Posts from the ‘events’ category


Ready, Steady………..Cook

From 1994 until early in 2010 the BBC broadcast a daytime programme called Ready, Steady, Cook. It was a very simple idea based on two ‘celebrity’ chefs competing against one another to create the best dish or dishes in 20 minutes from a set of unknown ingredients chosen by members of the audience. The success of the show relied on their inventiveness, fast thinking and skill to prepare an appetising and good looking two course meal. They also needed to be quite quick witted as the host of the show would often interrupt and distract the chefs from what they were doing. After all this was meant to be entertaining not just a lesson in how to cook some food.

A local restauranteur in our village, namely Nik Westacott of 82 Fishbourne, offered to replicate the Ready, Steady, Cook format and played host to two professional chefs: Neil Rusbridger, a lecturer and chef at Highbury College and Viv Casson from Cassons Restaurant near Chichester. The event was staged last week in front of a paying audience and proceeds would benefit The St Peter Project. I was asked to take some photographs and whilst the images will always be ‘record’ shots, I hope they have captured something of the atmosphere and fun of the evening.

Host and local character – Nik Westacott 
Neil Rusbridger – one of the two professional chefs
Viv Casson – concentration
Neil mixing his ingredients
The packed hall
Neil and Viv had 30 minutes and they prepared some really fine dishes.
The event was great fun and a huge success raising over £1,300 for the St Peter Project. 
All the images were taken with the Olympus OMD EM5 and 45mm f1.8 Olympus prime lens.


Entries for Open Exhibition – will any be selected?

In about six weeks time my local camera club will be staging its 43rd annual exhibition and in seven days time I will know which of my entries have been selected for display. In essence there are two sections. Firstly one for members only and second an open section for anyone outside of the club who wishes to enter.

I would hope that there would be a reasonable chance that some of my submissions for the members only category will be on show come the 23rd of November when the exhibition is opened to the public. The open section is more of a lottery as I will up against some very capable and experienced photographers.  I have chosen four images for each section and my fate is in the hands of the judges who will consider all the entries next Saturday the 19th October. Last year I went along to witness the judging process and I plan to be there again next weekend.

It’s nerve wracking when your own photograph is displayed and rarely do the judges take long to mark the picture out of five. With three judges the maximum mark is fifteen. Twelve or more marks are likely to be needed to secure an entry.

The four images I selected for the open section are:-


…..and the four images for the members section are:-


Trying to decide which photograph went in to which category was quite a challenge in itself but having made up my mind and completed the entry form, I now have to see which ones are selected. With a little good fortune I would like to think that I might get one in the open section, but the standard is very high and whilst my work does well in club competitions I simply do not know how well it will do when competing against some the best images in the country. Well we shall see. Not long to wait now!

All of these images are on my own website –

Jazz in the Church

The local village church which I attend is trying to raise sufficient funds to build a new hall on land immediately joining the church. There have been many events to date in aid of The St Peter Project and yesterday we staged a jazz concert in the church itself. Somewhat unusual for a very traditional Anglican Church but it was a great event, good fun with really enjoyable music. It was played by three excellent musicians, using a variety of instruments all accompanied by a solo singer providing the vocals – or as they are called the Kenton Budd Jazz Quartet.

It was a good opportunity to take some shots in available light as I didn’t want to use flash. I asked permission of the band first, which I am sure is only courteous, as it could be off putting to the performers to have someone moving around with a lens pointing in their direction. I used the Panasonic f2.8 35 to 100mm lens at f2.8 on the Olympus OMD EM5. I pushed the ISO to 3200  and converted the images to black and white; so whilst they have some grain, this quite suits the style of photography. I manually focused in aperture priority which meant that the camera would select the shutter speed. In most cases this turned out between 1/25 and 1/30 of a second. Just fast enough to capture the image without too much blur.
The images are shown below and I hope they capture something of the atmosphere of the event given the venue.

The Saxophonist
The keyboard player
The Keyboard Player
The jazz singer
Kenton Budd provided the vocals to some true jazz classics
The drummer
The Drummer
The saxophonist 3
The Saxophonist, although I doubt he was playing a tune which would have suited Psalm 46!
On the keyboard
A deft touch on the ‘old’ ivories
The guitarist
The Saxophonist turned electric guitarist
The jazz singer 2
Do I detect a little emotion in the eyes whilst singing this particular song?
Saxophonist 2
Still blowing…….
Glass of wine
…..and with music, a glass of wine. The pew shelf is not just for the hymn book.

