Strange Bones

Strange Bones live at Sunbird Records, Darwen 16th February 2018.

I must confess, I’ve not been wanting to photograph live bands for some time now. I’ve been a little bit bored with it all. But then you see a band for the first time that has such energy and drive and passion, you feel nothing but compelled to start photographing them.

For this particular gig, I’d been doing mostly video… an area I’ve been increasingly interested in. I waited to the very last song before starting to snap. Knowing you aren’t going to get perfectly crystal clear, portrait sharp type shots from this band during a show like this… far too much movement, loads of jostling, stage diving, water and drinks being thrown around… a much more straightforward approach was required. 

Waiting to the last song of the night, hang back till it gets going….. ramp up the camera ISO to 12,800, set shutter speed at 1/125sec, zone focus my Pentax SMC 30mm lens to 1 metre, open the aperture up to f2.8, shoot on short burst mode…. get in there, get snapping!

Sharpness is highly overrated. 

Blackburn Comic Con

A small selection of portraits taken at Blackburn Comic Con, held at King Georges Hall 4th November 2017.

This was my first time at a Comic Con event and thoroughly enjoyed photographing it on behalf of the venue.

Miles and Erica (with support Will Hunt)

MIles Hunt and Erica Nockalls (of The Wonderstuff) performing live at Darwen Library Theatre, 27th October 2017.

Sony A7 with OM Zuiko 50mm and 135mm, Pentax 30mm and Tokina 35-70mm manula focus legacy lenses.

Blancmange (with support Transfigure)

Blancmange live at Darwen Library Theatre, 25th October 2017.

Sony A7 with OM Zuiko 50mm and 135mm, Pentax 30mm and Tokina 35-70mm manual focus vintage lenses. 

Acid Mothers Temple

Acid Mothers Temple, live at The Traders in Hebden Bridge, 20th October 2017.

Sony A7 freelensing a Bell and Howell 50mm f1.2 fixed aperture projector lens. 

Rossall Point, Fleetwood

Rossall Point, a beautifully bleak coastal area nestled between Cleveleys and Fleetwood, just north of Blackpool. The landscape is dominated by an architecturally striking observation tower used by the coast guard and public alike, that overlooks Morecambe bay out towards the Irish sea.

I had one hour to spare, and decided to use the time for some peace and quiet and do some walking while practicing my landscape photography skills (something I neglect far too much). The lighting was quite bland and flat, with little or no contrast. I’m not a massive fan of HDR, but bracketing can be a useful tool for capturing exposures in less than favourable lighting conditions. A bracketing technique of seven exposures of +/- 0.7 ev was used on my Olympus OMD EM-5 (mark one) with a manual focus Neewer 28mm f2.8 lens. 


Tirikilatops live at The Golden Lion in Todmorden, 8th September 2017.

Images captured using a Sony A7 using an OM Zuiko 50mm f1.4, Pentax 30mm f2.8 as well as freelensing a Bell and Howell 50mm f1.2 projector lens. 

The Perverts

The Perverts live at The Golden Lion in Todmorden, 8th September 2017.

A tricky gig this as the singer was the only band member illuminated by any sort of light! What light there was came from a small projector giving out crazy visuals! The Perverts were headlining with support from Tirikilatops. BomCarrot made a guest appearance during one of the songs.

Images captured using a Sony A7 freelensing a Bell and Howell 50mm f1.2 fixed aperture projector lens. 

Edgarville and Today, They Are Older

Edgarville and Today, They Are Older live at The Napier, Blackburn 1st September 2017.

Sony A7 freelensing a Bell and Howell 50mm f1.2 fixed aperture projector lens. 

Britney, Chiyoda Ku, Vasa and Vasudeva

Britney, Chiyoda Ku, Vasa and Vasudeva photographed for 1988 Promotions and their official ArcTanGent pre festival event at Gullivers NQ, Manchester 11th August 2017.

Photographs shown here are a selwction of images using a Sony A7 freelensing a Bell and Howell 50mm f1.2 projector lens. 

I’m exploring this camera/lens combination a lot at the moment. In the absence of interesting stage lighting, this setup has proven to get interesting results that are a little different to your normal run-of-the-mill gig photos. I’ve also been exploring video work using this setup, which you can see below.


Pikacyu*Makoto (Acid Mothers Temple, Afrirampo) live at The Continental in Preston, Lancashire 9th August 2017.

Sony A7 camera freelensing a Bell and Howell 50mm f1.2 fixed aperture projector lens. ISO 800 with shutter speeds from 1/125sec to 1/250sec.

The Working Man

The Working Man live at The Napier, Blackburn 10th June 2017.

Sony A7 freelensing (lens whacking) a Bell and Howell 50mm fixed aperture f1.2 projector lens. The lens is housed in a macro extension tube and focused by moving the lens manually in-and-out while held in the tube. 

I did a couple of videos using this setup as well, which you can watch below. 

