Partial eclipse of the sun

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So this evening there was a partial eclipse of the sun… wasn’t holding out much hope of capturing it as the weather had clouded over an hour before it was due…

Decided to head out to a spot where I knew I could capture the sun on its way down either way… rather be there and not get it than not be there and miss it 🙂

Partial eclipse of the sun 2017

Was pretty bright but still potential for the sun to hide behind the cloud so stuck it out… took a snap of a lonely air ballon… would have a great view of the eclipse if it happened from there 🙂

Partial eclipse of the sun 2017

Was really not looking good as the time for the eclipse approached….

Partial eclipse of the sun 2017

…and then…
Partial eclipse of the sun 2017

Yessssssss!!!…. 😀

Slowly and surely the sun broke out of cloud cover with the moon doing its thing…
Partial eclipse of the sun 2017

Partial eclipse of the sun 2017

Was well happy… even the cows looked mildly a mooooos’d (see what I did there lol)
Partial eclipse of the sun 2017

Now I just need to get a milkyway shot before its too late 🙂

<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/>

B&W Film Photography

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At the beginning of the year my dad lent me his Nikon F-501 film camera to have a play with… I finally finished the 36 exposure film a few weeks back and sent it off to be processed..

This is the camera…
B&W Film Photography

…its very nicely built and has autofocus and a 2.5fps motor drive… the lenses are nice too… the Nikkor 50mm f1.8 has been on there for this film but I also have a 70-210 f4 lens too but not used that as yet…

Went to take the camera back to my dad last weekend only to be told I could keep it!!… he said I would end up with it sooner or later so might as well be now… a little disconcerting to say the least lol… but was feeling pretty pleased all the same.. love you dad 🙂

Anyway… I had forgotten mostly about what I had taken with the camera… the digital age makes taking just ’36’ exposures a little quaint but the main thing about using film for me is that it encourages me to think more about the shot and how its composed… I still do final edits in Lightroom on the scanned negatives and will continue to do so as I am not massively interested in developing them myself the old way but the point for me is it will hopefully make me a better photographer even when using (in comparison) the fairly lackadaisical medium of digital photography.

I had a fair share of ‘lets just use the film up’ type shots but there were a couple of stand out ones that I am happy with..

So here they are 🙂

B&W Film Photography

B&W Film Photography

B&W Film Photography

B&W Film Photography

B&W Film Photography

B&W Film Photography

B&W Film Photography

B&W Film Photography

B&W Film Photography

B&W Film Photography

Happy with those… have now loaded up a new film and plan to try and use it a little more…

I was hoping the next film would be from the AE-1 but unfortunately the shutter button is not working at the moment so I may have to remove the film thats in there to fix it… disappointing but old cameras are like old cars… they break down from time to time :/

Ah well… will try and fix that when I get 5 minutes… I have a spare AE-1 that I can use for bits if need be 🙂

<tuffty/>

Short break in the Isle of Wight

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Spent the last week on a short break to the Isle of Wight… went there a fair few years back when the kids were much younger but this time only my youngest came with us…

We stayed in a ‘comfort’ chalet at Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park… was ok to be honest but then you only tend to sleep in places like that if you are doing your holiday right 🙂

Short break in the Isle of Wight

The roads took a little getting used to and the sat nav would take use all over the place for the ‘quickest’ route which included some iffy single track lanes etc… the high hedgerows made reading the undulating/twisting roads quite tricky and so spent most of my time at 30/40mph even when there was a national speed limit as you would be constantly breaking for blind corners!.. doesn’t help that I have no sense of direction and seem to lose the ability to recall left from right when under pressure to make a spontaneous turn!! 🙂

Ah well… a good time was had by all at the end of the day so here are a few select pics from the week… I tried not to spend too much time hunting for photo opps as the ladies would get bored waiting so took mostly ‘holiday’ pics but did try to get at least one slightly ‘creative’ shot a day…

Day 1… Sandown..
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

The beach presented an opportunity for a long exposure shot…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

…tweaked the shot for a B&W…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

…not sure which I like best but happy with the results… (B&W one obvs lol)

Day 2… Went to Ryde… weather was a bit dull and kinda made the place seem a little dreary tbh but grabs some shots anyway…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

