Crazy couple of months

Hello!

So its been a while since I last wrote a blog post, I’m sorry how are you? Been up to much?

Well for me it has been crazy! I finished my first football season as a professional sports photographer but it didn’t stop there!

I photographed white water rafting, gymnastics, basketball, rugby 7s, hockey and the woman’s FA cup final!

And my summer is not over yet. Not only have I been busy photographing I have also been busy in my private life, I have been studying British sign language and I have passed 2/3 exams for level 1! My third and final exam in in a few days so fingers crossed!

I have also discovered a love for drawing cartoons and writing stories. I have started writing my second book, I’m not expecting to be the next Jacqueline Wilson but it was certainly fun writing my first story.

You may be wondering what I have learnt from my time shooting all these different sports. Answer a lot! too much to mention in a blog, I don’t want to bore you. But some good things have come from it also such as selling my second ever picture to the Daily Star! Things are looking up for my photography with my biggest event yet to come, keep your eyes peeled! 19477556_1372612599512505_7921115644671970744_o

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What a start to the month!

What a start to the month!

On Saturday morning I woke up to the news that one of my pictures had been published in a national newspaper.

I looked at the date to see it was April fools day, my heart sank I thought why would anyone play this awful prank? But it wasn’t a prank, it was real, I had been published in a national newspaper!

I was so happy I cried tears of joy. Years of hard work was starting to pay off, back when I was studying photography at college my tutors told me to give up on sports photography and all types of photography as I wasn’t very good.

As my tutors, I believed what they were saying but after I left college I decided to show them they were wrong. It hasn’t always been easy I lost my hearing and I got a lot of rejections.

My belief in my dream would falter every now and again. I had to take a step back and I think to myself could I see myself doing a ‘normal’ job? The answer was always no way!

Sports photography gives me this buzz of excitement that I would struggle to find in a ‘normal’ job. Even when the weather is awful I still get excited to head out to work, I’m crazy I know.

Getting published in the Daily Mirror for the very first time is crazy but a good kind of crazy. It feels like Christmas has come early, I still can’t believe it now! Hopefully things will only get better, cant wait to see what the future holds.

Never let anyone stop you from following your dreams! With a bit of hard work you may start achieving your dream.

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5 things not to say to a deaf photographer

This week I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to cover 5 things not to say to a deaf photographer.

There are a few obvious ones I can mention but I’m hoping that this blog will be funny, if it’s not I apologise for my strange sense of humour!

1) But you can hear me? Yes I can hear you because we are in a small room with no background noises, your looking straight at me and I’m wearing hearing aids.

2) I brought a cheap camera and I’m going to turn professional. Yes the camera doesn’t decide if you are a professional, it’s what you can do with that camera that makes a difference, my advice is get to know your camera well and take a few lessons this will help you challenge your photography.

3) C…A…..N Y…O….U H…E…..A….R M…E N…O…W? There this no need to shout or talk so slow you could be mistaken for a robot. I personally wear hearing aids which do the amplifying for you and talking so slow that you sound like a robot makes it very hard to lip read. Talk at normal volume and slightly slower than normal speech speed.

4) Cannon are a better camera. Sorry for this but as a Nikon shooter I have to disagree with this statement. But in all honesty it’s a personal thing, I chose Nikon because I love the layout and it feels solid compared to Cannon or any other camera brand. Not everyone will feel the same way. But if you don’t want to start a massive argument amongst other photographers I would suggest not saying anything about which camera is the better brand.

5) But you dont sound deaf. I’m not really sure what people mean when they say this to me, how is a deaf person supposed to sound? I haven’t always been deaf so my speech is very good but other people may have taken speech therapy as a child. Not all deaf people can talk and not all deaf people can sign.

So next time you are talking to someone who is deaf or a deaf photographer you now know some things that you should stay clear of talking about. I’m not trying to give you a lecture this is just my sense of humour so apologies to anyone who dont understand it, not many people can!

That’s the end of this weeks blog, well done for sticking with me! Come back next week to find out my next thoughts and experiences.

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Me photographing premiership rugby at Wembley stadium last year!

