Vitra Campus Weil am Rhein

This is one place that you never tire of visiting. Vitra’s Campus at Weil am Rhein started in 1981 commissioning Nicholas Grimshaw to design two factory buildings, since then they have gathered a unique ensemble of contemporary architecture across the site. BDG’s invitation by Vitra to spend a few days there was something quite special.

For you technical people out there all photographs shot on an Olympus EM1 Mklll with a Leica/Panasonic 8-18mm lens

Sidecar Motocross

Another outing to test how the micro four thirds Olympus can measure up to photographing fast moving action, and personally missing sidecar motocross. This was my first opportunity to catch a round of the British Championship this year. This event was round six at staged at Milton Malsor in Northamptonshire, a compact, interesting and accessible track. Previous visits have all been to Canada Heights which is a wonderful woodland setting with lots if elevation, Milton Malsor looks like a good contender for more visits.

For the photographers, I partnered the Olympus EM1 with the 40-150 zoom and 300 f4, both performed better than I expected, excellent focus tracking and lens stabilisation meant no need for a support and made shooting much simpler allowing me to test out a wide range of angles and approaches.
Shutter speeds between 1/1600-1/2000 to capture the action and 1/40 for the panning shots. I also set a couple of the custom modes beforehand to easily switch between shooting styles whilst at the track, I recommend this so as not to miss shots
After a few races to check the best vantage points, I found on almost all locations a lower viewpoint* offered the best approach and the opportunity to get level with the sidecar passengers eyes. The abundance of wild grasses and flowers provided a further element of interest to the foreground.

* with any fast moving sports, make sure your shooting position is safe and only ever one knee on the ground.

Maunsell Forts

The extraordinary Red Sands Maunsell Forts in the Thames Estuary have been on my list to visit for some years. These were designed by the civil engineer Guy Maunsell and built during WW2 to help protect London from air raids against enemy aircraft flying up the Thames estuary. On a clear day these are visible from the north Kent coast, and just under an hour away by motor launch. For a little more information try

Very fortunate with the weather, not so many challenges from a photography perspective. My favourite travel lens the 12-100mm Zuiko performed exactly as expected. Not so much need for the image stabilisation due to light levels though welcome to manage the boats pitching in the shots from a distance. A polarising filter was used on all shots.

Olympus 300 f4

I’ve owned this lens for a little while and not truly recognised its capabilities, sharing here after 9 months some examples, mostly bare some with the 1.4 2X extenders . Its quite an extraordinary lens, well done Olympus!

This photograph of a squirrel was shot a few days ago and is the equivalent of 1200mm (35mm style) using the 2x extender and stopped down to f10 and shot at 1/400 hand held with just a bean bag for support. I’m more than impressed it can deliver images like this.
For context the shot below this one is from the same vantage point using a 35mm equivalent, with a keen eye you can just make out the squirrel half way up the tree trunk.

Haringey Huskies 2021

Its been a year now since the Huskies took to the ice. In March their ‘elite status’ gave an invitation to the EIHA South Cup to play teams a division or so higher than them. Sadly no supporters at the Palace, and a slightly strange atmosphere where the home crowd certainly add an edge. The six match series ended with a deserved win for Huskies away at MK Thunder. So looking forward to what they can achieve next season!

More photographs from the 2021 EIHA South Cup series are here;

Huskies vs MK Thunder
Huskies vs Solent Devils
Huskies vs Slough Jets

These photographs are free to use for anyone promoting the Haringey Huskies, please do credit me as photographer. For all other uses please contact me before use

I am including a few technical notes and hints for photographers like me, who have found ice hockey and indoor venues a challenge, and learnt through practice (these are all specific for Alexandra Place though should help at other venues)

Set a white balance for the lighting and venue – this is so important to keep the ice naturally white
Exposure compensation – I normally use +1.0 again to balance the amount of white in the frame.
Check the lighting – at Alexandra Palace it’s definitely 1 stop brighter on one side on the rink
800-1/1000th sec is what you will need to capture the action, slow to 1/500th or less for celebrations and best quality.
Shoot wide open f2.8-3.2 due to shooting through nets and use auto ISO, for most this all means shooting in MANUAL.
Shoot in RAW where you can to help balance the lighting variations in post
If your kit means you are pushing your ISO so high the grain is a problem, consider investing in Topaz DeNoise or similar
A fast 70-200mm lens or similar is my go to, and all you should need to get going

