Storm Jorge

Flooding affects homes and businesses in East Cowick and Snaith after the River Aire bursts its banks on February 29, 2020 in East Cowick, United Kingdom.

Flooding from the swollen River Aire continues to cause damage in East Yorkshire. Properties have been flooded in part of the county, with residents warned that disruption could last for days. Emergency services remain in the towns after more than 60 homes were evacuated.

The next named storm, Storm Jorge is expected to bring further heavy rain through the weekend.

On assignment on Saturday and Sunday for Getty Images these are some of the pictures I was able to take…

 

 

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(Picture (c) Danny Lawson)

 Image (c) Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

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We are the dead canaries

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators joined with local campaigners for a three-day mass action protest at the Bradley Open Cast coal mine near Consett.

The ‘We are the Dead Canaries’ action is the first of many during a planned 40 Days of Action alongside other events taking place to coincide with Lent.

Banks Mining Group who operate the mine want to extract around 90,000 tonnes of coal and 20,000 tonnes of fireclay from 18.5 hectares of land, with work to be completed by August next year. This is in addition to the 500,000 tonnes of coal that will be extracted from the existing site in the Pont Valley.

Located between Leadgate, Dipton and Medomsley in County Durham the mine has been the site of previous protests over recent years and over the next three days demonstrators are blockading the site whilst calling on Durham County Council to reject Bank’s Mining Groups plans to extend.

Extinction Rebellion Durham and North East groups organised the planned three-day action with other campaigners travelling from around the country to join the protest.

On assignment for Getty Images here’s a few of the pictures I shot over the two days that I covered the protest…

 Image (c) Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

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Labour Party Leadership Hustings

The Raddison Blu hotel in Durham was the location for the Labour Party Leadership Hustings this weekend as they approach their final stages.

The leadership hustings between Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan and Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Secretary of State for Business took to the stage in the morning to answer questions posed by audience members who wrote their questions to the potential leader as they arrived to watch the hustings.

Following this in the afternoon was the deputy leadership hustings with Richard Burgon, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor, Ian Murray, MP for Edinburgh South, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, MP for Tooting, Angela Rayner, Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Dawn Butler, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities.

The final ballot opened on February 24 for party members and registered and affiliated supporters so they can cast their vote on who they think would be best placed to move the party forward.

Their are two further hustings event planned before the final declaration on who will become leader and deputy leader is announced in London on April 4.

On assignment for Getty Images I headed to Durham to cover the event…here’s a few from the day:

Image (c) Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

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York Vikings

The culmination of the week long York Viking Festival in York sees hundreds of Viking re-enactors gather outside York Minster to march through the City.

This year the dramatic grand finale battle held near Clifford’s Tower was unfortunately cancelled due to extremely high winds but visitors and re-enactors alike seemed to make the most of the event.

Image (c) Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

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New Tools

So I recently made the difficult financial decision of trading in my previous camera and lens system which were Fuji X Pro2’s and swapping over to Sony A9 MkII’s.

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I didn’t arrive at this decision lightly and as any freelance who has invested in a camera system will know – it’s bloody expensive when you are buying this stuff yourself!

But as a working news photojournalist you need to keep on top of your kit and equipment and if there is something that is lacking then if it’s deemed something that is necessary to a professional workflow then sometimes you have to bite the bullet and make some hard decisions.

It had become quite clear over the last couple of years that my lack of ability to ‘live file’ some of my pictures from certain jobs was becoming more of an issue and looking down the road a little it would only become more of a problem.

For anyone reading this who doesn’t know what live filing means, it’s a term given to moving a picture from the camera to the picture desk directly and bypassing the need to edit the image on a laptop in the more traditional digital workflow way.

This is achieved on the Sony A9 MkII cameras by using the WiFi connectivity on the camera to connect to a hotspot or dongle and allowing a picture(s) to be sent directly from the camera via FTP to the relevant news desk.

The benefit of this is one thing…speed.

In the demanding 24 hour news cycle we find ourselves working in these days speed is very much of the essence. If your competition has the means to do it and you don’t then at some point you will lose out either on the picture or on getting the job in the first place.

Every job that’s shot won’t have the requirement to do this and to be honest that’s ok. In the majority of cases you can download the pictures to the laptop, go through them to make your selects, edit, caption and transfer the pictures in the standard way.

But on some jobs such as political events or breaking news or indeed with more general events moving a couple of pictures from a job quickly before following it up later with a more rounded edit the ability to live file is another useful tool to have in the box.

A tool that when it comes down to it could make all the difference between having pictures used or not and meeting last minute deadlines.

The Fuji’s didn’t offer this facility so after deliberating between the main alternatives…Nikon, Canon and Sony for a couple of weeks. I opted for Sony.

The process of live filing is quite an easy one with a bit or preparation ahead of time. The most time consuming part is entering the ftp details of the picture desk(s) that you’re sending too – the good thing here is that the Sony’s allow for up to 10 different ones to be added which can be handy. Once entered they remain there so you only have too do it once and not before every job.

So basically my live file workflow is a simple process:

  1. Start up my EE dongle…
  2. Connect my camera WiFi to the dongle…
  3. Once connected start up the ftp in the menu and wait for it to connect…
  4. Then you’re free to start shooting.
  5. As you go through the shoot have a quick chimp as you go and choose a picture you want to send.
  6. Press one of the buttons on the camera that you’ve set as a function key for ‘ftp transfer’ (I use the C3 button) and it will automatically begin to transmit to the ftp server you have chosen.
  7. Once it’s transmitted a (tick) on the picture shows it’s gone and you can send another.

