Category Archives: Photography

Bearded Theory 2018 – Triumph In Adversity! (Part 1)

At last!  After what seemed to be the longest Winter ever, the UK summer festival season is underway.  Those who have read my previous views on this festival will know that Bearded Theory is a real favourite of mine, the dates for next year are already in my diary.  That said, there were a few problems at this years festival, so let’s deal with those right away.

Getting onto the site this year was quite simply a nightmare.  It took me over four hours to travel the last four miles from the A38 to the site.  Not good, not good at all.  The queues were dreadful and the situation was exacerbated after arriving on the site and meeting an incredibly rude, aggressive and officious campsite security supervisor who refused to let me park my van in an empty spot and sent me to the overflow crew field instead.  This meant a 40-minute walk to the site, no fun when carrying all of my camera equipment.  I realise that staff are stressed when things go wrong, but there is no need for aggression towards festival fans.

Sadly, my experience was far from unique.  If my festival friends are to believed many shared my experience.  However, let’s remember that the huge majority of security staff were helpful, friendly and polite.

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The net result was that I missed the entire Thursday lineup with the exception of the last couple of songs by headliners, Reverend and the Makers.  It was certainly a disappointing start to the festival.  On Friday, we woke to rain and the awful news that tent thieves had been at work overnight, this is fast becoming a trend at UK festivals, especially on the first night when people are carrying the most cash.

That said, if you think this is going to be a review that focuses on what didn’t go well, let me disavow you of that notion.

There are many reasons why Bearded Theory is my favourite festival of the year, and it’s mostly about the people.

The organisers of Bearded Theory were horrified by the traffic problems, and I am certain that they will do everything in their power to ensure that there is no repeat next year.

Of course, it isn’t just the organisers who make a festival run smoothly.  They are assisted by a huge team who spend days before and after the festival building and breaking down the site.  A special mention must go to the wonderful army of Oxfam stewards.  These selfless souls turn up giving their time, often working long shifts, for no more than free entry to the event.  They work incredibly hard to keep us all safe and to keep things running smoothly.

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Of course, the biggest praise of all should go to those festival fans who turn up intent on having a great weekend.  In their thousands, music fans arrive on site to party, make new friends, and to socialise with other revelers.  Perhaps the best example of the atmosphere at Bearded Theory was the fans reactions to the Thursday night thefts.  Many fans donated to hastily arranged funds collected by the welfare team and by the crew at the Something Else Tea Tent.  Thousands of pounds were donated to help ensure that those who lost everything were able to stay on site and enjoy the festival.

You can’t help but be impressed by the selflessness and generosity of the fans at Bearded Theory.  Likewise, the attention to detail displayed by the entire team.  The festival had campsite helpers who entertained children whilst tents were erected.  There were sign language interpreters on all the stages, new paths had been installed to assist those with mobility problems,

My wife and I walked the camping fields on Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening, almost unbelievably, as the photos below will show, there wasn’t a single piece of litter to be seen in the campsites.  This was seriously impressive, but it also exemplifies that everyone has a role to play in making a festival and great experience for everyone.

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Lastly, one of the reasons that Bearded Theory is frequently awarded accolades for Best Family Festival is the Bearded Theory School.  Teachers, volunteers, Special Educational Needs teachers combine to provide a fabulous fun and educational experience for the younger festival fan.  This really is the jewel in Bearded Theory’s crown.

To summarise, Bearded Theory had a few issues to deal with over the past weekend, but as they always do, the organisers reacted swiftly, doing everything they possibly could to resolve the problems.  I have no doubt that they will do everything in their power to improve again next year.

It is Bearded Theory’s ability to listen and respond to its customers that sets it apart from most festivals.  It is the determination to get it right that makes Bearded Theory the best festival of its kind in the UK.  Long may it continue!

I will end part 1 of this review here, do watch out for reviews and photographs over the next few days.

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Partners

This week’s photo challenge is called partners.  I can’t think of better partnerships than those enjoyed by a band so here are some shots of bands I photographed this week.

Bearded Theory Photos Batch 2

Morning all, I hope you are recovering after an awesome weekend at Bearded Theory.  here is another small batch of my photos for you to enjoy.

Cappadox Festival – Cappadocia, Turkey

Let’s be totally honest here, Cappadox festival is not what we in the UK have come to define as our usual festival experience.  Cappadox is so much more, something that combines music, art, culture and wellbeing and sets it against one of the most incredible natural environments on our little planet.

I was up and around early this morning, a 6am start is certainly not something you experience too often at a UK festival, if you are up at that time it is because you haven’t been to bed yet.  As I stumbled bleary eyed from bed and opened the curtains of my hotel room I was greeted by the sight of dozens of hot-air balloons rising gently into the dawn light with the mountains as a backdrop, it was a breathtaking experience.


I started my day photographing a pranamaya class, a form of energising breathing that left the participants positively glowing, energised and relaxed.  Cappadox has. A lot of these types of exercises going on and it really is a huge part of the festival experience.

After breakfast we headed off for a walk in Love Valley, a stunningly beautiful experience.  The area is so green and natural, the soft rock has been used to carve out cave houses, animals shelters and even pigeon coops that are used to collect dung to fertilise the land.  The landscape is quite unlike anything I have ever seen the scale is breathtaking and yet the walk is a reasonably gentle one, well within the capabilities of anyone of moderate fitness.  

As the walk nears its end you come upon a meadow where you are able to sit and rest, enjoy a drink and some fresh fruit whilst listening to local musicians playing a concert for your enjoyment, the steep walls of the valley adding an acoustic backdrop that can only be described as stunning.  It is this kind of little surprise that makes Cappadox a totally unique experience.


Our afternoon was spent at the Goreme Valley open air museum, the primary features being literally dozens of Christian churches and burial grounds carved into the soft rock.  It really allows you to reflect on Turkey’s history as the meeting point of the Eastern and Western worlds.  The sheers scale of the endeavour that must have gone into carving out these places of worship 1,000 years ago is mind-blowing. 

This evening sees us headed out to enjoy some music and a gastronomic experience so watch this space for further updates.

Something Else Somewhere Else – Sunday Photo’s

Good morning friends, here we go with my last batch of photo’s from last weekends Something Else Somewhere Else photographs.

These are all from Sunday, I hope you enjoy them.

Weekly Photo Challenge – harmony

This weeks photo challenge is titled “Harmony” and as is often the case I take a slightly obscure approach.  These pieces are all created from my own photographs as I search to bring work together in harmonious way.

I hope you like them.

 

Awake Images

These images are a small sample of those I have in my collection that I think would be of interest for creating art pieces.

These are just a flavour.  If you are interested let me know on the thread In the awake group and I will post a series to dropbox for you.  Obviously those will not be watermarked and will be copyright free.

The vast majority of images are shot on either my Nikon D750 or my Nikon D810, the odd one or two on my iPhone.