Martyn Ashton – Back On Track

‘With riding bikes again, honest truth is, I was never like ‘Oh I’ll never ride a bike’ and then someone said ‘Maybe you can, Martyn!’. It’s just like, I guess because of the people that bike riders are, we’re just like ‘I wonder how we’ll do that.’ It was almost fun straight away, I was instantly like, ‘I’ve gotta learn how to ride bikes again, so that’s going to be pretty funny.”

Martyn Ashton talking about the inevitability of him getting back on a bike.

For those of you that don’t know, Martyn was a professional trials bike rider. He sustained a life changing back injury during one of his shows in 2013 and is paralysed from around the waist down.

I knew it wouldn’t be long until he was back on a bike. The only thing I didn’t know, was how he was going to do it. Yesterday I found out.

Watching this video makes me so happy. Seeing him having fun on his bike with his mates. I think it captures the essence of what is fun about cycling. Freewheeling downhill with your mates, laughing and getting sketchy.

The interview is definitely worth a watch too. I love what he says about bike riders, because I feel that it does reflect most of our personalities. Most cyclists are definitely doers. Martyn isn’t letting his disability stop him and it’s an inspiration to see. I can’t wait to see him ride that cup course.

Luton Demonstrations – Photoset

I’ve been half looking for a subject to try out some photojournalism for a while. When I heard about the Britain First march through Luton, I knew it would be a great opportunity to shoot some photos.

Yesterday, I headed into town and waited outside the train station, the meeting place for the march. Unite Against Fascism had gathered too and were being held on the other side of the railway by the Police. I couldn’t believe the Police presence. There must have been 300-400 officers, that was a sight in itself.
The march went off without anything too exciting happening, the police managed to keep the two groups far enough apart to prevent that. There was lots of shouting and name called between them. To be honest I was rather disappointed in the anti fascists. They were jeering and shouting abuse back, fighting hate with hate.

Anyway, it was definitely a learning curve. I’ve never shot photos in a situation like that before and I learnt a lot in a short space of time. I need an auto-focussing zoom lens for docu photography like this. I was using my camera full manual but I think I was making it harder for myself by doing so. I was also a little worried about what people would say if I just stuck the camera in their face, but no-one said a thing to me. I did get told off by the Police for getting in the way though!

So, here are the photos.

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There are a few more on my Flickr that I haven’t posted here.

Eddstagram – June 2015

Welcome to another edition of Eddstagram!

This time I have a collection of photos fresh from the back of my Canon T70. They have all been taken over the course of the last 6-9 months. Some of the photos are from various trips and other are just from my random day-to-day adventures.
As always, all shot on film with no post except cropping where the scanner didn’t do a very good job. There’s a few more on my Flickr that I haven’t posted here.

Enjoy!

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Dunstable skatepark, before it was a skatepark.
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Eddstagram - June 2015-22

Eddstagram - June 2015-20

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Some of the best BMX photos I’ve ever seen

I read Push It A Stop which is a BMX specific photography blog. I got up this morning to find these photos in my inbox. They are without doubt some of the best BMX photos I’ve ever seen. Props to Brodie Knox. The lighting in them is unreal!

Click the photo to go to the full gallery.

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Skateboarder and…

My friend, skateboarder and poet, Mat Lloyd has started making a podcast called ‘Skateboarder and…’.

I’ve been listening to them while working on the van and it’s a great series. The first episode features skateboarder and photographer Ben Gore. I found it really interesting hearing about another photographers experiences.

The second episode talks to skateboarder and illustrator Eloise Dorr. Again, I found it really interesting to hear about the creative process from someone who is in a slightly different field to me but so similar in some respects. What Eloise says about building experience and finding your feet really struck a chord with me.

The third and latest edition has skateboarder and furniture maker Barry Kay behind the mic. It was really good to hear about someone who has practical skills. Barry makes amazing things from skateboards. Another great episode.

I’m really looking forward to hearing more of these. I find them so interesting and it’s made me think about all the amazing people in the unicycling world. There are so many talented people that we only know as riders. It’d be really interesting to have this kind of thing for unicyclists.

If you’re into skateboarding or the creative industries, I highly recommend you give them a listen. Follow Skateboarder And on Soundcloud, Facebook and Twitter.

https://www.facebook.com/skateboarderandpodcast

https://twitter.com/MatLloydPoet

Mat, if you’re reading this, keep it up dude, these are rad!

Timelapse and 4K

I’ve been experimenting with time lapses recently.
I shot this one last night in a bid to work out why my previous attempts were flickery. I put the camera in full manual mode, which I usually do anyway, but for timelapses I’ve been using aperture priority so that the exposure is gradually adjusted as the light dims in a sunset. The result was that the exposure jumped massively a couple of times. Going manual has solved that, but now you generally can’t see anything as soon as it gets a certain amount underexposed. That’s really bad English but I don’t know how else to explain it.

Anyway, here’s the result of last nights quick experiment. Obviously I shot photos to make this, so rather than scale it down to 1080p I thought I’d turn it into a 4k video. My camera can actually shoot 4k video, but I need an external 4k recorder which is £1400, so I won’t be shooting video in 4k anytime soon.

Enjoy!

And yes, I do know there’s dust on my sensor :P

Final project – A Land of Giants

It’s that time of year again. Having been a full-time student for three years now, this time of year seems to come around far too quickly. Final project is always a busy time and that’s why I haven’t been blogging so much.

