Glastonbury 2011

29 June 11

Posted at 8:53

As I spent nearly six days there it would be wrong for me not to mention Glastonbury and share a few images. I took the least number of photos and spent less time with my camera this year than I have at the last few Glastos. So as far as photography is concerned my school report for Glastonbury 2011 would read "Could do much better, Chris has the ability but is too easily distracted". So my cameras spent more time in the lock up than with me. Never the less I had a great time and in 2013 I will return, refreshed and hopefully with some press accreditation.

First of all an experiment, my first attempt at creating a panaoramic image


Two images stitched in photoshop and taken on the Thursday from the tower above the Park area (two hour queue for four minutes up there but worth it). For anyone unfamiliar with Glastonbury you really need to get there on the Wednesday in order to secure a decent place to pitch camp but the main stages do not open until Friday (there is no shortage of entertainment though!) So in the mid distance right of center you can make out both the Other and Pyramid stages with empty areas in from of them. This view is about two thirds of the festival site.

Time is not really important at Glastonbury but the period of travelling there and then getting in can be challenging. This year although the Wednesday was bright there had been a lot of rain previously and there were showers on the day. We were therefore welcomed with a little mud, nothing like what was to follow on Friday but a taster. Below are some images of folk arriving.

Arriving 1

Seemed like a good idea when we left.

Arriving 2

Not sure where he thinks he will plug that in!

Arriving 3

Happy in the mud.


Think he'll put the tent up later

No First Night

and here's a tent that won't even get slept in on the first night.

Even if you've lost your tent you can make friends and find somewhere to sit down and chill


Not everything happens on the main stages or even the smaller venues. In the Park there's an easy jam tent where folk just drop in and jam. A crowd gathers and there is spontaneous fun.

Easy Jam 1

And for years they'll be saying 'Yeah 2011, that's when we played Glastonbury"

Easy Jam 2

DJs churn out sounds at Cubehenge

DJs Cubehenge

but not everyone appreciates the tunes..


On the Friday night whilst Morrissey was on the Pyramid stage 'secret special guests' were to appear on the Park Stage. Prior to this I was off in some minor tent watching I am Kloot. I recieved a text from a mate advising that Radiohead were the surprise guests. I made rapid progress to get my camera gear and make my way to the Park, no mean feat, and get as near the front as I could to grab some shots. I'm pleased with the results..

Thom Yorke


Ed O'Brien - Radiohead


Thom Yorke - Radiohead


Noah and the Whale return to Glastonbury

21 June 11

Posted at 7:59

Very early tomorrow morning I'll be setting of on my annual pilgrimage to Glastonbury Festival. There are a number of differences this year.

This is the first time I am going as a professional photographer. Although that's a bit misleading I have no 'professional' status there as I have failed in my attempts to secure a press pass of any description. That will not deter me - Glastonbury provides a multitude of photographic opportunities. What it does mean is that I will depend more than ever on the excellent lock up services at Glasto for the safe keeping of my photography gear

The second difference is that I will be travelling by bus - heaven forbid! The only way I was able to secure a ticket this year was in the returns sale and the only ones available when I finally got logged on were linked to bus travel - I only get my festival ticket on the bus. On the face of it this is no bad thing other than for me to pack for five days and restrict it to baggage I can carry on foot is a real challenge, add to that my camera gear and it's nigh on impossible. Anyway I've manage to restrict myself although walking from bus to camp site is still going to be a challenge!

Last of all I am going on my Jack Jones, a combination of my usual buddies being unable to attend and some hiccoughs when we were booking have left me on my ownsome. 

Now to today's photo - just one - and it's of Charlie Fink.

Charlie Fink - Noah and the Whale

I shot this at Glastonbury in 2009. I was one of just a handful of people (less than 10 of us from memory) who watched Noah and the Whale on one of the smaller stages. I'm sure there will be thousands seeing them this year and I doubt I'll be able to get shots like this. I have included this image as it had been on my Flickr site since 2009 and has had a steady stream of viewers however of late and especially in the lead up tp Glastonbury this year the image has been adopted by numerous blogs and Charlie Fink fan sites (thanks for asking permission!!!!). It leads me to think that even two years ago I was doing something right as there are thousand of images of Charlie on the web but this one still appears to be very popular. Be sometime next week before I'm blogging again and I hope to have some fantastic images and stories to go with them.


A Bit of Self Indulgence - and Why Not?

20 June 11

Posted at 3:09

A bit of a change today and a bit of self indulgence and I say why not? I'm kind of chuffed at my little acheivements this weekend and as they are photography related why not share here on my photo blog?

