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:
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.
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.
Well that’s the weekends event done. Awesome weather on Saturday with dry trails and brilliant sunshine, shame it wasn’t the same again on Sunday.
Well done to all those that took part, congrats to the winners and a massive thank you to the organisers and all those that helped out. This truly was a great event and I hope it goes ahead again next year (who knows I may even enter myself…. Or I might just take the camera again).
Here’s a little selection of images:
The full official gallery can be found over at PK Perspective – where images can be ordered for print, download, etc
I had the pleasure, along with the folks at PK Perspective, to cover the St Andrews Triathlon 2013. What an enjoyable event it was to watch, yes I specify WATCH, and well done to all those that took part and suffered in the heat.
Here is a small selection of images from the day:
More will be uploaded to the official gallery where prints or downloads can be ordered/purchased. Please be patient as we have more then 4000 images to work our way through.
Last night was another outing with the good folks of PK Perspective and Robert Garside Photography where we all headed to Auchmithie. This is the second time we have headed here for an evening shoot and again we discovered that it isn’t the best location for sunsets. However, it is a good location of long exposures with the movement of the water over the rocks and pebbled beach so when I heard that was where we were going I knew I was in trouble due to having no filters and it being a sunny day. But with this in mind I came up with a plan – there is a MachineMart near where I work so I nipped in and picked up some welding glass to see how well that would work as a replacement for a 8 or 10 stop ND filter.
So with a £3.50 something piece of glass off I went:
Turns out that it works ok, it’s not brilliant in that the colour cast it gives means all the images look very flat and it takes a lot of editing to bring that back whilst at the same time brightening most of the image. But as an emergency filter it does its job, without I could only get exposures of up to 1/4th of a second and with it I could get up to 25 seconds. I say up to 25 seconds but I discovered around exposures of between 8-15 seconds worked better. This is because how the glass fitted my Cokin filter holder meant there was a gap between the lens and the filter so light was getting in there after bouncing off the wrong side of the glass so giving a weird effect on the images. This is one of the worst examples I got:
I have thought of a solution to this (i.e. to fill/cover this gap) but in the future I will simply avoid doing longer exposures than 10-15 seconds. But one thing I have learnt is that I need to get myself a proper set of good quality filters as they are essential for any daytime long exposures.
I also took other images I took whilst there and without the welding glass:
While we were there we kept our eye on this very suspicious character who seemed to be taking an age to work out how to use a camera of some description!!! (I say camera but it had “NIKON” etched onto it so I don’t believe it’s a camera at all)
A selection of these images will be uploaded to my Photo4Me account shortly
Today was a bit of a special day for me and one I’ve waiting on for a long time. Yes you might think I’m sad but I don’t care, why? I’ll tell you why.
I grew up in a house that overlooks the main East Coast mainline (that’s the railway for those that don’t know) but more specifically overlooked a big shed that housed an express passenger steam locomotive – the Union of South Africa (60009). So for years everytime the engine was being taken out it sat where I could see it from the living room window for a couple of hours heating the water in the boiler until it was up to steam. Of course being a kid watching from a window wasn’t good enough when I could be out there over the road watching it up close. And that is what I did many times during my childhood. Until one sad day, the day I watched this loco being loaded onto a flatbed truck and driven down south, that day way sometime in May 1994 and I haven’t seen that engine since…..
That was until today. Today was the first time she has come north of Fife, today was the day she hauled a train from back from Aberdeen to Edinburgh and today the first time I’ve seen her in almost 20 years.
Unfortunately she wasn’t hauling the tour up to Aberdeen but I thought she was still going up with it. It turned out that she got hauled up an hour before by a diesel loco so sadly at lunchtime I had to make do with a Class 5 loco pulling the Great Britain VI:
But I did know that later the Union of South Africa was hauling the train on the return trip so I took position at the south end of the Tay Rail Bridge and waited. First to appear was the diesel loco that went north with the Class 5 earlier:
Then a little while later I heard the distinct whistle of the A4 class locos before seeing her in the distance making the approach to the north end of the bridge. Robert (Robert Garside Photography) who was with me managed to get a good spot looking right along the bridge:
Meanwhile I was on higher ground and balancing one foot on a stepladder the other on a very shoogly fence post:
After this we jumped in the car and made the most of the 20minute stop at Leuchars so found a position towards Dairsie further down the line so we could get another pass:
Ok so some of you might still think I’m sad, but I don’t care as I’m happy 🙂