I've known all along that there is a fox that lives in the field behind my house. Little did I know that this fox had a litter of 4 cubs in the spring of this year. Usually I can't see her because the field grows too long with barley, but this year the field had been left fallow which meant it was short and I could see what was going on in the field. One warm summer evening I was treated to an introduction by the mother fox of her 4 cubs who played like puppies in the field, chasing each other, biting, hiding and jumping out. It was a delight to see.
I grabbed my camera and stuck the big lens on, but I found that taking pictures in the fading evening light was a huge challenge.
I saw them regularly all summer long so I tried hard to perfect my shots. I ended up using AV priority on my camera which I've never used before. This automatically adjusts the amount of light coming into the camera, but the ISO was set to "auto" which meant that as the light faded the photos were "grainier" in appearance. Sometimes the foxes would come out earlier, meaning the sun was still just setting, so I managed to get some really nice shots and one made it into the paper. Close blog
As I write this in October, after watching them grow up all summer, I only see one fox now, all grown up. He's usually out in the early evening and comes back to the den when I'm off to work in the mornings. The photo to the left was taken in September, still playing like a puppy with a piece of rubbish he found laying about!
15th October 2022
After the disaster that was 2020, we waited for lockdown 3 to finish, all restrictions to lift, and life to get back to some kind of normality.
This finally happened in July 2021 and all manner of events were planned in by everyone.
Due to the fact that every event in the UK it seems, was postponed until restrictions were lifted, this meant everything for the year was more or less happening in August and September!
In the space of 6 weeks, my camera and I attended back to back bike racing: British Superbikes at Cadwell, Motogp at Silverstone and BSB at Snetterton, a car show, a bike show and a photography trip to RAF Coltishall!
Now that I've stepped down from the WISS Committee as Media Officer and scaled back my training, I'm finding I have quite a lot of spare time at weekends to do things I've missed out on over the last few years. Close blog
Thank goodness that life is getting back to normal. It's amazing what you miss when you can't have it! Hope you too have enjoyed getting life back to normal.
My latest images are all on my facebook Rock Click page.
19th September 2021
"Happy new year" we all said as we celebrated the start of 2020. Little did we know that the whole world would be gripped by a pandemic soon after, spiralling out of our control. England was no exception and we were put into lockdown for 7 weeks in March, closing shops, pubs, gyms, schools and all non-essential businesses. I had lots of exctiting plans to look forward to this year, sports events to photograph, exploring abandoned places, a wedding (not mine!), my own speed skating events, bike race meets and loads of outdoor activities.
But the world was put on hold, along with all our plans, unable to see anyone outside our own household including friends and family, and only permitted one form of outdoor exercise a day, and keeping 2mts apart from other people. Everyone panic bought toilet roll and pasta and the elderly told not to even leave their homes for shopping for essentials, instead relying on volunteers or neighbours to shop for them.
I was classed as a key worker and thus allowed to go to work, on split week shifts, and I ended up with just two weeks off work during that time. I made the most of my daily exercise by getting out on my skates, bike or walking when the weather wasn't great. Luckily we had amazing weather for the first 3 weeks which was a god send for everyone!
Now, as we come through the other side of lockdown number 1, people are starting to head back to work and life gradually will return to normal. There are many theories on this pandemic, how it started, how it was managed, and how many have suffered. I'm looking forward to seeing friends and family and skating with my team once more, until then I shall be observing social distancing rules and washing my hands religiously, as requested by our government.
14th May 2020
My local skating rink recently hosted a boxing event during March. I volunteered to do the photography as it's a venue I'm familiar with, but it ended up being more of a challenge than I expected! This was all down to the lighting conditions in the ring. There were two spotlights in opposite corners and gave uneven light across the ring.
With the boxers moving around in and out of the light, it proved to be a difficult challenge. I quickly found the correct settings for my camera and used my 50mm prime lens for the job, which worked well and I got some decent results which I'm proud of.
It was the first time I've ever even watched a boxing match before and found at times to be brutal (boys will be boys!) but it was an excellent experience and have learnt what to do and what not to do if I get the opportunity again. The evening was a huge success and the rink was packed out. A great evening.
