Notts County FC 2016/17 A Season In Pictures

They say you should support your football club through thick and thin, however the truth is that over the past few years at Meadow Lane it’s been more a case of thin and thinner!

My first game watching the Pies was in 1970 and, I’m proud to say, they have been my team ever since. Like many I still recall the halcyon days of top flight football and promotion play-off victories at Wembley and yearn for those times to return. So, perhaps with more hope than expectation, I was delighted when Notts agreed to my request to document the season through a photographic project. My plan was to record more about the club and its supporters rather than football action shots and I was full of anticipation thinking that this was going to be the season when our fortunes changed. Well they certainly did that, but not quite in the way I and thousands of others had hoped.  Here are a small selection of images which tell a story.

 
Meadow Lane

Meadow Lane

 

We are fortunate that we have an excellent stadium fit for a return to the Championship and there are many people involved, behind the scenes, who keep it that way. 

 
The Kop

The Kop

 

We have some great supporters who have seen their hopes and dreams dashed on far too many occasions. However what must be pleasing for the club is that when there is a positive attitude and people are pulling in the same direction the supporters will and do respond and hopes of achieving much bigger gates on a regular basis is once more a real possibility. 

 
Sue Pullen

Sue Pullen

 

There are some fans who simply stand out for their unwavering loyalty over many years and it’s been a real pleasure to meet and photograph some of them. This lady is Sue Pullen, photographed at Mansfield – this was before the game ! 

 
Singing in the rain

Singing in the rain

 

The torrential rain that waterlogged the pitch in about ten minutes at the Morecambe match in October causing the abandonment of the game should perhaps have been seen as an omen of things to come. 

 
Daily Mail

Daily Mail

 

The football was that poor that the Daily Mail proved to be more interesting than the game to this gentleman. I like humour in pictures and believe me there was much of that through the season even if some of it was on the dark side! 

 
Offside Ref!

Offside Ref!

 

The supporters frustrations were showing and over the season I have found a few that, let’s say, wear their hearts on their sleeves! They are pretty good subjects and their passion just bursts out. 

 
Jimmy & Jack

Jimmy & Jack

 

A project on Notts County would not be complete without an image of the statue to legendary manager Jimmy Sirrel and his assistant Jack Wheeler. What on earth would they have said about the past few seasons. This shot was taken in the autumn when the fiery orange leaves reflected what I thought Jimmy’s mood might have been, I couldn’t find any blue for his language! 

 
Goal!

Goal!

 

There were a few false dawns with hope that our poor run might in fact end and that perhaps made those few golden moments even more worthy of celebration but alas it was not to be and a dismal run of 10 straight defeats ensued.

 
Colin Slater pictured with ex Notts striker and summariser Mark Stallard

Colin Slater pictured with ex Notts striker and summariser Mark Stallard

 

BBC Radio Nottingham correspondent Colin Slater is simply Mr Notts County. Like many I have grown up hearing Colin’s distinctive tones commenting on the games, quizzing managers and giving his views on the many highs, lows and Machiavellian twists and turns that have beset the club over the years. He is an institution, he was instrumental in saving the club from extinction and for this and everything else he has done for Notts Colin occupies a special place in the history of the club and hearts of the fans. At age 83 and having commentated on over 2500 Notts matches starting almost 50 years ago Colin has decided to hang up his microphone.  Although he will continue as a Notts correspondent for the BBC this season marks the end of an era. We wish Colin well in his semi-retirement.

 
Manager & Chairman

Manager & Chairman

 

When we were at arguably our lowest ebb we all hoped and prayed for some divine intervention. Apparently, that nearly came in the form of Danish, American or Chinese backing ……… or was that simply a dream? We needed the dynamic duo and boy did we get one! 

Alan Hardy’s business acumen not only enabled him to buy the club but has also brought the dynamic leadership that was so sadly lacking. After recent dismal managerial appointments to say Alan’s choice of manager was critical was an understatement and it had to be right, no room for error. Kevin Nolan’s turnaround of the performances on the pitch has been nothing short of sensational. So, for nothing less than saving us from losing our famous and proud status as the world’s oldest football league club and very possibly saving us from extinction this is the most significant picture from the season. 

 
Inner sanctum

Inner sanctum

 

You only have to see the changing room set out before a match to see the impact of the new manager, one who the players look up to and have responded positively to. The professional approach and not least the many motivational posters around the changing room tell you a lot about Kevin Nolan. 

 
Meadow Lane Crowds

Meadow Lane Crowds

 

The supporters have responded positively to the turnaround and it’s been a delight to see Meadow Lane buzzing again with fans full of expectation. 

It’s been a roller coaster of a season, well it’s Notts County, but things seem to be on a far better platform now and whilst we shouldn’t get carried away we are I think justified in hoping for a much brighter future. 

Thanks to all who have been willing subjects, it’s been a pleasure to meet you and include you in the project. See you next season!

