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/>

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

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Motorsport photography is something I tend to do quite a bit of… I’d like to think I am fairly proficient at it even though composition opportunities can be a bit limiting as I have to take pics like every other spectator does from the wrong side of the fencing…

At Castle Combe the ‘better’ places to take pictures are at Quarry corner (which tends to get rammed in the afternoon), old Paddock Bend and Bobbies… I used to spend a lot of time at Tower but in recent years they have put up quite a lot of catch fences making it fairly useless now…

Anyhoo I took my now fixed AE-1 along to Race 5 to try and see if I could get any trackside pics…

As the AE-1 is manual focus I had to pick a spot in the middle of the track focus on that and hope to press the shutter at the right time… of course I couldn’t check if I was getting any decent results seeing as it was film :/

My muscle memory for the DSLR let me down on a fair few occasions… I was primarily forgetting to wind the film on and the loose push/pull zoom of the Canon 70-210mm f4 FD lens I was using didn’t help so took me a little while to dial all that in… I ended up using the AE-1’s Tv mode (as this is what helped win it awards for being a sports camera by all accounts) and hoped it would make taking images a little easier..

Anyway I now have the images back from processing… I ran the scanned TIF’s through Lightroom to mostly tweak exposure (using Tv mode seemed to over expose the images a bit), clean up ‘dust’ (which I am sure is from the scanning process!) and crop…

So here are the less out of focus shots 🙂

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

I know where I went wrong with this exercise… I need to pre-focus on one spot and fix the framing area and always take the shots in that area… I am too used to AI-Servo AF and 6fps burst so found myself ‘over panning’ and never taking the shot in the pre-focused zone…

I took the Nikon F-501 to the recent bank holiday race day so be interesting to see what the results of 1980’s servo AF is like…

To finish up with I also took a few paddock shots… handling the AE-1 for mostly static subjects seems a lot easier but my old man eyes still struggle a little getting the focus half about before the subjects get bored and move out of shot 🙂
Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Always something to learn with photography even if it is from using 1980’s technology 🙂

<tuffty/>

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

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For some reason I appear to have missed an update for the Combe race season but in fairness it wasn’t the best race day ever with both Bill’s Ibiza and Tony’s TT having major issues on the day…

As random as it may appear the picture of the moon at the top of this post was taken at Combe on Sunday…

Bill’s engine suffered from a failure due to incorrectly supplied parts (the difference wasn’t an obvious one and had no reason to believe they weren’t right!) and Tony had a turbo failure and engine fire from the oil feed working loose on the turbo… cars suck sometimes 🙁

Race 4
Didn’t take many pics that day but here are a couple of the keepers…

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

…and to finish, a little bit of irony…
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Race 5

Despite a lot of effort to try and get the car ready Bill decided not to race this time… engine has been rebuilt but oil pressure is unusually low and after just 3 hours running on the dyno an inspection of the engine showed wear on the big end shells symptomatic of low oil pressure… a quick look at the logs from the ECU and logger confirmed that oil pressure is simply not enough…

Tony’s car was there though… the weather was great, nice and sunny… not too hot… it was surprisingly empty in the paddock but that could have been due to a lot of the cars being situated in the overflow area…

First issue of the day was with James Keepin’s MG… the scrutineer wasn’t keen that the cut off switch didn’t shut things down immediately… turns out to have been a wiring issue thats always been there so this was sorted and Keepo was back out in time for qualy…

Sadly though Tony only managed 3 laps before having to pull over in a trail of white smoke… turbo had gone!!! as it turns out it went big time… turbine had destroyed itself and it along with the blades was later found in the back box (stopped by the CAT of all things!)… not a good start to the day…

As I knew I was going to be taking pictures this time round I thought I would try and use the 70-200 instead of the 100-400 to see if a faster lens would give anything to the day… I also took the AE-1 fitted with a 70-210mm f4 FD lens… in the 80’s it won awards for being a ‘sports’ camera so in the words of Barney (How I met your Mother), ‘challenge accepted!’… obviously I will have to wait a few weeks before I can post the results up as… well… its film… its needs developing… and the place I use has a two week turnaround…

