Peter Meade Photography: Blog http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog en-us (C) Peter Meade Photography _peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) Wed, 30 Dec 2015 19:15:00 GMT Wed, 30 Dec 2015 19:15:00 GMT http://www.petermeadephotography.com/img/s11/v27/u363672976-o641917778-50.jpg Peter Meade Photography: Blog http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog 120 120 My favourite polo photos of 2015 http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2015/12/polo2015 Here are some shots from my polo photography in 2015. I've been to some delightful venues this season as the polo photographer for Sandhurst, the RAF, Tidworth Polo Club and the Hackett Army Polo Team, I also spent a day as a second shooter for British Polo Day. There have been the superb settings of RAF Cranwell, RMA Sandhurst, Tidworth and Black Bears. I missed out on the beach polo in Cornwall and the Fifield tournaments this year and also didn't get to Ham Polo Club, but I have been busy.  Meteorologically it's been variable, with 35C at Sandhurst for a visit from the Mongolian Army Polo Team and down around 0C for the Tidworth arena. The one near constant has been the rain, if there's polo, there's a good chance it's raining.

Here is the selection.

British Army poloHackett Army Polo TeamPolo and events at Tidworth Polo Club<br/><br/>The afternoon consisted of:<br/>Inspire Charity Match<br/>Horse Race<br/>Bicycle Polo<br/>Wheel Chair Race<br/><br/>Parachute display by the REME Parachute Display Team<br/><br/>Pony Club Exhibition Chukka<br/><br/>Indian Cavalry Officers Polo Trophy<br/>CSPA team vs CSPA Challengers<br/><br/>The Hackett Rundle Cup<br/>Royal Navy vs Army<br/><br/>Reception<br/><br/>Commentary was by Col Simon Ledger

Sandhurst poloSandhurst poloThe University Polo Tournament was played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. <br/>Six teams played in the competition, in 2014, four teams were involved.

British Polo DayBritish Polo Day - in the rainBritish Polo Day

British Polo DayBritish Polo DayBritish Polo Day

British Polo DayBritish Polo DayBritish Polo Day

The Royal Artillery at SandhurstThe Royal Artillery at SandhurstPolo played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.<br/>Teams were:<br/>Royal Artillery Red<br/>Royal Artillery Yellow<br/>Royal Military Academy Sandhurst<br/>Honourable Artillery Company Saddle Club<br/><br/>Commentary by Col Simon Ledger<br/>Presentations by Major General Stuart Skeates

Best of British PoloBest of British PoloBest of British Polo was played at Tidworth Polo Club on 31st May 2015.<br/>Games included:<br/>The Duke of York's Cup - Royal Navy v Royal Air Force<br/>The Heroes' Cup - injured servicemen play alongside members of the British Army Polo Team<br/>The Best of British Under 25s - 16 goal polo<br/><br/>Sponsors were Hattingly Valley Wines, Cayenne Asset Management, Wilsons Solictors LLP and Winterflood Securities.<br/>The event was held in support of Help for Heroes, and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.<br/>Commentary was provided by Col Simon Ledger.

Best of British PoloBest of British PoloBest of British Polo was played at Tidworth Polo Club on 31st May 2015.<br/>Games included:<br/>The Duke of York's Cup - Royal Navy v Royal Air Force<br/>The Heroes' Cup - injured servicemen play alongside members of the British Army Polo Team<br/>The Best of British Under 25s - 16 goal polo<br/><br/>Sponsors were Hattingly Valley Wines, Cayenne Asset Management, Wilsons Solictors LLP and Winterflood Securities.<br/>The event was held in support of Help for Heroes, and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.<br/>Commentary was provided by Col Simon Ledger.

The Hackett Rundle CupThe Hackett Rundle CupPolo and events at Tidworth Polo Club<br/><br/>The afternoon consisted of:<br/>Inspire Charity Match<br/>Horse Race<br/>Bicycle Polo<br/>Wheel Chair Race<br/><br/>Parachute display by the REME Parachute Display Team<br/><br/>Pony Club Exhibition Chukka<br/><br/>Indian Cavalry Officers Polo Trophy<br/>CSPA team vs CSPA Challengers<br/><br/>The Hackett Rundle Cup<br/>Royal Navy vs Army<br/><br/>Reception<br/><br/>Commentary was by Col Simon Ledger

RAF poloRAF poloPolo played at RAF Cranwell on Saturday 23 May 2015 and Sunday 24 May 2015<br/>The Cranwell Polo Tournament is the traditional start of the military polo season.<br/>Teams for the 2015 tournament were:<br/>Vale of York Polo Club<br/>Leadenham Polo Club<br/>Rutland Polo Club<br/>Ham Polo Club<br/>Army Reserves Polo Team<br/>The Hackett British Army Development Team<br/>RAF Cranwell Polo Club<br/>RAF Hurricane Polo Team<br/>tlmNEXUS RAF Polo Team

 

More rainMore rainThe Adjutant General's Corps Polo Cup 2015<br/>Polo played at Tidworth Polo Club on Bank Holiday Monday, 31st August 2015<br/>Comentary was by Col Simon Ledger<br/>Prizes were presented by Col Andrew King<br/><br/>The gallery on my web site is at this location<br/>http://www.petermeadephotography.com/agc15

GroomsGroomsBest of British Polo was played at Tidworth Polo Club on 31st May 2015.<br/>Games included:<br/>The Duke of York's Cup - Royal Navy v Royal Air Force<br/>The Heroes' Cup - injured servicemen play alongside members of the British Army Polo Team<br/>The Best of British Under 25s - 16 goal polo<br/><br/>Sponsors were Hattingly Valley Wines, Cayenne Asset Management, Wilsons Solictors LLP and Winterflood Securities.<br/>The event was held in support of Help for Heroes, and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.<br/>Commentary was provided by Col Simon Ledger. A reception after the poloA reception after the poloPolo played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst during the Heritage Day.<br/>Visiting Teams were Oxford University and Harrow School. <br/>The Sandhurst Polo Club played in the first game against Harrow School and the Hackett Army Polo Team played Oxford University<br/><br/>Commentary was by Col Simon Ledger.<br/><br/><br/>Further images are available here http://www.petermeadephotography.com/shd15<br/><br/>For licencing enquiries use this link http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html The star of the show is always the horseThe star of the show is always the horsePolo and events at Tidworth Polo Club<br/><br/>The afternoon consisted of:<br/>Inspire Charity Match<br/>Horse Race<br/>Bicycle Polo<br/>Wheel Chair Race<br/><br/>Parachute display by the REME Parachute Display Team<br/><br/>Pony Club Exhibition Chukka<br/><br/>Indian Cavalry Officers Polo Trophy<br/>CSPA team vs CSPA Challengers<br/><br/>The Hackett Rundle Cup<br/>Royal Navy vs Army<br/><br/>Reception<br/><br/>Commentary was by Col Simon Ledger

 

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) British Polo Day Hacket Army Polo Team Peter Meade Sandhurst Tidworth photography pjmeade polo photographer polo photography polo photos http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2015/12/polo2015 Wed, 30 Dec 2015 19:15:12 GMT
Top Ten Photos of 2015 http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2015/12/tt2015 It's time to review the year's photography and think about my favourite photos. 

This year I'm cheating a bit and I'm putting together a "general" photography set and also another set of polo photos. Partly because I've taken a lot of photos and partly because it's just such hard work trying to cut thousands of images down into just ten or twelve.

I'm going to start with this shot from St Paul's Cathedral. It's one of very few film photographs I've had published recently.  This one was used by St Paul's for the January image in their 2016 desk calendar. I was shooting film because on the way there, someone stole my digital camera.

St Paul's CaathedralCNV00024_T

 

It would be difficult for me to go through the year without spending at least some time on Cliveden Reach, the stretch of Thames between Boulters Lock and Cookham. This year's offering is a mute swan seeing off another swan that had strayed into its territory.

IMute SwanIMG_2193_TA mute swan seeing off another swan in its territory on the Thames at Cliveden Reach

 

After a few days in Venice, I came home with a lot of photos. It's difficult to go there and not be drawn into just wandering around and snapping away rather than going after some planned images.  There's so much to see and always, so little time.  I had bough a new 10-stop neutral density filter and a small travel tripod before going on this trip, so I did force myself into taking a few deliberate shots, but nowhere near as many as I'd have liked.

Gondola long exposureVenice long exposureA trip to Venice in June 2015

In May we spent a weekend in Worcester, and a very nice place it is  too. I managed to pursuade Karen to come with me to New Road to see the cricket. We stayed there for only an hour, but in that time the sun came out for just a moment and gave me a chance to see one of the iconic sights of English cricket.

WorcesterNew Road, WorcesterDay 4 of the Worcestershire versus the New Zealanders. final session of Day 4

In June I spent an afternoon at the British Wildlife Centre enjoying one of their photographer's visits. again, there were lots of photos but, the hedgehog stood out. As it happens, she was sent round this tree two or three times to get the right shot. I was delighted.

HedgehogHedgehogAn afternoon and evening visit to the British Wildlife Centre for photographers.

In September I spent a day shooting the cross country at Burghley Horse Trials, as an accredited photographer I could go pretty much anywhere I wanted. Accreditation came with one drawback, we had to be on site at around 06:30 and had to negotiate an early breakfast at our hotel.

BurghleyBurghleyPhotos from the cross country course at the Landrover Burghley Horse Trials held on 5th September 2015.<br/><br/>Other photos are available on this gallery http://www.petermeadephotography.com/lrbht15<br/><br/>For licensing enquiries contact Peter Meade Photography using this contact form<br/>http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html

 

Burghley was an early start, but it wasn't the only time I was up befor the sun this year. These last four images are in the "worth getting up for" category. The first shot is from the Sky Garden looking towards Docklands and was from a morning I spent helping Dave Burt and the London Instagram group.

The view from the Sky GardenEarly morning at the Sky GardenAn instagram meetup at the Sky Garden sponsored by Canon UK

This is dawn looking towards ancient Asine in Greece. The Greeks set sail from the next bay along when they went to war with Troy.

Sunrise at tolonSunrise in the AegeanA trip to Tolon and the surrounding areas in the Peleponnese region of Greece during September 2015

To get this shot I was up just after 04:00 and drove for a couple of hours to get to Dungeness for the sunrise.

Dungeness sunriseDungeness sunriseA trip to Dungeness to photograph the sunrise on 28th december

My last shot is from closer to home and only involved a 30 minute walk (carrying camera gear). From one particular spot between Maidenhead and Cookham Dean, the sun rises from more-or-less directly behind Windsor Castle on perhaps one of two days during late November (and again in early January). I've photographed this scene several times now (and been unable to see it several times too), but still haven't got exactly the shot I want.

So I get up early and keep trying.

Sunrise behind Windsor CastleSunrise at Windsor CastleThe sun rising behind Windsor Castle shot from north of Maidenhead. This view is available for about two days in late November

Getting up early isn't an infalable way to get great photos despite what all the photo blogs tell you. I had a very early start in Windsor Great Park tring to photograph the deer in rut. The light was awful. After some hours I headed home to get on with some writing work. My mid day, the light was perfect.

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) 2015 2015 photos Peter Meade black and white photos cricket photos favorite photos favourite photos photography pjmeade review of the year top ten photos travel photos wildlife photos http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2015/12/tt2015 Wed, 30 Dec 2015 16:14:44 GMT
British Army Polo http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2015/2/apolo I thought a blog about my role as the British Army Polo team photographer would be interesting and be a chance to put some of the last few season's photos together on one place.

Enjoy.

Some years ago, I found myself in the right place at the right time and to cut a long story short, was invited to photograph polo at Sandhurst.

It was the second time I’d seen polo, the previous experience had been, well, equine croquet. I took the photos and thought some were OK. I must have done something right because I was invited back. By the end of that season I was hooked on polo photography and some work had been published. Later I was approached by regimental teams, then I was photographing the army team, and then I was the "official" army polo photographer.

The first big public tournament for the army team is in mid June during the Sandhurst open day. It's a great day to look around the academy and a great day for the players to perform in front of thousands. At other times there are few spectators. 

Army polo at SandhurstArmy polo at SandhurstSANDHURST HERITAGE DAY 2013<br/>The Heritage Open Day at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Held on 16 June 2013.<br/>Polo matches were RMAS Polo Club blue team and the RMAS Polo Club red team and RMAS vs the Hackett Army Polo Team<br/><br/>Further photos are available at www.petermeadephotography.com/shd13
9461748809_73c21c6213_o9461748809_73c21c6213_oPolo played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 4th August 2013.
This tournament was started in 2012 to showcase polo at the Academy and Army Polo.
The Event was sponsored by EFG International.
The matches were the Hackett Young Army Team vs The Varsity Team from Cambridge and the EFG/British Army Select team vs The Cambridge Select team.


Further photos are available at
http://www.petermeadephotography.com/efg2013
14545270757_7c9eef352d_o14545270757_7c9eef352d_oThe Leadership and Excellence Tournament 2014 was the first tri-forces tournament to be organised and played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
In the first game, RMA Sandhurst played RAF Cranwell and in the second, RMA Sandhurst played the Royal Navy.


For further photos see http://www.petermeadephotography.com/lande14

For licencing or purchasing enquiries, use this link http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
14640261387_05a234796c_o14640261387_05a234796c_oEFG International Bicentennial Trophy 2014
Played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
The Bicentennial Trophy was conceived as a celebration of 200 years at Sandurst, the sport of polo and the role of British institutions in the sport’s history.
Game 1 - The Varsity Team vs. Hackett Young Army
The Cambridge side, which is sponsored year-round by EFG International, features players from the team that defeated Oxford 6 - in the Varsity game.
Game 2 - Cambridge Select Team vs. British Army Select.


Further photos are available at http://www.petermeadephotography.com/efgb14

To discuss licencing contact Peter on this link http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
14640098580_529f59f2b8_o14640098580_529f59f2b8_oEFG International Bicentennial Trophy 2014
Played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
The Bicentennial Trophy was conceived as a celebration of 200 years at Sandurst, the sport of polo and the role of British institutions in the sport’s history.
Game 1 - The Varsity Team vs. Hackett Young Army
The Cambridge side, which is sponsored year-round by EFG International, features players from the team that defeated Oxford 6 - in the Varsity game.
Game 2 - Cambridge Select Team vs. British Army Select.


Further photos are available at http://www.petermeadephotography.com/efgb14

To discuss licencing contact Peter on this link http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
14545083559_54912f3b6c_o14545083559_54912f3b6c_oThe Leadership and Excellence Tournament 2014 was the first tri-forces tournament to be organised and played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
In the first game, RMA Sandhurst played RAF Cranwell and in the second, RMA Sandhurst played the Royal Navy.


For further photos see http://www.petermeadephotography.com/lande14

For licencing or purchasing enquiries, use this link http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
9461722063_a32eb3f2c2_o9461722063_a32eb3f2c2_oSandhurst polo club ball held on 3rd August was preceded by an exhibition match.



Further photos are available at
http://www.petermeadephotography.com/sap
14708725926_b91bfb3b1b_o14708725926_b91bfb3b1b_oThe Leadership and Excellence Tournament 2014 was the first tri-forces tournament to be organised and played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
In the first game, RMA Sandhurst played RAF Cranwell and in the second, RMA Sandhurst played the Royal Navy.


For further photos see http://www.petermeadephotography.com/lande14

For licencing or purchasing enquiries, use this link http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
14823717651_ca0616eacc_o14823717651_ca0616eacc_oEFG International Bicentennial Trophy 2014
Played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
The Bicentennial Trophy was conceived as a celebration of 200 years at Sandurst, the sport of polo and the role of British institutions in the sport’s history.
Game 1 - The Varsity Team vs. Hackett Young Army
The Cambridge side, which is sponsored year-round by EFG International, features players from the team that defeated Oxford 6 - in the Varsity game.
Game 2 - Cambridge Select Team vs. British Army Select.


