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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Published!

So I've been pretty rubbish with the blog recently.  Hartpury was actually the last "event" that I went to, but I have been taking plenty of other pictures in between.  More on these to come in some more posts later.

However, the more immediate and exciting news is that today I got two of my photos published in the local papers in Liverpool - one in the Daily Post...

Dingle Rooftops

And one in the Liverpool Echo...
Palm House

The Post runs a double page centre spread of about 5 images from it's Flickr group every Tuesday, and this week mine was one!  The Echo publishes one picture from its group on its letter page every day, and today's was mine!  

Very exciting, and I think it shows me that I'm going in the right direction!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Catchin Up - Hartpury Horse Trials and Ashbourne Show

Paul Tapner on Inonothing

It's been just over a week since my last post, which is not what I intended with this blog.  Unfortunately, I've had a mad week at work so didn't had time to write about last week's excursion to Hartpury before I went off on this week's, to the Ashbourne Show.

First, Hartpury.  Above is a picture I took on my new fixed 50mm lens, which I am in love with (more on that later, hopefully).  The picture is of Paul Tapner, who is my new favourite eventer. Well, new since I sat at the main arena at Badminton and saw him go out and come back from his cross country round, on Inonothing, who also happens to be the horse above.  Anyway, that round turned out to be the round of the Badminton champion, and he was so lovely about the horse in interviews afterwards that he's my new favourite.

Anyway, apart from the presence of Mr Tapner, the whole event was lovely.  The weather was great, course was interesting, and the people were lovely.

Amongst the cross country course was a fantastic water complex at the lake, which had seen a few falls during the day (nothing serious, I think).  Here are a couple of the best pictures that I got there.

Matt Ryan on Bonza Moorabinda Kristina Cook on Miners Frolic

On to this week, I have been to Derbyshire, for the Ashbourne Show.  I thought this would give me the opportunity to have a look at something a bit different to the usual showjumping/eventing, and it did!  This was a fantastic country show, with lots of shire horses, sheep, cattle and goats, as well as lots of other things including a lot of light horses classes.  Amongst the light horses classes that I saw were side saddle and miniatures, so there was loads of variety!

There really was too much at Ashbourne to mention in one short post, but please see my Flicr set at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruthwareing/sets/72157624651281971/ for a selection of what was on show. Here are a couple of examples!

Highland Cow Sheep Classes

Friday, 13 August 2010

Understanding Exposure

Inside the Lily

I bought a copy of Bryan Peterson's Understanding exposure earlier this week, in an attempt to finally get my head round f-stops, ISOs and so on.

So far I have read through the general stuff at the beginning, and am about to embark on the first of the specific chapters, being Apeture.

This book is really helping me already and I have started taking some photos on manual mode; I have been using shutter priority a lot at the horse shows, but hadn't yet quite made it round to M!

Anyway, here are some of the results of my first experiment using that M setting....

 In the Park Yellow Rose

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Liverpool on the Waterfront - Dance

Voala Project

So I seem to have been posting quite a lot about this Liverpool on the Waterfront that was on last weekend, so here is a post dedicated to it, then hopefully that will be it!

There have been two of these weekends this year - the earlier one was mid-July and involved a lot of pirate ships and fireworks.  The later one was the weekend just gone, and was dedicated to dance, with events starting on Friday evening running through to Sunday afternoon.  I'm lucky enough to live very close to the Pier Head where the event was running, so I was there every day!

The main event on Friday and Saturday was a performance by the Voala Project.  They are an Argentinian  group which performs a show which is mainly based in the air - it is amazing.  A group of 8 dancers perform partly on a stage, and partly suspended in the air from a crane.  Sounds mad, and I suppose it is, but you couldn't help but be very very impressed.  They must have been so strong, they were doing serious acrobatics, in mid air, for a show last 45 minutes.


Anyway, I don't think words quite convey the awsomeness, so here are a couple of pictures to demonstate...


Voala Project  Voala Project


As well as the Voala project, there were loads of other different dancers and shows, as well as street performances and theatre from Walk the Plank.  One of my favourites was Gandini Juggling's performance of Sweet Life...


Gandini - Sweet Life Gandini - Sweet Life


And also Ziya Azazi, who did this amazing Whirling Dirvish show.


Ziya Azazi - Whirling Dervish


For more pictures of these acts, as well as some others, please take a peek at...http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruthwareing/sets/72157624403261159/with/4872311942/

Monday, 9 August 2010

Flickr Stats

Dancers

I'll happily and readily admit that I am completely addicted to Flickr Stats.  Ever since I upgraded my account to Pro, I just can't get enough of them.  For someone like me, who always did like numbers and graphs, and is a tiny bit obsessive, they're just perfect.


Every day you get a full breakdown of how many people have looked at which of your photos, and how they got to see that photo in the first place (well, where they were referred from, on the web).  And you get a graph showing your total views by day for the last month or so.  Brilliant. 


