Amateur Photographer & Peaks Tour Sportive

Amateur Photographer

It’s so easy to get lost in a new place you’ve never visited before. Where you live you sort of get accustomed to what’s around you. You don’t notice the history and the stories there as much, but going somewhere new leaves the place open to your interpretation. Needless to say, whenever I visit somewhere new I’ll very quickly get lost in what’s around me, which normally involves me capturing it with a camera. Some say to experience moments rather than capture them to tell the story, but for a creative like myself that’s quite difficult to execute. Behind any photo I take there will normally be a story, regardless of whether that experience ends up on my blog or in a notebook.

Winnats Pass, Peak District

Heading to the Peak District I was very quickly taken aback by it all. The only way to describe it being large expanses of rolling hills. Granted you get this in Wales, but hills tend to be swapped for mountains so you normally have to walk quite a way to see the view. Any place will naturally have its good days and bad days, but I was definitely in the Peaks on a good day. The golden Autumnal light that makes me love this time of year.

Winnats Pass, Peak DistrictWinnats Pass, Peak District

After winning a competition I noticed Amateur Photographer were running, I found myself in Winnats Pass with camera equipment lent out by MPB waiting for cyclists to ascend the infamous Winnats Pass. A winding road that follows the valley making a climb for cyclists of 20% gradient at times. The sun bent its way around the hill tops casting a shadow on the route of the Peaks Tour Sportive, but it was the sun rays that made me want to take a photo.

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I had the opportunity to use a Canon EOS R camera body with a 24-105mm lens. My first time using a mirrorless camera, there were a few fancy features to get to grips with like the touch screen on the back. There was the simple fact I needed to get familiar with mirrorless too. I gave it my best shot and the photos in this blog post are the result.

The fact the camera was small and light made it easy to carry around all day, which was a stark difference to when I’d be on my feet all day at Weddings with heavy camera equipment. The Weddings were my first experience of using Canon, which is why I asked MPB if I could try a Canon camera. I’ve used Nikon for years, but loved the Canon’s I use to use. I thought I’d take to the Canon EOS R (and accompanying lens) like a duck to water, but I’ll be honest I’m not completely sold on it. The focus seems a little off and the photos just didn’t seem all that sharp. Now I hold my hands up, it might have just been the person operating it, but I can’t say I’ll be heading to the camera shop to get one. Not for cycling photography anyway.

Winners Pass, Derbyshire

When we’d finished on Winnats Pass we made our way to a quaint little village called Monyash, Derbyshire. With a church, pub and cafe it almost felt like you were on some sort of television set. The houses were quiet and everyone congregated outside the tiny Old Smithy Tearooms. I love going to these villages only accessible by country lanes that stretch out for miles purely because of the characters you meet there. Their way of life is different and its almost inspiring. It brings me back to every photo having a story. There will often be a reason I press the shutter.

Monyash, DerbyshireMonyash, Derbyshire

The dog below was curled up basking in the sun next to a bench on which sat two older men chatting about a sketch book in one of their hands. They were completely lost talking about painting techniques and it took them a while to notice I was even photographing their dog. Meanwhile, their dog couldn’t care less at what was going on around him. It’s just little moments like that you don’t forget. They keep these little hidden gems of the world stuck in your head wanting to go back and explore further.

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Easily distracted, a lot of the photos I took in Monyash weren’t actually of bikes like was intended. I wandered down public paths and through farmer’s field, just to see what I could find. I was naturally drawn to other dogs in the village two, one wanting to make sure his presence was known where as another was quite happy doing pirouette’s.

Monyash, Derbyshire

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I suppose I should actually talk about the sportive itself run by UK Cycling Events, which is named the Peaks Tour Sportive. From the name you can imagine it’s no easy challenge, especially when the cyclists were barely warmed up they were tackling Winnats Pass. If they weren’t warm before the climb, then they certainly would be after. Routes covering 50, 75 and 100 miles you had varying abilities tackling the route, but all in good spirit. It was certainly different from photographing criterium and road races.

So essentially I went to the Peak District with Amateur Photographer to use some fancy cameras equipment, but its the places I got to see I’ll remember the most and probably go back to. I met some amazing photographers on the day too who were great to chat to, some just as interested in cycling as I was.

 

Silverstone Classic Photo Epic

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If you follow me over on Instagram you’ll know I spent last weekend at the Silverstone Classic, which attracted the crowds to watch the cars of years gone by return to the track. I spent the weekend around the Volvo S40 which Rickard Rydell had come from Sweden to drive again.

I was forever behind the lens of my camera like always, so got quite a few pictures over the weekend. A weekend that saw original mechanics reunited with the driver they use to spanner check for, whilst current mechanics kept the car running in tip top condition.

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A team put together by Jason Minshaw it was all hands on deck to make sure the car got to where it needed to be over the weekend.

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With unpredictable weather, a few wheel changes took place as well as alterations to the tracking and gearbox over the weekend.

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Qualifying on Friday turned out to be quite eventful with some cars facing issues that lead them to retire from the weekend.

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Luckily the Volvo didn’t suffer such issues and Rickard placed the car in pole position for the race the following day.

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Celebrating 60 years of the BTCC, the JET Super Touring Car Trophy was a popular collection of races over the weekend.

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With plenty of fans coming to meet Rickard when he wasn’t driving the Volvo.

In between its time on the track, the Volvo was checked and adjusted following feedback from Rickard.

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Despite biblical downpours at one point over the weekend, the heatwave meant hydration was key before and after jumping in the car.

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The cars waited by garages 1 and 2 to get to the pit lane and out to the track.