 

 

In a city far far away…..

So last week I travelled up to Birmingham for the photography show, it’s a huge trade show where you can learn new techniques and have a look at new equipment.

For me I was looking for some good deals on equipment such as a roller bag. While I was at the NEC I decided to head into the Comic Con, for those who don’t know me I love science fiction and comics.

I was really excited to get into Birmingham but a couple of days before it suddenly hit me, how am I going to communicate with people around me?

I had booked in to have a photograph with Billie Piper (Rose Tyler from Doctor Who) and I started to panic how am I going to hear the photographer, what am I going to say to Billie, do I talk orally or do I sign?

All these questions were flying round my mind making me more and more nervous. I had to take a deep breath to calm myself down before I remembered a conversation I had with my sign language teacher.

He told me to always carry around a note book and pen so that when communication becomes challenging I can give them the notebook and they can write down what they want to tell me. He also told me to email the organisers and ask if they can help me.

So that’s what I did I walked around with my note book and a couple of days previously I emailed the organisers asking what help they can give me. I didn’t worry so much with the photography show as my brother who is hearing came with me but unlike me he hates all things comic and sci-fi related so I was on my own in the comic con.

I managed to go to comic con and the photography show, there were some good points and some bad. I got very frustrated with not being able to hear people talking to me in both conventions but I did get to meet Billie Piper, I even signed to her a little!

I feel proud of myself for going and staying, as I said before I hate crowds but I put my fear aside and did something that I really wanted to do. I even took pictures of the different cos-players!

If you are interested in sci fi/ comics or photography I do recommend visiting the photography show and MCM Comic Con, for more information visit this shows here: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/ 

https://www.photographyshow.com/ 

 

Dreams

No one ever tells you how to cope with loosing one of your senses, you look online for any help and there is very little.

Looking through the pages and pages of web search on google throws you into this dark lonely place, how are you going to live like this? How are you going to work?

Believe it or not some “friends” may even disappear after telling them you’ve lost one of your senses.

I felt like everyone had abandoned me in my hour of need, I went into a very dark place and to be honest I’m still there. I don’t know how to live without my hearing, I didn’t realise how much I took for my hearing for granted until it was gone. This has happened to me when I lost my hearing. You go through through a grieving process that you never knew you could have over losing one of your senses.

I was a portrait and wedding photographer before I lost my hearing but after my hearing went I thought about hanging my camera up for good because I didn’t know how I was going to continue something I loved when I couldn’t communicate with my clients as I once had.

It was at this time I received an email asking to go down to my local rugby club and photograph a couple of matches. It is important at this stage to say that I loved sports photography but my college tutors had told me to give up on sports and go into portraiture so never got a proper chance to take pictures of sports.

When I got down there I felt like I was at home, I didn’t have to worry about my hearing impairment I could just take the pictures.

It was after that first match that I decided that I wouldn’t give up on my photography, just go down a different path. I also wrote down a list of teams and stadiums that I would love to work in one day these are:

Leicester tigers (rugby) at Welford road Leicester
Leicester city
Wimbledon
Wolverhampton wanderers
O2 arena
London Olympic stadium
Twickenham
Wembley stadium
Olympics
Paralympics
Commonwealth games

So far I have achieved 2 of those goals, last April I photographed a rugby match at Wembley stadium and last week I photographed Wolverhampton Wanders v Ipswich Town.

I still have plans to cross off everything on my list but I can’t stop thinking about that dark place. When I’m photographing sport I feel like there is a way out of the dark but I often lie awake at night asking the same question over and over again, why?

I may never know the answer to that question. But if I give myself a target to aim for maybe it will help me to get out of this dark place and fully accept my new lift as a deaf sports photographer.

The one thing that I have learn out of all of this is although you feel alone, there are people out there that know what you are going through. As my favourite TV show was so famous in saying in the 3rd series, You Are Not Alone.

