Below is a behind the scenes video made by my trusty assistant for the day Tutti Del Monte. We spent the day shooting The Concession Golf Course in Sarasota, Florida for a feature for the largest golf magazine in the Arab peninsula, "Middle East Golfer" that involved mainly photographing the signature holes of the Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin designed course but, also some of the delicious food offered in the award-winning restaurant that guests can enjoy after their round. We also got to taste some of the delicacies once we were done.... Yum! Thanks to The Concession for their kind hospitality and accommodating all of our requests.
I finally made it a few nights ago to the Tower of London to see the ceramic poppies which form part of the "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" installation created by artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper - better late than never!
The evolving exhibition which commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War was an amazing sight with each handmade poppy representing a fallen hero. I found it particularly poignant as my family have purchased a number of poppies for my great Uncle Dr Aaron Simeon Cohen who after qualifying at St Guys Hospital, London enlisted as a doctor and died on the battlefield at the Battle of Loos in 1914, helping others. He was only 24.
However, it was a shame that by the time I visited, many of the 888,246 poppies that had filled the moat had already been removed. This meant that I didn't get to see the full impact of the installation. Nevertheless, here are a couple of shots from vantage points where you can still see the moat pretty full. I also went back the next day to photograph the impressive arch cascading over one of the main drawbridges that leads into to the Tower. Here, the poppies are being kept illuminated until the end of November providing them with an added mood and poignancy.
If you haven't seen the installation yet and live in London, I would strongly encourage you to make the trip before all of the poppies have been removed and delivered to the various people across the country who have purchased them with proceeds going to help various military charities. Don't fret though; even if you don't have a chance to visit, part of the exhibition will be touring various parts of the UK throughout 2015.
Part of the thing I love about being a photographer is the diverse and eclectic mix of exciting assignments you often get asked to do. An example of this was a commission I was sent on for The Royal Navy aboard one of their newest ships, the HMS Diamond. Working on an active, military ship presented some challenges, notably setting up lighting in extremely confined spaces, movement at sea and a severe lack of sleep! However, I got to spend some time getting to know those working on the vessel and was blown away by the work and dedication that these men and women show on on a daily basis and left with a new found respect for all those who serve in the armed forces. Below is a photograph of the HMS Diamond courtesy of the Royal Navy along with a few of my favourite portraits that I took aboard the ship.
The abandoned Lillibridge School situated on the East side of Detroit was built in 1905 and houses some impressive spaces including a gym, auditorium, assembly hall. The school was closed in the 1970s and the occupancy of the building was taken over by an outpatient day treatment centre. However, this was closed in 2007 leaving the building as one of more than eighty abandoned schools scattered throughout metro Detroit.
Continuing my personal project documenting "Abandoned Spaces" across the mid-West of America, I recently explored an intriguing urban relic; a cinema turned rock 'n' roll venue that has hosted legends included Alice Cooper, The Doors, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull on the East side of Detroit.
Indeed, this once grand theatre when opened in 1930 housed 2,500 seats and was originally intended to be the major cinema on the East side of the motor city. However, within thirty years it quickly evolved to become the city's premier destination for rock n' roll during with the roll call of acts who graced he stage listing like a whose who of every great American rock act of the sixties. In fact, Alice Cooper later quoted that the Eastown was "the best audience in the world. Any other city, people went home from work to put their Levis and black leather jackets for a concert. In Detroit, they came from work like that. The Easttown - those were pure rock 'n' roll times"
However, the venue was was forced to close in in 1973 due to health and safety reasons with drugs and crime being a major issue. Throughout the next two decades, the theatre re-opened under various guises with relative success: a jazz venue, adult movie theatre and even a church. Eventually, the site was completely abandoned in 2009 when no buyer was found for it and the curtain was closed on the Eastown theatre forever.
Indeed, unfortunately by the time I went to photograph it the once opulent roof with its decadent bright dome (see below photo) had completely fallen in leaving just the stage, facade and back of the theatre remaining. Being in one of the more dangerous neighborhoods in Detroit, I went with a number of friends and was careful when navigating amongst the hazardous conditions; out of the many abandoned buildings I have explored this was in one of the worst states I've seen which, was sad to see especially after seeing some photos of it in its heyday.
However, I still managed to get some nice shots of the stage and with a bit of clambering around got all the way to the top where I found just a few remaining seats that provided some nice angles and perspectives. It was also interesting to find some old programmes hidden beneath the rubble providing me with an insight to productions that had played at the theatre.
Here's one of my big, stitch panoramas that I recently shot at the University of Michigan vs Penn State signature "Under The Lights" game in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The match was attended by a record breaking crowd in excess of 113,000 people and saw the Wolverines triumph 18-13 at the Big House. I've also included a few other shots from the day which give you an atmosphere of this momentous occasion including a particular favourite (the last one) which, hopefully helps you appreciate the sheer amount of people in the stands...it's a bit of a Where's Wally or for the Americans Where's Waldo!
Where we can and cannot shoot as photographers is always somewhat of a grey area; this is especially the case when it comes to casinos and other gaming locations. Having recently returned from a trip to the States, I was reminded of a shooting assignment to Las Vegas. On this trip, I was fortunate enough to photograph some of Las Vegas’ most iconic locations including Ceasars Palace, The Wynn and the MGM Grand where I was commissioned to shoot the casinos along with some of the rooms in the hotels and golf courses. However, in advance of doing so I was required to obtain a permit to shoot within these casino locations or request the permission of the resort’s PR team. Below are a couple of my favourite shots from the trip:
Indeed, if you are looking to shoot still photography or video in a casino resort whether in Vegas, Macau, Atlantic City or any location worldwide where gambling and gaming occurs, you will more than likely run into a burly security guard asking you questions and be asked to put your equipment away, especially if carrying a professional looking SLR and tripod. This is true even if you’re just a tourist looking to photograph some holiday snaps as a souvenir to take home with no intention of swindling the casino or selling the photographs for commercial gain. In fact, you may find it difficult to shoot any kind of photographs in gaming areas with slot machines, roulette tables and other casino equipment present even with a smartphone or newer piece of technology such as Google glass. It is therefore only natural that so many people have veered towards online casinos including Gamingclub.com which have risen in popularity as opposed to land based casinos.
My suggestion for photography would therefore be to stick to the communal areas in such locations which, still make for beautiful photographs as can be seen in this shots below of the lobby area of Ceasars Palace and the enormous pool complex. Also, as always, it is beneficial for us as photographers, to do our research before shooting in such locations to ensure you don’t run into problems and can enjoy making great photographs without worrying about potential consequences.
It was great to see that ESPN chose to use my photograph of Derek Jeter as the lead in a photo gallery just released commemorating the New York Yankee star's recent retirement. The photo was taken at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.