Multistorey Moods

Hey hey and ahoy!

I feel like I start almost every blog post with “it’s been ages since my last post”, and that’s mainly because it has indeed been ages since my last post.

August was a damn good month where I got an annoying little bug inside me urging me to get out and do something cool with the camera and other people.  There have been more wanderings around the City of London as well as a trip back home to Wales and some snaps at the top of the highest peaks in the Brecon Beacons but I’m not gonna talk about that today.

A couple of weeks ago I arranged what I hoped would be an awesome edgey shoot in an urban setting.  Nothing over the top, nothing fancy, just a chance for me to get out with the camera, try out some portrait techniques, think up some ideas, get inspiration from other urban shoots that I like, and work on interaction with other people.  I honestly feel like out of all of the different aspects of photography, working with models or just asking people to pose must be my biggest weakness.  When I take photographs of people I like them to just do what they do and I’ll capture the moment.  That’s how my wedding style goes and I think it works well.  In reality, there are going to be lots of times when I need to be giving direction, so this urban shoot was going to be a step towards getting to be where I want to be.

So it’s Monday evening and I’ve arranged to catch Megan in town at the old bus station with the aim of getting about the last hour of light before looking for artificial light in the form of whatever Milton Keynes can provide for free.  I’d been watching quite a few Behind the Scenes videos of this kind of thing, from America and Australia, and really wanted to test myself.  So I did.

We started at 1830 as the sun was getting ready to dip behind the train station’s office block but actually put ourselves in the shade.  The light was still surprisingly good and as I was using a nifty fifty (50mm prime lens) with the aperture pretty wide open, I could keep the ISO on or close to 100.

We lifted off and warmed up with some nice simple shots near some railings and a mirrored part of the building.  There was also a long clean grey wall that we used for some fancy shallow focus shots with Megan a short distance away, and also for a wide flat shot to work on the rule of thirds.  The nearby fire exit was metal and surprisingly clean so we tried a few snaps around there and the best ones definitely contained attitude.

 

There’s a good amount of graffiti in just one corner of the area that we used but that area happens to be a skate park and was fairly busy that evening.  We decided to skip it and maybe come back to it later.  For now though the light was definitely dropping quickly so we’d have to find some artificial light.  The multistorey car park was the obvious first option.

We took 2 cars and looped round and up and round and up until we got to an eerily quiet level and parked up.  We needed more attitude, so the hood came up for most of our shots, I was shooting with black and white in mind so really thinking hard about the light, the shadows and leading lines.  I wasn’t carrying any fancy equipment because I don’t have any.  Gordon Ramsey only needs one pan to make his magic, right?  We just took advantage of whatever was available to us there and then.  We also kept the posing really simple because a) I’m not great at directing and thinking of poses yet, and b) I’m not great at directing and thinking of poses yet.  Most of my direction was to myself just thinking about angles that work and directions of light.  Megan did the rest.  At one point I just asked Megan to simply listen out for my click and change her pose slightly each click whether it be a hip movement or a hair flick or a hand gesture or the direction of her eyes.  The results are below!

Megan was absolutely fab to work with, very professional and easy going at the same time.  If you’re a photographer and would like to work with her, just hunt her down on instagram @meganastasiaa and I’m sure you won’t regret it.  Tell her I sent you!  Megan is new to modeling and pushing herself towards a career in fitness but you can see here she can create some fantastic looks with the right photographer.  If you’re looking for a model for your sports brand, you don’t need to look any further.

With that, if you are looking for a photographer to help capture some cool images of your brand, or maybe you just fancy a funky photoshoot for yourself or want to get started in modeling, or a family portrait with a difference, or whatever it might be, get in touch and find out what my very decent rates are.  We can chuck some ideas around.  I have a smoke grenade that I really want to use soon!

Oh and while I remember, I have a new instagram handle  @iamtheinstadan

Be sure to say hi!

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PokemonGo and Geocaching

How do you get Pikachu and his mates on an already crowded bus?

POKE ‘EM ON!

