I had a train to catch, alarm set 04:30!!! It was going to be a very early start for todays shoot. Hyde park was my destination for the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. Traditionally the first car on the road starts at ‘first light’….06:59 to be precise!
It was very much still dark when I arrived at Hyde Park. A sound track of hissing & puffing accompanied the sight of stunning vehicles, every one over 100 years old. It’s not every day you see candle powered headlights!!
As the dawn broke over the Wellington Arch, the cars headed off on their 60 miles drive to Brighton. The route took them through the Arch before heading down Constitution Hill.
The cars made their way past Buckingham Palace, then along The Mall towards Whitehall before crossing Westminster Bridge.
Sadly not all the cars would make it to Brighton. Some would not even make it very far at all & the RAC vans were following along behind in support.
Heading back home for editing at 10am, having been up 5 hours already & the shoot is done. I have not been to the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run before. I will certainly be back next year, Mrs S might even come too. Being able to get so close to the cars in Hyde Park is great for spectators… then once the cars have gone you can fid a nice place for breakfast & you still have your whole day ahead of you!!
I have been involved in doing firework displays off & on for about 20 years now. Mostly running one of the firing teams for Brighton Fireworks. Over the last few years I have been busy on other projects & have not done so many. So it was nice to get down there & see the guys at Brightfire Pyrotechnics (as they are now called). To shoot some photos of their Nevill Road Fireworks Display.
This is their own organised display rather than a commissioned display for a client. Over the years it has become our season ending big display & as such tends to be an absolute belter!! When we arrived the team were already well into the setting up process.
Ground effects were all staked out in 7 stations across the display site. Next it was time to set up the mortar shell racks
3″ & 4″ mortar shells of varying effects were then loaded into the tubes. The fast burn fuses all carefully laid out before the electronic igniters were inserted.
In no time at all the pyro was out, close to 2000 individual fuses connected. Mike & Tom from Brightfire Pyrotechnics ran the computerised firing systems through the check procedures & signed off, good to go.
As the light started to fade, the camera crew were taking ‘cutaway’ sequences to add into the video later.
…4 …3 …2 …1 screamed the crowd & Mike hit the button. What followed was 17 minutes of some of the best choreographed firework display I think I’ve ever seen…. & in over 20 years, I’ve seen quite a few!!
I’m pretty sure I had the best seat in the house…
If you would like a photographer to record your firework display events. Get in contact & we can create great images like these for your website!!!
The 2018 Goodwood Revival weekend is my absolute favourite event of the year. One of the first to go into my motorsport calendar as soon as the dates are released.
This fantastic event shares a lot with the Silverstone Classic. Hundreds of rare and priceless cars, from historic yesteryear of motorsport. As if that wasn’t enough, add in the fantastic 1940s – 60s period dress worn by the vast majority of the spectating crowds. There is no other atmosphere like the Goodwood Revival weekend.
This year I was away & so missed the Friday Practice/Qualifying Day. So it was straight off the plane Friday night. Grab a few hours kip before up silly o’clock & off in the car for the drive to the circuit.
I love the small details that make Goodwood Revival so special. The cars are pushed down Tow Road to the assembly paddock. Throw a sepia edit over this shot & if you missed the GoPro fixed to the crash hoop… it really could be a photo from the 1950s.
Enough of the sepia nostalgia, lets get back to the action. Out on track as ever there was no lack of commitment through the chicane.
Growing up as a kid, we were into rallying as a family. Motorbikes was never really my thing. Since I’ve got into Historic Motorsport I quite enjoy watching this lovely old bikes. The rider swap-over in the Pit Lane is great action to capture.
I love the access to the cars in the paddock at Goodwood Revival. These beautiful cars are all very different unlike modern race cars that seem to all be the same bar the colour schemes.
The pioneering engineers years ago make me smile…. I’d love to know the thought process when somebody had the idea of taking an aircraft engine & bolting it to a bike frame!!!
After last year, when I had been lucky to be given a spare ticket. This year there was no chances being taken, I had already bought Mrs S a ticket for Sunday. She is not a massive motor racing fan, though she does like to watch Nick Padmore in his races. It’s the costumes & the dancing that make Goodwood Revival a great atmosphere for her. Her total number of events stands at 3, Revival 2017, Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2018 & now Revival 2018. I feel I may have set this bar a tad high!!!
As always I have half an eye on Nick Padmore. He was as quick as ever a round this circuit he knows so well. This year he had a great run in the Lotus T16s starting 3rd on the grid.
He led for a lot of the race, but 1 missed gear change dropped him to 2nd place. Here he lights up the rear tyres at the start of his parade lap…. bloomin’ hooligan!!!
One day I will go to Goodwood Revival when I’m not working & take time to enjoy it for myself. Oh… & Mrs S has said already she wants to go again she enjoyed it so much!
