Through movement, I have been able to experience new cultures and places which constantly change my view of the world. Here is a collection of some of the things I have seen, and some of the things I've been working on.
This year, I’ve made a commitment to post one video a month on the Ampisound Youtube Channel. Thus far, I’ve published three videos, with our Rooftop Parkour POV achieving success at almost 200,000 views at time of writing.
The Parkour POV features athlete Connor Walker, moving across various new locations and spots. I wanted to make sure that all the lines in the video had never been seen on the Ampisound channel before, so we visited new places to shoot, which I think is key to creating interesting POV videos. I’m always keen for them to feel cohesive in terms of lighting and colour, and I did a lot of colour work to make sure the transitions and cuts felt smooth.
This was our second recent parkour focused POV and once again worked with the musical artist Uppermost who gave us a track of his new album to use for the video. I’d been a fan of his for a long time and reached out on a whim previously, and he’s been so supportive and its turned out to be a really cool collaboration!
I also compiled a video of various clips from 2017. While not true B-Roll, these were all various training day footage that I had filmed but had no plan for, so I wanted to edit together a fun video as a showcase for it. I also managed to include some drone shots, some of my gimbal tests and a range of other cool clips that I had been wanting to publish!
Finally is a video that had been on the backburner for ages, initially called Jump Project the point of it was to make a raw, training focused video, but shot on a Canon 5D with Magic lantern RAW. I absolutely love the colour profile of MLRaw footage, and while it is a pain to work with, I think it my specific process for it gives it a really unique look that nobody else making parkour videos has. This video was really great to get out as it reminds me that, Parkour is also about training and movement, just as much as cool videos with flashy shots.
In this new blog post format ‘behind the image’ I’m going to be looking at a photo I have taken with an interesting story, and sharing what went into its capture. To start things off, we’re looking at a photo I took eight years ago when Phil Doyle hung by his feet off the edge of a rooftop in Cambridge…
The first time we climbed onto this roof was in July 2009. It was one of the most active summers for my own parkour training, and was a pivotal time as around then was when I started shooting parkour and getting recognition for it. At that point, I was shooting on what was basically a point and shoot camera, a Kodak Z1015. After spending around half a hour on the rooftop, and with me shooting some general photos, there must have been some element of bravado going on when someone offered to hang off the edge for a picture.
While generally I think that hanging off anything is pretty stupid in principle, I do trust my athlete friends to know their abilities if and when they choose to do these kinds of things. Having enough mental strength along with physical to perform a potentially challenging task, with calm and care, is admirable and in my opinion falls in the same realm as ski-jumping or other high risk sports.
It was after these, Phil brought up the idea by saying “I wonder if I could toehang from it”. Obviously I thought that sounded like an amazing photo, but was also a step above simply hanging off something with your arms. It was a move I knew he was very confident with, but it was still as always worth preparing for in a less risky way. We moved to a different part of the rooftop, and Phil practiced a few times in an area where a fall would have been recoverable from.
After successfully doing the hang here a few times, Phil was ready to move to the higher section. Logically, if you can do a move at ground level, the only difference in terms of ability is how your mind affects performing it at height. Your actual skill doesn’t change, but other factors can affect it, so an important thing thats often undertrained in parkour is performing under pressure. Phil carefully hung down and we got the picture.
After about five months though, I’d graduated from my Kodak point and shoot camera and finally moved up to a proper DSLR. Having learned more about photography, my understanding of image quality and lighting had rapidly developed, and of all the photos I’d taken previously, the toehang was one I felt could deserve a revisit. I floated the idea with Phil, and he was receptive to it. It was clearly an image that would be something that would last, and I intended to capture it in the most future-proof way possible, f/8 for maximum sharpness, ISO100, beautiful soft evening light and in an angle we knew looked amazing already.
On the 17th January 2010, we climbed to the roof again and had a second attempt. The sun was setting at 4pm and it must have been only a few degrees, I remember I was wearing gloves at the time. It looked great, but it was cold, and Phil had kept his coat on.
He looked at the photo, I looked at the photo and we both knew, it would look better if he was just in his white tshirt. As always, when shooting any movement, the athlete is in full control. The roof was not going anywhere, I’d happily climb up again another day to shoot it when it was warmer, but Phil wanted to shoot today; and in the cold 4PM light on a Sunday in January, we got the shot.
Just to be clear, neither I or Phil recommend anyone try this. It was a movement he had trained a lot at the time, and in his own personal circumstance he was willing to take that calculated risk, but he wouldn’t want to do it again now. Hanging off things for internet fame is pretty stupid, and I want to make the clear distinction that we took this photo for the sake of capturing something amazing, and not just for instagram likes.
Lorena Abreu has been on my radar as one of the upcoming female American athletes to keep an eye on. I finally got to meet her in person a few years ago at the 4 The Love of Movement jam in Holland, and recently saw her again at this years 2017 edition. After, she hit me up and suggested we shoot together while she was in the UK, so we got together one evening to capture a few images.
Lorena was so passionate with each setup we captured, which made for images which translate well to her energy and character.
Shot with Canon 5D mk3, 16-35 & 24-70 f/2.8 or 85 f/1.4. Natural Light & 1x Yongnuo LED panel for fill & catchlights.
