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 ?

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