Upwards and Onwards

This month is something a little different from what you're all used to on my blog. After long days of shooting sliding tackles and left hooks I've turned my lenses skywards and am in the process of creating a gallery of astrophotography.

 

Venus and Jupiter

Seeing these two planets together in the early night sky was a rare occurrence and a nice end to each day.

Although these two beauty's were closer at some point in the country this was as close as I managed from my position on Planet Earth. You can just about make out 3 of the Jupiter's moons.

The Old Egg and Spoon

Only four years in the making. I've seen better images of a plane crossing the path of the moon but I was like a kid at christmas when I caught this.

 

This is my first attempt at capturing Saturn. I have a lot of learning to do when it comes to stacking images and bringing out the detail, but watch this.....erm.... space!

 

Another Nike Month

My diary was full again last month with Nike being the first on the phone to make the bookings. They'd been busy organising a week long FootballX event in the heart of London, building a 2 aside pitch on the middle floor of their NikeTown store in Oxford Circus and with their women's 10K run fast approaching we've been working together to capture many of the promotions they've arranged for their social media channels.

Getting to Old Spitalfields Market before the stall holders to set up a remote camera in the roof was definitely worth it to capture this angle of a huge aerobics class.

Getting to Old Spitalfields Market before the stall holders to set up a remote camera in the roof was definitely worth it to capture this angle of a huge aerobics class.

The caged pitch in NikeTown gave me great access to capture action and emotion during the FootballX event

The caged pitch in NikeTown gave me great access to capture action and emotion during the FootballX event

A studio portrait of athletes preparing for the Nike 10K run during a workout at Frame fitness studios in Shoreditch

A studio portrait of athletes preparing for the Nike 10K run during a workout at Frame fitness studios in Shoreditch

Hip Hop duo Krept and Konan tested the capabilities of the NikeTown structure with hundreds of fans turning out to see them perform live......they were very loud.

Hip Hop duo Krept and Konan tested the capabilities of the NikeTown structure with hundreds of fans turning out to see them perform live......they were very loud.

Hundreds of women descended on St Paul's in London during the Longest warm up before the 10K event on June 21st

Hundreds of women descended on St Paul's in London during the Longest warm up before the 10K event on June 21st

Competitors from all teams gave it their all during the 3 minute matches which took place at NikeTown, London and were watched by thousands of excited shoppers

Competitors from all teams gave it their all during the 3 minute matches which took place at NikeTown, London and were watched by thousands of excited shoppers

I was commissioned by Getty Images for all Nike events.

Back In Black

On April 24th Nike launched the all black Nike 2015 Football Boots Collection, the new Nike Academy Pack and I was asked to produce a set of images for their social media outlet.

The brief was to keep the images dark and to bring out the detail of the boots so spotlights were the obvious way to go. After setting up a mini studio in the changing rooms at St.George's Park I headed outside with The Academy team to put them through their paces for the first time.

The Nike Academy

I've worked with the team at The National Football Centre for the past couple years and to have a boot named in their honour shows just what a magnificent programme it is being run up in Burton.

It seems strange to me that the whole team were surprised to see a completely black boot! Showing my age I suppose but I must say, it looked fantastic to have a football pitch without a hint of luminous green, sparkly puce or mango adorning the pristine turf of St George's Park.

Once again, the hits which Nike and The Academy have received through, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have been astronomical and I'm extremely proud to have been part of such a huge launch for their global brand.

Commissioned by Getty Images

A legend from the Steel City

"You just let us know what you need" was the first thing Dominic Ingle said as I walked through the doors of the Ingle Gym in Sheffield to cover an assignment for Ring Magazine on one of the legends of the sport. 

Dominic's father, Brendan was my subject and I sat with him for about 5 minutes to try and get some ideas for images whilst in the middle of a training session. I mentioned that it was going to be quite hard with so many people in the gym and maybe I could hang around until the s session was over? "we can move whoever you like" he said "I don't want to miss my dinner!"

As I sat watching the 30 or so boxers, who included youngsters of around 6 or 7 years old, huge prospects like Kid Galahad and current World Champion Kell Brook, I noticed that those who weren't in the ring sparring were muttering to themselves as they shadow boxed in straight lines up and down and in between the heavy bags. Dominic explained that they were reciting rhymes and following the patterns on the floor which had been patented by the Ingles.

This was obviously a shot I needed to get. It would only work from an elevated view and standing on the canvas wasn't going to be high enough. I described the shot I was after and Dominic looked around and announced "You'll need a ladder. I'll just pop home and get one for you"

Before I could say don't go to all that trouble he was back with a cold, wet step ladder under his arm asking me where I wanted it. The whole family live in throwing distance of the gym, which is handy being as they run two session a day, seven days a week.

