Thursday, 29 December 2011

Back to scanning rally photographs

Been busy in the run up to Christmas and since then I have been suffering from a cold.  Apart from family stuff no pictures taken in the last couple of weeks. 

I took the opportunity to do some scans of my old rally pictures.  The first two are from the 1976 Circuit of Ireland Rally.  The one of Billy Coleman was the first I had published in a UK national magazine (Motoring News) and the one of Bengt Lundstrom won me a prize in a local competition - an 8 track cassette player - remember those? - I sold it and bought something photographic instead!

All shot with Pentax Spotmatic on Tri-X rated at ISO 800.
Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Billy Coleman/Dan O'Sullivan

Bengt Lundstrom/Fred Gallagher

And I couldn't resist this one - of a very young Ari Vatanen (later to become World Rally Champion and Finnish MEP) on the Donegal International Rally in 1975.

Ari Vatanen/David Richards

All pictures copyright Leslie Ashe.

See also posts for 13 and 20 November for more rally pictures.

See for more rally pictures.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Polariser - another comparison

In the course of reviewing some older pictures I came across these two.  My polariser was on the lens for both pictures but in the first one it was turned off and in the second it was almost fully on.  Everything else was identical - exposure and processing in Lightroom.  Which do you prefer?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Mourne Mountains 12 December 2010

A day's walking in the Mourne Mountains today with some friends .  On the way out I noticed a rock which I had photographed before (on 30 December 2010) and I decided to take another.  The thing which caught my eye from a distance is the patch of white lichen which stands out very starkly against the rest of the rock. 

It's interesting to compare the different treatments a year apart - 2010 is a bit underexposed to preserve the detail in the mist on the background.  Both shot with a Canon G10.

 30 December 2010

11 December 2011
Just walked round to the front of my house this evening to see this:

Canon G10

Monday, 5 December 2011

Scanning - SW USA

I decided to go back over some old transparencies of my trip to SW USA in 2005 to see how well they would scan. 

Pre-dawn- Grand Canyon

Sunset - Grand Canyon

Behind the waterfall - Zion National Park

Dawn - Bryce Canyon

What I noted was that however much I might complain about noise in digital capture ( too much time is spent pixel-peeing but that's another story), it's still less than the grain which shows up in these scans.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Greyabbey sunset

Friday afternoon I was otherwise engaged and as a result missed a spectacular sunset - I was told the sky was ablaze with colour!  Yesterday was fairly miserable with high winds and rain but today the rain had cleared and although the wind was still quite strong I decided, after consulting the tide tables, to take a quick run down to Greyabbey in the hope of a sunset.  Unfortunately there was a band of cloud low on the horizon with the result that colours were more subtle than I would have liked.

However, the tide had just turned when I arrived and after about 20 minutes the mud flats were starting to emerge just around sunset.  This meant that there was still sufficient water lying on the mud to give a reflection.  I took a number of shots immediately after the sun went down and hung around hoping for the high cloud to be illuminated from below.  Didn't happen because a rain cloud drifted in.  The joys of landscape photography - there's always another day! 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Back to landscape

The last couple of posts have made this look like a rallying blog so I thought I should get back to landscape and include a scanned picture from a hillwalking trip to the Stubai Alps in Austria in 1998.  This was part of the collection of pictures I showed to my colleagues as part of our weekend marking 25 years of hillwalking together. The mountain in the background (left of centre) with the glacier leading to the summit is the Wilder Freiger (3418m - 11214ft) which we climbed the day before.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Scanning- rally photography

In my previous blog I mentioned that I had dipped back into my rallying photography just to see how the new scanner would perform with my old Tri-X images.   I was looking at some from the 1980 Circuit of Ireland Rally and having forgotten who won I Googled the result.  This took me to a site called Rallybuzz where there was a report of the event and to my surprise 3 photographs taken by me were included but credited to someone else!  They were very poor copies and obviously had been scanned from somewhere else.  As I recall these photographs were published in Rally Sport Magazine and I presume this was the source. 

