Blair Drummond on a sunny day

Went to the Blair Drummond safari park in Fife, Scotland on a sunny day in June of this year . Used the Canon 7D and 1D MK III from within the car and through the windows. Lenses were the Canon 300mm F2.8 L IS and a Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L IS II. A Canon x2 extender II were used as well.

Overall a learning process, I feel these photos are a good example of my first attempt and on the next visit I’ll be better prepared.

Few things I picked up on:

  • Try to take your photos as best you can while excluding any vehicles and fences.
  • Prepare your equipment on the passenger seat and change equipment over as need be.
  • Don’t worry about cars behind you they can over take if the road is wide enough.
  • Sometimes you will get a better clarity on your photo if you have a open window, it’s not always possible though for example being in the lion’s enclosure (wash the windows before going to the Safari park helps as well).
  • Having a extender helps a lot if the animal is a far distance away or for close ups but if the animal doesn’t want to move then there’s nothing you can do. The tigers didn’t move in the time I stood ready with the camera so that’ll have to wait for my next visit.
  • Take your time, don’t be rushed or you’ll miss a perfect photo opportunity.
  • Check your settings over before you start taking photos. I reset my camera back to default and didn’t realise I was shooting in jpg on the 1D till I edited the photos.

Here’s some of the photos I took on the day.
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Photographs by Jacques …

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Princess street gardens, Edinburgh

Taking a walk down the garden paths leads to some interesting photo opportunies. It’s not to easy to change the way a monument and places are preceived other than the normal tourist photos but it’s worth a try.

Hope you like the results. I will be revisiting the gardens at some point in the future to try some different angles and also to try using HDR in a minimalist format to get a better skyline.

Scott monument

IMG_5943Bank of Scotland though the garden wall. IMG_5975St.John’s Episcopal churchIMG_5978Monument to the Royal Scots Greys, erected in 1906 to commemorate the fallen of the Regiment during the Boer War. Never knew about the reason behind the monument till I read the Wikipedia page today. Seeing that I’m South African (a boer) it now has far more significance to me. IMG_5996A few photos of the gardens. Edinburgh castle is on the hill and Scottish National gallery in the forefront.IMG_5914 IMG_5929IMG_5922IMG_5982 The North bridge.IMG_6017Sphinx roof decoration, Royal Scottish Academy. IMG_6003 From left to right:
National monument of Scotland, Calton Hill.
Nelson Monument, Calton Hill. 
The Balmoral Hotel (clock tower).
Scott monument
Royal Scottish Academy
IMG_5998 I prefer the picture below more than the one above.
IMG_6002And that folks concludes our tour, please don’t forget to tip your guide and hope to see you soon again.

Photographs by Jacques …

Motorcycle racing

I started to take photos at the race track around 3 years ago. It started as a hobby that grew into my current business. I now take photos as a freelance photographer and visit my local race tracks on a regular basis. Here are a few examples with some info about them. I started with 1/800sec or 1/1000sec depending on the light available. Over time it came down to 1/400sec as 1/800sec doesn’t show motion very well where 1/400sec gives you a nice blurry background as you follow the motorcycle from side to side. Only problem is it’s a bit slow to capture a crash cleanly and expect to have a lot of rejected photos. My hit rate on a bad day is 50%-60% and on a good day 80%-90%. The good thing isI take thousands of photos per race day which gives me a good pool of images but it’s a lot of work to trawl through all the images. The photo that started it all, it’s old and blurry but perfect when used on my business cards. This was taken at the World superbikes race 1 held at Donington in 2011. I used my old Canon 450D and a Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS lens. Settings were F5.6, ISO400 and 1/800sec. I thought it out of the world at the time but looking at it now I can see its flaws. I feel as a photographer we have to learn and progress in our skills or our photos with newer improve, I can see looking at this photo that my skill has improved as my camera equipment were upgraded, I do hope this isn’t all dow to my camera equipment. IMG_1029- On my next visit to Donington in 2012 I had my Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400mm f/4-5.6 IS L which helped to improve the photo quality and give me better reach. Setting depending on the light available were F6.5, 1/800sec and ISO320 or F5.6, 1/800sec and ISO200. IMG_5134  IMG_5132 IMG_5138 IMG_5251 IMG_5649The rest of the photos were taken at East Fortune race track which is east of Edinburgh. It’s always great to see this iconic name on a fuel tank. IMG_2285 The rest of the photos were taken at East Fortune race track which is east of Edinburgh. I used my Canon 7D and normally the lenses I would use would be either be my Canon 70-200 F/2.8 IS II L or Canon EF  300mm F/2.8 L with a Canon 2x extender at times added. I previously used my Canon 100-400mm f/4-5.6 IS L but the Canon x2 extender give me the same reach with the 70-200 so I have parked it for now. I have tried to use my Canon 1D Mark III but I found I prefer the Canon 7D above it and now just have it as a backup camera at the race track and I use that for my other photos sessions.IMG_2772If you were wondering, no he didn’t recover but crashed. Well it’s was luckily more of a sliding off the track without getting hurt than a crash. IMG_3673One of only a handful of times there were a puddle of water on this corner (called railway) during a race day.  IMG_5130 IMG_6793 It’s sometimes sad that a photo is only glimpse of the whole story. This is the last race of the season, #79 had a heavy crash not even 30 min earlier (as he entered Snake) and was given the go ahead to restart. He and #179 (which is just out of shot on the left) are head to head in the championship and it all comes down to this race. But sadly it wasn’t to be a dramatic fight to the finish line. #79 crashed again this lap or it might have been the next one and that was his championship challenge finished. UPDATE: He ended up with the championship in 2015 though. 

