Dublin Walk, March 28th (Sunday), 2010

29 03 2010

Having arrived to the Olympia, ready to shoot the uber-shite You Me at Six (I’m purposely not even going to link to them), I was told that the sissy-boys had decided, that evening, that they weren’t in the mood for photographers. Somewhat relieved (I wouldn’t have to spend the evening with semi-clad, partially supervised and pretending to be drunk fifteen year olds), I went for a walk around Temple Bar.

The place was dead, nobody around at all and I instantly thought I could chance my arm and see if I could get Atget-like shots. The shops were all closed and all the tourists were safely tucked into pubs by this hour so I had free roam.

Temple  Bar is Ireland’s trendiest area. To see ‘For Sale’ or ‘For Rent’ signs where there was an unquestionably cool (but expensive) shop before, is saddening. Everyone said it would be the first place hit by any downturn – selling used clothes for twice their original price because they’re now kitsch is not a winning business formula… That said the place used to be the life and soul of Dublin. And now it’s practically barren on a Sunday at Seven O’ Clock. Sure there’s still the occasional young ‘Emo’ kid looking for a smoke off you.

Temple Bar is great; if you’re into bargains, you should head over there now. The shops are struggling as it is and you can now get some great bargains on general crap – One Euro for a badge from the USSR’s first spacelaunch being my best find. The numbers of Hen Parties are down too – no bad thing when you want a quiet stroll.

Of course certain areas of Temple Bar will be hopping regardless (the sqare for example), but it was nice to find it at a quiet minute during the day, even it was only for a little while.





And So I Watch You From Afar…

26 03 2010

Okay, not my sharpest images, but I don’t really mind this time. It was more about the music this time.

And So I Watch You From Afar (ASIWYFA) played in MusicMaker  for State.ie’s inaugural ‘State Intervention’. This free gig is the first in what appears to be a big project for State – and if it is anything to go by, they could have a gem in their hands – nobody in Ireland is offering free gigs in Dublin for no other reason than they can. Could go down well in times like these!

The Belfast boys were jaw-dropping. The perfect way to kick off a venture like this. I have never seen them live before, but the 60 or so people who squeezed into the downstairs of the Exchequer Street shop obviously had.  They clapped and cheered in time to the four songs the boys treated us to. And make no mistake about it, ASIWYFA deserve the hype that has surrounded them.

They climbed on pricey amps that they did not own, leaping from here to the stage provided and all the while nailing intricate licks, solos and beats. They’re a tight, tight band – impromptu improvisations are worked into tracks effortlessly, but they never miss a beat. And they seem to enjoy it. Genuinely. It was a blistering set, one that was over too quickly for most people’s likings. Except maybe the oweners’.

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come from the State Intervention. It was nice to be at a ‘ninja gig’. Dublin doesn’t offer enough things like this.  There’s a fantastic music scene out there right now and a lot of people with more time on their hands than before, no better time to launch it. Here’s looking forward to #2!

Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend ASIWYFA’s show tonight in ALT, but next time they’re around, I’m there. And I’ll get better pictures, too…





Fiddy Cent, 21st March, The O2, 2010

23 03 2010

Tonight was my second night down in the O2. Was surprised that we didn’t have to sign anything this time. – Last time I was there, I had to sign my life away. “No images should appear on any website other than those permitted (detailed below)”, etc., etc. I was surprised the Arctic Monkeys were that worried about their appearance. Fiddy wasn’t half as bothered. “Free Shoot” I was told. Brilliant.

Eight photographers in total arrived and we were walked into the pit. One and a half songs later, we were walked out. Most of the photographers were off in a flash – no post gig assessment like the last time, just in and out. Other things to attend to, I was told. I had only taken 300 (my second lowest ever) and most were near identical to the last, albeit slightly different lighting. Overall, it was a decent haul – the top three being my favourites of the night.

But the O2 is a different kettle of fish altogether. The photographers are older and not exactly cool with moving about. They get a spot and stick to it. “He has to come back if he goes over there”. I took a chance and was the only photographer to the right of the stage. They were all mid-left (presumably to have him looking into the right for their publications), so I had a nice bit of elbow room.

