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.

New Gallery Online

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It was not my intention to upload the Dunstable Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club images from yesterday.  Afterall, they were only some test images to practice using my new backup camera and 18-135mm lens.  However, several of the pilots from yesterday quickly contacted me for copies of some of their pictures and for this reason I have now processed all of the images and uploaded just over 200 images to a special gallery for the club.

It can be found from http://www.m4photo.co.uk with a link from the home page or the Locate Gallery navigation menu item.

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.

Reduction in keeping images for 90 days only.

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A number of people have recently questionned me about my change in policy with regards to keeping the original images from events that I have covered over the last three years.  I therefore thought that I’d write this blog article to outline my decisions.

I continue to support local clubs and other organisations through a ‘free to attend service’ that is based on my ability to capture good images that people want to purchase.  Whilst many professional event photographers have now resorted to charging to attend events owing to the advances in mobile phone (iphone and iPad especially) and low end DSLR camera technology, I continue to resist this growing trend.  As it is for many other event photographers, the ability for anyone to get good images using these readily available devices has resulted in a fairly large drop in purchased images and I continue to run M4Photo at a loss, even though I don’t take a wage from M4Photo – it is more about making memories for people than paying the mortgage.

The above means that I have to watch my costs in running M4Photo.  This includes costs to host the website, insurance, gear purchases and maintaining that gear.  With nearly two terabytes of images spread over numerous drives, one of my biggest costs that I can remove is the cost of drives.  With the need to have a main drive, a backup drive and then third off-site backup drive, the costs of drives and other disk space is not insignificant.

I have also been monitoring when people purchase images and the drop off following an event.  It has become very clear that 90 days is a decisive period of time, after which people very rarely purchase images.

There is also the child protection aspect of keeping images from events.  Many of my events include photographs of children that I really don’t need on my drives.  They have zero personal value and next to zero commercial value.  It therefore makes sense for these images to be deleted once it is clear that they are unlikely to be wanted by the children themselves, their parents and families.

So, based on the need to reduce my costs, the hassle of managing multiple drives and in the interests of child protection, I will now only keep event photographs for a period of 90 days following any event.

As of March 31st 2017 (my year end, give or take a day or two) I will begin clearing out my drives and deleting images from events that are 90 days and older.  I will then continue this policy and delete the images and pay club commissions 90 days (or just after) following the event completion.

I anyone wishes to purchase any images before I begin clearing the drives, please email me as soon as possible.  I can then prepare the required images and keep them in a separate folder whilst payment is arranged.

 

Eclipse Gymnastics – Awards Evening 2017

eclipse-gymnastics-010317After a hard day in the office, it is always nice to get out and to do something worthwhile.  This evening, this was fulfilled by my latest visit to Eclipse Gymnastics in Rushden and the task – why, to photograph their annual awards evening, of course and to capture some more great memories for the kids, teenagers and their families.

With the normal tough lighting in the room and the zoom lens working overtime (I must get used to moving myself, but this was not overly easy this evening) my task was to keep my on-camera flash settings correctly adjusted to balance the light and match the variable zoom being used.  I think, and hope, that I got it about right and the lack of throw away images confirm that.

The evening began with balloons on the floor and these are always a huge temptation for kids to go just a little crazy and the guys at Eclipse are no exception.  With a brief to get the awards, the camera came out early and I captures just a few images from the pre-presentation part of the event.  It was then on to the presentations and then a mad dash home to get the images processed and online.

As I type this, the gallery is uploading and it should be live real soon.

Thank you to Eclipse Gymnastics for inviting me back for another of their great events celebrating a fantastic group of gymnasts and individuals.

The gallery is available on www.m4photo.co.uk and it’s open to all Eclipse Gymnastics members and their families with the usual username and password.

Getting from Point A to Point B

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As we headed out of Furnace Creek in Death Valley on Route 190 Paul Reiffer (our workshop host and professional photographer) pulled the car over to the side of the road.  I been looking out of the side window thinking about the challenges to come and had not thought of looking behind us.  Paul had and when we jumped out of the car it quickly became evident why.

This is a classic view looking back down the road and it is one that I have seen a hundred times.  The difference this time was that it was my chance to try to go one step further.  So, with each of us watching the traffic whilst we each took our turn at capturing this iconic image, I set about getting my interpretation between cars, trucks and those rolling 18 wheel monsters that were coming over the rise a few hundred yards in the opposite direction to the image.

Well, it looks like I was not the only person to like my interpretation of the view.  Gurushots must have hundreds, if not thousands, of images similar to this on their database, but it is my image (just one of 38) that has been used to provide an example of getting from point a to point b.  There are some wonderful images that have been used in the article and I’m proud to have yet another of my images used in this manner.

You can see the full article here.

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