Santa Clause Saddles up beside the Duke of Wellington in Glasgow
Ricky McConnell (Santa Clause) 52, drew a crowd in Glasgow on Monday December 21 when dressed as Santa he Saddled up beside the Duke of Wellington in Glasgow. The statue which stands in Royal Exchange Square Glasgow usually sporting a traffic cone hat was where the publicity stunt was carried out to raise awareness for ‘Kids Have Rights 2’. According to media reports Ricky was given a fixed-penalty ticket for performing the same stunt in 2014 after firefighters had to be called in to help him down. Apparently he avoided a fixed penaty this year as the cherry picker hired to lift him into place was also used to get him down. Once safely back on solid ground Ricky was taken to one side by a uinformed officer from Police Scotland for a quiet word.
They say Britain is a nation of dog lovers, they also say never work with children or animals. Have you ever tried photographing your pet pooch only to be disappointed by the results. Here (in no particular order) are a handful of photography tips to help you achieve better results when you’re photographing mans best friend.
First rule of all portrait photography is focus on the eyes. Most dogs have long snouts, so if you focus on the nose the eyes can be out of focus.
Most humans are tall compared to a dog, so get down and shoot from their eye level see the world as they do.
Have a hyperactive dog who just cant stay still? Use a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement when they are running and jumping.
For the older or more sedate natured dog, try a wider aperture setting. This will help reduce distractions by throwing the background out of focus. Don’t forget “most dogs have long snouts” if the aperture setting is too wide your best friend could end up with a burred nose.
Some dogs are natural posers, you can get good shots just by getting them to sit while holding their attention with a treat or toy. For most distraction is the key give them something to do or play with that you know they love then you work around them.
Don’t always work alone and do a little planning. Get another member of the family to hold your hound while you move some distance away. On a preprepared signal get your helper to let your pet pooch go and you grab some great action shots as the dog comes charging towards you. If your auto focus is slow or you dont have follow focus try pre focusing the camera on a fixed spot you the dog will run through and fire the shutter as they cross the focus point.
Sticking with the theme of helpers why photograph your dog in isolation? Get someone you love and who the dog is relaxed with to interact and capture that on camera.
Make it fun! Photography may be fun for you but most dogs are not the type who will happily perform on command for the camera. Make things fun for your pet and it will show up in your photographs through the dogs body language.
Watch, not the one on your wrist! Watch with your eyes. Your dog is genetically 80% wolf, so while walking with your dog and camera take time to watch and learn its instinctive behaviour and try to capture a more subtle side of your pets character in your photography.
Know your dog. Good photography can often come from to knowing your subject and being able to predict what’s going to happen.
Sometimes all you need to make a photograph really work for you is a caption!
Right at the start I mentioned they say “never work with children or animals” well here is another tip – many of those tips work with kids too.
A Camelot press conference revealed Barnsleys newest millionaire as 42 year old as Shaun Vincent of Royston who stepped forward to claim over £1.1 Million. Shaun has played the UK National Lottery since it started found he had the winning ticket Via Facebook. A local social media news site “We Are Barnsley” announced on thier Facebook page that there was a £1.1 Million ticket bought in the Barnsley area for the Lotto draw on the 11th June 2011 that had not yet been claimed. Shaun went back and checked some old tickets to find out that he had been a Millionaire for 17 days without knowing. He said of his life changing £1.158,038 win….
“I sat looking at the numbers and my ticket for about 20 minutes, I couldn’t believe it had happened to me and that I was the missing winner. I told my mum and she didn’t believe me. She told me to stop Mucking about
above: Lotto Millionaire Shaun Vincent found he was a winner via Facebook
Members of UK Uncut in Sheffield show their support for the public sector unions by occupying Dorothy Perkins, The Vodafone Shop and Barclay’s bank on June 30 in a good natured peaceful protest.
As the rally is about to begin at Barkers Pool a local man, with coffee in hand, decides to hold a one man anti June 30 protest. After making his feelings known to the crowd and arguing with a number of people he was lead peacefully away from the rally by members of the South Yorkshire Police Liaison Team.
