Sunday, 6 July 2014

Lithuania - Hill Of Crosses

Lithuania is a hugely historic and religious country, that is rich in culture and proud of its heritage. Since coming here it is clear to see that it is proud of its past, especially its resistance and rebellion against its several occupations, whether it is Nazi Germany during World War II or the multiple Soviet Russian occupations which have occurred over the centuries.
There are several sites throughout the country which commemorate those lost in the rebellions, but none are as well known or as celebrated as the Hill of Crosses just outside Siauliai. 
I have visited this site twice myself and have laid two of my own crosses, one to my wonderful Omi and another to my beautiful Fiancée Donna, which I am pleased to say still stand proudly on the Hill.
                                   Image © Copyright Daniel Herrick 2014

Whilst talking to my colleagues out here, there doesn't seem to be much interest in visiting the fascinating site, believing it to be "too religious" or "just a mound with some crosses on", but it is oh so much more than that. I am by no means religious and see myself as an atheist, believing in science however, I do not begrudge anyone the right to religion and like to visit religious sites for their historical value and churches for their beautiful architecture, so when the oppourtunity arose for me to visit the Hill of Crosses, I took it with open arms! I had seen the sight from the air before on a flight back from Naujoji Akmene and it looked very sparse, so when I turned up at the sight and saw the sheer number of crosses, it blew me away! It is believed to hold some 200,000 plus crosses, but it seems so many more with smaller ones being hung on larger ones and every space filled with small wooden crosses that have either been lovingly crafted, or purchased from the shop on site. I was instantly hit with a sense of awe and couldn't help, but feel that if this was to be in the UK, it would be vandalised on a regular basis. 
I began reading some of the plaques and scriptures around and quickly realised, that although this is a place of pilgrimmage for Roman Catholics, this wasn't just a site of religion, it was a place of defiance. During the 19th Century, Lithuania was under Tsarist rule and in 1863 the rebellion uprising was quashed, leading to many deaths. No one knows exactly why crosses were first placed here, some think that they were prayers for health, but the common consensus was that crosses were placed to remember the dead from the rebliion uprising.
                          Image © Copyright Daniel Herrick 2014

Tsar rule decreed that croses were not to be placed on homesteads or farmlands and any that were, were torn down, so the hill became a place of rebellion where people came overnight to build and place crosses. It stood like a huge middle finger to their occupiers, showing unity amongst the people and in a day and age of violence, is a perfect example of a peacful, but meaningful protest. When the Russians returned during World War II, they bulldozed the hill removing all crosses and digging deep trenches all around so peope could not access it at all, but once again, almost overnight crosses appeared as an act of defiance. 
That is why this place is so significant to not only me, but also to the RAF and my collegues. We should all want to visit here! The RAFs role here is to police the air space above the Baltic regions and with the rising tensions in Ukraine, we are often approached by locals asking us to keep out the Russians. They don't want to fall under Russian rule again and visiting the Hill of Crosses both brings home why they don't, but also makes being here feel worthwhile. 
So me and a collegue have decided to organise an RAF ceremony, placing two crosses here from the Royal Air Force contigent based at Siauliai. We don't want it to be a flag placing ceremony and by no means want our crosses to be the biggest there, but we feel that it is important to leave a lasting reminder of our time here, as well as leave a thank you to the people of Siauliai and Lithuania for having us. Hopefully it will spark peoples interest in the place and they will see it not only as a sight of religion, but also a place of unity and defiance. 
                            Image © Copyright Daniel Herrick 2014

As a nation the United Kingdom is extremely lucky. We have been able to defend ourselves and haven't suffered real occupation since the Romans. The people of Lithuania have not been so fortunate, to see something like this fascinates me and gives me hope in the strength of the human spirit. Whether I agree with it or not, people should always stand up for their beliefs otherwise we will fall to others who force theirs upon us and I for one believe that this Unesco Heritage site is a must visit for all.
I shall post some pictures from our ceremony taking place on July 10th and let you all know how it went, so keep up to date on facebook, twitter or instagram.