Further photos are available at http://www.petermeadephotography.com/efgb14

To discuss licencing contact Peter on this link http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html

My experience may be limited and perhaps a bit parochial, but I think the Round Ground at Sandhurst is the most spectacular and perhaps also the most historic setting for polo. Coupled with the British military's ability to get things right and to do it in style, a tournament there is sport at its best. The ground has a lake at one end and New College at the other. Overlooking the ground is the Old College, dating back to 1812. The scene is spoiled a bit in another direction by the somehow award winning and brutalist Churchill Hall. People and teams love to be photographed in front of the colleges.

IMG_3953IMG_3953The CSPA Polo Day held at the Royal military Academy Sandhurst, on 9th July 2009. featuring the Sudan Cup and Inter Regimental semi-final
7774012220_e367b0ecaa_o7774012220_e367b0ecaa_oPolo played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Sponsored by EFG International.


Further photos are available from www.petermeadephotography.co.uk
9478594098_546ddf8243_o9478594098_546ddf8243_oPolo played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 4th August 2013.
This tournament was started in 2012 to showcase polo at the Academy and Army Polo.

Further photos are available from
http://www.petermeadephotography.com/efg2013
9478590978_059b14ae3e_o9478590978_059b14ae3e_oPolo played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 4th August 2013.
This tournament was started in 2012 to showcase polo at the Academy and Army Polo.

Further photos are available from
http://www.petermeadephotography.com/efg2013
Reception in Old CollegeReception in Old CollegePolo played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Sponsored by EFG International.<br/><br/><br/>Further photos are available from www.petermeadephotography.co.uk
7774018044_8b490f0822_o7774018044_8b490f0822_oPolo played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Sponsored by EFG International.


Further photos are available from www.petermeadephotography.co.uk
9475805815_f358f04b07_o9475805815_f358f04b07_oPolo played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 4th August 2013.
This tournament was started in 2012 to showcase polo at the Academy and Army Polo.

Further photos are available from
http://www.petermeadephotography.com/efg2013
3756520455_47d492603b_o3756520455_47d492603b_oThe Leadership and Excellence Day at Sandhurst on Friday 24th July 2009

The main tournament to the military polo calendar is the Rundle Cup at Tidworth, and is played between the Army and Royal Navy. Players have another chance to play in front of thousands.

This is the one occasion when the national press will turn out.

9285001497_2d2955108b_o9285001497_2d2955108b_oTidworth Polo Club’s most prestigious event is the annual Army vs Navy match for the Rundle Cup.
Games included a charity polo match between celebrities and jockeys in aid of the Inspire Foundation, which helps people with spinal injuries.

The Second polo match was between the CSPA and a visiting American side for the Indian Army Cavalry Officers Trophy.

The third match was the Rundle Cup, the annual fixture between the Army and the Royal Navy.


Further photos are available at www.petermeadephotography.com/hrc13

However their attention is usually limited.

7588851476_1b65412c69_o7588851476_1b65412c69_oThe Rundle Cup 2012 played at Tidworth Polo Club

Photos are available from

www.petermeadephotography.co.uk

But they do stay if there's royalty on site.

The polo is usually pretty good although there can be the odd heart stopping moment.

14464828218_0146f68492_oPrince Harry at TidworthPolo Played at Tidworth Polo Club on 12 July 2014<br/>The polo matches played were:<br/>Inspire Foundation Celebrity Match between Eventers and Jockeys<br/>Pony Club Jorrocks Exhibition Match<br/>Indian Cavalry Polo Trophy between the CSPA and South Africa<br/>Hackett Rundle Cup between the Army and the Royal Navy<br/><br/><br/>Further photos are available at http://www.petermeadephotography.com/hrc14<br/><br/>For information about licensing, go to<br/>http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
IMG_7529IMG_7529Polo Played at Tidworth Polo Club on 12 July 2014
The polo matches played were:
Inspire Foundation Celebrity Match between Eventers and Jockeys
Pony Club Jorrocks Exhibition Match
Indian Cavalry Polo Trophy between the CSPA and South Africa
Hackett Rundle Cup between the Army and the Royal Navy
9287772422_4332a49b5a_o9287772422_4332a49b5a_oTidworth Polo Club’s most prestigious event is the annual Army vs Navy match for the Rundle Cup.
Games included a charity polo match between celebrities and jockeys in aid of the Inspire Foundation, which helps people with spinal injuries.

The Second polo match was between the CSPA and a visiting American side for the Indian Army Cavalry Officers Trophy.

The third match was the Rundle Cup, the annual fixture between the Army and the Royal Navy.


Further photos are available at www.petermeadephotography.com/hrc13
Prince Harry playing in the Rundle CupPitch invasionPolo Played at Tidworth Polo Club on 12 July 2014<br/>The polo matches played were:<br/>Inspire Foundation Celebrity Match between Eventers and Jockeys<br/>Pony Club Jorrocks Exhibition Match<br/>Indian Cavalry Polo Trophy between the CSPA and South Africa<br/>Hackett Rundle Cup between the Army and the Royal Navy

As one of the two photographers for Tidworth Polo Club, I can get to the front of the queue. Presentations are not always the most interesting shots but do get used. But I can also get behind the scenes.

14648193231_49131bbc09_oArmy Polo TeamPolo Played at Tidworth Polo Club on 12 July 2014<br/>The polo matches played were:<br/>Inspire Foundation Celebrity Match between Eventers and Jockeys<br/>Pony Club Jorrocks Exhibition Match<br/>Indian Cavalry Polo Trophy between the CSPA and South Africa<br/>Hackett Rundle Cup between the Army and the Royal Navy<br/><br/><br/>Further photos are available at http://www.petermeadephotography.com/hrc14<br/><br/>For information about licensing, go to<br/>http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
14648192971_3056cc9d66_o14648192971_3056cc9d66_oPolo Played at Tidworth Polo Club on 12 July 2014
The polo matches played were:
Inspire Foundation Celebrity Match between Eventers and Jockeys
Pony Club Jorrocks Exhibition Match
Indian Cavalry Polo Trophy between the CSPA and South Africa
Hackett Rundle Cup between the Army and the Royal Navy


Further photos are available at http://www.petermeadephotography.com/hrc14

For information about licensing, go to
http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
IMG_7075IMG_7075Polo Played at Tidworth Polo Club on 12 July 2014
The polo matches played were:
Inspire Foundation Celebrity Match between Eventers and Jockeys
Pony Club Jorrocks Exhibition Match
Indian Cavalry Polo Trophy between the CSPA and South Africa
Hackett Rundle Cup between the Army and the Royal Navy

The Army Polo Team has also turned out Ham Polo Club for the HAC 105 Invitational, that marks the end of the season. In 2013 they won it.

The British Army Polo Team playing at Ham Polo ClubBritish Army PoloThe IG HAC polo invitational played at Ham Polo Club on august 31st 2013<br/>Games were<br/>IG HAC Bullecourt vs Iconiq Army Reserves<br/>IG HAC Arras vs Hackett Army Polo Team<br/>IG HAC Veterans vs Royal Air Force<br/><br/>Commentary by Col Simon Ledger<br/><br/>Further photos are available at http://www.petermeadephotography.com/105hac2013

HAC 105 InvitationalHAC 105 InvitationalThe IG Index HAC 105 Polo Invitational played at Ham Polo Club, Richmond on 8th September 2012. The main event of the HAC’s polo calendar.<br/><br/>Further photos are available from www.petermeadephotography.co.uk

Army Polo Team with the HAC 105 TrophyArmy Polo Team with the HAC 105 TrophyThe IG Index HAC 105 Polo Invitational played at Ham Polo Club, Richmond on 8th September 2012. The main event of the HAC’s polo calendar.<br/><br/>Further photos are available from www.petermeadephotography.co.uk

Finally, there is the "without who" part. The main sponsor of the Army Polo Team is Hackett of London, so here's Jeremy Hackett and Muffin and Kieth Gap of EFG International. Also there's Col Simon Ledger, chairman of the Army Polo Association and voice of polo. Without them I would have less to photograph and would have a great deal less fun.

Jeremy HackettJeremy HackettTidworth Polo Club’s most prestigious event is the annual Army vs Navy match for the Rundle Cup.<br/>Games included a charity polo match between celebrities and jockeys in aid of the Inspire Foundation, which helps people with spinal injuries.<br/><br/>The Second polo match was between the CSPA and a visiting American side for the Indian Army Cavalry Officers Trophy.<br/><br/>The third match was the Rundle Cup, the annual fixture between the Army and the Royal Navy.<br/><br/><br/>Further photos are available at www.petermeadephotography.com/hrc13

Kieth Gap EFG InternationalKieth Gap EFG InternationalPolo played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Sponsored by EFG International.

Col Simon LedgerCol Simon LedgerPolo played at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Sponsored by EFG International.<br/><br/><br/>Further photos are available from www.petermeadephotography.co.uk

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) Hackett Hackett Rundle Cup Peter Meade RN polo Royal Navy polo Sandhurst Sandhurst polo TPC Tidworth Tidworth Polo Club army polo equestrian sport military polo photography pjmeade polo polo photo polo photographer polo photos sport sports http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2015/2/apolo Fri, 06 Feb 2015 12:18:41 GMT
Airsoft photography http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2015/1/airsoft Some years ago now, our son went off for the afternoon and came back with a bag full of little white pellets and some very impressive bruises. He’d been playing Airsoft. According to Wikipedia, "Airsoft is a game in which participants eliminate opponents by hitting each other with spherical non-metallic pellets launched via replica firearms called Airsoft guns".

It wasn’t long before he went again

and again

and again.

Equipment acquisition fever took hold and soon his room filled with camouflage clothing, guns and pellets, or BBs as they are called by the cognoscenti. Equally soon, most of the house and garden acquired a thin layer of BBs, giving it a rather odd Christmassy air.

It was only a matter of time before I was asked to photograph a day of Airsoft. Partly because my son wanted some photos of him and his friends and partly because he hadn’t learned to drive by then. I think the risk of personal injury isn’t that high compared with photographing polo or skill at arms, so I went along. Since that time I’ve been asked along to photograph his university team and his competitive team, and the odd stag do too.

In terms of the photography, I like to keep thinks reasonably simple. I use my 7 year old Canon EOS 5D either with a Sigma 50/1.4 or a 24-105 and with that I'll use an old Canon EOS 40D, usually with an EOS 85/1.8. My son made some 5 mm polycarbonate discs of 77 mm diameter. I've attached those to some very cheap 77 mm filter rings I bought on ebay. Optically they're not great, but they provide an element of protection. Shooting in the open where the likelihood of getting shot should be less, I'll use a 5D Mk2. The iso-value is usually wound round the end stop, airsoft venues are either woodland or buildings, so the light is seldom good. Better cameras are OK if no one is firing.

Personal protective equipment is very important, I'll wear my old laboratory spectacles and a face mask.  I tried a military flack jacket with a blue MEDIA patch, but allegedly I was indistinguishable from the other players and I'd get shot on a regular basis. So, I've moved to a hi viz jacket and the kind of workman's trousers that take knee pads. Boots and gloves and a hi viz beany finish the outfit. The gloves are photographers gloves that you can use with only the last joint of finger and thumb exposed. But just because I wear a hi viz doesn't mean I'm safe. And I've had some of that gear stolen too.

Here is a selection of images I’ve taken at Xsite at High Wycobe.

Hit

 

If you look closely here, you can see the BB pellet moving in from around his right elbow and bouncing off his face mask.


DPM

 

For those who are interested, those trousers are still available on ebay.

Other than the gun, which has an extended magazine and those trousers, you can see that there's not much sign of gear acquisition syndrome going on here. That was all about to change.


Airsoft at Xsite Lane End

 

New uniform, new gloves, new badges, new rifle, new pistol and holster, and a big mask.


Airsoft at Xsite Lane End

 

The mask didn't last long in use, it wasn't that comfortable and it was soon replaced by a lightweight wire grill and goggles. But at that time he was still wearing my boots


Airsoft at Xsite Lane End

Another venue we've been to a couple of times is The Mall in Reading. After C&A went out of business, the shopping centre shut down and eventually became an Airsoft venue. Photography there is hard work, the light is very low, the action could be anywhere and the chances are that you'll get shot any number of times trying to get there. There's every chance you'll get shot on a regular basis and that has been my experience there.

Airsoft
Airsoft
Clock
IMG_2901IMG_2901Airsoft at the Mall in Reading
IMG_5915IMG_5915Airsoft at the Mall in Reading
IMG_8510IMG_8510A day at the Mall in Reading on 7th December


For licencing enquiries, contact peter Meade Photography using this link: -

http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html

IMG_2913IMG_2913Airsoft at the Mall in Reading

Southampton University Airsoft Team went on to use the last image for their brochure.

Another site I've visited a couple of times is IronSight Airsoft outside Andover. My son was invited to join the House of Wolves Airsoft Team and IronSight is their home venue.

IMG_0947IMG_0947Airsoft at IronSight Airsoft on Remembrance Sunday 2014.

For licencing enquiries contact Peter Meade using this link
http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
IMG_0848IMG_0848Airsoft at IronSight Airsoft on Remembrance Sunday 2014.

For licencing enquiries contact Peter Meade using this link
http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
IMG_0842IMG_0842Airsoft at IronSight Airsoft on Remembrance Sunday 2014.

For licencing enquiries contact Peter Meade using this link
http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
IMG_0989IMG_0989Airsoft at IronSight Airsoft on Remembrance Sunday 2014.

For licencing enquiries contact Peter Meade using this link
http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
IMG_1023IMG_1023Airsoft at IronSight Airsoft on Remembrance Sunday 2014.

For licencing enquiries contact Peter Meade using this link
http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
IMG_8435IMG_8435Airsoft at IronSight Airsoft on Remembrance Sunday 2014.

For licencing enquiries contact Peter Meade using this link
http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html
IMG_9765IMG_9765Post Christmas airsoft fun.

For licensing enquiries, contact Peter using this link: -

http://www.petermeadephotography.com/contact.html

This year started with something different. A day out with some WW2 re-enactors, the Screaming Eagles for one of their training days. With them was a German re-enactment group, so the training was done in the presence of someone who would shoot back. The day also included some Airsoft action too. The more eagle eyed will notice that in many photos the players are not using period weapons, this is because period Airsoft designs are very much more expensive than the more up to date versions. Some of the uniforms are also not 1940s and this is because some of the re-enactors also do Viet Nam. As an aside, I also took some photos with a vintage 35mm camera and hope to do a "compare and contrast" gallery at some point in the near future.

IMG_0459IMG_0459The Screaming Eagles LHG along with a German re-enactment group having a training day outside Farnham
IMG_0478IMG_0478The Screaming Eagles LHG along with a German re-enactment group having a training day outside Farnham
IMG_0620IMG_0620The Screaming Eagles LHG along with a German re-enactment group having a training day outside Farnham
IMG_0430IMG_0430The Screaming Eagles LHG along with a German re-enactment group having a training day outside Farnham
IMG_0681IMG_0681The Screaming Eagles LHG along with a German re-enactment group having a training day outside Farnham
IMG_2961IMG_2961The Screaming Eagles LHG along with a German re-enactment group having a training day outside Farnham
IMG_0794IMG_0794The Screaming Eagles LHG along with a German re-enactment group having a training day outside Farnham
Screaming Eagles LHG practice day

 

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) Airsoft House of Wolves IronSight MilSim Peter Meade The Mall Xsite airsoft gun airsoft guns cqb houseofwolvesairsoft military paratroopers paratroops pjmeade reenactment reenactors sport ww2 http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2015/1/airsoft Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:13:24 GMT
MCC Wisden Cricket Photo of the Year - once agin http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2015/1/mccw14 It's reached reached that time of year, when I trawl through last year's cricket photos and try to decide whether I've taken anything I could submit to the MCC Wisden Cricket Photo of the Year. This year I even attended a sports photography masterclass Lord's in the hope that I could improve my cricket photography (that was after the close of season).

I saw a fair bit of cricket last season and for much of it I had a camera with me, so there's a fair amount of trawling to be done.