During my time in Tokyo with Talia, I wanted to try to capture a series of a few portraits with different atmospheres. I aimed to capture images with the strong urban feel, along with the more relaxed and peaceful vibe of the shrines and temples we visited.
A few times while hanging out with my friends in Japan, they asked me ‘is she a model?’ but Talia actually has never modelled, apart from for her selfies. Effectively these are just fancy tourist photos, but it was interesting to work with the different styles.
The vast majority of these images were shot on the wonderful vintage lens, the Helios 44-2, a cheap russian lens I got from a charity shop that produces this wonderful bokeh. You can particularly see the effect in corners of the final images of this series.
In June, I went for my third trip to Tokyo in the last three years. It seems to be that I have been making visits to Japan an annual thing recently, and I can definitely see myself going again next year if I can!
Once again, I found myself enamoured with Tokyo and having recently put some time into studying more Japanese, was able to integrate with the culture in a way I hadn’t before.
I was joined by my girlfriend, Talia, who features in some of these images and will also appear in a seperate post, Talia in Tokyo, which is a series of portraits I shot of her during our trip.
These images are mostly shot with my Canon G7X, however a few are on Sony A7S2 and my iPhone! Enjoy.
I visited the foggy city of Liverpool to join some urban exploration missions that my friends Danny and Stevy had been on recently.
While growing up, I spent many months visiting Liverpool and in some ways I grew up there as a result. Along with Cambridge and London, Liverpool would be my next most well known part of the UK. It’s also got some pretty interesting architecture, especially its two famous cathedrals.
What follow are a collection of images from the few days I spent up north, all shot with just my point and shoot wonder, the Canon G7x.
Recently, I’ve been enjoying shooting with women who move, as its a nice change from my typical fare. Miranda is a Ballet dancer living in LA, so I knew we had to shoot something with her while I was there.
We tripped out to Sepulveda Dam and shot this series of photos. I liked the contrast with the large concrete shapes of the Dam, versus the beautiful and light movements of Miranda’s dancing. She was so excited about the location and getting the perfect positions for the movements, and her passion clearly carried into the images that follow.
All these images were shot with Canon 5D3 at 85mm. Check them out!
I took a spontaneous trip to Los Angeles for a few weeks this summer to visit some of my friends there. Its always nice to enjoy the California Sun, and it was surprising to see so many of my fellow brits out there at one time. Unlike most of my trips, this one was more of a social visit than my usual tourist endeavours.
We spent a good amount of time at Malibu beach, chasing sunsets. It was really sunny and hot in LA, so it was nice to be by the water mostly. Here is a collection of some of my favourite images from my time in the USA, shot on my 5d3.
I’ve been trying to improve the way I edit my images in terms of colour, because thats something I think really helps refine an image to how I want it. I also did a shoot with a ballerina at Sepulveda dam, so those images will be up shortly too!
After my time in Japan, I decided to pop over to Indonesia to visit my buddy Alex, who happened to be there. I’ve been to Bali once already last year, but I figured as I was already in Asia, it would be fun to go and hang out for a couple of weeks.
The one thing I forget about Bali is how much less developed it is. For example, I was staying in a guesthouse near a big rice field. One lunch in the attached Warung (kind of like a canteen) I realised that the rice in my friend rice, was grown in that rice field next to my bedroom. How rare is it to eat food that is grown metres away from where you are staying!
Another example, my local Indonesian friends tell me the default approach to the police stopping you is ‘don’t stop’. The police are generally trying to shake town tourists apparently, so the locals told me ‘just drive past them’. Its fascinating how the whole country operates slightly differently to what I’m used to in the western world.
The freedom you can experience there, is both liberating and intrinsically dangerous. Luckily for me, I mostly wanted a chilled beach holiday, so I took my Canon G7X and shot some tourist photos for fun. Here is what I captured…
My second collection of images from my spring’16 month in Tokyo. I explored so many amazing places, scaled some rooftops and shot plenty of rainy streets. Tokyo is so wonderful to shoot at night because there is so much ambient light. Signs and lamps are absolutely everywhere so its really easy to shoot handheld (I know a tripod is better but this is just tourist stuff for me!).
Without a doubt its my favourite when it rains though, not only do the streets look so shiny and reflective, but the silhouette of a person with an umbrella is so timeless for me.
Images shot mostly with my Canon G7X, a few from my 5Dmk3! Enjoy!
I took a trip back to Tokyo for the month of April to fulfil my lifelong wish to see the cherry blossoms. Having already spent a month there last September, I knew my way around and had a good grasp on how to get around. I spent some time learning to read Japanese in Hiragana and Katakana, which proved so useful in being able to understand the language better and do things on my own more than the last time.
Unlike my previous trip, this one was focused less on taking photographs and doing tourist things, and more on shooting Parkour (or as they call it, パルクール – Parukuuru) and connecting with the local community. I spent the ‘We Jump the World Day’ with the locals, shot two new videos, spent some time training and feel like I got a better idea on what life in Tokyo is really like.
Here are some of my images from my second month in Tokyo, these posts focus on the daytime, the next will focus on the nights!