Jul 272015
 

I used the Fuji X-Pro1 60mm f2.4 at couple of 1940’s events over the last couple of weekends, Kelham Island Sheffield and East Park Hull. Probably the most challenging of things to shoot were the Spitfire/Hurricane Flypast at the Hull Veterans weekend. I intended to use my Nikon D700 with 80-200mm but was caught out after being told the flypast would be Sunday.  It actually happened very late on Saturday. I only had time to flick to AFC and shoot  fortunately the camera was set as described in my last post resulting in the aircraft images included below. The exposures were f11 1/350 or better all at ISO 400.


Kelham Island & Hull Veterans 1940’s – Images by Paul Drabble

Jul 152015
 

Fuji X-Pro1 and Fuji XF 60mm f2.4 Macro

Today I added the Fuji XF 60mm f2.4 macro lens to the Fuji X-Pro1 XF 18mm f2 & XF 27mm f2.8 in my kit bag. My understanding is the XF 60mm f2.4 is a tad on the slow side when it comes to focusing, especially if compared to the rather more expensive XF 56mm f1.2 but is there away to gain an edge if using the XF 60mm for anything other than Macro work?
I would say yes and the trick is understand the problem and plan ahead. Think what you want to achieve with the camera lens combination. One thing I want to try with the lens is some candid portraits and grab shots without getting too close to a subject. The problem that needs to be overcome with the Fuji is a combination of slow focusing lens and the fact the the Contrast Detection AF (CDAF) employed by the X-Pro1 cant predict where the subject is going to be. I should probably also point out that unlike a DSLRs which use Phase Detection AF (PDAF) you don’t press the shutter halfway down to start the continuous AF. The correct way to use AFC on the X-Pro1 is to aim the camera at the subject with the cross hairs on the bit you want sharp and squeeze the shutter release in a single movement until the camera fires. I figured a small enough aperture with a reasonable DOF would help the focusing but as with all cameras that results in a drop in shutter speed and the possibility of losing the sharpness to camera shake or subject movement. My first instinct was to wind the ISO up but that has two drawbacks first is a drop in image quality second is a danger of over exposure in bright light. Fortunately the X-Pro1 has the option to program an Auto ISO. You get to tell the camera the minimum & maximum ISO you want to use and the minimum shutter speed it should be trying to achieve. What it doesn’t do is stop the camera working if the shutter speed drops too low it just tries to get up there if it can.
After a little fiddling about I settled on a minimum ISO of 800 a maximum of 6400 and a minimum shutter speed of 1/250. With the aperture set to f5.6 and AF set to continuous I roped in some help from my partner and our dog. As you can see from the images I had her throw a dog toy towards me so he would run towards camera chasing it. Each of the four images below is from a different throw of the toy. There were five throws in all and the results are pretty consistent for a slow focusing macro lens. The first throw I failed miserably and got only grass throws 2, 3, 4, 5 resulted in the images below. They have been cropped but still I think they are pretty impressive. You can find the camera settings for each shot in the captions. I have included the Thistle, shot in Macro, and the dog portrait to give a feel for what can expected if you forget to change the setting back to your ‘usual’ ones for situations that are more sedate.


I have to admit It was a glorious sunny day and the results may not be so good in poor lighting conditions but I feel I may just have an edge that maximises my chance of the subject being in focus while minimising the chance of camera shake with a set of camera settings that alow the X-Pro1 and Fuji XF 60mm f2.4 Macro lens to be used quickly and without too much though of anything other than composition.

Dec 202011
 

As we get to the end of  one more year I thought I might go through my archive of photographs and do a  2011 in pictures blog. A straight forward enough idea look back and choose some images but then came the questions…

How do I choose them?

From a whole year how many should I choose?

What about if I had 3 really nice photographs for one month but weaker ones shot in another?

Should I include personal photographs?

I decided I would choose one image taken during each month of the year, this would naturally limit the me to 12 photographs and force me to show some images I may not otherwise have selected. This collection of  photographs is not   a list of the 12 biggest news stories or celebrities or PR jobs I shot during the year. It’s not even necessarily the best 12 photographs I produced in 2011. It is a personal choice of pictures which are my some of my favourite photographs, some produced as commissioned  images and others as personal images, one from each month of  the year.

