Goodwood Festival of Speed

Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a big fan of cars – new, old, fast, slow, big, or small.  I’ve a special fondness for the Mazda MX-5, and am now on my third one.  You can see it in the post Happy Birthday Little MX-5 and more MX-5’s photographed at last years in the post MX-5 Owners Club National Rally.

So when Mazda ran a competition for tickets for the Goodwood Festival of Speed I had to enter… and won!  This was made even better by Mazda being the main event sponsor and launching the new (mk4) MX-5 in the UK.

All of the major car manufacturers were there, as well as areas for racing and F1 cars, old classic cars, and of course the Goodwood hill climb.  On the day I went it was possible to get passenger rides in all sorts of cars up the hill climb.  But not for me.  It seems for most of them you needed to register beforehand.  A lesson for next time!  

It was an expensive day too.  As much as I was tempted, I didn’t buy a new car.  But trying to get photos correctly framed in between the crowds of people with a high quality prime lens made me realise I needed a better quality short range zoom lens.  So as a result of the day I ended up buying a new Olympus 12-40mm lens.  Future blogs will feature photos taken with that lens.

The Christening of Gregory

A couple of months ago I was invited to photograph the christening of a little chap called Gregory.

It was the first christening I’d been to, so wasn’t too sure what to expect.  Most of the photos were taken with the 25mm f1.8 prime lens to get as much out of the light as possible as the environment was quite dark.

For me, photographing events like this are not just about documenting the day but also capturing people’s emotions.  Sometimes this is best done from a distance with a long zoom lens so you’re not interrupting the goings on.

New Years Day at Didcot Railway Centre

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. 

Longleat Festival of Light

When I heard about the Festival of Light event at Longleat I knew I had to go and get some photographs for the blog.  In terms of night time light events I’ve experienced it’s second only to the ‘fire garden’ event at Stonehenge as part of cultural celebrations of the London 2012 Olympics.

The Festival of Light is the first cultural event of its kind in Europe and consists of twenty hand-crafted displays built and placed by a team of over one hundred from the Sichuan province in China.

The scale of the works, dotted around Longleat House, is simply amazing.  There were hundreds, if not thousands, of people on the evening I went and as you’ll see below there was lots of space to get photographs.

Because of the dark conditions and high contrasting lights I took my trusty Olympus OMD E-M1 and 25mm f1.8 lens (a great combination for low light and sharp photographs) and one leg of my Three Legged Thing tripod called Brian as a monopod.  Someone walked past and commented that it was the biggest selfie stick they’d ever seen… sometimes I despair!  Most of the photos were taken in aperture priority mode and using the monopod to reduce any camera shake.

I really hope Longleat do something similar next winter, I’d love to spend more time wandering around getting even more photos.

A Photo Walk Around Bristol

Yesterday I went on a photo walk around Bristol organised by Olympus and London Camera Exchange.  The walk was led by professional photographer and Olympus ambassador Robert Pugh.

I’d met Robert at Gadget Show Live earlier this year, and apart from being a thoroughly nice chap he knows all there is to know about the camera I have as he uses the same camera day-on-day-out as a wedding and portrait photographer.  I learnt a few neat tricks from Robert along the way about quick access to menus, using small focus points, and he even showed how he accessed all the key menus using just two fingers whilst also using the viewfinder.  It might take me a while to figure that out!

The group doing the walk started out from London Camera Exchange and walked to the market on Corn Street to start our photography, then through the city centre water features to the Watershed area, and onto @Bristol and the ice rink.  We were out for two hours, and although it was a tad chilly and grey, everyone in the group really enjoyed themselves and learnt some new ideas.

Robert mentioned that the Olympus stand at Gadget Show Live in 2015 will be bigger than this year and he’ll be running some live sessions showing how photographers work from setting up lighting, photographing a model, through to printing the finished product.