2 Months in

To be truthful it’s been very hard to put into words the transition of Europe to North America, so apologies for the delay, and enjoy this rambling read…
As a Brit moving to Canada didn’t seem that much of a move from the U.K. Oh how I was proven wrong. Of course the normal things of knowing that the British accent is loved were expected but a few things have thrown me slightly.

The best way to describe Ottawa is that someone has taken my memories of England and France and shifted them to the left a couple of inches. Pieces of Architecture from both cultures entwined with the modern city scape make living here easier than I expected.

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Language barriers

Unlike the conventional language barriers that are common in Europe, the Canadian Language barrier is more like a language hurdle that you can definitely have a laugh about. My usual experience with language barriers is with the complete inability to understand the noises someone is making. Over here it is as if someone wanted to make life more interesting and  just took a few words in the dictionary and switched the definitions and watch the chaos unfurl. As a Brit you could imagine my horror when I was told to come into work with no pants, as pants in Britain are underpants, not what the North Americans refer to as trousers. Again just small changes of words from mobile to cell, pavement to sidewalk and my favorite, courgette to zucchini. One of my favourite phrases of the UKadian night out that I definitely know not to ask is “Can I bum a fag?” This harmless whimsical slang of politely asking to borrow a smoke can be considered  as a bit unruly and may be seen as homophobic and not politically correct.  Many of my british english speaking friends also have encountered awkward language borders, a fun favorite is during classes; “Can I borrow a rubber?” which of course makes sense. a rubber to rub out your pencil. But alas, this does mean condom in the North Americas hence the perplexity and shock one receives from this statement.

“That’s a great British accent you have, how long have you been practicing?”
Oh my dear, if you didn’t figure out I was British from my accent I think we have an issue. My accent accentuates every little consonant to the extent that you may start to feel sorry for the letters being attacked and I have a habit of elision. However I have noticed something horrifying in the way I talk now that would make any elocution teacher shiver. My British Ts have digressed into Ds. (Send BBC Radio 4 care packages.)

But I notice some words I say are definitely different to the majority of people around me.(*Trigger Warning*)
Here is a list of words that I shall no longer say in fear of my own sanity, well being and integrity:

Aluminium
Vitamin
Schedule
Aubergine
Garage
Basil
Oregano
Corriander
Tuna
Yoghurt
Fillet
Route

One day we will be able to talk about you again.

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Shops, Pubs and Public Convenience

Shops are shops wherever you go, like you can buy your groceries in shops and markets all over the world and there is not much of  difference as the idea is ubiquitous. But lets look at our friend Ontario the province that I find myself in. Alcohol is not necessarily sold in supermarkets. There is no chance of going to the corner store to score yourself a bevvy. After living in Wales for the last 4ish years it is a bit of a surprise when you have to plan a trek to the local beer store or LCBO to buy the booze and not just pop down the road to replenish your liquor stocks. Okay, I see the pros for the government of monitoring alcoholism and things but also where is the equivalent meal for one deal you can get from M&S with microwave dauphinois potatoes and a bottle of prosecco?! I don’t think Canada has a M&S or Waitrose equivalent. (Why am I here again?!)

Lets move onto the purchasing of your groceries. I’m not sure If I am just an awkward or a rude person but in my experience of the Great British Shop, you don’t communicate unless its essential. This goes for retail and restaurants as well; there is no idle chatter. In my Canadian experience,  around 98% of the time, no matter the establishment, you’ll get someone saying “Hi” and engaging in conversation. *Panic stations* There is no way I would be prepared for this in the U.K. and usually would result in my abrupt walk away as it is an unspoken rule that this interaction is frowned upon in British society.

I would love to say Pubs are Pubs wherever you go. However, this would be a lie. Although, A bar is a bar wherever you go. If something claims to be a pub outside of Europe then I be prepared to have your idea of pub reformatted. Pubs are restaurants, and everything is on a tab. Pubs serve food always. And you usually pay at the table at the end of the night. And you tip. You tip a lot. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

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The City, The Town and Suburbia

I can’t really compare cities across the world only ones I’ve been to, so the majority European, the likes of London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Paris, Lyon, Caen, Geneva, Salzburg, Riga, Brussels, Eindhoven and many other European Cities, and of course a smattering of cities in North America. And there is definitely a stark contrast between European Cityscape and North American.
I can’t say I hate the differences as they are just that different.

