Archive for the 'Thoughts / Opinions.' Category

Npk – Creating Movement t-shirt.

This is the thirteenth Nottingham Parkour [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] t-shirt to be created. I hadn’t realised how much time had passed since the last Jumpin’ one was created, which was back in 2012. I wanted to have a new t-shirt design, something fresh now I was back out training after a few nightmare years of being unable to. I also wanted something with more of a general apparel to it and what better way, than to create something summery. At least that was the concept for this next shirt, I had no idea how I would portray that on a design though. So it was to be a long and slow process over the next few months of creating it.

I had the blueprints for the Npk letters on the left, which I had used within the slant design, as well as using it on the corner of recent Nottingham Parkour videos. I have always enjoyed the simplicity of that logo. So I started from there with the design, creating a mirror of the letters, keeping them slanted and finally added a slight boarder too. Then I created the block white and the tag line ‘creating movement’. Then I added the three lines above the NPK. The rest of the design came together very slowly, lots of experimenting with things, doing a bit, then coming back to it at a later date. There was lots of having the design open on Photoshop and just staring endlessly at the screen with not much being altered, wondering if I would ever be happy and finish it.


Creating Movement Design.


Now, obviously the buildings were a given to represent Parkour, like many t-shirts have these days. You may notice they aren’t Nottingham’s skyline, which I would have used if they was half decent like other countries out there. What else could I use that represents Nottingham famously instead? The plant vines and general shrubbery added a nice feel to the design and then allowed me to start to add other things like other summer-eske things; rain clouds, the moon, birds, butterflies, drinks, palm trees and all the other small fiddly details. I always liked the idea of a heartbeat rhythm line as an idea to represent something which changes as we train due to adrenaline, fear etc. However, the original heartbeat didn’t fit with the design, so I turned it upside down looked and worked better. There are some four leaf clovers in the design too, meaning we make our own luck.

Believe it or not the tic tac cat silhouette came near the end of designing, when I felt it needed a Parkour movement to be thrown in there to give it the pk stamp on the design. The Pokéball was an extra and last minute thing due to PokémonGO being so popular this year. I think this t-shirt is pretty complex in many ways, not as bad as the Roadkill design as that had lots of fiddly bits in it. But, in the sense of it being well thought out and having lots to the acctual design in look and meaning. I’m really pleased with how it looks in person after being printed, more than I was expecting and I hope in time it will become a new community favourite. Below are some images of the design on a navy, purple and azure blue t-shirt.




Smudge, My Beloved Cat Friend…

Today I said goodbye to Smudge, the greatest cat friend I ever had. It was a great pleasure to have him as a member of the family. My beloved childhood friend had to be put to sleep (euthanasia) due to severe illness (cancer) and him losing his quality of life and giving up on life. As sad as it is to lose a pet, it would have been unfair to put him through any more suffering.


Smudge – Portrait.


I remember like it was yesterday, when I got a knock on the front door from two local kids who had found a kitten, they wasn’t allowed it themselves and knowing I loved cats had come to me to ask if I wanted him. Reluctant to accept such and offer, I said no, even though I did want a cat and had wanted one for some time. There hadn’t been a cat in our home since I was much younger, when there used to be (at one time) five of them. The last three had passed not long after moving in the current house. Since then there had been an array of other creatures, but nothing quite like a cat or dog. For the sole reason of how upsetting it is when they are unwell or die, as well as the expense of having one, along with all the vet bills. The kids had to leave the cat and so it remained on our street, following anyone who gave it some fuss, it was quite sad to see. Later on it followed me down the entry to the back of my house, he was so friendly even though he looked scruffy and unwell. I brought some cat food and gave him some water and milk, he was purring and starving by the way he was gobbling the food down him.

He kept padding my legs, sleeping on my lap and running around the garden, playing with anything he could find on the grass and would chase some string I had when I pulled it along the garden. He seemed to be content and happy next to me, sitting on my lap. It felt awesome to have see and have a cat, rather than fussing other people’s. I had no idea what to tell my mum, bar that he was a stray cat that had been dumped, followed me and that we should keep him or at least let the RSPCA take him so he could be safe and re-homed. The kids had said the people who had the cat, had abandoned him due to him being ill, so had left him to fend for himself in the big wide world, no doubt dying in the process. They denied ever having a cat when the police had gone round to check on the claims. Even though people knew it had came from there, they had shooed him off when he came back to the house. Evil, but I guess some people can be cruel that way… I cannot understand what goes through peoples minds when having a pet and to be so cruel.


Smudge – Portrait.


We rang the RSPCA, but seeing as it was a Bank Holiday they said we should keep hold of him until after then. Knowing full well we would keep him or at the very least hoping we would. They offered to pay towards the vet bills if we were to keep him. We called him Smudge,a classic cat name due to the the black and white smudge he had on his face. He seemed quite an ill kitten over the cause of the weekend and didn’t do very much apart from sleeping on everyone’s laps. He was very lethargic, had diarrhoea and worms too. He was no doubt grateful of being in a warm house again with people looking after him. After the weekend of having him, we decided to keep him and then took him to the vets to be vaccinated and cured of his ailments. He was so much fun, it was great to have a small bundle of fluff around the house again. Coming home each day to him being happy to see you and wanting to play. It felt amazing, he would follow me all over the house and was like a dog in that respect. He had imprinted on me and slept on my bed at night. Continue reading ‘Smudge, My Beloved Cat Friend…’

Photography Club.


