Saturday, 14 November 2015

Making an event of it

One way to expand the boundaries of your photography is to photograph events. The challenges of taking photographs in public takes you out of your comfort zone, and tests how you work under pressure. Specifically getting the best shot with minimum of setup and access. Recently I have gone to 3 events and these are my experiences

The  Dukeries Rally

It's may seem weird that since I live close to a international motor racing circuit that I don't take more photos there. Even weirder that I actually like motor racing and cars.

However there is a simple reason that I don't go more and that is it is a pretty awful place to get decent photos.

You may think that you can go to a circuit like this and get the kind of shots you see at F1 racing, but you quickly realise that those sort of shots can only be obtained by those with the accreditation to stand on the other side of the safety barrier. More mortals like me have to put up with whatever scraps are left.

I don't know what other circuits are like, but Donington Park suffers more than most from being surrounded by high wire safety fences most the way around the circuit. This means the areas of uninterrupted view are few and far between. My previous outings have had various levels of success, but generally it is a frustrating experience.

However I decided to give another go at the Dukeries rally. I have fond memories of rallying when I used to watch the RAC rally in Sutton Park when I was a youth. I well remember the unfettered access and I had high hopes of the same here.

It was not to be. Most of the rally was on the race track, with only a small part off road. while I got a few shots, generally it was a disappointing day.

The Local Fair

Every year the local fun fair comes to town. The wakes fair, as it is called, is part of the much larger and more famous Nottingham goose fair, which breaks up and spreads itself around rural Leicester and Nottinghamshire.

Obviously this is a much smaller fair, but I have always wanted to take long exposure shots of some of the bigger rides.

Two problem however. Firstly generally we go as a family, which means I have the usual problems of balancing mu desire to take photos and my family desire to enjoy the fair. As such in the past I have not taken many images.

This year I decided to be a little more assertive and take my tripod with me. AAt the end I stayed around to try and take more images.

My results were mixed.There were actually only a few rides that would provide the shots I wanted. Finding a location in which I could get a good view without prople getting in the way was difficult. I did manage to get a few images, but in hindsight I realise my angles were all wring. The side view is  not that interesting, and what I needed were shots fom 30 to 45 degrees.

Still this is something I can work on next year...

This one would of been better if the shot had moved further to the left or right


The last event was fireworks display. In the UK we celebrate every year Guy Fawkes night or as I call it "we burnt a catholic" night. Again I had wanted to take photos for years of fireworks, but the kind of event we usually end up going to made this difficult.

This year we went to a much smaller event, which allowed greater access. So I took my tripod along in the hope i might get some shots.

As it was I had far less time to setup than I would of liked due to me being sent to get drinks for my daughter and the slow bar lines and as such I was less prepared than I wanted to be by the time the fireworks started.

I was also unsure how long an exposure to use. As it was I used a varity of exposure with various success.

Unfortunately my 1st images turned out poorly focussed because I had manually set the focus, but were too close. It got better when I latter moved the camera back.

What also worked well was putting teh camera on 'B' setting and using a piece of black card to put in front of the camera to generate multiple exposures. This way I could capture more explosions on one photo.

However next year I will go with my wide angle instead. Not only will it allow me to capture better the fireworks due to the larger area, it has a far greater hyperfocal distance so focussing should be easier

This is a bit of a cheat. It is several images layered on top of each other with the layer set to screen. Due to the darkness of the sky this is pretty effective

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