The hovercraft were cool but sadly far too many people were in the way to get a decent shot as I really wanted one of it leaving or arriving for the drama of the spray etc…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

The girls went off to find the beach…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

…and then had a sit down waiting for some pillock with a camera…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

A little disappointed with Ryde we headed back to Whitecliff Bay and stopped off at the Bembridge Windmill on the way…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

I wanted to try for a sunset (as I do) and left the girls at the pub 🙂
Short break in the Isle of Wight

…took a walk down the coastal path to try to capture the beach… the sun wouldn’t be in frame unfortunately but was hoping it would colour the skies enough… didn’t work out as I had planned but got some shots anyway…

Pre sunset…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

…sunset long exposure…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

…managed to grab some proper colour though once I had walked back to the holiday sites pub…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

…and then sat down with the girls to finish the evening off with a drink 🙂
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Day 3… Blackgang Chine, Freshwater Beach and a quick trip to the Needles…

Word of warning… Blackgang Chine is primarily for families with young children and its not cheap… £20 a head!… bit more than I recall tbh but ponied up anyway… did I mention its suited for families with young children?

Anyhoo… grabbed a few snaps…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Made a new friend though… thought I might get him a job as my personal assistant so he can discuss ‘requirements’ with the business 😉
Short break in the Isle of Wight

…so… you want to change the requirements on the report again? lets sit down and talk about that shall we?
Short break in the Isle of Wight

This little dude was catching some rays…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

…seemed like a good idea…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Views were nice…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Next we moved onto Freshwater Bay… the drive was epic!… the coast road was a revelation compared the inland roads…

While the girls chilled on the beach…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

…I went off togging 🙂
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

…my little beach babe 🙂
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Wrapped up the day chasing a sunset at The Needles… sadly it looked like more of a trek than I anticipated to get the shot I had planned… ended up with some a little more average than I wanted :/
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Day 4… Trip to Ventnor then on to Shanklin Beach…

Had a quick walk around Ventnor to find a beach…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Found it…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

..little un wanted sand… so we made our excuses and left and went on to Shanklin… she was happy… the wife not so much as she hates sand lol…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

When we got back to the holiday park I nipped down to the beach to see if I could catch a moonrise…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

…however the sea had a low level mist so all I got was a few ships…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Shame as it was our last night in the chalet… so grabbed a parting shot from the chalets decking..
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Day 5… Last day on the island… trip to Cowes and The Needles before catching the ferry back to the mainland..

Cowes was nice but unless you are a yachtist not much happening…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

We then went back to the Needles to check out the glass blowing and sweet shop 🙂
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

Short break in the Isle of Wight

We managed to catch an earlier ferry, I managed to take us round the houses a little with my ‘excellent’ navigation skills but we got home in one piece…
Short break in the Isle of Wight

Feeling rather tired, not walked so much in one week lol…

<tuffty/>

Pics of the week 17-22…

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I have been quite lazy recently and not taken many pictures… this is due to numerous reasons… weather, tired, weather… you get the (no pun intended) picture…

I have taken a few though so I thought I would post them up… I think I will try and make a little bit more of an effort to take some random images… seems like a decent way to keep on top of my photography skills (what there is of them lol) so I might start a regular ‘pics of the week’ post (although it may well turn into pics of the month!) so I can try and keep both my skills and blog updated (for the one or two regular visitors I get… and by regular I mean after I have sent them the link! 🙂 )

Couple of snaps of the girls in the garden…
Pics of the week 17-22...

Pics of the week 17-22...

Wouldn’t be complete without a moon shot… first one includes Jupiter in the bottom left corner..
Pics of the week 17-22...

This one is a handheld shot with the 6D rather than the 50D and bracket…
Pics of the week 17-22...

To round up I really fancied a sunset… I was too lazy to go on the clearest night of the past week which I am kicking myself about… was providing taxi services for my youngest that night and didn’t take my camera with me… golden to blue hour was glorious…. ah well… I went out on the Sunday night instead and grabbed these…
Pics of the week 17-22...

Pics of the week 17-22...

Pics of the week 17-22...

Will try and sort my shizzle out and take more pictures of ‘stuff’ 🙂

<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/>