North American cities and towns seem to operate on a grid system. This is super handy to navigate and get around. It makes sense. The roads don’t have weird windy one way systems that make you want to drive off a bridge or lead you to somewhere miles away from where you need to be. The newer towns and cities seem to understand that roadways and sidewalks need to be wider for the regulation of road and foot traffic so there isn’t fear of death. *cough oxford street*.
However. There is a significant road feature that I miss. The humble roundabout. Europeans love it, the Americans don’t know how to use it, the roundabout wins hearts and eases traffic. Okay the last one was a lie, lets look at Milton Keynes and Swindon here for killing the roundabout. Yes, the roundabout is not a feature commonly use in Canada and well, it’s not exactly needed as most interactions are one road crossing another, not a knotty mess of 6+ plus roads crossing each other that seems to be a recurring feature throughout the European countries.

Onto the Suburbs. The place for commuting? I’m not quite sure why suburbs exist and how they exist and quite frankly they frighten me. Subdivisions are like council house estates in the UKadia but they seem to lack the integrated public conveniences and park space, just a twisted residential lattice with shopping centres located around it. It is definitely something I have not come across before in the Europes and something I’m not keen on trying out. I think I’ve watched too many suburban horror films.

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That’s what I make of my moving experience so far – Thanks for the read, leave me a star, a comment or a share and I’ll repay the favour.

 

Links to my sites:

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Aber-geddon: Rugby 7s

My fourth and final Rugby 7s as a University student. Time flies and it’s quite hard to believe that I’ve come this far in terms of photography and getting back into sports!
From 2013 Rugby 7s in Aberystwyth, equipped with a 450d, a tamron 70-300mm lens and no proper grasp on sports photography to 2017, with a canon 6d and canon 7dii equipped with a 70-200m f/2.8 lens and a 25-105mm f/4.0 lens. My technique, understanding and equipment have brought me into a whole new level of photography and looking back at Rugby 7s makes me nostalgic, thankful and slightly embarrassed of my photographic and sporty origins.

From working with the Archery “Hawkeyes” to Tarannau’s “Squirtle Squad” and “7UP”, it’s been a laugh.

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Progress is beautiful and I recommend everyone to reflect on how far they have come. If you are having a bad day, know that you are better than last year’s you, even better than 2 year ago you, and a completely new level from 3 and 4 year ago you. Yet there is still more work to be done as every opportunity is another learning experience to capture. Push boundaries, and if you feel its not working go back to basics. A wise friend of mine who has coached me with photography and my life reminds me how far I’ve come and not to worry. We all need that friend.

Anyway onto the actual weekend of Aber 7s 2017….

Promising to be not as windy or rainy as the previous years have been, this Aber 7s brought together students, locals and ex-students from across the country and in some cases, the world.
After Squirtle Squad’s triumph last year of actually winning something, this year was full of determination to maintain silverware. Alas, it was not to be. After being unstoppable on the Saturday, the team’s momentum diminished by Sunday.
Usually, I masquerade as a photographer, but my final year I decided to have a go at playing. I had been training on and off and a good understanding of the game due to past experience watching and documenting 7s and 15s rugby. Coupled with my stupidly fearlessness and simple disregard for me being breakable, who could deny me for trying.
Unfortunately, I got tackled quite hard in a game meaning I had to continue as a spectator – for the best really, but hey I played rugby 7s! (and loved it)

Anyway Thanks for the read – I’ll update my sporting ventures soon after I’ve properly moved!

Have a great day!

 

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

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website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

 

Varsity 2017

As with most other universities across the U.K. Aberystwyth engages with their rivals Bangor in annual sports-day-esque event known as Varsity. Each Uni bi-annually hosts the competition, seeing the likes of sports and societies alike to put forward their best and brightest to win the beloved silverware. This year Aberystwyth hosted the competition inviting around 50 sports clubs to the Aberystwyth area to compete over a week.
As an avid sports photographer of course I wouldn’t miss this opportunity to run about, or in my case walk briskly, with my camera to get all the sports on my cards.

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Saturday I managed to get solid pictures of American Football, Lacrosse, Rugby and Football. A good mix and an enjoyable selection. This is my personal experience.

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What irritates me most however about Varsity is the the sideline “Banter.” There is a line between a joke and a couple of jeers on the other side and then full out discrimination. Last year Aber was faced with Bangor students throwing carrots and bananas at a rugby player and reports of many racial and homophobic slurs also agitated the Aber sides. This year after being told relentlessly to keep it civil, the banter from Aber has been a lot more tame than last year with British insults like “Bangor uses tea bags twice” replacing the more aggressive attacks.
However the retaliation from Bangor on the sidelines especially from their ladies lacrosse was vile towards the players and spectators, especially shouted through a megaphone.

