Fitness Fitness Superman

After a few years of Batman running high in pop culture, this year is going to belong to Superman. In a few weeks Man of Steel is going to appear on our screens and make us all believe again – as happened in 1978 – that a man can fly, move faster than a speeding bullet and check out ladies underwear through their jeans or shirt. Ok, maybe not the latter but I'm sure it will go a long way towards creating a new generation of believers. In any case, it wouldn't look great to have a fat Superman and a person I've been working with a lot recently is doing everything he can to help the personal fitness market by writing eBooks about every training regime out there, and with some aplomb too! Our first shoot together was a towards the last quarter of 2012 and it was one of his first books where he was talking about general weight loss, giving readers advice, tips and, the part where I came in as a photographer, exercises to follow and progressions. We must have taken some 200 images in that session and it was this particular shoot that whet my apetite for the control and intricacies of studio and flash photography.

One of the great things about spending time with Ash is his enviable enthusiasm to constantly create new WORK. We've now worked together on either photoshoots for different books and it has given me the opportunity to develop my understanding of controlling and manipulating light in my images.

And this is where we get to the crunch point in the blog post.

It's been so important to the early stages of my development that I could create work with someone who not only had the patience to work along side my 'experiments' but was comfortable spending time, collaborating with trusted.

Our last shoot, which was focusing on how to train your legs, generated some of the best fitness and sports style images I've shot to date and showed some of the insane superhuman strength that the exercises can develop.

One Legged Squat - Ashley Kalym
One Legged Squat - Ashley Kalym

Fitness shoots I feel definitely lend themselves to controlled lighting conditions and by pushing myself not only to improve and understand this style but to do it to help create what is becoming a library of fitness eBooks is very fulfilling. They say that inspiration doesn't find you, you have to go looking for it with an axe and I think it's often overlooked by many who are trying to start up a creative business that you do actually, at some point, have to grab hold of some inspiration and create something. Sharing that inspiration with someone and creating as a team has definitely helped me develop and continue to develop lighting setups, skills and techniques to push further and along that road I will get to a stage where I can pull some strings and make some of my creative photoshoots happen.

What came first... being creative or creating work.

I'll leave you with one of the first images I shot for Ash, and then one of the last. I'm excited where my skills can move to and I'll see you at the next Olympics when I've photographed the Olympic Team GB portraits! :)

Hold it!
Hold it!

If you want to check out Ashley's catalogue of work, you can check out his Amazon author page at this link to find all his books and I can thoroughly recommend each and every one if you're interested in fitness or are a bit of a gym buff.

You can also follow his blog at Train, Sleep, Eat, Repeat to really keep in touch with any upcoming news or eBooks.

Enjoy Superman - Man of Steel when it comes out, and remember, if you're struggling to create or find your inspiration, try finding someone to share it with!

I'm Only Happy When it Rains

Or at least so Shirley Manson sang in 1995. And in the current English climate she'd be very very happy as we have had nothing but rain for what seems like months and months! Fortunately this provided me with the perfect opportunity to capture an image I've had in my minds eye for a while now.

A few weeks ago Adam Lerner interviewed a street photographer from Brooklyn, New York, Barry Yanowitz. Firstly, the interview was fantastic, hearing about how Barry is so patient at scoping out New York for perfect photo opportunities and then setting up waiting for the perfect scene through his Roleiflex and secondly some of the photographs that Adam was looking through and talking about were incredible, and very aspirational.

I was itching to get out and try one of the styles that runs regularly through Barry's work and that's his use of reflections in his images. I had a few ideas but finding the right setting was proving a challenge.

Roll up Jared Polin and his weekend theme challenge. For July 14th and 15th his theme was 'Reflections'.


Just the nudge and prod I needed to narrow down a location and capture that image. I found the largest and most interesting shaped puddle I could with an alleyway/doorway opposite and setup to see what sort of reflections and angles I could play with.

The Umbrella

This is the image I came away with. This is flipped as I was standing at the 'top' of the frame waiting for interesting forms to enter the puddle. You can imagine how overwhelmed I was to find that Jared had chosen my Umbrella photograph for his weekly Top 5, especially looking at the other photographs that had been submitted that week.

You can see the video of Jared Polin's Top Five from July 14th and 15th here.