I hope you enjoy this short AV or for more pictures see my gallery here 

Notts County FC 2016/17 A Season in Pictures 

Capturing the Beauty of Springs Bluebells

Spring is sprung in the UK and nothing signifies that more obviously than a rich carpet of bluebells under a vibrant canopy of lime green beech leaves. Walk into a forest early in the morning and the wonderful fragrant smell hits you, the scene simply begs to be photographed. So, how do you capture this beauty? Well here are a few tips to help you achieve some stunning bluebell shots. Read more of piece I wrote for the Fujifilm blog ......

 
 

Sleeklens Lightroom Presets

For many photographers presets are becoming an increasingly important part of their Lightroom and Photoshop workflow and the principle of producing a stunning image with just a few clicks is an enticing proposition. So is this possible, what’s available and how do they work?

Sleeklens are a relatively new Danish company who offer collections of individual workflows, either for Photoshop or Lightroom, to help you process your images and I was recently contacted by them to provide an impartial review of their product.

I took a look at their website, which was impressive being professional and clear, and also their Youtube video tutorials which were again very good. Consequently I agreed to test their "Through the Woods" workflow Lightroom presets as this is my preferred editing tool. They actually offer 3 full Collections and 17 distinct Lightroom workflow packages covering different genres such as Landscapes, Architecture, Portraits, Baby and Weddings and also offer a limited free tester range.

I do use presets already, mainly Google Nik Silver Effex and some Craft & Vision colour and b&w presets. However these are invariably used as a start point in the image process and in every case the “one click” preset is never the final image. I would like to admit that I always have a clear idea of my “end in mind” and select the preset to help achieve that look but the truth is that sometimes scrolling through the different options throws up a look that I hadn’t previously considered, though it is fair to say that in all cases care needs to be taken to avoid an overly processed look.

The “Through the Woods”workflow comes with 51 presets, along with 30 adjustment brush presets. The presets are organised into groups including “All in one” which are designed to be a one click solution though I must admit I didn’t think too much of these with the exception of “Pressed in Time”, a black and white preset that was a pretty good start point. However the rest of the presets are designed to be used together as layers to build up your image starting with Base then Exposure, Colour, Tone/Tint, Polish and Vignette. I found this way of editing to be much better and achieved some decent results though whether it saves time is debatable and it should be pointed out that all these effects can be produced by using the standard Lightroom sliders and controls.

In addition to the image presets which are applied globally to your image there are 30 Adjustment brushes for local editing and of course, like the global presets, the effects can be adjusted to suit your own taste. These not only work as a brush but also in the gradient and radial filters too. So you can see that the best way to use this workflow is to build from a base preset, then adjust the overall look before fine tuning with adjustment brushes.

Installation was pretty straightforward with some excellent support notes from Sleeklens.

So how did the preset package perform? Well here are several examples.

 
BEFORE ORIGINAL RAW

BEFORE ORIGINAL RAW

AFTER SLEEKLENS EDIT

AFTER SLEEKLENS EDIT

BEFORE ORIGINAL RAW

BEFORE ORIGINAL RAW

AFTER SLEEKLENS EDIT

AFTER SLEEKLENS EDIT

BEFORE ORIGINAL RAW

BEFORE ORIGINAL RAW

AFTER SLEEKLENS EDIT

AFTER SLEEKLENS EDIT

BEFORE ORIGINAL RAW

BEFORE ORIGINAL RAW

AFTER SLEEKLENS EDIT

AFTER SLEEKLENS EDIT

BEFORE ORIGINAL RAW

BEFORE ORIGINAL RAW

AFTER SLEEKLENS EDIT

AFTER SLEEKLENS EDIT

 

In summary, after some initial reservations, I did find that these presets and brushes helped with both enhancing a pre-conceived image idea and with throwing up some interesting different effects that I hadn’t previously considered. What was clear was that the presets serve only as a start point and whilst all the effects are possible to create manually, all things considered, the time saving in using these presets and brushes is a benefit. I will definitely retain these as part of my image workflow.

The Sleeklens “Through the Woods” workflow is available for $39 from their website

For more information follow these links :

Sleeklens

Sleeklens Lightroom Presets

Sleeklens Editing Service

Disclosure : Sleeklens provided me with the "Through the Woods" workflow package of presets and brushes to enable me to undertake this review.

Tiffen Image Maker Interview

I was delighted to be asked by Tiffen, a leading manufacturer of imaging accessories for the consumer/professional imaging and the motion picture and broadcast television industries, to be the subject of one of their Image Maker interviews. Perhaps the most recognisable brand in their portfolio for stills photographers is the legendary range of Domke camera bags.

Over the past year I have started using these bags, indeed my full review of the F2 can be found here

The interview covers my background and start in photography, the development of my photography and passion for Travel, assignments and a recent major social documentary project. There are lots of hints and tips together with my choice of gear including Domke bags and Fujifilm cameras and lenses together with an explanation of my role as a Fujifilm X-Series photographer.

To read, click on the image below, I hope you enjoy it!

 
 

Cinque Terre Photography Tour

I am delighted to announce details of my photography tour to Cinque Terre, one of the most stunning locations in Europe.

With its dramatic coastline, multi-coloured villages, terraced fields rising from the azure sea and breath taking views, it’s no wonder why this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Why not join me for a superb photography tour to one of the most photogenic regions of Italy.

For more details click here

 
Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore