University of Kent

Keynestock 2009

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[Note: also check out photos from Keynestock 2008 and Keynestock 2007.]
Keynestock has by now become part of my yearly routine at the University of Kent and it’s become one of the defining events of the summer term for me. The Keynes Student Committee once again organized a well-rounded mini-festival with a great atmosphere. My personal favourites of the day were Andy Jeffs and Inertia. At every Keynestock a judges panel determines an overall winner who can then go on to play at Artsfest (which will be on the 13th June here at the UKC) and become the lead act for Keynestock the following year. The winners this time were Bardo Thodol, followed by Harvey Hyde & the Hecklers and Corduroy Fashion Threat. For some reactions to the judges’ decision head over and read the comments in the inQuireLive review.
Also check out the video from Keynestock 2009 on the University of Kent youtube channel:

Here’s the lineup of this year’s event. If you want to have a link to your bands website included drop me a message.
2pm – Budgie & Durex (Kent Factor 2009 winners)
2.30 – Kieran McGrath
3 – Andy Jeffs
3.30 – Firefly
4 – Bardo Thodol
4.30 – Harvey Hyde & the Hecklers
5 – Corduroy Fashion Threat
5.30 – Joel Williamson
6 – TECH BREAK – with music from Kent Tech
6.30 – History of The Trade
7 – Katy & the Thundercats
7.30 – Inertia
8 – Arundhati Riff
8.30 – Black Sun Down
9 – The Legacy
9.30 – Half A Crown (Keynestock 2008 winners)

Canterbury photolocations

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One of the last meetings I organized as photography president of the University of Kent Photography and Modelling Society was an exploration of the places in Canterbury that would be best suited, from my point of view, for photographers to shoot, be it because they are worthwile in their own right or because they offer themselves as nice backdrops for photoshootings with models. First we went up to the Westgate panorama tower which is part of the Westgate Museum, as most participants had not yet been up there and it’s only around 75p for students to go. Then we made our way to Greyfriars, a former monastry which has its nondescript entrance in Stour Street. Some of the monastry’s walls still stand and it’s a nice park-like place to hang out and just read too. From there we went to Canterbury Castle, or the remains of it rather. It was used by a gas company decades ago and they knocked through some of the walls to get their pipelines installed.
While we were there the rainclouds which are inevitable when I organize a phototrip caught up with us and we returned to town centre to take shelter in Starbucks. — What? Which one of the three? :)

Fashion Shoot: Unique

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For this week’s edition of inQuire’s fashion section we photographed clothes from Kent Union’s clothes outlet, Unique, situated on the University of Kent campus. Since the clothes are intrinsically linked to the student experience here at Kent campus itself seemed a suitable location for the shoot. We were lucky to have sunshine and tolerable temperatures for our outdoor shoot.
In technical terms, one comes closer to the limitations of flash photography with these bright conditions though. I wanted to shoot with a wide open aperture, but if I wanted to use flash without moving into Canon’s HSS system, in which a good deal of flash power is lost, I had to stick to the 1/250th sync speed of my 40D. Solution: I popped a .9 ND filter onto my lens. That way I could shoot wide open without having to reduce the shutter speed beyond the x-sync.
For some of the photos I also used a single reflector as a fill light source instead of flashes. Since we were shooting with more than one model, one of the others could easily hold the reflector for me.

Fashion Show 09 Photos

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My computer’s decided that stitching panoramas isn’t going to happen tonight. Instead, here are some photos from this year’s edition of the University of Kent Fashion Show, organized by the Photography and Modelling Society. We had guest appearances from the Pole Fitness and Capoeira societies. All the profit that we made has been donated to the British Heart Foundation. I still have to find out from our treasurer exactly how much that was but I think it’s something around £700.
This week will also be my last as co-president of the society, on Saturday we’re holding committee elections and a new team will take over. Ooh I’m getting all sentimental about it… :)

