Mar 142013
 

One of the things I love about my job is the variety. I get access to people, places and experiences I wouldn’t ordinarily see, one such case is Penny Hill Wind Farm located on farm land between junctions 31 and 32 of the M1 motorway close to the village of Ulley. Where i got to watch and photograph wind farm turbines being delivered and erected.  Love them, or hate them, it seems wind farms are now an firm part of the UK’s renewable energy policy. Personally I think in the right light and in the right place these giant “windmills” can be very photogenic and while shooting for one of the local papers I was asked to visit and photograph Penny Hill.

Once completed it will consist of six individual wind turbines with a life span of 25 years. At up to 130 Meters from ground to the tip of the blade these massive turbines arrive on site broken down as four tower pieces, a necell, a hub and three blades which, I am told, in optimum weather conditions can be erected into its base in a single day. Its difficult to comprehend just how large these towers are unless you can get right up to them.


One of the four sections that make up wind farm turbines towers arrives by lorry at Penny Hill

Ulley Wind Farm Workers prepare the two massive cranes to lift the first of the four sections that make up the tower into place...13 March 2013.Image © Paul David Drabble (Paul David Drabble)

Despite less than perfect conditions workers prepare two massive cranes to lift the first of  four sections that make up the tower and lower it on to its base.


Making the lorry that brought it onto the site look like a child’s toy the first of the four sections from the turbines tower is lifted swung over the base. Note the workmen in orange ensuring correct positioning of the section before it is finally lowered on to its base


At £95,000 pounds each, three wind farm turbines blades wait to be fitted to the hub before the assembled pieces can be hoisted up and fitted to the nacelle. I was was unable to resist touching them knowing  when I drive past Penny Hill I will be able to look and say. “do you see the center of those blades……”


Penny Hill Wind Farm between junctions 31 and 32 of the M1 motorway close to the village of Ulley. Love them these giant “Windmills” can be photogenic

Ulley Wind Farm One completed Wind Turbine beside a second which is awaiting the its blades and hub to be assembled and hoisted into place. Note the comparative size of the yellow excavator at the foot of the un-finished turbine and the car in the bottom right hand corner for scale..13 March 2013.Image © Paul David Drabble (Paul David Drabble)

One completed Wind Turbine beside a second which is awaiting the its blades and hub to be assembled and hoisted into place. Note the comparative size of the yellow excavator at the foot of the unfinished turbine and the car in the bottom right hand corner for scale.

Dec 202011
 

As we get to the end of  one more year I thought I might go through my archive of photographs and do a  2011 in pictures blog. A straight forward enough idea look back and choose some images but then came the questions…

How do I choose them?

From a whole year how many should I choose?

What about if I had 3 really nice photographs for one month but weaker ones shot in another?

Should I include personal photographs?

I decided I would choose one image taken during each month of the year, this would naturally limit the me to 12 photographs and force me to show some images I may not otherwise have selected. This collection of  photographs is not   a list of the 12 biggest news stories or celebrities or PR jobs I shot during the year. It’s not even necessarily the best 12 photographs I produced in 2011. It is a personal choice of pictures which are my some of my favourite photographs, some produced as commissioned  images and others as personal images, one from each month of  the year.

January 2011Hatfields Jaguar Dealer Principal Andrew Jeffery in the refurbished show room on Sharrow Vale Rd  PR image commissioned by PFPR. This was one of my very first photographs of the year I really like the way I was able to both the Jaguar and Hatfields Brands in the same photograph despite them being in separate places,its not something that can always be achieved when building a PR photograph using two brand names.

February 2011 – Chris Huhne Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change visits Casa hotel in Chesterfield to hear about the hotel  buildings energy efficient design and renewable energy. PR Image Commissioned by Bonner and Hindley This one is a very straight forward  un posed grabshot I think its the light I love on this large windows in the boardroom allowed bags on even natural light in.

