Monday, April 21, 2014

The Path Is Made By Walking

Walking, hiking, tramping, yomping…  It's the oldest form of human transport, the most accessible, and the one that can still offer us the easiest escape from our busy lives.  It's remarkable how the further you walk away from the nearest car park the fewer people you see.  You don't have to walk very far at all, but modern society is so bound to four wheels, itineraries and mobile phone reception that very few people take those extra few steps and leave the crowds behind.

My Dad had been trying to give me a new pair of walking boots for my birthday for years, but I always asked if he could please give me something more immediately useful.  How little did I know?  I was making do with a pair of his old boots (treads that had done about 1600 miles in the two years that he wore them before passing them on to me - my old man walks a lot) until last summer I relented and he took me to be fitted for a "proper" pair of walking boots.  Little did I realise that he wasn't just giving me a pair of walking boots for my birthday; he was giving me a little bit of freedom, an easy escape and an open ticket to the entire 630 miles of the South West Coast Path (which runs right past my door) as well as any headland or hilltop that I fancied enjoying the view from the top of.  It's as easy as putting one foot in front of the other and letting your body follow along behind, but you'll be amazed at where it can take you.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Two-Point To-Do List: Ella Eyre Live in Session

There were only two things that I had to do:  
  1. Capture the images on the shot list that Nokia and the event organisers Mission had given me.
  2. Not get in shot during the two songs that the film crew from La Blogothèque were filming.
I was shooting a special performance by Ella Eyre (an incredible young singer best known for her vocals on Rudimental's hit "Waiting All Night") for the first Nokia Lumia Live Session of 2014.  The Lumia Live Sessions set out each year to showcase incredible new artists in unique and memorable settings, and this first event of the year was to have Ella performing her set amongst the dodgems and vintage rides at Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre in Devon.  It was a fantastic location but Ella's voice outshone everything else - strong, soulful, and incredibly controlled - the small crowd were completely captivated despite the colourful flashing lights of the historic fairground attractions surrounding them.  She was backed by her live band playing semi-acoustically, before performing her encore sat on the bonnet of one of the bumper-cars with just her unplugged guitarist and no microphone.  I managed to keep track of the songs in her set and stayed frozen to the spot during the two songs that were being filmed by ground-breaking French music videographers La Blogothèque, lying on the floor at the front of the stage during one of them with a stage monitor blasting right into my ears.  I still managed to end up in the background of a couple of their shots though(although I'm blaming this on their slick editing), so don't get to fully tick that second box.  As for the first job on my list, well I managed to get the shots asked for during the gig - as well as a few nice backlit ones during the soundcheck when Ella sat in a dodgem car tweeting about the gig on her phone, absent mindedly singing pitch perfect into her microphone whilst a single spotlight shone through her impressive hair.  Check 'em out - I hope you dig.  


Lights, Dodgems, Action!

Vintage Fairground, Modern Neon

Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre

Performing "Waiting All Night"

The best seats in the house were far-and-away the dodgems.

Perhaps I should take stickers next time?


Keep your eyes and ears peeled for Ella Eyre this year.

Soundcheck - check.

To keep up to date with the Nokia Lumia Live Sessions of 2014 click here - each gig is by invitation and there are various ways to win tickets.  If this event was anything to go by then I'd say it'd be well worth keeping an ear to the ground.

Check out my images and the La Blogothèque video from the last event of 2013 (on a rainy beach in Cornwall) here.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Take a Step

Dusting off my soapbox and harping on about marine litter and plastic pollution is becoming an annual thing for me:

It's estimated that there are approximately 2000 pieces of marine litter for every kilometre of beach in the UK, and around 60% of that litter is plastic.  That is a huge amount - just try taking a step along the high tide line of any beach and you'll be sure to find something that's not meant to be there.  At any point along the strand line you'll be able to bend down, peer into the tangle of seaweed left by the receding tide and find a piece of plastic:  an incriminating fingerprint of mankind's disregard for the natural environment.

Last Sunday a group of volunteers cleared around 40kg of small pieces of plastic waste from the strand line at Polzeath, as part of a series of 120 beach cleans organised by Surfers Against Sewage over the weekend that removed 25 tonnes of marine litter from beaches around the UK.  But the amount collected from Polzeath isn't a one off, getting rid of the cumulated plastic waste trawled up and deposited at the top of the beach by the back to back storms this winter;  after every storm a troop of dedicated local residents have been out removing whatever litter has been washed ashore.  So far this year they've taken away 116 bin bags of waste and over 50 dead sea birds.  It's a big, big, problem and with plastic persisting in the marine environment for hundreds if not thousands of years (plastic doesn't disappear, it just breaks down into smaller pieces), it's not one that's going to disappear any time soon

I hope that this puffin with it's beautiful, multicoloured, bill was a victim of the winter storms rather than  marine pollution.  Either way, however, it's not a pleasant thing to find on the sand.  

If you take a step along the beach and do indeed find pieces of litter that aren't meant to be there, then perhaps it's time to take steps against marine plastic pollution.  There are little things that we can all do such as picking up three pieces of litter or doing a two minute beach clean (check out #2minutebeachclean on if you're on instagram) each time we walk off the beach.  Or better still, try to use less plastics so that we don't generate so much plastic waste as individuals.  If we all do a little then hopefully, over time, we can achieve a lot.

Beach cleans at Polzeath, organised by the local Beachcare group, are scheduled for: 
  • April 26th @ 9.30am
  • May 14th @ 9.30am
  • June 20th @ 9.30am
  • July 16th @ 9.30am
  • August 22nd @ 9.30am
  • September 20th @ 9.30am
  • October 24th @ 9.30am
  • November 19th @ 9.30am
  • December 19th @ 9.30am
For further information please feel free to take a look at past An Tor Orth An Mor posts on this subject or click through the links to the various organisations that do so much to fight marine litter: