Blog
9th July 2017
Chateau Impney hill climb
 
6th July 2017
Vintage Sports Car Club hill climb at Shelsley Walsh
 
1st July 2017
More from the VHRA at Pendine
 
28th June 2017
Vintage Hot Rod Association at Pendine Sands
 
18th June 2017
MAC Reg Phillips Trophy meeting at Shelsley Walsh
 
10th June 2017
VSCC Hawthorn Memorial Trophies at Oulton Park
 
4th June 2017
British Racing Green at Shelsley Walsh
 
3rd June 2017
Chateau Impney hill climb
 
28th May 2017
VSCC at Loton Park
 
27th May 2017
La Vita Rossa at Prescott
 
21st May 2017
Speed Hill Climb at Loton Park
 
13th May 2017
Traction Engines at the Ironbridge Gorge
 
7th May 2017
Speed into Spring at Shelsley Walsh
 
6th May 2017
A bit of a tidy up

So today I had a bit of a website tidy up. No great changes but I have:

  • Added images and changed the order of the front page slideshow
  • Added some images to the Motorsport Favourites gallery
  • Amalgamated the Vintage Vision gallery with Motorsport Favourites

Hopefully it will add to the sites viewing pleasure - and I have noticed a steady 10% increase in visitors month-on-month.

 

30th April 2017
VSCC Speed Trial at Curborough
 
27th April 2017
'Ladies Day' @ Prescott
 
23rd April 2017
Prescott Speed Hill Climb
 
22nd April 2017
Launch of the Vintage Sports-Car Club's new race series: Formula Vintage
 
17th April 2017
Loton Park National B Hill Climb
 
9th April 2017
Prescott Bike Festival

Today I was proud to once again be part of the volunteer media team at the annual Prescott Bike Festival, run by the Severn Freewheelers on behalf of the National Association of Blood Bikes. I was stationed on the hill, at Pardon hairpin in the morning and Ettores in the afternoon, attempting to photograph each of the (nearly) 300 bikes as they took their two runs. The teams photographs are available to purchase (all proceeds to the charity) at 2020zoom.com.

7th April 2017
More from the Bromyard Speed Festival
 
3rd April 2017
Image used for VSCC

Nice to see that one of my images from last season has been used to promote the Vintage Sports-Car Club's annual visit to Loton Park hill climb:

2nd April 2017
Bromyard Speed Festival

 

26th March 2017
Hillclimb season opener at Loton Park
16th March 2017
Commercial shot

Another commercial publication, this time in the British Plastics & Rubber online magazine. I was asked to capture a portrait shot of a new director at TCL Packaging Ltd. I chose a number of locations including this one outside the Reception area which included the company logo. In hindsight maybe I should have added a polorising filter to minimise the reflections although then it might not have been so clear that it was taken in front of a window?

15th March 2017
Formula Vintage

Nice to receive the following invitation to the launch of Formula Vintage at Silverstone – the new name for the Vintage Sports-Car Club's racing activities – an evening which will include a brief look back at more than 80 years of VSCC Racing history and an overview of what you can look forward to seeing at the events in 2017. Followed by the VSCC Spring Start races at the same circuit on Saturday it should be a great weekend.

 

12th March 2017
Peter Blankstone Sporting Trial @ Shelsley Walsh
 
19th February 2017
Yesterday I was mainly....
 
4th February 2017
Today I've mostly been....
 
26th January 2017
iPhoneography #1

I was a very lucky man this Christmas. Mrs H spoiled me rotten with a triple-purpose present - an Apple iPhone 7 Plus.

Triple-purpose? well she thought long and hard:

  1. My Bang & Olufsen MP3 player died during 2016
  2. My Lumix LX3 'compact' camera is getting on 9 years old now and , to be honest, isn't very 'compact'
  3. She hated my work-supplied Motorola Moto-G phone

To replace all three individually would be expensive - but to combine all three in an iphone was the solution.

It's a lovely piece of work. I used to have an iPhone 6 - which was also lovely as a personal assistant, but generally useless as a phone. It constantly dropped calls and reception was patchy, to say the least. This new iPhone 7 reminds me of the smooth, tactile, feel of my old iPhone but combined with a very much improved reception - possibly the best call reception of any mobile phone that I've owned.

But this isn't about phones - it's about photography. So how is the camera on the iPhone 7?

