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 πŸ™

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 πŸ™‚
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 πŸ™‚
Castle Combe Races 4 and 5

That Porsche again πŸ™‚
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 πŸ˜€
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 πŸ˜€ )
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! πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

<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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

<tuffty/>

First attempt at focus stacking…

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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

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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/>

Minchinhampton Milkyway

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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

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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/>

Time off from work photos

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Have taken a couple of weeks off work as I had some days I need to use up before the end of June…

I have a few shots planned… milkyway of some description, possibly some sun rise/sets, long exposures using the ‘big stopper’ ND filter and I want to have a go at getting a shot of the Andromeda galaxy using the tracker..

Was a little tired after the bank holiday racing so spent the day finishing off my assignments and exams for the online courses in Photoshop and Lightroom I have been taking… wasn’t too sure on the Photoshop one as its quite technical and I don’t use it enough to really get to grips with it but thankfully I still managed to pass the final exam so happy with that..

Today I took the S3 on a jolly to Broadway Tower…

Time off from work photo time

First time in ages I have stretched the old girls legs a bit and first time I had used the retro-fitted RNS-E’s sat nav to direct me to Broadway… can say that both car and sat nav performed faultlessly…

Broadway tower was quite busy which was a bit of a pain to be fair as it made it a little tricky to do the shots I had planned… but I did take a couple…
Time off from work photo time

Time off from work photo time

Tried a long exposure shot with the ND1000 filter… f16, 20secs, ISO100
Time off from work photo time

Had to edit out a couple of ‘ghost’ artefacts where people were moving in and out of the shot… next time if its quite bright I may add my ND 8 filter on top to try and get a longer exposure to see if that helps…

Another shot I had planned to take was a milkyway panoramic… using PlanIt on my Android tablet I got an idea of when and how the shot could be taken…
Time off from work photo time

This is set to be a pano and composure was to try and place Broadway tower some where underneath it…
Time off from work photo time

Setup the tripod with the pano head and used the Samyang 24mm as this is the lens I will use on the night… the result is a 16 shot (2 x 8) panoramic image… while I know its not exactly the most stunning image in the world as it stands it was more a technical exercise to see if the shot was plausible..
Time off from work photo time

The only thing I need to check is if the gate to the tower is locked at all at night but there is a national trust walk as part of it so should be ok but I don’t want to turn up a 2am only to find I can’t get to the tower for the shot..

Overall a good day… got to see my mates, drive the S3 on some decent roads, take some pictures and have some fairly decent results… need to spend the evening blasting the dust out of the camera and lenses as there were a few dust spots on the images but all be ready for tomorrow and will try and get out again πŸ™‚

<tuffty/>