Welcome to my blog - the ramblings of a photographer!

#10) Merry Christmas!

Just a quick blog to wish all you visitors to this website a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you in 2017.

#9) Protecting your images with copyright (Canon)

OK so this is a major bugbear for many photographers - people nicking their images! I generally put watermarks on images that I'm worried about being stolen. I did have this happen to my Gary numan photos. A guy was taking everyone's personal photos of him and burning them to CD to sell copies of to fans. I was incensed at this and has made me wonder how I can really protect them. Watermarks are ok, but Photoshop can easily remove them if you're handy with it and have time.

So I wondered about embedding information into my images so that when you "right click" on an image and select "properties" you will see where the image originated from. This information can't be tampered with. So I did a little Goggle-ing, and lo and behold, this can be done. Easily! So here it is:

Disable WIFI on your camera.

Connect your camera via the USB cable to your PC and switch it on.

Run the EOS Utility software that comes with your camera.

Select "Camera settings".

Click on the spanner icon.

Enter your name into the following fields: Owner's name, Author, Copyright.

Hey Presto!

This information cannot be overwritten unless you connect your camera back into your PC.

So with this as well as watermarks, it just makes it that little bit more difficult for people to call your images theirs. Which can't be a bad thing.

#8) Road rash!

As per my previous blog, I am carrying my first speed skating injury. I slid down the road on my right hand side and sustained severe bruising and road rash on my elbow and leg. My leg took most of the secondary impact from sliding across the tarmac. I estimate that I must've been travelling between 15-20mph and hitting the floor at this speed is never going to end well. The wound was cleaned and dressed on the day but the following day, after some ill-advised advice, I took the dressings off and left it to the open air. I was in a lot of pain through the first week with pressure build up and muscle pain around the wound. It was drying then weeping. It couldn't make up it's mind! In the end I decided to go to the pharmacy who immediately told me to go to the Minor Injuries department. My wound had got infected and I could barely put weight on my leg. The nurse dressed the wound with a gel plaster which was to draw out the moisture, prevent drying out and encourage skin growth, and gave me a dose of penicillin. A week and a half on and many dressings later it's healing nicely, but I'm left with a large red mark on my leg which is still fairly sore and tender. I'm very glad that I was wearing my wrist guard otherwise I doubt I'd be sitting here typing this!

I learnt two things from this experience. 1) ALWAYS wear protection. 2) Get yourself checked out when something goes wrong.

Last weekend was the British Speed Skating Outdoor Championships, but I erred on the side of caution and decided to sit out of all my races. It went against the grain, but I just couldn't risk falling again. My team did exceptionally well. We had two new British records and champion (Mike) and gold, silver and bronze medals galore. I sat safely on the sidelines and took almost 600 photos on Saturday. The race report is submitted to press so hopefully we will be in the papers next week. Many people kindly asked how the leg was, and others asked me what I had done, since I was sporting a very conspicuous white bandage on my leg which a blind person would've had a hard job missing!

The Speed skaters now have a month off from racing before the London Marathon event in mid-August. Check out the weekends events on my facebook page

#7) A few firsts for me...

After travelling to Tatem Park in London for another outdoor race event, I came away with a few firsts. Unfortunately not the firsts that I wanted. I competed in two races with my fellow Masters ladies participants. The first race went ok but I managed a lonely 4th place whilst trying to get a handle of the track which I'd never skated on. It seemed slippery on the bends to me, which I concluded must be my skating style, something I need to work on. Lap two of the 1500mts race proved too much for my skating ability and, after attempting a crossover on a corner, my skate clipped my other skate and I went down hard onto the tarmac. This was my first crash during a race and I don't want to repeat it! There were a lot of factors against me, a new track which I'd never skated on, new skates which I'd only had one indoor training session on, and arriving late to the track to begin with therefore limiting my warm up time to just ten minutes. Having said that, the error was all mine. I have no-one to blame but myself and I have learnt some hard, painful lessons: the main one being - don't attempt crossovers at Tatem Park! After I'd got cleaned up and the shock had gone I was up and about and taking photos. They are on my facebook page if you'd like to check them out.

