Tuesday 22 December 2009

RPAC Holly run and taking photos in the snow

The full gallery for the RPAC Holly Run 2009 races is now live here:

The full start videos of the three taken are on youtube here:

And a little video montage is below:

and the results are here: http://www.rpac.org.uk/index.php?p=hollyrunpreviousresults

I had a fair few questions about taking photos in the snow on Sunday - so I've put that answer at the bottom of this blog - otherwise here's a few stills from the gallery:

Given the conditions it was a surprisingly well attended event with teams from Windsor Slough & Eaton, Sutton Crawley, Reigate, Dorking, Lingfield, Dulwich to name but a few making it through the Snow and Ice... Thank goodness it wasn't windy.
Also apologies to the senior men, I had to go, so unfortunately there are no photos of you chaps this time playing in the snow but I am trying to upload your start video onto youtube...

Only one tumble seen on the start - with a few going down around - but all ended well with only a bit of a bruised knee looking at the finish photos.

Some great crowds and support lined the re-arranged finish slope down the hill,

Some of the marshalls were enjoying their jobs far too much

The backlit snow scenes made for some great images as competitors charged in at the finish

Some tough racing into the finish lines with hats falling off in the sprint finishes

Suitable ear defence clothing for the timekeepers

and a rather groovy finish banner against the clear skies...

The full gallery can be found here:

The start videos that were taken are on here:

and the video montage thing - is here:

Taking Photos in the snow:
If like me you ended up having to point your camera into the sun at the white snow on sunday, you might be wondering why all the photos ended up looking like sillouettes ? (fortunately mine didn't !)

Hopefully yours didn't either - but if they did here's a short reason and some ways around them...

What Cameras do:
Basically cameras like to think the world is a nice average light grey (called neutral grey). So, they try to expose the photo so that the light coming into it will turn out as about as bright as neutral grey "ought to be".
That neutral grey is all ok when you have lots of things in the view, and a good range of shades from light to dark. Neutral grey will pretty much work most of the time - so the camera gets it right.

However - when the world is white (with snow and sun) - the camera will think it has had plenty of light too quickly when taking the picture - and close the shutter too soon. This results in dark photos - as the camera didn't leave the shutter open for long enough (more light in - the lighter the picture goes). Sillouettes are therefore the typical output of a winter photo, and that can be frustrating if you have to point the camera in the wrong direction...

What you can do - Some quick tips to get around this:
1. point the camera at something light grey - hopefully at about 90 degrees to the sun (i.e. west if the sun is in the south) and "lock" the exposure - this will give the camera a better light measurement - and should result in a good exposure.
2. run on manual - if you know how to set the manual exposure on your camera - take a light meter reading (as above) set the exposure and give it a go. Have a look on the graph on the back, and try to make sure you have it mostly in the middle. Adjust the exposure as neccessary.
3.alternatively, if you're camera has "stop adjustments" then you might find +1 to +2 stops on an automatic program with a snowy scene depending on how much of the image is bright white can have a brilliant effect on making sure the whites are white - and not grey...
4. Avoid having to point the camera towards the sun if you can avoid it at all costs - get the sun over your shoulders if at all possible... (this counts for all photos - not just snow ones!)

Just one other thing - remember to keep your camera as warm and dry as you can - snow and cold are not good for electrical things (even according to the Eurostar trains). Take a plastic bag with you and put the camera in it before you go inside - and keep it tight up. This is to stop water moisture condensating on it's cold surfaces. Only take it out of the bag when it's had a chance to warm up.

Good luck and I hope the snow and Ice aren't too dangerous where you are this Christmas - have a safe, happy and warm one.

See you at a race soon - possibly the Serpentine 10k on new Years Day ?

Monday 7 December 2009

Seaford Striders Mince Pie 10

(continuing my theme of non-running first photos related to the event...)
The Seaford Striders Mince Pie 10 (race website here) went off very smoothly under clear blue winter skies.
The results are here: Results and their race report is here: report

We were back by popular request from Natalie the race director, and the fruits of our labour are here to see the race photos :http://gallery.sussexsportphotography.com/a.tlx?k=1xxzf6f

Link to the brief video montage, embedded below:

Looking at this photo (which almost made it to the top of the page) you'd be forgiven to think that it was a fab weather all day. But you'd be wrong ...

Just take a look at the met-offic rain radar for 8am. That lot was not funny.

It was however moving fast enough to clear all of it through by 11am (which by my maths means it was doing about 40 miles per hour from Bournemouth earlier) - which was reflected in the rather harsh wind that cut through our souls for the entire day.

What some of you may not know is that this race is the day after the Seaford Striders Christmas do, which I had the pleasure of attending last year. What this means is that not only is Marshalling still the critical job to host an event like this - most of them are doing it with an almighty hangover. Respect is due, as this often involves forgetting key items in a hurry like waterproof trousers (for their wind proof qualities) food, water, gloves and hats. It is in fact the only time a hoodie becomes a very sensible and reasonable item of clothing to have to hand on the floor by the bed. So thank you as ever to the marshals, and what does end up being about 2 hours of interspersed solitude for these longer races.

The new waterworks construed to make the race look more like a jail-break for the first and last miles especially if shot from the wrong angle...