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Rickard’s biggest competitor over the weekend, James Dodd, who was driving the Honda Accord.

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Despite the multiple position changes on track making it impossible to predict who would come out on top, Rickard and James showed impeccable sportsmanship off the track.

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James Dodd pipped Rickard to the top spot of the podium, to which Rickard responded in good spirit “if it was my car he wouldn’t have got past”.

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I was possible too young to remember these cars racing in their day, but I surprisingly still recognised some of the liveries thanks to the countless motorsport books on the bookshelf and not a BTCC race missed on the TV.

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Bjorn and Daniel flew from Sweden to help with the car over the weekend.

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With a few season back racing, the hype around the Volvo S40 was even greater with Rydell back in the driver’s seat.

Head over to the full album of photos by clicking here.

For more on what Rickard Rydell thought of the weekend, you can also read this article on his website.

Attingham Park, Shrewsbury

I put these photos into Photoshop, but then decided to I liked them as they were.

Our visit to Attingham Park was a bit sporadic, yet I’m still glad we went even if it was rather cold! Next time I’ll make sure to go back more wrapped up, but then we could just go back when it’s a bit warmer…

After a tour round the house, where I kept trying to make Ryan laugh, we wandered up to the deer since I was dying to take some photos of them. Next time, I’ll try and take a longer lens as I could photograph them all day!

The British Way of Thinking

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Being typically British…we moan…a lot! Conversations will contain something negative and we’ll soon find ourselves absorbed into a negative way of thinking.

“This isn’t going the way I want”,

or

“I deserve this”.

Life generally isn’t going the way we planned.

But whilst lost in this bitter way of thinking, life is passing us by.

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We turn on the TV in the morning, instantly fed negative news stories where reporters find the most minute of things that are wrong with this world.

Yet all the great things go unpublished.

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Social media feeding our minds with ideal lives we haven’t got.

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But what have we got?

Exactly that.

Life.

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We can wake up each morning, whether that be to rain or sunshine, to live another day.

We may not all be travelling around the world.

We may not all be able to afford a CHANEL wardrobe.

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We may not feel we possess the ideal looks everyone admires to have.

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But what does everyone reading this have?

We have a life to fulfil. 

Fill full of laughing until you can’t breathe.

Fill full of laying around when the sky turns from a sunset to become full of stars.

Fill full of doing rather than overthinking the ‘what ifs’ first.

Change “What can I do today” to “what can I do for someone else today?”.

Not being so quick to pass judgement when you don’t know the full story. It never truly boosts your self-confidence does it?

Sticking to what you love and not changing to conform to the majority, so wear last season’s clothes because they make you feel good about yourself.

Wear the outfit that’s a little bit ‘out-there’, which has been sitting on your private Pinterest board for months.

Try everything out of your comfort zone, because what have you really got to lose? You might decide to put it on the “Not a Fan’ list or find your newest obsession.

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Whatever life we have been give, it’s important to make the most of it. Cliche, but it’s true.

London at Christmas Part 2: Southbank

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This time around walking up the steps from the tube, we were walking into crowds of people with Big Ben dominating the landscape in the background. We were back in central London on the banks of the River Thames.

 

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Back in Chelsea it looked like a sunset was on the cards and by that I mean one that would be good to photograph.

The result? Running round like a headless chicken trying to get a million photos before the light went completely.

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It was only then we could actually look around the Christmas markets of Southbank, which is so much better than the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park by the way! Southbank had plenty of homemade gifts and food to eat. Southbank seemed to represent more accurately the spirit of Christmas. It wasn’t just a money maker.

With darkness now upon us and a train to catch it was a shame we couldn’t have spent longer on the Southbank, but I suppose that leaves more for us to explore when we return…

London at Christmas Part 1: Chelsea

Walking out of South Kensington Station we were confronted by a Lamborghini garage and a Bentley driving past….we were definitely in Chelsea. Uniform buildings three or four floors high with flower boxes on each window. Paved pathways passing the many gates providing access to the six-figure Chelsea houses. Steps up to their painted doors and Christmas wreaths hanging from their iron cast door-knockers.

It was a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, which we’d accidentally found ourselves on the night before.

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We had no real agenda in Chelsea, I just wanted to go there. Ok it might slightly have something to do with the fact I watch Made in Chelsea on a regular basis…but anyway that’s not the point.

I was just in awe of how pretty it all was. How a few miles away you can be crammed in amongst hundreds of people all trying to get to different places. Then you have, Chelsea with multiple picturesque streets empty till the homeowners return from work.

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Granted the shops contains price tags way above what I could afford, the money I’d spent in Urban Outfitters in Selfridges the night before seemed somewhat mediocre. I think I got lucky with this outfit though because Selfridge’s price tags had quite a few 0’s on the end too!

I felt serious guilt buying this outfit (skirt and jumper photographed) but I knew it would be one of those things I’d regret not buying.

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So our trip round Chelsea was more of just a wander, but we did manage to wander round places like the Saatchi Art Gallery as well as having a tasty lasagne in POCO on the Duke of York’s Square. From the craziness of central London the night before it was nice to see some of the quieter parts of the big city.

 

Sunny South Wales

I’m a little bit more adventurous from when I first started riding bikes, but last weekend I found this might just be in the North Wales hills just for now…

Put me by myself in a forest I don’t even know the name of in South Wales and I’m not so confident. The result being me going on a rather random walk that involved me turning back to where I had just come from a fair few times.The reason being so I didn’t venture too far in one direction and get lost…ha!

Next time I’ll make sure I have a map….and a bike….!

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Lucy’s Life and Bikes

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Lucy’s Life and Bikes