Wonder Woman, Politicians, Wheelbarrows and Beer………

PLEASE NOTE: COPYRIGHT ANDY COMPTON.
These images can be downloaded by members of the public for their own use but anybody wishing to reproduce them either on the web or in printed material must contact me first.

It is not everyday you see Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Wonder Woman, Superman, Sponge Bob Square Pants and many other characters race each while sat in in a wheelbarrow, only stopping to down half a pint of beer in the process.
Step forward Kington Wheelbarrow Race. Over 30 barrows with some competitors in fancy dress, stopped 11 times for a drink as they made their way over a gruelling 1.5 miles.
Hundreds of spectators eagerly lined the streets of the Herefordshire market town to witness the fun and frolics, and it is one of my most favourite events to photograph.
It is also one of the most challenging, tricky light, fast moving subjects and the unpredictability add to the fun for me. And if that wasn’t enough it is also the town where I live, a lot of people know me so I have to do a good job!
I battle between using a wid eangle lens close up and telephoto to capture a good selection of images.
Here are just a small selection of the images from another eventful night, special thanks must go to Kington Festival Committee who make this event possible. Their hard work is most appriciated.

. Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Mens speed winners, Joel Bayliss watches Ed Bullock down his drink.
Mens speed winners, Joel Bayliss pushes Ed Bullock towards the finish line
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy Compton
Copyright Andy compton

Copyright Andy Compton

Owls By Moonlight and Why I Love A Challenge

I love a challenge, and the invitation to take pictures of Owls by Moonlight (okay torchlight for me!) could not be passed.
I used a prime 50mm lens with the setting on F4 and a shutter speed of 1/8th of a second/ I gently pushed the lens against the wire mesh fence to keep it steady and squeezing the shutter carefully while holding my breath.
Here is one of the images from the set of 16 taken and the caption which has already been printed in a newspaper.
Hope You like!barn-owl-andy-compton-co

We all know what goes on at night in the cities during the festive build up but an excellent chance to witness what goes on in the countryside in the dark, can now be seen.
A magical chance to see our feathered friends at night can be enjoyed at the Small Breeds Farm Park and Owl Centre’s ‘Owls By Moonlight’ evening near Kington in Herefordshire.
All six native British Owls can be seen along with 26 other breeds from around the world when they are at their best -after sunset.
‘It was certainly a unique experience seeing and hearing these beautiful birds. And along with the informative talk by the centre’s Alice Pond it gave me a completely different perspective on life in the countryside’ said photographer Andy Compton.
The next ‘Owls By Moonlight’ group experience, which includes refreshments, will be held on December 10th, please ring 01544 231109 for further details.

Prepare for Surprises-Expect the Unexpected

Andy-Compton-Barrow-Bride

Expecting the unexpected is one of the many reasons I love photojournalism. While covering the a wheelbarrow race in my hometown of Kington in Herefordshire a bride and groom were enjoying their wedding reception at the nearby Burton Hotel.
The fun loving couple decided to ‘borrow a barrow’ and put an impromptu show on for the spectators who were waiting for the race to start.
What I love about this picture are the happy faces all caught up in this moment which was completely unexpected and nearly caught me out.
A quick run down a hill (luckily it wasn’t uphill!) and I managed to capture this image with a 200mm lens.

When Two Heads Are Better Than One

Twitter-pic

This image of a Great Grey Owl came runner-up in a recent Daily Telegraph competition.
Sharply focusing on the owl’s eyes I manoeuvred to get the other owl out of focus in the background.
My aim was to capture something different. Most photographers would move close and take a close up picture of the owl’s face.
Using a telephoto lens and taking care of the focus I managed to take a couple of picture’s before my subject got bored of ‘watching the birdie’ (sorry very poor pun) and moved back alongside its mate.