Two years ago I was invited to join Ampthill and District Camera Club  . The invite was a little unusual as it was made on my first visit to another photographic club somehwhat nearer to where I live. However the proposition was that Ampthill was a friendly club with no pretensions and existed to help photographers of any level be welcome and offer the opportunity to learn and develop in a friendly (i.e. non political/judgemental) environment. It was also suggested that they welcomed 'younger members' which I found a bit rich but non the less flattering when it was mentioned to me (an individual whose definition 'young', other than in mind, was elimeated a long while ago).

Anyway, I went along to a meeting and found the club was everything that it said it was, so I decided to join. It was Chris and Valerie Elliott who invited me to join the club and a couple of things  soon became clear to me, well three things actually:

They are both highly accomplished photographers.

They had immersed themselves in rejuvenating and supporting ADCC

They are a thorougly nice couple.

I am somewhat shy by nauture (with strangers) and have an inferiority complex when it comes to photography (despite it now being my chosen proffession) so imagine my surprise, and indeed embarrassment when at last years annual exhibition (the second the club had held in it's 24 year history) the image below should win  'Best Digitally Project Image' and win one of only three engraved trophies allocated.

Break 3

Personally at the time I was pleased with this image but had received little positive feedback. Then, out of the blue, it was judged the best digital image at the 2010 exhibition. Well that broke the ice for me and gave my confidence a little boost. (Although I decided that the judge had probably just wanted to be contraversial).

I also had a print classed as Best Mono Architecture and a coupe of highly commendeds. So I have to admit to something of a warm glow as I was in the company of far superior photographers. Inwardly I was somewhat embarrased as although I spent a lot of time selecting and presenting the prints I exhibited I just took ten DPIs at random and entered them.

So roll forward 12 months to this weekends exhibition. I am enjoying being a memeber of the club and, as last year, I spent a lot of time producing mono and colour prints for the exhibition and little time selecting the ten DPIs I would enter.

This year the lead up the exhibition proved to be a tragic event. At the actual judging (which takes place prior to the exhibition) Chris Elliott was taken ill and most sadly died. I wasn't there and it's impossible to imagine the emotions and difficulties faced by those present. Chris's wife, Valerie, declared that the exhibition should go ahead - it was what Chris would have wanted.

And indeed, this Saturday it did, there were some real challenges right up to the last minute but all went very well on the day. It was a great success. I won't go into the difficulties, although they are a story, as the exhibition's success should be dedicated to Chris and to Valerie who was so strong in being there and taking an active part throughout the day.

Now to my self indulgence...

Well first of all, with my 'lasair faire' attidude to DPI submissions I again won the Best DPI (below)

Article Thieves 2

Well I must admit it is an image I am pleased with but....

Well I also won three 'Best of People' awards, mono DPI...

Happy Ladies in Hats

Now this I have to admit is one of my favourite portraits. Shot as part of a project with BK Luwo Ladies in Oxford, I just love the warmth and happiness portrayed.

But I also won the Best People Mono Print...Unwanted Attention...

Unwanted Attention

A lot colder than the previous image, but nonetheless, one I am proud of.

Still on the people theme I also won the Best People Colour Print with Summer Frocks..

Summer Frocks

This image has had some previous success in making the last 36 in the finals of The Great British Photo 2010 and winning Hertfordhire Life along the way. The image seems to bring a lot of happiness to people who view it.

Well it seems I must be a people person but I also manage to win the best Nature mono print section with this - Le Renard..

Le Renard

Well, excuse me for my little bit of self indulgence, I am chuffed with my little bit of local success but I am more chuffed to have known and shared some time over the last couple of years with Chris Elliott - a photographer and person whose qualities I can only wish one day to achieve.


Rocks and Crocs

17 June 11

Posted at 2:23

Today a mixture of landscapes and wildlife. Images again from our Kimberley Adventure with Kimberley Wild  who I can only praise for their local knowledge and superb customer care.

To kick off a beautiful image entitled Sundown over the Chamberlain River. It was so peaceful here in El Questro as we spent an hour or two drifting along the river at sunset.

Sundown over the Chamberlain River

Just a couple of months ago this water was TWENTY metres high than in this picture. Yes metres! The wet season reeked unprecedented havoc in this wilderness and it will take years to recover.