Once I had the shot Brendan returned to his steps beside the ring to take charge of shouting "TIME" and let the boxers know he was ready for them to rotate. 

He looked on intently and watched every move of every fighter from their boots to their head-guards and gave short, sharp instructions as he did so. 

Having trained such fighters as Prince Naseem and Johnny Nelson, Brendan obviously has a good reputation in the business but above everything else I would call it respect. Not one fighter left without saying "thank you" and there wasn't a piece of glove tape or a spot of spilt water left once the session had finished. 

As well as having respect for their trainers, the boxers were all well mannered and polite to me and Kell Brook was happy to sit for a portrait which I had commissioned by Back Page Images. 

 

 

 

 

Kimblewick Hunt

It was a Saturday afternoon and instead of arriving at a football stadium 4 hours before kick off to be sat in the cold waiting for a steward to open a door and hand me a damp smelly bib and a food voucher for a stale hot dog, I was being welcomed in to a warm barn and offered a shot of port and a sausage roll and contemplating which corner of the stables would be best for light. As it turned out which ever I corner I had chosen would have worked perfectly well as the low winter sun and just above freezing conditions were about as perfect as I could've hoped for.

I've covered the Cheltenham Festival, The Grand National and Royal Ascot many times and although I had my 'editorial head' on during those events I never felt the same amount of creative freedom as I did at Kimblewick. "feel free to go wherever you want.....just get my good side" bellowed The Huntsman as he set off with his hounds excitedly following behind.

Another big difference was at a Hunt there are no barriers to guide you around a track. You have to either be really fit in order to run (not me), or extremely lucky to be in the right place at the right time. It's not covered by a gaggle of journalists and there aren't TV camera's positioned at every corner. So if something did happen that I didn't know about I wouldn't leave feeling like I missed a shot.

I'm not sure I've ever felt like I've wanted winter to last just a little longer so I could get my teeth in to another few of these events!

First post of 2015.....so here's a few from 2014

   A fortnight of working for the All England Lawn Tennis Club threw up a selection of images from all around the grounds, inside the dressing rooms, outside the tube station and very pretty pictures of fluffy clouds and deliciously tempting strawberries......but you can't beat Gael Monfils diving at the net from an elevated position in the sunshine!!

 

A fortnight of working for the All England Lawn Tennis Club threw up a selection of images from all around the grounds, inside the dressing rooms, outside the tube station and very pretty pictures of fluffy clouds and deliciously tempting strawberries......but you can't beat Gael Monfils diving at the net from an elevated position in the sunshine!!

   I'm pretty sure this bloke has had his picture taken almost as many times as the London Irish captain, but I would say he deserves it wearing this get up to every game (and making sure he's centre stage).  Fan pictures tend to be head shots inside stadiums as rows of plastic seats and steel girders don't lend much  to the image so this shot from Adam's Park in Wycombe worked well with the old school terraces. 

 

I'm pretty sure this bloke has had his picture taken almost as many times as the London Irish captain, but I would say he deserves it wearing this get up to every game (and making sure he's centre stage).

Fan pictures tend to be head shots inside stadiums as rows of plastic seats and steel girders don't lend much  to the image so this shot from Adam's Park in Wycombe worked well with the old school terraces. 

   In May we saw the rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves after their controversial bout the year before ended in a premature stoppage in favour of the Champion.   This time round Eddie Hearn and Matchroom pulled out all the stops and held the long awaited fight at Wembley Stadium, the first time a World Title fight had been held in the new arena.   It got the end it deserved with a stunning right hook from Froch flooring Groves and ending all the talk of how Groves should've been allowed to continue when the two met in Nottingham the first time round.   Although the actual punch didn't work from my ringside position, this shot of Groves with his leg buckled under him and his concerned corner looking on was enough to tell the story of how Froch ended it in style.

 

In May we saw the rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves after their controversial bout the year before ended in a premature stoppage in favour of the Champion. 

This time round Eddie Hearn and Matchroom pulled out all the stops and held the long awaited fight at Wembley Stadium, the first time a World Title fight had been held in the new arena. 

It got the end it deserved with a stunning right hook from Froch flooring Groves and ending all the talk of how Groves should've been allowed to continue when the two met in Nottingham the first time round. 

Although the actual punch didn't work from my ringside position, this shot of Groves with his leg buckled under him and his concerned corner looking on was enough to tell the story of how Froch ended it in style.

   I mentioned in a previous post that the venue for my shoot with the Beazley Great Britain fencing team was picturesque which ever way you looked. So here's another example.

 

I mentioned in a previous post that the venue for my shoot with the Beazley Great Britain fencing team was picturesque which ever way you looked. So here's another example.

   When you're a Chelsea fan and you see the only goal of the game being headed in to his own net by their long serving captain, it's a strange feeling to be happy about it happening at your end with a nice bit of back lighting!  Good to see that the stewards (otherwise known as hi-vis-divs) are doing their job and not just watching the game in my background!!