I’ve spent the last 15 weeks planning, shooting and editing my final project for the HNC Creative Media course I’m studying towards. For our last piece we had to make a fiction film. Now, those of you that know me well will know I’m not a fan of fiction and have never really been a film buff. However, seeing as I had to do a film, I was willing to give it a go and I wrote a script for a short film about a pirate radio station. I was actually really into it and I had planned to have a really cool DnB, garage and dubstep soundtrack.
Then it came to shooting it. Trying to find actors and get the locations I wanted was a nightmare. I finally managed to cobble together a cast but getting them all in the right place at the right time proved impossible.

So, with two weeks to go till the deadline, I changed my idea completely.
It’s something much more simplistic. It’s still fiction, but a little more….me.

Enjoy.

VW Camper Update

Well, it’s been a while since I did a proper blog post but I’ve had a bit of spare time this week, so here goes.

Since the van got it’s MOT, I’ve been slowly tinkering. We’ve been using it a tiny bit, going to local VW meets and going on rides locally. I’m hoping that by using it on small local trips, we can iron out any potential problems before we take it on a longer drive.

A couple of weeks ago, I jumped in it to drive to college. It started and ran fine but as soon as I went to pull away it coughed, spluttered and stalled. It had no power and after initially starting ok, it was struggling and I had to put my foot on the throttle to get it to start.
I pulled the fuel line off the carb to check it was getting fuel. We put a brand new fuel pump on not too long ago, so I was pretty confident it wasn’t that. Sure enough, fuel was getting to the carb. I whipped it off and got a rebuild kit on order.

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Once the kit had arrived I set about taking the carb apart. I hate dismantling carbs, it always feels like it’s never going to go back together. I feel like I’m going to forget what went were. I stripped it right down, replaced all the bits that came in the kit, emptied an entire can of carb cleaner into it and then reassembled it. I had the haynes book handy although it wasn’t much help.

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I didn’t see any obvious problems when I had the carb apart, but cleaning it out did the trick. Once I’d put it back on the van and connected it all back up it started and ran lovely. It even feels like it’s got a bit more power than before, so that’s a result.

The bulk of the hard work is done, but now we’re on to the interior. The plan is to re-trim the doorcards, fit a stereo and speakers and make a bed and table for camping with. We’re also thinking of installing lights and a leisure battery to run them and the sound system from.

First things first, I thought I’d sort out the wiring. I started to look at the wiring with the intention of installing the stereo, but I realised that there wasn’t even a stereo loom under the dash. There were also a lot of lose wires and chocolate block connectors behind the dashboard. It was all pretty messy, with wires chopped here and there and connected together.
The coolant temperature gauge was wired into a switch which was hanging out of the dashboard because we couldn’t find a switched live when we installed it. When we started the van, we would have to turn the gauge on manually using the switch. Not ideal.

I decided to sort all these small problems properly. I wanted to tidy up the wiring and solder all the joints, instead of having the chocolate blocks. That way, there’s no risk of them coming apart and shorting out on anything or causing us electrical gremlins.

Once I’d taken it all apart I was a little worried at the task I’d taken on. I hate wiring at the best of times and I felt a bit in over my head.

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I worked on one bit at a time, starting with the temperature gauge. Where I could, I took the wiring completely out of the van and worked on it on the bench. I found it much easier to solder and some of my joints towards the end were actually pretty good. I put heatshrink on all joints to prevent shorts.

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Next I set about creating a loom for the stereo headunit. There were quite a few lose wires, so I identified what they did and discovered they were probably the remnants of a stereo loom anyway. All I needed to do was run a switched live from the fusebox. I chopped an ISO connector out of a spare car we’ve got on the drive at the moment and wired that in, so we can just plug and play without having to do any wiring in future if we change headunits. Sorry about the out of focus photo. Not sure what I was trying to focus on, but it wasn’t the wiring. This is the best photo I have of the connector though.

VW T25 Interior-2

We’re running the front speakers from an amp, so I ran all the cabling for that and wired it in. There’s a really handy space under the drivers seat, so I positioned it there. It’s right next to the battery so the power cables are nice and short. Eventually I want to have the sound system running from the leisure battery, which will most likely go at the back of the van. When that happens we’ll have to relocate the amp, so I’ve kept the phono and remote cables really long.

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Once all that was done, I put the dash back together. We need to make a spacer for the headunit, but it’s looking much better than it did.

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Kind of at the same time as doing the wiring, I’ve been modifying the doorcards for speakers. You’ve probably noticed them in the background to the wiring install photos. I wanted to reinforce the original doorcards with MDF in order to make them a bit more acoustically dead than they are already. They’re only made of 3mm hardboard, so they’ll probably sound awful with our 300watt components in. I’ve accidentally deleted the photos from the build process, so I’ll pick up from where the photos begin.

I took the doorcards off and measured them up. Then I cut two pieces to shape and cut the speaker holes in them. This is the only photo I could find, from where I mocked it all up to check the fit.

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Once it was all trimmed and sanded to shape, I fitted them to the doors to make sure all the clips were in the right place still.

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I ordered some carpet but I think I might have accidentally ordered too much. The roll is huge.
I only wanted to trim the doorcards but we’ve probably got enough to do the floor, walls and ceiling too!

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I started by laying the old fabric onto the new stuff and drawing round it. I added a little extra on the bottom to take up the added surface area of the MDF. Then I cut it out.

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I used impact adhesive on the doorcard and then carefully lined up the carpet. I pressed it down and let it dry.

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In order to get a nice hard line where the MDF starts, I painted the adhesive into the corner and then used a straight edge to push the carpet right back into the corner.

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I let that dry for a few minutes and then folded the carpet and stuck it down on the lower half of the card. I’m pretty happy with the result.

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I just need to cut the holes for the trim and do the other side now.

So, that’s where the project is now. I’m hoping for good weather tomorrow so I can hopefully get the cab finished. Keep an eye out on here because we’ll be doing a lot more interior work soon!