March 2011 – A protester grabbed by police after crossing the “Ring of Steel” fence in Barkers Pool, outside Sheffield city Hall where the Liberal Democrats are holding their Party conference Conference. A grabshot on a 17-35mm wide with the full frame Nikon D 700. I caught movement out on the corner of my eye and turned to see the police grabbing this protester after he had climbed over the metal barriers.  Photograph shot on spec

April 2011 – Dancing on Ice Photocall Motorpoint Arena Hayley Tamaddon and Denise Welch joke in front of the cameras  After posing with their dancing partners in the show Haley and Denise wandered back across to the photographers and began a few outlandish poses as though they were a dance couple. I grabbed a several photographs but especially like this frame, it captures the point at which they posing stopped and dropped into fits of laughter Photograph shot on spec.

May 2011 – My partner Aileen as watches the other runners cross the finish line while looking for her two young granddaughters who were also running. She had just completed the “Race for life”  at Calendar Park in Falkirk. Personal Image

June 2011 – A wild Poppy growing on waste ground in Ecclesfield.  As a freelance I carry a camera everywhere this was photograph was taken during a Monday morning walk with my camera when business was quiet. Photographed for use as a Stock image.

July 2011 – The Ponderosa  “Spam” 1940’s war weekend held in Heckmondwike. Reenactors from the Northern World War Two Association portray German Panzergrenadiers from the Elite Heer (army) GrossDeutschland Division, defending a camouflaged mortar pit from attacking allied troops. Personal Photography Project

August 2011 –  Wallace chases a ball in Ecclesfield Park while out walking. I took this on a borrowed 300mm F2.8 Nikon hand-held. I was about to do sport for a newspaper for the first time in a number of years and thought I would get a bit of practice in.  Personal Image.

September 2011Walkers Fresh Hot Crisp Tour comes to Barkers Pool Sheffield as Masterchef winner Lisa Faulkner Shows  the three simple things that go into making a bag of crisps PR Image Commissioned by Freud Communications .

October 2011 – Complete with coffin, candles and gravestones a Vampire Fashion Show part of Sheffield’s Fashion Week. Photograph shot on Spec

November 2011 – A small wooden cross and poppy of the type that can be found on almost every War Memorial in the UK. This one was standing in among the remains of an old stone building on top of one the hills overlooking Langsett Reservoir on the Sunday after remembrance Sunday. Alone and out of the expected context it makes a poignant image. Photographed for use as a stock picture.

December 2011 – I spotted this during a nine mile walk around Grenoside woods on a very wet and dismal overcast Sunday afternoon. It was exactly the type of day that you don’t expect to get a usable photographs then I saw this large old fern it  looked like something from the set of Jurassic Park. Photographed for use as a stock picture.

So there it is my year in photographs,  no beaches in summer,  no fireworks in November and no Santas in December

Nov 042011
 

November kicked off as a bit of a celebrity Meadowhall month. Starting, appropriately, on the first of the month with a WH Smith book signing by Leigh Francis.  In character as TV JUICE host Keith Lemon he was on a promotional book tour for ‘Keith Lemon: The Rules”. A popular read looking at the queues. So popular in fact the signing started early and finished an hour and half later than scheduled, despite Smiths taking the book off sale to avoid fans being disappointed by not getting their copy signed. Leigh Francis is also known for his character Barry Gibson the music paparazzi and his portrayal of celebrities in Bo’ Selecta!

Two Days later, 3rd of November, that’s right not even bonfire night and the behemoth that is the UK retail sales industry is getting into Christmas mode. The Meadowhall Christmas Lights Switch on Concert, an event that strangely had no switch in sight, or Christmas lights either. The fans didn’t care they were there for the acts, besides the event was raising money for Cash for Kids and Meadowhall’s Charity of the Year, Helen’s Trust and with a 15,000 capacity and entry fee of £2.50 that was going to be a success.

Fans at Meadowhalls Christmas lights switch on concert in Sheffield on Thursday evening 3 November 2011. Image © Paul David Drabble (Paul David Drabble)

Opening act was  Tinchy Strider which seemed surprising  for artist with 3 top ten chart places, 2 of which reached the number 1 spot. As he left the audience were informed Tinchy was hopping on a helicopter which would fly him down to London where he had a second gig later that night.

Next up Dance group Rational  followed by  Bee, Holly, Lizzy and Rianna, the Girl group Vanquish then a quick chat and song from Sam Clark, Australian singer/song-writer/actor from Adelade, probably best known as Ringo Brown in Neighbours. The second Girl group of the night was Girl Next Door.