 

When you're a Chelsea fan and you see the only goal of the game being headed in to his own net by their long serving captain, it's a strange feeling to be happy about it happening at your end with a nice bit of back lighting!

Good to see that the stewards (otherwise known as hi-vis-divs) are doing their job and not just watching the game in my background!!

   I've covered big title fights all over the World and if I'm honest not many of them stick in the memory in terms of images, so it's always refreshing to go to York Hall on a Friday night and end up with this sort of thing where it takes a couple of goes to see what's happening! Hand stands in the boxing ring should be made compulsory.

 

I've covered big title fights all over the World and if I'm honest not many of them stick in the memory in terms of images, so it's always refreshing to go to York Hall on a Friday night and end up with this sort of thing where it takes a couple of goes to see what's happening! Hand stands in the boxing ring should be made compulsory.

   Pre season football matches can always be a bit monotonous with very few goal celebrations and the players trying their best not to injured before the season starts. But on the upside there's always a new surface of fresh grass and the sun being high enough to cast shadows seldom seen through the cold, bleak winters we're used to during the Premier League season..........

 

Pre season football matches can always be a bit monotonous with very few goal celebrations and the players trying their best not to injured before the season starts. But on the upside there's always a new surface of fresh grass and the sun being high enough to cast shadows seldom seen through the cold, bleak winters we're used to during the Premier League season..........

   ..........such as this from The Hawthorns on Boxing Day. I for one hadn't seen any weather reports as I was too busy with the very important task of building my son's new train set and had therefore not anticipated the fact that the Midlands was going to resemble Tromso for the afternoon!   But it did make for some stunning images.........more to come on that in a later post! 

 

..........such as this from The Hawthorns on Boxing Day. I for one hadn't seen any weather reports as I was too busy with the very important task of building my son's new train set and had therefore not anticipated the fact that the Midlands was going to resemble Tromso for the afternoon! 

But it did make for some stunning images.........more to come on that in a later post! 

   I played it cool during this shoot. Neither man realised that whilst they were sitting around posing politely and even making tea for myself and the journalists that inside I was as excited as a school boy would be meeting their hero.   Mahele Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have totalled a partnership of over 6000 runs for Sri Lanka and it was all I could do not to get on my knees and perform the "We're Not Worthy" scene from Wayne's World......but as I say, I played it cool!.....NOT!

 

I played it cool during this shoot. Neither man realised that whilst they were sitting around posing politely and even making tea for myself and the journalists that inside I was as excited as a school boy would be meeting their hero. 

Mahele Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have totalled a partnership of over 6000 runs for Sri Lanka and it was all I could do not to get on my knees and perform the "We're Not Worthy" scene from Wayne's World......but as I say, I played it cool!.....NOT!

Late Night Long Exposures in London

A few friends and I decided that we'd meet up in London, have a few beers and try our hand at some long exposures. Normally shooting sport I'm used to the other end of the shutter speed scale but with a warm beery glow and the bright lights of the best city in the world in front me I had to concentrate on reducing camera shake rather than capturing 'the' moment.

I enjoyed having the time to set up and compose my image before pressing the remote shutter release and will definitely be heading out to hopefully clearer sky's soon.

To see more from me and them follow us on Instagram: @skosh23 @tvcameraman @planet_squares & @rudivito


Burger Vans, Turnstiles and a Wide Angle Lens

"Yeah, but can he handle a wet Tuesday night in Stoke?" seems to be a phrase used when another £20M is risked on a young, tanned, millionaire who probably won't even sit on the bench on a Tuesday night due the rotation system.

But come rain or shine the fans who have probably all at some point complained about the price of tickets, programmes or a watered down pint, will be arriving early to stand around and wait for the turnstiles to open.

If an aspiring photographer comes to me for advice and asks "how do I get in to shoot the Premier League?" I simply tell them there are plenty of images to be had way before the whistle blows. Picture editors will receive hundreds of photographs with two men chasing a ball during a 90 minute football match, so going for a walk with a wide angle lens beforehand can often throw up a different view from a Saturday afternoon. 

The All England Lawn Tennis Club

In a year when World Cup fever is bigger than I've seen due it being played in what some would arguably call the home of football, it may have seemed strange that I would turn down the opportunity to cover the group stages. But when the call came through asking if I would be interested in covering the biggest tennis Grand Slam of the year just round the corner in Wimbledon I knew I had made the right decision.

Working as part of the All England Lawn Tennis Club photographic team was going to be hard work and long hours but would be worth the effort if I was to end up with a set of images that I would really be proud of.