The Working Man: Hardcore Pooern

The Working Man: Big Bad John

Billinge Woods and the Pentax 6x7

Billinge Woods in Blackburn Lancashire, 19th February 2017. 

A rainy, dreary day… quite a bit of mist. Pentax 6x7 medium format SLR with 105mm lens, loaded with Kodak 400TX. Film developed in Ilford Ilfosol 3, 1:14 dilution, 9mins at 24ºc. 

Leighton Moss with a Voigtlander Perkeo

A family day out in Leighton Moss and Silverdale in Lancashire. I have Voigtlander Perkeo I medium format folding camera in my bag loaded with Kodak 400TX. The light isn’t brilliant, very flat with little contrast. Still, an opportunity to messy about and have fun with a great little camera and get some snaps from the day.

The viewfinder on the Perkeo is awfully small making framing tricky. You only ever have a rough idea of what you might get. This is a fully manual camera with old shutter speed settings. Taking a picture is not quick, but involves thought and care…. do a light meter reading, adjust aperture and shutter speed on the lens to suit, cock the shutter, frame the shot and fire. How many times I forget to cock the shutter is anyones guess!

The film loaded is Kodak 400TX shot at 400asa. I developed the film is Ilford Ilfosol 3. 1:14, 9mins at 24ºc.

Preston Town Centre and the Pentax 6x7

Preston City Centre, January 2017. Testing the Pentax 6x7 with the 55mm f4 lens.

The Pentax is a beast of a camera! This is not a candid street camera setup. This type of camera forces you to slow down and check and recheck settings before firing a frame. The camera is very heavy and the shutter speed dial is easily knocked when the camera is strung over your shoulder. Having said that, the viewfinder is fantastic to use, and the sound the camera makes when firing the shutter is very satisfying.

For these photos I used Kodak Portra 400 and cross processed it in Ilford Ilfosol 3. 1:14 dilution, 7mins at 24ºc (Ilford HP5 400asa standard development time). I do a lot of C41 cross processing. It’s not ideal but I’ve found a solution that works well. The negatives were scanned with a Sony A7 and flash with home-made light box and edited in Adobe ACR. 

Twisted Ankle - Sunbird Records

Twisted Ankle live at Sunbird Records, Darwen 27th January 2017.

Twisted Angle describe themselves as a “jazz trio for the deaf.” A superbly apt and brilliant description of a band who delivered a great ‘in-your-face’ performance that had to be seen.

Hailing from Cardiff, Twisted Ankle brought to the stage a great sense of humour with Monty Python-esq sensibilities, all underpinned by very capable musicianship. If you enjoy performers like Frank Zappa or Primus, you get some idea of what to expect seeing them live… pastiche, silliness, moments of musical madness, moments of great tenderness, improvisational craziness….. this is a band that you have to experience live to truly get. Currently on a mini tour of the UK with Amy Grindhouse, this band know had to put on a show that will leave you grinning from ear-to-ear. 

Twisted Ankle can be found on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Amy Grindhouse - Sunbird Records

Amy Grindhouse live at Sunbird Records, Darwen 27th January 2017.

Describing themselves as a “two piece instrumental twinkle band with jazzy/emo/punk influences…”, this stripped back duo of Connor and Matthew delivered an entertaining and fun filled performance of self penned compositions that weaved effortlessly in-and-out of intricate, texturally rich guitar driven compositions, full on hardcore pulse driven noise, to completely free ‘probably-making-it-up-as-they-go-along’ silliness.

At no point though do you feel this is purely self indulgent music for the sake of it. The two protagonists can play well, and looking beyond the crazier side of the performance, you can clearly observe a great deal of non-verbal communication between both musicians as they deliver their ideas and compositions to an expectant audience. Great stuff.

Amy Grindhouse can be found on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Delirium - Sunbird Records

Delirium live at Sunbird Records, Darwen 21st January 2017.

After a frustrating day of photographing a particularly uninspiring band at an event, I was in need of seeing some quality live music. Something, anything to lift the spirits and give me hope that there’s still some talent out there in gig land!

Delirium had come highly recommend from friend Russell Russell, bassist of Sky Valley Mistress. That’s all the endorsement you need really and I wasn’t left disappointed. Hailing from Sheffield, this young band clearly have something to prove and left you in no doubt about their skill and proficiency as musicians and songwriters.

What was immediately apparent upon hearing Delirium was how accessible the music was, but dig a little deeper and there is clearly capable songwriting skill in there. The music was far from four-to-the-floor beats, making use of mixed up crazy time signatures and dramatic shifts in timbre and texture to great aural effect and delivered with joy and excitement from the three young protagonists. 

From Hendrix and Led Zeppelin inspired guitar licks, to serious Jaco Pastorius groove laden bass lines, to full on sonic assaults that Sunn 0))) would be proud of, this band delivered it all. A fantastic group that did the trick of lifting the spirits and restoring my faith in live music after a particularly challenging day!

Using Format