Personally I heard someone from the other uni telling Aber students to “go kill yourselves” as we are at a sh*t university. A little harsh and non-understanding when the sole cause of our and their varsity kits is to a foundation Stephan Socks after a student who unfortunately did not have the support in mental health issues and tragically took his own life last year. This type of behaviour is more than despicable and personally I expected better than that from Students who are supposedly adults aged 18+. This kind of behaviour I expect from teenagers in high school or online. Disgusted. Not only this but fights broke out both on and off the rugby pitch, to be expected in the sport, but the blood was definitely boiling between the Universities.

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This is why I didn’t compete myself in Archery, as in previous years I’ve felt intimidated in the wrong way. Intimidation in sports is a usual concept, the side is larger than you, better than you; its all the norm in competitions, it’s a normal feeling. Being intimidated by aggression is not. I’d much rather blackout away from the world with my camera to get action shots than be apart of an aggressive crowd or be engaging in an uneasy match.

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All this being said I did enjoy my time at Varsity, as amongst the idiots in the crowd there are still humans that are there for their team, there to watch a good game,console with the losing side and celebrate with the victors. This was apparent in both Aber and Bangor sides alike, and I must say that I’m not saying all the spectators from Bangor were out to hurl insults and discriminate. Bangors overall victory in sports is disheartening for Aber, but our victories in Rugby makes us a proud Welsh University.

Shout out to Aber mens LAX and Tarannau for being superstar teams this last season. It’s been a pleasure taking pics for you!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Golden Rule: Capturing a Performance

There is nothing I like more than lying on the floor not having to worry about things. Maybe my nihilist approach to life does have its benefits as the angle from the floor under theatre lights does something magical for me. Living by the 45 degree rule in photography and by application the rest of my life, finding that the 45 degree rule is 3D just opens up to a new corridor of opportunity.

I’ve written a lot about the golden 45 degree rule, having the mid point between profile and portrait that gives the depth of 3D. In show jumping I love using this angle as it gets the height of the jump, the folding of the horse and rider as well as the length of the horse in it’s leap. This applied in non-sport photography in my opinion isn’t as great. Portrait photos you want portrait, or profile traditionally. Most people I’ve worked with prefer the traditional shots I’ve taken. Maybe this is due to them being within my comfort zone and therefore I excel at it. Again I need to listen to my own advice here of practice makes perfect.

Working with the university sports teams opened the door to working with the university societies. Last week I had the pleasure of working with the Nomadic Players, a drama and theatre society. Their choice of performance was A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Being an adaptation from a book, and being a famous cult film directed by Stanley Kubrick, there is alot of room for interpretation of the ‘Ultra Violence.’ The story line consists of alot of violence that was tastefully portrayed and implied by the Nomadic players, pulling the comedic roles and lines in an absurd contrast to the serious.

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Cue my lying on the floor. Luckily, I was able to attend the dress rehearsal and the final performance, the dress rehearsal giving me free reign on where I could go to interact with the actors with my camera and the performance giving the actors free reign of the stage, props and their abilities.

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Although I was still working on the best settings for the constant changing light, you can see the lower angle, it gets the whole body and action as well as the intimidating effect the actors are imposing.

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The lower angle works nicely in the theatre to get the lights behind the actors and create dramatic scenes recapitulating the theatre in a still image.

Lighting is one of the essential components of the arts. Photography has to work around this art platform and utilise what it is given to produce incredible results. The contrast the theatre gives to lighting with the background, ceiling and floor being mainly black, is incredible.

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Onto the photography nitty gritty, tips and tricks and what I’ve learnt from my thespian photography immersion.

Be prepared for sudden light changes from low light to bright light without a seconds notice.

Theatre lights make the scene. So the scene’s will change in lighting rapidly to add effect. In this case there is alot of change of lighting up at the back and low light at the front. Or spot lights on certain points of the stage. To combat this I kept my camera on the Tv (shutter) priority function with an auto ISO setting running up to 6400 and an aperture range of f/1.8-4.0. This allowed me to focus on the shutter speed to change it quickly in these low light/high light situation.

It’s a constantly moving machine. Don’t be afraid to take a lot of shots.

Even when it is quiet, don’t worry about the noise your shutter makes. You’re there to take photos, so take them! Also don’t be afraid of using a continuous shutter in the scenes that get a bit rowdy.

It’s a full body experience.

Theatre is all about body language. Actors exude characters out of every pore. Don’t just focus on their face, as gestures add to the performance and a headshot may lose this vital aspect.