Listed as one to watch Encore recently supported N Dubz and Jessie J. Encore are Mark Asari, Cairo Benn and Pierre Jermaine. If your looking for more info on them its worth noting their web presence seems to be Want more Encore not just Encore.

Six D had some chart success back in the summer when their début single “Best Damn Night” entered the UK top 10. If you think you have seen them somewhere before check the X-Factor talk talk Ads where they appear as dancers.

Cover Drive all the way from Barbados felt the cold. ” We’re not used to this weather” singer Amanda told the audience, backed by T-Ray, Bar-Man and Jamar. They released their first single “Lick Ya Down”  in August, it entered the charts at  #9 and the début album is due for release soon.

Next very talented Ronan Parke the 13 year old Britain’s Got Talent runner up. Ronan made the headlines after Simon Cowell went to the police over allegations that his company SyCo had fixed the show so Ronan would win.

Headlining and officially switching on the Meadowhall Christmas lights, Matt Cardle. Winner of X-Factor 2010 he held the Christmas number 1 spot with “When Worlds Collide” and his new album “Letters” has just been released in time Christmas.

Want see more from Meadowhalls Christmas Lights Switch on Concert? Check out my Facebook Fan Page the link is on the left.

Oct 072011
 

Have absolutely nothing to wear this weekend but wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that? How about if you were one of the Undead? The vampires of Sheffield can now stalk the streets of South Yorkshire in style after last nights Vampire Fashion Show (Thursday 6th October).

A Vampire themed catwalk show was the launch event of Sheffield’s Fashion Week, which is apparently the largest UK  fashion week outside of London. Held on the 4th floor of the Rockingham Street, Q-Park  multi-storey Car park  the events scene was set by a drinks and Canapé reception complete with coffins, candles, gravestones blood red soft drinks, red wine served by hissing vampires and one young vampirette who had obviously discovered her wardrobe was completely empty except for some skimpy underwear and black gaffer tape.

Although the invitation only audience were all strictly human, the fashions had been chosen to equally suit both those living mere mortals and the  immortal monsters of Bram Stokers legendary novel Dracula. The Count himself was nowhere to be seen, this was a far more modern styled take on the vampire,  a sort of surreal cross between Blade and Buffy the Vampire Slayer but without the slayer or violence of  Tarantino’s Dusk till Dawn, despite the odd lovers spat between Vampires (from Maverik Models) on the catwalk.

Sep 212011
 

Last couple of weeks have been a strange time consisting of a variety of jobs and the holiday that almost wasn’t. It started quietly enough with images shot on spec of Peter Andre dropping into WH Smiths Meadowhall to sign copies of his two new children’s books “The Happy Birthday Party” and “A New Day at School”. That was followed by a shoot for Atteys Solicitors who had a good news story involving Cupcakes and “The Sweet Taste of Success” then finally a short job on Friday of a Lottery winner from Rotherham who had bought himself a very nice motorbike with some of his winnings.

Then after that with nothing more on the diary the plan was for a weeks caravan holiday at Cleethorpes close to the beach, quiet, relaxed, don’t care about weather, plenty of dog walking and traditional Fish n Chips. Well that was the plan until the phone rang, and rang, and…… well you get the picture (excuse the pun).

The first job was on Saturday shooting the Walkers Hot Crisps tour handing out free hot crisps to members of the public in Sheffield with the help of Celebrity Master Chef 2010 and Holby City/Spooks star Lisa Faulkner. The results included some very nice portraits of Lisa.

The Second Job was Tuesday for St Dunstan’s a charity founded in 1915 to

help blind ex-service men and women lead independent and fulfilling lives.”

Three visually impaired ex-service men had stopped in at Sheffield St Dunstan’s centre on Fullwood road during their epic 372 mile Centre2Centre March the guys are stopping off at all of charities Centres. The last centre will be St Dunstan’s new £12 million rehabilitation and training centre in Llandudno. I hope they make it in time, as part of their challenge is carry the ‘key’ with them to the new Llandudno facility and open the building when they get there. Having met Billy Charlie and Chris I have no doubt that they will especially after the showed me some of the technology they have with them to keep them en route, a driver a car networked smart phones & tablet, mobile internet and Google maps. This was a job well worth travelling back from Cleethorpes to do.

