Castle Combe 2017 Race 3

Standard

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 πŸ™‚

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

Standard

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

<tuffty/>

First attempt at focus stacking…

Standard

Had a bit of spare time so tried my hand at a bit of macro focus stacking on the flowers I bought my long suffering wife for our wedding anniversary..

Using a 100mm macro lens I got in close to one of the flower heads (don’t ask what it was… I just buy flowers based on what kinda looks nice lol)… even at f16 the depth of field is really shallow this close to the subject so the technique involves taking a number of shots focusing front to back in steps… I took 10 images in total…

You then do basic editing in Lightroom, select the images and then you can add them as layers to Photoshop by right clicking on the selected images…

Once in Photoshop you then go to Edit > Auto Align Layers (select Auto)… then Edit > Auto Blend Layers (select Stack)

This will process all the images (layers) by applying layer masks as required and blend all the focused areas of the layers together… once saved the final TIFF ends up in Lightroom for final editing..

Here is the result..

First attempt at focus stacking...

Happy with that… will try it on some other stuff soon πŸ™‚

<tuffty/>

Results of my first B&W film

Standard

Results of my first B&W film

Having bought myself a Canon AE-1 earlier in the year I have now (finally) got through the first B&W film and received the processed film today…

The package I went for was to process the film and scan the negatives to high quality TIFF files so I could edit them as required…

Ended up doing a little editing to tweak them up a bit but was mostly limited to a bit of cropping and tweaking exposure. For the most part they were pretty good exposure and composition wise so was happy that I had got a handle on the technical aspects of taking pictures with film…

Here is a 50/50 of the editing I did on one picture… TIFF’s were imported into Lightroom and used controls in the Basic tab to enhance the exposure.

Results of my first B&W film

While I realise I do shoot manually in digital I do have auto focus and decent metering functionality plus the ability to review shots as I take them in case I have exposed the shot incorrectly… I found taking pictures with the AE-1 quite challenging at first but I am happy with the results…

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

One of the images had an artefact on it that was initially a bit of a concern… wasn’t sure if it was from the scanning process or a problem with the camera… as you can see in the image below there is an obvious light line going from top to bottom on the image…
Results of my first B&W film

On looking at the negatives it would seem that it was the last shot on the reel and there was a pronounced crease in the negative that would have caused this when scanned… guess that means I need to either void the last shot of each film to be sure I don’t lose a potentially useful exposure…

Results of my first B&W film

Happy with the results and really did enjoy using the camera… next will be the film in the Nikon I borrowed from my Dad but I am going away in July so will get another film for the AE-1 and take it with me πŸ™‚

<tuffty/>

Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Standard

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 πŸ™

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™

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 πŸ™‚

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… πŸ™‚
Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

And of course the result of the accident πŸ™
Castle Combe 2017 Race 2

Onwards and upwards

<tuffty/>

Minchinhampton Milkyway

Standard

Stayed up to the early hours of this morning as it was clear and the milkyway core visible period was between 1.30am and 3.30am…

Didn’t fancy the trip to Broadway Tower without knowing if they lock the gate (they have not replied to my recent contact as yet) so popped up to Minch Common instead…

Was very cold, spookily quiet and seemingly dark… however due to the milkyway’s position at this time of year I had to point the lens towards the town and this gave me more air glow than I would have liked…

I started shooting around 2.30am and finished around 3.30am… it was only when I got home I actually felt tired lol…

So the results of my efforts… first up a panorama… 16 shots in total (2 rows of 8 images), processed in Lightroom then tweaked further in Photoshop…

Minchinhampton Milkyway

Just to be sure I also took a couple of single landscape images
Minchinhampton Milkyway

…last shot included my little workhorse daily… need to get one with the S3 in sometime πŸ™‚
Minchinhampton Milkyway

Happy with the results… was more air glow than I realised so need to play with white balance of the shots (currently use daylight to ensure consistent results) and learn more about editing in photoshop to try and improve the output.. seems astro photography is very post edit intensive especially DSO…

Here is a single unprocessed image from the panorama to give you an idea of the start point..
Minchinhampton Milkyway

I may revisit these images at a later date to see if I can improve things πŸ™‚

<tuffty/>

Afternoon walk on Rodborough Common

Standard

Had a bit of a lazy morning (I am on leave after all πŸ™‚ ) but did get around to cleaning my camera kit so not all wasted..

The weather was not fantastic but not raining so decided to nip out and have a drive about to see if there was anything to take a picture of… ended up on Rodborough Common so got out and had a walk about…

Was nice to have a walk (something I don’t really do often enough) and took a few photos while I was there…
Afternoon walk on Rodborough Common

Afternoon walk on Rodborough Common

Afternoon walk on Rodborough Common

Afternoon walk on Rodborough Common

I did take a couple of panorama’s too but they were a little unexciting tbh so I didn’t export those.

Hoping for a clear night over the weekend, its looking promising but will see what happens and how long I can stay awake πŸ™‚

<tuffty/>