The season started in mid-April with Middlesex vs Notts. The game was played in great light and had lots of action. In the Notts first innings I had some nice shots of Chris Read, who made 40 before being knocked over by Steve Finn and in the Middlesex first innings both Sam Robson and John Simpson made tons. We also saw the injury that effectively ended Gareth Berg's career at Middlesex. He chased a ball to the cover boundary and collided with the advertising boards on the Grandstand. By the next over it was clear that he couldn't continue and that was the last end of his season.

Middlesx vs Notts

Middlesex vs Notts

Chris Read

Gareth Berg injury

Gareth Berg - shoulder injury

In May I photographed one of the local clubs in the opening round of the Royal London Club competition. I shot the wicket that won the game for the home club and had I used f8 instead of f4, the keeper would have been nice and sharp and it would have been a photo I could have submitted.

IMG_4347IMG_4347Round one of the Royal London Club Championship, played at North Maidenhead on 4th May

A week later I was back at Lord's to see a couple of days of the Lancashire game.

Day 2 was characterised by some very black clouds and bright sunshine. The shot of Lord's with the back clouds is a potential image, but it's a photograph of weather rather than of cricket. There wer lots of photos of batting an bowling but nothing that brilliant.

Middlesex vs Lancashire


Clouds over Lord's Cricket Ground

Lord's in May

Middlesex vs Lancashire

Eoin Morgan going to a century

Tim Murtagh

Tim Murtagh leading the side off with 6-60

In June I travelled to Oxford to see Middlesex play Oxford University at the Parks. It's one of my favourite grounds and in early summer it's very pleasant. I think the best shot I got here was one of Adam Rossington in what may have been his last game for the club before moving to Northants. Definately a potential pick for the Cricket Photo of the year, even though it was the warm up.

Adam Rossington

Adam Rossington at Oxford

  In July it was the MCC vs Rest of the World game to celebrate 200 years at the current ground. A photo of Sachin Tendulkar was among my Festive fifteen, but wasn't of the right quality for the cricket photo of the year.

But I was quite pleased with a shot a took of KP and I was using only a little pocket camera.

The Northants game was played in fairly flat light and I don't think I bothered adding the photos to Flickr.

MCC vs Rest of the World

I didn't see any of the T20s, so my next cricket was the Royal London Cup. In the Middlesex vs Surrey game, I was able to photograph Dilshan going to a century with a Dil-scoop, but he was facing the other way and it could have been a photograph of anyone. Later I photographed Eoin Morgan going to another century. But the ball wasn't in shot. Middlesex vs Somerset yielded nothing I could use and neither did Middlesex vis The Indians.

Middlesex vs Surrey, Royal London Cup

 Eoin Morgan going to another century

In August Eoin Morgan visited my home club, Maidenhead and Bray and I had some photographic gold. A girls' game was going on and gave some excellent images, especially when it started raining.

IMG_7504IMG_7504Eoin Morgan visiting Maidenhead and Bray Crickt Club for the club's open day
IMG_7554IMG_7554Eoin Morgan visiting Maidenhead and Bray Crickt Club for the club's open day
IMG_8932IMG_8932Eoin Morgan visiting Maidenhead and Bray Crickt Club for the club's open day

In September I was back at Lord's for some more county championship cricket and for the final of the Royal London One Day Cup. The Middlesex vs Durham game yielded a potential entry, Ollie Rayner went up for what he was certain was an LBW, but was turned down. The agony of the refusal was palpable, but I'm not wholly sure what's going on is entirely clear in the photo.

Turned down

The Royal London One Day final was not the greatest cricket and as the light deteriorated, the quality of the images diminished, and really I got nothing worth considering. For the Sri Lanka test at Lord's I had just a pocket camera and didn't even bring that to the India test.

In the end, I'll be submitting the two photos of the girls playing cricket to the competition and then I'll hum-and-har about what the third one will be.

It should be noted that I am a member of Maidenhead and Bray, and was asked to take photos of the children's cricket. I have all the essential clearances to work with children in a club cricket setting.

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) Club Lord's Lord's Cricket Ground Oxford Parks Oxford University Parks Oxford University cricket Peter Meade Wisden cricket cricket blog cricket photography cricket photography blog cricket photos cricket" photography pjmeade http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2015/1/mccw14 Sun, 04 Jan 2015 19:34:44 GMT
My Festive Fifteen http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2014/12/myf15 It's time to take a look at the year in photography and to think about the photos that have pleased me most.

The photos have come from diverse sources; some from time spent away with my wife, some cricket, some polo and some personal projects.

Airsoft

At some point most people end up photographing their children playing sport and my first shot is of our son. You will have to take my word for that.

 
House of Wolves at IronSight Airsoft

Italy and Spain

We had a few days in Rome and saw lots of weather, ranging from beautiful warm sun to some astonishing thunderstorms. The effect of the electrical storms became quite evident. The shot of Karen is from the top of Castel Sant'Angelo, we went there immediately after a storm had ended and there was lots of charge in the air.

Rome

Rome

Karen in a red dress standing in the shaft of sunlight was planned. I noticed the light and persuaded her to stand there until there were no people in the background and had the exposure right too.

Rome

The Vatican stairway is something I'd seen photos of and wanted to try for myself. I was very lucky to find a moment when there was no one on it.

Vatican Museum

I took hundreds of photos in Florence and really only scratched the surface. On our final day there we went for a very long and very warm walk to the gardens overlooking the city. Really, this is more like fifteen shots than one.

Florence panorama

We spent day looking at the Gaudi  attractions in Barcelona. This is the courtyard of La Pedrera.

Barcelona

Cricket

I've spent a good deal of time watching, umpiring and photographing cricket this year, as ever. These are just two from Rather a lot.

Ollie Raynor - The agony of an appeal rejected

Turned down

All I took to the MCC vs Rest of The World game was a little pocket camera. I will have taken many better cricket photos, but I liked this one. The Little master and his last game at Lord's.

Sachin

MCC vs Rest of the World

Polo

As the British Army Polo Team's official photographer, I've been very lucky with my photos again this year and was able to photograph Prince Harry for the first time.

A Sandhurst cadet showing suitable deference to a senior player.

Hackett Rundle Cup 2014

The Hackett Army Polo Team

Hackett Rundle Cup 2014

Later in the season I photographed an inter regimental tournament final at Guard's Polo Club. I managed to be in the right place at the right time for the celebrations.

Hackett Inter Regimental Final

Personal projects

About a mile or so from our house is a location that allows my to photograph the sun coming up behind Windsor Castle on just a couple of days during November and January. On this particular day, the view was blocked by thick mist. But I did get this view.

Morning mist

Windsor Great Park is a great place to take photos and having spent a fair bit of time trying to get some photos of the deer, this shot presented itself.

Autumn in Windsor Great Park

London Instagram meetups

I've had a few trips into London to take photos with the London Instagram group, lead by Dave Burt.

This was from a mid December meetup

London Instagram meetup

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) Barcelona Florence Italy Peter Meade Rome Spain Windsor cricket cricket photography cricket photos landscape photography photography pjmeade polo photography tourism travel photography wildlife photography http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2014/12/myf15 Sat, 20 Dec 2014 16:25:32 GMT
Lord's in January http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2014/1/january It was cold, it was wet, it was January. But it was only twelve weeks before the first game of the season at Lord's, so I called in to see how the place was. The chances are that on April 13th the weather will be very much like the weather in January and Middlesex versus Nottinghamshire is going to be one of those overcoat and scarf games that numbs the fingers even through thick gloves, so the chances are, I'll be huddled in the Long Room with all the others. I wanted to see how the Home of Cricket looked when the cricket is being played on the other side of the world, and to say hello to the pavilion stewards who always make our days there so pleasant. 

The first thing you notice going in through the Grace Gates is that the floodlights have been lowered and face away from the ground, and the next thing is that there are road works behind the Tavern and Mound stands and that walking around the ground is off the itinerary.

I wandered around the ground as far as I could and took these photos and a few others and I probably missed more than I captured, but this is Lord's in January. But take heart, it's not too long before we can be back there enjoying cricket in the best ground in the world.

IMG_2017IMG_2017Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2019IMG_2019Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2023IMG_2023Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2024IMG_2024Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2028IMG_2028Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2032IMG_2032Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2036IMG_2036Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2039IMG_2039Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2047IMG_2047Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2049IMG_2049Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2053IMG_2053Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2056IMG_2056Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2061IMG_2061Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2065IMG_2065Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2066IMG_2066Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2070IMG_2070Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2080IMG_2080Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2091IMG_2091Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season

IMG_2020IMG_2020Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2082IMG_2082Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2073IMG_2073Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season IMG_2096IMG_2096Calling in at Lord's Cricket Ground during the closed season

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) Lord's Lord's Cricket Ground Peter Meade closed cricket cricket photography cricket photos empty photography pjmeade winter http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2014/1/january Sun, 26 Jan 2014 19:03:17 GMT
Farrier photography http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2014/1/farrier The first time I saw farriers at work was a day I spent with Kit Houghton being given some equestrian photography tuition after winning a photography competition. Since that time, I've managed to photograph a number of farriers at work and it's something I've enjoyed a great deal. The farrier work has had some commercial success and has been sold as art prints and for commercial work. And soon it will be used on a farrier's web site.

These photos are of farriers George Creighton (now retired) and David Van Den Broek, and the horses I'm showing here are ones that my wife has ridden. As horses need reshoeing every six weeks or so there's lots of occasions when I can be photographing, but getting the opportunity to take the photos means that shoots can be a fair time apart.

I like the subject because it's horses and because it's about skilled work. All stages of the process provide strong compositions and can be spectacular, especially if the light is good. 

George Creighton shoeing Tabby

Tabby is an Arab mare and at the time of these photos, she was in her early 20s and one of the fittest horses in that yard (George was in his late 40s). These photos were taken over a number of years and conditions ranged from early morning bright sunshine, to falling snow. All of these images were shot on digital and some have been processed as BW or duotone in photoshop.

Hoof careHoof careCleaning a horse's hoof with a hoof pick. FarrierFarrierA farrier at work
FarrierFarrierA farrier at work FarrierFarrierA farrier at work
FarrierSingle red horse shoe in a furnaceA farrier at work FarrierTwo red horse shoes in a furnaceA farrier at work
FarrierFarrierA farrier at work FarrierFarrierA farrier at work
FarrierFarrierA farrier at work FarrierFarrierA farrier at work
FarrierFarrierA farrier at work FarrierFarrierA farrier at work

David Van Den Broek shoeing Bertie

Bertie is the horse my wife rode after Tabby went into retirement, she has moved from this yard and now is at Windsor Horse Rangers, where my wife teaches riding.

These shots were all taken on film. The light was pretty challenging, it ranged from bright sunshine to dark clouds and driving rain, and a further challenge was provided by one of the cameras. I had Ilford HP5+ in a Canon EOS 1v, which is a real joy to use and there was Fujifilm colour film in an older EOS 1 body that has a film rewind like a screaming banshee. I'd been worried about using that camera with horses, because the last thing you want is to mix red hot metal and a spooked horse.

20834_007-0019_a20834_007-0019_aA yard visit from farrier David Van Den Broek to a yard in Cookham Dean.
Shot on film
20834_002-0029_aHot fitting a horse shoeA yard visit from farrier David Van Den Broek to a yard in Cookham Dean.<br/>Shot on film
20834_004-0022_aAbout to nail the horse shoeA yard visit from farrier David Van Den Broek to a yard in Cookham Dean.<br/>Shot on film 20834_004-0024_aThe first nail in a horse shoeA yard visit from farrier David Van Den Broek to a yard in Cookham Dean.<br/>Shot on film
CNV00012_aFarrier's furnaceA yard visit from farrier David Van Den Broek to a yard in Cookham Dean.<br/>Shot on film CNV00016_aRed hot horse shoesA yard visit from farrier David Van Den Broek to a yard in Cookham Dean.<br/>Shot on film
CNV00020_aCNV00020_aA yard visit from farrier David Van Den Broek to a yard in Cookham Dean.
Shot on film
CNV00022_aCNV00022_aA yard visit from farrier David Van Den Broek to a yard in Cookham Dean.
Shot on film
CNV00036_aCNV00036_aA yard visit from farrier David Van Den Broek to a yard in Cookham Dean.
Shot on film

 

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) Farrier photography Farrier photos Peter Meade art art photography country pursuits equestrian equine farrier horse photographic art photography pjmeade http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2014/1/farrier Sat, 25 Jan 2014 15:43:52 GMT
A Wide Boy on the South Bank http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2014/1/sbank Although it's possible to walk from around the MI6 building on the Albert Embankment for about three or four miles to east of Tower Bridge, I like the busy stretch called the Queen's Walk on the South Bank, between Westminster Bridge and the Tate Gallery. I don't think I've ever been there when it's quiet and it can be very busy. Sometimes the short section between Westminster Bridge and the London Eye can be almost impassable.

I've walked that stretch of the river to take photos in the past and have even taken a 35 mm film camera with do some black and white photography. Unfortunately, after shooting several rolls of film, I had them processed by a company who went on to ruin every roll I sent them. After that fiasco I've only used Peak Imaging to process and scan.

ruined filmRuinedBadly processed film ruined filmRuinedBadly processed film
ruined filmRuinedBadly processed film ruined filmRuinedBadly processed film

Although I'd been back since those images were taken and have taken some quite nice results with a digital camera, I've wanted to go back and shoot some more film.

I managed to persuade my wife to buy a Samyang 14/2.8 wide angle lens for me for Christmas (the Canon 8-13 just wasn't an option) and I managed to pick up a very nice Canon EOS 1v film camera for myself, so the plan developed into going back to the South Bank and shooting off lots of black and white film with the Samyang lens mounted on the EOS 1v and perhaps having some colour film in my EOS-1.

I had also thought about shooting some film in the Natural History Museum, but when I arrived, there was a queue stretching down most of the way to the gate. I don't like queuing, so I nipped into the V and A for a coffee and headed into the west end. I called in at the Lomography Gallery and looked at some of their cameras. All I came away with was some oddly named Earl Grey film, which wasn't a bad price. I haven't used it yet.

The good thing about the 14 mm is that in portrait mode I could stand close to some tourists photographing the Elizabeth Tower and get all of the tower in too. There had been a woman in a white coat, who would have looked pretty good in shot, but she turned round and asked me to take a photo of her and friend. I managed to get her on the bridge, so all was not lost. The Samyang has a very domed front element and no filter will fit, so although I was using BW film, I couldn't use a red filter and had to add a graduated filter by opening the jpg in camera raw.

I planned to take a long exposure of Westminster and set the shot up using my 5D Mk 2, something of a lengthy process, I stacked a red filter and two ND filters on the front of a 24-105 and got a 1 minute exposure at f11. But in the end I just took a standard exposure on film and moved on.

20834_008-0020_a20834_008-0020_aTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+ 20834_008-0027_a20834_008-0027_aTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+
IMG_1948_BW_TIMG_1948_BW_TShot to estimate the exposure for a film camera. Red filter+ND8+DN1000.
Converted to BW.
20834_008-0028_a20834_008-0028_aTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+

The trouble with using a wide angle to look up is that you get rather a lot of distortion, like the woman in front of the Shell Centre. That would have been a better shot had I been able to isolate her against the pale buildings rather better. Photos from wide angles look very much better looking down rather than up - more of that later. Another failure was my shot through the  railings along the edge of Jubilee Gardens, really the trees needed to bee in leaf and there was too much foreground. Something else that's quite noticeable is the distortion from just a slight tilt. 

20834_006-0004_a20834_006-0004_aTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+ 20834_006-000120834_006-0001

I took a few shots around the South Bank Centre and I think I ought to go back to explore architectural elements there as it's supposed to be some of the top Brutalist architecture in London. I think it's going to be another black and white film job. By the way, if you want to use a tripod when you go, you'll need to get permission. The book stalls are usually pretty interesting and I tried to get some people wandering past the Rankin photos, but got the shutter speed too slow. But note once again the need to be accurate with the wide angle, slightly off centre and it's not great.

Bookstalls on the South BankWIMMINTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+ CNV00019_aBooksTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+

Photos on the South BankRankin's Front rowTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+

At the undercroft there was a petition to stop redevelopment of the area into retail units and take away the very popular skate spot. I'm fully in agreement with the objection to bringing in retail units to secure funding (a perfect case in point being the Science Museum, which seems to have given up half of its content to dumbing down, with shopping and what I suppose they consider to be engaging content for younger visitors being the priority).