January 2011Hatfields Jaguar Dealer Principal Andrew Jeffery in the refurbished show room on Sharrow Vale Rd  PR image commissioned by PFPR. This was one of my very first photographs of the year I really like the way I was able to both the Jaguar and Hatfields Brands in the same photograph despite them being in separate places,its not something that can always be achieved when building a PR photograph using two brand names.

February 2011 – Chris Huhne Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change visits Casa hotel in Chesterfield to hear about the hotel  buildings energy efficient design and renewable energy. PR Image Commissioned by Bonner and Hindley This one is a very straight forward  un posed grabshot I think its the light I love on this large windows in the boardroom allowed bags on even natural light in.

March 2011 – A protester grabbed by police after crossing the “Ring of Steel” fence in Barkers Pool, outside Sheffield city Hall where the Liberal Democrats are holding their Party conference Conference. A grabshot on a 17-35mm wide with the full frame Nikon D 700. I caught movement out on the corner of my eye and turned to see the police grabbing this protester after he had climbed over the metal barriers.  Photograph shot on spec

April 2011 – Dancing on Ice Photocall Motorpoint Arena Hayley Tamaddon and Denise Welch joke in front of the cameras  After posing with their dancing partners in the show Haley and Denise wandered back across to the photographers and began a few outlandish poses as though they were a dance couple. I grabbed a several photographs but especially like this frame, it captures the point at which they posing stopped and dropped into fits of laughter Photograph shot on spec.

May 2011 – My partner Aileen as watches the other runners cross the finish line while looking for her two young granddaughters who were also running. She had just completed the “Race for life”  at Calendar Park in Falkirk. Personal Image

June 2011 – A wild Poppy growing on waste ground in Ecclesfield.  As a freelance I carry a camera everywhere this was photograph was taken during a Monday morning walk with my camera when business was quiet. Photographed for use as a Stock image.

July 2011 – The Ponderosa  “Spam” 1940’s war weekend held in Heckmondwike. Reenactors from the Northern World War Two Association portray German Panzergrenadiers from the Elite Heer (army) GrossDeutschland Division, defending a camouflaged mortar pit from attacking allied troops. Personal Photography Project

August 2011 –  Wallace chases a ball in Ecclesfield Park while out walking. I took this on a borrowed 300mm F2.8 Nikon hand-held. I was about to do sport for a newspaper for the first time in a number of years and thought I would get a bit of practice in.  Personal Image.

September 2011Walkers Fresh Hot Crisp Tour comes to Barkers Pool Sheffield as Masterchef winner Lisa Faulkner Shows  the three simple things that go into making a bag of crisps PR Image Commissioned by Freud Communications .

October 2011 – Complete with coffin, candles and gravestones a Vampire Fashion Show part of Sheffield’s Fashion Week. Photograph shot on Spec

November 2011 – A small wooden cross and poppy of the type that can be found on almost every War Memorial in the UK. This one was standing in among the remains of an old stone building on top of one the hills overlooking Langsett Reservoir on the Sunday after remembrance Sunday. Alone and out of the expected context it makes a poignant image. Photographed for use as a stock picture.

December 2011 – I spotted this during a nine mile walk around Grenoside woods on a very wet and dismal overcast Sunday afternoon. It was exactly the type of day that you don’t expect to get a usable photographs then I saw this large old fern it  looked like something from the set of Jurassic Park. Photographed for use as a stock picture.

So there it is my year in photographs,  no beaches in summer,  no fireworks in November and no Santas in December

Nov 132011
 

Local remembrance day parade  which set out from the Royal British Legion in Chapeltown, Sheffield, South Yorkshire marching to the Newton hall for a service of remembrance. From there the  parade, led by community constable PC Peter Booth, made its way to the local war memorial in Chapeltown Park where prayers were led by Vicar Rick Stordy of St Johns Church Chapeltown followed by the laying of poppies and wreaths.

 

Ode of Remembrance
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Kohima Epitaph
When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today

Sep 072011
 

As a full-time professional Press and Public Relations photographer I tend not shoot many weddings, but sometimes the areas of News PR and Wedding photography do cross over like this wartime wedding. Andy Hacking and Kath Plummer who are both World War Two reenactors announced they would be getting married at Lytham during the Fylde Coast Wartime Weekend, and they would be doing it 1940 style. Uniforms, reproduction 1940 wedding dress, vintage armoured car to whisk away the bride and groom, right down to ration books at the reception and a little like the World War One Christmas of 1914 there was the slightly surreal sight of German and allied troops fraternising and forming a guard of honour for the happy couple.

