Snetterton Rally Stages, February 2018

Stephen Beck / Paul Brown, Ford Escort Mk2

Considering all the poor weather we have had so far this year, it seemed very fortunate to have such a fine sunny day in late February for the Snetterton Rally Stages event.  This was also my very first visit to Snetterton, which is somewhat surprising, considering that it was not much more than two hours away by car.

Ian Rix / Matthew Smalley, Ford Escort Mk1

This was also my first Rally Stages event so I was a little uncertain what to expect prior to the event, although as it happens, it turned out to be exactly what I thought it would be.  The event consisted of 8 timed stages both on and around the circuit including some in the reverse direction to normal racing.

Ian Woodhouse / Jason Leaf, Ford Escort Mk2

As far as equipment goes, I had the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR, a lens that I bought at The Photography Show in 2017 specifically to photograph motorsports (and occasionally wildlife).  I had this lens mounted on the Fujifilm X-T2 (with free battery grip) that I bought at the same show.

Chris West / Keith Hounslow, Peugeot 306

I had found this combination of camera and lens quite pleasing on the few occasions I used it last year, the lens being especially impressive given the long zoom range, although I never found the X-T2 body very comfortable when used with longer lenses.  Specifically, the position of the shutter button and the angular body tended to leave me feeling quite sore by the end of the day, both in my shutter finger and in the palm of my hand.  Mindful of this, I used my Manfrotto monopod for the whole of the day to take the weight of the lens and camera, while I concentrated on trying to capture some of the action.

Johnnie Ellis / Marc Fowler, Mitsubishi Evo X

It turned out to be a really enjoyable event to photograph, and a surprisingly good day out, considering how early in the year it fell.  Once I got my bearings, I found it easy to move between the different public viewing areas, and I enjoyed the fact that the circuit is not totally surrounded with 12ft high fencing as some circuits seem to be.

Chris West / Keith Hounslow, Peugeot 306

It certainly will not be my last visit to this circuit, I was impressed with the viewing areas, the facilities on offer, and also by the freindly staff and (mostly local) spectators that I spoke to whilst there.

Ian Woodhouse / Jason Leaf, Ford Escort Mk2

I hope you enjoy these photos.  I tried to capture some of the speed, action and atmosphere of the event, but as always, it’s not always possible to be in the right place at the right time.

John Stone / Tom Woodburn, Ford Fiesta

I certainly hope to re-visit Snetterton later this year if I can, and I shall try to get to some more Rally Stages events too, all being well.

Geoff

 

 

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Return to the Crich Tramway Museum 1940s Event, August 2017

It’s hard to believe that it was August 2011 when I last visited the National Tramway Museum at Crich in Derbyshire.  I was genuinely surprised to discover that I had not been to this event for six years but that is how long it has been.  So much has changed for me personally during that time, so it is reassuring to discover that the event itself has changed very little, with many familiar faces to be seen, and the familiar surroundings which provide an excellent supporting role for these 1940s events.

Last time I visited this event, I was still shooting with my trusty Canon 5D, now lovingly refered to on some internet forums as the “5D Classic”.  The 5D was my first full-frame camera and it was remarkable in that it always outperformed what the specification sheet would suggest it could achieve.  With “only” 12 megapixels and “only” 9 focusing points (and only 1 that could be relied on), the spec would appear quite basic compared to today’s cameras but somehow it always seemed to deliver, a testament to the quality of the sensor.

Perhaps more surprising for the event back in 2011 was my choice of lens.  I always enjoy the challenge of using one camera and one lens when I am out shooting, and on that occasion my lens of choice was the excellent but heavy Sigma 300mm F/2.8, not a typical lens choice that you might associate with this type of event!  You can see the results I got from this combo on my website here.

Fast forward six years, and I have now switched over to Fujifilm cameras and lenses, my Canon gear having all been sold recently.  Why the change?  Several reasons really, a smaller and lighter kitbag being a major one, together with changing eyesight which meant that I can no longer view images on the back of a camera and determine if they were sharp or not.  The electronic viewfinders on my Fujifilm cameras are brilliant for showing me exactly what result to expect before the shot, and what results I did get after the shot, including zoomed in at 100%.

My camera and lens of choice this time around was the Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera and the Fujinon XF 90mm F/2 lens.  The X-Pro2 is the first camera since my original 5D to give me that same feeling of being in full control of the picture taking process.  I find it an absolute joy to use and the results are exactly what I would hope for from a modern camera.  The fact that Fujifilm jpegs are so good straight out of the camera, means that I spend far less time post-processing my images too, another huge bonus.

The XF 90mm F/2 lens is my favourite amongst the X series lenses that I have bought to date.  It is tack sharp wide open at F/2, and I especially enjoy the rendering of this lens, with the seperation between the subject and background being particularly pleasing to my eye.  It’s also reasonably small and light, certainly in comparison to lenses that I have typically used in the past, and the focusing is very fast and accurate when paired with the X-Pro2.

All the images below were taken using the X-Pro2 and the 90mm wide open at F/2.  All were shot as Jpegs in camera using Fujifilm’s built-in Acros Film Simulation with Green Filter setting.  That just left me with minor adjustments and cropping to do in Lightroom to tidy them up.

To see all the pictures I took at this event, please check out my website gallery here.

I hope you enjoy them.