The third Job, its a little miss leading to refer to it as that, was a couple of shifts for the Rotherham Advertiser meaning we had to leave early so I could work Friday and Saturday but that’s just the nature of being a freelance professional News and PR (public relations) photographer

Despite having to cut the holiday short, at both ends, we still managed to enjoy ourselves. I even found time to take some holiday pictures what do you think?

Sep 072011
 

As a full-time professional Press and Public Relations photographer I tend not shoot many weddings, but sometimes the areas of News PR and Wedding photography do cross over like this wartime wedding. Andy Hacking and Kath Plummer who are both World War Two reenactors announced they would be getting married at Lytham during the Fylde Coast Wartime Weekend, and they would be doing it 1940 style. Uniforms, reproduction 1940 wedding dress, vintage armoured car to whisk away the bride and groom, right down to ration books at the reception and a little like the World War One Christmas of 1914 there was the slightly surreal sight of German and allied troops fraternising and forming a guard of honour for the happy couple.

Best man Dave straightens Groom Andy’s button hole before they move inside the church and greet some guest while awaiting the brides arrival.

Just like the 1940’s bride Kath arrives on foot, but that’s petrol rationing for you, then a brief nervous wait at the back of the church for the air raid warning to stop and the ceremony begins

After the marriage service and register signing the happy couple make their way back down the church aisle to the Dam Busters march, pose briefly for a picture at the church door then out for the official photographs.

Confetti, a sweep, a yank selling nylons, bridesmaids who know the drill, friends, family, a Guard of honour including German troops and the the 6th Airborne what more could a soldier and his bride want from a wedding?

How about a genuine 21st century press pack including local video news camera crew and a fist full press photographers!

Travelling in style

“Katie Katie give me your answer do………. “

“………For you look sweet upon the seat of Dingo made for two!”

Ration packs, ration books 1940 entertainment a world war two wartime-style wedding right through to the reception.

Interested in publishing this story then visit Caters News Agency

 

Jul 122011
 

Weekend of the Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 of July found the Ponderosa  Centre in Heckmondwike was the scene of skirmishes and an pitched battles as once again they held “SPAM” the Ponderosa Wartime Weekend. The aim of SPAM is to transport visitors back to to the 1940’s, give them a taste of what life was like for the civilians and and soldiers of all nationalities who fought their way across Eastern and Western Europe.

Bigger and better than ever before gunfire could be heard though out the two days as  Allied and Axis reenactors who were  living in and around trenches, foxholes, dugouts, bunkers and a TV set style derelict village sent out patrols to reconnoitre and probe their enemies positions.

The weekend included a Spitfire flypast on Saturday while on both days military vehicles including three US tanks, a Hellcat,  Marder Tank-killer, British Daimler Dingos, US M3 Halftrack,  SdKfz 251 Ausf. C Halftrack, Wyllis Jeeps and Kubelwagen all owned by private collectors and members of the Northern World War 2 Association and Military Vehicles Trust were just some that could be seen on static display and in a drive by parade.

Many of the same vehicles also took part in the grand finale each day. A western front battle with TV quality pyrotechnics which pitted Germany’s Panzer Grenadier Division Großdeutschland, 21st Panzer Division and Infanterie Regiment 208 against the US 101st and British 6th Airborne, with the East Yorkshire Regiment. The end of scenario has Axis units prepare and launch a counter attack against advancing Allied forces, but the combined  British/US Armour and  infantry push them back with American tanks destroying the Germans fuel dump before finally over running the thier positions as the axis resistance collapses.

Below: The last stand of Großdeutschland. British 6th Airborne division accompanied by members of the French Resistance overrun and destroy one of Germany’s Elite units at the Ponderosa Heckmondwike.

Should this leave you wondering what the Ponderosa Wartime Weekend looked like from  reenactors point of view here are a couple of shots

A reenactors view, of the Battlefield, at the Spam Wartime Weekend Heckmondwike 10th July 2011. Images © Paul David Drabble (Paul David Drabble)

A reenactors view, from the living history, of the Spam Wartime Weekend Heckmondwike 9th July 2011. Images © Paul David Drabble (Paul David Drabble)

May 092011
 

Public Relations Photography

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

  1. The two jobs are at the same time and on the same day.
  2. The two jobs are the same day, aren’t at the same time  but they do overlap
  3. 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.

