Fisheye Fun – 1

I knew when I bought it that it was not going to be for ‘serious’ photography, but I must admit that I do quite enjoy using my little Samyang fisheye lens.  It does produce some quite ‘daft’ images but it can also produce pictures that cannot be easily made in any other way.  There will be a series of rather odd images going forward into the future until either I get tired of the lens, or I start getting really discouraging comments to my posts.

First off is a rather silly ‘panoramic’ picture of Lyme Regis harbour, taken from the Cobb.  Why did I take it?  Well I must admit, it was probably because I could.  It is completely unrealistic, but it does get the entire harbour into one shot.

Lyme Regis Harbour through a fisheye lens.

Lyme Regis Harbour through a fisheye lens.

I did find that one side effect of the fisheye lens was the possibility of getting odd bits of fingers and thumbs into the frame.  I needed to clone part of a finger out of this shot!

Weymouth Speed Week – 5 (A bit more information)

My thanks go out to anyone who has followed my series on Weymouth Speed Week.  It has been a bit of a marathon, and isn’t finished yet.  Some of you may have followed the link to the Weymouth Speed Week website on the internet, and as a result may well, already have a better understanding of this Speed Trial’s history and organisation than I have.

For anyone who hasn’t followed the link, I thought that I should try, as best I can, to say a little on the subject.  Everything that I write, apart from a few distant memories, has been gleaned by reading up on the internet, and I may not always have understood what I was reading correctly, so no claims of accuracy are made.  Indeed, I would welcome any clarification from those that know better.

I used to race sailing dinghies when I was much younger and around about the time that I started sailing, I remember the first Weymouth Speed Sailing event being held in Portland Harbour.  According to the Weymouth Speed Week website, this was in 1972, making this event the oldest Speed Sailing competition in the world.  This page gives some history of the event and also a description of how it is run today.  The following summarises some of the main points.

  • The courses are 500 metres in length.
  • Courses are set according to the prevailing wind conditions.  More information can be found here.
  • If the course is open, competitors can take as many runs as they want.
  • Good runs can take less that 30 seconds.
  • Individual GPS data loggers are now used to record the position of each competitor throughout the day.  See this link for a detailed description of the process.

As already mentioned, I started sailing back in the early 70s.  Before I joined a sailing club, and while I was still teaching myself to sail, I used to launch my boat into Portland Harbour from one of the beaches.  I remember seeing a ‘prototype’ dinghy, with what was in those days a pretty novel rig, parked in a local garden.  I believed at the time that this was a potential contender for those Speed Trials.  The ‘background’ link on the Weymouth Speed Week website provides some interesting information about the way speed sailing has developed around the world.  It has become apparent that although boats, sailboards and kiteboard entries are all accepted, sailboards and kiteboards now dominate the competition, at least in Portland Harbour.  According to the results, this year, the first boat came 71st, with a speed of just over 22 kts, compared to the winning kiteboard speed of over 36 kts.

In more recent years, the focus for Speed Sailing has moved to other parts of the world.  Boats, kites and sailboards are all competing fiercely for the Speed Sailing records, and the current Outright Record stands at 65.45 kts.  This is held by a boat and was achieved off the coast of Namibia.  A cracking photograph appears on the ‘background’ link above.

It is a pity that Portland Harbour cannot now provide the conditions to achieve outright records, but it is great to see the Weymouth Speed Week continuing to flourish.  Perhaps the locals of Portland are very happy that suitable conditions do not occur here regularly, since high winds can take their toll on a coastal community.

Don’t think that you aren’t going to get any more photos, this is, after all a photography blog.  The set of 10 for this post follows.

I really must finish by thanking the Weymouth Speed Week organisers for providing the entertainment for both competitors, spectators and photographers, and also for their website, which has enabled me to learn more about how the competition is run today.  I hope the organisers do not object to the links that I have provided in this post.

I haven’t finished yet!  Please keep looking.


Weymouth Speed Week – 4

And still more shots from Weymouth Speed Week.  Previous posts can be found here, here and here.  It is probably best to view them as a slide show by clicking on the first image and then clicking through them.

I’m afraid that I am still going to post a few more from these Speed Trials.  I do understand that they may not be to everyones taste and might be a bit sameish.  Don’t worry.  I will run out of images eventually.  I’m short of time today, but hopefully I will be able to say a bit more about Weymouth Speed Week before I finish the series.

Weymouth Speed Week – 3

As threatened, here are a few more shots from Weymouth Speed Week.  Previous posts can be found here and here.  It is probably best to view them as a slide show by clicking on the first image.

Sorry, but there are still more to come.  Show me your stamina.:)

Golden Cap – The View.

Recently, our good friends Bobbie and John from Nottingham visited us for a couple of days.  Living in Nottingham, they don’t see much of the sea, so when they visit, we normally try to do some coast walking, or at least get to the coast.  Obviously, October isn’t the ideal month for this and we were pretty disappointed with what the weather had to offer.