These riders are like warriors and determined to battle to the last breath on track. The courage and determination they have is amazing to watch and I have a lot of respect for them. I tip my hat to you ladies and gents. IMG_6753 IMG_2970 IMG_5440 I had to add this photo. There’s just something that I like about it. It’s in colour but with the rain, the motorcycle and leather combination it makes it looks slightly colourless with a hint of colour thrown in.IMG_2866 Initially I wasn’t going to use this photo but I actually like the fact that the number area of the motorcycle is in focus and the rest is blurry while he brakes for the hairpin corner.IMG_5369 IMG_4421 This corner is called Snake, it’s in the shape of a S and a pretty fast corner at that. I am sitting at the end of the tire wall you can see. I am so close to the riders flying past that if I lifted my arm up, my hand would have touched the rider’s helmet. Being able to take photos at track side is a privilege and not a lot of photographers are allowed to this. I appreciate that I’m in danger at all time and listen to everything the marshals tell me to do. They have a job to do and I’m not there to be in the way but be part of the track side furniture. They are a great bunch and I have made a lot of friends. In the case of the photo below I was told by a marshal to try that position as it has been used by photographers in the past (but not very often). In the beginning I was sitting upright and by the end of the race my right shoulder was pressed into the ground/tyres on my right, this happened subconsciously and showed me my survival instinct were at work. I can’t even start to explain the adrenaline rush this gave being so close to the riders flying past at probably over 100mph. I was told that I can’t sit there for the bigger classes due to the effect that would have on me while flying past, I was glad I didn’t try to find out. The result after one race was maybe 5 photos that I could use, I have improved since that day but prefer to stand a bit further back. I get better quality photos and have slightly more time to get the photo while still getting the same photos as I would if I sat there. I wish I could explain the feeling of sitting so close to danger while trying to get a good photo and the bikes are only in the frame for a very very small fraction of a second. All I can say to try and get that across, I had the biggest grin on my face since started to take photos at the race tracks and was buzzing thanks to the adrenaline. IMG_8087 IMG_7447 IMG_6563 IMG_3264 I hope you liked these photos, you can find more of my motorcycle racing photos at www.TrackSidePics.com. Photographs by Jacques …

Glasgow transport museum Part 3

Glasgow transport museum Part 3

Third and last instalment as promised.

The Glenlee which is docked behind the Glasgow Transport museum. She was built in 1896 in Glasgow and returned home 1993.

Here’s a few websites to get more info on the ship.
The Tall Ship
The Glenlee

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Photographs by Jacques …

Glasgow transport museum Part 2

Second part of the Glasgow transport museum tour.

Slowly it has dawned on me I might have found the part of photography I like the most. People say look at the bigger picture, I think I prefer to show the smaller part of the bigger picture. Everyone’s seen the bigger picture but the small things in life pass us by!

Camera: Canon 1D Mark III
Lens: Canon EF 24-105 L IS USM
All indoors photos:
Aperture: F4
ISO: 3200
All outdoors photos:
Aperture: F4 or F8
ISO: 200

Description are below the photo to first give you chance to decide for yourself what it might be.

IMG_1109Easy one, a train lantern.IMG_1119Front of the train with the lantern. IMG_1128The side of a tram.IMG_1141A classic truck radiator and radiator cap.IMG_1149Norton motorcycle.
IMG_1126Fire engine’s pumps.

Now the outside of the Glasgow Transport museum.
Small conclave on the right hand side of the building.
IMG_1301Love the way the angle of the connecting plates draw your eyes to the roof and onwards to the sky.
IMG_1320Just had to take this photo. IMG_1293Another excellent example of the brilliant art around the building. This is the bicycle racks.IMG_1319This is a curved window, see if you can make out the landscape reflected.IMG_1307
If you are ever in Glasgow made a point to visit the museum. In part 3 I will show you the Glenlee which is moored behind the museum.

Photographs by Jacques…