Varsity Poster

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This is the poster used to advertise this year’s edition of Varsity, a series of sport events in which the University of Kent and the Canterbury Christ Church University compete against each other. The original idea for the poster was to have students from both universities facing each other in two rows which through perspective would have formed something like this: ><. However the Christchurch students left before I arrived; I've been told they took their photo in five minutes, so they either have a photographer who can work way faster than me or, well... I haven't been able to find their photo, the Christchurch Varsity page hasn’t been updated since last year and still shows David Cater’s 2008 poster.
Change of plans then, I had the Kent students stand back to back in a V formation in front of Westgate (part of the medieval defence system that spans around the city centre), facing east towards Christchurch. Most sports gear is easily distingushable, the only trouble I had was with trampolining, a sport which distinguishes itself through jumps and figures, none of which could easily have been implemented in this picture without breaking the symmetry. So I had the trampolining representative on the right pull one knee up which she said was similar to one of their figures.
I borrowed a Canon 5DMkII with a 24-70 lens for this shot; it was good fun to work with that combination. I metered for the ambient and dropped it about a stop and a half to make high street a bit darker, then I lit the students with four speedlites. I only had three light stands available, so Cai Robbins, the Kent Unions sports sabbatical stood in as voice activated lightstand. You can see her in the original photo. The one thing that still annoys me in this photo is that I couldn’t get the lights high enough, as a result of which the light which was in the front camera left cast a shadow onto the cricket player’s cheek.
Post processing consisted of cleaning up the chewing gum from the street, removing pedestrians and the lightstands and some cables which were visible in the sky. I dodged and burned the players to give them a bit more edge. With a fifth light behind and in the middle of the players the whole thing would have looked much better, giving them a rim light on the inside to set them off against the background. Time to buy more flashguns, I guess :)
Teams f.l.t.r: Netball, Tennis, Women’s Football, Basketball, Women’s Rugby (2x), Cricket, Women’s Hockey, Trampolining, Lacrosse.

Snow brings the University of Kent to a halt

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On 1st February 2009 it started to snow in Canterbury and large parts of the UK. In London traffic collapsed, flights got cancelled, people didn’t get to work. In Canterbury, on Sunday, the University of Kent campus was transformed into a giant snowfight warzone. People got buried in snow, Canon 5D MkIIs had to prove that they were indeed water- and snowball resistant, students tried to dodge massive projectiles from the three-man snowball slingshot. In the calmer areas, the occasional snowman saw the light of day. The Rutherford field became a massive slope for makeshift sledges, including inflatable matrasses, office chairs, binbags and construction site signs. On Monday, the University sent out an e-mail to all students saying that campus would be closed from 1pm onwards. The library and all colleges closed down. Society meetings got cancelled, parents had to pick up their children from the campus nursery. Only the builders on the Mansell site just opposite the Venue, where a new drama building needs to be completed on schedule, kept working.

Halloween Studio Session

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On Halloween, the UKC Photography and Modelling Society set up a studio in the Lighthouse at the University of Kent. The aim was to raise some money for the society to buy more equipment, and it worked out quite well.
The last photo shows out setup. The trickiest part was lighting the background without having too much spill on the people since we only had about two metres in depth with which to work. The backdrop is lit with two Canon Speedlite 430 EX flashes, both with gobos to make the light hit the background only. The lights left and right of the camera are a Canon Speedlite 580EX MkI and MkII with Manfrotto 001B Nano stands and Westcott 2001 double-fold shoot-through umbrellas. All flashes were set to slave mode and triggered with a Canon ST-E2.

UKC Welcome Ball 2008

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I’m back at uni, and the academic preparations, my job in the Venue and the work for the Photography and Modelling Society have kept me busy throughout September. So for now I’m just posting some photos from the Welcome Ball at the University of Kent, with Cricket Lane, City Girls, Fake That, and Coolio.

Artsfest 2008

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Returning from my summer break and with a slight delay I can finally post some photos I took during this year’s Artsfest at the University of Kent. Many thanks to Katie Van-Sanden and Tom Christian who supported me in my endeavour to gain permission from the university to photograph the fireworks from the Templeman Library rooftop.
Related post: Artsfest 2007

Keynestock 2008

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Last weekend I covered the annual Keynestock concerts organized by Keynes JCC at the University of Kent. The weathergods were benign; it had been raining all week before the event and it’s been raning every day since, but we got through the concerts without a single drop. Even so the day was a demanding one for photography, the pictures you see above are a selection from 17 acts performing over 10 hours.
Below is the lineup for reference – and to make Google happy.