Shooting locations vary so much and always need to be governed by SAFETY especially shooting through nets (the puck can travel as up to 100mph), also respect for the paying supporters, though my experience is a polite request to swap places to get the perfect aspect generally works.
My favourites are (i) 45 degree angle focusing on the goal action though also covering attacks (ii) behind the goal though well to one side (out of the line of stray shots on goal) to capture attacks upfield and goalmouth incidents where you will get the attacking side front on and (iii) directly aligned/perpendicular to the goal for shots of the goal tender and goalmouth action.

I’ve not covered a multitude of other approaches such as panning shots to emphasize the speed etc. As always you will want to capture what is unique to your approach and stands out to best represent your team or subject. Do contact me with any questions

TWA Hotel JFK New York

Simply stunning and as original as you might hope for; Eero Saarinen’s landmark 1962 TWA Flight Centre at JFK Airport has been restored and re imaged as a first-class hotel. At the centre of the hotel is Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA Flight Centre. More than worthy of a visit when you have a few hours spare, or an overnight stay if flying in or out of JFK

More details on the hotel can be found here

Model Railways

Taken slightly out of my comfort zone and asked to photograph a friends model railway. This started as an exercise in focus stacking and ended with panning action and a small amount of backdrop/scene replacement. For more detail on the model installation which has an incredible level of detail including hand built stock check out…

‘Lockdown’ Macro

Further explorations as ‘lockdown’ is still with us.  Still in the garden I’ve gone ‘macro’ This is my first venture and an interesting learning curve which after some spectacular failures a few to share on this blog. A few technical notes at the foot of this blog in case anyone else is starting a similar venture.

ChandosGardenMicro10 (1)
ChandosGardenMicro2 (1)

For macro all my work is with my Olympus micro four thirds kit. The reason I opted for this was weight, Olympus’s marvellous image stabilisation, and a very slightly increased available depth of field.

For those interested in kit, I use;Olympus EM1 mkll (pretty much my go to everyday camera)

Zuiko  60mm f2.8 macro – a new purchase and so worthwhile with such quality from so small a lens

Nissin i40 flash with home made light modifier (see below) A lighting solution is absolutely essential to place the right amount of light over the subject when you need to use flash

Extension tubes (for when the action gets very small) I chose simple Meike tubes from ebay (c.£20) which seem to work absolutely fine

A simple monopod – this helps nail the focus, and especially useful with focus stacking. (see below)

A few tips on approach check out the tutorials and advice on you tube and other social media, if new to the subject like me it will save so much time ( a few links that have helped me below)

Take time to look and keep on looking, insects and bugs are typically shy or just don’t want to be seen (which often means eaten) they are everywhere you just need to find them, don’t forget the underside of leaves

Early mornings are good, insects often warm themselves in the sun and at that time are less mobile. Remember not to get between the sun and your subject or they will be disturbed and you may lose your shot

The money shot pretty much always involves the eyes, work stealthily to get the angle

A low shooting angle not only helps to develops a ‘face to face’ composition but also  helps to illustrate the world from their perspective

The background is often what makes a shot (as other genres) ideally uncluttered and with a good colour. The depth of field will help though can’t be relied on especially with strong contrasts

My go to camera set-up with flash is a shutter speed of 1/250th and aperture of f8. Without the flash the same aperture though as fast a shutter speed as I can without forcing the ISO. I shoot in manual so i can fix both these parameters though don’t believe this is essential

When you get frustrated that you just can’t get enough of the subject in focus – look up focus-stacking, most modern cameras have it (often ‘bracketing’ in the menu)

Finally and most importantly it’s their world and you are a visitor, no shot is so important to disturb them in their day to day life. There are 2 million insects for every human on the planet, that makes for a lot of opportunities.

Considerable thanks to online learning especially Andrew Lanxon for some valuable tips,

Thank you Olympus and Geraint Rainford for an introduction to Focus stacking

….. and finally Maximilian Simson for some great ideas, though specifically his advice on light modifiers I am using #4 the modified ‘pringle tube’ and can’t believe its so simple and effective