Pride: In The Ring

In the last of my boxing-related posts for the moment, I’m going to show you some action shots from Wolverhampton Civic Hall earlier this month where three of Priory Park ABC‘s boxers (Luke Paddock, Ricky Summers and Ryan “Tank” Aston) fought – and won – their bouts.

Luke Paddock

Luke Paddock

Luke Paddock

Luke Paddock

Ricky Summers is in the ring!

Ricky Summers is in the ring!

I’m sure I’ve said this before but boxing is never an easy thing to photograph: the boxers’ main intention is to move quickly and keep their faces covered as much as possible. A sports photography company I used to shoot for used to insist that a face was at least visible in all shots. At this particular venue, the light comes only from high above so when shooting upwards from ringside there’s the added complication that the hunched boxers’ faces are usually in strong shadow. The light levels here are also generally quite low and so to achieve 1/500s shutter speeds, you’ll need at least 3200 ISO much of the time even on a fast lens.

Ricky Summers in action

Ricky Summers in action

Ricky Summers gets a pep talk from trainer Paul Gough

Ricky Summers gets a pep talk from trainer Paul Gough

Ryan "Tank" Aston has his opponent on the ropes.

Ryan “Tank” Aston has his opponent on the ropes.

Let's face it, you really wouldn't want to get in the ring with Ryan Aston.

Let’s face it, you really wouldn’t want to get in the ring with Ryan Aston.

 

Waiting for a decision. Eventually, Ryan's opponent was declared unable to continue.

Waiting for a decision. Eventually, Ryan’s opponent was declared unable to continue.

I could have filled this page many times over with images from each of the bouts but hopefully these give you a bit of a flavour of the evening.

A Little More Pride…

Following on from the last post about Priory Park ABC‘s leading fighters at Wolverhampton Civic Hall earlier this month, here are a few more backstage shots, this time mainly showing Ryan “Tank” Aston as he prepares for what was to be become his first title-winning fight…

Ryan "Tank" aston prepares for battle.

Ryan “Tank” aston prepares for battle.

A few words from the ref.

A few words from the ref.

Trainer Paul Gough and Ryan Aston.

Trainer Paul Gough and Ryan Aston.

The "cuts mon" adds the finishing touches.

The “cuts mon” adds the finishing touches.

Last minute advice from trainer Paul Gough.

Last minute advice from trainer Paul Gough.

In my next post, I’ll show you some shots from the fights themselves. Again, many thanks to Paul and the lads and lasses from Priory Park ABC for their co-operation.

Pride Of The Black Country: The Story Continues…

When I was working towards my photography degree a few years back I began a documentary project (my first) about my local boxing club – Priory Park ABC in Dudley. I’ve been photographing the club (named “the Pride of the Black Country” by one boxing MC), their fighters and their events ever since. Earlier this month I again photographed Priory Park’s brightest stars at Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall, including Luke Paddock, Ricky Summers and, fighting for his first title belt – Ryan “Tank” Aston.

In my next few posts I’m going to show you some of my images from the Wolverhampton show. I’m fortunate to have been invited once again to photograph the backstage scenes too and this is more in keeping with the rest of my “Pride…” project. I’ll start with the backstage stuff (or some of it – more in the next post) and then some of the action as photographed from ringside.

Trainer Paul Gough not succumbing to the pressure.

Trainer Paul Gough not succumbing to the pressure.

"Tank" relaxes before his title fight.

“Tank” relaxes before his title fight.

Luke Paddock being prepared by the "best cuts man in the business".

Luke Paddock being prepared by the “best cuts man in the business”.

Luke Paddock collects his thoughts before his (winning) fight.

Luke Paddock collects his thoughts before his (winning) fight.

Warming up. Luke Paddock.

Warming up. Luke Paddock.

Luke Paddock being bandaged by Paul Gough.

Luke Paddock being bandaged by Paul Gough.

 

And in case you’re wondering, all three Priory Park fighters won their bouts…

The Express & Star’s coverage of the event… http://www.expressandstar.com/sport/other-sport/boxing/2013/07/08/ryan-aston-retires-harry-matthews-for-first-title/

Ricky dedicated his fight to his mother’s memory – more here – http://www.expressandstar.com/sport/other-sport/boxing/2013/07/03/ricky-summers-dedicates-fight-to-mums-memory/

And Priory Park’s website – http://www.prioryparkboxing.co.uk/

From The Archives: “Thought Parade”

In the process of clearing out some old CD’s I found lots of images that I’d forgotten I’d even taken. Usually, six months after taking an image, I’m already bored of it, or in some cases even embarrassed by it (anyone else feel this way?).