25th March 2020
Since the release of Windows 10, my laptop seemed to force me into upgrading it from Windows 8. I ignored the update for about a year but then caved in under pressure! I regretted it immediately. It really affected the way my photo editing software behaved.
It was just so slow to do anything. Clearly my laptop wasn't fast enough to handle Windows 10. But it was too late to reverse it. So after enduring the slow exporting of images and continuous crashes, I pondered getting a new laptop.
When I say slow, I mean SLOW! I would have to leave my laptop on all night so it could export hundreds of images from Lightroom. So I did some research and read all the reviews to decide which laptop was right for me in a budget of less than £500. I went for a HP again as I was generally happy with my original laptop, also a HP. I found a HP 250 G7 with Intel i5 processor and Windows 10 which professed to be good at multi tasking. So I treated myself to one after months of thinking about it!
I have to say that even though it lacks a DVD writer I'm very happy with it. It's fast, quiet, light and is easy to use. As a little test I exported 10 images from both my laptops. The older one took 1 min 8 seconds to export, whereas the new one took just under 10 seconds! A huge improvement on time and will save me a lot of aggro when I have up to a thousand images to process at race events! At £398 it's an excellent investment. If you want to check it out, see this link for Amazon.
1st January 2020
I just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, full of love, laughter and cheer. Even if you spend Christmas alone, make sure you do something that makes you happy. Life's too short to be miserable! I've hung my skates and camera up for the rest of 2019 and am looking forward to getting back on it in the new year with my own personal goals for both. Be safe and have a happy new year!
18th December 2019
As a keen motorcyclist, I've attended many bike races over the years, but I've never been to a Motocross race. So earlier this year I went to Ling near Norwich to watch the British Championship. It was amazing. There were none of the safety barriers and "keep 20 metres from the trackside" at this event that you get at normal race circuits. This was a dirt track and we were right beside the action. High jumps, leaps, crashes, wheelies, slides and stunt moves. The riders gave it their all and I took some amazing photos! Then my brother and I went to the Silverstone BSB test day, where we could mooch around the paddock and meet the riders, see the bikes and watch the action from the track. A pre-cursor for the exciting season ahead. I went to see them at Cadwell too, my first trip there to watch a BSB event and I went on the Friday which was a free practice day. There were plenty of places to sit and take photos, but sadly it rained in the afternoon on the day I went so most riders stayed in the pits, much to my disappointment.
Then I did my annual trip to Silverstone for MotoGP which, if I'm honest, I struggled with photography-wise. I don't really know why. Perhaps my larger lens tight against the chain link fencing wasn't a great mix, so I was disappointed with my images. Sandwiched in between that was a day out at Goodwood Festival of Speed. The year has been fairly eventful for me. My attendance at other races through the year was hampered by other commitments, so I didn't really get the chance to test out my big lens, I guess I'll have to wait until next year to practice some more!
25th September 2019
As most athletes do, I had set myself some goals this year. One was, like last year, to complete a marathon of 26 miles, and earn some silver British Championship medals. I did acheive over and beyond what I set out to do as I managed to take home two overall wins, both indoor and outdoor. One at my home race at Wisbech Skaters and the other at Tatem Park for the first outdoor race of the year, which I'm immensely proud of. I also took three second place finishes at the Indoor British Championships, so that was a tick in the box for one of my goals. Then I was sent into hospital for a planned double hernia operation. It sidelined me straight after the championships in March and I was off skates for 5 weeks. Then when I came back to training I suffered a fall with a team-mate and ripped my calf muscle, thereby ruling me out of even walking properly let alone skating! I was very mindful of the prestigious European Masters Marathon on 1st June which I was eligible to take part in due to me being an old bird. So I reluctantly sat out the first outdoor race of the year at Birmingham as I was hobbling about with my injury, and concentrated on getting fit for the London race a few weeks later. To my suprise I won that event, although my leg was heavily strapped up. I decided I would take part in the marathon, knowing full well I was no-where near fit and hadn't done anywhere near enough training for it. I set myself a more realistic goal of a half marathon distance of 13 miles. It was boiling hot that day and the track was hilly and demanding at the Olympic Park. There were ladies from all over Europe there and I was dead last in my category, but I didn't let that phase me. I just plodded on and completed 13 miles. I was exhausted afterwards, but proud of myself for achieving it. Then came the Outdoor British Championships. having missed all club races in between time. I was still on the back foot from not having trained much due to injury but I pushed myself and completed all five races to earn five bronze medals. In the past I've sat out the distance races, so this was an achievement in itself, although at the time I didn't feel very positive as I was lapped in all races and felt very slow. So now my race season is over. I didn't take part in any of the Roller Road Series marathons, although I wanted to. This was because of the travelling and the fact that the nearer tracks were far too hilly for me to complete. I live in the Fens don't forget! Close blog
On reflection, considering my bad luck at the start of the outdoor season, I'm quite proud of what I've acheived, but I know exactly what I need to do to get the results I want for next year. My goals for next year are to complete a marathon (somewhere flat!) and acheive a PB in the time trial sprint. Thank you to my team for all the encouragement and for picking me up when I was down, I couldn't have done it without them. I may be the slowest in the team, masters ladies and the whole field at race events, but I do enjoy it.