The image was taken at one of my favourite destinations, the Small Breeds Farm Park and Owl Centre near Kington, Herefordshire.
I have known the owner Jay Britain since he started the park about 20 years ago and it has been a great source of pictures for me since.

A Step Back To The Good Old Days

Blog-pic-1

The beauty of running my own blog means that I get to choose what I do with my pictures. On a modern day newspaper there are certain constraints a beleaguered editor has to stick to. Editors and sub editors are now ‘guided’ by templates and if the image does not fit the space, then it does not go in the newspaper.
And the picture will also be used in colour!
For me the image is everything, so I have decided to turn this photograph into black and white and airbrush out a few people to give it a more nostalgic feel.
I rarely airbrush images, but on this occasion I felt the end justifies the means.
Obviously for the newspapers they get the colourful version with the people in it!

Well Done Ann

ANN-TEA-PARTY

I have known Ann and Juliette most of my life, Ann being a sister of a good mate of mine and Juliette since our school days.
I hate taking pictures of people I know, and even worse when I arrive after the party. But due to working in south Shropshire all day I arrived when everyone had gone home apart from Juliette and her granddaughter.
All the cakes, biscuits and goodies were wrapped and put away (they must have known I was coming!) and the only props I had to work with were the pens and t-shirts.
Lighting was very flat so a little fill in flash was used while taking the picture out in the garden.
It is not a ‘great’ newspaper picture, more like a standard bread and butter type.
You can’t always have ideal situations, but as a press photographer you have to work with what you have, mostly in a limited time frame.
For those of you interested in the caption:

A Kington woman with a rare muscle wasting disease has raised over £500 for a charity which provides advice and support to sufferers and their families.
Ann Upshaw was 51 when she was diagnosed with Inclusion Body Myositis, a form of Muscular Dystrophy, two years ago.
The muscle wasting disease is now affecting Ann’s swallowing, so she will have to have a feeding tube, and her breathing, for which she has a machine to help her breathe at night.
But with the help of friends, she held Ann’s Tea Party at her home on Acornbury Leigh, Kington on Saturday from 10am until 4pm.
Visitors were able to enjoy tea, coffee and homemade cakes, some of which were donated and a couple were made by Ann herself.
There was also a raffle, Ann was also selling Myositis UK’s pens and t-shirts and giving out leaflets on the disease to try and raise awareness of the condition.
Ann said; “On the day I raised £325.50 and on my Just Giving Page I raised £190, so in total it is £515.50. I want to thank everyone who helped to put on the tea party and everyone who supported it.”
“If I am up to it next year I will do it again because people seem to like it and they like to come to it and its nice for me to have people around all day. It’s not too late to support me via my Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Ann-Upshaw1.”

Full Steam Ahead for Kington Vintage Rally 2016

Vintage-blog
Full steam ahead this weekend as vehicles of all shapes and sizes will be on show at Kington Vintage Rally. The event, which takes place on Kington Recreation Ground on Saturday and Sunday, will feature, commercial vehicles, cars, military vehicles and many other types of transport. There will be a parade on Sunday morning which is expected to make its way through the town at 9.30am led by the Hospice Angels.
This atmospheric picture taken last year proved popular with the local media. The shot was used in the Hereford Times, Mid Wales Journal and on the BBC website.
I took a gamble while thinking about this image, I waited up the High Street with a 200mm lens and just hoped no modern cars would get into the shot.

Nigel ‘Reflects’ On His Award

Nigel-Bradley

Award pictures can be notoriously boring to look at. Half a dozen people in dour suits holding a small piece of silver can be difficult to make visual stimulating.

Luckily for me this picture of Kington Town Football Club secretary Nigel Bradley ‘reflecting’ on his ‘meritorious service to football in the county’ award from the Herefordshire Football Association broke the mould.

I met Nigel at the ground and to liven the picture up used his reflection in the award while managing to get the club name on the grandstand in the shot at the same time.

Fill in flash was used and a bit of tilt of the camera adds to the interest.