Some of the Key Speakers at the June 30 Protest in Barkers Pool Sheffield (below)
Unteroffizier “Wolfgang Spengler” in command of the Eight man squad plus one “Kreigsberichter” of the Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland somewhere in NorthYorkshire
Point man “Stefan Kollers”
Above: From a gulley on the tree line Feldwebel “Otto Henning” looks for any unexpected movement as two of the squad move forward across open ground to the wreck of an old tank. Below: Having safely made it to cover Gefreiter “Hans Altmann” looks back as his comrade checks for enemy movement to the front, before calling up the rest of the men.
The remainder of the squad wait anxiously for the signal to make their way across the open ground and into cover.
Having made it into woodland without being ambushed the men of Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland take a breather. Above Right: Using an Esbit stove and German mess kit Gefreiter “Johann Rechenmacher” and other members of the patrol share a coffee while others (Above Left and Below) rest or chat quietly so as not to give their position away.
Below: The Großdeutschland squad anxiously wait for the return of point man “Stephan Kollers” who has been sent ahead to investigate gunfire.
Unteroffizier “Wolfgang Spengler” orders his men into position as they advance on an “enemy position” that is already involved in a fire-fight with other elements of Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland, 21st Panzer Division and 1st Fallschirmjäger.
One Panzergrenadier attempts to work his way towards the strongpoint and find an effective firing position. Below: Feldwebel Otto Henning has already spotted one target.
While attempting to get around and flank the allied strong point, with Grenadiers “Stefan Kollers” and “Hans Muller”, our battle was cut short by fusillade of well placed rounds from element’s of Fox Commando Royal Navy and US 101 Airborne (below).
Above; The long walk back to the camp at the end of day one. Left to right: Fallschirmjäger from the NWW2A, Grenadier “Hans Muller”, Grenadier “Stefan Kollers” and Unteroffizier “Wolfgang Spengler”
NWW2A consists of a number of different groups or“units” ranging from the US and British Airborne troops, French Resistance, British and Soviet infantry, German 21st Panzer Division, Infantry, Luftwaffe and Fallschirmjäger and the Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland. Moving away from front-lines units there’s the German Field Police, Deutches Rotes Kreuz , Ensa Moonlight Seranaders and 40’s Civilians & Home Front Auxiliaries.
Something that seems to have become an endangered species in Public Relations Photography is booking two jobs in a day. According to my diary it was going to be a fairly straightforward day with one booking. The brief shoot “behind the scenes” images of the 888.com sponsored Premier League Darts at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena for Sky Preview Magazine, a publication aimed at licensees who use Sky sporting broadcasts to help bring in customers.
Public Relations Phone Call
The day before the Darts my phone rings and a second clients needs a Public Relations job shooting the same day as Skys. At this point Murphy’s law will generally kick in dictating that either
The two jobs are at the same time and on the same day.
The two jobs are the same day, aren’t at the same time but they do overlap
The two jobs are the same day, don’t overlap but the distance between locations makes photographing them both impossible.
It looked like number three would be the problem. The second Public Relations job was in Cleethorpes on the east coast. A client needed the interior layout of Halletts Lifestyle convenience store and some of their staff photographing. The store had just won a national award as Blakemore Wholesale/ Lifestyle Retailer of the Year 2010/11. The job was urgent, a plus for me as it meant the client was happy with a morning shoot and booking number two had just become booking number one. I had, for once, given Murphy the slip and had two jobs on the diary.
By 09:45 I had driven the 75 miles to Cleethorpes and was already working. By 15:05 I had made it back to the office edited, processed, captioned and distributed the digital images to the client. With just enough time to produce an invoice and grab something to eat I was off to the Premier League Darts.
One of the countless things I love about being a full time professional Press & Public Relations Photographer is the variety. Going from shooting the aisles of traditional a seaside corner shop, to the showmanship and razzmatazz of televised Premier League Darts is nothing if not varied.
Three days on from Matt Cardle and it’s back to Meadowhall Shopping Centre, celebrity spotting again. This time it’s Chris Moyles sidecick from Radio 1 “Comedy Dave” Vitty. Now a Dancing On Ice Star “Comedy Dave” was signing autographs and meeting fans in the lower arcade close to Marks & Spencer as part of the promotion for Torvill & Dean’s Dancing on Ice 2011 Tour which has its opening night on the 9th of April 2011 at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena. As part of the promotion fans were also given the opportunity to win Torvill & Dean skating costumes as worn by the superstar skating couple, a signed skating boot and free tickets.
