Rediscovering my Canon G9

Ten years ago I bought myself a Canon G9 compact, and absolutely loved it. Me and that camera went everywhere together, but inevitably when I got my Canon 6d the G9 was relegated to ‘The Drawer’, where it has resided ever since.

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I recently rediscovered it, charged it up, and tried a few test shots. I’ve been working in London recently, and couldn’t be bothered to take a heavy DSLR with me along with my luggage, so I decided here was a perfect chance to slip the Canon G9 into my bag and give it a workout in the city.

I was delighted with how the little camera performed, and loved the way it was so small and discrete, attracting virtually no attention as I snapped away. It feels great in your hand, small but substantial. I’m not about to sell my DSLRs and lenses, but I am convinced that the Canon G9 still has a place in my arsenal of photography gear.

One of the things I found I could do with it was produce images that had more of a sense of urgency and immediacy than the ones I create with my DSLR. I can get similar images if I attach a flash head to my DSLR, but there’s something raw and honest and rough-around-the-edges about the on-camera flash of the G9 that makes for a grittier vibe.

In terms of limitations, the Canon G9 has a few that the Canon 6d doesn’t suffer from. The biggest one for me is the fact it has a tiny sensor vs. the 6d’s full-frame – which means you seriously lose out on depth of field, and the quality of low-light shots is also severely limited. The G9 is also noticeably slow compared to the 6d – there is a lag of a few seconds between switching it on and being able to take a picture, and then you have to wait until the picture is saved to the card before you can take another one … delays like this inevitably lead to missed shots.

Overall though, I found that as long as I worked within the G9’s constraints, it was possible to get some great pictures with it – far better images than I can get with a mobile phone camera.

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From now on, I’ll be making sure my G9 is always fully charged and ready!

What pumpkins do when Hallowe’en is over

I went to the Hebden Bridge Pumpkin Festival last weekend. A trip to Hebden Bridge is always something I enjoy, as it’s such a pretty little town with a wonderful vibe.

This time I noticed quite a few changes since my last visit. Some of the old shops had closed and quite a few new cafes had opened, some with a definite hipster feel, making me wonder if Hebden is becoming a little too gentrified.

One thing that hasn’t changed though is the creativity of some of the folks who live there, as these pumpkins show. This little collection made me chuckle, and wonder what pumpkins do when Hallowe’en is over!

BHS NW Dressage Championship

I spent the day photographing the British Horse Society NW Dressage Championship at Bold Heath Equestrian Centre. Here are some of my favourite images from the day.

This is the third event I have photographed for the British Horse Society and was a little bit different to the Aintree Summer Camps I’ve photographed. Shooting with the backdrop of Fiddlers Ferry Power Station made for some interesting and moody shots.

I used my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lenses for the shoot, and it was great being able to switch between the two based on a creative decision. It should be fairly easy to work out which was used for some shots.

I’m looking forward to helping out with many more events next year.

Ribble Valley Mod Weekender, 2018

The annual Ribble Valley Mod Weekender has came around again. Once more the streets of historic Clitheroe, Lancashire, were taken over by scooters, Fred Perry polo shirts and Dr Martens boots.

I love the smell of the two-stroke exhaust from the scooters as they ride into the town. Everyone is so proud of their wheels, and there is real effort to dress and act the part. At times the event can be busy and it’s tough to get good pictures, but I came away with a few I’m very pleased with.

For anyone interested in participating in the event or viewing more pictures, there is a Facebook page and an Instagram hashtag. It takes place every September.

Happy Childhood Memories

Today I went back to my old home town of Great Harwood, and walked around for half an hour with my camera. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for years.

It’s grim up north, but it’s where I grew up, where I spent many a happy summer day playing in those backstreets as a child, befriending stray cats and scraping my knees climbing walls. Great Harwood the town has changed, but turn a corner and you instantly go back in time. The red bridge is still there, as you can see in the photos above. I remember climbing through that same gap in the railings, and going down onto the little pebble shore. There was – and still is – a dreadful chemical smell rising from Hyndburn Brook, but when I played on that beach, skimming stones across the water, in my mind I was on a beautiful desert island in the middle of the pacific.

Happy memories.

The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre Open Day

Today, I spent a few hours photographing the Open Day at The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre. The BTRC is a British Horse Society Approved Retraining and Facility Centre, and is one of the most immaculate yards I have visited.

The BTRC hold an Open Day every year, and I can heartily recommend a visit if you are a horse lover like me. It is truly heart-warming to see what they are doing to retrain beautiful racehorses like these, who have reached the end of their racing careers.

I took the photo opportunity as a great chance to try out a new toy, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens. I’m used to shooting at focal lengths of 50mm and above, so opening out to 24mm felt very challenging and unfamiliar to me first time around. However, I do like the results – as in the shot of ‘Fizz’ above.

If you want to find out more about The BTRC and their work, please visit The BTRC website.

British Horse Society Northwest Camp 2018

Last week I volunteered a day of my time to The British Horse Society to photograph their Northwest Camp at Aintree Racecourse. This is the second time I’ve been one of their official photographers – the last time was in 2016. I got some great pictures second time around, and am already looking forward to next year.

The above images are some of my favourite pictures from this year’s camp. I will update my British Horse Society project gallery with some of these.

For the technically curious, I shot all these with my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens at various focal lengths. I think it performed superbly despite the dim lighting conditions in the indoor arenas.

If you like the idea of staying in the jockeys’ accommodation at historic Aintree with your equine friend (they will have to sleep in the stables of course!), then keep your eye on the events section of the society’s website for next year: The British Horse Society.

Aintree Colour Run 2018

Yesterday I volunteered a day of my time to The British Horse Society to photograph their Northwest Camp at Aintree Racecourse. When I arrived the course was surprisingly busy, and I soon discovered there was another event going on at the same time!

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It was the 2018 Aintree Colour Run. I’ve never been to one of these events before and to be honest, would probably be a bit nervous about attending one with my camera gear. The thought of all that dust flying around is a bit scary to say the least, so I photographed these friendly folks in the car park, at a safe distance from the main event.

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Speaking of scary, some of the horses at the BHS Northwest Camp weren’t too impressed with the noise and bouncy castles … but everyone got from the stables to the Equestrian Centre (and back again) without incident, thank goodness!

(Some of my official BHS Northwest Camp pictures will follow in my next post.)

Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade

Last weekend I attended the Handmade Parade in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. This festival happens every year around the same sort of time, and lasts all afternoon, passing through the streets and ending up in Calderholmes Park where there is more drumming/dancing, and lots of food trucks.

The light was challenging – bright sunlight with accompanying high temperatures – but my camera coped well. I used the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens to get up close, and am pleased with the results.

As the parade website above says, the theme for this year’s parade was turning the town into a travelling carnival, with “ridiculous rides, surreal sideshows, weird circus, and all the fun of the fair”.

If you have never been to the town I heartily recommend it. The people there are friendly and there is a huge selection of vegetarian/vegan cafes and individual shops selling ethically sourced products. Visit the Hebden Bridge website to find out more.