Jill and Dave’s 70th Birthday Party

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Saturday evening, around 200 guests and double 70th Birthday Party for Jill and Dave Edwards saw me preparing and heading over to The Bedford Golf  Club and a remit to document the evening.

Finding the venue was easy and my first task was to find some suitable locations for the group shots that Jill had requested.  The course was surrounded on two sides by trees and I was lucky to find one where the grass was not too wet and not at all muddy or soggy.  With two locations chosen, I headed inside to capture some images of the birthday couple meeting some of their guests.

As always, the entrance doorway was cramped and busy and shrouded in deep shade, only a small amount of light from one window.  This was going to be fun trying to get faces and enough natural light falling on the gusts as they arrived.  This was one time when I did not want to use flash because it can be so imposing and I wanted to leave Jill and Dave to meet their guests without the usual flashes going off every two seconds.

Half an hour after the party start time, I caught up with Jill and we got the Bliss family together for their family shot on the grass outside.  The natural light was pretty nice but the clouds we gathering and there was moisture in the air already.  With one family shot in the bag we turned to the Edwards and the second of the four or five shots that Jill had lined up.

This is where things took a change because a few people were missing and getting people gathered together whilst still meeting late arrivals was always going to be troublesome.  Thankfully, Jill saw the logistical difficulties, especially getting two sets of 60 bowlers together and who were simply ready to party and she decided to call off the idea and concentrate on the party and enjoying herself.

So, with official shots done it was back to what I like best and seeking out the casual shots.  This started with me moving between four vantage points and picking up images of as many people as I could and some room wide shots for the record.  Following which the entertainment for the night was to be courtesy of Deja Vu, a three person group with a guitarist and two singers covering songs from the 1940’s right through to today.

As the dance floor began to fill, I turned my attention to capturing images of people dancing and also people enjoying themselves at the tables.  This filled my time up to the buffet opening and a few minutes to catch a few shots before putting the camera away for a quick bite to eat and a much needed Coke.

jill-edwards-70th-partyThe rest of the evening was spent in and around the dance floor with official shots of the speeches, the cake and then the cutting of the cake.  Soon after the band got a Conga train going, well one for the ladies and one for the gents and I just had enough time to reach my high vantage point before there were two growing in length trains threading their way through the hall.  The band then also helped with my final shot that I wanted to get.  Whilst Jill had been on the dance floor, Dave had been in the main hall.  The band brought the two together for a dance towards the end of the evening and my work was done.  Just a few last shots of Deja Vu and few people on the dance floor and I was done.

A little later than I had planned but just after midnight I was homeward bound and looking forward to processing and uploading the images.

With the images processed, I have published two galleries to www.m4photo.co.uk.  They include the images from the party and also some of the images of Deja Vu in a separate gallery.

If you are a family member or guest, I hope that you like the images and your comments are always most welcome.

M.

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Two Years and Still Going Strong

Mono Lake Rainstorm

Mono Lake Rainstorm – Rain teems down form the heavens over the mountains alongside Mono Lake, Mammouth Lakes, CA, USA – Copyright 2015 Martyn Phillips, M4Photo.

Two years ago, I was extremely fortunate to find myself in California for what was to be the photographic trip of my lifetime.  Under the guidance of professional landscape photographer Paul Reiffer, we visited a number of locations, with Mono Lake being one of my favorites.

Mono Lake Rainstorm has consistently been one of my most successful images.  Now two years old, I was amazed to see in my email that Gurushots have once again picked up one of my images.  This time Mono Lake Rainstorm has made number one in the list of 36 landscape images that will “knock your socks off”.

See the full list of 36 images here.

 

New Gallery Online

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After a relatively quiet period, this week has seen my second outing to photograph a local club event.  Tonight I was back at Eclipse Gymnastics and this time for something a little different.

There is no doubt that the gymnasts are all very talented in their sport, but this evening proved that they also have talents in other areas and we were treated to singers, dancers, musicians and a comedy magic trick routine that had everyone in stitches.  Have you ever tried taking photographs in very low light whilst giggling – it’s hard.

All of the participants did really well but it was Henry playing the violin that stole the show and one the accolade for best performance.  His piece which was accompanied by backing music was wonderful and he played it entirely from memory.  It was a joy to listen to and watch. He was, in my mind, a very worthy winner.

As usual the light was atrocious in the club’s hall, in fact it was lower than usual.  This meant me pushing the camera and my skills to the absolute limit.  Some of the images are a little grainy and soft but the gallery is now being uploaded to www.m4photo.co.uk for all of the club members to view and purchase .jpg files and prints.  The usual commission will be paid to the club for all photographs bought over the next 90 days.

Finally, well done to everyone at Eclipse Gymnastics who were involved with organizing yet another flawless and great evening of entertainment.

M4Photo Supporting a New Local Club

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A few weeks ago, I was approached by AFC Rushden and Diamonds with regards to a possible sponsorship deal. This local club is growing fast and it now needs some additional funds to invest in more equipment and to enable it to grow and bring football to young boys and girls from Rushden and the surrounding area.

Because I continue to run M4Photo as a not for profit entity, I don’t have profits to share in this manner.  However, supporting local clubs is ‘exactly’ what M4Photo is all about and I’m really pleased to begin supporting AFC Rusdhen and Diamonds.

My first photographic opportunity was to cover their Fun Day this weekend.  Held over at Bozeat, the event was within my catchment area and because the games would all be played in house – different age groups within the club playing each other, there was no concern about gaining permission from visiting clubs.

So early Saturday, I found myself parking up in Bozeat and making my way up to the playing field.  I thought that I would only be photographing one small group, but the club is a lot bigger than I had thought and the coaches are bring football to a very large number of local kids.

