12th August 2019

Spring Break 2019

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Now in its 12th year, Spring Break offers retailers and influencers the opportunity to test next years snowboard gear from brands like Burton, Batalion, Dragon and Oakley goggles. My uncle has been to at least 10 of them in Kennertal and this time the test moved to a glacier called Hintertux in Mayrhofen, Austria. I had always wanted to go but had difficulty with finances and timing in the past but 2019 was my year to join in on the fun.

This was also my first time on the mountains and riding real slopes. I had learnt how to snowboard at the Milton Keynes indoor snow dome around 8 years ago so had a lot to remember and practice once I got there!

Austria is a beautiful country, I didn’t need to go there to know that to be honest but travelling by train from Innsbruck was incredible. We were staying in a backpackers hostel ran by snowboarders, which in its heyday was a very prestige place to stay in as it overlooks the river. We stayed there for 3 nights, partaking in pool and whatever was happening there in the evening. The food was strange and included with our stay - all I'll say is that it was very beige!

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My first day snowboarding, you couldn’t see. When we arrived there was no snow to be seen but sure enough over night there was a blizzard and threw everything it had at us. I was like a lil kid all giddy with excitement seeing so much snow! Scaling Hintertux in a cable car was so eerie as it was quiet and you could just make out the car in front. We continued climbing until we met up the rest of the test riders. We were keen to ride anything we could regardless of the conditions (I didn’t know what to think to be honest and was surprisingly quite calm about everything), so we got booted up and headed up the mountain. That first day was exhilarating, knackering and naive all rolled into one. I say naive because my visibility was terrible and incredibly difficult to follow Danny down the slope, so much so I ran off piste a couple of times without a worry in the world - which is stupid!

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By the second day, conditions had picked up and I was able to see the piste markers, I still couldn’t make out the scenery much but I didn’t dwell on that and got stuck in.By now, i was improving on my turning and control but still got wobbly on going straight - I hadn’t quite cracked that bit yet. Soon enough, the clouds lifted and revealed everything I had been missing out on before. I’ll never forget that feeling and sense of wonder. In a bid to prove myself and not feel guilty for slowing my uncle's day down, I said I'd join Danny to ride some fresh powder. Which according to snowboarders is like liquid gold! As soon as I dropped in, I realised I had bitten off more than I can chew. I couldn't keep up for too long and kept falling all over the place. The key in powder is to lean back more as if you're surfing on the snow. Little by little, I made my way down. Hopefully, next time I’ll be a little more more graceful!

On our third and final day, it was perfect. Blue skies. More control on straights. More confidence. We managed to start from the very top and scale to the bottom a couple times on this day. Carving really low and fast was so fun to do. When it was time to return our gear, it was hard to admit that that part of the holiday had finished. It was amazing and I can't wait to go back for more!

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In the hostel that night we rounded off the day with espresso martinis whilst watching some surprisingly good British football that was playing in the bar. The atmosphere was raw and pumped, even so, we nipped out for a wander around the town of Mayrhofen. As it was out of season to go snowboarding at this time of year, everything bar one or two drinking holes was closed. It didn't spoil our walk as we wandered around the town, admiring the strange signs and buildings. The skatepark they have is great, a concrete bowl in a 'U' shape with rails and ledges that run around the outside. Must be good to be a local here.

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In the morning, we headed to Innsbruck. I'd always wanted to go there after a video on vimeo basically sold it to me that I needed to go. Better late than never! I only just skimmed the surface of this beautiful city, so I'll be heading back for a weekend break sometime soon. Fingers crossed.

12th August 2019

Fresh 35mm Prints

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It's been a good while since I last finished a roll of film and got some new prints developed. Since switching back to a Minolta X300, (I used a brand new Olympus OM-2 for a short stint and didn't really like it's bulkiness), it feels more wholesome again and something I can throw in my bag and rely on when I need it. That said, I thought the setup was identical to the same model I owned at college and during university until I received the latest developments back from the printers. It seems the lens that's on there, hates you using low apertures and has a real short focus so unfortunately tons of my pictures came out like the photo below on the right. I don't mind the effect on one or two but it pretty much ruined an entire roll and half's worth of film. Here's a few of the good 'uns that made it through ok.

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27th July 2019

Happy Go Skate Day

To help celebrate Happy Go Skate Day last month I put this jolly little animation together for it. My workplace, Six shared it on Instagram as quite a few of us either grew up skating or still do it to this day so it seemed like a fitting tribute. Fortunately, I managed to finish the whole thing in just one sitting (which is unusual for me!). That said if I took any longer, I would have missed putting it out on the day so having tight deadlines are good because you are realistic with what you can do and commit to.

With that in mind, the simpler the better. Most importantly it had have soul and capture some aspect of skateboarding. I used the half pipe shape to draw a big smiley on the page, then thought about how the skateboarder should skate. One aspect I thought of was based on something I've recently been learning which is to go up and back down the ramp effortlessly and let gravity do the hard work for you. It sounds so basic and easy when you talk through it and technically it is really. All it involves is a little trust in how you're moving and patience. So when you go up a ramp, naturally you'll get to a point where you've stopped propelling and gravity will help bring you back down to Earth (excuse my very basic Science lingo), at this point you want to relax and turn your head back down the ramp to turn your board and ride away clean. Here's a much better way to explain what I just mentioned along with a video.

It was that smooth, gradual and floaty movement that I wanted to mimic in my animation. When the character races across the bottom of the ramp, I stretched his body to exaggerate his movement which is a technique I've wanted to toy with for a while.

All in all, I'm really happy with how this turned out!

23rd June 2019

36 days of type

36 days of type challenge by Sam Stanistreet

Last month, I managed to give the 36 days of type challenge a go and stick to it. It was really fun to do and scour my surroundings in search of letters and numbers. I tried to be as true to the project as possible by only posting material created in that time. We even managed to do the challenge at work which was really interesting as everyone brought their own style to the table. My collection focused on finding letters in things rather than drawing something everyday which is often the route chosen for this sort of work.

23rd June 2019

Night captain!

Night Boat Illustration

I really love how this illustration turned out. I decided to revisit an old sketchbook again and pick up a boat doodle I had drawn whilst on holiday in Port Isaac. Recreating it in Procreate, this time I decided to do it a completely different style and make it feel as if it was night time. The colour way is super simple for that reason, and I tried working with the same textures as I had used in my last blog post.