2017 Pedal Car Grand Prix

This year the Pedal Car Grand Prix returned to town [it alternates with Ringwood] and once again the turnout and enthusiasm of both Teams and spectators was exceptional. It was a fiercely hot day – exhausting just to wander round taking photographs, so spare a thought for the contestants. We had a couple of minor spills and quite a few “racing incidents” – let’s just say that the “sin bin” saw a fair few visitors this year… On the whole, though, it was an entertaining spectacle and as popular as ever.

I took the opportunity to try out the Olympus OM-D EM-1 MkII “focus tracking”… To start with I found this to be remarkable fiddly – for example, give it an approaching pedal car and it will generally select the front of the car itself [usually the logo or race number] as the target. However, as the subject draws closer, so the camera’s built-in facial recognition software kicks in and the moment that it detects a person in the vehicle, the focus would automatically adjust. A little bit of patience and a lot of faith were certainly required. On the other hand, 16fps continuous shooting, with a ludicrously large capture buffer meant that burst-mode shooting was the order of the day.

The last time I was here I had my Canon EOS 7D with a 24-70mm lens [38-112mm equivalent] and I probably kept 2-3 images. This year I was using the Olympus with the 40-150mm lens [80-300mm equivalent] and I reckon that more than 60% were sharp enough to look to keep… OK, the Canon is quite a bit older, but it’s amazing to see how far the technology has moved.

Deceptive Calm

Early last month I had decided to venture out with a camera to see if there was anything worth capturing on a clear winter’s day on the South Coast of the UK. In the end I wound up at Mudeford Quay, near Christchurch, and discovered “the Run” – the narrow channel that connects Christchurch harbour to the English Channel – was practically motionless, with next to zero sign of moving water, and just the gentlest of swell formed where the outbound current met the waters of Christchurch Bay.

Given how turbulent this location normally is, either this was a rare event, or I was lucky enough to catch this precisely as the tide turned.