The main camera is a dual-lens 12 megapixel unit, one lens being an f/1.8 wide angle and the other an f/2.8 telephoto - and on top of that you also get 10X digital zoom. And on the front there is another 7 megapixel camera for those all important 'selfie' shots. It is supplemented by a flash, in-camera filters, HDR, a depth-of-field 'portrait mode', a panorama mode and many other additions, more of which will be covered in later blog posts.

But meanwhile, here is a wintery shot of Jackfield village taken during a walk with the dogs:

1st January 2017
Happy New Year
 
26th December 2016
Boxing Day Shoot

Today I was fortunate enough to be invited to join a pheasant shoot at the nearby Willey Estate near Broseley, Shropshire. After a busy Christmas Day with plenty of food (and drink!) it was good to get some fresh air and exercise and we were blessed with a dry, sunny, albeit slightly chilly, day throughout. It was a great group of people with plenty of banter and I really enjoyed it. Here is the obligatory group shot and the gallery is here.

14th December 2016
Another sunset
 
20th November 2016
VSCC Cotswold Trial

Yesterday saw what will probably be my last motorsport event of this year - the Vintage Sports-Car Club's Cotswold Trial in and around Prescott. It's one of my favourite events, not just because of the friendliness of the competitors but also the stunning backdrop of the autumnal trees & leaves. Highlight of the day for me was, as I walked between stages, Douglas Monroe stopped his 1929 Riley 9 and gave me a lift. Fantastic.

A gallery of the event can be found here.

 

17th November 2016
Ha'penny Bridge

I was pleased to receive a complimentary copy of a new book 'The Ha'penny Bridge' by author Michael English through the post this week. Well over 18 months ago I was approached by Michael who asked to use one of my images ' Ironbridge in snow' in this book about a bridge that is a symbol of the city of Dublin - the first footbridge over the river Liffey and also the first iron bridge in Ireland, built in 1816.

My image is a two-page spread over pages 54 & 55. The original can be seen in the Landscapes & Seascapes gallery.

12th November 2016
Mobile optimisation

Just a reminder that this website is optimised for most mobile devices:

30th October 2016
Hanging Leaf

It was a lovely mild day for the end of October and an ideal day to continue cutting shrubs back ready for the Winter. As I was heading for the compost heap I came across this silver birch leaf, seemingly hovering in mid air. Taking a closer look I noticed that it was actually suspended on a tiny piece of what I can only imagine is spiders web - but looking up the nearest overhanging branch was some 30 feet higher. Why or how this leaf ended up dangling on it is a mystery.

I couldn't miss this shot - especially with the opportunity for a small depth of field giving a dreamy, uncluttered background. I used an aperture of f/2.8 to do just that and a shutter speed of 1/250 sec to try and eliminate any movement blur. The ISO set automatically at 500 to allow these settings. What I hadn't accounted for was that the slightest hint of breeze sent the little leaf wildly pivoting and swinging about - a tripod was clearly not an option. Therefore I just had to hand-hold the camera and try to back-button focus on the leaf whilst using a 'burst-mode' continuous shutter in the hope of capturing something reasonable.

I ended up taking 50 shots in just a few minutes. Most were rejects due to poor focus, others for poor composition. I ended up with 3 possibilities but this was my favourite - not least because if you look really closely you can see that tiny spiders web.

19th October 2016
CSCC gallery added from last weekend's Oulton Park event
 
16th October 2016
Bitesized Review: Sleeklens Lightroom Presets

I was recently contacted by the Danish software company Sleeklens (https://sleeklens.com) that sells professional workflows to photographers who are looking to cut down time editing their photos and get better results. Basically they offered to give me a free copy of their landscape workflow software ‘Through The Woods’ (RRP: $39) in return for a review on my website. Here's one of the images I produced and the review is here.

15th October 2016
Classic Sports-Car Championship at Oulton Park

A great day out in Cheshire today with best mate Adrian Evans. A gallery will be added later.

13th October 2016
VSCC Welsh trial gallery added

A selection of images from last Sunday's VSCC's Welsh trial has now been added to the gallery.

9th October 2016
VSCC Welsh Trial

A fantastic day at the Vintage Sports-Car Club's annual Welsh Trial near Presteigne. Here is a snapshot. A gallery will be added later in the week.

5th October 2016
Autumn Classic at Prescott gallery added from 2nd October

Some chosen images from the American-themed Autumn Classic at Prescott have just been added. I made the conscious decision to only take images depicting the American theme rather than the cars competing on the hill. The gallery is here.

