September 28, 2014

MX-5 Owners Club National Rally 2014

2014 is a special year for MX-5 (or Eunos or Miata depending on where you are) owners such as myself.  The car is 25 years old this year, and the MX-5 Owners Club here in the UK is 20 years old.  So I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go to the Owners Club National Rally at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon.

Around 2,000 MX-5s from the UK and beyond visited the event, which showcased the best MX-5s around in competitions of various categories.  Parts suppliers such as MX5 Parts and AutoLink where there tempting owners to part with cash, and for those with lots of pennies Mazda UK were there too.

Visitors could also see the many cars on display at the Motor Centre, and watch the team from Mission Motorsport put some cars through their paces.  Mission Motorsport is a charity which aims to aid in the recovery and rehabilitation of those affected by military operations by providing opportunities through Motorsport.

Of course I took my camera to capture some images from the day - the top ten photos are below.

The team from Mission Motorsport were teaching folk to slide their MX-5s.
Amongst the action were MX-5s grouped by colour.  This white group is where my car belongs.
A great sticker to warn your passengers.
MX-5 owners are a resourceful lot.
This chrome bodied MX-5 from AutoLink is pretty unique.
I quite like the idea of a removable steering wheel.  Not sure about the gear stick though.
This engine has a lot of chrome.
Some owners love to pose with their cars.
Chris Barrie (Brittas Empire, Red Dwarf) was the VIP guest for the day.

September 26, 2014

Circus photography with Damian McGillicuddy and Olympus

Last week I went to Giffords Circus for an event organised by Olympus.  Since moving from Canon to Olympus I've been impressed with how they market their products, and this is a great example... 

Olympus arranged for one hundred photographers to go to the circus where we could try out pretty much any camera body of lens from their OMD range with a few circus acts making for great photographic subjects.  The event was brand agnostic, there were many folk with Canon, Nikon, and other camera's.  And this wasn't even a sales pitch!

Damian McGillicuddy, Olympus UK’s principle photographer, was there to talk, give some hints, and show how us how he'd do a model photo shoot.  I've never specialised in any area of photography and was simply in awe of Damian's knowledge, gained through years of experience in producing award winning images.  Damian was also a great presenter and thoroughly nice chap.

After the event we were all treated to tea and cake, and even got a goody bag to take home.

I hope to get to go to similar events in the future, a great way to learn some new tricks, meet some nice people, and practice photography in a fun environment.

The acrobats throw one of their crew in the air... Using Damian's suggestion of a slighly slower
shutter speed I managed to catch and illustrate movement.
One of the fire eaters / throwers poses after getting through his act with no burns.
Ryan (left), Sheila (middle), and me (wearing my Just Ten Photos shirt)
pose with our goody bags.
Damian measures the light for one of his model shots.
Damian uses a volunteer to hold some lighting for another shot.
Taken from a long distance, the model waits to be shot.
Damian proudly holding his Olympus OMD E-M1.
The same camera as I have, although he's a tad better as using his!
I spy a Canon...
The clown gets ready for some knife throwing.
There were one hundred photographers being entertained and snapping away.

September 20, 2014

Berkshire Show 2014

This weekend is the annual Berkshire Show, at the Newbury Showground, not too far from where I live.  The Show is mainly agricultural, but there's a wide range of other things to see and do... so much so that I spent seven-and-a-half hours walking around!

As you'll see from the photos, the weather was pretty dull which doesn't make for bright photos.  But I did try a technique that Damian McGillicuddy had suggested on the previous day at an Olympus event I'd attended (blog post on that coming soon!).  Damien suggested that, for some shots, using a slow shutter speed would catch a bit of movement to help tell the story of the photo.  I tried this in a few photos below.

A chat with a friendly security guard allowed me to get a photo of some of the very shiny trophies.
Children enjoy the fairground rides, overlooked by the colorful helter skelter.
Countryside hunt horses and dogs in the main arena.
In preparation for cattle judging, a cow gets cleaned at the cow wash.
This cow gets a last minute trim.
One of the exhibitions was a race of various wood chopping, culminating in a climb
to the top of an 80ft pole, by the Wye Valley Axemen.
One of the more quirky garden ornaments you could buy at the show.
Using a slow shutter speed, you can see that the belt wheel on this steam engine is moving.
A mini dry ski slope.
Carter Jonas entertain some guests.

September 10, 2014

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!

Some of the aircraft are really detailed, like this Spitfire.
One of the flyers, Dave, and one of his aircraft.  His other one bigger and costs the same as a small car!
Various types of aircraft here, along with lots of tools as the aircraft need constant tinkering to fly well.
This aircraft has a real (albeit miniature) engine... it drew a lot of attention, flew fast, and sounded great.
The other jet-powered aircraft of the day was this Eurofighter model.
Not all landings go according to plan.  Luckily most breakages are easily fixed.
The jet-powered aircraft flew really well, and even has retractable wheels.
The Spitfire looks really realistic from afar.
The Spitfire comes in to land.
This pilot looks very serious.