I think the reason that I like them so much is probably about three fold:


(1) Let's face it, it's all about popularity.  And we all want to know that our photos arewell liked.
(2) It's something of a challenge, every day, to see if you can manage to beat the previous day/any other day that you choose (and you can easily compare, thank you graph).
(3) The Flickr community often throws up some surprises.  I am beginning to find that I am pretty useless at choosing which photos are going to be most viewed/popular/interesting.


Take the photo at the top of this post, for example.  This is my most viewed picture for today and yesterday (and, I only shot and posted it yesterday).  I like it, but compared to some of the other shots I managed to get from my day at Liverpool on the Waterfront yesterday (if you're really interested, see.... http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruthwareing/sets/72157624403261159/), I don't think it is altogether that good.


I'm actually beginning to think that maybe it isn't amazing, and views actually just equal curiosity.  For example, if you saw the picture above as a thumbnail, you might struggle to work out what it is.  Or, of course, it is possible that I have just tagged it so much, or put it in so many groups, that enough people have just stumbled across it, rather than actively choosing to view to view.  I think this is possibly true in the case of the shot above as nobody has left me a comment or added it as a favourite.


Whatever the answer, I'm sure there's probably only one way to work it out - more time looking at the stats!  Well that's what I'm telling myself.

Skipton (2) Horse Trials

Skipton (2) Horse Trials 2010

Here's the first of my entries on the events that I've been going to in order to practice the equestrian side of my photography.

I went over the Skipton on Saturday for the horse trials there.  They were running BE100 and BE90 events on the Saturday.  It was a lovely event, with a really nice atmosphere, and well organised.  It was lovely to see a lot of spectators there, and the organisers making the weekend into a real local event.

As usual at the one day events I got a look at all three elements of the sport; dressage, show jumping and cross country.


Skipton (2) Horse Trials Skipton (2) Horse Trials 2010
Skipton (2) Horse Trials 2010

The cross country is possibly the element that most people are familiar with, and that which is associated most with eventing.  I thought that the course at Skipton was lovely to watch (not being a good enough rider to even consider riding a cross country course, I'm not qualified to comment on that!); it made good use of the farmland that it was set into, with the competitors crossing through wooded areas, water, and through exisiting gates.  There was a big hill towards the middle of the course as well, and if you were to stand at the top of it you could see a lot of the course.

The only problem came when I was sitting on the ground at fence 13 in the afternoon - I was waitng to try and get a shot of the next competitor going over the fence, and all of a sudden they came absolutely charging through the gate at a massively high speed!  There were no strings to mark the course at this point, and as I was sitting down I was feeling particularily small and vulnerable to being trampled on!  The way of the course meant that the horse looked at me as it came through the gate, and seemed to be coming right for me, before straightening up and getting over the jump.  There was a very scary moment though where I thought the rider wasn't going to be able to turn him, and he was going to end up on top of me!  They did get over the jump, though.  Even the fence judges remarked on how fast they were going though!  I did manage to get a shot (just!), but it wasn't my favourite, so I have used it to play around with a silhouette idea...


Skipton (2) Horse Trials

So that was this week's event. I'm kind of planning on heading off to Hartpury next Sunday for the international eventing there, but that trip is dependent on a few factors, because it is based around 2 and a half hours drive from where I live.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Kit

I keep mentioning this mysterious DSLR that I have, so here's an introduction to it.

I got a Canon EOS 450d, having been recommended Canons by a couple of people, and the 450d by the man in the shop!  I've found it quite easy to get started with, having a first feared that the world of an SLR would be beyond me, although I am still working mostly in 2 or 3 modes.  I managed to get off shooting "on the green box" (ie, on fully automatic mode) quite quickly, but am mostly sticking to shutter priority at the moment.  As this is my first SLR, I'm not really good with all the photography techniques, and I am still struggling a bit with the apetures and f-stops, but I'm glad that at least for now I can understand shutter speed and also a bit of the exposure compensation.

I have two lenses; the kit lens, 18-55mm, and a 'second kit lens'which is 75-300mm (I got a twin lens bundle, so I will call it a second kit lens for now).  Next on the shopping list is something lovely and wide angled.  For the horses I have mostly been shooting with the 75-300mm; in fact I am tending to keep this on most of the time, and change back to the other lens when I find I'm too close to something.  I've been keeping UV filters on them all of the time (for protection, so much as anything).

So that's the basics.  I've had this lot for about 3 and a half weeks now, so not an awfully long time, I think.

I've also already been doing a bit of supplementary kit shopping.  I've bought a very cheap tripod, which seems to do the job nicely, and have also got myself a circular polarising filter, which brings me to the shot which I will add to this post.

I took this today at Liverpool on the Waterfront; this has been a dance festival running at the city's Pier Head since Friday (see http://www.liverpoolonthewaterfront.co.uk/6-8-august/).  The highlight of today for me was the Chinese Lion Dancing; the sun came out and I thought that the weather plus the colours in the lions would give me a good opportunity to play with the polarising filter....

Lion Dance