A petition at the undercroftLONG LIVE SOUTH BANKTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+ CNV00028_aPetitionTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+
South Bank undercroftyou can't move historyTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+

It took a couple of attempts to get some movement going on in the background and have the sticker on the rail in focus. In the end, I exposed for the background and had to dodge and burn the sticker to get it readable.

Another few shots from the walk east

South Bank CafeMeal DealTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+ Busker setting up on the south BankBuskingBusker on the South Bank
Old bridge columnsRedTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+ CNV00015_aSt Paul'sTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+

The Tate is usually good for some photos outside and in, but I wasn't very taken by the entertainment going on outside. But there was plenty to see inside.

20834_009-0026_aTurner at the TateTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+ 20834_009-0032_aTate sofaTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+
20834_009-0015_aTate Turbine HallTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+

From my first visit, I've been keen to explore the escalators at the Tate photographically. They offer strong lines of perspective that really make the most of a wide angle lens, particularly when looking down from the top. I hate to think how many frames I've wasted trying to get a really good shot there.

I think the best shot I've taken there was the bottom right hand shot here, taken on my first visit, using a Canon 17-40 lens. It may not be very obvious on this frame, but this came from one of those ruined films I mentioned earlier.

20834_009-0021_aTate escalatorTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+ 20834_009-0033_aTate escalatorTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+
20834_009-0030_aTate escalatorTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+ Scan-120210-0035_aTate escalator - first attemptTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+

After shooting far too many frames on those escalators, I headed back up towards Westminster and the tube back to Paddington. By the time I got back to the London Eye, the sun was looking good for some colour shots, but almost immediately I got there the battery on the colour film camera went dead and I took my last shots on BW.

20834_006-0007_aSouth Bank reflectionTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+ CNV00030_aSouth Bank reflectionTrying out a Samyang 14/2.8 on two EOS 1 film cameras during a walk from Soho to the Tate Modern. An EOS-1 had colour film and an EOS 1v had Ilford HP5+

What did I learn from my day out?

The Samyang 14/2.8 is a fun lens and although some complain about edge sharpness, it doesn't seem too apparent in the shots I took. It is very important to set up the shots carefully, slight inaccuracies, which are particularly evident when hand held, really impact the outcome of the shot. It's manual stop down and manual focus and you can't just point and shoot in the way you can with a fully automatic lens. To be able to see through the viewfinder you have to open up to f2.8, as you stop down, it gets to be very difficult to see anything. Although the depth of field can be pretty massive at say f8, if you open up to f2.8 to compose and don't refocus or don't stop down again, it's pretty easy to get an out of focus shot.

I also discovered that it's very easy to have someone walk or jog into your shot. Here's one from the Long Walk in Windsor Great Park

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One last thing.

My EOS 1v didn't have a strap when I bought it and so I used the strap from my Canon G10 point and shoot. That's not enough strap to keep it on my shoulder and the lens suffered "deceleration trauma," resulting in a damaged hood. Fortunately, I was able to super glue the broken piece in place.

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The gallery for these photos is here.

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) London Peter Meade South Bank Street photography believe in film film photography photography pjmeade tourism travel photography travel photos http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2014/1/sbank Thu, 23 Jan 2014 14:22:41 GMT
Photos of the Year http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/12/poty 2013 in pictures

I'll start off the year in photos with a shot I took in 2012, but was the only two-page magazine spread I had this year. I'd gone over to Windsor Great Park on the Saturday of the Royal Windsor Horse Show to take some photos of the carriage driving event as it climbed the long Walk. I stood where I could see the carriages came to the top of a steeper section that would give a good view of the castle in the background. Horse and Rider magazine took the photo for their May 2013 edition.

Royal Windsor Horse Show 2012Royal Windsor Horse Show 2012Carriage driving in Windsor Great Park on 12th May 2012

This shot is from my first attempt at catwalk photography from February at London Fashion Weekend. I'd tweeted in to Calumet and they offered me a slot in the pit.

London Fashion WeekendLondon Fashion WeekendA selection of photos taken during 2013

I took my camera to a few cricket matches during the summer and these are some of the photos.

An MCC bowler at RMA SandhurstMCCA selection of photos taken during 2013

Bowling at Lord'sRavi PatelA selection of photos taken during 2013

I had my usual summer of photographing polo, the first shot is Moss Hamilton playing for the Army Polo team at Sandhurst during the Heritage Open Day. The second shot was a spectacular dismount during an evening exhibition match.

Sandhurst poloHackett Army Polo TeamA selection of photos taken during 2013 Sandhurst poloFallA selection of photos taken during 2013

A couple of travel shots.

We were in Prague in September and one evening we went down to the river and walked into a very big firework display.

Prague at nightPrague fireworksA selection of photos taken during 2013

Another Prague shot.

9PraguePrague - the back streetsA selection of photos taken during 2013 And something closer to home

Jersey

JerseyJerseyA selection of photos taken during 2013 Romney Marsh

Fairfield churchFairfield church at dawnA selection of photos taken during 2013 And the shot I liked best this year was one of those things that just happened and I was there to photograph it.

A proud father

WinnerIMG_6Proud fatherA selection of photos taken during 2013

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) cricket photography fashion photography photo of the year photography polo photography travel photography http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/12/poty Mon, 30 Dec 2013 18:10:02 GMT
Graham Swann remembered http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/12/swann Today we had the news that Graham Swann had retired from all forms of cricket with immediate effect.

4648925339_5ef5e84971_b4648925339_5ef5e84971_b28th May 2010 at Lord's

Whether he should have stayed in the team and toughed it out is a matter of opinion, with Jonathan Trott heading home with stress after the first test and now Swann going after the third test, England have lost a couple of senior players and face a couple of tough games "playing for pride," but let's not go there.

I had seen Swann on TV during the 2008/9 series in India, where he started taking wickets in the first over of a spell. The first time i saw him play live was the 2009 Lord's test against the West Indians, where Ravi Bopara made 143 on debut and Graham Onions took a 5-38, also on debut.

3507844721_73d08736c9_o3507844721_73d08736c9_oLords 6th May 2009

Swann coming in from warm up at Lords 2009

In that game, Swann scored 63 in the England first innings and took three wickets in each innings and was man of the match.

Swann_actionSwann_action

Graeme Swann bowling action

3515206786_76c621a21d_o3515206786_76c621a21d_oLords 8th May 2008

Swann goes up for an appeal - and gets the wicket

4649542984_22050866e7_b4649542984_22050866e7_b28th May 2010 at Lord's

Swann batting

IMG_5238_TIMG_5238_TLords 8th May 2008

Man of the match

I've gone on to watch Graeme Swann in many matches over the last four years, some have been hugely successful and others less so. Later in 2009, he played in England's early attempt at wearing red for ODIs during which they were royaly thumped.

IMG_2920IMG_2920 3904721842_1257684b9c_o3904721842_1257684b9c_oOne day international cricket at Lord's Cricket Ground. England versus australia played on 6th september 2009.
Australia won.
3903938313_c6b93b6fac_o3903938313_c6b93b6fac_oOne day international cricket at Lord's Cricket Ground. England versus australia played on 6th september 2009.
Australia won.
3904722268_8de843e2d4_o3904722268_8de843e2d4_oOne day international cricket at Lord's Cricket Ground. England versus australia played on 6th september 2009.
Australia won.

England vs Australia 

September 2009 at Lord's

At other times Swann has played in the more traditional England blue, sporting what looked pretty close to a mullet hairdo.

2620766726_f2615e175a_o2620766726_f2615e175a_o The last Time I saw Swann at Lord's wasn't playing for England, but one of his now rare turn-outs for Nottinghamshire, during the YB40 final.

9861311894_82440d4439_b9861311894_82440d4439_b 9861334775_980cefeca5_o9861334775_980cefeca5_oPlayed between Glamorgan and Nottinghamshire at Lord's Cricket Ground




Peter Meade's photos from Lord's are not available for licence
9861322254_686429c0fb_b9861322254_686429c0fb_b

Swann in the YB40 final 2013

We will all miss Swanny and I expect the timing of his retirement will be debated for some time, but let's not forget his 60 tests and 255 wickets, which have included 17 five wicket hauls and three 10 wicket hauls. He's also played 79 ODIs and taken 104 wickets. There's also the small matter of 1370 test runs and a nice round 500 ODI runs too.

As he moves out of the team, he leaves a gap and at the moment the only person who is likely to fill it is the man who preceded him in the England line up. Someone who I hope will reap the rewards.

IMG_2220_TIMG_2220_TLords 6th May 2009

 

 

 

 

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) Graeme Swann Swann cricket cricket photos cricket player http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/12/swann Sun, 22 Dec 2013 20:36:03 GMT
MCC Wisden Cricket Photo of the Year - again http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/12/mccw13 Although earlier this year I blogged about being something of a duffer when it comes to cricket photography, I bit the bullet and decided to submit some work for the 2013 Wisden – MCC Cricket Photograph of the Year competition. Partly because I feel a little emboldened after Deep Extra Cover started using some of my work and partly because I've been half looking for some shots I could use.

The first shot I submitted this year is from my local club, Maidenhead and Bray. I can't remember why I wasn't umpiring that weekend, but I turned up mid afternoon with my cameras to see what was there to be seen. After popping away at the bowlers for a while, I decided that the biggish lad standing at the river end may look good in profile view and from there it wasn't too much of a leap of imagination to try a slow shutter speed.

Meade_1Meade_1Taken at the Maidenhead and Bray CC ground at Bray during the M&BCC XI game against Falkland 2nd XI game on 11th May 2013

It took a few overs to get the shot I liked, but this was about it.

Although I took my camera to a fair number of other games, my other two submissions came from the last game of the season at Lord's, the YB 40 final.

Having gone through the Nottinghamshire innings, I'd taken a few shots, some looked good, others not so good and by the time Glamorgan were batting the light was actually quite poor.

Harry Gurney opened the bowling (I think) from the Nursery End and I picked up a couple of good shots of his follow through. He'd picked up a wicket in his first over, so he was really coming in well and the follow through was dynamic.

Meade_2Meade_2Harry Gurney bowling in the YB 40 final at Lords in September 2013

Later, Samit Patel came on to bowl at that end and picked up a couple of quick wickets. Then he picked up his third, an LBW and I was in exactly the right position to get a shot of his celebration whilst the umpire kept his finger in the air. I was really pleased with that shot.

Meade_3Meade_3Samit Patel celebrating his third wicket suring the YB 40 final at Lord's in September 2013 Given the quality of the shots that have won, I'm not expecting to pick up a prize, but I'm feeling happier about my cricket photography in general and I think it has improved, a bit.

The disparity between my earnings as a freelance science writer and my earnings as a photographer means that I'm still classified as an amateur, but I'm beginning to see signs that perhaps one day...

 

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) cricket photography http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/12/mccw13 Mon, 02 Dec 2013 19:32:52 GMT
Sandhurst Polo http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/6/rmaspolo  

DSC_0233

If the weather holds fair, I'll be starting my seventh season as polo photographer at Sandhurst this weekend.

In the 1850s the modern version of polo was developed by British army officers in the Punjab. The officers learnt the game from the Manipuri, an Indian boarder tribe. It became evident that polo was good for training soldiers, it requires fearlessness, teamwork and the will to win. The military brought the game home from India and it is now part of the history of the Royal Military Academy and the armed forces as a whole. Churchill played there in the 1890s and Princes William and Harry learned their game there in the early 2000s. Sandhurst is blessed with one of the most picturesque settings for any sport. The Round Ground is set between Old College, New College, and has a lake at one end (it is used for rugby in the winter and as a training ground too). It has been an immense privilege to go there, photograph the sport and meet the people.

The first big game for the officer cadets is in June during the Heritage Day, when the academy is open to visitors. The games are played in front of perhaps thousands of spectators.

Heritage Open Day Polo 2010 Heritage Open Day Polo 2010
Heritage Open Day Polo 2010 Heritage Open Day Polo 2010

Although William and Harry had finished their time at at the Academy by the time that I came along, I was able to photograph Prince William during one tournament.

Cavalry polo (William Wales)

During the Time Barbara Zingg was polo manager, she organised some really good summer evening polo tournaments with bicycle polo warm up matches. The events usually coincided with other balls going on, so there was always lots to see.

Summer Nights Polo Summer Nights Polo
Summer Nights Polo Summer Nights Polo
Summer Nights Polo Summer Nights Polo
Summer Nights Polo Summer Nights Polo

Last year the marquee for polo matches had been moved from one side of the Round Ground to the other. When I asked why, I was told that they liked my photos showing the polo being played with Old College in the background so much, they decided that was the view they wanted everyone to have. The old view was of some brutal 1960s architecture, so it was well worth the change.

Leadership and Excellence Cup 2011 Ultimate Polo Tournament
EFG International Trophy EFG International Trophy

But central to the whole thing are the great people who make Sandhurst polo tick, the officer cadets, the instructors, the grooms and the commentators.

Heritage Polo Cup 2011 Heritage Polo Cup 2010 Day 1
Heritage Polo Cup 2011 Summer Nights Polo
Heritage Day 2011 RMA Sandhurst Polo Club
Equestrian Life Equestrian Life

I'll be blogging about Sandurst polo during the season and all the time I'll be remembering how lucky I am to be there.

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) Hackett Army Polo Team Peter Meade Polo photographer RMA Sandhurst Sandhurst Sandhurst polo army polo pjmeade polo photography polo photos http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/6/rmaspolo Wed, 12 Jun 2013 19:29:16 GMT
This week's game http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/4/twg 15th September

The last game of the season was a Sunday game at Bray. I think half way through September is an early end, but the hockey club takes over at that time.

The visiting club was Stage CC and they brough with them Colin Downey, who had a long and distinguished career as a football referee. what they didn't bring was a good forecast and rain was due. The match format was a 35 over game, so we had the best chance of getting a fair bit of the match played. for the second time, Matt Armstrong won the toss and elected to bat. This time opening with Cameron Jacobsen and Vish Kumar. Cam took on the bowling and smeared the runs through cow in a very entertaining way. Apparently he has scored 19 before the first boundary was scored through the off side, by Vish. Cam got out on 45 and Thomas Noakes came in feeling a bit delicate after a long evening. Despite the barracking from the cheap seats (his family) he did pretty well and dropped a couple of sixes into the hedges. He then went on to run out his partner. Jamie Kiddell and Tom Allen put on a stand and then the spinners came on and Bray quickly lost wickets until they were all out for 193 in 33 overs. A good number of wickets had fallen to steepling catches, the track was on the sticky side and leading edges were the order of the day.  A good plan would have been a quick turn around and start the second innings, but instead we has a very pleasant tea.

DSC_0010Stage CC

The bowling for Bray was useful and perhaps a good deal slower that the previous week, with Chris Lowe opening at the road end, he was very difficult to get away and picked up a wicket when the batsman gave yet another steepling catch, to tom Allen. The next over Mat Armstrong picked up a very good lbw when the batsman played the wrong line. The next batsman came in and chipped Armstrong straight to long off, only to be dropped. The batsman went on the take about 30 runs off the next three overs.

At one point, the ball was played out to long off again and as I watched the batsman to make sure they made their ground, I heard the ball fizz past my head, missing it by a fraction. The fielder was the bowler I had taken off the previous week.

The drizzly rain intensified and the players were having trouble keeping their feet, so we called off the ground and went for a pint.

The 2013 season was over.

1st September

This was going to be one of my rare Sunday appearances at Bray and saw what turned out to be my biggest umpiring blunder. Worse yet for being in front of another senior umpire. The visitors were Jesters, a London based traveling side and they brought with them a premier league umpire from Cheshire.

The Bray side looked reasonably strong, not too many colts and not that many elder statesmen either, so when Matt Armstrong won the toss, he jumped at the chance of batting first in a 40 over a side game. Raoul Cheema and Sachin Moudgil opened, but made fewer than 20 runs before the first wicket fell and Vish Kumar came in. This turned out to be the high point of the Bray innings and they put on 58 by the time the innings reached the half way point. Cameron Jacobsen came in at the next wicket and went after the bowling. Bray finished on 164, which was really only going to be a defendable total if the bowlers were on song and I'd seen the MCC defend 181 a few days earlier.