That there is my full knowledge of what a Pokemon thing is.  I’ve never really watched it, never played it.  Anime and Manga looks pretty cool of course, and as a big time Daft Punk fan I know the works of Leiji Matsumoto who helped them out with the Interstella 5555 movie.  Other than that, zero interest.  That’s changed slightly this week.

A few weeks ago someone suggested that I might be interested in Geocaching.  A few of my friends will confirm, with a face that says “never again” that I like to wander until the body hurts, mostly around London streets.  At this point I’d like to apologise to Jon, Sarah, Simon, Phil and anyone else who’s had the fortune of following me from a few paces behind while I get excited about a sticker or some street art that I’ve spotted and have to speedwalk to.  I’d also like to apologise in advance to Shane and Josh who have this to come when we got to Chernobyl in October.

Back to Geocaching!  If you’ve not heard of it, it comes from Geography and Caching.  It’s an outdoorsy thing kinda like orienteering or treasure hunting, but of course it’s the 21st Century so uses GPS on mobile phones.  I downloaded the Geocaching app to my phone and was amazed how many geocaches were in the area.  Literally hundreds.  I don’t use the word literally unless I literally mean literally.  Literally hundreds.  The first night I popped out to the local lake with a smaller version of an adult, formally known as a child.  We searched high but mainly low and followed the GPS and hints available but to no avail.  The problem was, we had no idea what we were looking for.  What on earth do these things look like?  Geocaches come in a few different shapes and sizes, from tiny magnetic tabs or bolts, through to 35mm film cassettes, tupperware boxes, ration boxes, up to suitcase size!  Some are obvious, some are less so.  Thanks camouflage!

I tried again a few nights later at the Milton Keynes National Bowl.  It looked easy on the phone, but nope.  Even with 2 small versions of adults with me this time, we had no luck. As lovely as the weather is at the moment, it doesn’t help when trying to look behind bushes.  Thorns, nettles and brambles suck (not literally).

Attempt 3 was today and…. SUCCESS!  A tiny little thing near one of our offices in Kent, that I went to find on a lunch break.  It took no more than 4 minutes to find, and I had some help in a full size adult manchild this time (thanks Kam).  We unscrewed the device and completed the log with names and the date, then put it back for someone else to find; job done.

But not quite.  Kam had just that morning downloaded PokemonGo which is practically the same thing but there’s no physical treasure this time.  It’s all about wandering and looking for virtual Pokemon but using the same technology – GPS.  We didn’t have to walk far to find some Pokestops and stocked up on Pokeballs and eggs.  I think I have an egg in an incubator at the moment which would appear to only want to do anything if I walk at least 2km.  I thought this was a game for kids but no, it’s actually a secret fitness app for adults.  Clever Japanese bar stewards!

And that takes me on to another point.  It seems that people want to revert to deciding that anything they don’t understand is worth mocking and belittling.  So many grumpy people on Facebook telling others that they have better things to do than play that silly game.  Erm… you’re on Facebook telling others you have better things to do.  That equates to you having nothing better to do.  Let’s not even start on the idea of grown adults spending time watching “professional sports”, Harry Potter, or Star Wars, then knocking those who play PokemonGo.  Really what I want to say it let’s not knock it til you’ve tried it.

I read the mad stories when PokemonGo was first released in the US and it made little sense but we don’t judge a whole community on the actions of a minority now will we?  It appeared to be some weird craze that stupid people were playing in an attempt to win this year’s Darwin Awards.  But they aren’t stupid.  These are kids, teens, young adults, parents, families, elders, all getting involved in something new and revolutionary (even though Geocaching was invented in 2000) and enjoying spending time out and about with each other.  Just last Saturday I took my better half to her friend’s house 6 miles away and was amazed at the hoards of people roaming the streets and parks looking for small animated creatures.  It was fantastic to see!  Who are these people then who are making this what it is?  I’d imagine a large chunk of the gaming community are heavily involved in this.  I’m not suggesting that gamers don’t go out, but computer games are typically played indoors, right?  If PokemonGo is getting these guys and girls out for some Vitamin D, then GREAT!  I hear stories of people with depression and anxiety who are benefiting from this game and are more comfortable with the world immediately around them. There’s a real buzz about this game right now and I can genuinely see why.