Was pretty worried about my gear being left beside the crowd that was there (Wiggers & Slappers), but a nice Security Man took a shine to me and kept an eye on it while I was there.

I’m sure I’ll be back to the O2 eventually, but because you don’t get to see the show after the shoot, it’s a little disappointing as a photographer. If you’re looking for the review you’ll find it over on State.

Fiddy remembers hes left the gas on...





The day I met Jedward…

22 03 2010

Yeah I know. How feckin’ cool am I, eh?!

So thanks to a very beautiful friend of mine, i managed to get access to HMV Dundrum as a photographer. Initially it seemed like a great idea, get to hang out with other photographers, see what they get up to what’s the done things etc., etc.

It was not as cool as that.

Unsurprisingly, I was the first photographer there. It was about an hour before they arrived. The shop was already packed with screaming kids and sleep-deprived looking parents. Some had been queuing over 12 hours for the wristbands which would guarantee their entry, had been to school after and then returned. It was mental.

I got chatting to another photographer, he was an elderly man – said this wasn’t really his thing and had only done it once or twice before. He’d arrive early too to secure a good spot and just stick there. The man had a plan – if only I’d copped.

The rest arrived about 20 minutes before Jedward appeared. They snapped up pictures of kids and took notes in their little pads. All the while Jedward’s single was playing. Must have been played about 20 times before they arrived. And about 100 times more after…

And then they arrived. The first elbow went into my nose. Someone’s knee swept me backwards and then there was a camera being rested on my head. My ‘good spot’ had been taken away in seconds. It was animalistic. The kids screamed and screamed. Roses were thrown and women openly wept. All 5’6″ of me was tucked behind a fuck-off huge group of angry photographers by now. Balls to that. I took up my next position.

From here i could see their fans better. They climbed on the CD shelves, smashing many discs and ruining displays. The security brought in for this had obviously been in situations like this before. It was like a crack-team,  each marking their own zones with one massive bloke cleaning up the ones that broke through. It was impressive as it was scary.

I wasn’t there to make any money – and definitely not there to get mauled so I headed to the stage above the signing table. I got a nice few shots of the back of Jedwards heads(!), but I did get this one too:

…That poor child at the front. I was never gonna get anywhere in there – a newbie like myself would’ve just caused more hassle and more than likely taken a few knocks

Then it seemed to get worse! That looks like a punch(left of the bloke in red), but I was assured it wasn’t:

Didn’t feel like heading down there after this to be honest. Thankfully, this worked in my favour. Mr. Louis/Louie Walsh turned up later on, as the photographers got another chance to snap up close (they were pulled off every now and then to let the children in, like). I was the first to spot him. Got a few rubbish shots from above – but he came up to where I was then. He smiled for staff, held some advertising stuff for some other photographer he seemed to know but when I asked politely “Any chance of a Picture there, Mr. Walsh?”… and he obliged. In as much as he remained present infront of the camera.

Fecker. Ah well. I don’t think it’s a career for me anyway. I don’t have the balls or elbows for it. It was fun, but Christ doing that 6 days a week would kill me. …and all for Jedward. I’ve talked to some of the photographers there since and most saw that as a light days work. Jordan’s recent appearance on the other hand was hell apparently .

(Yes, Jedward’s single went to number 1 here – if for only one week, but not in the U.K. Since then, Sony have dropped them from their label and despite Louis’ claims there would seem to be nothing lined up for them after the X-Factor tour.)





Paloma Faith, Vicar Street, 16th March 2010

18 03 2010

Not my cuppa tea, but Paloma Faith won me over tonight. Having seen her at Jools Holland’s ‘Hootenanny’ at the end of last year, I had her down as a one trick pony. One with an infuriating mouth.

She’s obviously not in it for the money – the stage props, numerous band members, own lighting kits and the flamboyant costumes don’t really spell out financial returns when you’re playing to such a small-ish venue (in Ireland, too). But she didn’t seem to mind. “I love coming to Ireland – you all think I’m fun and nice, but back home they think I’m mental!”. Two songs in hit ‘Stone Cold Sober’ was dispatched to cheers and from then in she had the crowd eating out of the palm of her hand.

