Castle Combe Finals 2017

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As is tradition I am posting this a couple of weeks after the event 🙂

As you may have gathered by now my Castle Combe race posts rarely contained commentary of the day’s actual racing but more me ‘rambling’ on about my day… reason I say this is because I have been asked a few times ‘who won’… to which I generally reply with ‘I have no idea’… as to be honest I don’t actually follow the racing as such… I am there to support Bill if he needs it, to see friends with similar interests, soak up the atmosphere and take photos…

I don’t really feel inclined to become a journalist, there are plenty of other resources out there should you want to know more about the actual racing but for me its a day out with good friends indulging in my interests of cars and photography..

So… nice early start!… Bill took the Badgerwagon to shake her down after all the recent issues… the aim of the game was to finish in one piece with no major issues…

Was good to see the car there after all the issues…

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

…and of course Tony and the gang were there too…
Castle Combe Finals 2017

Qualy was at 9ish so didn’t have time to walk round the track and settle down for the day… ended up watching from the pits…

Bill got round unscathed with no issues (other than handling was a bit off) but Tony wasn’t so lucky… a coolant leak from Scaramanga’s car at Camp Corner caused Tony to spin and get t-boned to boot…
Castle Combe Finals 2017

Disappointing… so went and had breakfast and wandered off for the rest of the day to photograph the racing…

Bill had a decent day… car (despite not handling fantastically) survived the day and he ended up with 3rd in class… there were some nice cars there so I won’t ramble on anymore… here are a few pics from the day…

A few shots from the Porsche racing..
Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Saloons…
Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Monoposto’s… these were quite fun and a couple had motorbike engines… they sounded awesome 🙂
Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

The GT’s of course… some nice machinery on track 🙂
Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

…an Aston was there too… much love for this beauty…
Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Unfortunately one of the silhouettes had rather a nasty crash just as I about to move from Old Paddock corner… was not the nicest thing I have ever seen…

The car in question was this one…
Castle Combe Finals 2017

Castle Combe Finals 2017

Thankfully he got out of the car ok… a little shaken up and went to the hospital just for a check over but shows how ‘safe’ (in relative terms) the cars are…

All in all though it was a good day’s racing and a great end to the season… looking forward to next year 🙂

<tuffty/>

Drip week

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Drip week

After what seems like an age I managed to grab a much needed week off work… originally I was planning to take a week off during the new moon period and hope for a clear night to have a crack at some deep sky object astrophotography… primarily the Andromeda Galaxy as it should be a relatively DSO to capture for a n00b..

But.. as is the way of things it didn’t work out… just as well as the weather wasn’t much use anyway… so decided to spend a bit of time with the drip rig and try and get to grips with it..

My drip rig has been evolving since I first put it together… one issue I have is space… well the lack of it… I had to make the rig fit in a tight area in my office and be able to be disassembled easily and packed away as required…

Another issue is lighting… due to the lack of space it makes it tricky to position the flashes… lighting the drips needs a degree of flexibility and much like studio lighting there are a few ways you can do it which will give various different looks to the end result.

I had already done a few series of images using just water but also wanted to play with thickening the water… the information on these mix ratios seems to be top secret… plenty of inference on what to use but not so much on mix ratios and effectiveness…

First job was to mix up some thicker water… the stuff generally used is xanthan gum or guar gum… I bought xanthan… not knowing how much I would need I bought a huge bag… turns out it was enough to last me and several others a life time lol…

After a bit of research I settled on 600ml warm/hot water (to help the gum dissolve) and 1/2 tsp of gum… I did try to stick it in a blender but that made it very thick indeed so I sprinkled it over the top whilst whisking it in… looked a little like this…
Drip week

Its not going to fully dissolve so it needs straining… for that I used an old t-shirt…
Drip week

It won’t pass through under its own steam (thick and disturbingly jizz like at this stage!) so you need to squeeze it through… you may need to do it a couple of times by which time you should be left with…
Drip week

I left the water mix to settle over night then tried a few test shots to get a feel for what I would need to do to improve things…
Drip week

Drip week

All seemed good but was obvious the rig was in need of some fettling…

First job was to upgrade the rig a bit to help make it less cumbersome to setup… I made a frame to hold the frosted acrylic sheet (to soften the flash) and stands for the flash guns…

Drip week

Drip week

Called it a day after that…

Following day I started off using the tray… this is large enough that you can get reflection shots… you can either use a background and bounce the flash off it or as I did in these fire through the acrylic sheet… I used coloured gels on the flashes to create the colour..
Drip week

Drip week

Lighting was tricky to dial in… still getting a feel for it and hindsight being what it is I think I might have approached this a little more systematically… problem is I had lots of bits to do to the setup to get it to the next level so was probably doing to much at once but hey ho..