Please enjoy a larger collection of photos from the event
So when I got asked to do the photography for my future son-in-law Stag Party, I thought “uh oh..that could be tricky”. It then turned out that it involved clay pigeon shooting & grass track buggy racing… much better news! Add to it I would also have the chance to take part …. how could I say no!! As you probably have gathered, I don’t mind a bit of motorsport. In fact having thrown rally cars around many moons ago, I’ve spent half my life sideways.
The day started with clay pigeon shooting. The group was split into 2 teams & would have 10 cartridges at each of 3 different stations.
All the guests had a great time & the banter was starting to flow. We left the clay pigeon venue & headed off for a spot of lunch before the Grasstrack Buggy racing.
A fantastic day was had by all…. & Andre beat me to Fastest Time in the Buggy Racing. No matter how had I pedalled it, tried every trick I knew!! That red buggy was definitely quicker than the green one :)))
to see more photos from the Clay Pigeon Shoot & Buggy Racing
If you would like a photographer to accompany you on your stag party activity events. Get in contact & we can make it happen…. record all the fun & embarrassment maybe for the wedding speeches!!!
“Not since the coronation has there been as many aircraft taking part than in the RAF 100 Centenary Flypast”
When you see a headline like that, as a photographer you’ve got to go & capture a small piece of history. The RAF 100 Centenary Flypast had been publicised in the press & online that 100 aircraft would take part. After Buckingham Palace reports said the flypast would split in 3 directions. One route would go pretty close to my house on transit over Windsor Castle… but which aircraft would take which route? Only one way to be sure, I had to be on The Mall….quite a few other people had the same idea!!!
Over 1000 Servicemen & women marched from Horse Guards Parade, down The Mall to the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. Once they were in place, security opened up the road for the public to find a place ready for the flypast. On the dot of 1:00pm the first aircraft, well helicopters actually, came into view over Admiralty Arch.
The Fly Past….
These were followed by a series of aircraft from WW2 & the Battle of Britain Flight,
Transport & Surveillance aircraft were then followed by more modern day fighter jets
But no Flypast would be complete without our fantastic world famous RAF Red Arrows…… Smoke ONNNN!!!
No sooner had the last of the smoke cleared so did most of the crowds….
So it was chance to walk around with the trusty Nikon & see what else could catch my eye. I looked around it was now clear to see there were blue uniforms everywhere. The Mall was filled with serving members of the RAF, retired veterans & young RAF Cadets about to start their careers. All could say “The RAF Centenary 100 flypast, in 2018…. I saw that, I was there!”
As with my wildlife photography, it’s often better to find a good spot & then wait for the images to come to you rather than chase them. People everywhere were having a great day & really got into the spirit of the celebration!!
My eye caught this RAF pin badge forgotten & left on top of a bollard. As I framed up this shot, to my right I heard police motorbikes firing up…
Well, it was too good an opportunity to miss as I was in a great spot for a different angle. So into the middle of the road I went….” Are you going to pull out in full CHiPS formation (showing my age there) or one behind the other?” I shouted across to an officer as he put his helmet on….”I’ll be happy if I stay on it with you being there ready to catch the shot!!” he replied laughing.
And then it was gone, all over. The Mall returned almost to normal, the crowds had left, the road being cleared. Ready for the trucks to arrive with the traffic lights to be refitted.
There’s always a story to be told & photo to be taken everywhere. You just have to keep your eyes open & be ready to grab the moment…. oh & try not to get run over!!!
For me the 2018 season has been a ‘classic’ year in every sense of the word. In May I was shooting at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, now I find myself at the 2018 Le Mans Classic. Having been there last year for the modern 24 Hour Le Mans race, I was really looking forward to seeing the difference.
The traditional Le Mans 24 hour race is as it says ‘on the tin’…a race lasting 24 hours. The Le Mans Classic is slightly different in that there are a series of races over a 24 hour period. The races were over differing durations & for 6 different ‘Grids’ of cars. These ‘grids’ have cars from different years competing against others from their period. Each car would compete in daytime & nightime races over the 24 hours of racing.
As the grids progress through the year periods, the cars become more modern. The sleek areodynamic lines look a little more like the cars we see today in the 24 Hrs of Le Mans.
Walking around the paddock area there are amazing cars everywhere to look at. Great to be so close watching the mechanics working on the cars to get them ready to race.
There is a fun atmosphere in the circuit paddocks too! Drivers getting into the Old-Timers spirit, while stars of WRC & F1 pose for photos on the grid.
The Le Mans Classic shares a special event with the Goodwood Revival Setterington Cup. Little Big Mans is a race for youngsters in some glorious miniature classic race cars. It’s a great sight as they do they traditional ‘Le Mans Start’ before heading off up the track.