31st August 2019
When I heard that four times Motogp World Champion Mick Doohan was going to be at the Goodwood Festival of Speed I made it my mission to finally meet him after 20 years of his retirement from the sport. We'd already booked tickets for the event with our friends and it was going to be a weekend-long event for us. I knew bikes would be there, as cars isn't really my thing, but as Motogp and World Superbikes fell on the same weekend I knew that suprise guests from the motorcycling world would be fewer than previous years. Nevertheless I was looking forward to the motoring extravaganza. The weather was hot and sunny and perfect to see some track action. We mingled among ex-racers and their F1 cars, as well as supercars, Nascars, rally cars and of course, motorbikes. The bikes were due on track at 3pm so I made it my mission to wait for Mick to make an appearance to get his bike - a Honda NSR500 (of course) decked in Rothmans Honda colours. I must've waited an hour, but it was worth it as he waddled over in his leathers on his bad leg, to collect his trusty Honda. I stopped him and asked for a photo, which he duly obliged and off he went. I was ecstatic! The fun didn't end there. As we made our way to the start line all the bikes were lined up waiting to go off up the course and were delayed. I saw James Toseland, World Superbike champion, at the back of the grid and the gate was open, so, camera in hand, I slipped in and asked James for a selfie. He too was obliging, and we stood chatting for 15 mins or so about wrist injuries, bikes, speed skating and general chit chat. Steve Parrish joined in and told me he thought I looked like Suzi Perry. It's not the first time I've been told that! Anyway, we mooched up the starting line and I met Casey Stoner, MotoGP world champion, and Gino Rea where we sat on straw bales having a good old natter. Soon enough they all put their helmets on, started their bikes and off they went up the track. I never actually saw them riding the track but for me, the whole experience was amazing and one I'll never forget. A few of my images are up in the Motorsport gallery and all are on my facebook Rock Click page. Thank you Goodwood!
19th July 2019
I generally use two lenses for my photography - a 50mm prime lens for indoor work, and my trusty Tamron 18-270mm for all other work. I love my Tamron. It's light and has good range for landscapes and has a decent zoom on it. However, when I'm trying to take pictures of animals or when I'm at race tracks in particular, I sometimes struggle to get close enough to the action, especially at MotoGP where the over-zealous safety marshalls won't let us anywhere near the fence! So after much deliberation and reading of reviews and obtaining advice from friends, I decided to take the plunge and invest in a 100-400mm Canon lens. It was second hand and is the older model, but I got it at a good price and is a good base to start at for me. I picked it up locally from a guy that specialises in Eagle photography across Europe and he's just got a 600mm lens so he no longer needed this one. It's in amazing condition considerng the use I imagine it must've had in it's life, and I'm really happy with it. It's incredibly heavy though so I've invested in a mounting ring to allow for a monopod or tripod. I was advised against using the camera tripod mount as the heavy lens could stress and damage my camera. The picture of the hares is a comparison photo. The top image was taken with my Tamron and the lower one with the Canon. The pictures are very similar, but the Tamron one just had a little more movement and I had to crop it a lot as the hare was far away. The Canon one was more stable, the quality of the image was better and there wasn't much of a need to crop the image (even though I did anyway!) Close blog
All in all I love my "new" Canon, but having said that, I still need the Tamron for landscapes and lightning pictures and the prime lens for indoor racing, so neither of those are redundant in any way! So now I'm that photographer with several lenses with her at every event!
