New Years Day 2015 was quite dull, weather wise, but was brightened up by a visit to the Didcot Railway Centre. Although I only live a few minutes walk from the Centre this was only my second visit.
It was lovely to walk around and see the trains on display and even ride on a couple of steam trains going up and down the track. From a photography point of view the Centre offers rich pickings, whether outside amongst the rails and trains, or inside the buildings and sheds getting up close to the engines and carriages.
I took Olympus OMD E-M1 and shot with my Olympus 25mm f1.8 lens and the Samyang 7.5mm Fisheye. As the weather was so dull, most of the photographs came out dull too… and so for the first time I processed the photos into black and white. It’s great that the black and white grainy photos reflect the dirt and grime associated with the engineering of the steam age.
From recent blog posts you’ll probably have guessed that Just 10 Photos is based near Oxford, England. Oxford is magnificent – apart from its’ world famous university and tourist attractions, it’s a very photogenic place, has some great restaurants and bars, and has a very active Twitter community.
One of my longest and best Twitter friends is Becca Chaplin (@Ox_Bex), we’ve previously organised a few Tweetups (Twitter meet ups, where folk from Twitter meet in real life). Becca has recently joined forced with Jacqui Thorndyke (@FoodieOnTour) and Katy Routh (@Kalicer) to create Bitten Oxford, a website and blog to share information about the best and worst food that Oxford has to offer.
One of Bitten Oxford’s first ventures was a Tweetup at a new Chinese restaurant, Zheng, in the Jericho area of Oxford. Twelve Tweeters went along to share a big table and try lots of the dishes. I was lucky to be one of the twelve, and took the camera along with me to get a few photos along the way.
For once the taking of photos wasn’t my main concern, I was hungry! In fact, a couple of the photos weren’t taken by me. They were mainly taken with my macro lens (Olympus 60mm) and fisheye lens (Samyang 7.5mm).
Anyone who grew up in the UK probably did so with tales of Winnie The Pooh, A. A. Milne’s teddy bear with a thing for honey. I’m sure the stories have travelled far beyond the UK too. As well as the Winnie The Pooh stories, there’s game called Pooh Sticks… it’s a simple game where you drop sticks into a river from a bridge, and the one who’s stick flows first to the other side is the winner.
What you might not know is that this game is famous in Oxfordshire, England, as the World Pooh Sticks Championships takes place here each year on the River Thames, attracting folk from as far afield as Australia! Luckily for me it’s right on my doorstep.
This was my third time at the Championships, and I’m glad to say that the weather was just right today for taking photos. Last years event was postponed due to snow, and the rescheduled event in November was nearly a wash out was it poured with rain.
I took along my camera and got the photographs you’ll see below. Some of the photos required a bit more risk than usual as I wanted to get photos from the bridges looking back at the competitors. I did this by mounting my camera on a monopod and holding it out at arms length over the water – nothing focusses the mind like several hundred pounds of camera dangling above a flowing river!
The monopod is actually one of the three legs from my Three Legged Thing tripod called Brian, the leg cleverly screws off and I’m able to mount the tripod head on this leg to angle the camera. This is where a lightweight camera, lens, and tripod are a real benefit.
The next challenge was to take the photo. My Olympus E-M1 camera comes with a rather neat trick for this, built in wifi that allows you to control it using a mobile phone app. So I was able to beam the live view image from the camera to my phone, and press a button when I wanted to take the shot. I set the camera to take lots of photos in quick succession, which meant that hopefully one of the photos would be the one I wanted. As it happens, I ended up with 196 photos which I’ve narrowed down to the 9 best.
You might notice that some of the photos look a bit curved – this is because some were taken with my 7.5mm Samyang Fisheye lens. This lens allows me to cram a lot into a photo, and does curve things a little. It’s certainly one of my favourite lenses.