Weekend Of MTB

It was the  Kingud/ Borderline  DH Series Rd1 at Hamsterley forest at the weekend. Unfortunately the weather was not going to be as nice as the weekend before with the temperatures failing to break higher than 5 degrees but it was dry. The track best way to describe it in some places it was nearly impossible to walk down with the steepness, rock drop offs and tree roots, to ride a course like this was  going to take some nerve, I managed to talk to one rider and asked how do you get down here and he said “go as fast as you dare and don’t brake”. Saturday was a day of practice and offered many a good photo opportunity with many crashes on one of the steeper parts luckily all riders seemed to bounce well and after picking themselves and the bike back up rode on. Sunday started of promising with the sun showing itself and some light cloud, but with in an hour the cloud had swallowed the sun and any warmth that was there had now totally gone, it was going to be a long cold day. By mid morning we had a few spots of rain and it kept on threatening to rain but held off until it was race time by then it was just raining and raining, making the rocks slippy but the riders did not let off the pace, still managing to get plenty of air and the braver ones taking the line between two trees after clearing the table top in one massive leap. Danny Hart* the new owner of the Descend bike park was also racing in the elite category and can these people ride you never heard there bikes approach it was if they were floating on air as they picked the fastest line and flew past.

*Danny Hart 2016 World Cup Downhill Champion

One of many scrapes picked up on the steep sections while getting to a good position for photographs

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Start of the crash 1
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Danny Hart World Champion
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Two trees one bike

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Lying it down as you head round the berm

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Table top clearance




Stings Like Bee Beautiful As Butterfly

I am always looking for new challenges with my photography, I like shooting action images but I do shoot other subjects and genres as well. 

After a conversation with a Francis Jones a boxer I asked about taking some images of him while training, unfortunately Francis was already working with another photographer but he said he knew someone and he would put me in touch with them, to see if they would be interested in working with me on what I will call a project. The boxer he put me in touch with was Hannah a twenty-two year old, one of the first things that struck me when I met Hannah was the smile that puts you at ease as soon as you meet her. So we go inside the boxing club and sit down to talk, about what I am looking for in images, and to find out a bit more about Hannah, and one of the things that struck me is how focused she is and driven towards her goals. We talked for about forty-five minutes and arranged to meet the following week to capture some images, I asked whether her coaches would be fine with me coming along and taking pictures while she trained and with that she said “yes it will be fine”, so I said we better check with your coaches that they are happy for me to attend a training session, in walks one of the coaches you can tell he is a boxer, not saying I was nervous maybe a bit apprehensive as he might just say no get out and don’t come back. But my fears were unfounded he was very pleasant and happy for me to come along and take photographs of Hannah training. 

So the day arrives for me to go to the evening training session the gym is not far from where I live so a short car journey is all it took I pull up outside and I can see inside the club lots of bodies moving around, nerves take a hold a little bit, not long after I arrived so did Hannah with the infectious smile she says hello and I follow her inside, there is a lady on the door collecting subs for training , Hannah pays her subs and I say hello to the lady and walk in then the voice pipes up “are you here to train”, in a joking voice I say do I look like need the exercise which I probably do and quickly explain that I am there to take some photographs of Hannah training. So I am through the door and I feel like all the eyes are focused on me a stranger in the camp but I think I was probably being very self-conscious, I say hello to the coach I had seen the other night and quietly say hello to other people not wanting to look out of place but with a camera bag it was hard not to stand out I was getting a few quizzical looks from people probably wondering what I was doing. So it’s time for training feeling like I was intruding on the club a bit I moved around watching my every step so I made sure that I didn’t get in the way of anybody’s training session as I thought that would be the quickest way to get ejected from the club, but as time went on I felt like they were accommodating me by making sure they didn’t get in my way. So the first photographic session went well, I have to say I have never photographed anything quite as hard, as one minute you are focused then like lightning Hannah has moved to a different spot throwing punches and working as hard as the men in the club. I have to say a big thank you to the boxing club for allowing me in and I thought it was very nice for them to invite me back anytime I want, so I will be doing another session with Hannah on Monday night, and will be looking to do some other photographic work with Hannah, in the coming months.

