Not long before we left the UK, I finally got around to doing something I had meant to do many times and always forgot about until it was too late. A visit to the Good Friday meet at the velodrome in Herne Hill. Since it was south London, it was a pretty easy place to get to by train so no need to fight the traffic in to Town. It was a big deal in those days – maybe it still is – and it attracted a great selection of riders. Some pros showed up to race or to be seen. David Millar was there being interviewed but didn’t race. I was really pleased to see Stuart O’Grady, I rider I really enjoyed watching race.
The track scene had a selection of established stars and up and comers that I new about vaguely from reading Cycling Weekly. Chris Newton was a big deal in those days although he never became a widely known cyclist. However, there were two young guys competing that day that I knew were pretty good. I didn’t know they would go on to better things. One was a chubby young sprinter called Chris Hoy. The other was a good pursuiter called Bradley Wiggins. Olympic and Tour de France glory awaited them later in their careers. I was very tempted by one of the t-shirts on sale that day. It said “I’m not fat, I’m a sprinter!”. If you’ve ever seen the physique of some of the fastest sprinters, you would find this funny.
Sitting on the pier at Log Boom Park in Kenmore gives me a plentiful supply of things to photograph. This guy was out on what I can only assume is a powered surfboard of some sort. I couldn’t work out what powered it exactly but he seemed to have a hand controller to manage his speed. He was happily cruising around the north end of Lake Washington. For those of you that are surfers, is this a good alternative when you can’t access good surf or is such a thing heretical in your eyes?
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.