A Christmas Eve walk with my partner and our dog Wallace.
Quite an odd collection of images thanks to the weather, some look like they were shot at Christmas with snow and everything while others look they may well have been shot in autumn, it Just goes to show the camera can lie but all the images were taken today the 24th December 2010 although I must confess that to the last two images were not actually taken while out on the walk, they are close up shots of our Christmas tree.
Saint Mary’s Church Ecclesfield also Known as “The Minster of The Moors” is the final resting place of Rev. Alexander John Scott, Chaplain and close personal friend of Admiral Lord Nelson. It was to Rev. Alexander John Scott that Nelson spoke his last words “God and my country.” below decks of the Flagship HMS victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson died at 16:35 on the 21 October 1805. His friend Scott lived to the age of 72 and died in 1840.
Its odd that Scott should have been buried in Ecclesfield. He was not born in the area and didn’t live in the area. He was in Ecclesfield visiting his daughter Margaret, a well known writer of the time who was married to the then Vicar of Ecclesfield Alfred Gatty, when he was taken ill and subsequently died. What is stranger is travel five miles by road and under what is now a Tesco car park is where the Walker Iron Works of Masbrough was. They cast about 80 of the 105 guns carried by HMS Victory into Battle at Trafalgar. Closer still is the village of Grenoside, only two and a half miles away, where Samuel and Aaron Walker began to manufacture Iron in the early 1740s before relocating and starting in 1746 as Walker Iron Works of Masbrough.
07:00 hrs ,as the military call it, is an early morning start at St Dunstan’s in Sheffield, this morning Im covering the beginning of a fund raising challenge 10 squaddies 10-marathons 5 days. Ten soldiers, (or Squaddies) from 39 Engineer Regiment Cambridge, and their support team. The team totalling around 14 are undertaking 10 Squaddies, 10 Marathons, 5 Days challenge to raise funds for the only charity to provide direct support, rehabilitation and training to service personnel and veterans blinded in conflict.
If the challenge of 10 Marathons in 5 days wasn’t “hardcore” enough for these members of the British Army, “just to make it a little more interesting” they will be also carrying 40lb Bergen’s and wearing combat boots” on a gruelling test of endurance. Thirty-four year old Staff Sergeant Jim Offord (the man behind the fund raiser) and nine fellow soldiers will complete a marathon every six hours, day and night, followed by six hours recovery time as they tab from St Dunstan’s Rehab & Training centre in Sheffield on the 1st of November to finish at St Dunstan’s centre near Brighton in East Sussex on the 5th of November.
“I created the 10 Soldiers, 10 Marathons in 5 Days to support St Dunstan’s as we want to give something back to a charity that helps fellow soldiers. I threw in the idea of wearing our Bergen’s filled to weigh 40lbs, plus combat boots to keep it interesting and opted to do 10 Marathons in 5 Days as I couldn’t find a record that it had been done before. Said Jim.
The original aim of the this mammoth effort was to raise £4,800 for St Dunstan’s but that target has already been smashed and the Engineers have reached £10,000 more than double their initial figure.
Monday 1 November The team left St Dunstan’s Sheffield around 8am aiming to arrive at Chetwynd Barracks, Chilwell, near Nottingham at 4pm. From there they will head for Loughbourgh University arriving on Tuesday 2 November. The second day sees the group tab to Nuneaton via Leicester before heading for Staverton Park Hotel Daventry where they will arrive on Wednesday 3 November. They will leave Staverton Park Hotel heading for Milton Keynes TA Centre and from there to Sportspace, Hemel Hempstead, Herts. Which they will reach on Thursday 4 November They will leave Sportspace at 12 noon and march into London along the Edgware Road at 2.30pm on Thursday 4 November to visit St Dunstan’s HQ in Marylebone, where they will be greeted by soldiers the charity works with, ex-Service men and women, staff and supporters. They will leave St Dunstan’s HQ at 8pm to tab to the TA Centre, Northgate, Crawley arriving on Friday 5 November. The team start at 8am to tab the final marathon, through Brighton, arriving at St Dunstan’s Rehab & Training Centre, Greenaways, Ovingdean, east Sussex. Where they will cross the finish line to massive cheers from the soldiers the charity works with, staff and supporters and the people who have followed them through the streets of Brighton.