Randol (winner of Kent Factor)
Joel Williamson
Green Diesel
Martyna Baker
Katy McGrath
Maniac and the Circus on the Moon
Fumer Tue
Parker Brown (my favourite band of the day)
Cartoon Heroes
The Legacy
Elena Goulding / Ellie Goulding (winner of Keynestock 2007.

University of Kent Summer Ball 2008

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I present you a selection of 9 hours worth of photographs from last weekend’s University of Kent Summer Ball 2008, organized by Kent Union. The three huge marquees hosted four bars, two stages, tatoo artists, studio photographers, casinos, 2 main stages and more. The main acts included top DJs like Colin Murray and Fearne Cotton on the DJ stage, and the Vengaboys and the Wombats on the main stage. All in all a packed evening – even though we were two photographers sharing the workload I didn’t get a chance to grab dinner.

UKC Summer Ball 2008 Promo Video

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The Fashion Show promotional video which Lee Francis filmed for the UKC Photography and Modelling Society got quite a bit of attention. As a result, he was recruited to also film a promotional video for the University of Kent Summer Ball 2008. I was at the filming location, one of the exam halls at the UKC, to help with the lighting and to take some ‘making of’ pictures, which you can see above. Oh, and I also pushed the caddie for the zoom effects, which led to the Ben Hur photo (taken by David Cater).

Photography Society Meeting

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Before the Easter holidays the Photography and Modeling society met up for a last shooting session. We started in the Cathedral Cloisters where the basics of flash photography and balancing it with ambient light were covered. I lent my camera to someone else so I have no pictures of that part. After a delicious Sunday lunch in the Dolphin we decided to take some group shots in the nearby park area as well as the pictures of Charlotte in the daffodils. For the eTTL adepts out there I’m happy to report that the 430EXs had no trouble picking up the master signal from the 580EX in broad sunlight from about 15 metres.

World Book and Copyright Day

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These are some older pictures from a shooting with Cazz Walker in the University of Kent Library. The shooting was aimed at the photo contest ‘Books Smarts’ where the first picture posted here got second place. There’s something in this photo that adds further interest to it for me. The half a dozen black volumes in the upper right hand corner are copies of Bennett and Royle’s Introduction to Critical Theory, a work that has simplified and simultaneously complicated my life as student of English and American Literature for some years now.
For the copyrigth part of this UNESCO organized international day, this may be a good point to explain why all of my new images that ever see the internet, and most others, are watermarked. One reason is that some of my pictures have been taken from this website and different photo communities and have re-appeared on sites with a somewhat dubitable reputation. Other instances include publicity managers ‘forgetting’ about the payment part of non-use agreements, or even big organizations like the ‘Lëtzebuerger Guiden an Scouten’ printing a book with one of my photographs on its cover without asking permission or giving credit.
So, yes, the watermarks are a necessary evil. It doesn’t make the images theft-proof, but makes stealing them more difficult. [Rant over.]

UKC Student Activity Awards Night

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Each year those students and societies that put special effort into making student life at the University of Kent worthwhile or/and contributed to the newspaper and radio station are honoured at the UKC Student Activity Awards Night. This year it was on March 28th and apart from covering the night for inQuire, I received one of those shiny glass awards myself. Bragging is healthy once in a while: I am now officially Best inQuire Photographer 2007/8. Yay!
For the pictures of myself on stage I passed the camera on to fellow photographer Dave Cater. All pictures were taken with the Canon EOS 40D and EF 70-200 2.8L IS lens, mostly at F/2.8, ISO 1250 and 1/100.

Rutherford Raiders win Cup Final

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Congratulations to the Rutherford Raiders who won this year’s University of Kent College Cup 3:2 against Parkwood United. All pictures taken with the Canon EOS 40D, EF 70-200 2.8L IS and Kenko 1.5x Teleconverter.
Update: Thanks to Simon for informing me about the final score.

