Ice Hockey..

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to an Ice Hockey match……  something I’ve only done once before – but this time I was given access to the team tunnel, and the ice.  An amazing experience.  The game was fast, the light was poor, the ISO I was shooting at was incredibly high – so a lot of the images had noise.   I had blurred pictures, over exposed pictures, underexposed pictures, and was generally not a happy bunny.

So, I sat and thought about what I was seeing.

The players faces as they waited their turn on the ice.  The concentration, and the shouting of the team manager taking players off, and putting new ones on the ice was constant.

I moved more slowly, more deliberately, and almost forgot about the frantic movements out on the rink.  I started to enjoy what was presented right in front of me.

I realised that you have to change your attitude to fit what’s going on around you, and not the other way around.

I took a LOT of pictures, and afterwards decided that they would all look better in monochrome.  It somehow fitted the scene better, and in addition disposed of the pretty awful colour cast caused by the lights.

One thing I’ve learned is, that if you are given the opportunity to shoot something new – do it – if you never even use the photographs again, it doesn’t matter – you had the experience.  If you don’t, you will end up kicking yourself for the lost opportunity.  Do not let fear get the better of you, and never ever worry about not getting that ‘winning’ image.  It’s about the learning, the experience, and the test.  Go for it.

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

The Great Manchester City Games

Manchester City Games 2013

Manchester City Games 2013

The Manchester City Games were held today – May 25th, and will be followed by the BUPA 10K run on the 26th – the games though were all about running, jumping, and pole vaulting.

It was hard for me to be everywhere all at once, but I managed to bag all of the long jump, and all of the pole vaulting.  I did shoot the races last year, so tried to concentrate on things I hadn’t shot before.

What I did find was that the main challenge was not so much the athletes themselves, but the light – it was dull and shady in the morning – meaning I needed a high ISO to keep the shutter speeds up, and harsh sunlight in the afternoon, meaning I had to control the amount of light that was coming into the camera, without compromising the image.

Malte MohrAnyway, it was an experience I hope to repeat in the none too distant future….

Feel free to peruse the rest of the images by following THIS LINK

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

The BUPA Great Manchester Run – 2012

Sunday May 20th – dawned bright, with a touch of cloud – an excellent day for the runners in the BUPA Great Manchester 10K run.  With world class competitors, as well as the 40,000 other runners, it was set to be a brilliant day.

We had started our photography on the Friday before, with an opportunity to shoot some of the main competitors – including Haile Gebrselassie, Sanya Richards-Ross, Holly Bleasdale, Andy Turner, Mara Yamauchi, and Patrick Makau Musyoki.  The track was still being built along Deansgate, but the runners threw themselves into the spirit of the games, and of the construction…

Haile and Patrick really got into the spirit of the games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On race day itself Haile Gebrselassie showed with a fifth victory achieved in a pulsating 2012 World leading time, of 27 minutes 39 seconds.  The 39-year-old eased alongside a vintage pack of world class rivals which included Patrick Makau the Kenyan who took away his world marathon record in Berlin last autumn, plus his own fellow Ethiopian’s Tsegay Kebede and Ayele Abshero before stretching the pace. Haile took the lead early, and never faltered..

The start of the Men’s Elite Race – BUPA 10K – Manchester

Gebrselassie’s dominant run where he passed through the half distance in 13:31

Haile takes an early lead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haile later said that for once the Manchester weather was good to him….. what a race..

Haile in a clear lead at 6K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 10K race was followed by the Poweraid games, for which more images will follow, in another post.

It was great to be in the lead truck, in front of the mens race throughout the whole 10K, and though it was a bit of a rough ride, the images were worth it… well done Haile… and congratulations Manchester.

Many thanks to the organisers, who did such a good job on the day.

Manchester Guide Dogs for the blind….

The team with Titan – left to right Eric Steele, Sam Johnstone, David De Gea, Kay Kelly, Ben Amos, and Anders Lindegaard

Manchester United goalkeepers once again sponsored a  guide dog for Manchester Guide dogs.

