Royal Visit to Blackpool

When it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would visit Blackpool, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to grab some newsworthy pictures.

The visit schedule included a 20 minute walkabout to meet the public on the promenade in front of Blackpool Tower and that’s where I headed.

The last Royal visit I covered was Prince Harry when he was in Lancashire. On that occasion I was part of the official ‘press pack’.  My view however, is that unless you have a ‘Rota’ pass (a sort of access all areas thing – only a handful are made available), it doesn’t really offer much advantage and so this time I joined the public, ironically right next to the press pack to get my shots.

I was stood with a lady who had driven up from Shropshire, arriving at 6.30 in the morning to get a glimpse of the Royal couple. Considering the walkabout wasn’t scheduled to take place until 1.30pm, that is real dedication.  She did assure me that it wouldn’t rain until after the walkabout had finished but she was wrong! Minutes before Kate and William arrived it started to rain and that was still a good hour before the walkabout, so a soaking for members of the public while the couple got a welcome briefing in the Tower.

Fortunately the rain stopped and the walkabout took place.  William went one way around the crowd and Kate headed straight for me!  Perhaps she saw my camera or more likely the small child two places along because that’s where she started to chat to people and I was lucky enough to get some shots close up.  

I had two Fujifilm cameras, one with a long telephoto lens and the other with a standard zoom, so I had to quickly switch cameras as she got close.

I am reasonably happy with the photos I got but as with all things there are lessons I learned from the experience and a couple of silly errors relating to how I had the cameras set up which I can learn from. So what were the lessons?

  1. Always carry plastic bags to use as rain covers on the cameras 
  2. Synchronise the times on the cameras – I had them slightly off and that meant the order on the computer once downloaded didn’t follow the timing of the walkabout properly.
  3. Face recognition focussing was great for shots of the Duke and Duchess when together but as soon as Kate moved to the crowd, the focus was all over the place. Far too many faces!
  4. At one point I needed to switch to continuous focus but forgot so some images not as sharp as they should be – include the image at the top of this blog but I like it anyway!.

Many of the photos I took are available through the Alamy Image Library but given the number of photographers taking pictures it is probably unlikely that any of mine will sell.  When shooting events like this it isn’t easy to stand out from the crowd but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the experience. 

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arriving at Blackpool Tower

Kate arriving at Blackpool Tower

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The Duke and Duchess leaving the Tower to commence their walkabout

Duchess of Cambridge meeting the public on Blackpool’s Comedy

Waving as they approach the ‘Comedy Carpet’

Duchess of Cambridge meeting the public on Blackpool’s Comedy

Waving to the crowd

Duchess of Cambridge meeting the public on Blackpool’s Comedy

The Duke and Duchess meeting school children

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The Duke and Duchess meeting school children

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The Duke and Duchess meeting school children

Duchess of Cambridge meeting the public on Blackpool’s Comedy

The Duke and Duchess meeting school children

Duchess of Cambridge meeting the public on Blackpool’s Comedy

Meeting the Public

Duchess of Cambridge meeting the public on Blackpool’s Comedy

A young admirer

Duchess of Cambridge meeting the public on Blackpool’s Comedy

Chatting to the crowd

Duchess of Cambridge meeting the public on Blackpool’s Comedy

Meeting the public

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Can Lake District weather be too good?

I love a bit of drama in my landscape photographs and normally, the Lake District in February has it in abundance.  Last Friday however, the clear blue skies and sunshine was more reminiscent of a fine summer day – with clear views and visitors sunbathing!

It was a day we chose to walk around Derwentwater and dramatic weather aside, it was the perfect day to be relaxing in the Lakes. A rare occasion when the weather is this good in February and too good for the type of photography I’d intended, but what’s not to like about this area of the country at anytime of year?

Here are a few photos from the walk. I’m sure anyone who has done the walk around Derwentwater will recognise these views.

DSCF9196DSCF9199DSCF9202DSCF9223Lodore Jetty on Derwent WaterDSCF9247The River Derwent close to Keswick in the Lake District.

Waves on the Lake, surely not…

When you visit the Lake District in February, you expect some photographic challenges.  

On the day we arrived the sky looked typically brooding and the sun was doing its best to break through. Just the sort of day you want for landscape photography, especially as the rain was just about holding off. 

I wanted to get a photo of the Millennium Stone on the shore of Derwentwater with water around it,  as last time I visited it was high and dry.  No danger of that this time after the recent rain and snow. The real challenge in getting the picture on this visit was going to be the wind.  

The wind was absolutely battering the shore of the lake, but seemingly just in this particular cove! The normally calm lake was being whipped up into a frenzy and waves were crashing over the stone. Long exposure shots were near enough impossible to keep sharp as the tripod was also being battered.  It was also bitterly cold but I did manage to get a few shots, not the greatest pictures but I’ve included a few here anyway.

My next post will feature some pictures from a circuit of the lake two days later, when the weather was, if anything too good. 

DSCF8968DSCF8979DSCF9208-2Edited in Photoshop-1330

Cup defeat for PNE Ladies

PNE Ladies suffered a 2-3 defeat in the Cup at home today against Leigh RMI Ladies.  It was a closely contested game but Preston had more than enough chances to win the game, particularly in the first half when they squandered a number of chances. The Leigh keeper also did her part to keep the whites out with some great stops at the feet of the North End strikers.

At the other end Preston also seemed a bit hesitant. Many of the chances that did fall the way of Leigh were as a result of defensive errors but all credit to the visitors who kept pressing and forcing the mistakes.

As the game entered the last period of play it was even at 2-2 and both sides continued to look for the winner but it was Leigh who got it just three minutes from the end.  Well done to Leigh on a hard fought win today.

 

An icy and foggy Brockholes – in pictures

According to the weather forecast it was going to be a sunny but cold day.What they forgot to mention was that you wouldn’t be able to see the sun for the freezing fog! 

There was however, something hauntingly beautiful about wondering around Brockholes nature reserve in the icy-cold conditions. The photo below were all taken within the space of about two hours. Some come from the walks around the reserve, others show the visitor centre itself.

Here are the pictures…