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Theatre is an experiment of emotions. Don’t be afraid to experiment along the way with dynamic edits including high contrast black and white. Although black and white can either make or break an image, and ideally it is the consumer’s opinion that matters the most.

As always, enjoy yourself and don’t get stressed if it isn’t working out. Just take a breather, look over what you’re doing and start again. It’s not the end of the world. You got this.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

Camera Review: Canon EOS 7dii

What an amazing outcome. After the untimely (but fixable) death of my Canon EOS 6d I managed to acquire, one of the arguably best sports camera Canon produce the Canon EOS 7dii. This update from the 7d, has all the features the 7d had, but augmented to a modern platform.

I admit I may be a bit bias with this camera as its amazing.

Features the 7dii boasts are:

  • 20MP Dual-Pixel AF CMOS Sensor
  • 10 fps continuous shooting with autofocus
  • 65 all cross-type autofocus sensor
  • 150,000 RGB + IR pixel metering sensor
  • Dual Digic 6 processors
  • Enhanced environmental sealing
  • Compact Flash (UDMA) and SD (UHS-I) slots
  • USB 3.0
  • Built-in GPS
  • Larger-capacity LP-E6N battery
  • Shutter speeds up to 1/8000th seconds
  • Shutter rated to 200,000 cycles (vs 150,000 on 7D)

The shutter is something out of this world. Being used to the shutter speed the 6d had and then the 550d, the 7d’s shutter is like a Maclaren whereas the 6d is alike to a sports Citroen hatchback. What makes this even better is the 1/8000 capacity. Being able to shoot with higher shutter settings and a larger ISO range has just made everything that extra bit tasty.

Another mouthwatering feature that I fell in love with instantly must be the autofocus settings. With its 65 point AF for stills, the 7d has a range of sports settings as well applied to suit best static and dynamic sports. In this AF, borrowed from the 1dx, ‘Intelligent Tracking and Recognition’ (iTR). The iTR allows the photographer to initiate a point of focus, depress it with the shutter button and track the movement in the forefront of focus, wherever the initial subject ends up on the focus points. Pretty neat really.

Examples of photos from the 550d(left) and the 7dii(right) in dressage. The 550d being a good beginner DSLR needs a lot of attention with the slightest change of light and colour. the 7dii with the right settings needing no post production and beautiful quality images from the get go.

Another comparison, this time line outs in rugby. The 6d (right) has an amazing depth of colour that can be exaggerated in post production but due to the slow shutter it’s harder to get “the” moments. The 7dii(left) adapts well to light changes, although has not got the same capacity of low light and colour than the 6d.

Although the 7dii is an amazing camera, and I do love the quality of images it can produce, the low lighting is definitely inferior to the 6d. The low light colour quality of the 6d without the need of a flash really means I can concentrate less on adjusting my settings constantly and more on the subject matter. With the 7dii, I definitely found the lowlight aspect a constant challenge. In conclusion I am happy I have the abilities of both!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

Lifestyle Review: Formula 10.0.6

A couple of weeks ago I had a great opportunity to work and gain press access to the Clothes Show 2016 at the NEC in Birmingham. Whilst I was there I had luck to run into the Formula 10.0.6 team that gave me a few of their products to review. And after a couple of weeks of using them, here is what I have found…

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Formula 10.0.6 are a company that uses natural products, making them a vegetarian company that is free from animal testing. Each product is uniquely designed and packaged clearly stating their individual uses.

The products I’ve been focusing on are the Best Face Forward, the best selling product, So Totally clean and Pores be Pure.

Usually I’m quite bad with my skincare routine, always seeming to accidently leave last nights make up on and doing the lazy thing of just reapplying eyeliner and mascara over the top or layering on some powder foundation. In effort to change things around to make the most out of these products I let my face rest out of make up for a couple of days then begin my 2 week review of Formula 10.0.6 products.

I am prone to getting painful angry red skin rashes due to medication side effects so finding products that don’t antagonise this is difficult. Formula 10.0.6 are based with natural ingredients, something I am always keen on trying to give my face a break.

Best Face Forward
“For clear skin, get the obvious solution. Best Face Forward. This fresh, foaming gel cleanser washes away oil and impurities. It helps your skin look clean, clear and healthy every day.”

You only need a miniscule drop of this gel to get your face covered in the foamy scrub. It is easy to apply once you get the measurements right and smells divine. The natural ingredients of green tea, passionfruit and chamomile really cleansed my skin.

