Another year, another St. Georges Day, which means another excuse for an evening walking around the lovely West Hagbourne to photograph their annual display of dragons.
This year I was joined by friends including fellow photographers and bloggers Ryan and Emma. Walking around the village with a small army of people taking photos seemed to produce some odd looks from the locals – as if they weren’t expecting folk to actually want to see the dragons they’d put on display!
As ever there was a great range of dragons on display, from shop-bought children’s toy dragons to artistic home-created dragons and everything in between. I recommend a walk around the village next year to see for yourself!
A regular centrepiece of the St. Geroges Day dragons... the dragon of the duck pond. This pond is the corner of the main road, and causes a few near-misses.
A dragon of twigs.
One of the more colourful dragons.
This shy dragon peers out of the tree.
A very inventive dragon.
A guard-dragon keeps an eye on passers-by.
The tiniest of all the dragons.
This one is 2D and is make out of driftwood.
Even the local pub has a dragon. There is a pub called the George and Dragon too, just outside of the village.
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).
Zheng - the Chinese restaurant where the Tweetup happened.
Tweetup in action with added food.
Zheng has a nice combination of wood and fancy lighting.
A close up (macro) shot of one of the hotter dishes on the menu.
A narrow depth of field thanks to a large aperture (small F number).
Lots of conversations going on in between all the food.
Close up food shots can make you hungry. You have been warned.
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.
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.
Pooh Sticks wouldn't be the same without Winnie the Pooh and Tigger.
Photo 1 of 3 - the coloured sticks get dropped by the competitors from the bridge.
Photo 2 of 3 - the sticks splash down in the river.
Photo 3 of 3 - the competitors rush to the other side of the bridge to watch their sticks approach the finish line.
The sticks aren't wasted - they're scooped up by some chaps in a boat to be re-used.
There's so many competitors that two bridges have to be used.
Under the sun and in the view of Wittenham Clumps, visitors enjoyed food and games.
Lots of concentration on the faces of competitors.