Next a view over the Ord River and in the background Lake Argyle. As a photographer it's easy to get a false ego by taking too seriously praise and accolades often forthcoming from people who see your work. I find it is rare that I am really satisfied with an image I have created. I can always see what I could have done better and what is wrong with it technically (usually quite a lot!). Hopefully in time I will improve. Don't get me wrong I often produce images that I like even though I know their flaws. Occasionally I produce an image that I am really pleased with and the one below fits that bill. Landscapes are not my favourite genre and it's rare that I produce a good one. overall I am really pleased with this shot taken high up on a hill (it was a long, hot, trek up there) looking down at the Ord River and Lake Argyle in the background.

Ord River and Lake Argyle

Next some images from Geikie Gorge. A Gorge that has been carved by nature between the Geikie and Oscar Ranges many years ago in the Devonian geological period. You can clearly see the wet high level water line in these images. The Kimberley has just two seasons, wet and dry. In 2010/11 the wet was the wettest on record exceeding the massive flooding of 2002.

High Watermark Geikie Gorge


Geikie Gorge

We toured the gorge by boat, a welcome relief from hours in a four wheel drive, and also safe from the gorges population of crocodiles.

Freshwater Crocodile at Geikie Gorge

These are freshwater crocodiles, apparently harmeless, unlike the 'salty's (saltwater crocodiles) which do tend to like eating us! And despite their name can live in freshwater many miles from the sea. I had no intention of checking out whether or not the freshies were as harmless as suggested!

Freshwater Crocodile

As at the Chamberlain River the best part of the day in Geikie Gorge was sunset

Sunset at Geikie Gorge

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Frogs, Toads and Birds

14 June 11

Posted at 4:37

Back to my Kimberley Trip today and a look at some of the wildlife I spotted, in addition to what I've already shown.

First of all a look at a Cane Toad.

Cane Toad


The presence of the Cane Toad in Australia would be a comical irony if it were not so tragic.

If you have visited Australia you will be aware how paranoid they are about their ecology and preserving it. When entering Aus you will no doubt come across a customs dog. It will not be sniffing for illegal drugs but for foodstuffs, fruit in particular. This is for fear that seeds, disease or parasites will be introduced and pollute the indigenous flora. Even between states ther is the same paranoia.


But an Australian Government department appears to have made a decison some years ago to introduce the Cane Toad in an effort to surpress the Cane Fly. It must have been a moment of madeness with little thought or research. Some Cane Toads were set free to start controlling the Cane Flies. But the canny South American toad thought "Hey, we've landed in heaven" a land where we have no predators whatsoever, and a land with so much varied food on offer we no longer have to eat those awful cane flies.


The toads proceeded to cause disruption by eating a whole range of indigenous insects, normally the diets of indigenous reptiles. They bred prolifically, poisoned anything that got in their way - including humans, to the point where they are now totally out of control. And they've yet to dispose of a single Cane Fly.


The Aussies we met hate them with a vengence and there are massive efforts to find a way to halt their proliferation. many groups are focussed on this, we met a group from Australian Geographic at El Questro on a project to actually size the problem and determine ways to address it.


Meanwhile this photo is of a young toad, they do grow big and ugly. When camping at night we had to be very careful not to tread on one in bare feet or flip flops as they are seriously poisonous.



The Tree Frog - a different proposition

Tree Frog


Also nocturnal is the adorable Tree Frog. It's been around for a long time so is 'Australian' and accepted unlike the  toad.

They are a great subject to photograph.


In their quest for both water and insects they can cause us humans a little discomfort. Leave a toilet seat up, even in a house or hotel, not just at a campsite, and you are likely to find a tree frog in the bowl - it happened to us at Cable Beach in Broome.


If it's an outside loo at a campsite the tree frogs may keep the insect population down in the small room but unlike the toad they do have predators, mainly snakes. So it's important to 'check the contents of the bowl' before you sit or you may well get a nasty surprise!











The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

Another example of Aussies failing to do what they say on the tin. The Kimberley is home to thousands of these noisy birds but again they are not indigenous to NW Australia but have been introduced by humans. Being given the third degree because a spaniel detected that there had once been an apple in my rucksack wears a bit thin when there seems to be a total disregard for their own ecology rules. On the other hand had they not been there I would not have captured these images. ;)

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Lastly the Blue Winged Kookaburra

Blue Winged Kookaburra

What a magnificint bird. In the Kingfisher family but with a diet that consists more of snakes, lizards and other birds young, although pretty he is a viscious chap. This pair had a nest about thirty metres from my safari tent at El Questro  where although we did upgrade from our own tenet to a fixed one we did not, I stress, stay at The Homestaed!!!!

Pair of Blue Winged Kookaburras


It Takes All Sorts

09 June 11

Posted at 3:34

Today I'll continue with Sunrise Festival  and with images of punters as opposed to artists. Not got a lot to say today as I'm busy processing photos from The Kimberley. So enjoy some candid and not so candid pics of the people...