Next thing to try was milk… I used full fat milk which has a thick viscosity… set this up a little differently for this series of shots…
Drip week

Drip week

Drip week

Drip week

Pleased with those results and demonstrates how viscosity affects the look… gives me something to aim for with the water mix…

The following day I went back to water… this time a thicker mix in the drop reservoir and a smaller drip ‘bowl’
Drip week

Adding a little colour to the drip reservoir fluid and composing with the camera dead on this time…
Drip week

Drip week

Drip week

Tried a couple of ‘crowns’ too
Drip week

Drip week

I learnt a lot from this weeks endeavours… Its been a little frustrating at times as I have been trying a little too hard to do too many things at once but my rig is a lot easier to manage now so its ready to evolve again…

The HiViz controller supports three valves but… you have no individual control over each one so you can’t dial each in to account for any subtle differences in the setup… I found that initially non of the valves would drop a single ‘drop’ at the same time even when meticulously aligned and levelled up… you would need to physically adjust the height to ‘tune’ which makes the rig a lot more complex so for now I have stuck to one valve..

The controller will release up to three drops but doing this (in my experience) is simply not reliable… I spent a lot of time trying to dial it all in one drop at a time… got a perfect two drop collision but then introducing a third drop seemed to throw all that out the window (I was only trying to make the 3rd drop visible in the frame rather than try anything too fancy at this time…)

I gave up with that for now and spent more time on the mixture… there is not a lot of info about it on the web… plenty of posts eluding to the ‘secret’ recipe but nothing conclusive… plus actual effectiveness is also dictated by the drip hardware (gotta love physics)…

I tried a few different mixes with varying degrees of success but each mix meant I had to recalibrate as the viscosity effected the timing of the drops… I found I had to increase the size of the drops to get them to even release from the valve.. this of course altered the dynamics which meant dialling back in again…

The other issue I had was dialling the flash controller in… the HiViz multi trigger 3 has a coarse and fine adjustment dial… you need to dial in initially with the coarse dial then tweak with fine… in reality the coarse is very coarse… I literally only moved it a hair and it made a huge difference an the fine tuning didn’t have enough in it to pull it back so it was quite a juggle..

I now plan to have a go at building this… http://www.dropcontroller.com/ Parts wise its quite cheap… you can control all the valves separately and accurately too

Will post about that when I get around to doing it of course 🙂

<tuffty/>

Moon rise attempt 2

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Have been itching to get out and do some astro… been practicing with the tracker and watching loads of videos on youtube on image stacking and other such astrophotography related fun and games… I plan to have a go at the Andromeda Galaxy at the next available opportunity…

The weather has been pants but tonight (the night of the full moon!) its was forecast clear… being in the full moon phase kills any chance of astrophotography without special filters (H-Alpha) so decided to try for a moon rise…

What I didn’t realise until I got back home to edit was that this was in fact the Harvest Moon…

Happy with the result 🙂

Moon rise attempt 2

I have some time off towards the end of the month so planning some splash pics and hoping for a clear night or two..

<tuffty/>

Audi Driver International 2017

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ADI was a little earlier than usual this year but I have been pretty busy of late so I am posting this a couple of weeks after the event 🙂

Wasn’t really feeling it this year but was a chance to get to meet a few old friends and to give the Badgerwagon a shake down after various issues meaning Bill missed the last couple of races…

Basically ended up walking around the track at Combe with my great mate Mark and his family stopping at Quarry, Old Paddock and Bobbies taking pictures…

This year was probably the quietest I have seen ADI… not many people there at all but I did take a few pics so here are a few of them 🙂

Early start and the weather looked promising…
Audi Driver International 2017

Starting in the paddock we have Kieth Murry’s rather impressive R8 that runs a turbo 2ltr valver engine!..
Audi Driver International 2017

Audi Driver International 2017

The rather rare aluminium blocked 1.2tdi A2…
Audi Driver International 2017

Quite possibly my other favourite car on the day…
Audi Driver International 2017

Audi Driver International 2017

Off round the track now…
Audi Driver International 2017

Audi Driver International 2017

Audi Driver International 2017

Audi Driver International 2017

Audi Driver International 2017

Audi Driver International 2017

And of course the Badgerwagon being put through its paces…
Audi Driver International 2017

Was a nice day all in all even though it was a little undersubscribed… not many cars on track so made it a little tricky to get much ‘theatre’ into the pics but was nice to spend time with great mate Mark and his family, taking pics and watching cars 🙂

Mark being taught how best to get a panning shot…
Audi Driver International 2017

Audi Driver International 2017

Was the little ones first day out at a track
Audi Driver International 2017

<tuffty/>