Cleethorpes Armed Forces Day 2018

North East Lincolnshire Council’s Armed Forces Day 2018 (AFD18) was held at Cleethorpes as part of a full weekend of celebration of the important works done by our Armed Forces, Reservists, Veterans and their families, with the ‘build-up’ which started on Friday 29th June 2018.

The aim is to promote and ensure full engagement with both the armed forces family across the region.

I was lucky to get an “access all areas” pass with two other photographer friends.  We have between us produced over 100 images of the weekend for the organisers.

It was incredibly well organised, and added to that, the weather was perfect – hot, and sunny for the full weekend.  The crowds who came had a wonderful time, and it was fantastic to see the beaches so crowded.  I’m sure all the traders did great business. Here are just a few images from the day…

Harness Racing at Pikehall

Last week, a few of us met up for some social photography at Pikehall in Derbyshire – we decided that we would go and watch the Harness Racing, as none of us had ever been before.  It’s about 30 miles from where we are based, and so with lunch packed away, we intrepid explorers set off on a gloriously sunshiny Sunday….

Racing started at 2pm, and there were 9 races in total.  But, we thought, what is harness racing exactly.. the answer came from the Harness Racing Association

http://www.bhrc.org.uk/racing/the-sport/about-harness-racing/

There are various opinions as to how Harness Racing began – folk racing their horses and traps home from church, trotting horses under saddle carrying the post all over the country and being raced by their owners etc.

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Racing is thought to have begun in the mid 1700′s, the earliest recorded race being on Newmarket Heath on 29th August 1750. The Earl of March and the Earl of Eglintowne bet 1,000 guineas that four horses could pull a four wheeled chaise carrying one person 19 miles in an under an hour. A century and a half later, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales drove a trotter on the old Lanark racecourse in Scotland.

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Many ‘match’ races used to take place between two horses, and also betting on horses trotting a set distance inside a certain time, some of the more notable recorded ones being:- In 1800 Phenomena, a brown mare 14.3hh, trotted 17 miles on the road in 56 minutes, when she was 12 years old. Some questioned the accuracy of the timing so she repeated the feat in three minutes less! She also trotted 19 miles in an hour, and at the age of 23, she still trotted 9 miles in 28.5 minutes. Creeping Sally was only 14 hands and blind, but she was backed to cover 50 miles of public road within 5 hours, trotting in harness. Her blindness probably proved an advantage that day, as there was a thick fog at Shoreditch and for all of the 25 miles out on the Harlow road. She turned round and headed back to London in 16 minutes under the stipulated time, with no signs of distress.

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In 1839, two horses which were driven in tandem trotting 45 miles of road in 2 hours 55.5 minutes, were Tommy and Gustavus, a 24 year old. Both horses had won individual match races. By driving this pair backwards and forwards over a measured five mile stretch of road between Hampton and Sunbury, Mr Burke of Hereford won £100 for completing inside 3 hours. Lady was a trotting mare from Birmingham born in 1828 by Mr Richard Taylor from the noted horse Matchless out of Cheshire Cheese Lass. She was less than 15 hands but her first match was won against a 16hh horse, between Litchfield and Burton on 23/11/1832. She won easily passing him at the distance of 5 miles after giving him a mile start. On 13/5/1834 she trotted 17 miles in 55 minutes, carrying 12 stone.

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The main foundation sire of American Harness Racing stock was a grey English thoroughbred called Messenger, and he was exported to America in 1788. His career as a stallion lasted 20 years, and today nearly all of America’s Standardbreds can be traced directly back to one of Messenger’s great grandsons, Hambletonian. The name Standardbred derives from the early American trotters who were required to reach a set standard of 2 minutes 30 seconds for a mile, in order to gain breed recognition. As far back as 1800, many top class American Standardbreds have stopped in Britain on their way to Australia, and British breeders have benefited from them resting here.

(info taken from the BHRA Website) – All images by Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB

See the full set of images here http://www.oaktreephotography.co.uk/pikehall

Shooting at the Speed of Light

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Speed of Light Salford: 21-23 March

NVA’s Speed of Light brought The Quays, Greater Manchester’s waterfront to life from Thu 21 – Sat 23 March 2013 from 8-9pm each night.

A centrepiece of the Edinburgh International Festival and recently staged in the docklands of Yokohama in Japan , the night-time work used light, intentional movement and sound to change the way we see and feel about a chosen environment.

Hundreds of runners in specially commissioned LED light suits created beautiful, choreographed patterns of light flowing through streets, over bridges and around public spaces and buildings. Free and non-ticketed for the the watching audience, it was seen as a piece of abstract art on the quays.

I was able to photograph the dress rehearsal for this fantastic event from above the crowds – some of the patterns made by the runners were seen at their best from this vantage point.

Many thanks to the organisers NVA and to Peel Holdings for allowing the photography to take place.

To see the full set of images CLICK HERE

X-Factor in Manchester

Gary Barlow and Chris Maloney
Gary Barlow and Christopher Maloney

Well it’s been a long weekend of x-factor madness here in Manchester, ending with James Arthur as a worthy winner, Jahmene Douglas coming in second and Christopher Maloney not appearing on the final night.