I've worked on many major events over the past decade or so and they have all had a similar theme in that I was shooting for the editorial side of our industry. Working for the Club had it's differences and took a bit of getting used to but having a team of quality photographers who all gave constructive criticism on a daily basis was a breath of fresh air compared to just turning up and pressing the button without any feedback at all.

Here is a selection of some of my favourite moments captured through the eye piece of my faultless Canon 1DX camera's over the past fortnight.

 

Getting My Point Across

Every now and then a job comes up where you know there's a chance of some interesting images. As soon as I walked in to Fishmongers Hall on London Bridge I had that feeling. Everywhere hung paintings you'd see in a gallery and chandeliers which would take a year to clean.

The perfect setting for the Gentleman's sport of fencing. Renowned for being quite an upper class event I felt slightly out of my depth having covered not much but football and boxing in the past few weeks. But my cockney accent and Lambeth walk didn't seem to phase the Beazley Great Britain fencers as I asked if they could go one on one with that evening's opponents, Austria around the great hall as I followed with my camera.

British Master

Last Year I covered a fighter on the undercard up in Sheffield called Leo D'Erlanger. He was tenacious, vicious and as I later found out has a heart of gold. 

We kept in touch and a few weeks ago Leo commissioned me to take some portraits having just won the British Masters Bronze Super Featherweight belt. It was not so long ago Leo had an horrific injury over his eye from a clash of heads in his previous fight and showed true courage to return to the ring and get his hands on his first title.

Good luck to Leo in the future and I'm sure we'll all see him again soon!

Variety is the spice of freelance life

3 months ago when I turned freelance I was worried about where the work would come from. Somewhere at the back of my head I was also worried about the kind of jobs I would be covering. 

Sailing down the Thames river on a crisp Monday morning, watching an Olympic Gold medalist spray his massive six pack with baby oil and chatting with David Luiz about Jaffa Cakes whilst having his make up applied shows I needn't have worried.

 

 

After an emotional victory over Daniel Geale for the IBF Middleweight Championship Darren Barker poses at Trinity House in London to announce the upcoming defence of his World Title.

Adrian Peterson (L) and Joe Webb celebrate a touchdown for the Minnesota Vikings during their match up with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium.

In form Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal scores the winning goal on his return to Wales with a victory over Swansea.

A scorer takes a peak from out of his hut during the county cricket match between Essex and Northants in Colchester.

Chelsea's David Luiz in action during their victory over Swindon in the Capital One Cup. 

The Great Britain Clipper team sail past Canary Wharf as they arrive in London to prepare for their round the world yacht race.

Olympic Gold Medalist Anthony Joshua during a photoshoot in London. It was just like looking in a mirror.

Armand Traore of QPR shows his skills with another type of ball. I've managed to make him look quite good at it.....he was useless!

Tony Owen (R) catches Danny Connor with a right hook during their Southern Area Light-Welterweight bout at the O2 Arena in London.

David Luiz has his make up applied prior to a photoshoot in London. He really is as crazy as he looks! 

A tribute to Billy Smith

So, here we go. The launch of my new website means the start of a new chapter in my career. The transition from working at Getty Images in to the deep, dark world of freelance is bound to be a tough one but I can only look at the positives and work towards building new relationships, new clients and hopefully a new portfolio of award winning images. 

I feel lucky to have worked with so many athletes during my short two and a half years as an employee and I'm sure that I'll be able to carry that on now. Working with so many boxers, trainers and promoters has helped me to understand that within this industry is a vast spectrum of personalities. I can be standing around for hours on one day waiting for a Premiership footballer to sit behind a desk and give a two minute press conference, and the following day lying on my back in a  boxing gym being straddled by a heavyweight boxer who hasn't a care in the world about what his agent or sponsors might think! 

 

Last November I was asked by Ring Magazine to go and shoot a feature on journeyman Billy Smith in Swansea. I had to get there early as I was shooting Carl Froch v Yusaf Mack that night. When I arrived, Billy told me he'd only just got home himself from a fight the night before in Doncaster! Suddenly I didn't feel so tired. He went on to explain that this is what he does. Driving up and down the country at short notice to step in to a ring with an opponent who was looking at this fight as just another step towards something bigger.

I found out a couple of weeks ago that Billy had sadly taken his own life. Before his 161st fight Billy left us and a torrent of tributes started to flood in through social networks and boxing websites around the world. These guys spend their whole lives waking up early to prepare for afternoon training and then evening sparring. Their jobs rule their lives as I'm sure most of us think about our own. 

I sat in Billy's front room chatting about his career and his family before driving down to the bay where he runs every morning. After the shoot he thanked me for my time and wished me luck for my shoot in Nottingham that night.

I'm glad I chose boxing as my specialised area of sport photography. I look forward to working with more heroes like Billy and I certainly won't be sitting on my arse sulking just because I've been given the pink slip!

RIP Billy. 

 

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