Anyhoo… notable pics from the day… first of all the walk around the paddock…
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

I am not a massive Porsche fan but finding myself warming to them a bit… especially this one (which features quite a bit in my images from the day lol)
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

…Tony really needs to remove that sticker!!
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

….that RSR again 🙂
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Quite possibly my favourite images of the day…
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Keepo…
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Some teenager…
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Tony with the teenager who clearly wasn’t allowed money for an icecream…
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Chivy…
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

The son of the stroppy teenager who is clearly trying to look like a man with his attempt at a man beard…
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

After a walk round the paddock and a bit of breakfast at the Tavern I set off round the track taking pictures at various places as I went round… which wasn’t because I was knackered and had to rest for a bit 🙂
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

That Porsche again 🙂
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Some RSR…
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

A lovely Lotus Esprit 😀
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Last one of this Porsche!!!…
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

…ok… just one more but I reeeealy like this shot (and the porker was quite nice too 😀 )
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

GT’s and Saloons this time shot from Bobbies…
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Bit of a crash at Avon Rise so super Dave got a chance to flash his blues and race round in the medical car…
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

Thankfully nobody was hurt so wandered back to the paddock and grabbed a couple of final shots…
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

And possibly one of the only Ferrari’s I would actually consider owning… (would obvs have to grow a mahoosive moustache if I did)
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

All in all a great day… came home rather achy, very tired and sporting a nice shade of red! 🙂

The day was a bit of a try out for my photography… I used lens combos I had not tried before and was the first time I used a Black Rapid harness over the normal neck straps… I typically take two camera bodies to Combe… my 50D with the 16-35f4 on it for wide paddock shots and the 6D with the 100-400 on it for track and paddock…

I found myself using the 70-200/6D more for the paddock this time and shot in Av at f3.5… its the first time I have used this lens for anything more than the ‘odd shot’ despite it being permanently on my 6D… I absolutely love the subject isolation using a fast lens gives… I wasn’t sure if it would do much more over either the 24-105 f4 or 16-35 f4 but the 70-200 f2.8 is much better… possibly due to the affect zoom has on DOF…

On track though its a different story… Combe is quite a close track for spectators… checking the my previous shots I felt 200mm on a full frame body ‘should’ be ok but took my Kenko 1.4x teleconverter as well just in case…

Positioned at the exit of the Esses it had enough reach for panning past my position but some of the shots I took of cars exiting the chicane needed a fair bit of cropping to get a decent composure…

I tried the 1.4x TC on too… was a little concerned about its affect on image quality but unless you are a pixel peeper I was very pleased with the results…

On round to Bobbies and panning was much easier due to the slower exit speeds out after the first part of the chicane but still found I had to crop the pics quite a bit.

The Black Rapid hybrid strap was impeccable… didn’t suffer from the normal neck ache of hanging two heavy DSLR’s round my neck… I also had a medium back pack but just had my pepsi max and little fold up chair in it so that wasn’t heavy..

I used the AE-1 at the Esses exit spot as this was close enough to get a decent frame filling shot… I used it in Tv mode so 1/200th and set the lens to ‘A’ so the camera will work out the aperture…

Pre-focused as best I could and started taking shots… boy that was hard work!!… the focus and zoom is a twisty push pull affair… its also very loose so I have no idea if if went out of focus at all and remembering to wind the film wasn’t intuitive at first lol..

Will be sending the film off tomorrow and will post up the results (good or bad) when I get the scans back.

Next time I’ll take both the 70-200 and the 100-400 and will try the Nikon next time… that has AF and a motor drive so maybe a little less stressful lol… I will have to do a lens swap but its something that will need to be done 🙂

<tuffty/>

Castle Combe 2017 Race 3

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After the rather nasty off in race 2 you would be forgiven to think that it might take a while to get things sorted… as it happens… no it didn’t!…

After a rather impressive turn around from Craig at Darkside Customs we had the car back looking straighter than it did from the last excursion into Tower corner…
Castle Combe 2017 Race 3

The day started off ok… weather was looking iffy at best and then it started spitting with rain in qualy… Bill got 7th on grid with a 1.16.320… not too bad considering the greasy track and a few nerves hoping the brakes will hold up this time…

Not everything was going as well though… Keepo had started the weekend with issues managing to break off a bleed nipple from one of the front calipers… after sorting that out the alternator bracket came adrift and the oil cooler split during qualy… keepo was not having a good day..