The Double Page Spread in the Sky Preview Magazine

 

If you want to see more examples of my Public Relations Photography visit my home page

 

Apr 092011
 

Its been an interesting start to April, a sudden influx of jobs bucking the trend of the past 12 months or more. Its still a long way from business as usual but it would be nice if things carried on the way they have over the last ten days. The month started with call to cover the Spots vs Stripes challenge for Cadburys in Meadowhall then it was a shoot for a company who has sold their  500,000 curry which we shot at Chef Hallam. Job number three came in via email requesting coverage of the Torvill & Dean  Dancing on Ice 2011 tour photo call at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena.

From there it was a quick drive back to the office to get the photos edited captioned and out to the client and off to celebrity shoot number two. Lookers the new Alfa Romeo dealership on Saville Street Sheffield had celebrity chef  Mr Aldo Zilli on hand to help them celebrate their opening with an evening of “fine Italian food and wine”. Had he not made it as a chef I think he would have made pretty good Comedian. Having got the images required from the Aldo Zilli shoot its back in the car and back to the office to get a few images out from the evening so they would be waiting for the client when they get in on Friday morning then off to bed just before midnight.

Friday was an office day finishing the edit, post production, captioning and distribution of the Aldo Zilli Photographs while fielding calls, emails and taking delivery of a new camera and getting invoices out. Saturday was back to Meadowhall for celebrity shoot three and oddly enough another Italian celebrity chef this time it was Gino D’Acampo who was doing a cooking up a storm and by the look of it he certainly managed to get one ladies heart racing when he asked her to check if his pasta was al dente.

Some where in amongst all this I actually found time to buy myself and take delivery of a new toy, a Kiev 4 range-finder film camera. Cosmetically its in very nice condition with original leather case and 5cm F2 Jupiter lens.  Everything seems to be in working order I just need to put a film through it. If it all works as it should I have a feeling that it could end up as a blog for another day.

Mar 182011
 

How To Create A Good PR Photo people actually want to publish?

Recently I wrote a guest post “What Makes A Good PR Photo” for Leeds based Quest PR’s blog. Bloggers will tell you that posts work best at around 300 to 500 words and it was while trying to work within these constraints I realised what I do, what all good PR photographers do, is far too complex to impart as a “How To” in 500 words or less. I was barely scratching the surface of “What Makes A Good PR Photo” let alone how to produce one and that led to this post.

How does a professional PR Photographer Create A Good PR Photo people actually want to publish? He or she considers all the things below and more, though not necessarily in list order.

Is the image sharp?

Where should I focus for best effect?

Shall I use a wide aperture or narrow aperture?

Fast or slow shutter speed?

Natural light or Full flash, Fill-in flash?

Will anything fool the camera meter?

Do I choose Wide Angle Standard or Telephoto lens?

Which camera will be best for the job?

Is it best Mounted on a tripod, monopod or hand-held?

Use camera mounted flash or portable studio flash?

What elements best tell the story?

Which do I include, what gets left out?

Is the background relevant?

Can it be made relevant or is it just distracting?

What’s the best way to set this up for maximum visual impact?

Do I put movement into to an image?

If I do should movement be frozen or allowed to streak ?

Shall I isolate the subject with a blurred background?

Use front to back picture sharpness?

How many people do I use and why?

What’s the message my client is trying to get across?

How do I get the branding in?

Does it look natural or forced or just ruin the picture entirely?

What style do I need to shoot in?

Where will the images appear?

Have done Upright and landscape shape?

Beyond considering all of the above the professional PR photographer needs people skills in bucketfuls. Some people are lucky they just enjoy being photographed and/or are simply photogenic. Many are not, good results are required even when the subject hates being in front of a camera. Photographers need to work with people from all spheres of society all ages all outlooks all political persuasions and a good photographer can deal with just about anyone. Sometimes the image will require getting people to do things they wouldn’t normally dream of doing. Other occasions it will require the photographer do something they wouldn’t normally dream of doing.

In short How To Create A Good PR Photo…..

Understand your equipment, use it to best technical effect, understand the brief, interpret it creatively, work well with people and get the best from them in what can sometimes be quite difficult situations.