Firstly, I hope your all well and have been enjoying this amazing summer. Secondly, I want to thank you all so much for subscribing to my blog and supporting me on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn platforms, I really do appreciate you taking the time out to Like, Retweet and Comment so from the bottom of my heart thank you so much.
The line “New balls please” was probably the most heard phrase I received over the summer. Covering both the Wimbledon Championships and Queen’s Tennis I recently calculated how many matches I photographed between both tournaments and it was a staggering one hundred and six, that’s right one hundred and six matches in a combined period of three weeks and two days, from early qualifying rounds to the finals. That’s crazy right? for tennis? but as a sports photographer I have to be ready to photograph those big moments on the courts and let me tell you there were plenty of big moments to photograph.
When I started my Wimbledon Championships this year, timing was the most important thing to be aware of (as well as drinking plenty of water and slapping on plenty of Factor 50 sun cream). The reason was because the Ladies matches only went up to three sets, the gentlemen’s went up to five sets. So the plan of attack was I could photograph at least two games of two different Ladies matches on different courts and rush to another court to cover two games of one gentlemen’s match then go to another court and cover a game or two of another gentlemen’s match. After all that, it’s already the start of the afternoon afternoon and so Centre Court and Court Number One was the primary focus for the rest of the day, that was how I covered Wimbledon every day for two weeks (expect for the first Sunday, it was a day off for all including the players). Typically, week one I photographed on average from seven to nine matches, week two a little less leading up to both the Ladies and Gentlemen’s Finals. Queen’s tennis was the best preparation for me leading up to Wimbledon. At Queen’s your 95% positioned at Court No.1, that’s where all the top ranked players compete. In the case of Wimbledon, top ranked players like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic, Andy Murray, Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Ostapenko, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Garcia, Petra Kvitova and Serena Williams are all competing at the same time on eighteen courts.
I’ll be honest Wimbledon was a tough gig, I was always exhausted every night when I got home near to midnight but the next day (just after having the 2nd cup of instant coffee on the way to Wimbledon in the early morning’s) I was always excited, prepared and ready to capture ‘the story’. I can say without any doubt when it was all finished I gave everything I had and never regretted a single thing. Like I mentioned in my Wimbledon blog, it was an absolute privilege and honour to right there capturing history.
SMDV SPEEDBOX-S70 softbox
After the 2017/18 football season finished I had over a month before the 2018/19 football season begins. So (apart from covering two tennis tournaments ) I wanted to use the time remaining to spend in the studio. The only thing I was missing was a small, portable and durable softbox that would fit specifically onto an Phottix Indra 500. Phottix was brought to my attention about a year ago at the Photography Show at the NEC Arena in Birmingham by Glyn Dewis and since Elinchrom & Profoto are a bit too expensive I settled with Phottix as an affordable alternative.
After researching on the many many websites & forums discussing softboxe’s suited for Phottix, I found a company called SMDV USA. SMDV USA make the SMDV SPEEDBOX-S70. After spending money on alternatives I was sold on the SMDV SPEEDBOX-S70 softbox based on two YouTube videos as the SMDV brand are not yet sold directly from within the UK only in the US.
Video one: from SMDV’s own YouTube Channel – Click Here
Video two: from a demonstration from Zack Arias YouTube video called “My Bag of Lights” – Click Here (start from 13:35)
Eventually after waiting three weeks to arrive in the UK from the US I finally had the SMDV SPEEDBOX-S70 softbox and invited one of my mates Sam Cox to be my model for a few hours. Below are the photos from the SMDV SPEEDBOX-S70 softbox.
I also asked Sam to bring a suit with him and so I switched from the SMDV SPEEDBOX-S70 70cm softbox to the giant Phottix Octa Easy HD 120 cm softbox.
Around about that time I also purchased the Phottix Pro Beauty Dish MK II with Bowens Speed Ring and hired some professional models to help me test out the beauty dish.
I also switched from the SMDV SPEEDBOX-S70 to the giant Phottix Octa Easy HD 120 cm softbox, see below.
Recently I’ve given some serious thought into actually creating a YouTube channel. However, I’m literally walking before I run with this idea, for a start I don’t want to create some pointless quick video saying I’m making a YouTube channel and then months go by without uploading any content. As a Photographer (or any creative) on YouTube it’s easy to start doing reviews on camera’s and lenses based on your own experience and so called ‘expertise’ and others teach photography, I’ve seen plenty of photographers try it, some fail and some really do it well like Glyn Dewis , Kelby One Graphic Designer Dave Clayton and Fstoppers to name a few. My idea (still working on it) will not include any reviews on equipment or teaching you how to use a softbox, monopod, post processing editing software or produce that loop, butterfly or Rembrandt look. My channel will be a little different, I want to produce a unique channel with unique content with aim to inspire. To help, I’m currently learning more about videography and I’ve lately been getting knee deep in Adobe Premier Pro, and taking in inspiration from people like Mr. Porter, Peter McKinnon, Chase Jarvis, Chris Hau, Entrepreneur’s like Gary Vaynerchuk and Vloggers like Casey Neistat. This is a marathon not a sprint if I’m going to take this seriously I have to get this right, but I’ll keep you all up to date on the progress.
The 24 month plan
From a personal self improvement point-of-view I’m attempting to loose up to four stone by swimming and lifting weight, I want to me more healthy then I am now and hopefully live longer to take pictures. On a professional stand point, since two weeks ago I’ve been covering the new 2018/19 football season so its back to ten months of football. However, I still want to fully concentrate on getting much better doing studio photography and produce better videos to lead to a YouTube channel. Will it take twenty four months to do all that?, maybe, hope so, why not?. If you want something badly you’ll work for it no matter how long it takes. You never get a quick fix on the biggest of challenges, so it might or might not take me longer but at least I’m prepared for that.
Finally thank you so much for taking the time out to read this latest blog entry it really means a lot to me. Also again, thank you so much for subscribing to the blog and following me on my social media platforms. Please share this latest blog entry or comment below, any information would be much appreciated.