However, these images from 2006 of the Worcester-based band “Thought Parade” were a pleasant surprise. I’m actually still quite pleased with them, even though I seemed to have been deeply immersed in the wonders of Photoshop duo-tones at the time. In my defence, these images were intended for their website and CD covers and this was a look they wanted and, as I remember, were very pleased with (I even recieved a bottle of wine and a “thank you” card from the parents of Rich Blunt, the band’s mega-talented singer/guitarist/songwriter).

Thought Parade. Photographed in a small studio in Willenhall.

Thought Parade. Photographed in a small studio in Willenhall.

Thought Parade on the Wolverhampton canal-side.

Thought Parade on the Wolverhampton canal-side.

Thought Parade in Wolverhampton.

Thought Parade in Wolverhampton.

At this time, I was also doing some music promotion under the name “Reaction Music Promotions” and Thought Parade was one of the bands that emerged as being a major talent – a great live band as well as producing some excellent recording before Rich moved to Cardiff and formed another band.

I’ll be revisiting the archives again in future posts as I have literally THOUSANDS of negatives and transparencies from twenty-odd years of photography.

PS. I’ve just discovered Richard is now an AMAZING fine artist based in Cardiff – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Richard-Blunt-Art/134892693852

The Visor Conundrum

In these cash-straitened times, some companies, especially smaller ones, have taken to photographing their own products for their websites. In a way, this is bad news for professional commercial photographers who are losing commissions or at the very least are having to cut their fees to attract what few commissions are up for grabs. In another way, this is good news for some photographers, especially those who offer training and studio hire.

I have noticed quite an upturn in people hiring Fotofilia to shoot their own products – so that’s good news for me! It’s especially good when, as often happens, they massively under-estimate how long it will take to set up and shoot their products to a high standard. And  there’s another benefit to me: I have people coming in for 1-1 training on how to photograph their products, some having spent a small fortune on equipment that they now realise they have no idea how to use. Sometimes I have to break it to them that the equipment they have bought, though good in itself, is not suitable for photographing their product.

Occasionally, clients will have a go, give up, and come back to have their products shot professionally after all. Often, the product itself proves too tricky to photograph. Either way, I’m rather happy that people are having a go.

Over the years I have photographed many and varied products and I actually quite enjoy this kind of work. The following images are from a shoot for a regular client of mine who, for the record, does value the experience of a professional photographer. But this particular product range would prove to be a nightmare for most beginners.

The products are motorcycle visors, all of which are reflective to some extent, some completely clear, and must be shot against a clean white background in 4 different positions. To photograph the range of visors in just one position each is hard enough as every one is a different shape, with different reflective angles, necessitating a new lighting position for each shot. Shooting in a light-box is not an option because the reflections would just be too “flat” for the client’s taste.

And so I have two choices…

  1. A new lighting set-up for each position of each visor (which adds up to almost 400 lighting changes for the range – time-consuming and thus expensive), or…
  2. A “best fit” lighting set-up which will suit the widest range of items with the minimum amount of light movement.

Not surprisingly, the client went for option “2”. Here’s some pics to show you the problem…

See what I mean?

In Case You Didn’t Know…

…I am the Director of Fotofilia Photography Limited, based at a studio in the lovely Jewellery Quarter area of Birmingham, England. We are currently looking for new premises and have narrowed the possibilities down to just a few locations but what I can say for certain is that my studio will stay within Birmingham.

The Regent Parade studio.

The Regent Parade studio.

So this is where many of the images you will see here are taken. This is my base, my store room and my classroom. I shoot here, teach here, run two successful photographic clubs here, have exhibited here, and also hire the space to other photographers.

I’m telling you this in case you’d like to see my studio blog – http://fotofiliablog.com/ or http://www.fotofilia.co.uk/

Rather than duplicate, I’ll be putting broader topics and studio event results on the Fotofilia blog and my own personal work and opinions on this one.

Here Is The Muse

Finding a reliable, personable, professionally-minded model is hard enough – but if you’re lucky, one model in a million might turn out to be the one that inspires you creatively and is the one that is always given first option on any job that comes up. A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to find such a person, quite new to modelling at the time but with (as many of the best models have) a performance background.

Emilie Walt, who goes by the modelling name of Lady Emilie Rebecca Walt, has been as close to a “house model” as we’ve ever had at Fotofilia. She spends almost as much time at the studio as I do! She’s modelled for everything from one day beginners courses to film noir-inspired shoots, dance shoots and even two successful “studio days”. She has even been the studio’s avatar model for our facebook and twitter accounts pretty much 100% of the time.

Emilie is a rare creature. Creative, confident, conscientious – but also with a marvellous bone structure (a cliche, but true in this case), flawless complexion, clear bright eyes and the chameleon-like ability to transform herself into pretty much I ask her to.

And so don’t be surprised if you see quite a few pictures of her here – she’s hopefully going to be around for a while.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lady-Walt-entertainments/645227205504240