I would love to hear your experiences of how you have coped with your hearing loss or if your a deaf photographer I would love to chat! Please feel free to get in contact with me info@hrfphotography.co.uk

Ipswich Town v Wolverhampton WanderersSky Bet Championship

Kortney Hause of Wolverhampton Wanderers heading the ball durning the Sky Bet Championship match at Portman Road, Ipswich Picture by Hannah Fountain/Focus Images LTD 07814482222 07/03/2017 http://focus-images.photoshelter.com/gallery/Ipswich-Town-v-Wolverhampton-Wanderers-070317/G0000xVW2.TpbMss/1/C00000yVwwwA9e3w

 

 

Goodbye Cannons……for now

With the Basketball season coming to a close, it has given me a chance to take a look back over my pictures and see how much they have changed.

At the start of the season I was photographing basketball blind, I knew nothing about the sport or what settings I needed to use. Let’s just say it didn’t do me any favours!

I then booked myself onto a photography workshop and learn what worked and what didn’t in regards to settings, between that workshop and my next match I gave myself a crash course on basketball.

I spent every waking hour watching British Basketball and NBA matches, also not to mention Olympic, Paralympic and Invictus games!

Over the course of the season I have learnt a lot, to much to mention on this post as I could go on forever. I can’t really tell you the rules of basketball but I can tell you what pictures work and what settings to use.

My knowledge of the rules go as far as if it goes through the hoop that’s good and if it doesn’t go through the hoop that’s bad.

For those who are just starting out in sports photography, I recommend researching your sport beforehand as this will help you know how your subjects will move.

I believe I still have 1 cup match for Cannons coming up soon but the date for that is uncertain at present. I will hopefully be photographing that match but for now I wanted to thank Cannons for allowing me to photograph this season and also for making me feel so welcome. Hopefully see you next season!

To finish off this post I will leave you with my very first basketball picture I took and a picture I took last week. See for yourself the differences in my work and hopefully you will see an improvement!

Cannons 2006 vs Nomads

Cannons vs Nomads March 2017

Cannons 2006 vs Cornard Kings

Cannons vs Conard Kings August 2016

Is it always easy to stay positive after lots of set backs?

Is it always easy to stay positive after lots of set backs? I don’t really know how to answer this as people deal with set backs differently.

For me it’s one of the hardest things to do and I am still learning how to keep positive.

I’ve had a lot of set backs in my life, some bigger than others and they never get any easier. But as I grow older I’m starting to look at things a little differently.

I’m trying to look at anything that is positive during the day or week, it could be very tiny like the weather was dry or your pet is in the same room as you giving you company.

That aspect I have been trying to put into my job, yes I may not have been paid or the match wasn’t great, they are just set backs. What I really should try and think about is I managed to photograph all the goals or I did manage to edit all the pictures and send them off during the match.

It’s very well being able to talk about it but when you put in into practice it can be very hard.

When the Dr told me that my hearing had decreased rapidly, I sat there and told myself that’s it then that’s your life over. Depressing as it seams but that’s that I thought, I couldn’t see a future where I could live my dream of being a professional sports photographer and be deaf at the same time. I still can’t see myself succeeding my dream.

But it’s thanks to the people around me (I won’t name them in case I forget someone) that I have begun to look at things a little differently, yes I’m deaf but my life isn’t over it just means that I have to find new ways in doing things.

I have begun celebrating the little positives, a huge celebration when I was signed up to an agency!

I now look back on some of my set backs and use them to push me harder. Yes my college tutors told me to give up on photography because I would never make it, but I didn’t give up and I’m now working in stadiums with thousands of people in the stands.

This week I haven’t got a lot of sport but I have been working in the studio with people. I will admit I was petrified before the shoot as I didn’t know how things would go and how much my deafness would stop me. But I tried to focus on the positives (such as I had remembered to check the batteries in my hearing aids and I had a notebook ready in case I needed to communicate through that) and as soon as my clients walked in and I had my camera in my hands I was calm and focused.

I will stop rambling now as I’m sure you have something more important to do than read this bog post all day. So to finish off I just want to give you a little bit of advice, don’t give up! Celebrate the positives no matter how small.

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Cannons 2006 vs Braintree Blue Devils, 24th February 2017, Copyright Hannah Fountain/ HRF Photography