Pretty much the only thing I did in post processing was saturate the red a little more and pull back on all the other colours in the image. It's surprising that such a striking image can come from such a simple concept and thank you to Barry for his inspiration.

If you do like the image, I'd love for you to pop onto and put a vote in for me. I'm very proud and pleased by all the comments made thus far about the image from the FroKnowsPhoto audience. Thank you.

The next 'reflection' style image I want to create is going to be on a slightly grander scale. We'll see how I get on!

I will say that street photography is rapidly becoming a very intriguing hobby. A style and genre that at first fascinated me and then scared the bajeebus out of me when I tried it has solidly stolen my mind and keeps me coming back for more. You find yourself thoroughly investigating every last nook and cranny around towns and cities (and villages for that matter) hoping to find just one killer location that can spark a great idea for a photograph.

Have a go, and once you've captured one, post it up in a comment below. I'd love to see what you can create!

Until then, choose your lens carefully, click it on the camera and get out there and shoot. I'll see you anon.

Many thanks!


70 300 Out, 80 200 In.

Lenses can be particularly expensive and seeing as I dislike spending large chunks of money it made sense for me to 'free up' some of my current lens slots. The first which had to go was easy. Unfortunately, although I've been impressed with the eventual image quality of the Sigma 70-300 f/4-f/5.6 DG OS, there are some user issues which plague this lens while I've been using it. 

Nadal @ O2
Rafael Nadal preparing for a forehand at the O2 Masters of 2012

It does have the capacity to produce some great images, as you can see above, the low aperture makes it difficult at times and makes it very difficult to shoot at low ISO values at the full focal length. It's clear to visualise the size that a fully open aperture would be in this image.

Predominately photographing sports, and in particular tennis, I have no time to wait for lenses to autofocus either. Even though this Sigma lens has internal focusing motors, it's accuracy and speed of focusing is still too slow for the speed which I need to capture fast moving dynamic images. You can regularly challenge the accuracy of it's focus point, once images are back imported into Lightroom which can get frustrating when faces, rackets or even bodies or just out of focus; a shame, especially shooting at f/5.6.

Strengths and applications

So this was the first lens in my collection to be moved on for the reasons I've always listed, but what could this lens be used for?

Its focal length combined with a crop sensor body makes for a great wildlife lens. On a 1.5x crop sensor like my D90, or the brilliant D300s, turns this lens into a 450mm monster telephoto. The low aperture shouldn't be as much of an issue as you would mostly be shooting outside in good light and the optical stabilisation helps too.This is actually very good, easily allowing you to drop the shutter speed a stop or two.

I would think this lens would also make for a great motorsport lens, panning and following cars on track. Again the 450mm on a crop sensor body gives you good reach.

It's just not great for sports where you need to be challenging your shutter speed to freeze motion and focus sharply and with a wide variety of distances.

The replacement...?

For me, this is an easy option. I've rented the lens a number of times already for a number of tennis tournaments and it has performed flawlessly. It's lack of optical stabilisation really makes no difference with the high shutter speeds I'm shooting sports at and the autofocus is so lightning fast I'm sure it could follow Nadal's frantic scramblings across the baseline with ease or even, if I ever get the chance, the fast carving of a downhill skier.

Shot with the Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D at a tennis tournament I shot last year

Anyway.. it's the Nikon AF-D 80-200 f/2.8, the lens I have used and written about on here a number of times at tennis tournaments. Thoroughly looking forward to ordering it and I will record a full review as soon as I have it in my possession...

... it will be mine! Oh yes, it will be mine!

The Nikkor AF 80-200mm f/2.8 D

Thanks for reading, and this lens will be going to Wimbledon in a few weeks. I'll give you a full run down of it's performance at that tournament, if not before.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I will see you anon.


Capture the flow, freeze the dynamic - Tennis

A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.

And it's certainly true when I first opened the recent photography book a friend lent me to look through. The impact of the first photograph that I saw when I opened the book made me take a second look at it. Maybe part of it was casting me back to my childhood as the subject was Michael Chang at the French Open in 1994, but I like to think that the image held a moment in time for me and completely transported me to Roland Garros at that moment.

