Tuesday, 27 November 2012

EMotion: Aspire not to have more, but to be more.

The title of this post can have different meanings depending on who's reading it.
Take an ordinary working "Joe" for example.  He may read it, and think it hard to believe when he has to work everyday just to make ends meat.  A well-to-do gentleman of a manor estate may think it he already is more, because he has more.  These are of course stereotypes, and sweeping stereotypes at that.

Now let me tell you that line was spoken by priest, preacher, bishop, and modern day martyr Oscar Romero.  It wouldn't be wrong of me to say it probably changes most peoples opinion and thoughts of it. "Oh it just some theologian trying to motivate people."  Well perhaps that's exactly what it is, but it still applies to all of us, no matter what your religion, nationality or race.
At the weekend I was asked to cover an event in conjunction with CAFOD, at St. Joseph's parish in Ansdell, Lytham St. Anne's, not too far away from my home town of Blackpool.
The day was all about the presentation of this, livesimplyaward, to the parish.  The best and shortest way to explain the award would be to use Oscar Romero's line (above), accompanied with the 3 principles of the livesimply campaign; live simply, sustainably with creation, and in solidarity with people in poverty.
In essence, as the name suggests, it's simple.  Become more, by using less.  Simple things as switching off lights, recycling everything that can be, creating spaces in a natural environment in this ever increasing concrete jungle, and most importantly helping those less fortunate than ourselves.  No matter how hard your day may have been, there is nearly always someone who has had it worse, and if we can help and support them, just a little, then we're half way to becoming more of a complete person.
As the award suggests, St. Joseph's is already well on the way to creating a better place for us all to live, and spending the morning in the parish was brilliant.  I had a great time and spoke to some great people, young and old, and everyone in between.  In a world where every time we tune into the news we're presented with bad news, there are good people, doing great things.  We just have to be willing to find them.

If you're part of a parish, or even if you're not, and want to get involved then visit http://livesimplyaward.org.uk/ for more information.
And as a supporter of the award, CAFOD is also a good place to visit. 

(Finally, I know it's been ages since I last made a post.  Truthfully, it's been a while since I actually produced any photos, and any that were, ended up hidden on the hard drive or sneakingly made there way onto my Flickr instead.  So, I hope this will be the first of a continuation of posts.  Now I just need to get out and do some shoots)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

EMotion: I'm an Illustrator

Okay, so that may not strictly be true. However, it's not really a lie either. Since i handed in my last project, I've hardly touched a camera, apart from to take a picture of the illustrations i've been doing instead. In truth, it's all i've really done since. Just doodle, and write bits, and doodle some more.

This first one was a present for someone's birthday...

... and this second one is an illustrated version of a random story i made up for someone. Not sure my skills are up to scratch, but it could be a new career change... hmmm, another 3 years at uni perhaps. (I jest of course. There shall be no uni course in illustration for me)

Thursday, 28 April 2011

NoMotion: Work in Progress - Edgelands

Current project focusing on Edgelands and the false Disneytopias that they create. Still working on this so any feedback will be much appreciated. (ignore the colours... they'll be corrected at a later date)

Thursday, 3 March 2011

InMotion: The King is Dead... Long Live the King (for now)

So the King is dead. King Apollo of Mayhem is no longer terrorising... i mean rolling the streets of Blackpool. Finally after 10 and a half years hard graft the trusty steed had finally given up more than it could handle. (10 years doesn't seem much, but i first got the bike for high school. I'm now in my last year at university) The countless years of slogging up hills, racing down 'em, being launched of kerbs, bounced over tree roots and rocky shale paths, finally took it's toll, and not to mention the numerous times it's slid down the road on it's handles bars and pedals. (there's only one way to ride and that's flat out. So with that comes mistakes and the inevitable big crashes, of which there have been many) It finally bit the dust.

So what's replaced it.

Let me introduce the new King, or Prince, as it's yet to earn it's title. It's a Savage Stealth SE (noticing anything here... Mayhem... Savage. All coincidence) It was once my sisters bike, but since she no longer uses it, for now i'll be using it. I'm not keen on bikes with suspension, but we'll see how it goes. It may convert me, and help me decide on my own bike. As you can see. the mudguards and lock have already been transplanted and the once the cones were checked and some air in the tyres, away we went.
Crack!!! But what exactly happened to the King. Well this really. The stem simply cracked and gave way along the weld. Thankfully it didn't give way fully when riding, but noticing the crack whilst levering away at the bars going uphill wasn't ideal timing. I limped home with it, and when my dad moved it next day, it gave way totally. Lucky escape if you ask me.

Also, i'd managed to snap a spoke on the rear wheel. Not a major deal. It was still round and had a fair amount of strength. It had been buckled no fewer than 3 times previously, so the spokes were by now under a fair bit of tension. To add to this the crank probably had a good few millimetres of play in it, which wasn't helping. So for now, the trusty steed is at the back of the shed. It's not being binned though. Oh no. It will live once again. It's just a matter of time, and of course that all important thing money.

So to Christen the newbie i took it for a stroll down the prom and round the houses. Covered about 8 miles or so. Not bad for it's first time out in a few years. Caught this shot from the top of the dunes (added a semi-cross processed look, hence rather yellow-green look compared to other shots)

I think it'll do okay for now. Been bobbing about for a week or so now, and it's still upright and in one piece (though I'm sure this will change at some point)

Sunday, 6 February 2011

InMotion: Rally Report, North West Stages 2011

The curtain raiser to the rally reason, once again took place on the shores of Blackpool in February of 2011, and the 103 entrants were greeted by less than pleasant weather conditions.