Visually, the stage was dominated by a large mirrored piece, which seemed to be a part of boat – which would fit in with the other surroundings, a sunset backdrop and ‘pier’. The mirror was a bit of a pain in the arse to work around – bouncing lights were  everywhere and it was twice as hard to frame an image without any flare.

That said it all worked out in the end. Got some decent shots (above) that Im happy with, and I genuinely enjoyed a show that truth be told I wasn’t looking forward to. Infact, I only put my name down for this gig because I love Vicar Street. The shots I felt worked most were the close ups – I probably should have used the 85mm in retrospect (the back-focusing issues with the Sigma raised their ugly head again). I had a pretty fast shutter speed (above 1/400 at least) and even still I was getting slight shake – as the third image in fullsize will show.

While I wouldn’t count myself as a fan of hers, I no longer want to punch her mouth in.

Which is, I suppose, all that could have been expected.





Far too early, but hey!

16 03 2010

First real attempt at using Illustrator for anything major. I reckon I rock. If I do say so myself.

And it wasn’t copied from any website tutorials or nuffink. Anyway, happy early easter.





Splash Photography!

12 03 2010

Last year I tried my hand at Splash Photography. The above is the result of about a 3 hour process. It was not a difficult thing to do at all, and you don’t need any fancy equipment – most things you’ll find at home or at least in the local supermarket/chemist. I’ll take you through the process so you can give it a go yourself.

You’ll need:

  • Bowl (square prefarably)
  • A flat surface (Kitchen table ideally – you’ll need to be near  a sink!)
  • lots of light! You’ll be shooting at REALLY fast speeds so the more light the better
  • An SLR
  • Food colouring
  • a dropper – or prefarably a stand that can hold a bag of water…
  • A tripod (or flat surface)
  • A biro

Okay, so place a square bowl in the middle of your table. Under it, place a lot of old newspapers to absorb the unavoidable splashes you will encounter later on. Set up your tripod and camera so you have a nice view of the subject. I positioned myself just slightly above the splash point so as I could see the ‘body’ of the splash best. But you can go from whatever angle you want yourself. Set up your lights – put on all house lights, drag in lamps from wherever and if possible set up off-camera flashes. In my set up I had an open window and flash at full power to the right, a lamp to the left, a fixture light above and the camera flash itself!

Now, set your camera to a fast shutter setting (we’re taking thousands of a seconds here) and take a sample shot of the bowl. Make sure it’s bright enough and the scene isn’t cluttered. My viewfinder just hand a bit of water and the coloured background at this time. Now this is where a clamp would be perfect. If you have one lying about, place it over your bowl and place a bagful of water into it’s grip. Lightly pierce the bag (no more than a pin-pierce in diameter – you want wee drops!). The drops should fall in a regular pattern. Insert a biro into the splash epicentre and manually focus your lens to this area.

I didn’t have a clamp handy, so I had to play it by ear. I focused directly into the middle of the bowl and with a dropper full of coloured water i aimed as best I could for the center of the bowl as I used a remote shutter to fire the camera. This was pretty difficult. My timing was off 90% of the time – but limited as I was I probably couldn’t have hoped for more. being forced to use such a shallow depth of field, I missed some shots by milimeters.

The food colouring was added to the dropping water to create the colours. It’s a good idea to start bright (yellow/clear) and get progressivly darker (red>green). After this you can try your hand at milk. This isn’t easy – and is bloody pongy. But it can yield amazing results if done correctly!

Just remember, unless you have all the right geart, it has the potential to get messy. Especially with food colouring. …Took about half my skin off with white spirits trying to clean my hands, so be careful!

The Set-up

EDIT:

Using a homemade contraption (i.e. a plastic bag filled with water, sellotaped to a hanger, wedged between a stack of books), I eliminated the need for the dropper. Here’s a quick sample, more to follow… just need to find more lamps…