I'd like to say well done to the rest of my team for bringing home more trophies (sorry I let the side down!). Now we're focussing on the British Outdoor Championships in a few weeks time.

#6) Lightning during the day

Last week, in true British summer weather fashion, we endured unsettled weather which sparked a few day time thunderstorms. I've managed night-time lightning shots which are relatively easy to control with the light and shutter speeds, but the day time is another matter entirely! I don't have any filters for my camera, so I had to play around with settings to get the darkest possible image. I put the f-stop up as high as possible (F22 in my camera), but depite the dark clouds all around me, it was still way too over-exposed on anything over a second on the shutter speed. So that's what I settled on.

The storm was about ten miles away from where I was situated, but I could see it was raining over that way so I decided to stay put. The lightning was far enough away to not pose any threat to me (always a serious consideration as I really don't want to be struck by lightning!), so I set up my tripod and camera. The first few strikes were inside the clouds and were happening every five minutes or so, then it started to fork to the ground, so I just continuously clicked away. To my amazement, I managed to capture a few fabulous strikes, and even though I was a little to far away and the exposure was a little too much, I made a few tweaks in the editing stage and ended up with quite a nice, almost symmetrical image.

#5) Another speed skating event!

Having missed the first outdoor speed skating event, I decided to go for broke and enter in the race event held in Birmingham. My first outdoor race. The day turned out to be a really good one despite the weather. I ended up in 3rd place, securing a bronze medal on the masters category and the rest of the team mostly finished on the podium in their respective categories. Our team coach, Mike, did us all proud by winning the 10,000mts race after a tough battle with his rivals in torrential rain.

The rain was a particular hazard whilst trying to photograph the event. Luckily it was for about an hour during the afternoon, but I was very reluctant to get the camera out let alone my skates! Respect to all the skaters who took part in their races in the rain. You can't rely on the British weather!

Pictures are now up in the sports gallery.

#4) British Indoor Speed Skating Championships of 2016

One weekend in March our speed skaters trekked down the country (literally it seemed) along the winding roads of Essex to skate rather fast round a track at Maddison Heights skating rink in Maldon, Essex. Due to the early start, most of our team decided to travel over the day before and make a weekend of it. I quite liked that idea. My partner and I took ourselves off round the shops of Braintree to sample the shopping delights that Essex has to offer.

Early the next day we dragged ourselves out of our comfy hotel beds to get to the rink early for registration. This was my first attendance at the British Championships as a participant, and once again I was impressed with the smooth running of the event. As I've been a photographer for speed skating for more than a year now, the officials, skaters and spectators are all getting used to me milling about and taking photos of them! I had to thrust my camera into my partners capable hands to take photos of my races and the team photos, because - try as I might - I just can't be in two places at once! I have to say he did a very good job as a rookie photographer. I'd better keep my eye on my camera in future, otherwise I fear I may "lose" it! The rink itself wasn't the easiest place to photograph. There are huge windows at each end, therefore I couldn't get any shots of the skaters entering the corners due to "silhouetting". I prefer to sit on the inside of the track to get closer to the action, but wasn't really able to this time round. There was plenty of room round the outside of the track though, so I managed quite a few action shots from there instead. I wasn't able to use my zoom lens due to the poor lighting inside, but I'm pretty happy with the results. Images are now up on my facebook page.

First up were the time trials. I have to say I was more nervous about that than anything else, probably because I still haven't mastered my starts, but we as a team are used to doing one-lap flyers as we train this all the time. I came in third so that was one bronze medal in the bag already. My next race was the 500mts, which is 5 laps of the rink at Maldon, being a 100metre track. I had a weak start (no suprise) and ended up dead last, but I managed to claw it back on the first lap to claim third place, and another bronze medal. Finally was the race I'd been dreading and was even considering not actually racing in it. The 1500mts. An energy sapping 15 laps. The pack split into two groups of two on the second lap and I was in the back two. I managed to claw my way into third place, and held a consistent pace for 8 laps or so, but 4th placed Suzie King, managed to use my slipstream and conserve her energy, and therefore stole third place. She managed to break away slightly from me, and I had no legs left to respond, and so therefore settled for fourth place.