There must be easier ways to put in a water tunnel than digging out an entire hill, laying a pipe and replacing the hill ? but apparently - not:
here's some interesting info from southern water !
It looks like this will be the route for the next three years or so.

Unsurprisingly - it was wet up on them hills - our man Mike was up there to see the view, and you too. He ended up bringing one unsuspecting victim of the chalk back after a nasty knee bash. I hear he is ok now, but it's gonna hurt for a while.

This chap navigated the puddles ok though...

Finally, hello to tom roper, and @sweder on twitter who also blogs on runningcommentary.net (corrected!)
Ash, as a clue, you came to the table I was sat at after parkrun on Saturday and you talked to the arena and brighton lot...

So to see and order the rest of the race photos :http://gallery.sussexsportphotography.com/a.tlx?k=1xxzf6f

Until next time (at the Reigate Holly Run)


Tuesday 1 December 2009

Christmas and updates

Yep Christmas deadlines are as follows:

Final orders for christmas - to
absolutely guarantee things - please order
Framed items, Mugs and gift items (like cards!) before the 10th of december
2. Prints before the 16th of december

3. Digital files on or before the 22nd of December

My No repeat gift guarantee
- if you buy a digital file as a present for someone from now until christmas - and it's already been bought before (in any format) - we'll do our best to tell you and you can choose any other from the current online library. (and i
f we don't spot it - don't get mad, just let us know and we can sort out a different one with you !). (This doesn't apply if you order print orders as it all starts to cost too much with the Printers)

We promise we will do our absolute best to clear everything as soon as possible - but we do have to rely on our printers and the post office - and both receive heavy demand over this period. The sooner - the better - is the motto here !

The office will be closed from 23rd of December to the 30th, orders will be processed as best as possible through this time, but emails may not get actioned until afterwards. We will do our best to deal with any "Urgent - my life is at stake" emails, we have even worked christmas day in the past to help out...

Archive Hunts:
We are getting through the archive requests as best as possible - but admit we are behind and need to get a shift on for Christmas. Please bear with us - it takes up a lot of time and computer resources to scan through our databanks (that's over 6Tb and growing) to get your images back online. Images are online for three months - please please get them whilst they are hot ! If you do have an archive request - then race name, year (exact date is better) and race number is what we need please.

Local Shopping in Hurstpierpoint - Thusday evening - 3rd of December:
All the latest information is here:

If you are in the Mid-Sussex area and fancy a bit of traditional village christmas present shopping and atmosphere - then
Hurstpierpoint is the place to be. Mulled wine, mince pies, childrens fancy dress, christmas lights, brass bands and lots more will be on the high street from 5:30pm, with all the shops open until late and the High Street closed to traffic. (Parking is in Trinity Road as usual). Here's a little taster from last years: http://animoto.com/play/U2nloSrTm83RpGvwF7r1qA#

Some website improvements and updates:

1. The addthis.com - share links shown above a large image preview - has been fixed for the "more" option. For some reason the code wasn't taking the right URL, but it is now! Apologies to those that found that - it's all working great - except the facebook addthis link - because facebook tries to take a copy of the image for their online preview - so that gets blocked - but the link still works.

2. Thumbnail watermarks - are all the vogue from now on. Repeated copyright theft unfortunately prompted this extra layer on the images. They don't look toooo bad, we would prefer not to have had to, but - what else could we do ? Suggestions please.

Slightly improved order confirmation emails - it kept truncating the "by email" bit when people ordered digital files (by email), causing people to ask - how exactly will I get this ! I also removed the link back to the image, which for some reason only ever works for administrators now. No point in providing a dead link, so the image reference number is shown instead, with a note on what it's for and how to use it.

4. The blog and news page has been updated - you'll see our "best of the tweets" on the right hand column. We subscribe to a lot of event organisers and race related information sources on twitter, so if we see anything of particular relevance, we set it as a favourite and it appears on the feed on the right... We also subscribe to a lot of rss information pages and other sources, and absolutely everything is put into a single RSS feed - this is at the bottom of the blog page, or just click here: RSS of SSP friends Feed you might find it handy.

Tweeting and following. Apologies if I've recently "unfollowed" you from @UkSportPhotos (or should that be "lost you?") - it would have been because you are not a public publisher - it was probably a private tweet, and as such I didn't want to run the risk of republishing you onto the blog automatically. So I will have instead re-followed (found ?) you on my individual - non-work -twitter account - @antbliss. Quite what the difference is between private and public in the world of twitters I'm not sure, but I thought some due dilligence on this was in order as you probably don't want 2000 strangers to be force fed the news about a stray ginger cat in the house just because we were following you !?

New products - Pesonalised Magazine covers. We're in the final steps of teaming up with Personalised Magazine covers to provide really bespoke gifts for people. You choose the image, answer a few questions and they do the rest. The price will be at a slight discount over you ordering the bits all separately - so it will be interesting to see how you like them.

and Finally...
I think that's the lot, it just remains for me to say a BIG THANK YOU to all of you for your support, help and custom through the year. We are nearing 8 years of running the business with nearly two years of that being full time. Without you all, it would not be possible. So BIG HUGS AND an even BIGGER THANK YOU !

Anthony, Sally, Jessica and the team of photographers - Mike, Mick, Triss, Dave, Ian, Ralph, Alison, Charles, Claire, Ben, Patrick, Josie and sometimes Darren and Dan too...