Fun evening on Dunstable Downs

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Well today was a little unusual to say the least.  It began with a journey across from Rushden to Tring and my Sat Nav took me along the bottom of Dunstable Downs, out passed Ivinghoe Beacon and on to Tring.  I’m getting in the habit of having the camera in the car these days and luckily I’d decided to throw my jeans, polo shirt and some boots in the back of the car before leaving.

Following the meeting, I headed over to Ivinghoe and parked up just above the beacon in the designated car park.  I’ve not been up there for getting on for 30 years, so I set off along the ridge, briefing the office of my earlier meeting before heading to the steep uphill section.  At the top of the beacon were a number of model glider pilots and I watched for a while and spoke to one of them about my days ridge soaring my models, some 30+ years ago – was it really that long ago :(.

I’d spent a little more than my lunch break on the beacon, so I headed over to the Downs above London Gliding Club to see what was in the air over there.  There were a handful of gliders running the ridge and a number of paragliders.  Checking my phone, I found that I had 4G and brilliant reception on my phone, so I parked up, bought a ticket and settled into work mode from the back of the car – I love being able to work anywhere.

IMG_0126With my work completed and the afternoon wearing on, I grabbed the camera before the light faded too much and headed over to catch some of the paragliders.  This would be the first outing for the new Canon 7D with the small and inexpensive 18-135mm kit lens.  The setup cannot touch my 5D with the 70-200 2.8 and I really wished that I’d had that camera, especially with some of the paragliders buzzing really low over head.  With the light getting worse and worse, it was a case of fighting the settings just to get some half decent images, but I think that some were worthwhile and I certainly enjoyed the challenge.

With the sun falling below a bank of thick cloud, it cast a golden glow along the horizon but only for a few minutes before it sank below another equally dense bank of cloud sitting on the horizon.  With the light too bad, I turned back to the car and set off for home with some reminders of some great 30 year old memories.

Just in case any of the paragliders should find this blog page, I’ve added a handful of the images below.  There were nearly 200 taken on the downs, but only a few have been processed.

Now, I’ll just have to wait for some better weather and then head over to the downs again with the 5D MkIII and the longer lens.

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