This was compounded by the heavens opening and then would you believe it!!.. the solar panel farm caught fire!!!..

It was a very eventful day… the race proved to be even more eventful… very very very wet but Bill did good… held 3rd place right up to the last lap… then aquaplaned into… you guessed it… Tower!!!…

There was a short period of panic and disbelief as the commentators weren’t exactly sure what was happening with car 55 at Tower so we walked back to the paddock only to find a very straight looking Badgerwagon parked up… thankfully there was a new ‘tyre’ wall installed at Tower that pretty much cushioned his entry in… there was a small dent in the rear from contact with another car on the way in and a broken door mirror…

Best bit of it was that he finished 3rd in class after making his way back on track!!… result 🙂

Anyway… as the weather was crap and I care far too much about my camera kit I didn’t take too many pics… here are a few of the ones I did though…

Castle Combe 2017 Race 3

Castle Combe 2017 Race 3

Castle Combe 2017 Race 3

Castle Combe 2017 Race 3

Castle Combe 2017 Race 3

Castle Combe 2017 Race 3

Castle Combe 2017 Race 3

Castle Combe 2017 Race 3

Castle Combe 2017 Race 3

Castle Combe 2017 Race 3

<tuffty/>

Re-editing old RAW files

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While I have been taking pictures on and off since my teens (a fair few years back) I have only really been into photography seriously since around 2007 when I got my first DSLR…

I bought a Canon 300D off a friend of mine who was looking to upgrade to a 30D… came with an 18-55 kit lens and was quite a leap to my current camera a Canon PowerShot S40… the S40 was a brilliant point and shoot camera, excellent image quality and RAW capable… had a manual mode as well as Av and Tv which made it quite flexible but obviously with a fixed lens it was not ever going to be any use for motorsport which is why I went for the DSLR instead.

As is the norm I went through several iterations of lenses including a Canon 75-300 and a Sigma 50-500 (lovingly referred to as the ‘Bigma’)..
Re-editing old RAW files

The problem with the 300D though was that it didn’t have a constant AF setting (AI Servo in Canon speak) which made tracking fast moving objects interesting to say the least… resulted in 90% of my images being out of focus and in those days I took 100’s of shots lol… was a little disheartening to trawl through them and edit and so most but a select few ever saw the light of day…

A few weeks ago I stumbled on the backups I made of all those early year RAW files so decided to reimport them to Lightroom and have another stab at them…

There are a few images I had already processed back in the day but that was with Lightroom 1… I have learnt a few new techniques and with Lightroom CC the tools available now are much better… as a result the images just seem to pop more… I’ll show a few of those comparisons towards the end…

First batch was from the 2007 Whitsun Bank Holiday race day at Castle Combe… these were taken with the 300D
Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

..and a couple from the following weekend…
Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Not too shabby considering its an old 6.3mp DSLR with one shot focus…

Next up was a Motorbike race day… bikes are tricky little buggers especially with one shot focus
Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Happy with those…

Next up a few pics of the family on a day to Bristol Balloon Festival where I didn’t actually take pics of any balloons!…

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

By this time I had trudged through quite a few files which as anyone who uses a similar workflow process will know shifting through images to choose and process keepers can be quite a chore at times…

Next up is Castle Combes Rally Day which fell the week after the sad news of Colin McRea’s fatal helicopter accident… by this time I had chopped in the trusty 300D and got a factory refurbished 30D… this of course has AI Servo which would help with the panning shots but was only really a modest upgrade in resolution at 8.2mp.. I had also bought the Bigma by then…