Monday, 30 June 2014

Lithuania - Behind the Op

Some of you may or may not be aware that I am currently deployed on Operations in the Baltic state of Lithuania. My task here from the Royal Air Force (RAF) perspective, is to tell the stories of what people here do for the Air Force and for Operation Azotize and you can see some of my work by following my facebook page, or the RAF facebook page. However, when I'm done doing that, the photographer in me wants to do more and show more, so I thought that I would document my time here and some of the more interesting points about Lithuania and being on Ops out here, if nothing else it will keep me sane. 
So I will be writing posts on how it's going out here and photographs I take for me and not for the RAF.

Todays pictures are of trees. A good friend of mine once commented on one of my grandfathers photographs of a tree by saying, "I love trees!" We all laughed at the time and thought the rather peculiar exclamation for his love of trees rather hilarious, but out here in Lithuania, they really do Love trees!

                             Image © Copyright Daniel Herrick

Lithuania's forests cover a third of the country and are one of its main assets and main exports, which explains why trees are extremely important to this nation. The amount of forests are growing year on year, as they grow more trees than they cut down and in 2012 a study by Yale University in the United States, showed that Lithuania is top of 132 countries in preserving its forests, thus not only helping it's own economy and infrastructure, but also helping planet earth in reducing harmful carbon dioxide. 

                             Image © Copyright Daniel Herrick

Lithuania's forests are only growing and the country is all the more beautiful for it. The landscape here is very luscious and green with crops and trees and Lithuania is a very agricultural land. The world could take a leaf out of the book of this small state in Eastern Europe and look after its natural resources. The trees here don't just add to the countries economy, but to its natural surroundings by improving water supply, stopping the erosion of soil and making the country a very beautiful place to visit, full of varied wildlife. 

So that's my first post on Lithuania behind the Op. I want to share with you some of the lesser known facts about this country which, let's face it, get's quite a lot of stick and has quite a stigma attached to it back in the UK. Hopefully I can show it off in a good light.

Hope you enjoyed reding it, please leave comments, share it and follow me on facebook - Daniel Herrick Pictures; on Twitter - @DanielHerrick; and on Instagram @danielherrickpictures.

Thank you for reading

                              Image © Copyright Daniel Herrick

All images on this post were taken using the iPhone 4S and the Hipstamatic app.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A new year a new start

Firsty I would like to wish everyone a belated happy Christmas and a hapy New Year. I hope Santa brought you everything you wanted! He certainly did for me, with a new battery grip, a new case for my Go Pros and I'm writing this on my brand new Bluetooth keyboard on my iPad. I also got engaged to
my beautiful girlfriend on New Year's Eve to make sure the start of 2014 was the best it could be.

Last year had its up's an downs and was a rollercoaster for Daniel Herrick Pictures too. I learnt a lot from last year as regards marketing and selling my products which I am hoping to implement this year. Instead of just selling my time I am also going to start selling more of my imagery through Photobox links on my website. As regards my website I am going to be updating it to make it look a little "fresher" easier to navigate for my future plans.
So as well as Weddings, parties and product photography, which will be sold in password protected albums, I will also be selling other imagery that I take in my spare time, so keep an eye on twitter and facebook for new products.

Thats the stills side dealt with, now onto my films. At the end of last year I was invited to follow the Royal Air Force (RAF) Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton teams out to Austria for their novice camps. While I was out there I made a promotional video of the week to try and attract more people to the sports. The video went down really well and I wanted to use it as a sort of practice for Why Do We Do It. The format works really well and will tell peoples stories as to why they do their respective sports and what drives them. It also allows it to be topped off brilliantly by Loretta Livingstones amazing poem. I will soon be creatinng a shoootiing schedule with everyone to ensure we can get it all shot this year. 
It's an exciting time and 2014 is a year I'm very much looking forward too!

I will be posting images and the video from Austria and the novice camps soon, so keep an eye on facebook and twitter for those. 

Well that was a quick roundup off what's been happening. Hopefully it will be a good year and if you or anyone you know has any photography or video needs, please get in touch.