Given that the opening bowler for Bray was Jamie Odell, who had played England under age cricket shortly before and had signed with Middlesex at the start of the season, things looked good. Right the way through to the end of his first run up. Jamie bowls with a fair bit more pace than your common-or-garden club colt and behind the batsman was exactly the common-or-garden colt wicket keeper, who had never seen pace like that before. Well the first over went for 12 runs, all of the boundaries were byes. The next over also included a dropped slip catch that went for four. At my end, the bowler appeared not to have had too much time between chucking out time after  clubbing and the start of the game. Early on, he sent down a beamer that I no-balled. And this is where my blunder came in; I like to let friendly games take their own course and advise the players if they are on the edge of a wide or if they are getting close to bowling a no-ball or if they are running up the middle of the track, I want the game progresses without my intervention. Well, I had hoped that being called for a no-ball should have been enough to bring the lad to his senses, so although I ought to have given him a warning, I didn't. A big error.

The quicker bowlers came off and the slower bowlers came on, but after the runaway start that Jesters made, the asking rate was just too low to defend and by that time, the batsmen were well used to the pace of the track and scoring was no problem. Then the seam bowlers came back on and my bowler then produced two further beamers and we had to take him off. I've never had to take anyone off before. The lad wanted to go off the field (and perhaps have a sleep), but he had to stay on.

The only wicket of the Jesters innings was a run out and they won by 9 wickets.

Sadly, the bowler taken off for bowling three beamers didn't apologise to the batsman he hit.

24th and 25th August

The game on 24th August had the makings of a classical David and Goliath encounter, with bottom of the division Maidenhead and Bray 2nds visiting top of the table Amersham. A great deal of rain had fallen (and was continuing to fall), potentially the wet ball and outfield could have evened things up a bit and perhaps the game would be something of a lottery. In 1 Samuel 17, David was endowed with two key assets; the LORD who supported him and a bag of stones. Today, David turned up bereft of two key assets, two players.

Before the game could start, it had to stop raining and the wet wicket ends would have to be treated with sawdust and the covers removed.

DSC_0321 A good hour was lost before starting. Bray won the toss and elected to bat. They made slow and steady progress, and as expected neither side had an easy time of it. John Hewitt worked hard and went on to score a half century before getting out. Although the rain had stopped when we went out to play, a slow and steady drizzle set in that eventually turned into proper rain. At one point, we thought we'd go off, but the rain eased and the game continued. Mud adhering to the players shoes became something of a problem and from time to time I had to clean them off, pretty much in the same way one would clean a horse's hoof (with a bail rather than a hoof pick).

Hoof care Of course with a horse, you would run your hand down the leg before lifting the hoof, but I decided to forgo that part, especially as one of the players getting their shoes cleaned played for the Berkshire ladies team.

I'm not superstitious and I don't jump in the air when 111 is on the board, but three wickets fell on that score. The fact of the matter is that with the steady drizzle that had been falling, they were now playing on a good old-fashioned sticky wicket and the ball was popping, shooting and generally making a nuisance of it's self and the Bray players were for the most part , too young to have much experience on a sticky. After losing those three wickets, Bray were only able to put on another four runs and they were all out for 115 off 39.1 overs.

The champagne moment for that innings was the woman who played for Amersham diving to stop a drive. She missed the ball and landed with loud splat on a muddy wicket end. All of us had a giggle.

During the first innings the players from neighboring Chesham turned up to watch. Their game had been rained off and they wanted to see how their promotion rivals got on. There was some barracking from the cheap seats as the game progressed.

Having too few batsmen was a problem, but missing two fielders was a major inconvenience for Bray. They worked hard and there were some valiant dives trying to cut off boundaries, resulting in some very wet and muddy players but the numbers were against them. Something else that didn't help was that there were rather too many full tosses, half trackers and too much width. When you are playing on a sticky, it's vital to use the pitch, but all too often the pitch was taken out of the equation and runs were scored too easily.

Amersham were able to pick up the 115 needed in 18.2 overs for the loss of three wickets.

On Sunday, I went over to Home Park in Windsor for the MCC game. Windsor had been rained off the previous day and although the ground was still damp, the game went ahead. Instead of the usual time game, it was a 40 over match. As ever, The Club batted first. One notable thing about this game was that there were only two members and nine candidates in the MCC team.

The Home Park setting is magnificent. Set beneath the battlements of Windsor Castle, it's tree lined and altogether delightful. It's also a very good location for anyone who likes to watch the airliners on finals towards Heathrow. There is an apocraphal quote attributed to the Duke of Wellington that "The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton." The actual playing fields of Eton are nothing special at all, but you could believe it of Home Park.

Batting wasn't easy and there was a regular procession of MCC batsmen going to and from the crease, with the stands of no more than 10 to 12 runs for about seven wickets in about twenty something overs. Jonathan Perkins managed to produce some mid innings solidity and scored 39 before his wicket went down. Rather peculiarly, lunch (and tea) were taken mid innings, so we all trooped off to eat and to have the usual speeches from the home team president and from the MCC captain. 

After Lunch the local press and the Middlesex/MCC photographer Sarah Williams took team photos.

DSC_0324 The club resumed its innings with John Stevens (49) and Ben Mooney (26) bringing respectability to the club score. They they ended on 181 off 40 overs.

Windsor made a good start with an opening stand of almost 60. They carried on strongly and went on to 141-2, with an asking rate of just over 2 runs per over with 17 overs to go. In cricket, drinks are said to work magic in dismissing well set batsment, so having tea mid innings stood to be very bad news. During tea, the deputy mayor and mayoress called in and gave medals to the young cricketers who had been having their cricket day.

After tea, runs came quickly and wickets started to fall regularly too. Windsor were always in touch, but fell away at the end. On the penultimate ball of the match the ninth wicket fell and the last man came in for the last ball. Incredibly, he wandered out of his ground with bat in the air and made no attempt to play the ball. The keeper took the bails off and the MCC had won by seven runs. There were some discussions with the scorers as to whether the last man was stumped or run out, but it's clear from Law 39 that he was stumped.

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17th August

This was the away fixture at Teddington Town, who play on one of three grounds in a corner of Bushy Park. I'd stood there once before and played hockey there too. Previously, access to the ground was through the park and went past the rather nice central roundabout with a fountain at the centre. However, now it was via a gate hidden in the National Physical Laboratory. Unfortunately, this was not the day to be driving. The M4 and the M25 were both gridlocked when I set off and when I got off the M4, all of the roads were heavily congested. The closer I got to Teddington the more congested the roads became. It turns out there was a fixture at Twickenham that day and of course in that part of London  rugby means getting cut up by nobbers in SUVs. Worryingly, as I was about a quarter of a mile from NPL (about 30 minutes driving) one of the Bray players went past me heading in the wrong direction. The trip had taken about one and a half hours instead of three quarters of an hour, so there was only fifteen minutes to go before the start. 

Bray bowled first and we had found ourselves on a track with real pace and bounce. Tom, the opening bowler at my end is tall, and hit the track hard and at a good pace too. At the other end, Jack Kelly looked as though he was spraying it a bit, runs seemed fairly easy to come by on a ground with short boundaries. However, it did mean that the batsmen were going after him and getting out. He ended with 3-54, he was also instrumental in another wicket. One of the Teddington batsmen took one in the box, which discomforted him enough to stop him scoring. A second bulls eye from Tom at my end and his day was going downhill fast. Eventually, he tried a quick run and got nowhere. Tom was taken off and Alkesh Vaja came on to bowl. A fair bit younger that Tom, he is also a good 18 inches shorter, so the ball skids on with a lot less bounce and pace, something that did for two Teddington batsmen who were caught dead in front. Alkesh came away with those two LBWs in two balls and a third wicket. Teddington ended on 153. During the Teddington innings, one of the stags that live in the park came along and grazed between two of the cricket pitches. At times people were getting really quite close to it, within a few yards. In Windsor Great Park, getting close to the deer can only be done by very painstaking stalking, or by riding up to them on a horse. As it happens, there were also a lot of people riding in the park too, all of them being lead. Again, in Windsor Great Park, you can spend a couple of hours trotting and cantering to your heart's delight without the need for someone on the end of a lead rope.

Christmas Eve in Windsor Great Park

The Bray innings was a straightforward enough affair. After an early wicket, James Coyne came to the crease. Having seen him smear opposition bowling around the park on a number of occasions, he was clearly very confident. Unfortunately it didn't come off and after a few outside edges, top edges and mows, he edged to slip and was gone. Will Ballantyne came and constructed an innings of 42, but became the third batsman to go to a waft outside off stump. Alkesh came in and dropped a 6 beside a dog walker and there was one of those utterly brilliant Fenton moments. The dog picked up the ball and ran rings around its master for several minutes as the owner dived and failed to stop him. I wish I had pulled out my phone and videoed it. Eventually, the ball was returned and after a quick rub down with a towel, the game resumed. With four runs needed for victory, Alkesh thought he'd go for glory. Never a wise move, the next man in got the runs and Maidenhead and Bray had won by four wickets.

The drive home could not have been more different. Not a car to be seen.

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10th August

One of the nicest grounds in the Thames Valley Cricket League is Marlow Park. Its roof has been replaced recently and is a bit new looking, but with its old sagging roof it looked a rural idyll. The club is set beside the Marlow sports centre and boats on the Thames can be seen a hundred yards away. On a good day, a fair number of people will sit around the ground and watch the game. On this day, there were rather more people that usual because a funfair had set up on the field adjacent to the ground. The carnival atmosphere was dampened a little by the fact that all the generators had been put next to the pavilion and it became pretty noisy.

The visitors were Maidenhead and Bray 2nds, who had won their previous game and were looking to build some momentum going into the late stages of the season. The pitch looked a little less than perfect, at the river end the surface was a little cratered and looked like it was going to do something if the bowling was accurate enough. Marlow Park won the toss and batted and from the start two things were clear, the bowling was not going to be accurate enough and the short boundary on the sports centre side was going to see some action. In short, it was August and the home team were going to make hay whilst the sun shone. One batsman on his way to 73 scored five 6s and eight 4s, most towards the short boundary. The interesting thing was the reactions amongst the spectators; in televised games the spectators all try to catch the ball. Not so the Marlow public, on several occasions men were abandoning their children, wives or girlfriends and leaving them in the firing line whilst they scarpered. One particular couple sat beside a tree at square leg and seeing the ball heading their way, he moved and let the ball hit her. 

As I had expected, the pitch was distinctly two paced and the river end more so that the town end, and although there were signs that the odd batsman had weaknesses and at times the scoring rate was restricted, for the most part it was an all-you-can-eat buffet and the batsmen who did get out got themselves out. The score progressed from 200 to 250 in about 6 overs and from 250 to 300 in 4 overs. Although they were well past 300, they batted on so that Nabeel Janed could reach his ton. Marlow Park declared on 323-5 off 43 overs.

By the time Maidenhead and Bray came out to bat, it was a warm and sunny afternoon and the 1960s pop music was blaring out from the funfair, and the people were flocking in. Marlow Park started with the old ball and with spinners. Their spinners were using the pitch and bowling accurately in exactly the way that Bray had not. The buffet that had been served up earlier in the day had been tidied away during the tea interval and only scraps were left. Bray lost wickets regularly and there were other regular interruptions to play too as members of the public wandered onto the ground, clearly oblivious to the flagged white line and the fifteen people in the middle trying to have an afternoon's sport. One "gentleman" walked his family across the ground and despite any number or requests to leave wandered on showing his best "what are you going to make of it?" sulk (Proff Brian Cox has a great word that seems most appropriate here - nobber).

Bray had been limping on in partnerships of about 10 runs until John Hewitt came out to bat and in a 9th wicket stand (I think) pretty much doubled the score with one of the spinners. Then Matt Armstrong came in as the last man and he managed a flurry of boundaries before losing his stumps. Marlow Park won by 174 runs.

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27th July

I'd stood in the game between Maidenhead and Bray 2nds and Farnham Royal in May and this was the return fixture. Although the home side seemed largely unchanged the visitors  were an almost totally different side and to their great credit included a woman in the side. Most important for the outcome of the game, the person who scored 130 for Bray back in May wasn't there.

The weather forecast for the 27th was not great, for the previous few days, rain of biblical intensity had been forecast and there was a yellow weather warning in place for most of the south east of England. However, when I set out the sun was shining and it was 27C, warm enough to have the air conditioning on for most of the trip. The shortest route to Farnham Royal skirts across the top of Slough, and around Taplow and Burnham. Anyone who has seen the series Road Wars is going to be very familiar with the road, because it seemed to have a car chase along it in every episode. But not this time.

Farnham Royal is a neat little ground about 3 miles north of Slough, that is surrounded by trees, tidy looking houses and has a church in one corner. The outfield was yellow after three weeks without rain, but was short and lightening fast. The pitch had been used before but looked good.

Just before the game started, I was told that the other umpire had car troubles and would be late. As the home team had been inserted, one of their players would be standing at square leg and I would stand at both ends (what joy). The first ball of the match epitomised a bottom of Division 4 clash; the bowler send down one that was short and wide enough to go after, the opening batsman threw everything at it and got an edge that flew into first slip's hands and was dropped. The first ball at the other end was a full bunger and close to a no-ball for height, the second ball was another high full toss, was a no ball and came with a warning for the bowler. Soon things settled down a bit, the pitch was used by one side and the full face of the bat by the other. The young lad who dropped the slip catch was moved to point and took a good catch. The Farnam Royal No 3 (I think) was a capable looking batsman called Khan, who came in and smeared the ball all over the place, including one that cleared the hedge and went through the back window of a car parked outside a neighboring house. A small posse trouped outside to apologise and to retrieve the ball. Khan went on to score 133* and Farnham Royal declared their innings closed on 274-5, leaving Maidenhead and Bray 54 overs and an asking rate of a hair over 5 runs per over.

Not long into the first innings the second umpire turned up and I could stay at one end. He'd pretty much rushed out onto the pitch and lucky him, was still in shorts. Unfortunately, the home side has a few left/right combinations and instead of having a leasurely walk from one end to the other, I was now having to jog from square leg to square leg.

One of the great things about the Maidenhead and Bray ground is the 13th century church standing back at one corner. We often hear its bells and they have a charming lyrical note that lends them great musicality. Not so with Farnham Royal; St Mary's has bells well enough, but exactly the kind that grates on the ear and no matter how distant, sound too loud. And on Saturday they seemed to be having remedial bell ringing lessons that ended in a bell ringing detention.

The second innings started with the old ball and a young leg spinner who had been given an unhappy time in the first game. With a different opener, he was able to settle down and bowled well. The Bray batsmen were never really in trouble but inexperience meant that scoring opportunities went begging. The leggy would send down the odd half tracker and instead of breaking more car windows, the ball was defended back up the track for a dot. Will Ballantyne was able to make the most of the lose deliveries and accumulated runs at a reasonable rate, but all the time the run rate crept up. All the time the cloud cover increased too. Will went on to get a fifty and as wickets fell at the other end, he grafted and eventually got to 102*. Scoring became a little easier for Will when the new ball was taken and seam up was the order of the day. The new ball bowler at my end was bowling to Will Cunliffe, who edged direct to second slip on a no ball. the next delivery was another no ball and another edge, but this time over the slips and down to 3rd man for four. The next over the bowler had gained a good yard of pace and was the fastest Will had seen. He could defend the straight ball and scored some very good boundaries from on-drives, but couldn't tale advantage of the wider ones. He was out on 73, mostly from the other bowlers, but he did pretty well.