Geoff

VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone, April 2015

Here’s a small selection of photos taken at the VSCC “Spring Start” event at Silverstone on 18th April 2015.  This was the first event I had photographed since I contracted pneumonia last August and it was a real treat to be out with my camera once again after a long lay-off.

I am still working on uploading my images from the day to my website, the link is here: VSCC Spring Start 2015

Geoff

Happy New Year 2015!

Just a quick line to wish all my followers a happy and healthy new year.

Sorry that I have not been posting lately but 2014 turned into a nightmare year for me. My Dad died in March and that took the wind from my sails and then in July I contracted bacterial pneumonia which led to me spending 5 nights in hospital and 6 weeks off work. They also discovered blood clots in my legs and in my lungs so I am currently taking Warfarin for that and I will have to wear compression stockings daily for the next 2 years.

The remainder of the year has been all about trying to find the energy to get back to work full-time.  Sadly, I missed most of the events I was looking forward to including the Silverstone Classic and the Cadwell Park 80th Birthday, not to forget all the re-enactment events that I love. I haven’t been out with my camera since July, but I’m hoping to venture out as soon as the weather gets warmer, just as long as I can get my legs going!

Here’s hoping that 2015 will be a better year for me, and hopefully for you too.

Best Wishes, and Happy New Year!

Geoff

p.s. Here’s a reminder of one of my better days from last year, back in May at the Leicester and Leicestershire Exhibition, standing alongside my print “Trust Me I’m A Spiv” which was “Highly Commended”

Geoff Oliver

“Trust Me I’m A Spiv”

Fame at Last!

So I appeared very briefly on BBC TV’s “Inside Out East Midlands” this evening during a feature about “dark tourism”, e.g. visiting battlefields and such like – thanks to Mick Rockett for spotting me as I appeared for about 2 seconds right near the end…

Caught at BosworthThat’s me in the blue jumper at the Bosworth Battlefield re-enactment last August.  Notice I have my usual happy smiley face on, dark tourism indeed!

Geoff

 

A New Header Image

I haven’t changed the header page on this blog for a long time so I thought it was about time I did something about it.  Rather than just a single letter-box shaped image, I decided to use the multi-image header you see below, created in Lightroom using the technique described on this page.

Wordpress Header 960x250

The photos are a random mix taken from some recent photo shoots together with some of my more succesful images from recent years.  I have adapted the technique for the different image size here on WordPress (960 x 250 pixels for this theme, the Twenty Twelve).   I also used the same images for the cover photo (851 x 315 pixels) on my photography Facebook Page here.

I hope you like them!

Geoff

A Day at the Victory Show 2013

This was my first visit to The Victory Show, which takes place just outside Cosby in Leicestershire.  Now in its eighth year, the show took place on an extensive 100 acre site and promised a wide variety of WWII tanks and armoured vehicles, a large number of re-enactment groups and an impressive flying display of planes from the period.

American GI waits for the battle to begin, The Victory Show 2013

American GI waits for the battle to begin, The Victory Show 2013

The mix of static displays, living history encampments (including authentic looking trenches and other scenarios), together with set-piece battle re-enactments and a historic airshow meant that there was plenty to see and enjoy and lots of photographic opportunities.

American M3 Half-Track, part of the Italian front scenario, The Victory Show 2013

American M3 Half-Track, part of the Italian front scenario, The Victory Show 2013

I actually missed the set-piece battle on the main field in the afternoon as I was at the opposite end of the site and somewhat distracted while talking to a lovely lady from one of the large re-enactment groups.  However, I did manage to catch a little of the morning skirmish and most of the flying displays.

Soviet T34/85 MBT, The Victory Show 2013

Soviet T34/85 MBT and Passengers salute the crowd, The Victory Show 2013

I enjoyed looking round the static displays very much and everyone I talked to was really friendly which for someone like me is a real bonus as I sometimes have trouble approaching people to engage with them.

A couple of familiar characters perhaps?, The Victory Show 2013

A couple of familiar characters perhaps?, The Victory Show 2013

The highlight of the flying display for me was the North American B-25 Mitchell bomber.  The sight and, just as important, the sound of this rare vintage plane flying low over the airstrip and then performing various manoeuvres to show off its capabilities was a real treat for everyone who was there.

North American B-25 Mitchell Bomber, The Victory Show 2013

North American B-25 Mitchell Bomber, The Victory Show 2013

If the B-25 was the highlight, the supporting cast wasn’t far behind.  We were treated to a magnificent display of WWII fighter planes including the Carolyn Grace Spitfire…

The Carolyn Grace Spitfire, The Victory Show 2013

The Carolyn Grace Spitfire, The Victory Show 2013

Hawker Hurricane…

Hawker Hurricane, The Victory Show 2013

Hawker Hurricane, The Victory Show 2013

P51 Mustang…

American P51 Mustang, The Victory Show 2013

American P51 Mustang, The Victory Show 2013

and the Yakovlev Yak 11…

Yakovlev YAK-11, The Victory Show 2013

Yakovlev YAK-11, The Victory Show 2013

The Red Arrows display team also made a brief but memorable appearance…

The Red Arraws Flypast, The Victory Show 2013

The Red Arraws Flypast, The Victory Show 2013

I have included a few of my favourites from the day in this post, the remainder of my photos from the day can be found on my website here.

Geoff