I'll kick off with an old skool festival lover. I couldn't help but notice her - red hair catching the sunlight.



A little more modest

Nice Brolly

Disraeli and the Small Gods got the crowd excited at Chai Wallahs

Disraeli's Crowd

...I didn't even have to request "say cheese"

Well I said say cheese!

My new friend Zen



The Dancer

Some lads are here just to have fun


..others are busking for a living


while the girls just pose and look pretty


.. which can prove to be a knock out

Knocked out


Photographers - Beware of Man in Pixie Hat

08 June 11

Posted at 2:43

Today's photoblog continues the Sunrise Celebration Festival but today the images are not of artists but of normal (?) punters and a bloke who I'll call Pixie Man. The images are similar but together tell a little story.

Pixie Man indulged himself in gathereing together 'disciples' who he proceeded to lead round the festival getting up to all sorts of antics, usually embarrassing other people and gathering more and more followers as time went on. Pixie Man appeared to have some power over his 'disciples' whereby they copied everything he did and followed his instructions whilst chanting over and over whatever instruction Pixie Man had given them. I'd seen and heard his crowd a few times and not taken much notice but at this point I did. I observed them embarrass a couple who were innocently sitting together on the grass by taking one of them hostage and then getting the girl to run from some distance in slow motion and release her man with an embrace and kiss. The disciples directed this with much noise and hand waving. I must admit it was entertaining, spontaneous theatre.

Turning away from the couple Pixie Man got his followers on the ground and they proceeded to crawl fowards. I couldn't resist getting in front of them at their level and taking a shot....


Pixie and followers

Pixie Man however spotted me, halted the crawl and pointed me out to the disciples...


I forget exactly what he said but it was clear that anyone with a camera was the enemy. Pixie Man incited his followers to request that I ceased photographing and that I went away..

No Photos Please

I felt their request was half hearted so I continued to shoot and did not move. At which point it turned nasty and in unison thay gave me the FINGER!!!


I'm pleased to see the younger generation had much better manners than their elders although the girl in red no doubt got the hang of it eventually. At this point I departed!


Sunrise Celebration Festival

07 June 11

Posted at 9:20

I've had a few days without blogging whilst I've been at Sunrise Festival   also means a break from the Oz theme that I will no doubt return to soon.I'd never been to Sunrise before and chose to go as it is one of the festivals that  The Travelling Band  are playing this summer (I'm also doing Cropredy for the same reason). I secured a press pass which was a new festival experience for me as was going to a festival on my own. The former was great the latter was a bit of a test at times. I did arrange to give someone a lift through the car share website which meant at least I didn't arrive alone and through that connection met an camped with my lift (Tim's) festival friends. That proved to be good so thanks to Tim, Zen, PV, Joe and Ruby.

Sunrise potrays itself as a festival of organic arts. A green festival. It certainly lives up to that. It's really well organised in the most laid back of ways, importantly for me there was an eclectic mix of music and entertainment on offer.

Today I'll share a few of the images of just some of the artists.

The Travelling Band - Sunrise celebration

I'll start with my favourites The Travelling Band . If you don't know them I suggest you get their new album Screaming is Something - you wont be disappointed.

Next The Boxettes, they are excellent. I'll be making a point of catching them again at Glastonbury

Boxettes Beat Box


The Boxettes

Lamb were top of the bill on Saturday. I'd never seen them live before. I was suitably impressed.


and talking of being impressed I was knocked over by Disraeli and The Small Gods set. Was a sweet moment when he got his brother Mark on stage and dressed him in a wedding dress as he was there on his stag do. The dress was obviously planned for some point during the weekend but it appeared spontaneous that Mark was pulled on stage for it either that or Disraeli is a good actor as well as a great rapper. I even bought his CD!

Disraeli and The Small Gods

Next MC Xander, more fanastic beat box

MC Xander

There will be more images on my website and in future blogs


The Lizard and a Cranefly

01 June 11

Posted at 9:31

Today a couple of natural history images. A few people have advised me that they cannot see the lizard in the dead tree image in yesterdays blog. Well here is a close up of it in the same position...


Well when I say same position I've taken this from above so it looks horizontal, in yesterday's image it is vertical and more or less slap bang centre. If you missed it why not take another look?

I've also included a photo of what I believe to be a cranefly. I spotted this little fella when trekking back from some hot springs. I'll no doubt include some images of them another day.

Australian Cranefly

If anyone can identify either species I'd be interested to know - all Googled out today!