2nd October 2016
 
1st October 2016
Lightroom Bitesize Tutorials added

The popular Lightroom Bitesize tutorials have now returned to the website. There are currently 35 tutorials, each of which opens as a handy PDF document which you can just read on-screen or print off for your records.

29th September 2016
Loton Park gallery added from 25th September 2016

A few images have been added to a gallery from a very slow day at Loton Park where the final rounds of several national hillclimb championships took place.

27th September 2016
Sunset
 
25th September 2016
HDLCC Loton Park hill climb
 
17th September 2016
 
17th September 2016
 
15th September 2016
New Facebook page

I have now created a new Facebook page (as opposed to a timeline) which is designed to complement this website. You can find it here. Please use this one from now on because my personal timeline will no longer be updated. Thanks.

 

11th September 2016
VSCC Hill Climb at Loton Park

This morning I set off in a westerly direction to my 'local' hill climb venue, Loton Park in Alberbury, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, to be part of the Vintage Sports-Car Club's media team for their annual hill climb. I have been visiting Loton Park on-and-off for over 30 years and so I have a soft spot for it, notwithstanding the fact that I now know it so well - in fact the only problem I have is trying to find something a little bit different each time.

It was a great day. It all went very smoothly, no major 'offs' and the weather stayed dry and (largely) sunny. I also met a couple of very pleasant new media photographers on the hill and we had some good banter - I hope to see more of them both next season.

A new gallery from the day has been added.

4th September 2016
Shelsley Walsh Bike Festival 2016

Today saw the second ever bike festival at the iconic Shelshley Walsh hill climb venue. Once again I was privileged to be invited to be part of the official media team to capture photographs from the day. In the morning I was on the start line taking a photograph of every 'ride the hill' entry with our grid girl Mel. She normally models at stock car and drag car race events and this was her first experience of a hill climb - but her experience soon showed through and it was a pleasure to work with her and she brought a smile to many a biker.

In the afternoon I was stationed on 'Top Ess' and it was great to see the entrants put some spirited handling into a difficult corner on their way to the finish point.

The Bike Festivals raise vital funds and awareness for the organising, regional Blood Bike group, Severn Freewheelers, charity no: 1120999. Photographs are a available from this website. No member of the media team makes any money from these photographs - any proceeds are donated to the charity.

28th August 2016
Loton Park Hill Climb

It was a fantastic day at Loton Park today - a fly-past by the Red Arrows, a lovely presentation to the Gate Marshall crew - and, of course, some great hill climbing.

I attempted some wide-angle HDR shots of some of the cars in the paddock area, inspired by best mate (and top photographer) Adrian Evans. Some came out OK but there is more work to be done. However, it is something that I will continue to do because I really don't spend enough time in the paddock area and concentrate far too much time 'on-the-hill' which can, of course, over the season become a bit monotonous. A couple of these shots can be found in the Gallery.

20th August 2016
Fully operational
The new site is now fully operational with all links working. I just need to populate the gallery and links pages and we're ready to go......

 

18th August 2016
The website develops
Slowly but surely the new website is developing and I finally have a vision of how it's going to look. It's interesting that as I get into it I start to remember how it all works after years of relying on Wordpress to do everything for me. I'm sure that I am only touching the surface of what Adobe Dreamweaver is fully capable of but I am quite pleased with the results and hope to launch a fully operational website soon.

 

15th August 2016
A new website is born

After months of sporadic, and sometimes downright terrible, loading of my website - coupled with a new problem that developed whereby I couldn't upload any new images - I finally decided to contact a local I.T. company, Midland Computers. I have used them in a professional capacity over many years and so trust them to give me the best advice. As soon as I mentioned that it was run on a Wordpress platform there was a sharp intake of breath. In a nutshell, they don't support Wordpress-based sites because so many of the themes and plug-ins are open-source and, as such, can give rise to all sorts of bugs and security breaches. To de-bug my site was clearly not an option.

After a brief chat it was clear what was the best option for the future - to delete the Wordpress site entirely and start again with a new approach. At present my aim is to create a unique stand-alone site using Adobe Dreamweaver just like I used to years ago. This may take some time though, much has changed since then and the key is all about planning what you want the end result to look like rather than just ploughing on in the hope that something good may develop. It may be some time before this site is up-and-running to its full potential.

PS: As a footnote, as I was deleting the old Wordpress folders from the web server I noticed that for every image I had uploaded it has created and saved 8 other versions of various sizes. No wonder that the database was getting so bloated. It seems a very amateurish method of providing the user with a range of images sizes for a blog post.