8th June 2019
I used to play roller hockey for a short time, until a severe wrist injury ruled me out of contention, so it's been several years since I've even attended a roller hockey match. I'd forgotten just how fast and furious the game is and how exciting it can be if you watch hard enough. Blink and you miss that all-important pass towards the goal. Another blink and the ball is at the other end of the rink! My friend and work colleague, Josh, plays for the local team at King's Lynn who are very successful as it happens, so I thought that one day I'd get my act (and my camera) together and take a few photos. I did so last weekend. It brought back many memories - the sounds, the smells, the action, the excitement. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have a few of my favorite photos up in the Roller Sports gallery page and also on my facebook page. I hope to attend a few more games in the future too. The game finished up as a 3-1 win to King's Lynn I'm happy to report!
3rd May 2019
After a few years of basically shooting skaters and motorbikers, I decided to go back to basics and look at the natural beauty surrounding us. With a few sunny days under our belts recently, I decided to take a walk around the Royal park of Sandringham, near to where I live. The birds were out singing, the trees were coming out in leaf and the spring flowers and blossom were in full bloom. I took my camera, half hoping I might find something on my little walk round. I wasn't disappointed! I stumbled across a beautiful muntjack deer, all sorts of birds and a few squirrels that were obviously now out of hibernation and playing among the dead bracken and leaves that litter the forest floor. I took this shot of two squirrels meeting each other on the tree. It's fairly unusual around here to photograph one squirrel on it's own as they're naturally shy and dart up the nearest tree at the slightest hint of a human being. So imagine my suprise when I stood still for just a few minutes and saw these two greeting each other! My favorite shot for a very long time. I've updated my "Scenic" and "Animals" gallery pages with a few shots I took that day as well as a few I took around my little Norfolk village. Check them out!
6th April 2019
After a severe wrist break several years ago, I realised that I needed to protect my now-fragile limb from further damage whilst throwing myself around the local skating rink. I did some research and stumbled across the Demon Flexmeter Doubled Sided wist guards. They are specifically designed for snow boarders, so I reasoned that this was a similar sport which threatens similar injuries, therefore these were up for the job. I, like all speed skaters, suffer impromtu meetings with the floor regularly, and these have been impact tested by me many times. And I have to say, they have stood up to the job successfully. They are double sided which means the wrist can't bend on impact, despite the fact they are flexible, and they have a pad on the palm which asborbs the impact. I bought my first pair in 2014 and the time has now come to replace them. They're not cheap at £60+ a pair, but believe me they're worth it if you want to save your wrists.
28th March 2019
Also included on the Policies page is our objective here at Rock Click and an updated Copyright section, just to protect both photographer and the person in the image, and how you can use the image(s). Take a look at the page here.
25th March 2019
Further to my blog below, I finished the WISS site (version 2). The original site was designed using iframes, but this was restrictive in size to accommodate various screen sizes, it wasn't at all mobile-friendly, and I couldn't use specific page links, just a link to the main page. So I sought some advice, did a lot of googling and asking of stupid questions, pulled lots of hair out and learnt a lot about responsive websites in a relatively short space of time (bearing in mind I also have a day job!).
The new site showcases some of the stuff I've learnt so far. I still can't do contact forms or ecommerce, but I've made good progress. Despite the aforementioned hair-pulling, I've enjoyed learning web design properly, and I hope in the future to make a career out of it. The web industry is constantly changing so there's much to learn and develop on.
If you have an idea for a website, a vision, but you don't have any idea how to design it, I can design it for you! Just give me a shout and we can talk through your ideas, your business and what you want from your website. I can even arrange your photography if needed.
If you're reading this and would like a junior in the office, willing to learn and take on some projects, please give me a shout! My email address is jo.tidman 46 @ gmail.com (without the gaps - saves spambots sending me rubbish!) Thanks for reading my blog!
10th March 2019
I decided to volunteer myself to create my team a new website. It's not perfect and I've since learnt a lot about responsive websites, and so this photography website is currently acting as my test website before I take the plunge and re-design the WISS site! It's a bit of a mine field but I'm enjoying finding out about web design and am looking forward to the challenge of updating the WISS one in the near future.
10th Dec 2018