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Easter inside Fishbourne Church

In a departure from recent entries, I could not miss the opportunity to record the glorious interior of our local parish church at Fishbourne near Chichester in West Sussex, which was decorated with some quite stunningly beautiful flower arrangements this Easter. I wanted to photograph the work of many wonderful and gifted volunteers, as well as having a few images which could be published in the next edition of our Parish Magazine.

All the photographs were taken using the Olympus EM5 and Panasonic f2.8 12-35mm zoom lens, mounted on a Gitzo tripod and ball head.

Fishbourne Church at Easter
The east window behind the altar of Fishbourne Church
All the pillars were decorated with flowers and Easter chicks!
Crosses and primroses beneath the altar
A floral decoration on the font
…..and just because I can’t resist the temptation, I have converted a similar image to the first photo in this entry to mono. Although the beautiful colours have been removed there is still something about the black and white version.

Fishbourne Church at Easter - in mono

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Aston Martin DB9 driving experience

This was not really a photo opportunity, but a chance to drive an Aston Marin DB9 on a test track at Longcross in Surrey, courtesy of a belated Christmas present and 6th Gear Driving Experience. I was booked in for three quick laps; me at the wheel and a trained racing driver instructor in the passenger seat. No speed limit, no speed cameras, no traffic police but some nerves which would prevent me from doing anything too dangerous, particularly as it had not stopped raining all day and the track was very wet.

I was unsure what to expect when I arrived at Longcross. There were a lot of people waiting their for turn to drive a range of supercars. Audi R8, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Ariel Atom and of course the Aston Martin amongst the marques. I was scheuled to drive at 3.30pm but after a long wait under an umbrella my name was finally called, about an hour later. I was introduced to my instructor and shown the basic controls, including the ‘flappy paddles’ for changing gear. He told me he would instruct me when to accelerate, brake, change up or down and where to position the car on the track. It felt a very controlled situation but perhaps it had to me given how powerful the car was, the track conditions and the fact there was very little run off. Most of the track was enclosed by unforgiving trees so a small mistake could be costly to both man and beast…..not that the DB9 could be called a beast……more the beauty then the beast.

I soon overcame any nerves and it was not long before a Lamborghin Gallardo appeared ahead of us on the track going more slowly. I was delighted when we reached a section of straight…..the instructor checked the mirrors, no one close behend, so he gave me the word to plant my foot on the accelerator and overtake. The sound of the V12 engine came to life as the revs increased. In no time at all, I had hit nearly 90 miles an hours, passsed the Gallardo, only to be told it was time to brake before the next corner. An experience to remember.

The three laps were thrilling but over all too quickly, so out came the Olympus OMD and the 45mm to 200mm Panasonic Lumix zoom lens to record the event. The rain still came down so whilst the light was terrible, the reflections off the tarmac surface made for some interesting reflections.

Aston Martin DB9….ready and waiting
Olympus OMD 45-200mm @ 109mm f9 1/20 ISO 1250

Aston Martin DB9 preparing for a few more laps

Aston Martin DB9….on the track
Olympus OMD 45-200mm @ 45mm f4.5 1/60 ISO 1600

Aston Martin DB9 in the rain at Longcross

Lamborghin Gallardo Spyder
Olympus OMD 45-200mm @ 103mm f9 1/60 ISO 1250

Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder

Ariel Atom and the spray
Olympus OMD 45-200mm @ 61mm f9 1/20 ISO 1600

Ariel Atom in the rain at Longcross

Ferrari 458
Olympus OMD 45-200mm @ 115mm f5.6 1/20 ISO 1250

Ferrari 458

Although I have not had many reasons to use the 45-200mm lens very often, I am impressed. But what impressed me more was the built in 5 axis image stabilisation of the OMD. Although the 45-200 has built in IS, it was turned off, as I assumed it would be fighting the Olympus IS. If you look at the exif data on some of these shots, take the Ferrari above for example, this was taken at 1/20 second and is as sharp as you could expect given the conditions. The 35mm or full frame equivalent of 115mm is 230mm, so to hand hold this camera and lens and still be able to shoot at such a low shutter speed just demonstartes how good the Image Stabilisation is in the OMD. Well done Olympus!