I quickly located the negatives and sent a quick email to the site together with watermarked scans of the 3 pictures.  To their credit Rallybuzz came back within an hour apologising and changed the credits.  However I was not happy with such poor copies being credited to me and I sent them unwatermarked copies for inclusion together with additional pictures of the winner Jimmy McRae and again they were changed within the hour.  Full marks to Rallybuzz for dealing with this so quickly -

                                                                          Ari Vatanen

                                                                     Malcolm Wilson

                                                                      Jimmy McRae

                                                                           Ger Buckley

See for more rally pictures.

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Our hill-walking group celebrates 25 years this coming weekend and I have been tasked with providing photographs of team members over that period.  No problem, I thought, until I discovered that my Minolta scanner has given up.  What to do?   After a bit of research I decided on a new scanner and am now the owner of a Plustek 7600i. 

It didn't take long to master the basics (although there is much more to discover) after sorting out a few software issues (I really think they were user error!).  The scanner is fast (at least for the basic scans that I need for this event) and I am really surprised at how much better it scans compared to the old Minolta at its best. 

This opens up a whole new world -  my 35mm landscape pictures plus my pictures from 20 years of rally photography (1972 - 1992).  Sounds like a lot of work but I think some time spent scanning selected pictures will be worthwhile.

I won't include examples from the hill-walking because they are pictures of the team members but below are some monochrome scans from my days of rally photography (Nikon FM and FE - film used was Tri-X rated at ISO 800).

Circuit of Ireland 1984 Jimmy McRae

Circuit of Ireland 1984 Andrew Wood

Scottish Rally 1984 JImmy McRae

RAC Rally 1983 Stig Blomqvist

For more rally photographs see

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Donegal weekend

With the prospect of a dry (even sunny) weekend we decided to take off to SW Donegal.  The object of the weekend was a visit to our favourite hotel and especially its restaurant, rather than creative photography. However, some time was found for photography and here are a couple of images that are pleasing but without any particular merit:

Spume on beach

St John's Point lighthouse sunrise

I found a new location for sunsets on a beach near to Killybegs.  The beach's aspect means that it is probably only good  for sunsets from November to February. I came back with a couple of useful sunset images.  The first from that beach and the second from the shore close to the hotel:

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Landscape Photography Magazine

Some success.  Issue 9 of Landscape Photography Magazine has published a small portfolio of my work.  The editor contacted me having seen some of my work on Flickr and identified a number of pictures he would like to include for a portfolio.  A couple of the ones chosen are not my strongest pictures but of course everyone has their own idea of what is a good photograph.  However I was pleased that they are also using my photograph of Delicate Arch in Utah for next month's cover.

Here are the ones I like:
Strangford Lough sunrise

Sunrise Orlock Point County Down

Greyabbey sunset

Next month's cover:

Delicate Arch, Utah

And the ones I'm not so keen on (because I think I have better ones from each location):

Monument Valley sunset

Mellon Udrigle, Wester Ross, Scotland

Autumn colour

One of the wettest autumns since records began left many trees looking grey rather than the expected colour.  I visited Tollymore Forest Park on the first day for weeks when it was to be dry but without any great expectation of coming away with good pictures.  This is an ongoing project to photograph aspects of the Park at different times of the year.

It was better than I hoped.  The oaks were well coloured and the beech had just started to turn.  Fortunately the recent winds hadn’t ripped the leaves off the trees. It was a cloudless day – perfect for those using the park for walks but the high contrast had me searching out areas of shade along the Shimna River.

The one favourable aspect of the day was that there was no wind which allowed me to photograph autumn leaves with long exposures against a background of blurred water in the Shimna River.

Tollymore rarely leaves me without anything worthwhile and I was pleased with a triangular pool in a rock which was filled with beech leaves.