Tuesday, 21 July 2009

InMotion: My Best Photograph Ever ...

... and here it is.
Ok, so i'll admit it isn't the greatest photograph... but i made you look hey.  The reason i've put it on is because it is my first ever photograph of a Barn Owl (yes that white blurry thing in the middle)
Call, me naive, but i'd been seeing photographs of Barn Owls taken by a friend... though miles away... as in on the other coast miles away.   There has to be Barn Owl's in Blackpool.  So i went to pretty much one of only few Barn's that i know exist near Blackpool, and scouts honour, with in minutes of being there i'd seen my first wild Barn Owl.
Now i know the photographs aren't great, and are incredibly noisy, but it was pretty much dark... but i'm fairly proud of my efforts with a pathetic 200mm lens.
Perhaps i was naive, because i returned for the next three evenings and saw nothing but swallows and swifts.  Then the weather turned bad for a few days so i didn't bother going.  Then the next time i went i got this shot... my best yet... though still not very good.  I simply need to get closer, and hope the owl comes out just half an hour earlier so i have better light.
Here's a snap from Stanley Park... again quite noisy, but it was late and raining... i just like the grey tones.
Whilst waiting for the owl, there are various other things to look at.  Snails, such as this, moths,  several Kestrels, which get dive bombed by plucky Magpies before getting chased away.  There are also loads of Swallows, and Martins, though I'm not sure whether they're Sand or House Martins.  But the best attraction other than the owl for me are the Swifts.  They fly so, sooo fast, and turn even quicker, and when it's getting dark they don't see you until they're only a metre or two from your face, which is awesome.  I had no chance of photographing them.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

InMotion: Blackpool Mini Run 2009

The Austin Mini is nothing but an icon, in not only British Transport History, but all over the world. There is barely a country where the Mini isn't instantly recognisable. This little car has survived the hardest testament of them all; time.
The Mini was manufactured from 1959 to 2001, in various different guises, from a saloon, to an estate, a van, a pick-up, an off road vehicle, and a sports car and there was also a popular variant in the form of the Mini Clubman which had a different bonnet, front wings and grille. The Mini was and still is an ideal car for many people.
For the Mini, 2009 is a special year and has become known as Mini 50; for obvious reasons. The Mini is celebrating it's 50th birthday, by holding what will hopefully be the biggest Mini Show ever in Longridge, Birmingham, UK, being held across three days in August.
Across the UK the Mini still holds a place in many hearts, and there isn't a week goes by that there isn't a Mini Show, or what is now known as a Mini Run.
Last weekend it was Blackpool's turn.
The organiser of the event is Tom, and his Mini is one of the best around.

The Blackpool Mini Run has been going for six years now, and gets bigger every year. Officially they're only allowed to run 150 cars in convoy, but any Mini that registers by can be apart of the event. The money to register goes to the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Charity http://www.breakthrough.org.uk/ With this year being the Mini 50 celebration, more cars than ever registered, with 237 cars in total.
The event attracts Mini owners from most of the Northwest and some from further afield. One of the biggest turn outs year on year is the effectively named club Crewe's Missiles, which have some of the nicest cars of all. The official meeting place for the event is Preston Docks. Cars from the North meet in the Lake District, cars from the South meet at Liverpool, and there is also a meeting place in Skipton. They all convoy, and eventually meet at Preston Docks before the final convoy in to Blackpool, where the cars are displayed along the Promenade, this year, next to the Sandcastle Waterworld.

This year I tagged along to Preston with my sister in her Mini Clubman called Terrii, before making the return with a friend in his Mini (round-nose) called Thug, for obvious reasons.
As ever i took photographs of what was a great day. Roll on next year.

Thug and Terrii in Preston.

Two smug Mini owners with there official Mini Run plates.

Thug eyed view.

Some of the Mini's were truly spectacular, this was one of my favourites...

... as well as the Mint Green Estate (above) and this beautiful Mini Clubman (below)

If there was a prize for the best sounding car, then it would be awarded to this Mini Van.

Terrii, so called because she's Terry's chocolate orange. Note that this is a Clubman, due to the different front end.
Thug, so called because of the final three letters on the number plate. (told you it was obvious) This is the slightly more iconic and recognisable round-nose Mini.

Overall, it was a great day, and I can totally see why these cars have such a following. Who knows, I may end up driving one yet.