It’s worth noting that you can send multiple images at once but I try and avoid this as it could slow the ftp process down if it’s not a fast connection. Its also worth noting that as pictures are ftp’ing to the desk in the background you can carry on shooting so you’re not going to miss anything going on in front of you.

As with any new camera there is a period of bedding in where you need to become familiar with all the controls, buttons and menus and what does what and this is an ongoing process that over time will let the camera become more familiar.

It’s hard to understand just how much of an important part muscle memory plays in using a camera and anyone beginning with a new camera that is unfamiliar to them will appreciate the feeling of inadvertently moving a thumb or finger to a button or switch only to realise that it either isn’t there anymore or actually does something totally different on this camera!

The only way this is resolved is hands on the kit and practice. Simple as that. As each job passes the familiarity with the camera grows until eventually it all becomes second nature again.

So far I haven’t been disappointed with the move to Sony and they tick all the boxes I look for in good solid professional working cameras and lenses: Image quality is really good, fast processing, they are full frame, weather sealed and robust, dual cards, fast autofocus, accurate white balance, comfortable and balanced to use, decent battery life…live filing ability.

One thing that is a small frustration is that they don’t have the means to perform a very basic edit on an image in camera. The ability to be able to do a quick crop and even a couple of minor adjustments to the image would be helpful just to tidy it up a little prior to sending it to the desk so hopefully Sony will rectify that in a firmware update further down the line.

But so far so good and I’m enjoying using the new system. While I have always looked at any camera I’ve had including the Leica M9’s I still use as simply a tool to get the job done and tools that will get used hard sometimes it’s good to have something that makes you feel you are now on a level technical playing field with the competition…and as a stringer and freelance that’s an important thing in the world of news and photojournalism where it’s hard enough as it is.

Once the technical stuff is sorted and out of the way then you’re free to do the important part…get the pictures!

This is my Sony kit list as it stands at the minute:

  1. Two Sony A9 MkII’s (both with vertical grips)
  2. 24mm f1.4 GM lens
  3. 85mm f1.4 GM lens
  4. 135mm f1.8 GM lens
  5. 100-400 f4.5-5.6 GM lens

 

Images (c) Ian Forsyth

See more of my work on my website & blog at Room 2850

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Storm Dennis

Within a week of returning from covering York and the aftermath of ‘Storm Ciara’ another named storm, ‘Storm Dennis’, was heading across the Atlantic towards the UK.

If reports were accurate this storm also had the potential of causing huge disruption in many parts of the country.

So once again I found myself heading down to York. York was thought to be at risk of flooding given the heavy rain in the previous storm and the fact that the River Ouse that runs through the city is one of the main rivers into which the already soaked hills in the Yorkshire Dales and moors would run into.

As water levels were already high and overspilling in some low-lying areas there was further risk of more serious flooding especially if Dennis brought the intensity of weather that was forecast.

With that in mind and after checking with what York Council were planning via their twitter feed and local new reports I first headed down to the picturesque village of Naburn situated about 20 minutes outside York.

As ‘Storm Dennis’ had hit the country over the weekend the water that was deposited on the hills always takes at least a day or two to make its way downstream. So while the actual storm may have passed the impact might only be seen a little while later.

The council had dropped off pallets of pre-filled sandbags for residents to collect and put in place around their properties. Along with this they dropped larger, one-tonne sandbags from lorries that they put in place to block areas at risk of overspill.

After covering this for a while and filing a few pictures I headed into the centre of York and spent the rest of Sunday and Monday adding pictures to my coverage of preparations along the length of the River Ouse as the water levels increased constantly over the following hours.

Fortunately for home owners and businesses along York riverside the high water level predictions didn’t materialise. Whilst some properties were flooded and water did overspill it was very much similar to what the residents in these areas are familiar with.

This area along the river floods to varying degrees maybe 4 or 5 times a year and as such the flood defence process in these areas adopted by residents, the council and the Environment Agency is a slick and well practiced machine and while it might look bad the actual damage and disruption was thankfully kept to a minimum.

While York didn’t see the level of flooding that the likes of South Wales experienced during ‘Storm Dennis’ the frequency and severity of these storm can’t be denied and as the climate crisis tightens it’s grip on York, the country and the planet these events will not only become more frequent but will inevitably become more severe.

Here’s a few pictures from my coverage in Naburn and York…

Image (c) Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

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Graduation Parade at AFC Harrogate

Junior Soldiers from the Army Foundation College in Harrogate reached the first milestone in their military careers yesterday as they marched onto the regimental parade square for their graduation from training.

The Army Foundation College in Harrogate opened in 1998 and is the Army’s flagship training establishment for young soldiers. It provides training for soldiers destined for all the Army’s career paths and provides training for over 1344 junior soldiers.

During their time at the college the students are taught basic military skills and can also achieve vocational qualifications, City and Guilds apprenticeships and take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

The graduation parade is the largest in Europe and is only exceeded in size by the Trooping of the Colour in London.

Following the parade the students will go on for further specialist training before finally joining their units and moving forward with their military careers.

HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex was the senior inspecting officer for the graduation parade.

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Image (c) Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

See more of my work in my galleries & blog at Room 2850

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