Best man Dave straightens Groom Andy’s button hole before they move inside the church and greet some guest while awaiting the brides arrival.

Just like the 1940’s bride Kath arrives on foot, but that’s petrol rationing for you, then a brief nervous wait at the back of the church for the air raid warning to stop and the ceremony begins

After the marriage service and register signing the happy couple make their way back down the church aisle to the Dam Busters march, pose briefly for a picture at the church door then out for the official photographs.

Confetti, a sweep, a yank selling nylons, bridesmaids who know the drill, friends, family, a Guard of honour including German troops and the the 6th Airborne what more could a soldier and his bride want from a wedding?

How about a genuine 21st century press pack including local video news camera crew and a fist full press photographers!

Travelling in style

“Katie Katie give me your answer do………. “

“………For you look sweet upon the seat of Dingo made for two!”

Ration packs, ration books 1940 entertainment a world war two wartime-style wedding right through to the reception.

Interested in publishing this story then visit Caters News Agency

 

Jul 122011
 

Weekend of the Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 of July found the Ponderosa  Centre in Heckmondwike was the scene of skirmishes and an pitched battles as once again they held “SPAM” the Ponderosa Wartime Weekend. The aim of SPAM is to transport visitors back to to the 1940’s, give them a taste of what life was like for the civilians and and soldiers of all nationalities who fought their way across Eastern and Western Europe.

Bigger and better than ever before gunfire could be heard though out the two days as  Allied and Axis reenactors who were  living in and around trenches, foxholes, dugouts, bunkers and a TV set style derelict village sent out patrols to reconnoitre and probe their enemies positions.

The weekend included a Spitfire flypast on Saturday while on both days military vehicles including three US tanks, a Hellcat,  Marder Tank-killer, British Daimler Dingos, US M3 Halftrack,  SdKfz 251 Ausf. C Halftrack, Wyllis Jeeps and Kubelwagen all owned by private collectors and members of the Northern World War 2 Association and Military Vehicles Trust were just some that could be seen on static display and in a drive by parade.

Many of the same vehicles also took part in the grand finale each day. A western front battle with TV quality pyrotechnics which pitted Germany’s Panzer Grenadier Division Großdeutschland, 21st Panzer Division and Infanterie Regiment 208 against the US 101st and British 6th Airborne, with the East Yorkshire Regiment. The end of scenario has Axis units prepare and launch a counter attack against advancing Allied forces, but the combined  British/US Armour and  infantry push them back with American tanks destroying the Germans fuel dump before finally over running the thier positions as the axis resistance collapses.

Below: The last stand of Großdeutschland. British 6th Airborne division accompanied by members of the French Resistance overrun and destroy one of Germany’s Elite units at the Ponderosa Heckmondwike.

Should this leave you wondering what the Ponderosa Wartime Weekend looked like from  reenactors point of view here are a couple of shots

A reenactors view, of the Battlefield, at the Spam Wartime Weekend Heckmondwike 10th July 2011. Images © Paul David Drabble (Paul David Drabble)

A reenactors view, from the living history, of the Spam Wartime Weekend Heckmondwike 9th July 2011. Images © Paul David Drabble (Paul David Drabble)

May 162011
 

On May 14th and 15th the Northern World War 2 Association, or NWW2A, held their “Private Battle Weekend”. Established in 2005 with the aim of recreating, and reenacting the Second World War period as authentically as possible, association members spend most of their reenacting time  providing Allied and Axis living history displays and large scale battle reenactments at events across Northern of England. The Private Battle is a chance for the reenactors to don their 1940’s persona’s and spend one or two days war-gaming on a large expanse land, somewhere in Yorkshire, away from the gaze of the public. I spent one day with the Elite Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland of the NWW2A to see what life was like as a member of their Kriegsberichter Zug (war correspondent platoon).  I chose to shoot on my modern digital Nikon D700 DSLR camera rather than my old Kiev film rangefinder. I wanted the best quality pictures. I have chosen to reproduce the photographs in black and white in an attempt to put back some of the atmosphere lost by not using film.

