Wednesday 25 July 2007

Eighty winks?

Had my traditional day off work for my birthday today - and went off to the Raptor Foundation - somewhere I've wanted to visit for a while. What an excellent day out it provides - highly recommended for a visit whether you're a photographer or not - plenty to see, three flying displays each day with different birds flown at each one, and an extremely reasonably priced restaurant on site for lunches, teas and cakes.

I have a new piece of equipment to add to my kit list too - as Ben and my parents clubbed together to get me the external power pack to fit the 550EX flashgun. I've not really had the chance to do much with it yet, but the very quick play I had this morning suggests it's going to be a godsend. Fingers crossed (weather permitting!) I should get the chance to use it tomorrow evening at Ipswich. At a quick look this morning it seemed to suggest that it was going to reduce flash recycling time from somewhere around 6 seconds to about 2 seconds, which will make a huge difference to my speedway shots.

Managed to get the pictures from the wedding online earlier on - e-mailed my Auntie Sue (mother of the groom) straight away and got an e-mail back later in the day thanking me for them - she's clearly delighted with the results I got and says she thinks Helen and Mark will be over the moon too. Always nice when people are happy with what you've done!

Tomorrow is another day off work - the intention was that I was off to the Lowestoft airshow but at the moment the forecast makes it look rather like that might be a dead loss so I shall play it by ear tomorrow and see what I think as the day goes on. First stop will most likely be Foxhall to have a cuppa with Bob and drop off the Race jacket which is being auctioned for Mark Loram. That HAS to be there in time for 4th August, and as I shall be missing in action at GBBF for that one, best I take it tomorrow!


Monday 23 July 2007

Welcome to the family.....

....Helen, who married my youngest cousin Mark on Saturday. I took my camera along with the idea of being able to capture some candid shots from the day - hopefully giving them a slightly different take on proceedings from that of the official photographer, and in spite of worries in advance about settings, and some very bright sunshine making everything rather contrasty on the day itself, all went very well I think and I have a nice selection of pics. One minor disaster at the start of the day in the shape of me managing to leave my brand new 4 gig memory card bought for the occasion sitting at home (thanks to a last minute panic over not MY outfit, but Ben's!) which meant most of the journey to the church had to be spent frantically deleting shots from the card in the camera! managed to get rid of enough that I wasn't too limited through the day though thankfully.
A bit of history - My Grandparents on my Dad's side had 5 grandchildren - I have two male cousins older (sons of my Dad's older sister) and two male cousins younger (Sons of my Dad's younger sister!). So as well as being the "middle one" - I am also the only girl - something that lead to me being rather spoilt by my Grandad when I was little! The strangest thing though is that we were ALL born in leap years - with the only gap being between myself and Trevor - the second oldest - of 8 years. Strange eh?! It was lovely to see the family on Saturday anyway - we don't get together often enough really these days what with one thing and another, and as the three of us Cousins who are the most likely to get married have now done it, it'll be a while - if ever - until the next occasion like that.
So - welcome to the family Helen - another girl to reduce the "outnumbered" effect a little - especially for my Auntie Sue who, as was pointed out in one of the speeches, can now have more shoes and handbags, and less football, in her life!

Tuesday 17 July 2007

Yum Yum!

Another shot with the Macro lens - this was my pudding on Sunday lunchtime - fresh raspberries and ice-cream! I'd been working with the macro lens before we ate - shooting some of the flowers on the balcony and hoping to get the cat to pose for a few shots also, with little success! The camera was next to me on the table and I decided that before I finished the delicious bowlful I should see what a raspberry looked like in close-up! Here is the answer!

I'm still really enjoying experimenting with the macro lens - my downfall I suspect will be that I can only rarely be bothered to set up the tripod - I generally prefer the freedom of working handheld and of course with the extremely shallow depth of field on this lens that becomes very tricky. More planning needed, and to actually set aside "camera-time" when I want to work with it I think.


Sunday 15 July 2007

A bit of news...

Well, I seem to have found myself as Rye House track photographer for the rest of the season! I went to watch them last Saturday and - whilst waiting for the racing to start, spotted an ad in the programme for a reliable photographer to cover their home meetings. I thought about it for a while - before heading off to find the person responsible and introduce myself. After a brief explanation of what I do at Ipswich and where else I've worked, I was duly dispatched onto the centre green to see what I could so. No pressure or anything! I'm relieved to say that over the course of the evening I produced some of the best speedway work I've turned out to date and passed my "audition" with flying colours. As a result of this I've had rather a busy week - starting last Saturday with Rye, then Peterborough -v- Ipswich on Monday , Ipswich -v- coventry on Thursday, Reading -v- Ipswich Friday and finally Rye -v- Sittingbourne last night. Thankfully it's world cup week now so a chance for a breather - well apart from Rye again on Friday that is! I'm really noticing a difference in my shots now - I thought after Rye and Peterborough it was as a result of them being nice easy places to shoot, but I'm seeing a real advance in my Ipswich stuff too - they've gained a certain sharpness, a crispness almost, that I've been looking for. I've also been sticking with my aim of making a point of asking for access at away tracks as I've been visiting them and I'm sure working in more varied places is helping my shots. (It's also reassuring to have now been told by several other speedway 'togs that Ipswich is indeed a devil of a place to shoot!)

Monday 2 July 2007

What a night!

Well, Cardiff on Saturday night - what can I say! I am truly delighted to be able to post up the picture on the left - showing Brit Chris "Bomber" Harris getting drenched in champagne on top of the podium at the British Grand Prix.
The meeting itself was superb - there wasn't really a dull heat all night. We were thankful for the Millenium Stadium roof as it was bucketing down for much of the day and evening. Had the meeting been held in a traditional open air stadium there is no way it would have gone ahead but of course with the roof closed fully there was no problem!
Conditions for the camera were a bit tricky. With no natural light at all it was always going to require a high ISO. I'd already decided that shooting RAW was going to be the way to go, and from there I just set up manually at 1/160th and f5.6 - which was wide open with the 70-200mm & 2xTC. On dowloading and processing the pics yesterday evening I was pleased to find that I got it about right - a good number of sharp shots and very little underexposure. Must make a mental note for next year that I can get away with the ISO slightly lower to save on noise.
It was a miracle I got anything at the end - to say the atmosphere in the stadium was emotional would be an understatement!