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 one steam train to another.
The Drysllwyn Castle nameplate.
GWR - Great Western Railways. An iconic name in British railways,
Shovelling coal into the steam engine. I love how the black and white brings out the gritty dirt.
Massive train wheels rolling along the rails.
Coal, the food of steam trains.
Not to be moved.
I have no idea what this gauge is for but it's beautiful.
Last weekend I was invited to a local model aircraft flying club. I drove out to rural Oxfordshire, down a dirt track, past a couple of farms, and was greeted with a great variety of model aircraft and their owners.
They’d set themselves up in a field for a family day, and beyond the BBQ and bouncy castle, was some neatly cut grass which made their runway. Some of the time was dedicated to general flying, some to competitions of flying and landing accuracy, some for none-flyers to try their hand at flying.
I took my camera along to get some photos, and due to the great weather and good light managed to get some good photos. I’m aiming to see the aircraft flying again soon, so you may find another blog post in a few weeks!
A model Spitfire coming into land.
When flying, some of the models look so realistic.
No all landings go according to plan.
I'm not sure what aircraft this is, but I'm pretty sure the real one doesn't have an Apple logo on it.
A model Eurofighter Typhoon - one of my favourite aircraft. This model had real jet engines.
A model aircraft being prepared for departure.
Model aircraft enthusiasts have a lot of aircraft and equipment.
Dave, who invited me along, gets one of his aircraft going.
Some of the model aircraft have model pilots too.
Sometimes the model pilots look like they mean business.
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.
When I first got into ‘serious’ photography I bought a DSLR camera and did a couple of evening class courses run by Oxfordshire County Council Adult Learning. These taught me all the basics at a beginner and then intermediate level. I then signed up for a third course of ten lessons aimed at building a portfolio for an photography exhibition.
The exhibition, called Lightscape, ran over a weekend in June 2010 in Witney, Oxfordshire. My classmates and I did everything to set the event up – from hiring the room to laying on some refreshments. I even did a bit of promotion on the local BBC radio station, being interviewed by the lovely Louisa Hannan.
As part of this course we picked individual themes for our photographs. My theme was ‘Extreme’s of Time’; all the photos I exhibited were take with either a very fast or very slow shutter speed to produce some interesting effects. My photos from the exhibition are below.
A water drop stopped in motion with a very fast shutter speed. Effect was created with a tray of water, some blue card to give the impression of coloured water, some lights, and a lot of photos to get the perfect shot.
I built a sound activated trigger for my camera - upon hearing a sound the shutter would fire.
I went through a few light bulbs to get the shot I wanted.
Here you can see a water balloon ripping and the water still in its shape.
A slow shutter speed was used to capture a merry-go-round with a bit of motion blur to show its movement.
Another long exposure (using an ND filter to keep the light under control) to make the waterfall water go misty.
A long exposure when driving makes the evening lights go into a time warp look.