The sad demise of the Fylde Women football team.

Last week there was a Covid sporting casualty when AFC Fylde announced that it was disbanding its women’s soccer team, citing the the difficult financial environment as the reason. A disappointing decision to say the least, given that the season had already been suspended.

I’ve enjoyed photographing the team many times and have always been impressed by their skills, dedication and team spirit. Here I’ve put together a few black and white photographs from happier days.

This Outdoor Trail is magical

It was the opening night when we visited Blenheim Palace, not really knowing what to expect, but it’s fair to say that the Illuminated Trail exceeded our expectations.

Treetops glow in the dark and the colours are amazing. There are light sculptures and a constantly changing vista to keep things interesting. As you begin the trail you walk through a light tunnel glistening with 100,000 small lights – a magical experience.

The trail itself is around one mile long and as you return towards the Palace you are greeted with seasonal projections onto the house itself and search-lights dancing across the sky.

It was great to photograph, though to be honest it was also a bit of a challenge.  The exposure levels varied so much between the various set pieces and it was quite busy on the opening night too.

The fantastic light experience is available to book at Blenheim Palace until the 1st January.

A few photos…

Blenheim Palace-6541Blenheim Palace-6548Blenheim Palace-6553Blenheim Palace-6563Blenheim Palace-6564Blenheim Palace-6569Blenheim Palace-6581Blenheim Palace-6588Blenheim Palace-6597Blenheim Palace-6599Blenheim Palace-6605Blenheim Palace-6615Blenheim Palace-6619Blenheim Palace-6648Blenheim Palace-6655Blenheim Palace-6692Blenheim Palace-6721Blenheim Palace-6740Blenheim Palace-6744Blenheim Palace-6749

Autumn walk in Preston’s Parks

Preston is lucky enough to have some fabulous public parks and at this time of year they are spectacular.  The Autumn colours have been good this year and it’s hard to resist the lure of a walk with the camera.

Here are a few photographs taken in Avenham/Miller Park, Moor Park and Haslam Park.

All photographs captured on either the Fuji X-T1 or X-T3.

Avenham Park Autumn-4572Avenham Park Autumn-4578Avenham Park Autumn-4583Avenham Park Autumn-4589Haslam Park, PrestonHaslam Park, PrestonYoung man and women taking a walk through park in AutumnMoor Park-1937Young women walking along park pathMoor Park-1948Autumn Avenham Park-1827Autumn Avenham Park-1811Autumn Avenham Park-1810Autumn Avenham Park-1806Autumn Avenham Park-1804Autumn Avenham Park-1803Autumn Avenham Park-1795Autumn Avenham Park-1793

PNE Women v Blackpool Ladies

PNE Women had enjoyed a good win in mid week but they looked a bit jaded against Blackpool on Sunday, going down to three nil defeat at home – all three goals came in a disappointing first half performance.

For much of the game Preston were pegged back in their own half, frequently dropping too deep. When PNE did manage to put together an attack the strikers were isolated and outnumbered. I know Phil Neville likes England’s Lionesses to play the ball out from the back, a tactic even the best players struggle with at times. Preston try and play this way   but the tactic tends to result in Preston giving the ball away far too often in their own half as Blackpool pressed them high up the pitch.

To be fair a few of PNE’s regular players were missing for this game, so hopefully this is just a blip before they push on again.  On the plus side, it was nice to see the younger players in the team doing well. They kept going till the end and put in a much better second half performance as a team.

A few photos here but a full set is available via this link on my Flickr page

PNE Women FC v Blackpool Ladies FC-0440PNE Women FC v Blackpool Ladies FC-0474PNE Women FC v Blackpool Ladies FC-0563PNE Women FC v Blackpool Ladies FC-0655PNE Women FC v Blackpool Ladies FC-0768PNE Women FC v Blackpool Ladies FC-0795PNE Women FC v Blackpool Ladies FC-0909PNE Women FC v Blackpool Ladies FC-0939PNE Women FC v Blackpool Ladies FC-0978PNE Women FC v Blackpool Ladies FC-1060PNE Women FC v Blackpool Ladies FC-1076

Inside Tewkesbury Abbey

When we head south to Cornwall we often stop at the Tewkesbury Caravan Club site.  It’s just a few minutes off the motorway and there’s enough to see and do in the town. We always include a visit the historic Tewkesbury Abbey. 

The Abbey played a key role in the War of the Roses. Following a battle in the town the defeated Lancastrian soldiers took refuge in the Abbey but when the York army came calling they were handed over to be hanged on the town’s main street.

Here are a few photographs from our last visit to the Abbey.

Inside Tewkesbury Abbey

 

Inside Tewkesbury Abbey and the magnificent

 

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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

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.