull. Diego Preciado. Jessica Clarke. Robyn Moynes. Richard Whitehead. Caitlin Seale. Kirsty Palmer. Laura Rose Samson. Kathryn Bellison

The show saw a completely full house for the event and as soon as that first person walked out all you could hear was the clicking of the endless shutters in the cameras.

I could not decide if I wanted to show all the images or not but thought sod it and decided to post them all on here so you could enjoy them, but do be warned there is over 80 images in this blog.

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Norfolk and Norwich Festival Open studios

Today was a nice day indeed. I delivered a workshop that involved driving around North Norfolk for the day with other photographers, and showing them artists studios that were based in the area. This was part of the Norfolk open studios collective and again linked with the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. The day was put on by Wex Photographic. I took 5 photographers around North Norfolk and a couple around south Norfolk. I was in charge of making sure the group that was with me was able to use their cameras efficiently and also to just ask any questions that they may of had. All in the day was amazing amounts of fun, but being blessed with lovely weather all day it made a complete pleasure to be able to spend the day up at the coast.

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The events staff with Rusty the dog

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