Thursday, 23 October 2014

California - 400 miles on my bike


Back in March over an impromptu dinner my friend Oscar announced that he was planning on cycling down Route One in Californian. He casually asked if anyone was interested in joining him and I said: “Why the hell not?”. June seemed a long time away and the first few weeks after that dinner I gave the plan little attention. The closer Oscar’s departure loomed the more I realised I had a fundamental problem: I had no bike. Well, I had a mountain bike but that would be of no use for the 400 mile tour we were embarking on. I also had no tent, no gear and no clue about cycle touring (see the mountain bike from sentence above). Fast-forward a few weeks of frantic email exchanges between my friend and I, many trips to many cycles shops plus much last minute research and I found myself arguing my passenger rights with United Airlines (whose bike travel policy is hugely unfair and I would recommend you looked at other providers if you are planning a cross-Atlantic bike transport).

The one thing I did have a clue about straight away was that I had to travel with my camera. I was keeping equipment to the essentials to save weight, but that was most definitely essential. You may have already seen my Portrait of California but on top of taking pictures of people we met, I also photographed this strange land. California is a place of contradictions: we started in San Francisco, a wonderful city that is surrounded by miles of suburbia that would have tired even the most curious of eyes. Then followed the impressive redwood forests - trees bigger than I have ever seen and forests so lush us Brits can only be jealous of them. And then there was the Big Sur with its dramatic coastline, amazing wildlife and pristine beaches (when not full of sea lions). I think we also saw what is probably all of the world’s strawberries and cycled through the artichoke capital of the world (yes, it is a thing) before hitting LA, which blows your mind with its size. We got off the train and still had a 20 mile cycle ride to our hostel.

Trying to capture the whole 400 miles is an impossible task, but luckily California is a photographer’s dream. The light is dramatic and the views are never boring. And on top of that almost all of the people we bumped into were friendly. One thing is for sure, I will certainly be back to the Golden State.


See what I mean by all of the strawberries?


Look carefully here.

And finally here we are after 400 miles of cycling at 7am in the morning. Thanks Oscar for the amazing trip!


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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Billy Twelvetrees for Crew Clothing


It is not every day that you get to dunk an England rugby player in the sea. A task made even better when they are sporting a tight white t-shirt. That was exactly what I did as part of my assignment for Crew Clothing in July. My relationship with Crew goes a few years back and I was delighted to be invited to photograph their brand ambassadors in Salcombe during the launch event for their Paddle Board Tour.

Billy had been busy on the beach all day: trying SUP himself, signing autographs for what looked like all the girls in South Devon and representing the Crew brand in all ways possible during the sunny day. When I finally got a moment with the man himself it was clear he could do with a break. I love the sea and believe the best way to relax is to go into it, so Billy and I took a board and paddle, walked away from the crowd and into the sea we went. Despite his career battling on the pitch Billy is a quiet guy. It took a moment to convince him of my ideas, the water was pretty cold after all. However the more we splashed about the more he seemed to be relaxing into it. He is incredibly friendly and all it took in the end was a bit of a team spirit for us to get some great results.


Thank you Crew Clothing for another fun assignment (you can follow their Instagram here) and thank you Billy for being Salcombe’s Mr Darcy for a few moments with me (and all the girls watching)


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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Portrait of California - Personal Project

You may have noticed my blog disappearance this summer. The reason for this is simple: travel. Work took me near and far but I also travelled for myself and I wouldn’t be myself if I had not taken a camera along. One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that it gives me a great excuse to meet new people. One of the things I enjoy most about travel is meeting new people. So when my mate Oscar and I decided to cycle along the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Route 1, I made sure to squeeze a white sheet into my already full panniers - it was going to serve as my background to the portraits I intended to take.

People react to a guy armed with a camera in his full cycling gear differently - some pretend not to hear me asking if they would mind having their photograph taken, some look very confused, others are intrigued, a good proportion of them seem flattered. Along the 400 miles we cycled I met people of all ages and races, young ones and old ones, tourists, immigrants and locals. I talked to excited surf-instructors, teenage posers, shotgun wielding park rangers, currant-loving homeless guys, fellow photographers and many more. Of course, not all agree to have their photo taken, but the ones who do are generally a friendly bunch, happy to share a minute of their day with a complete stranger. 

Here is just a selection of the portraits I have taken of those strangers I encountered cycling from San Franciso to LA on Route One. Travel is not just sights and landmarks - it is the people who make the place you visit, the place it is. You can see more Portraits of California on my website.

Take a look at the whole project here: LINK

Massive thanks to my friend Oscar who inspired the trip and accompanied me on the journey. Here we are 400 miles in at 7am in the morning...