Louis Walsh is rumoured to have said that Simon Cowell has ‘big plans’ for both Jahmene and James.

James Arthur
James Arthur

What happened to Christopher though?  The 34 year old is said to be not interested in the x-factor final, and has gone back to Liverpool.

Jahmane Douglas
Jahmene Douglas

When I photographed the final three last Thursday night, they were all in good spirits, and all three got a good reception from the people who turned out and stood in the cold and rain to greet them, and their mentors as they arrived at Manchester Central.

Louis Walsh
Louis Walsh

I wish the contestants every success for their future careers.

Tulisa Contostavlos
Tulisa Contostavios

The rest of the images from the shoot can be found by clicking Here

To buy images please contact http://www.opticphotos.co.uk

Shooting London Fashion Weekend

Thanks to the team at Canon CPS, I was able to travel to London recently, to shoot the London Fashion Weekend at Somerset House to shoot catwalks from the photographers pit.

It was a fantastic experience, and producing a great set of cohesive images was a challenge to say the least.  Canon were superb, and their briefing was very useful, especially to those of us who had not shot professional catwalks before.  Shooting was all hand held, (no tripods or monopods allowed) so shutter speeds had to be upwards of 1/500th second.  We were told in advance that the lighting would be set to 3200Kelvin, and so adjusting our white balance to take this into account meant that every shot was correct.

A flashgun wasn’t essential for this shoot, as the catwalk was so well lit, but some photographers did use one to lift the light a little under the model’s hat, and to add some catchlights.

The challenge was to get the models in focus, all the time, so using the ‘Servo’ setting was essential.  Although the models were not moving that quickly, they were moving faster than I expected, and the pause at the end of the runway, was only for a few seconds.  It was great to have time to be creative, and to experiment with different types of shots….

Achieving great compositions was difficult, as we only had the one chance to get it right – no-one was going to repeat anything for us, and so it was shoot it or lose it.

All in all it was a great shoot, and I offer many thanks to Canon, and to Vodafone for the experience.

To see more shots from the Fashion Weekend – please click HERE

The Jubilee Weekend…

Well, what a weekend that turned out to be – with rain, hail and wind on Sunday, and a glorious day on the Sunday….. The street parties carried on regardless, with brollies used whilst the wine was washed down.  Our local party attracted over 1000 people, all bringing their own chairs, and consuming lots of food, including a whole hog, which was roasting from aound 3am, and being served up some hours later.

Everyone had a cracking good time, and the village is even talking about repeating the event next year – We don’t need an excuse for a party here at home.


As you can see, despite the weather, warm smiles abounded, and I just loved this ladies glasses – hmm, wonder where I could get a pair?

Lots more images on the Marple Bridge Facebook page – why not have a look?

Marple Bridge

The People’s Catwalk – Trafford Centre Manchester

Last week I received a last minute request to assist Liz Henson who was covering the Prince’s Trust “People’s Catwalk”, a charity event hosted at the Trafford centre, Manchester. ( http://www.lizhenson.co.uk ) She had been given the task of organising a team of photographers for each day over the weekend.

I was unable to help for the whole weekend – but the time I did spend amongst the other photographers and presenters was great.  It seems that it is hard to get photographers to turn out for free, but sometimes the event is more worthwhile than money.  The Christie Hospital is something close to my own heart, as is Cancer Research in general, so we looked beyond the financial recompense and went for the experience.

It was good to meet Jeff Banks, a thoroughly nice man, with a wicked sense of humour, who certainly made the event go with a swing.  A surprise appearance of Carolynne Pool – x-factor singer was an added bonus, she has a wonderful voice, and I hope she does well in the competition.

And here are some shots from Sunday………

Romiley Young Farmers Show, 2011

Sunday was Romiley Young Farmers Show. A show that has been beset by weather problems in previous years. It has previously been a two day event, with one year being reduced forcibly to one day, following torrents of rain. Yesterday however, the sun shone, and it was warm and very pleasant all day. Oaktree Photography is hosting all the images taken on the day by members of Stockport Photographic Society, and profits from sales will go towards club funds. So if you get the chance, please go and look at all the images – be warned though, there’s an awful lot….. CLICK HERE

I spent some considerable time with the flyball team, and some of the images have gone to my flickr stream (link below), but I still have favourites

This little Westie, went like the clappers, and even with short legs, managed to get the ball and run back … he really did have the ‘awww cute’ factor.

Other parts of the day that were memorable was the excellent horsmanship that was shown by all the riders.

Oh, and I must mention that I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to the guys who drove the tractors and fire engines….. cheers guys !

Emmerdale to Eastenders Charity Cycle Ride

It was a huge pleasure to be able to shoot the start of the 24 hour cycle ride from the set of Emmerdale, to the set of Eastenders, by celebrity cyclists from the cast of Emmerdale.  They were joined by top cyclist Ben Swift, who currently rides for Team Sky.  The ride was all in aid of Macmillan Cancer Research, and looks set to raise record sums of money.

The full set of images can be found by clicking this link