The event started on Friday night, with scrutineering taking place earlier in the day, something i always like to attend to, but other commitments and the dreaded M60 dictated otherwise. Even when i arrived, later than planned, the camera stayed tucked away firmly in it's bag.
Wind speeds gusting up to 70mph made standing nearly impossible on the Blackpool promenade, and the sand storm created by it was enough to keep my lens tucked away thankyou very much. It was a spectacle for the (sandy) eyes though. Seeing rally cars fighting against the weather conditions and swirls of sand lit up by the headlights.
The North West Stages had already laid down the law, and it was going to run according to it's own drum beat.
Once the cars had completed the opening 4 stages around Weeton and North Promenade, they entered Par Ferme over night, in the grounds of Norbreck Castle. The tinsel chandeliers made an interesting backdrop for the cars now covered in sand and dirt.

As well as the competitors there were also demonstration runs by ex-Group B spec rally cars, including this Ferrari 308 GTS (above) as well as the ex-Hannu Mikkola Audi Quattro (below) Both made pleasant noises, and the Ferrari in particular was exciting to control on cut slicks in the wet conditions Saturday morning had thrown at them.

Saturday morning. The wind had died down, but had been replaced by rain. The first spectator stages were in Fleetwood, on the Marina, so that's where i headed. The weather wasn't stopping me today.
It's not often you see a 1000cc Nissan Micra with number 1 slapped on the door, but that's waht reigning North West Stages winner Darren Doherty turned up in to defend his crown. Needless to say he didn't retain it. His new Impreza was still being built in preparation for the ANCC Tarmac Championship. It was still a great sight though, watching Doherty hustle the little car round the stages. He retired shortly after this shot due to water in the engine, a problem that would strike down many cars be the end of the event.

That left last years long time leader (before crashing into retirement) Kevin Procter as favourite. He wasn't going to have it easy though. Only only the 3rd stage he half spun and stalled, loosing vital seconds, but managed to maintain an over night lead. Now all he had to do was keep it.

2009 winner Tony Bardy returned to reclaim his crown from 2 years ago, once again in the now even more powerful and even bigger flame throwing Sunny GTiR. As ever Bardy started cautiously, taking time to feel the conditions and the balance of the car. He started Saturday in 3rd place over 40 seconds down.

Rob dick was also back in his nimble Darrian, and was once again out to beat the "big boys".

Steve Simpson, five times winner of the event, was also waiting on the completion of his new Impreza, an ex-Prodrive car, so he turned up in his trusty Accent WRC, now featuring a paint scheme not too dissimilar to Ken Blocks Gymkhana car. He seemed to struggle for the whole event. I think a mixture of the now outdated car, and the weather conditions may have had an effect.

Doherty may have turned up in a new car, but his old car, turned up with a new driver at the wheel. James Ford piloted the car extremely well and constantly improved throughout the rally, and earning himself a final standing of 5th overall. Proving the car is still quick and he himself has the talent to drive it.

A personal favourite of mine, making a return, is the bold as ever, flame throwing rotary powered Mk2 Escort. Old school looks and design combined with a Japanese classic power house makes for a great sight, and sounds incredible. Hopewell and Smith came home a credible 12th, third on the two wheel drive cars.
Rob Dick continued to push on throughout the day, challenging for the podium but constantly on the edge. The rain wasn't helping at all, and unfortunately had to retire after stating it "too dangerous to continue." (Not sure if that was the conditions, or more likely damage to the car)

In recognisable Tony Bardy style, he was going quicker and quicker, piling the pressure on Procter, until eventually Bardy's pace forced Procter in to a small mistake, and Bardy gained 24 seconds in one stage and with it the lead in the rally. Rain or not, this rally was just as fierce as ever.

Conor Corkill's immaculate Mk2 RS1800 was a giant killer, in and around the top 10 for the whole rally, quite impressive considering the conditions. He would eventually finish 7th overall and 1st in class.

More used to Evo power and 4 wheel drive Duncan Taylor turned up in a Mk2 Escort this year, and finished a well earned 13th.

Looking the wrong way mate! Mark Rowland gets his Escort Mk2 extremely sideways whilst the Motors TV camera man (who's getting paid for this) films in totally the wrong direction.

Some of the stages are looped, so the spectators get to see every car twice in one running of the stage. What it also means is that some of the quicker cars on their second loop catch the cars on their first. It makes for some exciting action and in some cases looks more like circuit racing or rally cross.

Tony Bardy had taken the lead with only 8 stages remaining and immediately stretched the gap to 8 seconds. With 3 stages to go, Bardy continued to extend the lead to just over 10 but with 2 stages left, Procter emerged as leader by only 1 second and with one stage remaining had the lead up to 17 seconds. He had to have victory now. And he did... just. Bardy had a storming last stage, but it wasn't enough. The final gap was just 1 second, the closest finish Blackpool's North West Stages has seen, as far as i know.

Final Standings:
1. Kevin Procter Subaru Impreza WRC 1h, 40m, 48s
2. Tony Bardy Nissan Sunny GTiR 1h, 40m, 49s
3. Steve Simpson Hyundai Accent WRC 1h, 43m, 56s.

Roll on next year. And I hope to try and get to some more events this year too.
(And hopefully have my colour balancing eyes in... Just noticed some weird colour edits in there. Apologies)

Sunday, 30 January 2011

EMotion: Escape the Town

Well, I'm back. Haven't posted on my blog for quite some time now. I've been favouring Flickr lately, but i'm having a few problems with my account, so I'm back here.

So I thought I'd lay down some landscapes i did last night. Last minute decided to go for a ride, to quite possibly my favourite place on the Fylde Coast. Was fun trying to ride in the dark once my light died. (note to self, always check batteries)
Fairly long exposure

Fairly long exposure, with flash.
(not too keen on the shadow... may well re-shoot)

Massively long exposure, with fisheye, done using the bulb setting, and my finger.
Need to buy a remote shutter release.