After work tonight I took a stroll of roughly 2km (ssshhh) to find another Geocache but it was in a very busy path on the Kent coastline, surrounded by people who would probably be calling the police to report the weird Welsh dude rummaging around bushes, walls, benches, poles and bins looking for something.  I’ll leave that until another time.  It’s not going anywhere.

Neither is Pokemon.  Time to embrace it fully!

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Caldecotte Lake

Hello

As usual I have slipped with the blogging but I needed the time to get out and get more images, and now that the weather has improved massively it seems like a good time for some quality snaps.

This is meant to be the warmest May in history or something, and I do actually remember there being at least 4 more-than-tepid days in a row so that must have been Summer.

Warm weather means 2 things to me.  No, 3 things.  First of all, the barbecue comes out of hibernation and the grass gets cut.  Then of course the bike gets a wash and a liberal covering in WD-40.  Finally, but by no means least, no one looks at me when I’m walking around in shorts.  All through the Winter you’d think I had personally shat on their cats as they slept, with some of the looks I would receive wearing shorts.  I have legs.  Get over it.

Back to the point of today’s blog; Caldecotte Lake.  I hadn’t really given the place much chance as I always thought it was a big splodge of water and nothing to  do there apart from drink at the pub and get bitten by those annoying midge fly things.  I’ve already mentioned warmer weather, shorts and bikes.  If this is a surprise to you, for God’s sake, it was only the previous paragraph!  But anyway, me and SWIWWWTGFM decided to hop on our bikes one evening and pedal down to the lake.  When we got there we took the brave deicision to turn left and go round the lake instead of going right and directly in to the pub.  What a lake!  It’s a fantastic size, not too busy, very pretty from every angle, and nice and flat to get around as it was my first bit of exercise for 2016.

I didn’t take any photos on the day as we whizzed around but made a few mental notes of where to return with my camera in the future.  It turned out that the good weather didn’t go too far and returned quickly less than a week later so I took my chance and drove there an hour before sunset.  Then it was just a case of walking swiftly around the one edge so that I was doing a  lot of shooting back in to the sun.  That’s generally not a good idea but if you get it right, it is so so right.

Enjoy the shots below and as usual please feel free to find me and like the page at http://www.facebook.com/dandavidsonphotography and if you are an IGer then follow me on Instagram @dangleberrydan7

 

Willen Lake Peace Pagoda

Well the weather hasn’t been fantastic recently but I managed to spend half an hour at the Buddhist Peace Pagoda at Willen Lake in Milton Keynes last weekend.  It was pretty cold so no one was hanging around for long but my ears have experienced colder bites so some decent shots were captured.

Peace Pagoda MK

Peace Pagoda Milton Keynes

If you’ve never been to Willen Lake it is undoubtedly one of the prettier areas of Milton Keynes, away from the rest of the concrete jungle.  The lake is split in 2 – the South lake used for watersports, the North lake being more tranquil and home to the Buddhist Temple and Peace Pagoda, as well as a lot of wildlife.

Peace Pagoda at Willen Lake

Peace Pagoda at Willen Lake

Fancy some history?  Yeah you do, it might help in a pub quiz if nothing else..

The Peace Pagoda was built in 1979/1980 by Matsuura Yoshijke, taking over a year to complete.  It’s made mostly of concrete, as is most of the Buckinghamshire town, and is home to a gold painted statue of Buddha.  If you approach the pagoda from the lakeside or from the Buddist Temple next door you will pass 2 concrete lions at the top of the first flight of steps, and another 2 guard lions at the foot of the pagoda steps.

Concrete lions at the Peace Pagoda MK

Concrete lions at the Peace Pagoda MK

Enough rambling, I hope you’ve enjoyed these snaps of Nipponzan Myohoji.

If visiting, look for signs to the Peace Pagoda Car Park on V10 Brickhill Street.

Thanks for reading!

Dan Davidson off of Dan Davidson Photography