A year or so ago.......
Sadly we are still stuck in lockdown although a bit easier than back in March. It’s been making me think about what photos I was taking around the same time a year earlier in 2019 when we had no idea of the problems we would all face a year on. So I’m going to post a few photos from 2019 to illustrate some of the things I was doing around 12 months or so before the 2020 lockdown period we are in.
I sometimes go to Slimbridge to take photos of the birds – in flight if possible. This is not because I am great at it but I feel it keeps me in good practice for sports when you need to be alert and quick with the camera. And of course birds in flight are quick and often erratic in their movement so it is good practice for quick focusing. Here’s a photo I took in February 2019 in Slimbridge which incidentally has just re-opened via a booking system.
In April the motor racing season at Castle Combe usually starts and I try to get there if I can. It’s great to take photos, to watch the racing and be out in the fresh air. So here from April 2019 are a couple of shots – motorbikes – these go very quick around Castle Combe and give you lots of chances to take a variety of different shots.
If you want to be really crazy then the sidecars are just fantastic to watch with one person on the back moving to put their weight in just the right place – and all at high speed. I’m glad I’m just taking the photos when I see these! They are very entertaining.
In early May the Badminton Horse Trials take place about 14 miles from where I live. I usually go on the Saturday which is Cross Country day. It’s also the busiest day of the whole event and I’ve seen it reported that sometimes 100,000 spectators are there that day. Of course they are spread around both sides of the cross country track which is usually between 4 and 4.5 miles long. Some watch on the big screens in the very busy shopping and eating village. Badminton is one of the biggest events in the world for this type of sport so the best riders and horses are always entered. I always enjoy this day as you can get close to the action. Here are a few shots from the 2019 event.
This shot is taken with a crop camera and a 35mm prime lens. Great to experiment like this as this is not my normal lens for sports.
And this also shows how you can get close to the action. This rider was coming up hill at pace. You can see on the bottom right the piece of twine used for the spectators to stand behind and you can see how close this one is to that twine!!!
And here is a last one of a rider having come over a fence and immediately powering away - the cross country event is timed and if you are outside of the set course time you get penalty points added to your score. It's a great test of the horse and rider partnership.
In May there is often more motor racing at Castle Combe and here is a shot that I like from 2019. I like the 2 cars side by side but also the fact that the Mini on the right looks a bit like Pete’s car!!!
In June 2019 I went to Skomer Island to take photos of the Puffins. What a great day that was. Restricted numbers allowed on the island – strictly enforced. You can’t book online, by telephone or by post. You have to turn up early in the morning and queue – if all the tickets have gone before you get to the front of the queue then that’s it you have to come back another day! I was lucky but did leave home that morning at about 3 a.m. to be in the queue in time – when I got there around 70 were still ahead of me. A great place to go and I’m so glad I did it last year. Here is a shot of a resting Puffin in the grass.
The Puffins are just fantastic to see.
In late June I took my elderly Dad back to Ireland – he comes from Dublin and last year he was 87. Happily he's now 88 although our planned holiday to Ireland in June 2020 was of course cancelled - we hope to go back next year if we can. We go on the ferry from Fishguard. Normally we stay the first night in County Kilkenny where he did most of his schooling. A stop at a lovely village – The Rower-Inistioge is what we normally do and walk in the park alongside the River Nore which flows into Kilkenny City. Here is a shot of the bridge across the river that you drive across to get into the village.
It's very beautiful and peaceful there - a great place to sit down and enjoy the weather and the Irish countryside.
By the time late July arrived I was in Paris taken on a surprise few days by my 2 children to celebrate (from June) a special big birthday – you’re only 30 once!!!!! We were in Paris for the last stage of the 2019 Tour de France and I settled in for a long day next to the magnificent Champs-Elysees. It was just amazing in the evening sun as the Peloton arrived at speed and I was lucky enough to get some great shots. Just as well we don’t mind waiting because places at the front of a barrier were impossible to get later in the day – I’d secured mine 8 hours earlier – any later than that and I wouldn’t have got such a good position or got many good photos.
Look at those bike chains straining over the cobbles......fantastic to be there to see it live.
So that is about it for now. Sad how one year on everything has changed so dramatically. Let's hope things can soon get better for all of us.
I hope you’ve enjoyed looking and perhaps you can think back to what you were up to a year ago as well. Where were you taking photos and what of?? Post them if you want to.
Do keep safe.