More images can be viewed at http://www.sdbphotography.uk/


Ae The Sun Was Shining

The latest NDH* mountain bike event was held at the Ae Forest in Dumfries, what a great location and place,a bit of a hidden gem. To be honest I had never heard of the Ae Forest before so was relying on the sat nav and postcode given plus the directions to get us their which it did. An excellent turn out for the event and the big bonus the sun was shining, and it’s February, can’t complain about that. The track was not overly long but it was fast with plenty of jumps, so leaving me spoiled for choice on where to situate myself to capture the riders as they hurtled down from the top to the bottom.

*Northern Downhill

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A Summers Evening

A summers evening, my son practicing a few tricks on his BMX, perfect time to get the camera out and practice a bit of movement and action photography, I decided to share this image.

I was also inspired by Light, a new camera technology that just hit the market. and their #VantagePoint project.

Pegging -051

Nikon D90

ISO – 100

F3.8 – @24mm

1/200 sec


Trying Something Different

So the NDH Hamsterley Forest TT was on, last Sunday I like my Sigma camera as the images I can get with it are excellent but I do find the weight off it can become very hard on my arms after a while especially with being a Magnesium Alloy body coupled with a good lens the weight can became, well heavy, we have been buying our youngest son the entry level Nikon D3200, with the standard kit lens for his school projects and that fact he is interested in photography as well, so I decided to test the camera with the standard lens out at the mountain bike TT , and I was surprised how well it performed and the quality of the images it produced with the standard kits lens these are just a few of the images I took with the Nikon D3200.

Nikon D3200 Lens 18 – 55, F3.5 – 5.6.

Nikonn D3200

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Forecast Heavy rain and reflections

Myself and my youngest son decided to have a look too the local BMX track, in the afternoon. As we travelled in the car getting closer to the track the skies were black and angry and it looked like they had already had heavy rain as the roads were covered in huge puddles. We decided to carry on and check out the track, once we arrived the track was wet with a few large puddles of water with the skies threading to open up again, but we decided to stay for a bit and have a ride around, taking a few pictures on my phone as he rode the Burms and curves. Always looking  for the image that will stand out from the rest having noticed a nice sized puddle I asked Neo to ride into the puddle and just sit as we waited for the water to settle and here we have the image quite pleased with it and we are planning another trip back with the camera to catch some more action orientated images 


Ard Rock TT North Yorkshire

What a beautiful place North Yorkshire is, with a lovely drive to the parking area for the MTB  race, but the walk to the event was not so nice. The scenery was great but the half hour walk up a very steep hill took it’s toll on me and then the walk to get some images just about finished me off, but looking on the bright side the views were fantastic. I only managed about an hour on the hill as my legs just decided to stop working and I knew if I didn’t come back down then I would be in real difficulty with my walking so a limited number of images were taken. I will return next year but will be better prepared and planned for such a walk as I know what I will have to deal with to get there.ARD ROCK - SDIM5958-90 ARD ROCK -SDIM5871-8 ARD ROCK -SDIM5879-16 ARD ROCK -SDIM5890-26 ARD ROCK -SDIM5921-54 ARD ROCK -SDIM5912-46

Borderline UK Downhill RD2 Hamsterley Forest

The weather was not so kind as the Saturday started off with rain but managed to brighten towards the afternoon making the track quite muddy and slippy. Sunday race day was cloudy which made photographing quite difficult with the track mainly passing through enclosed forest with the available light being stopped by the trees finding a place to get good images was difficult, I eventually settled on a berm where there was less tree coverage and the light was able to get through. This is just a few images from the race.

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2015 ND (H)uro, Hamsterley Forest Round 1

So I attended my first Mountain bike race at Hamsterley forest on Sunday, not knowing what to expect or whether I would get any good pictures, and wondering if I would be able to get to a good section with enough light to save me using my flash gun on the camera.As with my disability problems can cause it hard work or impossible to get to certain places. I must say a big thank you to Karl of Northern Downhill the organizer, who after talking to told me of a place I could park with not to far to walk. The event was well attended and the action was great to watch as people battled round the course as fast as possible putting in huge effort to combat the different terrains and conditions.

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Riding In Hamsterley Forest Forest

Many hours of fun can be had in the Forest whether you are into Mountain Biking or walking, there is lots to do.Mountain Bike_SDI2053-11

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