The clouds got thicker and darker, but rain radar didn't show an awful lot coming our way and when a light shower came and went I thought we had been lucky. However, the clouds got thicker and darker and we had a lot more rain. The pitch was covered and the rain stopped but is was now very dark. We got back on, but it was clear that it was just a matter of time before we went off as the rain started again. At one point I was at square leg and I would see the ball coming towards me quite easily, but it was almost impossible to see it going across. In my next over, the bowler told the others that he couldn't grip the ball and some of the fielders were saying they couldn't see the ball. I discussed it with the other umpire who wanted to see the over out. As far as I was concerned, the conditions had become dangerous and that left me with no choice but to abandon the game. Something I hate doing.

Maidenhead and Bray ended on 197-3 and claimed 7 points for the draw.

By the time I had driven the six or seven miles home, it was dark, the rain was unrelenting and had turned into a thunder storm and I didn't feel too bad.

I keep my phone with me when I umpire because on the only occasion I left it in my bag it was stolen. On Saturday I used the My Tracks app to see how far I covered during the day's umpiring. In 90 overs of the 100 over game, I covered approximately 10.6 miles. I'm not sure how accurate that is, a lot of GPS spikes go way outside the ground. My Tracks recordingfarnhamroyal

 

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18th and 20th July

This week’s game wasn’t umpiring, it was a couple of days at the Lord’s test watching what proved to be a record defeat for the Australians.

I had got my dates wrong, I thought I was taking a friend to the test on the first day and I had booked (expensive) tickets for an air show for the Saturday, I had to let my son give my ticket to one of his friends. I really need to put these things in my phone’s calendar.

I turned up around 7.30-8.00 on Thursday, I had anticipated I would be so far back in the queue that I’d have to take one of the emergency backup seats under the Compton and Edrich stands. When I joined the queue, I has walked about three quarters of a mile from the Grace Gate and was in Grove End Road. The Rover ticket holders’ queue was snaking away from us coming up Grove End Road in the other direction. In fact the waiting time was shortened and the Lord’s staff opened the gates at 8.30, some excellent and very considerate work on their part. I found a seat in the Allen Stand, next to the pavilion and just behind the press photographers (good work by them too, they kept their heads down and didn’t interrupt our view) then went for breakfast in the pavilion. I ate in the Old Library and on leaving said hello to one of the pavilion stewards, who told me that the Queen was about to arrive. So I waited for a while, said hello and good luck to Chris Rogers (of Middlesex) and chatted with some people I knew. After a short wait, the queen came, chatted with the players and the game began.

IMG_0184_T The end of the queue 3/4 mile from the gate IMG_0194_T Setting up for Lunch
IMG_0205_T Early morning music IMG_0211_T The Queen at Lord's

England had won the toss and batted. From the pavilion, the flight of the ball is pretty clear, but from where I was sat, it’s better to watch the batsmen at work, so I was pretty pleased to see England batting. Also, the press had been talking about the track being dry, with a view to giving Swann something to bowl into, so England needed to bat first and let the conditions work their magic.

The first ball came and Alastair Cook looked leaden footed, but it wasn’t long before some boundaries were scored and everybody started feeling a bit better, unfortunately that didn’t last and in the blink of an eye England were 28-3. The rest of the day was spent watching Ian Bell accumulate runs. I was in the Long room when Bell and Trott went out after lunch and the applause was loud. I went in again as they came in for tea with Bell and Bairstow. They were cheered like heroes. Bell had a standing ovation on 100 and then another when he got out on 109. I felt rather less at ease watching Jimmy Anderson bat, his style is very personal.

On the Saturday, I got up at 4, walked to the station and got on a train just after 5. I walked from Paddington. Praid Street was quiet and the Edgware road was deserted. I was at Lord’s shortly after 6, but wonder of wonders, I was by the East Gate, only a couple of hundred yards from the Grace Gate. The wait was pretty long, but I was able to chat with the people about me and we all tried looking the other way when the Jelly Bean lady came along, but we usually end up handing over the money. I was listening to an audio book when the next old lady chugger came along. She got some more money and then I got nailed for a paper. That one was useful, because I had to leave something on a seat the reserve it. Once again the gates were opened at 8.30 for members and I was able to find some good seats and to head off for a full English breakfast. I met with some MCC members and walked around the ground for a while before my friend turned up.

IMG_0242_T The Saturday queue

 

IMG_0249_T The Saturday queue at Lord's
IMG_0259_T Working at Lord's in a neat uniform IMG_0260_T Working at Lord's looking tidy
IMG_0267_T What I don't mind seeing at Lord's
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And how scruffy can you get without being kicked out?

IMG_0285_T Joe Root gets to 100 IMG_0288_T The crowd at Lord's give Joe Root a standing ovation.

The Bresnan Root partnership made slow going, but eventually started moving along and irritatingly, we had the second 99 run partnership with Bresnan unable to keep a short ball under control. After that Bell came in and we had a 150 run partnership. We were lucky that Bell stayed long enough to make those runs, there was a disputed catch, with the third umpire ruling that Smith didn’t take it cleanly. I was obviously a long way from the action, but my impression was that the ball didn’t carry. Later, I was perfectly in line for Bell’s pull to Chris Rogers and saw it all the way off the bat into Rogers’ hands.

At lunchtime we were entertained by the Band of the Royal Marines, who had been playing at Tidworth for the Rundle Cup the previous weekend. Those people are having to put up with a lot of hot weather. One of the photographers on the pitch photographing the band is someone who is often seen at Lord’s and has been seen on TV as he wandered around the pavilion terrace, holding up play. He must be the scruffiest person that has ever been allowed in the Lord’s pavilion. Lord’s has issued a set of fairly clear guidelines on dress in the pavilion. Members and visitors alike have to reach a certain minimal standard to be admitted. It’s my opinion that this character looks more like a tramp with a camera ban a bona fide snapper. When I photograph at places like RMA Sandhurst, I dress to the standards expected of the people who work there, so that’s a clean shirt, that’s been tucked into my trousers and shoes that have been cleaned and polished and not just within the last decade, I wear a jacket or blazer that doesn’t look like I’ve slept in it. I’ll leave this polemic at that point as I don’t want to start sounding like the daily hateMail.

The afternoon session dragged a bit, I was starting to feel drowsy, the scoring rate was slow and my early morning was starting to catch up and before I knew it I was snoozing. Worse yet, I had planned to meet up with Patrick Kidd and missed the appointment. I had a double espresso and watched Joe Root get his ton from the Allen Stand upper tier, then met Patrick and we went for a pint. We chatted for a while and then went back to our seats to watch Root put the Australian bowling to the sword. The crowd kept wondering whether there was going to be a declaration, whether it would be the Bell 50 or the Root 150 until eventually it was clear that we would not be seeing England bowl. The extended batting did enable England to put together a record beating run margin but we all felt that we wanted the England attack to be at them.

The consensus seems to be that Cook is just too cautious. There were comments that the press wouldn’t blame him if the Australians could chase down 500, but Cook didn’t want to risk anything as attainable as a 500 run second innings target. As First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill described John Jellicoe as “the only man on either side who could lose the war in an afternoon” and perhaps Captain Cook may view his actions in the same light. It may be cricket, it may even be the Ashes but can’t we have some fun too?

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6th and 10th July

This was a pretty good week; warm weather and interesting cricket.

On Saturday I drove up the M4 to the British Airways Concorde sports complex at Cranford to stand with Maidenhead and Bray 1st XI. It's a vast complex that accommodates football, hockey (I think I've played there) tennis and cricket. The car park also had several large lorries in it too. When I asked where the umpires changing room was, I was taken up to a large block and told "number five." When I was getting changed someone who looked like he'd been playing squash wandered in and stripped off. Although the other umpire had left his things in the room, I decided I'd take mine out with me. The other umpire had also turned out in a white coat and was wearing a tie, I was very impressed by the dedication to tradition, 30C had been forecast and I was in shirtsleeves.

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The ground looked pretty good, the grass was shortish and wiry, and the track was hard with the odd crack here and there. It turned out to have both pace and bounce and was probably the best club track I've seen this season. The bowler at my end was tidy, but the bowler at the other end started making inroads almost immediately. Adam Dean was returning to 1st team action after injury and the previous week's disastrous visit to High Wycombe with the 2nd XI. After he had taken five wickets, something interesting happened, the incoming batsman had the sight screen shifted so that it was in the right place! Adam ended the innings with 7 wickets, I think. Only two had gone down at my end. British Airways 2nd XI finished on 123 off 29.5 overs. 

Having experienced these early innings breaks all too frequently, we decided to start the second innings and play twenty two overs before tea. The openers went along at about four runs per over and were on about 60 when the first wicket went down. Unfortunately for the home team, that meant that James Coyne came in. He went on to score 54 in about 20 deliveries and after 18.5 overs the game was won and we went in for some tea.

In the second game, the Sir Michael Parkinshon XI played the Crusaders. This was the last game of the Crusaders European tour before heading back to Australia. The ground had never looked lovelier, although finding it taken up with a primary school sports day was a little alarming. Double bookings do happen from time to time and the school were able to finish their use of the outfield a few minutes before the cricket started. The tourists turned up in a coach and dozens of visitors came in, most wanting to know what time the bar opened.

The Parky XI was a mixture of players from around the area, mostly friends of friends or people that people knew. It turned out that a number of them were ex Berkshire players and the captain was Shaun Udal. Also in the side was Cameron Jacobson, who I'd seen in the MCC vs Oratory School game a week earlier.

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My colleague was Darrell Hold, who I'd stood with in a league game some years before. He's an ex first class and ODI umpire, so I was on my best behaviour. The visitors batted first and went along at 3-4 runs per over for quite some time. The odd wicket fell and as the shine went off the ball and the bowlers, the scoring rate increased. From time to time we could hear cheers coming from the pavilion as the Australian test side made inroads into the English batting. Cameron came on to bowl, but cricked his back as he bent down to pick up the ball and Shaggy finished the over. I was quite pleased about that, it's another name to drop from time to time. 

After 50 overs the Crusaders had put together 248, which was good going on a low and slow pitch. The Australian out cricket was very good and the bowlers, who had been getting in lots of overs during the previous few weeks were just a little better than the batsmen could easily cope with. The cricket balls provided for the game had the Crusader name and emblem on one side and the other was marked "Solid Hide Missile," which I thought quite funny. But then I'm easily amused. Wickets fell regularly and eventually the Parky XI were all out for just under 200.

Sir Michael had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing radiotherapy, so we were all pretty please to see him at the game. He watched for a while and then afterwards presented the Crusaders with a replica Ashes urn. I was pretty pleased because I was given a Crusaders top during the presentations. Unfortunately the biggest they had was a medium, so I may have to stop dodging salads before I can wear it.

After the game the visitors sat out in the sun and were encouraged to spend the last of their Stirling before heading off to Heathrow in the morning.

It was a good week.

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29th June and 1st July

A busy few days, a local club game on Saturday, photographing polo all day on Sunday and then an MCC game to stand in on the Monday.

Saturday's game was Maidenhead and Bray 2nds against the improbably named Hight Wycombe Dragons. It turned out that the team had picked up the name from Green Dragon Lane and the eponymous pub that sits beside it. They were a likeable bunch who enjoyed their cricket. The game was played on what looked like a cross between a village club and a council rec. The track, which had concrete post settings at each corner and was not much harder that the Lord's outfield, and the grass on it was not much shorter. It would be a disservice to green seamers to liken that patch of turf to one. As you might expect, the outfield was, well, flourishing. In amongst the buttercups, daisies, clover and dandelions was the odd blade of grass. Here and there were some clippings that had fallen from a mower, showing that perhaps it had been cut, perhaps once, probably a long time ago. It reminded me of some of the grounds the MCC had played on in rural Italy and like them there were no sight screens. Well, in fact there were some, but one was covered in graffiti and the other one was missing most of it's bars. Set beside the "square" was one of those awful astroturf pitches that had been fashionable among village clubs in the 1970s. This one was mostly buried under the muck and mud that made them so slippery and impossible to play on with the slightest hint of moisture.

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The home team batted first and lost wickets regularly. The ball held up in the turf and moved prodigiously; it was clear from the start that this was not going to be a high scoring match. It was also clear from the start that boundaries were going to be few and far between and would need a full toss to assist with scoring them too. Eventually, the Dragons made 85 off 29.5 overs, giving the visitors 70 overs and an asking rate of 1.2 runs per over.

Maidenhead and Bray went back out to bat, the kettle hadn't boiled and tea wasn't ready.

It was clear from the start that however much the home team struggled, the visitors were going to struggle more. The bowler from my end was a fourteen year old that bowled leg spin and googlies and had the batsmen tied in knots, he was almost unplayable. He overstepped a few times but other than that was pretty flawless. The bowler at the other end was even more spectacular, he bowled four consecutive wicket maidens. At tea he had 1-10 off 10 overs.

DSC_0259 The visitors slumped to 15-5 and like vultures, the red kites gathered and circled.

After tea there was something of a recovery and the odd full toss meant that some runs could be made, but the damage had been done and after about 30 overs Maidenhead and Bray succumbed to the Dragons and to the pitch.

Monday's game was an altogether more impressive setting, with the MCC visiting the Oratory School. The cricket coach there is Chad Keegan who played his cricket at Middlesex and Sussex and among the school alumni is Dan Housego (nickname The Estate Agent), who has also played at Middlesex. The school is somewhere north of Reading and somewhere west of Henley in a stretch of Berkshire where the roads all go in almost exactly the wrong direction. If finding the school is difficult, finding the pavilion from the main gate is nightmarish, involving a labyrinthine series of paved and unpaved tracks. The ground its self is charming, the pavilion is a black building made attractive by a bright yellow balcony, beside which is a small shrine that looks like it may be a war memorial. Next is a wooded hill and adjoining that are the school buildings. The final side is open and offers a spectacular view down onto the Berkshire countryside.

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Many of the club players were local to the school, one was a parent and one had taught at the school. It had the making of a very pleasant day. The MCC batted first and although the pitch was a little slow made good progress. They ended with 205-5(ish) of around 50 overs. The school lads came out looking to knock off the runs but were all out with four overs left in the final hour. Captain Cameron Jacobson (who I coached as an under 9) top scored with a 62.

Warm sunshine, great hospitality and great cricket is exactly what we look for in a day's cricket, and this one didn't disappoint.

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15th June

It was back to Bray for what could be kindly called a "mid-table" clash, Teddington Town were visiting. It would be fair and romantic to say that Teddington play at a charming ground in the picturesque Royal Bushy Park, surrounded by trees and deer. But I've only visited that ground once and it was wet, cold and wet with drizzle on a chilling wind.

It had been raining on the previous day and although seemingly dry and hard, the Bray pitch can go a bit two-paced and sticky under conditions like that. The visitors won the toss and batted with a couple of tidy looking batsmen. The opening bowler from my end was a shortish seam bowler of no more than medium pace, as an under-age player he had seven overs. It turned out that his pace and hight were almost exactly perfect to extract the maximum variation of bounce and pace from the pitch. He had a couple of close lbw appeals and then produced two deliveries that held up in the pitch and caught the batsmen plumb in front. In his last over another batsman went for a heave across the line and was caught at square leg. Fortunately for the fielding side, the mistimed shot didn't go too hard as the fielder had drifted off a bit and the catch came as a surprise.

As that fielder had to come on to bowl next, it was a good wake up call. He was a much taller bowler and had much more pace and produced movement off the pitch. For much of the time he was unplayable and the batsmen were lucky not to be good enough to get anything on the ball. His one wicket was electrifying, bowled at pace it cut back in and removed the off stump, even though the batsman had gone forward and covered up.

All this time the real activity was going on at the other end. Anthony Ball had picked up five wickets the previous weekend and despite the damp ball, passing rain showers and chilling wind, he managed to chip away at the visitors batting. The final two wickets came in the 30th over. Number 10 went forward, dragged and was stumped. As the appeal went up, he wiggled his foot back to get behind the line and failed. Number 11 cam in, went forward and lifted onto his toes, and was stumped. Ball had his second five wicket hall in two weeks. Stumpings are not common, so to get two in an over was exceptional. 

Maidenhead set 70 overs in which to score 101. The players came straight back out as there was a "spot of bracing dampness in the air,"  they wanted to get on with the game before the forecast showers developed. Unfortunately, by the time three overs had been bowled, the bracing dampness had developed into a cataclysmic downpour with thunder.