Kent Union Election Results

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Sometimes, I have to work with the pressure of a wedding photographer and the salary of a bartender. Such an occasion was the results night in the Venue last Thursday, when the winners of the Kent Union elections were announced. In spite of tricky conditions for shooting I managed to be in the right place at the right moment for most of the night.
Congratulations to the winners:
Union President – Tom Christian
NUS Delegate – Faith Victoria
VP Welfare – Tom Page
VP Education – Helen Palmer
VP Sports – Cai Robbins
VP Activities – Caz Brooker
Men’s Officer – Liam Carmichael
Women’s Officer – Nicola Barker
Ethics and Environmental Officer – Peter Gray
LGBT Officer – Jack Bowman
Students with disabilities Officer – Marsha Todd
Postgraduate Officer – Jason Simpkins
RAG President – Ian Simons
International Officer – Charlotte Brower
Student Trustee – Taiwo Otaiku, James Howard
Keynes JCC President – Lauren Granville
Darwin JCC President – Iain Kiy
Eliot JCC President – Helen Wood
Rutherford JCC President – Alice Maskell
Parkwood Committee President – Sven Stear

Kent Union Election Campaigning

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During election week the University of Kent Campus is usually crowded with candidates for the different positions available within Kent Union for the next academic year, and their eager campaigning assistants. This year the dismal weather significantly reduced the number of students strolling over campus, and, consequently, the campaigners clustered in front of Eliot college to brave the rain-promising skies together.

CSR Elections

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Canterbury Student Radio elected a new executive team in the Orange Street Music Club. Congratulations to the people elected to the positions for next year.

Kent Law Temple Society Annual Dinner

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Every year the Temple society invites its members to meet established prominent legal professionals (mostly senior barristers and judges) and academics. If I took your photo at this event, you can get a copy of the photos from the Temple Society.

National University Kickboxing Championships

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I covered this annual free event for the Student Newspaper. For most shots I used some fill light from an on-camera 580EX flash in ETTL mode. For additional setting information mouse-over the pictures.

UKC Fashion Show

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Today the University of Kent’s Annual Fashion Show promotional poster has officially been released and posted all over campus. The Fashion Show is hosted by the UKC Photography and Modeling society and more information can be found here.
Click on the first picture to see a larger version of the poster. For the photographers among you, I’ve included some behind the scenes information. The second photo should give you an idea of the setup. Shooting tethered to a laptop gave me the possibility to get instead feedback on a large screen and accurately solve potential issues. It was also practical as the camera on the tripod was raised a good deal above eye level.
The 580EX Speedlite was aimed at the ceiling just above, which is angled and bounced the light softly onto the models. It also acted as a master to trigger a 430EX (thanks Sebastian) in manual slave mode to the camera right. Its light was bounced into a reflector to allow for softer light. The camera settings were 1/200th second at F/8.0 with an ISO setting of 800 and 28mm focal length.
Post processing started with crating a composite of the best expressions of the different models. Next the background had to be cleaned up and some colour changes applied to clothes. Then a gradient glow was added to the two main models and the light burst created. After feedback from some further changes were made. Together with David Cater the logo and text layout were finalized.

The Fashion Show promotion has seen some other creative minds at work as well, below is the trailer filmed by Lee Francis:

The eagle-eyed may spot me among the extras.

Thank you for smoking

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I’ve spent the entire weekend listening to Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. After 20+ hours of non-stop audio book listening to finish in time for the next seminar you too will begin to see strange things in abstract shapes. Take a look at the pictures, guess what they could represent and then mouse-over to see my interpretation.
Caution: After 100 shots on full power, the batteries coming out of a 580EX Speedlite flash will burn your fingers.

Kent Union Annual Report

Last autumn Kent Union contacted me and asked if they could use some of my photographs for their Annual Report which is sent to their stakeholders. I think the layouter did a pretty good job in using the photos to accompany the information-heavy text in the booklet. But see for yourself:

I should note that, contrary to the statement on the back, not all photographs are by me. I did not take the pictures on pages 4/5 (overexposed and white balance issues, ouch), nor the ones on pages 12/13. [And in hindsight I should have cloned out that can on page 8…]