Yesterday I got the chance to head down to the Tweedvalley to check out some of the Tweedlove cycling festival in the Scottish borders. I had been meaning to get done for the last couple of years to see what all the fuss is about with this festival and with the second round of the Enduro World Series taking place (the first ever round to be held in the UK) it was the best excuse to grab the camera and jump in the car.
The day started well when I got out of bed at 5:30 am to be greeted with this sunrise:
For anyone that doesn’t know what enduro riding is it is basically riders out for a full day (or 2 days for the world series) having to ride up some serious amounts of elevation only to then ride down again through timed stages (the transitions themselves aren’t timed but the riders do have cutoffs so they can’t hang around) and the rider with the lowest combined time wins.
Day 2 saw the riders riding stages at Glentress trail centre and on some old and some new sections of trail and here is some of the action I managed to capture:
And here’s a short video:
So Sunday saw the second year of the St Andrews Running Festival and again I was along covering it for PK Perspective.
While it was great covering this event as you get to see the determination of those taking park and the reward for all those hours training plus there is always good banter as they pass, I’m beginning to struggle to fight the urge to take part myself. Now that I really enjoy my running I’m always on the lookout for more events to take part in and as the half marathon is my preferred distance this would have been ideal for me. Well apart from that wind – then again it’s warmer running than standing in it for hours at a time!
Anyway here is a small selection of images from the day that show what a great event this is:
Well I managed to get along to the opening round of the Scottish Cross Country (SXC) Mountain Bike Racing Series 2014. This round was held in Forfar, well in the hills/quarry just south of Forfar.
I didn’t make it the whole day (had a birthday party to take the kids to in the morning) so by the time I got there the females race(s) were finished and they had already started the kids/junior races. Even the kids races were full of action (partly due to the brilliant course they had) and great to see so many youngsters pushing so hard and already being so good on their bikes.
Next came the men’s race(s) which to be honest I wasn’t prepared for, it was just full on racing (and I do mean full on) and it stayed like that for the full race. That was impressive enough until I then went round the course and discovered how many ups and downs there were and how technical some of the descents were.
Anyway enough words, here’s some shots of the action:
Oh and after all that racing the series of images near the end above show the 1st and 2nd place Mens Elite riders battling for the line – it took the timing chips to seperate them!
UPDATE – I have also put together a short video from the racing action which can be found here.
Tonight I noticed some mentions of an Aurora storm going on and being visible as far south as Tayside. With that I grabbed my camera and took a quick test shot out of my bedroom window.
Imagine my surprise to see what the camera picked up while there was lights from a few neighbours houses. Sadly I couldn’t go far, as I had the car battery on charge so I grabbed the tripod and a warm jacket before heading off to see what I could see. I really should have taken a torch but forgot so ended up wandering around the fields/country lanes out the back of my house on the edge of Dundee, not easy to change settings etc in the dark! That’s my excuse for not really liking these images but I share them anyway for anyone else that didn’t manage to see it for themselves.
Here is a selection of the images I got tonight:
I even managed a couple of selfies:
Yes I am a grown man, no I’m not old enough to remember when steam trains were the norm on the UK’s railways but yes I have a love for them nonetheless. I’m putting this partly down to my dad but mainly down to growing up opposite a shed housing a preserved steam loco – the Union of South Africa (see previous blog for more on that).
Anyone not wanting to read much and just wanting to see what photos I’ve taken – here’s a link for background information or you can just skip to the photos.
For those wanting a bit more context, please keep reading.
The streamlined A4 Pacific class locos designed and built by LNER were the pinnacle of express steam locomotives, built for high speed travel and also for heavy pulling. Only 35 were built and only 6 now survive, 3 of which are still used on mainline excursions and the other 3 are display pieces at different museums.
What’s so interesting about that you may well be thinking? Well 2 of the remaining 6 engines were shipped over to North America many years ago (1 to the USA and the other to Canada) so they have never been together, until now. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Mallard breaking the speed record for a steam loco they decided to get all 6 remaining A4’s together. This involved shipping back the 2 from North America along with getting the other 3 working engines in the UK to York. An event that will never be repeated (the North America engines will be shipped back next year) so I needed to make it along to see them all together.
Here’s some images I got during my visit:
Recent events in Dundee, with huge wind turbines being delivered to the docks and then transported through the City and taken North, inspired tonights outing with the camera to see these things in action. With that it was a trip to the wind farm north of Alyth.
I really had no idea the size of these things fully built, working and up close. In fact the closer we got the more un-nerving they became. And the noise! I’ve never been near ones this big so I had no idea they could be so noise, it was like being at an airport with light aircraft waiting to take off!
Sadly the plan didn’t quite work as we had hoped for a nice sunset but by the time we got there the light was almost gone and it was clear we weren’t going to get a colourful sky. Also another problem is that the blades don’t show up as well as expected in long exposure shots.
Any image taken with a shutter speed less than 1/40th of a second looked like this:
Any over longer than a second this is how it comes out:
But taken side on the blades appear as I expected:
This still wasn’t giving the results hoped for so instead out came the speed lights and some fun was had lighting up one of them multiple times during long exposures:
Definitely not what was planned for tonight but I did manage to get a few interesting shots in the end.
So Sunday was the Sportive St Andrews 2013, the second year this event has run and again I was lucky to be invited along to help shoot the event for PK Perspective. Again it was a 3 man (well person) team and we had a cunning plan to cover it.
Ian would try to catch everyone eagerly starting off and returning, mainly still smiling but not looking so energetic. Whilst myself and Sarah headed out onto the route to catch most riders at a point where all the 3 routes went and 2 of the 3 separated off after a single 25 mile lap. The fog was really thick at this point of the route and it wasn’t easy to see the riders, in fact early on when the roads were quite we often heard the riders chatting before we could see them lol
After that we hot footed it over to the hill before Strathkinnes, this is a spot we shot at last year too and we returned for a specific reason – it’s the biggest and toughest hill of the day. Yes we take pleasure from others pain, although saying that almost all riders manage a laugh, joke, smile, a pose or even a wheelie by one guy on the way passed – so it can’t be that bad right?!?
Then we raced back to catch more riders getting back to the finish and a rest.
It was another brilliant event enjoyed by over 400 riders, a few were confused a little by the routes (the 5 mile climb out of St Andrews will make thinking more difficult) and only one gave me a mouthful of abuse despite there being a marshal to ask not the photographers (I’m sure you know who you are – naught boy).
This is only a small selection of the images I took, for more and all from both Ian and Sarah take a look over at the official PK Perspective gallery.