The rest of the team did equally as well in their own category races, with our team coach, Mike, winning all three of his events to become British Champion, daughter Eve finishing second in all of her events, bringing home silver medals, and Flynn, Oli and Arthur each winning bronze medals. Flynn also had an extra special award given him as "Most Promising Young Skater of 2015".

All in all, I was very happy with my two bronze medals, happy for Suzie too that she also got her medal for the 1500mts, and an extra special moment for me was the fact that there was a VIP guest in attendance to hand out the medals. British Superbike rider, Danny Buchan was on hand to dish them out. This made my day extra special. The pictures below are three that signify the brilliant day I had, and it will certainly be one I won't forget in a hurry. And I have to say, the other half isn't too bad at snapping away merrily with my camera!

#3) Launch of the "Images For Sale" page

Photographers take photos. LOTS of photos. They mostly end up stored on the computer hard drive never to be appreciated or see the light of day again. This isn't quite the case for me because of the sports photography that I do. My images are always in the local papers and do the rounds on various facebook profile pages being proudly displayed by the people associated with the images. Which is always nice to know my images are appreciated. But I have more to give and will have in the future, so I thought I'd make a few of my other images available for sale. They may not always be 100% absolutely technically perfect photography-wise, but I'm not putting them out there to be criticised, merely appreciated for what they are and how people see them. So to that end, please visit the "Images for sale" page on this site to view some of my images for sale. I've only put a few on at the moment, but if there's a particular image that takes your fancy please drop me a line through the contact page - everything is for sale!

#2) Home race event turns to gold!

Skaters Roller Skating rink was the venue last weekend for some high energy and closely fought racing as more than 80 skaters from across the country met for the second time this year.

The home team, Wisbech Inline Speed, proved that they were a force to be reckoned with. 6 year old Arthur Buckler and 7 year old James Garwell led at the front from the very first lap in each of their races in their respective categories and brought home a medal and trophy each. Flynn McGurk and team coach Mike McInerney both triumphed in their categories after dicing with the front runners throughout their races making for some incredibly close racing, with Eve McInerney finishing in a very close 2nd place. Other team competitors were brothers Warren and James Eve , Jonathan Garwell, Oli Johnson, Nathan Steele , Dylan Taylor and Jo Tidman.

After their impressive display Mike was full of praise for his team. “Everyone did so well today. They deserve every success after the hard training they have all done” and he quipped that the training will be much harder from now on! The weekend also saw the presentation of the new team skin suits, sponsored by Aboda Homes, Milos and Skaters Roller Rink, and presented by club chairman, Hugh Doggett. The team now focus their training and attention on the British Indoor Championships in March.

#1) Wisbech Inline skaters return to the track!

On Sunday the Wisbech Inline Speed Skating Club travelled to Ashbourne, Derbyshire to continue the 2015/16 indoor season. Team Coach Mike McInerney was joined by 9 other skaters racing to secure a place on the podium.

The floor surface was challenging resulting in poor wheel performance however Wisbech still managed to shine. Once again, the team brought home medals with Mike McInerney finishing 3rd in the Seniors Category, Jo Tidman 3rd in the Masters Category, Eve McInerney 1st in Cat 2, Flynn McGurk 2nd in Cat 3 and young Arthur Buckler finishing 2nd in Cat 7.

The team are now training for the next indoor race which is on home soil – Saturday 20th February 2016 at Skaters Roller Rink in Walpole Highway (4.30 – 7pm). Come along and support your local speed skating club!!! Images are now released on the sports page as well as on my Facebook page.

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