For just over a year now ickledot has been taking photographs for Manorlands, a local hospice run by the Sue Ryder charity. People with long-term illness receive excellent care from a team of skilled and dedicated carers, both in Manorlands and in its sister hospices elsewhere. However, all this good work costs money and the Sue Ryder charity is constantly hosting all manner of events to get people involved in fund-raising. These often include some form of physical activity so participants feel they're improving their own health and fitness in addition to helping others. Looking back through this blog, you'll see ickledot has photographed running, cycling, mascot races, long distance swimming as well as publicity shots and award ceremonies. If you enjoy taking pictures of people 'doing stuff' as ickledot does, helping a local charity like this is a great way to photograph in all manner of situations that just wouldn't crop up otherwise. It also gets your work into local newspapers and their websites. In short, you can really get yourself known.
Just before ickledot's trip to London he shot his first repeat event for the charity, the Coniston Hotel Challenge Day. Situated in the Yorkshire Dales, just a few miles beyond the village of Gargrave, the Coniston is a large hotel whose grounds cover a huge area. Each year, colleagues from a number of local businesses meet together to 'bond', compete and help raise funds. The teams each try and score points in a range of activities including clay pigeon shooting, golf, archery, falconry and driving Land Rovers over rough terrain. There's a meal at the end of the day, prizes for the winners and an auction, all to help Manorlands. From a photographing point of view, the differing challenges and opportunities in each activity provided for a busy and hugely enjoyable day. Towards the end I was really pleased to try a bit of panning with a slower shutter speed to get a few shots of an instructor racing up and down a strip of ground, wheels spinning. As always, there are more pictures from the day here.
More recently, last Friday evening in fact, ickledot was back in the Dales, this time to take photographs to be used in publicity and advertising for a future event: a picnic and big screen 'Last Night of the Proms' (non-UK readers, follow the link to find out what that is) presentation at Bolton Abbey. To be honest, the weather wasn't great, some would say a typical English summer evening. There was some blue in the sky though and the sun peeped through every so often. The challenge this time was to compose shots so there was room for text to be placed in publicity material later. As the evening drew on and the skies darkened, it was a first opportunity to use off-camera flash in public. Have to say, despite misgivings it worked brilliantly! A tad too bright on some shots perhaps, but on this occasion it was no bad thing as it simulated light reflected off a big screen. That's my excuse anyway!