Zade - Aerial.

Zade – Aerial. © Austen Blakemore.


Mat had mentioned that his mum knew a photographer (Austen Blakemore) and that he was currently doing a camera club, which involved him teaching students how to use their cameras. In that process they would shoot a range of different subjects to get used to the different situations and camera settings needed. They had previously done a BMX photoshoot and Parkour seemed the next best thing for the photo club. I suspect Mat had a hand in wanting it to be Parkour based and persuading it to be at the park. With that said, the session was a Tuesday evening at the Parkour park. It seemed to be too short notice for much of the Nottingham community, with many giving it a miss due to the day and time. It was set to happen at 7pm, so much later than usual training sessions, on the day I was unsure if to attend myself due to body tiredness. It had been ages since we’ve had a photographer come to shoot a session, as it’s usually all done by ourselves. Mat, Luke and Adam were out and there were a couple of other guys there too. With Austen and his merry band of photography students arriving later by car and taxi’s.

It was crazy to see so many people with cameras, all in one place taking photos as we moved and trained. It was like some kind of camera inception, it makes you feel almost famous with our own paparazzi entourage snapping away. Like with most photographers that come to take images of Parkour and Freerunning, the first thing they want to ask and want to take images of is flips, on and off things and the higher the better. As that is what (in their eyes) makes great photos, as well as them being aesthetically pleasing to the eye too. This will always get a grown or a sigh from true practitioners, some that can do such flashy movements often eye roll due to it not being the forte of our training. It’s as bad as being branded roof jumpers to the general public who don’t fully understand what Parkour is, due to seeing and hearing only what the media has branded it as. It felt awkward at first to know what to practise, as usually when a photographer is out we wait for direction from them, rather than being randomly shot.


Mat - Lache.

Mat – Lache.


From personal experience with my own photography and many years of shooting Parkour, I can understand whole heartedly that appeal to shoot flips and the more daredevil aspect of training. The gaps and drops add a certain dimension to the movement and if you throw in there a flip, it takes on a new element and seems even more amazing due to it being something not everyone can do. Though, it may seem difficult to take images in the beginning. Unaware of what people are capable of or how to go about shooting it. As I’m sure Austen would agree with after spending an evening with us, but once you get an idea of how people move and where you can be during the movements, you can get quite create and produce some nice results. As practitioners we always want the photos to depict the gaps as being as big and long as possible, so low and wide angles work the best, even ones which show gaps as being bigger due to a certain angle. The reason why practitioners make such good photographers is because they know the ins and outs of training and the movements. How people will move, how they will look while in the air and fro doing it themselves it makes it easier to shoot, the same for the timing of the shots too.

While giving some quick examples of movements, doing a running catleap with a climb up. Austen mentioned how quickly everything is done, one blink and you’ll miss it. Even the most basic of movements (to practitioners) like doing a dash vault over a waist height wall amazes people. It’s funny, as over time we forget how amazing things that we do are to non practitioners. Continue reading ‘Photography Club.’

A Winter Walk.


Sign taking a beating from the snow.


What with the surprise snowfall in the early hours of the morning, I decided to take a walk the following evening to get a few snow shots. I was tempted to go out when the blizzard first started and it had settled and looked deep, but decided it might not be a wise idea with it being the early hours of the morning. It kept on snowing all night and most of the following day, so by the time I did venture out that evening it was still coming down tenfold and didn’t look set on stopping any time soon.

I got wrapped up in multiple layers knowing it would be bitterly cold once I was outside. I decided to use a small plastic bag to cover my camera, creating a lens hole at the bottom of the bag. I could still put my hands inside of the bag to see and change all my camera settings without it getting snowed on. I didn’t want to take any changes with it getting wet for the amount of time I would be out walking and taking photos. The plastic bag idea worked better than expected and it kept my camera dry as a bone, even if my hands felt like frozen ice poles .

I took one opportunity to take a long exposure shot to how they work and would come out, and I must admit even though I’ve never done that sort of shot before I did enjoy the final result. I do prefer ones which are subtle like the one I took (seen below). A few I took came out too strong with the light beams and didn’t have as good effect. I felt the one I chose works really well and the hexagons add something extra to the shot. I think in the future I may experiment with more long exposure shots as it’s a different path to go with photography.


Traffic long exposure shot.


I did capture some nice images from the evening’s walk. I was torn between editing the shots in a blue tint as that made them have a very cool and wintery feel, but on the other hand the white with a slight yellow aura from the street lights at night also works just as well. Where as I found if I lightening up the shot so that it was all white like you would see in the daytime took away the shadows and lost it’s overall quality. I did experiment with the colour correcting, with some working better than others, rather than me making them all look the exact same like I had done in the past.
Continue reading ‘A Winter Walk.’

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