Magnificent Men and Their (Tiny!) Flying Machines

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!

Bitten in Oxford

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).

World Pooh Sticks Championships 2014

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.

Lightscape Photography Exhibition

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 Little Wedding

After weeks of playing with various blog settings, the 1st June 2013 seemed like as good a date as any to write my first blog post. And what better to subject for my first blog than the wedding of two of my friends, Andy and Ellie, or Mr and Mrs Little as they are now.

Andy and Ellie got married on 4th May (or ‘May the fourth’ as the Star Wars fans, like Andy, would say), at Caswell House in Oxfordshire. The weather had been mixed, but just in time for the ceremony the sun broke through and a rare outdoor wedding was possible.

There was an official photographer, but all guests were asked to take photos and share them on Facebook. I’m no wedding photographer, I’m not sure I’d want the pressure, but always enjoy the opportunity to photograph people in an environment where they’re willing to be snapped.

I took 115 photos on the day, and here’s just ten.