After several days of use I noticed a difference in my face, my cheeks especially look a lot healthy and lighter. This daily scrub has also made my face feel healthier and less angry, making my mornings a little easier especially when I need to wear make up.

Due to the nature of my skin I can thoroughly recommend this product to anyone with sensitive or acne prone skin.

Unlike over skin scrubs, this doesn’t contain microbeads meaning that the environment doesn’t have to suffer for your facial needs.

Another great bonus about this product is it s affordable and available at Boots for only £8.99. The tube it comes in will last around a month if used correctly working out as only 30p per use!

 

So Totally Clean

“Clogged pores are the pits. Get them So Totally Clean by applying product to a cotton pad and gently wiping the dirt, oil and impurities away. Sweep over face and neck (no eyes, please). Don’t even bother rinsing, you’re all clean. The proof is in the pad. Check it out.”

This is a great product. I used this to begin with an realised how awful my make up remover actually is and how dirty I let my face get even with my skin condition. Maybe it’s time to properly take my makeup off at night and clean out my skin more often!

This is very easy to use, literally just with a cotton pad all over your face. It doesn’t feel chemically or scratchy like other cleansing products.

Again this product is available in Boots for £8.99.

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Pores be Pure

“Seeking Clarity? Search no more. Pores Be Pure is the skin-clarifying mud mask that helps to eliminate impurities and clear blocked pores. With the help of Strawberry, Yarrow and Rosemary, Pores Be Pure provides your skin with instant complexion perfection.”

This happens to be my favourite out of the three products I have reviewed so far. It is very light weight, easy to apply and does what it says on the box.

The smell of Strawberry and Yarrow makes my stomach crave strawberry cheesecake, but leaves my face smelling fresh and fruity in the fragrant way rather than the food way.

I’ve used this 3 times a week to purify skin along with the other products and it has made a remarkable difference to the redness of my skin and the prominence of my rash.

All three products have given me a little confidence boost with my face as well as confidence of wearing make up without worrying too much about the affect on my face.

To see more of the products go here, and head instore to Boots to try it for yourself!

The Bar for Actual Sports (teams)

This isn’t my usual type of Blog post, but I just wanted to set a few things straight.

Aberystwyth is notoriously known for its pub scene boasting an impressive number of pubs for a small coastal town, but finally a bar has opened that is perfect for everyone including sports teams.
It’s hard for social sports clubs to go watch sports in pubs in town, as most pubs are mainly local orientated and usually costly. Bar 46 not only offers a range of draught beers and cider, but also several large screens with various sports. Not only that, there are plans to expand and offer even more sports to become a true sports establisment.

As the bar is newly opened and still has some work to go, the atmosphere gives a raw energy that is new and exciting, and certainly refreshing, especially for Aberystwyth. The walls offer a range of textures and colours, with raw wood panelling, contemporary wall paper and exposed lighting, giving Aberystwyth the modern feel that it has been sorely missing. With the ongoing work, the bar just screams potential and I among with many others are excited to see what the owners have planned.

The owners themselves were and are an integral part  of Aberystwyth University so not only have a fantastic understanding and know-how of the town and students, but also know the fundamental needs and requirements, and Bar 46 has been created to fill the void. Lewis and Delun are also very open and honest people who want to hear opinions and feedback to improve and give the people their cake, or in this instance 2 for 1 cocktails.

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The bar itself offers a great range of alcohol, from standard lagers on tap, carling and coors to beer and cider not offered on tap anywhere else in Aber, such as Rekorderlig Cider, Wolf Rack and Doom Bar Amber Ale. All the Draughts are under £4 for a pint so are friendly to the wallet. They also stock a great range of bottles including IPAs, fruit ciders, lagers and alcopops. Impressive so far right? There is also an amazing selection of spirits and cocktails. The best part? The cocktails are 2 for £10, and rival those at Libertines and Baravin, so it is worth the walk to the bar just for that.

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As I do technically work here, you may think of me as bias, but all the bar staff are great friendly people and create such a lovely atmosphere. Personally I hate it when I’m in a bar and the bar staff acts like they don’t want to be there, but all my colleagues I’ve spoken too say they don’t want their shifts to end as it’s so enjoyable.

I’m not usually one for that “sesh” life, but this bar, whether I’m working or out with the girls puts a pleasant bar/club atmosphere on the word. The bar has space for live music and DJ sets, which on last Wednesday night was pretty damn awesome.

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To check out this bar find it on facebook here.

 

As always, thanks for reading and have another fantastic day and night!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography