The Age of Steam

I haven’t posted anything for a month, and I have also struggled to find time to visit the blogs that I follow, so the first thing that I must do is apologise to all my blogging friends.  To be honest, I suspect that the next few months will also find me with little time, so any posts will be even more sporadic than usual.  Keeping up with the ‘reader’ may also be a challenge. I did however get the chance to go out with the camera for a few hours this week, and largely because I thought the weather would be better in that direction, we popped down to Corfe Castle for a ‘breath of fresh air’.  As it happened, the weather may have been better at home, but at least the weather stayed dry, but cold.  We hadn’t been around the castle for many years, so we took a quick look, but being ‘half term’, it was pretty crowded with kids, swarming all over it, so not much in the way of photos.  It was cold up in the castle, so next stop was a warming cuppa, after which we did a lap of the village, ending up at the Railway Station.  We had never visited this before, and were pleasantly surprised to find that there was one train running on the Swanage Railway because it was ‘half term’.  We had a wander around, chatting to the Station staff, and waited for the 15:20 from Swanage to come through.  Here are a few photos, best viewed by clicking on the first one and displaying a slide show.

Thanks for taking a look.  I hope you will come back again when I post some more of my photos.

Sculpture by the Lakes

Sculpture by the Lakes is a landscaped park in Dorset, owned by Simon Gudgeon, who is a well known British contemporary sculptor.  This park provides a showcase for his work.

Last Saturday I was able to spend the afternoon there with Dee, and our friends Susanne and Ed.  I did, of course, try to take a few photographs.  The weather was cold and dry, but I still found it quite difficult to produce the quality of photograph that I wanted.  I’m going to put it down to the cold freezing my poor old brain.  Still, it was a useful opportunity to, hopefully, learn from my mistakes.

I haven’t been able to find time to post, or visit blogs recently.  I’ve got a little time available today so I thought that I would post a few photos from that afternoon, even though I wish they were better.  Any artistic value in these images should, of course, be attributed to Simon Gudgeon and his wife, Monique, who is responsible for the gardens in which the Sculptures are set.

Here is a ‘gallery’, best viewed as a slide show, by clicking on the first image and then using the carousel.  I hope that these images may inspire you to visit Sculpture by the Lakes.

 

A visit to the Sculpture by the Lakes site will provide details of this excellent Sculpture Park as well as some images which are much better than mine.  I’m looking forward to revisiting the park soon, to try to improve on these shots.

 

Dorset Coast – 1

I struggle with post titles, so I’m going to continue the trend that I’ve adopted recently, at least where I think there will be more with the same theme.

Today it is cold and grey, and getting colder according to the weather man.  This picture is from a stroll on the beach at Burton Bradstock yesterday, when the sun was shining and all was good in the world.  It was not too chilly, at least not for the young lady taking a dip.  She said that she swims all summer and couldn’t see a reason to stop in the winter.  I was impressed!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe moon was meant to be more prominent, but I recomposed to get the swimmer in and forgot it.  Silly me!

Fisheye Fun – 4

This shot of Portland and the Harbour were taken from the Nothe Gardens in Weymouth.  I guess that it would have been better if I’d had a ND Grad, but there we are.  I thought about cropping the burned out sun out of the frame, but I don’t think that the composition would have worked.  I suppose that I should have tried a hand held HDR bracket (yes, no tripod with me), but I don’t think that I originally thought the image would be worth it.  I now think that maybe I was wrong.

Portland from The Nothe

Fisheye Fun – 2

During a recent visit to the National Trust property of Kingston Lacy, I decided to keep the fisheye on the camera during the entire time spent in the house.  Again, I had trouble keeping my fingers and thumbs out of the picture, but it was an interesting opportunity to see much more of the rooms in each image.

The Samyang lens is an ‘all manual’ lens, so focusing can be a bit of a challenge when operating ‘hand held’, especially as, at that time, I hadn’t worked out how to use the very useful ‘focus peaking’ facility of the Olympus E-M1 with manual lenses.  I have now found out how to do this so hopefully my fisheye shots will improve.

I thought that this round dining table might make a good subject, which couldn’t really be fully appreciated with any other lens.  A pity about the headless and bodyless people, but it was fairly busy and it wasn’t really possible to clear the rooms.

 

 

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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.