Very quickly I found myself checking my anticipated camera settings whilst the players warmed up.  This would be my first outing shooting football, so I knew that I’d be on another steep learning curve.  It’s not just the camera settings, but more about the action, how best to capture it and mostly how to anticipate it.  All in all, I think that I did OK, but a little more practice will result in better action shots, better timing and a little more use of depth of field to make the players really stand out.  For today, it was a case of playing safe.

Thankfully the weather held fine and I got to work capturing some images from an initial couple of games.  It was then over to the awards table to capture some of the many awards being given out to the kids.  There is some real talent in the club and many of the lads wore their medals and held their trophies with pride and huge smiles.

All in all I had a great morning with the players and coaches and I hope that I will have caught some good photographs for the players and parents.  As always, a percentage of every .jpg file and print sold will be donated to the club and, in some small way, I hope that the cash raised will help the club to grow and bring football to more and more of our local community.

So, for those of you who are associated with the club and interested in seeing the images, the gallery is now available from www.m4photo.co.uk.  As usual, there is a link from the Home Page and this will prompt you for a username and password which is available from Gary at the club – please don’t email or ask me for the login details because my Child Protection Policy does not permit me to share the details and I’m very strict on only giving the login details to club officials that I am authorized to give them to and who I have personally met.

New Gallery Uploaded

track-days-290417For those of you who are interested, i have just uploaded a brand new gallery to www.m4photo.co.uk.  This will be used to house all of my Track Day photo galleries because I have a strong feeling more will come over the coming months.

Because these images have been shot unofficially and because they include people’s car registrations, the gallery is password protected.  You may be asked for car details and registrations for the username and password to be given to you.  Please don’t be offended if you are asked for these details.

Please also note that owing to rules that were imposed on me at the track side, I was not able to get close enough to the action and I had to resort to using my 200mm lens with the 2x extender.  This extender often results in slightly soft images.  When funds allow and when I can get official access to photograph events like these, I’ll purchase a longer lens for these sorts of events.

In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy the new gallery.

Track Day with Richard

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Well Rich, it took you 6 years to turn the red (or should I say Pink) ‘Dicky Dego’ into a beautiful take on the classic BTCC Mondeo and it really stood out today.  The run around the track was just awesome and I can certainly say that I’ve been in some quick Mondeo’s in my time but this one just sticks to the track and the braking and cornering was well worth the longgggg wait.  It’s 30 years since I took a car round a track and all of those memories came flooding back.

The above is a preview of a large number of images that I took from the day.  We were at Abingdon Airfield behind Dalton Barracks in Oxfordshire and you could smell the oil and burning brakes and tires on arrival.  Today was going to be a good day and I was glad that the weather held and the threatening rain stayed away.

Below is the car Richard’s mate was driving when things ‘almost’ went a little wobbly. During the day, we saw plenty of cars swapping ends and coming around the last corner he had a moment when the back stepped out and he’s all crossed up in a great save.  It was great to watch and just wish that I had been able to get closer to the action for a better and cleaner image.

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I’m looking forward to going back and I’m trying hard not to get bitten by the bug again. Next time the camera will stay in the car for more of the time and I’ll enjoy the racing experience a little more.

Was I tempted to take the Subaru round, you bet I was but – well firstly it would have been a snail compared to the Mondeo and most of the other cars running on track and secondly, I think Andrew would have had something to say about that.  No, she stayed firmly parked on the grass and I enjoyed learning to pan and playing with camera settings to try to get wheels in motion.  I was trying for a different angle to most track day photographs that I have seen online.  Most photographers seem to try to capture the cars more front on to avoid stopping the wheels but to keep a tac-sharp number plate.

Today, I wanted to try capturing a more side on approach with both sharp number plates and wheels in motion – no easy task, especially with overcast skies and low light to play with.  In addition, I was way too far back from where I’d like to have been and the images will be a little soft owing to the 2x extender on the 200mm lens, but if the above image is anything to go by, I should have one or two worthy of a print for the guys.

Ohh – I should have mentioned the image above is with the silver alloys on.  The car just comes into it’s own with the white wheels and those images will come a lot later.  For now it’s time for bed and more photo processing over the weekend.

Once done, the whole gallery will go up on www.m4photo.co.uk in a new Track Day Gallery that I’ll create.  I don’t think that this will be my last time photographing Richard during one of his track days.

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Another trip out with the Canon 7D, 18-135mm kit lens.

archers-of-raunds-18032017Today and another archery competition.  Today, Lauren was registered for her first away from home competition in a little over three years and she would be joining three other AoR archers competing at the Fenland Archery Club, based in Whittlesey, Peterborough.  With only four archers to concentrate on, I thought that it was another good opportunity to take along the Canon 7D with the 18-135mm kit lens and see how it performs.

The 5D with my Pro glass will continue to be my lead equipment for events, but this backup camera is certainly surprising me with its reach and quality.  It is great that the body is almost identical to the 5D and I have found myself right at home from the off.  I miss the bulk afforded by the addition of the battery grip, but this body is all about what I can capture with a relatively light camera system.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the images that I captured in the sports hall spanning three badminton courts and those images are now available online for the four archers, if they want them.

As far as the tournament was concerned, well everyone appeared to have a good time.  The venue was good and everyone at the shoot was very friendly and the shoot was generally very well run.  With regards to the four AoR archers, they all had a good solid shoot with everyone pushing their personal best scores.  Considering Lauren has not shot 20 yards since January and she had no sight marks when we arrived, she did extremely well to claim fourth place and about 15 points off her personal best.