Happy New Year

Daniel Herrick LBIPP 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Silverstone 2013

Fresh from my weekend at Silverstone, I thought I would write a blog about my experience as not only was it the 2013 Santander British Grand Prix, but it was also the first weekend of shooting Why Do We Do It! 
This was my seventh British Grand Prix at Silverstone and I never tire of it! I look forward to this
weekend more than any other in the year and it has now sort of become an annual pilgrimage for me and my brother. This year was going to be slightly different for two reasons; one was that we would be doing only the Friday to the Sunday, whereas usually we would travel down Thursday and head back on the Monday and two; I would be technically working as it was the start of my shoot for Why Do We Do It.  
We set off bright and early on Friday morning at around 5am and headed straight to Silverstone, arriving at around 8.30am. It was raining, of course it was, it's Silverstone after all and after the deluge of last year the feeling was all too familiar. My brother and I drudged through the damp and the puddles up to Luffield Corner, laid out our seats, erected the umbrella and waited for the action to start. The crowds on Friday are usually pretty small due to it only being a practice day and the rain wasn't helping the attendance either, so I decided to use it as a practice day myself. As well as my Pentax K5 and K200d, I had also recently purchased a three lens set for my iPhone 4s which I wanted to try out. Unfortunately, due to the fact I was using my phone as a sat nav and our fridge was plugged into the cigarette lighter, my phone was extremely low on battery. I still managed to get some shots, but nowhere near what I wanted too! Lesson learnt; better preparation required.
I also used the Friday as a chance to test out my new Manfrotto shoulder rig. I loaded it up with my K5, my Rode mic and lenses ranging from 135mm up to 300mm. Even with these lenses it remained brilliantly stable and for the price I felt I had a good deal, my only issue with it is that it is made predominantly of plastic and I'm not sure how long all the components will last under continuous wear and tear. All and all the Friday was an okay day. I didn't manage to get all the footage and stills I wanted, but I had tested out my equipment and felt confident the next two days would bring what I needed. 
That evening we headed to Bo Peeps caravan park, where I have stayed the previous 5 times I have been. Before we found this brilliant site me and my older brother Mark thought it would be a good idea to travel to and from Norwich everyday to the track, turns out it wasn't and the second year we stayed at a site nearer to the circuit, which was less a campsite, more a field with a porta potty in and as many people you could cram into a small space as possible. Bo Peeps however is a great place to stay, it's quiet, relaxing and a great base to get to and from Silverstone as it is only about 20 minutes away.
We set up our site and I did a timelapse of us putting up our tent on my iPhone, as I wanted to use this in the film I was shooting. As we settled in for the night, I made a plan in my mind as to what I wanted to achieve tomorrow. I was conscious of striking a balance between work and enjoyment, after all I was there on holiday too! 
The next morning we awoke at around 5am and prepared for another day at the track. However, today wasn't any ordinary day, it was Armed Forces Day and I was wearing my uniform and flying the flag for the Armed Forces. Having come from a family that has a big Military contingent and being in the RAF myself, I am very proud to wear my uniform and in the wake of recent events, felt that it was important to do so. We got to the track at 7am and this time head to the Village section of the circuit ready for the days qualifying session. When we got there I was greeted by a Spectator Marshal who came over to shake my hand