Unteroffizier “Wolfgang Spengler” in command of the Eight  man squad plus one “Kreigsberichter” of the Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland somewhere in NorthYorkshire

Point man “Stefan Kollers”

Above: From a gulley on the tree line  Feldwebel “Otto Henning”  looks for any unexpected movement as two of the squad move forward across open ground to the wreck of an old tank. Below: Having safely made it to cover Gefreiter “Hans Altmann” looks back as his comrade checks for enemy movement to the front, before calling up the rest of the men.

The remainder of the squad wait anxiously for the signal to make their way across the open ground and into cover.

 

Having made it into woodland without being ambushed the men of Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland take a breather. Above Right: Using an Esbit stove and German mess kit Gefreiter “Johann Rechenmacher” and other members of the patrol share a coffee while others (Above Left and Below) rest or chat quietly so as not to give their position away.

Below: The Großdeutschland squad anxiously wait for the return of point man “Stephan Kollers” who has been sent ahead to investigate gunfire.

Unteroffizier “Wolfgang Spengler” orders  his men into position as they advance on an “enemy position” that is already involved in a fire-fight with other elements of  Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland, 21st Panzer Division and 1st Fallschirmjäger.

One  Panzergrenadier attempts to work his way towards the strongpoint and find an effective firing position. Below: Feldwebel Otto Henning has already spotted one target.

While attempting to get around and flank the allied strong point, with Grenadiers “Stefan Kollers” and “Hans Muller”, our battle was cut short by fusillade of well placed rounds from element’s of Fox Commando Royal Navy and US 101 Airborne  (below).

 

Above; The long walk back to the camp at the end of day one. Left to right:  Fallschirmjäger from the NWW2A, Grenadier “Hans Muller”,  Grenadier “Stefan Kollers” and Unteroffizier “Wolfgang Spengler”

NWW2A consists of a number of different groups or“units” ranging from the US and British Airborne troops, French Resistance, British and Soviet infantry, German 21st Panzer Division, Infantry, Luftwaffe and Fallschirmjäger and the Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland. Moving away from  front-lines units there’s the German Field Police, Deutches Rotes Kreuz , Ensa Moonlight Seranaders and 40’s Civilians & Home Front Auxiliaries.

Mar 052011
 

Three days on from Matt Cardle and it’s back to Meadowhall Shopping Centre, celebrity spotting again. This time it’s Chris Moyles sidecick from Radio 1 “Comedy Dave” Vitty.  Now a Dancing On Ice Star “Comedy Dave” was signing autographs and meeting fans in the lower arcade close to Marks & Spencer as part of the  promotion for  Torvill & Dean’s Dancing on Ice 2011 Tour which has its opening night on the 9th of April 2011 at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena. As part of the promotion fans were also given the opportunity to win Torvill & Dean skating costumes as worn by the superstar skating couple, a signed skating boot and free tickets.

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Aug 262010
 

Lytham held the first of what could turn out to be a very good annual event on the weekend of 21st and 22nd August 2010. The 1940s war weekend was a celebration to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and to help raise funds for a memorial to the members of the RAFs Fighter and Bomber Command which, when erected, will stand on Lytham Green where the event took place. The weekend which kicked of on Friday evening with a 1940s dance held in the park pavilion, included Re-enactors from The Northern World War Two Association who put on excellent living history displays and a battle re-enactment. There was also full size replica spitfire complete with aircrew waiting for the call to scramble, period military vehicles including a German Sd.Kfz. 251 Auf C half-track and a mini assault course for the kids.  The  period atmosphere was helped along by re-enactors from the North West Military Colletors group,  live 1940s music and dancing all in period costume during the Saturday and Sunday bringing in crowds of sightseers. The whole weekend was topped by a flypast on the Saturday by a Dakota of the type that would have dropped allied paratroops into France on D-day and Arnhem later in the war. Sundays fly past was by the last Hurricane ever built, PZ865 was finished in summer 1944, there were 14,533 of them built throughout the war. She bares the inscription ‘The Last of the Many’ on her port and starboard sides.

There is also a video report here from the weekend from Blackpool TV

Jul 212010
 

I’m just testing the water with this idea, trying to find multiple income streams seems to be the key to survival in todays photography business. So here is a small very niche market first attempt. Please take a look and tell me what you think…

By Paul David Drabble