First Cricket Shots

Back in the 1980s I spent entire summers at the County Ground in Northampton watching cricket, and in 1986 I started taking a few photos – eventually leading to the hobby I have now.
These are my first cricket photos, taken with my dad’s compact camera – I didn’t move on to action photos until I got my first SLR in 1987 and borrowed his 300mm lens.

There are some big names, so not a bad start – legendary West Indies stars Clive Lloyd, Joel Garner and Viv Richards, as well as a certain Ian Botham.
The Garner/Richards/Botham shots were taken at Northants’ annual trip to play at Wellingborough School. In the Sunday League match, Botham (just back from a ban after he admitted smoking marijuana) hit 175no including 12 4’s and 13 6’s – remember that these were 40 over matches, and he only batted for 27 of them! OK, the ground was very small, but it was probably the most amazing innings I saw.

 

2014 pics – one a month

Same as I did last year – one photo from each month of 2014. It was actually quite difficult for January and November as I didn’t take anything of note.
I could have cheated, but instead you have ended up with a photo taken from the hard shoulder of the M4 on a cold January morning when I had a puncture, and a photo of the cushions on a hotel bed in October (a recurring theme on Facebook) – these really were the only photos I took in those months. I also had to use two from the summer holiday, but that’s OK as we started right at the end of August and went into September.

More Tattoos

Last week I had the opportunity to take photos of another friends’ tattoo – a really exquisite cherry blossom.

From a technical point of view, I still have some work to do on lighting – although there is only so much you can do with a couple of flashguns. The black backdrop works well with pale skin, while the washed out backdrop gives a good high-key effect.

I was particularly pleased with a couple of the photos – the lighting was just about right and the poses were excellent (considering this was her first time doing anything like this, the poses were elegant and natural-looking).

Contains some mild nudity.

Chateau and D-Day

Rather than ruin all that relaxation by dashing back through France in one go, we tend to take our time and have a couple of overnight stops on the way home, which also enables us to do a bit of sightseeing.

On the Sunday morning, we went to the château at Chenonceau, just east of Tours – actually on the Cher river rather than the Loire, which is where you tend to think the famous châteaux are.
As well as being the one with the arches over the river, it has two excellent formal gardens. And on top of that, it also has a magnificent vegetable, herb and flower garden, which it would be easy to miss – and which you really shouldn’t!

On the Monday, we were further north and visited Arromanches, Gold Beach on D-Day and where the Mulberry Harbour was – and where bits of it still are.
We were lucky that the tide was out, so we were able to walk around some of the remains – it’s hard to imagine just how big it actually was.
As always with wartime sites, particularly with 2014 being the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 100th anniversary of WWI, it makes you stop and think…

Waterlilies

While at the gite in France, we took just one day trip (we basically spent two weeks sat in the shade of a large oak tree, reading) – this was to the “Jardin des Nenuphars”, Latour-Marliac, at Le Temple sur Lot, a few minutes from Villeneuve-sur-Lot. This is where hardy waterliliy hybrids were first grown and from where Monet bought the lilies for his garden at Giverny. They house the French national collection.
A lovely place, really interesting (and with a good cafe), although the greenhouse containing the exotic/large lilies was unbelievably hot and humid – it took me a fair while to recover from just a few minutes in there!

Holiday Skies

Back from a lovely summer holiday in SW France, I’ve got a few photos to share.
First up we have a collection around the theme of “sky” – sunsets, stars and a thunderstorm.

Our gite was in the middle of nowhere and was quite high up, so we had a fantastic view of the sky at night – almost a horizon-to-horizon view of the milky way. I want/need a fast aperture wide angle lens as my 50mm f1.4 is nowhere near wide enough to do the sky justice, and my f2.8 24-70 lens isn’t really fast enough.
Then we have some night-time photos I took at the gite, with the aid of a torch and SWMBO.
The third part is sunsets – not so much in the early days because there simply weren’t any clouds (!), but some quite good ones later on.
We had one thunderstorm – I was woken by lightning just before dawn one day and thundered out to get some photos. All a little strange as there was just one thunder cloud, no rain and virtually no thunder. It also got quite difficult to photograph as the sun rose, to the point where I had to give up.
And finally some general shots of the setting sun, just pre “sunset”.

Abbey House Gardens, Again!

Last Sunday was the latest of the clothes-optional days at Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury – and perhaps one of the last. Sadly, the owners are getting divorced and the house and garden are up for sale.
The remaining clothes-optional days this year are the 17th and 31st August and the 21st September – depending on what happens with any new owner, they could be the last.

Not many pics though – I’ve been so many times that there isn’t much new to take any more!

Exmouth Boat Trip

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a very pleasant evening boat trip up the River Exe from Exmouth. When we turned round at Topsham, some of the locals seemed very keen to take photos – can’t think why…

Mainly Mousehole

I’ve been a bit behind on things – these photos are from a few days we had down in Cornwall in the middle of June. We stayed at the rather lovely Old Coastguard in Mousehole, which is thoroughly recommended. I would advise driving into Mousehole from the Newlyn side as it’s a bit hairy coming the other way – steep and narrow!

The photos were mainly taken in Mousehole, with a few at the start from the Minack Theatre and a couple at the end from the Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens (a bit disappointing if I’m honest – we should have gone to the Barbara Hepworth museum in St. Ives).
We’ve got all of my usual checkpoints – a bit of black & white and some long exposures. And dolphins! They swam past the hotel when I had my camera with me – never seen any before.