Michael Chang at French Open 1994 - Photograph by Clive Brunskill

This is that image! Shot in 1994 on the Suzanne Lenglen Stadium at Roland Garros. In 1989, ChangCap played one of the most memorable matches in tennis history, beating Stefan Edberg in five sets in the French Open final to win his first grand slam at just 17 years old. I watched that match when I was 9 and this photograph, even though it was from 1994, brought that memory right back.

This book quite simply reminded me why we take photographs. They're a moment in time; a memory. And it's up to us to make them as full of emotion and atmosphere as we can. 

I felt I had to share the images in the book so recorded a short video sharing my thoughts and feelings about where sports and in particular tennis, photography has come from and some tips and ambitions from me.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments below and I really look forward to hearing from you your thoughts either on this book or other books that you may own right now.

Please subscribe on the right hand side, have a great weekend, and I'll see you anon.

Blending Air and Fuel - Blending Light and Dark

So it turns out that a carburettor, by definition, is close to that of a camera.

One creates art from blending light and dark and the other creates art (yes, it does, really it does! Have you not heard a V8?) by blending air and fuel.

Today was just a grotty, rainy, miserable, cold, wet and grey day so I took the opportunity to strip and clean the two carburettors off of my Fugitive sandrail; one was in desperate need of a clean out.

As is usually the case when I'm stripping engine components I just cannot resist a photo opportunity and Jared Polin's weekend theme on his forum added some inspiration for the shoot. The theme was Direction and I thought the main jets would make for an interesting photograph if I could show all the different angles the jets work at.

Unfortunately I don't have a speedlight yet so it was a case of getting as many lamps as I could as close as I could to maximise the light and shoot with a high shutter speed rather than a fast flash duration.

Carburettor Jet

This is probably one of my favourite from the collection, along with this one too but didn't really show the direction I was envisioning. The setup was adjusted, camera was lifted and lights were dropped in behind.

Carb shoot setup

Carburettor Jet

Have a watch of the video to see the setup and see why I'm scouring every auction site I can and asking every photographer I know to get my hands on an SB900. It's turning up more and more in my thoughts and plans now that I need to have one in my arsenal. Then it'll just be a case of... playtime!

Thanks guys, please subscribe on the right hand side. Don't miss that shot, and I'll see you anon!


Chronological Chaos - A photo project for those who can't count

Not that you need to count to take photographs, although it does help to know how much change from £5,000 you'll get if you buy the new Nikon D4 I guess.

The idea behind this project was partly inspired by a good friend Ingrid Spangler over in New York, New York. She has a fantastic and thought provoking set of photos that you can see here, which has recently been included in a gallery in New York. It's a photoset that highlights some of the strange words, phrases and sayings you see littered around town either on signs, graffiti or, in one extreme case, scratched into fresh cement.

I found this set a very thought provoking idea; in itself a study of scribblings that may otherwise be missed in the hustle and bustle of everyday life but also that it could give some interest to any and every random walk.

I had to find an idea with which to indulge my random wanderings and add just that little bit of intrique to a walk.

Numbers have always been far more appealing to my nature than words. Right back to school I loved the black and white nature of maths and hated the 'what does this poem tell you about how Mortianna is feeling' load of rubbish that I could never seem to write what the teacher wanted from me that you find in English Literature. The idea was brought to the fore of my mind when during a trademark random wandering to the shops – where I walked a massive detour 'just to see what was there' – I noticed a cool looking number branded into a telegraph pole and snapped an image.


The theme and project was set and over the last few weeks I've been doing my best to spot not only numbers, but numbers that are out of the ordinary.


First and foremost, I made one rule or guideline. Absolutely NO house numbers. Far too easy. As you will hopefully see in a second the numbers I've been capturing are very much more unique and individual in their standing. 


The challenge, is to then make as good an image as you can from just a simple number 18, 284, or... 88292. 


Anyway, I'll post the rest of the images I have here, and also the FlickR link with the rest of the set for you to keep tabs on in the coming week. I'm hoping to get 20 images, so I'm just over half way. 


Quite proud that I found number 1. That was underneath a railway bridge!


To have a look at the rest of the set, check out this link and leave any comments or questions below.

Chronological Chaos Photo Set on FlickR

I'd love to hear from you if you decide to start a similar project. It will be interesting to see how creative you can get with these style of photo sets.

Take care, please subscribe to my blog on the right hand side, and I'll see you anon!