Another request to cover a race. Not too far from home but a lengthy time out in the field.
Hi Steve, just a brief note to see if you would be keen to shoot the Bradwell Fell Race on 13th August, the next counter in the English championships. Plenty of people entered so far, locals as well as championship contenders.
Should I say yes?
With the cost of petrol at an all time high, I'm reluctant to travel too far from home. Although I don't try to "sell" my images, way too much hassle, I am happy to take donations for one of my charities. Hopefully I might be able to raise funds for Freedom Of Spirit Trust for Border Collies. We recently adopted one of their rescues and are keen to support their work.
Keeping the cost down, I decided against my normal recce of the route. Checking out the map, there was a point in the race where I could hit the runners twice. That was totally dependent on the weather.
Shooting into the sun as they returned from the moor was out of the question. Shooting them on their way out, would mean that they would be bunched up and images few and far between.
What about the Start and Finish line?
Greg, the organiser, seemed to be set on including the cement works and village within the composition. Easier said than done.
Ah well, let's see what happens.
Fairly quiet drive over Strines, though the area around Ladybower was very busy.
Wandered around the event centre, drinking the coffee I'd made before setting off. Spoke to Gregg and asked for the quickest way to Robin Hood's Cross.
All I could remember was ... Road ... church ... steps ... climb.
I'm pretty good at map reading but not at the start of a walk. Village roads crammed together on a small scale map AND I'd forgotten my reading glasses, don't make for a great combination.
Called in at the local shop for some sweeties, a natter and a very helpful shopkeeper who pointed me in the right direction.
Made it to my assigned destination, sweating profusely and wondering if I'd last the distance.
It was hot, very hot.
The top of the climb, before the stile, appeared to be the perfect spot for snapping the runners. Not so. The landscape would dominate the composition far more than I would want and the runners would be bunched together. As a one off shot for promoting the event, it would be okay. As a memory for the runner, not so.
I'd taken the 50mm and 85mm lenses, leaving the 35mm at home.
An 85mm focal length was totally useless, it was impossible to include the cement works and the village below me. Plenty of time still to decide. Quick drink.
With over an hour still to go, I walked the course towards point "D". Took the short cut along the bridleway, no way was I going to take in the quarries.
Point D: Waste of time standing there, completely bland in terms of background and sun shining directly into the lens.
Time to return to Robin Hood's Cross.
Stopped short of the stile and had a bit of an idea. Hopefully, by the time the runners reached this point in the race, there would be a few gaps. With the gate closing by itself, this would increase the chances of separation of bodies making their way up the hill.
I fitted the 50mm lens onto the camera and tried a few test shots.
The wall ran from the top right of the frame to create a diagonal line.
Sky would be excluded; nothing worse than a thin band of blue at the top of the photograph.
Cement works and village, small part, within the composition. That fulfils the brief, nearly.
I ran the path from the stile to understand what line the runners would probably take.
Moved my camera position further to the left and nearer to the wall.
Squatting down to make the runners more dominant was out of the question. The village and works would disappear behind the wall. Desperate for a runner to run through the composition so that I could finalise where I would shoot from. Never one around when you want one.
Around twenty minutes before the first lady would make her way up the climb, time for a snack and a drink.
Hannah Russell came through the stile at around twenty minutes or so after the start. A good lead over the next runner and full of energy by the look of it.
I'm stuck now.
No way can I move from this spot.
Gripped the camera and tried to ensure that the composition was a reasonable one. Part of the village disappeared, I couldn't find a spot high enough to stand on. Sun beating down, with a less than flattering hat doing its best to protect my large, protruding ears from the golden rays.
As the runners approached me, I tried to be aware of the background.
"Keep the cement works in the frame!"
Obsessed by this instruction, it took over my whole being. The composition became the be all and end all. Trying to fit the runners into the image effectively was difficult, very difficult.
Hannah passed me at 13:21 with the sweeper bringing the last competitor safely in at round 13:52.
As I said before, this would make a decent one off shot to show the steepness of the climb. Impossible to repeat with every runner, it would become tedious, for me at least.
More drink, a few snacks and ready for the men's race. Nowhere else to go. Shaded by the wall, patiently waiting for the front runner. They would arrive somewhere around 2:50pm at a guess.
With knowledge gained from the previous race, my positioning improved. Glimpses of the village almost disappeared and the cement works dominated. I'll be dreaming about the bl**dy thing.
I was hot, drinks cap removed so that I could take the occasional swig when a gap in the proceedings appeared. Two bottles would have been a more sensible approach.
Having set off around 10am, I was beginning to tire. The heat was a bit too much and drink became a priority. I hoped that they'd all be through in double quick time. Not so.
After what seemed like a lifetime, there seemed to be a long gap and I collected my stuff together. Maybe one or two shots at the stile of the back markers, assuming there's a tail walker.
Better shot of the village but hidden runners behind the leader.
"Just one guy behind us!"
Time to go.
Well done to every runner who took part and all the people who made the event a successful one.
Quick descent of the hill, grabbed a cuppa and off.
Back home at around 4:30pm to be greeted by a stressed out wife. Noisy kids had been driving her mad.
They're kids, noisy... just a bit.
Images loaded up on Saturday while I recovered from the day.
Worked on them on Sunday, putting them into a Flickr album. Way better than FB for skimming through quickly to search for a photograph of yourself.
This is Tan. He's a rescue from an amazing place near Bingley. The owner has run the centre for many years and prides herself on choosing the right home for each of her charges.
He's wonderful. An absolute charmer who has melted the hearts of many of my dog walking friends.
I took on the job of snapping at the race with the promise of a donation to this wonderful charity. My own expenses are irrelevant, helping this centre is of paramount importance to me.
Please think about donating a couple of quid towards my chosen charity. With over 250 runners, even 50p each would raise a significant amount.
Thanks to Caroline Brock and May Song for their generous donations. You are stars.
Donation Link: FOSTBC
Out at Crowden next Sunday and then hopefully Shelf Moor in September.