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

….and of course wouldn’t be right without a tribute to the great man himself…
Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Plenty of classic rally cars there of course (I owned two Escort Mk2’s when I was younger)
Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

…and my favourite car of the day…
Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

At this point I was starting to question why I I actually bothered to change any of my camera kit… clearly (other than actual megapixels) it was capable and so it seemed was I…

Next set was good fun… I took a trip to Thruxton for a round of the BTCC… this was quite a tricky shoot as the weather was very dull and overcast plus views of the track was limited… I went down on the Saturday when there would be less spectators and took a few shots…

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Re-editing old RAW files

Had to run quite a high ISO at times to get a decent exposure… one thing that was evident was that the images are quite a lot noisier from the 30D than my 6D… so in my mind replacement kit is now justified 🙂

There are a few more images but nothing really worth sharing… I took a little time off from photography in 2008 while I was working on the S3… I used my phone camera mostly after that for the build pics as it was awkward to use the DSLR whilst working on the car so it got put away… 2009 saw a resurgence in shots at Combe races as I went to support Bill..

I have those and a few others left to edit as you can see from this screen grab…
Re-editing old RAW files

As I mentioned earlier re-editing some images showed up how rubbish I was back in the day… I would like to think that I now have a better idea on how to get my images looking how I want and the one image I always wish I could revisit was the one of my youngest daughter that I took while at the Bristol Balloon Festival…

This is the original edit…
Re-editing old RAW files

…vs my recent edit of the same RAW file…
Re-editing old RAW files

I’ll get around to editing the rest at some point… plus I really ought to get out and take some fresh pics 🙂

<tuffty/>

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

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Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Weather forecast was threatening rain (showers at the very least)… rainy race days are not the most fun if I am honest but we had wets and was hopeful the rain would hold off long enough…

Thankfully the rain did hold off and all was looking good in qualy… Bill managed a 1.14.896 which placed him second on grid…

Unfortunately towards the end of the session he was approaching Tower corner and went to brake… the pedal just hit the floor and wouldn’t pump up in time to make the corner… he ended up going backwards into the tyre wall at Tower 🙁

Was a concerning 20 mins while we waited outside the medical centre for him to be released but released he was rather battered, bruised and a little sorry for himself…

Thankfully the damage looked worse than it was and the car has now gone off to be sorted… will require a bit of pulling and Bills donor Ibiza to provide panels to replace the bent ones… may even take advantage of the opportunity to do a wide arch conversion on the rears too 🙂

I think Bill had come to the conclusion his car was lost but after support from the community at Combe the Badgerwagon will return stronger than ever 🙂

Pretty sure the car suffered massive pad knock off so at the very least we need to look at ways to mitigate the effect to at least stand a chance of gaining control… this happened so fast with no warning there was no chance of a safe recovery… looking at the logs he was doing 115mph at the point he lost the brakes… the second pump managed to lock up the OSF wheel but the NSF didn’t do a thing… a yank of the handbrake managed to drop the speed to around 60mph and span the car round where the car came to an abrupt halt in the tyre wall… Ouch!!!… the force of the impact broke the front mountings of the seat too causing Bill to head his head against the roll cage as it leant back… double ouch!!!

Not a good start to the day and he was doing so well 🙁

Shame as race 2 saw the return of Tony Hutchings and his TT after the big crash last year so would have made for some interesting racing…

The mood did pick up though and the rest of the day went well with Tony bagging a 1st in class in the GT’s and 2nd in class in saloons…

Hopefully we shall be back ready for Race 3 🙂

Some pics from the day…

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Keepo trying to have a pee up the fence… probably… 🙂
Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

And of course the result of the accident 🙁
Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Onwards and upwards

<tuffty/>

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

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First race of the year… didn’t really get many images on the day as I was making sure I was available to support Bill and train up the new guy 🙂

Anyway… race went fantastically well… Bill qualified second on grid with a personal best lap time of 1.13.9… race got off to a good start and Bill came in a solid 2nd in the race and in his class only missing out on the lap record by 0.2 seconds and slashing his personal best with a 1.13.6…

Was a great start to the season 🙂

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

<tuffty/>