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/>

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/>

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/>

Moon Rising

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Planning a moon rise shot is one thing… executing it seems to be a different thing altogether!…

Planning wise you ideally want to be getting the rise in the day(ish) light if you want some foreground interest to be included due to the moons brightness… if the sun is down its difficult to get the exposure right as the moon is bright and the background dark which the camera can’t handle well…

The weather (being the UK) is the unpredictable variable… the skies overhead were clear enough, blue with a few wispy clouds… arrived at the location I had chosen and looked promising..

Moon Rising

As the sun sank into the horizon it became evident all was a little cloudier than first thought…
Moon Rising

I waited it out though as you never know…
Moon Rising

…hummm… looking a little ‘misty’ to say the least but sure enough the moon started to poke up over the horizon…

Used the 6D, 100-400L and 2x Extender to get the moon a decent size in frame, meant I lost AF of course but no drama… apart from I hadn’t fitted the stabilising bracket I normally use on this setup so focusing was a pain plus with the ever decreasing light from the sunset and the stark contrast of the moon I was struggling a little with exposure… I think I was just rushing to be honest as it was the first opportunity I had in all my recent planned shots to actually try capturing the moon rise…

As a result I did get a couple of shots in…
Moon Rising

Moon Rising

Happy enough with the outcome as its the first time I have been able to be in a position to get this type of shot…

As always I learnt from the experience… need to bring my stabilising bracket, focus on ‘focus’, bracket the shots to ensure a chance of exposing correctly against the fairly rapidly changing lighting conditions..

I think I was also a little late in the cycle on the cross over between sun set and moon rise… if I was a day or so earlier then I may not have had to battle with exposure as much… now I have finally popped my moon rise cherry I can go into the next opportunity a little wiser 🙂

<tuffty/>

Where has all the time gone!!

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So it would appear that I haven’t posted for some time… to be honest there has not been a load to post about as I have not taken many pictures and been busy fixing cars and work related fun and games…

As mentioned in “Last post of 2016” the S3 was broken… turns out it wasn’t the rear diff/haldex after all but the centre CV of the prop… the cage had shattered and it was pretty much carnage in there..

Where has all the time gone!

Joys of owing a car with power… didn’t help as the trusty daily A2 developed a fuel leak from the tandem pump and made all the coolant hoses swell and leak… so ended up with two broken cars at the same time!!

Both are now fixed and working as they should… for now at least lol..

Inspired by borrowing my dads old Nikon film camera I grabbed a cheap Canon AE-1 from eBay… came with a couple of lenses and needed a proper clean so the detailer in me got to work… pleased with the results of what is essentially a 37 year old camera

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Have loaded some Ilford HP5 B&W film in and will post the results when I have finished the roll… the main downside of actual film photography is the whole end to end process of taking pictures to getting the final images can be so protracted for casual use…

I recently managed to acquire a cheap tracking mount… I have been looking at these for some time now but they are generally too expensive to justify the amount of use I time to give it at the moment.

The Sky Watcher Star Adventurer comes as a kit of everything you are likely to need to get started… I won’t go into detail in this post but you can have a read of Phil Harts review here…. I will do a write up at a later date when I have had a chance to produce some results… It will warrant a post of its own as tracked astro photography can get quite involved.

I did a quick test at the weekend to get my head around polar alignment and the basics of setting it all up… The moon is up at the moment so wide field stuff was off the table for now plus the Milkyway’s core is visible at around 3am this time of year… not much chance of that happening on a school night.

The velux in my loft office is north facing so meant I could do a test setup in relative comfort.. using a combination of Stellarium and a Polar Finder app on the phone I got the mount polar aligned (hopefully)

I tried a variety of settings and exposure times… not quite hit the sweet spot yet I feel but its close and will of course be largely dependant on conditions on the night of shooting…

I used my 6D body and the 70-200f2.8 for the test… typical exposure time for this using the 500 rule would be around 2.5 seconds before star trailing would potentially start to creep in… the shot below was taken over 2 minutes on the tracker!!

Where has all the time gone!

Some more editing would have gotten rid of the glow but tbh it was more to push exposure times and validate polar alignment… 2 minute exposures would be the extreme to be honest as DSLR sensors heat up on long exposures causing noise…

The mount also had a lunar setting so had to try that too… with lunar tracking engaged it appeared to keep the moon in frame pretty much all the time… this is ideal as it gives you more chance of getting focus spot on…

Took 5 shots using the intervolmeter as the trigger… all were in the same spot in frame and all sharp.

Where has all the time gone!

I have some time off work soon so plan to explore getting a Moon rise, Milkyway and a DSO (deep sky object) shot of the Andromeda galaxy…

Thats about it for now… I should be updating a little more regularly now the weather is getting better… I will feel more like getting out shooting… plus I need to use up the B&W films and get them developed…

Here are a few pics I have taken over the past couple of months though… nothing spectacular but I like them 🙂

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

<tuffty/>