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Eventually the rain stopped and eventually the sun came out to reveal half an inch of water standing over much of the square. The Bray side spend a lot of time mopping up and getting the ground back into a playing condition and after three hours of work, and an entire bag of sawdust, we were back on. 

Conditions were marginal and we umpires had told the captains at the restart that if people couldn't keep their feet, the match would be abandoned because of an unfit ground. Players physical safety comes first.

The first wicket fell and James Coyne came in at number three. Last time, he had made a 45 ball ton and this week he looked to continue where he left off. A boundary off the first ball and a single off the next, to keep the bowling. In the next over, he plundered 21 runs, although one shot did pass through cover point's fingers for what could have been a spectacular catch. In the next over gully had more luck and Coyne departed for what could be described as a breezy 26. His knock took the game away from Teddington, Bray needed something like 50 off 55 overs and it was just a matter of time. They ended up using only 25 of the 70 overs they had available and won by 6 wickets. This was the only game in the division that was completed.

There are many things that are more unpleasant than a wet umpire's coat in the wind, but when you're feeling that all-over body ache from the cold and the wet and you hat is on the point of dissolving into papier mache, it doesn't feel like that. I've been looking longingly at the warm and waterproof coats the umpires wear in the Champions League. I think the answer may be a white sailing coat, something made of gore tex and perhaps with a fleece lining. And perhaps that might be all the excuse the sun needs to start shining again.

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8th June

During the week, I'd stood in a Julian Cup game for Maidenhead and Bray and they had just scrapped home, so I felt somewhat optimistic  as I went round the M25 for their game with Chenies and Latimer.

The first thing I looked for on arrival at the ground was the umpires' changing room. This was an old rural ground with quite an old and basic pavilion; two changing rooms, toilets, showers and a bar. When it was built, umpires were expected to mess in with the players or come and go in uniform. However, league rules had been introduced that required clubs to provide umpires with their own changing facilities and the club had provided them, in the shape of a box off the back of a GPO lorry.

In fairness it was quite large enough and they had equipped it with lights, a few coat hangers and two large armchairs with flowery covers.

Chenies and Latimer umpires roomDSC_0227 Compared with other clubs, it wasn't a bad effort. At Beaconsfield, they had effectively converted the loft space above the scorers box into the changing room. It was hot and cramped and their was always the likelihood that you would bang your head on something or fall down the precipitous steps. Henley have installed a nice little cabin behind their picturesque wooden pavilion, thereby maintaining the quaint appearance and providing the needful. Wormesley still don't provide separate umpires rooms, even though they host YB40 games and many clubs will put the umpires in a nasty little store cupboard next to the water heater. The best umpires' room that I've used has to be Lord's, which as you might imagine has lots of space, showers, toilets, TV and a fully stocked fridge (so too does Wokingham).

Back to the game.

Maidenhead batted first and got off the mark in the first over, and lost their first wicket third ball of the game. At this point the home team may have started rubbing their hands together, realising that the visitors had now scored seventy nine runs for the loss of twenty one wickets. But celebrations would have been premature, number three for Bray was James Coyne, world champion at raquets doubles.  The hundred came up after 10.3 overs and Coyne made is ton off 45 deliveries. It wasn't a chanceless innings, but some of the stroke play was spectacular. On a several occasions, the fielder on the cover boundary had only two or three steps to cut off the ball but never made it. Some 6s were dropped into the adjoining paddock and the horses came over to see what was going on. The second hundred was a single wicket partnership and took perhaps ten overs more than the first, but looked assured and cultured. The third hundred was altogether quite scrappy as wickets fell regularly and the tail was in. Maidenhead and Bray declared on 303-9.

When the home side batted, they found runs a little harder to come by and wickets fell regularly. At one point an opening bowler had been unable to complete his over and Coyne took over, and in a moment of pure cricketing magic took a wicket first ball. The Bray fielding was better than in previous weeks, with most slip catches going to hand although one chance will have left a nasty bruise mid thigh.

As the wickets fell, the resistance increased as the home side moved from attack to defence. After a fair time at the crease, the eighth man down was upset at getting out and there was an Athertonesque moment as he entered the changing room and a plastic chair left it. The last wicket pairing involved a good deal of farming of the strike but at last number 11 was run out and Maidenhead won by over 100.

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1st June

Disappointments have been coming thick and fast this week. On Thursday I had been expecting to stand in a game at Radley, one of the better cricket schools with alumni that include Andrew Stauss, Jamie Dalrymple and Robin Martin-Jenkins, and a delightful timbered pavilion that nestles in one corner of the ground. On Friday I had been at Lord's and watched a distinctly lack-lustre England side fail to score freely and fail to take wickets regularly. The Saturday game ought to have been the highlight of the week, I was back at Bray and was seeing the 1st XI.

They had been skittled out for 30 last Saturday, but today they included last week's centurion from the seconds, an old Wellingtonian and a current Harovian, and even one lad that had played Berkshire under-age cricket (I, of course, have played Berkshire over-age cricket). The Harefield opening bowler was an under 17 but looked perhaps under 12, but he bowled like a seasoned veteran, first tying down one end and then knocking over quick wickets. The bowlers from my end did pretty much the same thing and they were helped by the previous few days torrential rain. It wasn't a sticky wicket, it was just damp in places. After one catch, the ball had a good dollop of mud stuck to the seam, where it had pitched and kicked. Under the thick cloud, the ball swung nicely and wickets continued to fall regularly. There were two in two deliveries and one lad ran himself out, and in under thirty overs the home side were all out for forty six.

Tea was taken, except the urn hadn't boiled yet and there was no tea, and then the home side went out to bowl. At this point I have to hold my hand up and own up to a blunder. I thought that a full toss had reached the batsman over waist hight and I called no ball after checking with square leg. He nodded agreement and the over continued. In fact there was a miss communication and his nod had been to indicate that the ball was good for hight. The Harefield openers were both young lads and they knocked the runs off in only 10 overs.

After the game I apologised to the bowling captain for my mistake and I got home four hours early.

DSC_0224

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25th May

I was back at Bray for a 2nd XI clash between Maidenhead and Bray and Farnham Royal. The visitors come from a nice little ground north of Slough and visiting their ground one time I heard perhaps the funniest sledges I'd encountered. A High Wycombe batsman was having a difficult time and he was making Nick Compton's second innings in Leeds look positively electrifying, from somewhere in the slips a voice called out "send down a piano, see if he can play that!"

Anyway, there I was at Bray and the sun was shining. The odd damp patch on the square from the previous day's rain was drying out with a helpful breeze and all we were in for a good day's cricket. At a fabulous ground like Bray it's easy to wax lyrical about the English idyll as the air was full of the sound of birds and church bells. But that's getting away from the fact that we were there for cricket and the fact of the matter was that it was not just birds and the Heathrow inbound that filled the air; the ball was in the air on a regular basis too and went to hand on a regular basis, before continuing it's interrupted flight to the ground. Gravity was particularly effective on Saturday and there were six dropped catches in fifty two overs.

The Bray bowlers were for the most part, pretty miserly. One opener was having his first game after little pre-season practice and was prone to pushing one down behind the legs and paid the price, but for about the first thirty to forty overs, the visitors were being held to about three runs per over. Then one of the batsmen scored a boundary and showed some intent, and the game changed. All of a sudden the fielders scattered to the boundary and singles became easy to come by and the gaps between the well spaced fielders became easy targets. What initially looked like a target of perhaps less than 150 became an actual target of 215. I was certain that an in-out field would have at least kept the visitors below 200.

Bray came out to bat and the visitors used the old ball, and managed to push through the first half dozen or so overs for almost no cost. Then they took the new ball and brought on the seamers. Unfortunately, that meant an all-you-can-eat buffet of very drivable deliveries that got the treatment. The first wicket went down and the next batsman tucked in. Unfortunately, he got squared up and the only decision I had to make was as easy as they come. Naturally he went off muttering. Batsman number four blocked the first ball and then charged the seamer, had his swish connected it would have been a very big six. The next ball he forgot to charge but still swished and the stumps went flying. There was the odd wicket after that, but nothing as crazy, just sensible working of the ball to whatever part of the ground seemed best. All this time, the surviving opener was cutting, pulling and driving his way to fifty and then to his century and eventually to an unbeaten 130.

After the game we sat out in the sun and enjoyed a drink with the 1st XI who had been rolled over for 80 chasing 170, but who had managed to get back in time for the home win.

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27th April

This was my first MCC fixture of the season, a game at Shiplake College. The setting for the game was an award-winning tree lined ground with school buildings along one side. On arrival it turned out to be an open day and the school was swarming with small people in their best blazers.

On the pitch, fielding practice was going on for the school side and that meant high catches. Given that it was around 8C, that seemed a bit harsh, but the lads had found a way of avoiding the stinging pain delivered by 5 3/4 oz of leather hitting at speed and were dropping or missing the ball altogether.

I said hello to the club members that had arrived and introduced myself to the other umpire. He know the ground quite well, so I walked the boundary on my own, something I have always done before a game, with the one exception of Lord's. I'm not convinced Mick Hunt would be that impressed by an amateur umpire inspecting his ground. However, I have inspected the nursery ground because the boundary is a bit uneven in places and there can be lots of cut cable ties littering the place and they can be pretty sharp.

The ground was of course perfect, a beautifully clipped outfield and a pitch that was hard and dry, with perhaps a place or two that were perhaps just a bit softer.

Shiplake CollegeDSC_0189

It was a cold day and although I had crammed on as much clothing as I could comfortably wear under my umpire's jacket, it that turned out to be less than was needed and I was far too cold. The MCC batted first against some quite accurate school bowling and it wasn't long before I had my first lbw appeal. On the boundary everyone thought it was out, a leg stump yorker; but I felt that it was perhaps outside the line of leg and perhaps angling down too. No matter, the lad put the next ball, another yorker, on middle stump and the club had lost their first wicket. Shortly afterwards the dark skies went black and the first rain came and a few minutes later we were off. All except our hosts who had to stay out in the rain pushing the covers into place.

We got back out, but after perhaps eight deliveries more rain and another stoppage. I was quite pleased, I still had my emergency backup pullover in the changing room and I couldn't wait to be wearing it. The Association of Cricket umpires and Scorers may have been defunct for some time, but their pullovers are still superb.

ACUS cricket pulloverDSC_0192

To keep me on my toes, one of those anorak moments of umpiring pedantry had come along during the MCC innings, the school wicker keeper had been standing up to a slow bowler and strayed in front of the stumps, resulting in only my third wicket keeping no-ball in over 20 years of umpiring. The square leg umpire isn't having a rest between overs, they are still very much in the game. There was also a missed lbw appeal that I'd have given, the batsman swished at the ball but didn't connect, but the fielding side remained silent. I've seen that happen before and thought it odd that bowlers will go up for something that couldn't possibly be out but will miss something glaringly obvious. 

With a second rain break meant the need for acceleration was imperative. The club players started to push, and  runs and wickets came quickly. After receiving 41 overs the club declared on 169. On a dry summer's day with no stoppages and the temperature perhaps 15 to 20C warmer, that would have been a pretty easy ask, especially on a good pitch with a fast outfield. On a somewhat damp pitch it was a pretty good declaration and the school team had it's work cut out. 

During the second (school) innings I stood at point rather than square leg for much of the time as the blindingly bright sun that had followed the rain made seeing the popping crease more than a little difficult. Umpires are directed to stand where they can best see the action. The school opening batsman was clearly struggling against the club opening bowler and was late on the first four deliveries. I was stood next to the point fielder and said that if the lad got anything on the ball it would be an edge and that a shortish third man would be a lot more in the game than gully. Imagine my delight when the next ball was an edge that flew to exactly where I said gully should have been. Moments like that almost make it look as though I know what I'm talking about.

At one point the school side had become a little becalmed, but a change in bowlers meant that they were able to pick up some rapid runs at one end and the club was able to pick up wickets at the other end. MCC captains have an extraordinary ability to keep games going and to keep the opposition interested. In the end, the school needed about 6 runs per over for about 15 overs and only really batted out the last over to ensure the draw.

After the game a parent came over to congratulate me on how well the MCC had played and how well their captain had kept the school side within reach of the total throughout the game. The MCC games are some of the most interesting games I get to stand in, the venues are usually very good and the cricket is usually of a very high standard and the games are played in great spirit. Cricket like that makes the umpire's job an enviable one.

I don't have a game now for a couple of weekends, I'll be photographing a horse show and some polo over the next two weekends. I hope it's warmer the next time I step across the boundary.

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April 20th

My first umpiring stint of the season was at my home Club, Maidenhead and Bray. It turned out to be something of a gentle introduction to the season, both for the players and for me, sort of. I ended up standing at both ends, but as it was only really a practice rather than a match that didn't matter. As an aside, when the premier leagues started in ~1995 my first game turned out to be one in which I stood at both ends, for 110 overs. Pretty tiring.

The club had just taken over the pavilion from the resident hockey club (some of the hockey players came along after their matches) and the changing rooms hadn't been fully reorganised. That wouldn't normally be a problem, but it meant that the umpires' changing room was a tad cramped as it contained everything that couldn't be fitted anywhere else.

DSC_0167 Anyone who has never been to Bray really ought to visit the club. The setting is superb, it's one of the prettiest grounds I know. For me, the setting is on a par with grounds like Wormsley, although the pavilion isn't.

Maidenhead and Bray Cricket ClubDSC_0170 The game play its self wasn't that special, although the fielding was obviously better than that seen in the IPL. The most notable thing was how the winning runs were scored. Seven runs were needed of 3 balls, the non-striker called the striker through for a single and then reverse hooked the next delivery for 6! Competitive cricket starts next weekend.

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) Peter Meade club cricket cricket cricket photos cricket umpiring pjmeade umpire umpiring http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/4/twg Sun, 21 Apr 2013 19:02:06 GMT
MCC Wisden Cricket Photo of the Year http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/4/mccw The MCC Cricket Photograph of the Year and why I'll never win it.

At last! The cricket season is just starting and the life is adopting its proper order. One of the early season activities that has interested me over the last few years is the MCC Wisden Cricket Photo of the Year and the winner has just been announced. The quality of those shots is superb, the winning shot is eye wateringly good. The award was discussed in the latest Lord’s podcast which also included a discussion of cricket photography with Patrick Eagar, who is one of my cricket photography heroes and also Lawrence Booth who is the Wisden editor and cricket writer for the Mail. Booth, Wisden and of course Lord's are all on twitter (so am I).

There was an interesting discussion about people's first day at Lord's, mine was the 1981 Ashes test, which I think was Botham's last outing as captain. The England openers were Boycott and Gooch; the latter was rather more entertaining to watch and even got out in a more interesting manner, being caught on the rebound in the slips. The interview with Neil Dexter discussed the 2013 campaign for Middlesex. He said the side believe in their ability to win the championship and the good news for Middlesex members is that they plan to take the T20 more seriously. Booth identified the Middlesex side's ability to gather batting points as an issue and right enough, that's been something we have agonised over for some years now.

I’ve submitted work to the Cricket Photo of the Year, but have never been selected, but that’s no great surprise. Most of the time around cricket I’m either umpiring or coaching or watching the game, so although I take a camera, the photos are a lower priority than enjoying the game and that really shows in the results. I certainly don’t shoot cricket commercially and I’m not media accredited there, so none of my photos taken at Lord’s are available for license. Apparently, some press photographers have seen the big white lens in the pavilion concourse and have complained, because they don’t get the chance to shoot from there.

Jonathan Trott 175* Brendon McCullum
Andy Strauss Stuart Broad

It goes without saying that the best cricket makes for the best photos and that means test cricket. I’ve been fortunate enough to see some wonderful test matches and to come away with some fairly pleasing shots. Patrick Eagar’s advice to non commercial photographers was to be aware of the background and not to have too much distraction going on there. To be honest, that’s something I can struggle with at times, I tend to use a relatively slow (300/4) lens and put an adaptor on it, so I can be working a depth of field that is quite unhelpful when there’s a cluttered background. Yes, I could use a 400/2.8, but that’s nowhere near as hand hold-able as my lightweight kit. So I make do and at Lord's I think in terms of the background being part of the experience. shooting at the local club, it's relatively easy to chose a clean background or set up something that suites the nature of the cricket.