Goalkeeping coach Eric Steele explained how money collected from fines for the keepers for incidents including being late for the gym, a team meeting and forgetting to wear a club tie, has been put towards the cost of sponsoring a guide dog puppy and paying for its training with The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

Steele joined Sam Johnstone David De Gea, Ben Amos, and Anders Lindegaard in posing for a photo with Titan the puppy at the training ground.

Titan the Labrador, Retriever Cross puppy

“We decided to put all the fines together and put the money towards a worthy cause,” Eric said, “It costs £5,000 for the sponsorship and training and it takes 12-14 months for a puppy to be trained up so we’ll be following its progress. It’s a great cause to be involved with.”

United Manager Sir Alex Fergusson was on hand – and it was great that he agreed to be involved in the shoot.

Sir Alex Fergusson with Titan and his puppy walker Kay Kelly

Oaktree photography was pleased to donate the shoot to the Guide Dog society.

We already sponsor a puppy, and so it was fantastic to be involved in this.

Keep it Up – for SoccerAid – With Dan Magness

On Friday 11th May, Manchester United held a photocall on the Old Trafford pitch to celebrate a new World Record set by Dan Magness, who has walked from London to Manchester doing ‘keepy-uppys’ all the way, as part of ‘Keep it up for Soccer Aid’

Soccer Aid is a celebrity football match, held at Old Trafford (and broadcast live on ITV1) on May 27th, raising money for UNICEF’s vital work for children.

Manchester United is hosting Soccer Aid and is delighted to celebrate Dan’s amazing feat. The Manchester United Foundation has supported UNICEF for thirteen years now and the United for UNICEF partnership has raised more than £2 million to date helping over 2.2 million children.

Dan’s ‘Keep it Up for Soccer Aid’ challenge has encouraged the public to take up their own challenges and ended on the pitch in Old Trafford, home of Manchester United which will also host Soccer Aid on May 27th.


Dan’s finale also coincides with an announcement by the government (DFID) that they will match all funds raised from the public as part of Soccer Aid 2012.

Mr Magness started his 200 mile journey from Wembley Stadium on Tuesday 1st May completing the equivalent of almost a marathon a day with an estimated 400,000 steps and doing an estimated half million keepy uppys along the way.

Launched by Robbie Williams in 2010,  ‘Keep it Up for Soccer Aid’ calls on the UK public to keep something up and get sponsored to do so in the run up to Soccer Aid, ITV1’s celebrity football match at Old Trafford on  Sunday May 27th, which raises money for UNICEF’s life-saving work for children around the world.

Canon EOS-1DX SLR

I’ve been reading lots about this camera over the last week or so, and mentally comparing it with my own camera of choice – the 1D MK4.  The 1DX has got lots going for it, 18mp CMOS sensor, 61 point  autofocus, 14 fps shooting, and full HD recording.

It’s designed to completely replace the 1DS MK3, and the 1D MK4 models.  It has three DIGIC processors which will deliver 17 times more processing speed than current models. It is a full frame camera with the Canon CMOS sensor, with improved noise control.  The high processing speeds allow the 1DX to perform other functions such as improved chromatic aberration correction for various L lens in the Canon range.

The 1DX has larger pixels too, to achieve better light gathering.  The wave motion sensor cleaning has been improved, and will remove even small specs of dust, and can in some cases even repel it.  The high ISO setting of 204,800 should allow shooting in extreme dark conditions.

It also features new intelligent tracking and face recognition – ideal for event and sports photography.

Interestingly, it seems that this camera will also feature multiple exposure capability, and will be able to combine up to nine individual images into a single composite without the need to put the images through computer software.

Instead of combining CF and SD card slots, the 1DX will carry two CF cards, so photographers only have to consider one make of card.

This camera is scheduled for release in March 2012, and the initial price is suggested at $6,800.

Would I get one?  In a heartbeat, is the answer, but the reality is that it might just have to wait a little while longer…..

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