Some years ago, Bobbie had started on a walk to Golden Cap on the Dorset coast, but had not actually got there.  As the weather was meant to be dry until after lunch on the better of the two days that they were with us, we thought that we could put this right and enjoy the views from Golden Cap.

We parked in the National Trust car park at Langdon Hill and started the short walk and easy route up to Golden Cap.  It started to rain as we exited the car park but this wasn’t too bad since there was plenty of shelter from the trees of Langdon Wood.  There was also a bit of a view of the sea, looking down towards Seatown.wpid-untitled.jpg

As we struck off from the Langdon Wood circular walk, towards Golden Cap, we left this shelter, but the rain was still not too bad.  When, however, we arrived at the top of the climb, the heavens opened and, of course there was absolutely nowhere to shelter.  After some good few minutes of torrential rain we were soaked, but the rain eased and was very quickly replaced by low cloud.  The following photo shows the wonderful views of the surrounding coast that can be expected on a day such as this!  It also shows that we still enjoyed the walk, and have a sense of humour.

wpid-untitled.jpgNo tripod (again) and too much wind anyway, so I’m behind the camera.

After this, we gave up on the walk.returned to the car and went to Lyme Regis to have some lunch.

Sorry, no photographic merit in this post.  Just a reminder that we can still get out and have fun, even when the British weather doesn’t cooperate.


Weymouth Speed Week – 2

I’ve taken a couple of trips to Portland Harbour in the last week, to see what was going on during Weymouth Speed Week.  The first visit was a lovely sunny day, with a mild, but strong wind.  Ideal for the Speed Trials I would think.

I posted a few shots in Weymouth Speed Week – 1, but those were only a quick selection to prove that I had attended.  It is time that I posted a few more.  I have a few just about reasonable shots, though none are great when I compare them with the efforts of a few others that I know.  Here are the first ten in a little slide show.  Open it by clicking on the first image and then view them at your own speed.

There were a number of things that struck me about these speed trials.  The first was the apparent chaos on the water.  I was surprised that there were no serious accidents, with these sailboards and kite surfers thrashing backwards and forwards, reaching across the prevailing wind.  I was also impressed that many of the competitors could reasonably be described as quite ‘mature’.  I suppose that I was a little disappointed that there were not more of what could be described as ‘sailing boats’, but that is how it is today.  Wind surfers and kite surfers rule as far as speed is concerned.

I’m probably going to bore you by posting a some more shots from the Speed Week over the coming days.  I hope that you can stand coming back to see them.

Weymouth Speed Week – 1

Weymouth Speed Week runs from the 18th – 24th of October.  As there was a good wind today, I thought that I would have a look.  I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to get decent shots, but most of the sailboards and kites stayed pretty close to the causeway side of Portland Harbour, so I had plenty of ‘reach’ with my 70-300 mm lens.  I haven’t been having much success with this lens recently, so I wanted to try to correct some bad technique.  I think I have made a little progress, but there is still more to do.

Here are a few of the shots taken today.  I’ll look for some more when I get the time.

wpid-20141019-_A190252.jpg wpid-20141019-_A190217.jpg wpid-20141019-_A190196.jpg wpid-20141019-_A190191.jpg wpid-20141019-_A190093.jpg

Sika Deer Stag

There are a lot of Sika Deer in the RSPB reserve at Arne in Dorset and they are generally very easy to see.  Dee and I were just returning to the car a couple of days ago, when we had a surprise deer encounter which is perhaps one of the best we have had.  It was fairly late in the afternoon and we were walking on one of the main trails through the woods when I spotted a Sika Stag grazing just behind a ‘clump’ of bracken, about 5-6 metres away.  We stopped in our tracks, stood very still and he seemed completely oblivious to our presence for several minutes.  He saw us, but didn’t seem to care.  He carried on grazing, wandering around amongst the bracken and trees while I fired off a good few shots.  None of these yielded particularly good images, largely because of the challenging light under the trees.

I had my 70-300 mm (140-600 mm full frame equivalent) lens on my Olympus OM-D E-M1, and as a result was using ISO 3200 to help keep the  shutter speed up.  In the event, this shot was taken at the shorter end of the lens’ range, but I didn’t want to ‘fiddle’ with settings while I had such a good opportunity.

Of the shots that I got, I think that this is perhaps my favourite, even though it is not as sharp as I would have liked.  This lack of sharpness is partly due to having applied some noise reduction in Lightroom and partly due to cropping to improve the composition.  Using ISO 3200 is, however, something that I would have never dared to do with my E30, and indicates how much cameras have improved in the last couple of years.

wpid-20140910-_9100179.jpgWe are off to Maine soon.  It would be great, but unlikely, for us to get such an opportunity with a magnificent Moose.  We’ll probably get lots of Lighthouses though!

Please check back to see.