Fidel Edwards KP - trudge
Imrul Kayes Steve Finn bowling action

One Day Internationals and floodlit games can be pretty spectacular and the bright colours help. The great thing with those games is that you can get some really nice late afternoon sunshine that lights up the play beautifully and later a floodlit Lord’s is pretty special.

Neil Carter

Rainbow

High end cameras are not always needed, this was taken
with a phone

Floodlit Lord's Chris Schofield
Daniel Vettori Brett Lee - follow through
Neil Dexter Gregor Maiden

The bread and butter of watching cricket is County Championship matches. I’ve been watching Middlesex for about twenty years and the atmosphere at a county game couldn’t be more different to an international. I couldn’t give you an exact figure, but crowds can be a few hundred up to a few thousand.

The view from the boundary Robert Croft and Ben Scott
   
Jamie Dalrymple Johan van der Wath

I’ve found the big thing is to keep looking for the interesting stuff that goes on, not just the bat and ball stuff in the middle, but all the interesting bits that you see by keeping your eyes open.

White John Fingleton
MCC-Wisden 9 Scoring
Interuption to play Drinks
Sunday cricket St John's Wood Road

Once in a while, I’ll take my camera down to Maidenhead and Bray, my local side and I do concentrate on the photography there.

Close catching Maidenhead and Bray Cricket Club
IMG_4869_T Bowling
IMG_4920_T Relaxed umpiring

So, I’m always impressed by the MCC Wisden cricket photos and I know that my chances of having a photo in those displays are slim. I also admire the work of the lucky few who take cricket photos for a living and I’m always challenged by the thought that although I can get “the shot” with polo and equestrian sport, could I deliver the same quality of results with cricket? As it is, I can always duck into the pavilion when I want to get warm or have a coffee, and the people who photograph cricket for a living are outside working.

 

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) Peter Meade cricket cricket photography cricket photos photographer pjmeade http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/4/mccw Thu, 11 Apr 2013 07:59:14 GMT
April at the Parks http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/3/parks With the move of the MCC vs Champion county game from Lord's to Abu Dhabi, those of us that want to watch some early season cricket and lose the feeling in our fingers and toes have had to go elsewhere. I could watch Middlesex or the Middlesex 2nds play at Slough, or perhaps not. For me, the very best choice is a trip to Oxford.

The Parks is one of the nicest cricket grounds I know, it boasts an intimate little pavilion built in 1881 and is set in a very attractive park. When it's warm enough, a good number of spectators come along and picnic around the boundary and it's a very enjoyable day. When it's less warm and you're wearing every stitch of clothing you own, well at least you are watching live cricket for the first time in seven months. On those days, there are still a fair number of spectators but the chattering of teeth is an audible backdrop to the game. At the end of one such day I overheard Peter Willey say to the other umpire "That's another day we've survived."

The Parks

Quite often the players will sit out to watch the game and you can chat with them, if they feel in the mood. Even in a picturesque setting someone who has just got out may not be feeling particularly communicative. You also can have the chance to meet up with some of the commentators, so for instance when Glamorgan played there, I was able to say hello to Ed Bevan who I had previously met in the Media Centre at Lord's.

For most of the games I've seen, it's been the first day's play and the counties are batting. I have a feeling that visiting counties are treated in the same way as the MCC and always bat first, but I have no conclusive proof to back up that entirely unsubstantiated assertion.

In 2012, the season started on March 31st, possibly the earliest start since the end of the Napoleonic wars. It was absolutely freezing and the visitors looked every bit was cold as the spectators. I felt a little sorry for Moises Henriques, who may well have got of a flight from Australia shortly before the game. He didn't even have time to collect his county pullover before playing.

Moises Henriques

Cold

In 2011, one of the visiting counties was Lancashire, who had probably just got back from the Champion County game in Abu Dhabi, so it may well have been 20C colder than their previous game. One notable thing from the Lancashire game, was that some of the players told me that Middlesex would be going back into the County Championship first division and right enough, at the end of the 2011 season they did.

Oxford vs Lancashire

2011 also provided one of the balmiest games I've been been to at the Parks. Nottinghamshire were the visitors and it was a chance to see the likes of Samit Patel, Paul Franks, Chris Read, Darren Pattinson, and Ali Brown, all of whom had played for England, and Adam Voges who had turned out for a less successful national side. It was a pretty good day's cricket with Voges and Brown both scoring big centuries. Voges dropped a couple of 6s into the pavilion, one of which hit the roof. OK, that's not huge, but it was big enough.

Oxford vs Nottinghamshire

Oxford vs Nottinghamshire

Samit Patel made a creditable, although  perhaps not particularly fluent 79.

Samit Patel - trudge

Charlie Ellison

Charlie Ellison, son of Richard Ellison made his debut for Oxford in that game, Richard was watching the game with Merv Kitchen. Another Oxford bowler who is worth watching is Sam Aggarwal. He's a spin bowler who watches the ball out of his hand and therefore gives some good photographic opportunities.

Sam Agarwal Oxford vs Nottinghamshire

There are some lovely college sports grounds at Oxford that I've played and umpired at, sadly the Parks is not one of them.

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) England Glamorgan Lancashire Nottinghamshire Oxford Oxford MCCU Oxford University Oxford University Parks Oxford University cricket Peter Meade county cricket cricket cricket blog cricket photography cricket photos first class cricket pjmeade sport sport photography sport photos http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/3/parks Fri, 22 Mar 2013 13:48:41 GMT
The MCC versus Champion County game http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/3/first The  2013 English domestic cricket season is almost on us and the MCC versus Champion County game, the traditional season opener is about to be played.

The fixture was played at Lord's until 2010 and then it was moved to Abu Dhabi. Understandably so, in early April a day at Lord's can be anything from glorious sunshine with a good crowd to mind and finger numbing cold. On a cold day there are few spectators and the members end up huddling in the Long Room hoping that the radiators have been turned on.

In a way, it doesn't matter that it's cold, or wet, or even that you've just lost the feeling in your fingers, because there's live cricket to be seen for the first time in 7 months. One year I went up to Lord's just to be there even though there was no chance of seeing any cricket, it just seemed to be special to have been there at the start of the season. 

The result doesn't usually matter either, nothing is resting on the game in terms of trophies or shiny stuff and that's just as well, as I think most games end as a draw. But it is a chance to look at players with international aspirations and to see some of the best of the university players. Of the games I've seen, the 2007 game stands out for the outstanding selection that made up the MCC team, including the current England captain. Other games have included other England captains and players but are more memorable for the coldness and dampness than for the quality of the cricket. But that's hardly surprising

The 2006 fixture with Notts was exactly the sort of long johns and overcoat day that makes watching cricket hard work and discourages all but the hardiest and most stoic of spectators.

Alone at Lords

In the first innings Notts worked their way to 191 and the MCC found batting even harder. The spectator in the Compton Stand was one of only a handful of people outside the pavilion and I noticed that at lunch he didn't move. So I wandered round to the back of the stand and managed to get  a shot of the almost entirely empty ground.

Alone at lords

The 2007 game was exactly the sort of weather that cricket needed; warm and pleasant. The MCC selectors had worked hard on the team selection and came up with an excellent side; Alastair Cook (captain), Tim Bresnan, Nick Compton, Steven Davies, Alex Gidman, Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Alex Loudon, Graham Onions, Adil Rashid, Owais Shah, Zoheb Sharif (he later played for the MCC against the West Indians in June 2007 as his last first class game). With the exception of Zoheb Sharif and Alex Gidman, who played for England A, all of the team have played for England.

MCC
Steve Harmison Matthew Hoggard
Nick Compton James Kirtley

Nick Compton was the first wicket down caught by Raynor off Kirtley, however Cook put together a wonderful innings of 142.

Alastair Cook Alastair Cook

The MCC went on to score a creditable 452 and Sussex made 385 with Onions and Harmison each taking 3 wickets. The game later played out to a draw, but was an excellent start to the season.

 I think the first day of the 2008 MCC game was rained off. My friends told me that the rooftop terrace was opened on that day and that the champagne flowed freely. MCC champagne is rather good, so it's a shame I didn't go.

The last MCC versus Champion County game played at Lord's was against Durham in 2009. I went for the first day and saw some cricket, starting after lunch, but bad light and rain ended the day around the tea interval.

The first ball of the season was to Di Venuto, but I can't remember the bowler.

Start of season Two England notabes were in the MCC side; Vaughan and Key, and between them they made 17 runs in the first innings. 

Michael Vaughan and Rob Key

After two sessions were lost on the first day and no play was possible on the third day, the game ended in another draw.

Lord's Cricket Ground

Durham went on to win the 2009 championship and played the MCC in Abu Dhabi at the start of the 2010 season. In 2011 the champions were Lancashire. I listened to the online commentary for part of the game, there was no crowd noise and the only sound was of birds flying over the ground. I asked some of the Lancashire players what it was like when I saw them at the Parks. It seems I had a fairly good grasp on it; a big empty ground with big noisy birds flying overhead.  But the weather in Abu Dhabi is a little more warm, predictable and friendly than NW8, except perhaps during the sand storms. But it's not Lord's. 

I've been watching live cricket since 1981, after moving to the south east from the cricketing desert of Stoke-upon-Trent. As I've aged and the number and frequency of injuries has increased, I've given up playing and concentrated on umpiring and watching the game. Wherever and whenever possible, I'll watch through a long lens. I'm a very keen but not terribly accomplished cricket photographer.

Note: Peter is not media accredited at Lord's and his photos are not available for licence.

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) April cricket English cricket Lords MCC Peter Meade champion county champion county game cricket cricket photographer cricket photography cricket photos pjmeade sport http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/3/first Tue, 19 Mar 2013 12:03:44 GMT
Creedons Hotel http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/3/creedons-hotel This was my first night in an Irish Bar. A group of us flew out to Cork in November 2006 to meet up with some university friends and to celebrate their joint 50th birthdays. We stayed at Creedons Hotel in Inchigeelagh.

The first thing to say is that the quality of the photos is pretty poor. Although it was new and considered pretty good at the time, the Canon EOS 20D I was using struggled in the dim light even though I had pushed the sensitivity to the maximum. I had 2 lenses with me, the 50/1.8 and the 24-105/4; the 50/1.8 was probably a bit long in the cramped confines of the bar and to be honest I never liked that lens and especially not the awful background blur. I don't think I used it at all on this trip. Given the general noise of the images, I've converted them to BW.

The evening started off fairly quietly with a pint and a seat by the fire and then we waited for our friends to gather.

The first pintNight in an Irish Bar

Some had made it over from Germany and there were a fair number from the UK. Mid evening, some of the local people turned up and the musical instraments came out and we were trated to an evening of very good music.

MusicNight in an Irish Bar MusicNight in an Irish Bar I don't know the significance of the children dressed in masks and I can't remember what term was used to describe them, but they all piled into the bar, played music and then the food was served.

Children playing musicNight in an Irish Bar Music in masksNight in an Irish Bar

The last pintNight in an Irish Bar

The celebrations went on well into the night and the next morning we had breakfast in the bar before heading back to Cork airport.

I didn't photograph him, but the same man who was at the bar when we arrived the previous lunchtme was sitting in the bar at breakfast time with his pint.
It was a very good evening and all the better for being among friends and for being a complete surprise.

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) Cork Inchigeelagh Ireland Irish bar Peter Meade Peter Meade Photography birthday party celebration evening evening celebration irish music live music music pjmeade tourism travel travel photos http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/3/creedons-hotel Sat, 16 Mar 2013 13:42:45 GMT
Le Puy en Velay http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/3/le-puy-en-velay Running into the Fêtes Renaissance du Roi de l'Oiseau at Le Puy en Velay was something of a surprise and a bonus. We had planned to spend a week in the south of France in June, but due to a mix up of dates we ended up going in September and as the holiday in September was going to be cut short by me flying to Italy with the MCC and our son starting university, we decided to add a couple of extra days to the start of the holiday.

A flick through some Michelin green guides showed some spectacular photos of Le Puy en Velay, with its chapels and monuments perched on volcanic spurs in the town. So our itinerary for the trip to the south was going to be Chartres, which I like a lot and then on to Le Puy en Velay, and on to the south coast via the Millau viaduct and the A75.

When we got to Le Puy we were surprised to see throngs of people in fancy dress. At the hotel we were told that the Fêtes Renaissance du Roi de l'Oiseau was in full swing. I grabbed a couple of cameras and we headed into town.

The fête was centred in the town centre park, the Jardin Henri Vinay and the Place du Breuil beside it.

Music in the Jardin Henri VinayLe Puy en Velay Music in the Place du BreuilLe Puy en Velay

The Roi de l'Oiseau had set up camp in the Place du Breuil.

Roi de lLe Puy en Velay

Other small squares throughout the town were taken over as camp sites and music venues.

Town centre campingLe Puy en Velay Town centre musicLe Puy en Velay This group, Vagarem have a web site. They were good.

The old townLe Puy en Velay

Wandering around the old town, it was quite surreal to find tourists rubbing shoulders with the people in renaissance period dress and people in period clothes using digital cameras.

Le Puy en Velay The town also has some interesting points away from the fête, one such is the Black Madonna in Notre-Dame du Puy en Velay.

Black MadonnaLe Puy en Velay If you just happen to be in the Haute-Loire in mid September then this is a place you really should try to visit.

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) Bird King France Fêtes Renaissance du Roi de l'Oiseau Haute-Loire Le Puy en Velay Massif Central Peter Meade Peter Meade Photography Renaissance Renaissance dress Renaissance fair Renaissance music dressing up entertainment fair festival fete king of the birds music period dress pjmeade tourism travel travel photography travel photos http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/3/le-puy-en-velay Sat, 16 Mar 2013 09:42:01 GMT
Course camarguaise http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/3/course-camarguaise This event was photographed in St Chaptes in Gard.

Course Camarguaise is a French sport where the players pull tassels from between a bull's horns.

Black bull of the camagueCourse camarguaise

Not only to the bulls survive the day, some can attain celebrity status. I was told that in some cases there are statues to particularly successful bulls. 

 

There are teams of five players, some distract the bull and work it into a position where others can grab the tassels. The bulls are very aggressive and in order to survive, the players have to jump for their lives out of the arena.

JumpCourse camarguaise Sometimes the bulls get very, very aggressive and rip up the arena inner wall. I took two photos in this sequence, in one the frame was entirely red as the plank flew past my face.

flying plank - a bull ripping up the arena wall.Course camarguaise This one was on the other side of the arena and eventually the bull made its way into the passage around the edge of the ring. All the people in there had to jump for their lives.

Looking for troubleCourse camarguaise Once the action starts properly, it's fast and spectacular.

ActionCourse camarguaise ActionCourse camarguaise After the bull fights the bulls were run along the road to their transport, this is known as "bandido."

BandidoCourse camarguaise BandidoCourse camarguaise In the second bandido shot you can see the outline of a curly headed boy just above the bull's horns. That's my son Alexander.

When I took these shots, I look very close to the action, but in fact there was a very deep ditch between the road and a field I was in and I was perfectly safe. Since then, the ditch has been filled in and it's down to the riders' skill to keep the bulls under control.

This was my first exposure to the sport. At the time I was quite interested in trying to get some slightly blurred photos using slow shutter speed in the fashion of Ernst Haas and spent less time trying to get sharp action shots. I would like to photograph this again and see what else I could get. The gallery for these photos is here http://petermeadephotography.zenfolio.com/cc07 .

 

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_peter_(at)_themeades_(dot)_eu_ (Peter Meade Photography) France French sport Gard Languedoc-Roussillon Peter Meade St Chaptes bandido black bull black bull of the camargue bull fight bull running bullfight camargue black bull camargue bull camargue horse course camarguaise equestrian jumping men jumping toril http://www.petermeadephotography.com/blog/2013/3/course-camarguaise Fri, 15 Mar 2013 13:05:40 GMT