More from the archives today. Only once have I made the trip to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. For car enthusiasts, this is quite the event. An enormous variety of motor vehicles are on display and the drive them up the hill across the estate past the main house – a place I am quite familiar with having spent a summer living in the stable block around the corner. Oh how I wish they had done this when I was there!
My one trip would have probably been in 2003 shortly before leaving the UK. I only got a few photos but there are some rather unusual cars in the shots I did take. I thought that a few of you are in to cars and might be interested in what was there. Maybe some of you were there too? One day I will try and be back when it is on again and make another trip.
It was a nice evening after work and Nancy was on a trip that meant she would be home later than me so I figured I would go and hang out at Log Boom Park and see what was going on at the top of Lake Washington. It might be wildlife and it might be floatplanes so I have a chance of something. I actually ended up seeing a bunch of crews in training. I don’t know whether they are from the university or a local club but there were plenty of them.
They appeared one time in the distance and then paused before heading back down the lake. A while later they reappeared and did the same thing again. They were a fair distance away although I did wonder whether they would be in the path of the floatplanes that were taking off. However, they were probably too far for them to be in conflict. I will have to check out when the regattas are due to take place as I would like to see it with more planning unlike last year when we saw some races by accident.
I’m not sure what is was that prompted this but something made me think about shooting action sports and I remembered a time I was visiting my friends Jon and Charlie in the UK. Charlie has always been an active horsewoman and has raised many horses, some of which she has jumped competitively. They have a jumping area in one of the fields of their farm and she was interested in getting some photos of her jumping this horse. (Something makes me think this was Grace but I am probably mistaken.)
I was keen to give it a go and was also interested in what angles would be most interesting/dramatic. Of course, they couldn’t just keep jumping all the time to allow me to try different things so we had to give some ideas a go and move on. I would like to have had some remotes with me to have set the camera up in some dramatic spots. Maybe I can come back guys and have another go sometime?
An interesting part of this was seeing what things are of interest for different people. The shots Charlie liked the best were the ones as the horse is coming down to the ground again. Apparently that works well for her and is popular with other horse people. For me it made for an awkward looking shot. (Maybe it is good for evaluating technique?). I liked the ones when the horse is just coming up over the fence as it looks more dynamic and elegant. It’s strange how different things make a shot good for different people.
November in Tofino is pretty chilly. There were plenty of surfers out in the water in their wetsuits. However, it seemed to be a bit too cold for swimming. A couple obviously had a different view of things. The girl initially came running down to get in the water in her swimsuit. She soon headed back but returned before too long with the guy and they both jumped into the surf. I’m not sure this was terribly smart but they seemed to have fun.
This hydroplane was due to compete at Oak Harbor. They pulled off the jetty and headed towards the track but, for some reason, they broke down. They were left drifting just outside the jetty for a while. The driver climbed out of the cockpit and was left to wait for a tow to come along. It took a while for a boat to come to their aid. They weren’t drifting fast but they were slowly heading away from the shore and towards the course. They were taken care of long before they got anywhere risky, though.
The hydroplane races at Oak Harbor had a variety of classes of contenders. Many of the boats appeared on course from a marina across the harbor but the most exotic of the boats were operated from alongside the spectator area. A pit area was set up on the shore. Here the crews were busy preparing the boats to race – occasionally carrying out engine runs. There was no slip so the way boats were put in the water involved a crane lifting them up and depositing them alongside a jetty close by. The initial lifts seemed to be a bit slow and inaccurate but a little practice and they were soon moving them across and back after the races with ease.
It’s been a long time since I watched any hydroplane racing. The Kankakee event in Illinois was a fun one to attend, not least because the constraints of the river meant it was possible to get really close to the action. Racing is quite popular in the Pacific Northwest and one event was scheduled for Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. I decided to head along and see what it was like.
I was quite surprised how easy it was to attend. I found parking conveniently close and got a waterfront spot to set up with ease. Plenty of people came and went during the time I was there but it never felt terribly busy. The racing took place in the harbor and it was a bit distant for all of the spectators. The good spot to watch from would have been across the harbor but that was within the naval facility so out of bounds for the rest of us.
The course provided for some good angles on the boats as they made the first turn. The second turn was rather distant. The PA system was well away from me and the program seemed to be only vaguely related to what was happening so most of the time I was oblivious to the classes that were racing at any one time. The more powerful boats were staging from the pits near the crowd but many of the smaller boats would appear on course from the marina across the harbor. I would just watch them going around and try and figure things out from the flags on the course boats.
It was a sunny day so sitting next to the water and watching the occasional race was pleasant. Not knowing what was going on was a bit harder and the random feeling of when a race would occur left me a bit confused but I got to watch racing and get some photos so hardly a bad was to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Some colleagues arranged for us to buy some tickets for a baseball game while we were in Tokyo. The Giants were the home team playing another local team called the Swallows. The game was played inside Tokyo Dome, an inflatable structure and thankfully one with air conditioning! Here is a panorama of the interior of the dome during the game. Baseball games in Japan have some notable differences from those in the US, mainly relating to crowd behavior. That may get a separate post so I will leave it for now.
We recently had the 40th anniversary of the Fastnet race that ended up with a significant loss of life and boats. Weather forecasting technology and the methods of communicating were very different forty years ago and some of the boats were ill-suited to open water racing of that nature. Growing up in Cowes, the Fastnet race was always a big deal. It was every other year as part of the Admiral’s Cup. Some of my school friends got to crew on it. I watched the start of one of the races when we still lived in the UK and I scanned in some of the shots I got that day. The start was always frantic. Boats are jockeying for position, often very close to shore. Lots of shouting goes on. With a good wind, big sailing boats look so cool to me.
During my exercise to scan old negatives, I came across some photos of a company cricket match I took part in. It got me thinking about cricket and whether anyone plays the game in the Seattle region. I figured that the large Indian population in the area might have brought cricket with it. A quick Google showed a local league with plenty of teams and a game taking place the following day up in Everett. I figured this was worth a look.
I took a drive up for what was a 40 overs match. (For those that don’t know cricket, be prepared to be baffled for this post.) I wasn’t intending to watch the whole game but I wanted to see a bit of the play, get some photos having never photographed cricket in any depth, see what the standard was and have a bit of a flashback to my youth when cricket was a big part of my spare time in the summer. The Saturday had been a gloriously sunny day but the sunny was cool and overcast so not the good weather for cricket but certainly not unknown in a British summer!
Something about the field that they were playing on meant that they weren’t changing ends at the end of each over. They just swapped the batsmen over and changed bowlers. This frustrated me a touch as I was hoping for different views without having to walk all the way around the boundary. However, I guess the exercise is good for me.
Having never photographed cricket in detail, it was interesting trying to find good angles to shoot from. I liked trying to have the bowler and batsman in the same shot and switching focus from one to the other was trickier than I anticipated. I also found that some of the more dynamic poses of the players were reached when the ball was long gone. I was hoping to have the ball be a feature of the shots so it became a choice of ball position or player position.
I had a chat to some of the players from the batting side. One asked me if I wanted to join. It is a long time since I last played and I wasn’t much good even then. These guys were not professionals but I would not be setting the world on fire if I joined. Still, I might look out some other games at some point – preferably on days with a bit nicer weather. Sitting and watching a game in the sun sounds pretty good.