and explained that he was ex Army. I had a photo taken with him and wished him well for the rest of the weekend. It's always great to meet fellow members of the military old or current as their is a great sense of camaraderie that you don't get anywhere else. After setting up my kit the action started and I began moving around to get different shots on all my cameras both stills and video. Here was a good spot, there was a good spread of crowd and also some very good action shots with the backdrop of the pit straight stadium. The sun started to shine and the day began to heat up as did the action on track as Lewis Hamilton guided his Mercedes AMG Petronas car to the front of the grid to cheers from the home crowd. I knew tomorrow was going to be nothing if not exciting! Me and my brother then headed to Club corner to watch the first two races of the
weekend and whilst there I decided to ask the marshals for a photo with my flag, to which they agreed. These guys work very hard over the weekend getting to the track early and having to deal with annoyed racing drivers when they crash out or retire. I was extremely grateful to these guys for taking time out for this photo and it is one that I will cherish. Before we left the track I wanted to get one more shot with the flag and that was with the newly introduced "Race Makers". Off of the back of the success of the Olypmics' "Games
Makers" this team of volunteers were introduced this year to hand out maps, information and ear plugs to all the punters throughout the weekend. They were always enthusiastic and ever helpful and I hope that they will become a permanent fixture in the future. That night we returned to the campsite burnt, but happy and full of excitement for the Sunday.
4.30am Sunday we rolled out of bed and began collapsing our tent. This for me is the worst part of the weekend; one because it means it's nearly over and two I hate packing tents! How did we get this damn thing in the bag last year!? Once we were all packed away we headed to the track arriving at 6.50am, which may sound early, but when we arrived at Luffield corner we soon realised we were a little late. There wasn't much room left at all and luckily we managed to find a gap to put our seats and settle in for the day. I only wanted to use my iPhone and K5 today and mainly shoot crowd videos for my film. With Hamilton being on pole I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to get some good stuff with good emotion. The support races came and went and the Red Arrows did their annual display and
then it was time for the race, but not before my day was nearly ruined by 3 examples of ignorance! Due to the rising cost of tickets we had to go general admission this year, which meant that we weren't in a grandstand, but had to make use of the grass banks and public viewing areas. We had done this before and really enjoyed it as it is a chance to muck in with everyone and have a good laugh and chat with fellow F1 fans. This year however I found myself in disbelief at some people. As mentioned earlier me and my brother had arrived at 6.50am to the track and considering gates opened at 6am this was late. We had sat there all day and were actually sat by a walkway allowing people access to the rest of the viewing area. Next to us were two lads and a Mother and her son of around 10-12 years old at his first Grand Prix. With about an hour to go before the race two 25 year old guys turn up and stand directly in-front of the young lad and his mum (unfortunately I didn't see this) and claimed his spot from him. The mother politely explained they had been there since about 7.30am and her son could no longer see. Their response? "I don't see his name on the spot." If I had seen or heard this, I would have found it very difficult not to personally eject these two yobs over the rail and down the steep drop behind me! This however wasn't the only incident. The race begins at 1300hrs; here is a timeline of ignorance:

  • 1215hrs - A man arrives and stands directly in front of me, not only blocking my view, but also the walk way the EVERYONE is using. 
  • Me: "Excuse me mate, are you planning on standing there for the race?"
  • Him: "Yes is that okay?" 
  • Me: "Well no not really as I can no longer see and you are blocking a walk way! Me and my brother, along with everyone else here arrived at 7 this morning!"
  • Him: "That's not my problem I was somewhere else"
  • Me: "Well that is your problem, you can't rock up an hour before the race and expect to get a space!"  
Luckily for both me and him he moved, but he wasn't done their! Twice in the race he got up and had a cigarette and the second time, he was pretty much smoking it into my brothers ear! My brother told him to stop and he duly did!

  • 1245hrs  Two young chaps turn up and again stand directly in front of me, this time wearing back packs!
  • Me: "Excuse me chaps, are you planning on standing there for the race?"
  • Them: "Yeah is that okay"
  • Me: (Sigh) "Not really guys, we've been here since 7 and you've turned up with 15 minutes to go before the race and stood right in front of me!"
  • Them: "Oh sorry we didn't realise, it's our first year."
To which the mother stood next to me chips in and says "ours too!"
And finally..

  • 1255hrs Yes that right FIVE MINUTES before the race starts! Two gentlemen pitch up and stand again, directly in front of me. I ask the usual question and their response;
  • Them: "Yeah cheers"
  • Me: "Well I'd rather you didn't as I can't really see. I've been here since 7 mate."
  • Them: "That's tough ain't it. I didn't want to get here at 7! Anyway I paid to stand here!"
  • Me: (Biting my tongue) "Well all of these people got here early to get a good spot and for you to rock up FIVE MINUTES before the race starts is a bit stupid! I've paid for my place too mate!"
These guys stayed for about half the race and then luckily cleared off. I had to try my hardest not to really go at them and I was shaking with anger! I couldn't do anything after all I was flying the Armed Forces Day Flag and I didn't want to ruin the day for my brother and everyone around me, needless to say though I was pissed! 
That aside though the race was amazing! The drama provided was first class and the roller

coaster of emotion from Lewis winning, to blowing his tyre to fighting back to fourth was incredible, but cheer of the day had to be for when F1 Panto villain Sebastian Vettel broke down with 10 laps to go! The roar was unreal and you could hear it over the cars all around the circuit!
After the race we got chatting to the couple in front of us about the race and the ignorant people (so at least they agreed with me) and then we were privileged enough to walk on the track, before heading home.

So what will I take away from this weekend, well technically, my equipment works and is good! The iPhone stuff especially surprised me and is a great addition to my kit. 
Personally I will never do Silverstone that way again! It was too short and very tiring, with no time to relax! Next year I will revert back to the Thursday to the Monday!
Finally, some people are just inherently ignorant and disrespectful. I would never do that t someone and if the area had been full when me and Ben had arrived, we would have gone somewhere else. There is plenty of room on the circuit for everyone, you just have to get there early. 

I have already posted my photo's from the weekend on my website gallery, so head on over and take a look and today I will be posting my iPhone video on my YouTube page so stay tuned for that.

For the rest of this week I will be emailing the cast of Why Do We Do It regarding their parts in the film and also putting together a shooting schedule. I am still on the search for a person being tattooed and a Long Jumper so please if you are or know anyone who would be interested, get in touch at

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Where It All Began

Where did it all begin? What made me become a photographer and a film maker? 
Well my Grandad was a professional photographer who was also in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and my Father is a keen amateur photographer, so they both inspired me to this path. However that was my photographic background, what about my video beginnings. Well they really started in 2006, in Berlin with a family holiday. 
For Christmas the previous year I was given a Casio Exilim camera which had video capability. I did some short little videos on it, but mainly took pictures. In 2006 my parents moved to Berlin for a year and me and my elder brother visited them on occasion so during the summer of '06, we went over for a two week summer holiday and I decided to use the video on my camera and see what I could shoot. With inspiration from music videos, documentaries and sporting videos I decided to make a sort of video diary of my two weeks and then once I returned to the UK I edited into a little film. Here is the result - Berlin Holiday Movie 
I would be interested to know what you think. Obviously the quality isn't great and the editing is very simple, but what are your thoughts on the structure and story? 
I recently found my Exilim again, unfortunately it no longer works and I was going to throw it out, however my Dad persuaded me not to saying that it had great sentimental value not only to me, but to him. It was the starting point of my career really and shot the video which we as a family can sit and watch to reminisce about out time in Berlin. 
The other reason I wanted to show you this is to show (hopefully) that it doesn't take top of the range expensive equipment to shoot a film that has substance and matters to people. 
I will be shooting the majority of my film "Why Do We Do It" on my Pentax K-5 digital SLR camera, which I used to shoot the 'American Football Test Shoot' as well as a Go-Pro Hero 2 to get some shots from different angles. These are expensive cameras that shoot full HD and I will be taking both to Silverstone Circuit this weekend for the Santander British Grand Prix, however, to prove my point I will be shooting a video of my weekend on my iPod. Their are some great apps now fr shooting and editing video, so I will use ONLY my iPod! Stay tuned for the results of that next week.

So I am only now two whole days away from beginning the shooting of "Why Do We Do It" at Silverstone. There I will be shooting mainly cutaway shots for the crescendo scene at the end of the film, however it is still vitally important footage, as the atmosphere at Silverstone is electric and I really want to portray that! I will be updating you with pictures, videos and over social media all weekend so keep up to date on all my outlets to see how it's going!    

Below are a few links to videos I have shot using different equipment as well as a video by my directing assistant Graham Taylor. Please go and take a look and let me know what you think.

Berlin Holiday Movie


Graham's Go-Pro