photography

Just a little Taste.

It must be the time of year. Summer months always mean festivals, and these events tend to go hand in hand with food and drink.

So for the second time in two weeks, the kit-bag got packed for a foodie festival, this time capturing images for Chang Beer at Taste of London in Regent's Park.

The brief was thankfully simple - on stand shots of people enjoying the great taste of Chang (apols Duffman), lots of shots around the park of festival goers getting a little tipsy but also making sure I captured some of the meat-tastic bbq action at the aptly named 'Fire Pit' where much beef was burnt (Top tip - never season a steak with pepper before cooking - only use salt otherwise you burn it!)

Apart from the awful light on the day - our English summer sun had yet to materialise - it was great fun and I came away with a keg-sized amount of shots for Chang and a stomach full of world-class food to my name. I also smelt like a barbeque.

Anyway, here's my selection of the shots from the day. Hats off to Daisy, Malvina and Serena at The Smalls and thanks to Kenny at Chang.

Tech Corner:

All the usuals - Zeiss Batis 25mm for a couple of wide shots, a few bits of Zeiss 35mm and then that Batis 85mm for the rest.

Shaken & stirred at Rock The Farm.

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When you think of cocktail events, a potato farm in Herefordshire is probably not the first place that springs to mind.

However, Chase Distillery is not your usual farm. Begun by William Chase - the man behind Tyrrell's crisps - the distillery had it's first harvest of potato vodka in 2008 and hasn't looked back since, to the point that it even has its own festival on site called Rock The Farm.

Featuring specialist talks, live acts, glamping, a touch of yoga and most importantly 'The Chase Cup' - a global cocktail competition featuring young competitors from Australia to Spain to Chicago competing in front of a live audience and judges. Like X Factor with gin.

My role on the day (to paraphrase Spinal Tap) was to document the sights, sounds and smells of Rock The Farm from every drop of vodka going into the splendid cocktails to the last bangers emanating from the DJ's late in the night.

Of course, the main event was the Chase Cup itself, and after a whittling down from 13 contestants, an exciting 'mystery box' round (think Ready Steady Cook with booze) fought between the 3 semi-finalists, the eventual winner was found: George Cook from Heston Blumenthal's 'Dinner by Heston' in Melbourne.

The 13 Chase Cup contestants.

The 13 Chase Cup contestants.

Awards given, it was time for the evening entertainment and acts onstage ran the eclectic gamut from singer-songwriter Nathan Ball, through the horn-tastic Bring your Own Brass moving through to wall to wall Ibiza bangers (and themed dancers) of Superfoxx plus the inflatable banana grooves of Son of Kong.

Superfoxx.

Superfoxx.

Tuesday morning and an early visit back to site to capture the hangovers (it was a drinks industry festival hence 'a bit messy') and the on-site yoga session, which considering everything was pretty well attended.

And that was that, and an interesting lesson learnt - cocktails, banging tunes and festival vibes aren't just for your metropolitan types - all can be had on farms in Herefordshire if you look hard enough.

Anyway, here’s some more pics of the day bunched into delicate shot sized chunks. Cheers!

Setting up and Workshops.

The Chase Cup.

Music and more.

The morning after.



Tech Corner:

The full kit pretty much - from the Zeiss Batis 25mm for the wide shots, to the Sony Zeiss 55mm for the Chase Cup close-ups to the Batis 85mm for pretty much everything else.

High flying and the risks involved.

Brrrrang....newaaaar....

Yes, sounds filled the sky yesterday in London to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the RAF (or Royal Air Force for non-UK types). 

Despite being neither a particular fan of fighter planes, war or armed forces in general - a bit of a pacifist really - I was glad to be in town to see the impressive flyover of various RAF planes from the past and present. 

It wasn't just me - thousands of people from everywhere in the world were on The Mall leading to Buckingham Palace to greet each passing plane with an excited roar while getting even more excited at the sight of the Royal Family (another thing I'm not too bothered about... wrong gig, eh?)

Despite taking a few shots of the various Spitfires, Tornado's, and everyone's favourite Red Arrows, I was actually more interested in getting images of those around me and they certainly didn't disappoint - because while I might have been here or there about some of it you could tell for a lot of people this was A Big Deal.

Hats (and goggles, chaps) off to the organisation though. Having read up on the flight path, amount of planes and timing precision, the risky flyover went off with without a hitch.

What I was really impressed by was the RAF brass themselves, who could have been a bit snooty, but on a big day for them clearly spent a lot of time chatting with visitors walking down The Mall after the flyover giving off an excellent impression of England at a time when we need to show a decent face to the world.

Before all these high flying shenanigans I'd popped into the Serpentine Gallery to have a look at this year's Pavillion designed by Frida Escobedo. 

Somewhat like my visit to see the Christo sculpture floating nearby, I was a bit underwhelmed. Whilst from a photography POV, the 'slats' allowed me to peak in and get some great candids, and the reflective ceiling gave some whacky distorted shapes, I can't help feeling it was it all a bit meh - I didn't get the story and as a public space it felt very enclosed and not inviting to relax in. Mileage may vary of course!

Back to The Mall. What was a highlight was the opportunity to walk right down the middle with the Palace right behind you without getting mown down by cars or horses. A real thrill. 

Once I got to the end, I made my way back up via Soho to Oxford Street and down to Tottenham Court Road - shooting all the way - and on for a nice cup of tea and some final shots with a cup of tea, hanging out with Mrs W in the V&A garden (which is always a pleasure on both counts!)

So what did I learn? Well, planes and the RAF mean a huge amount to people - with good reason - and seeing the machine in action is pretty impressive, so you don't need to be a military type to appreciate it or indeed not understand all the risks involved to those who've served.

Secondly, whilst I applaud the Serpentine for getting on board with the world and hiring a young, Mexican female architect to produce this year's Pavillion, I think they need to rethink and reimagine the brief for next year - it needs to be expand and grow a bit and be less about making just a statement, but really being an amazing place to be. Saying that, it's always brave and I come back for a look every year, so they must be doing something right. 

Like high flyers from all walks of life know, a risk is usually worth it.

 


Tech Corner:
A little bit of Voitglander 40mm f1.2 (review to come!) but a load of Batis 85mm to get all those lovely planes and fair away looks.