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

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.

Loving the Dogs

This week I was able to attend a greyhound race meet…  I’ve been before to watch, and to place the odd 50p bet, but this time it was to photograph the dogs.

I knew they moved fast, but at between 35 and 40 MPH at top speed, it was a bit of a challenge to get them.  The official course photographer was great, he showed me where the best place to stand was, and gave some helpful tips on getting some good shots.  He then walked away and pretty much left me to it.

Greyhound racing is a popular sport in Great Britain with attendances at around 3.2 million at over 5,750 meetings, across 26 stadiums in 2007 alone. There are 28 stadiums in Britain.

On July 24, 1926, in front of 1,700 spectators, the first greyhound race took place at Belle Vue Stadium where seven greyhounds raced round an oval circuit to catch an electric artificial hare. This marked the first ever modern greyhound race in Great Britain. And was where I was this week.

Getting the shots was harder than I thought, but with 14 races spread over the whole afternoon, at least I had lots of time to perfect the technique..  this is certainly something I will have to come back to.

For More Pics – CLICK HERE

Portraits

It was wonderful last week to use the prestigious Barlow Studios for a day long portrait shoot.  Clients included a professional bodybuilder, and a model updating his portfolio.

Shooting a bodybuilder was fascinating – with a great insight into the competitive world that these guys have. Only a few of the images will be made available to the public – but this is one of my favourites from the session.

 

Kite Surfing

Kitesurfing or Kiteboarding is an adventure surface water sport that has been described as combining wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding and gymnastics into one extreme sport. Kitesurfing harnesses the power of the wind to propel a rider across the water on a small surfboard or a kiteboard (similar to a wakeboard). There are a number of different styles of kiteboarding, including freestyle (most common and utilises standard kite and board) or wake-style (flatter water using board with bindings) and wave-riding which is focused on big waves using a board designed for wave riding.

A kitesurfer or kiteboarder uses a board with or without foot-straps or bindings, combined with the power of a large controllable kite to propel the rider and the board across the water.

Although kitesurfing is an extreme sport, its safety record is improving due to advances in hybrid and bow kite designs and the ability to control the power that they provide, effective safety release systems, and wider availability of kiteboarding schools such as the IKO and BKSA and the resulting improving teaching standards as the sport matures. There are still a number of deaths every year and a much larger number of serious injuries and accidents.

What a joy to photograph though – thanks guys…..

Manchester United Parade in Manchester

I was pleased to be able to get a press pass for the parade today… although it rained heavily all the time and we all got thoroughly soaked, it was worth it.  The atmosphere was brilliant, and even though I’m no football fan, I got caught up in the spirit of the day….. images are now online, and can be found HERE The Barclays Premier League trophy was on display for all to see, after the mass of red and white tape was showered down on the bus and players at the start of the parade.