Just like the modern Le Mans 24 Hour race, the action continues through the night. Night time racing brings its own unique feel. I remember from my time as a rally driver really enjoying the night stages in the forests. The Pit Lane is still alive in the dead of night…
The noise & smell of these fantastic machines just takes you back to a golden age of motor racing. It is going to feel a long wait before the 2 years is up for this fantastic event to come around again!!!
A larger collection of photos from this fantastic Le Mans Classic can be seen on my dedicated Motorsport Photography website. Or just
“Anybody near Manchester & available to cover the Saddleworth Moor fires?”
Saddleworth Moor Fires, was the attention grabbing title of an email that landed in my inbox one evening from Spacesuit Media. They were casting the net to see if any of their photographers were able to cover this ever developing story. “….I’m not, I’m down here in Ashford, but I’m up for a different challenge…I’ll go!”
I had heard the village of Carrbrook near Stalybridge being mentioned on the news. The firefighters had been working a for a few days trying to hold the fire back from reaching properties. So I entered Carrbrook into the SatNav & was soon on my way up the M6, back to where I grew up. I was born in Ashton-Under-Lyne & up until I was about 18, lived in Denton, about 8 miles from Stalybridge.
You have reached your destination…
Working on the theory that, if I aimed for Carrbrook, as I got close I would start to see & smell the smoke from the fires. I could then form a more detailed plan once I had a better idea of the scene. My plan couldn’t have worked any better. Approaching a crossroads, the SatNav said “You have reached your destination!” Just as a Fire Engine (Pump, the lads say it’s called) came down the road from my left & stopped at a stand-pipe…RESULT. I went over & introduced myself to the crew, told them who I was & what I was there to do. “Well, in that case let us fill this water tank up first & you can follow us up…. we’ll show you where is safe to park”
There were 6 Pumps & crews working out of this isolated quarry above Carrbrook. Being up the middle of the moors there was no water mains to hook into, so any water to fight the fires would have to be carried up. In relays they were having to drive down into Carrbrook, fill their 1000 gallon water tanks….
Drive back up to the quarry side & then ‘pump’ water up the sheer rock face to another Pump on the ridge. From there firefighters were running out hoses to the fire line & dousing down the charred moorland. A well ‘oiled’ logistical machine was in full flow & pretty impressive to watch it was too!
Up on the ridge…
Water was being moved (Sorry….Pumped) around to where they needed it. The constantly changing wind direction was creating an additional challenge for the firefighters. One crew pumps it’s 1000 gallons of water up the rock face, to another crew on the ridge to fight the fire
2 Pump crews were working different ends of the fire line. While one crew were putting out small flash fires, another crew were continuing to douse down the hot peaty ground. One firefighter described it as “….been like playing ‘Splat-A-Rat’ for days! No sooner we put an area out, the fire travels underground through the peat & pops out somewhere else”
I hadn’t fully understood what our amazing firefighters actually have to do to deal with a fire like this. The ground itself was so hot in parts, that it was burning through the hoses!! While firefighters are at one end of the hose fighting the fire itself. Another is going along the length of hose watering down to keep it cool.
This only works as long as you have water & once that 1000 gallons is all used up, the ground gets hot again!!! Those hoses have to be dragged back in to protect them, until the next Pump delivers it’s load. Then the whole process starts over & the firefighters drag the hoses back out again….
The firefighters were doing some really long shifts. The usual end of shift ‘relief’ crews were busy fighting the moor fires themselves in other areas. Extra crews where being brought in from surrounding areas, a massive team effort. Tired & exhausted they were but you can imagine the ‘out of area’ banter that was flying around….absolutely hilarious!!! Finally they had time to sit, have a brew & wait for the ride home to arrive!
The job for the new crews was about to carry on, many had been here the days before too. Hand over briefing done, there was no time to look at the stunning sunset that was developing (…that was my job) It was straight on with pumping that water up on to the ridge.
Photography is quite literally about ‘drawing with light’. This light is often especially magical during ‘Golden Hour’ around sunset… the scenes up on those moors were a photographer’s dream. Out of destruction & devastation there was stunning beauty…. No, not you Green Watch!!!
I have to say that it was an honour & a privilege to be able to spend a few hours up on the Moors with these firefighters. They kept an eye on me in case my artistic head took over & I put myself somewhere stupid!! A massive thank you to all the crews but especially Wythenshaw – White Watch, Jean-Pierre for letting me get right in the thick of it & keeping an eye on me. Not forgetting Steve from Eccles – Green Watch for the lift.
I hope I caught the feeling of what it was like up there fighting the Saddleworth Moor fire. I tried to tell the story from your side…. there are enough photos of burning heather!!!
A larger collection of my photos from the shoot can be seen by