The Christmas Carnivals are over for another year. This year only 3 days with Maryborough deciding not to hold them. I wish I could say I was disappointed, but I was glad it was only 3 days. It was a lot of traveling, going from Melbourne to Horsham, then to Bendigo and Shepparton and driving home very late on the last night.
I made the decision early on that I would only do a few hours in Horsham. It started at two and my intention was to leave by five. Well, it took me longer to get there than I thought, so I didn’t get there until half past two, and when I wanted to leave the wheelraces were happening so I had to stay for those, and then there were the presentations, so needed to get those, especially when Jason Niblett was presenting them. I think I got away closer to six.
The racing was good and the temperature was great. Unfortunately with Victoria experiencing a locust plague, the grasshoppers weren’t so good. They were everywhere. You had to be careful walking around because it stirred them up and then they were flying around everywhere. They were hard to see in the grass, they camouflage very well. In the photo to the left there are two, see if you can see them.
I knew they would be around, but I wasn’t really prepared for them. I was also informed that they weren’t as bad as they had been. That surprised me. I thought they were bad. I had put some netting on the front of my car so they didn’t go onto the radiator and overheat the car, but apparently it would have been OK anyway.
Bendigo was the next day and I had booked myself into some nice accommodation and wanted to spend as much time in it as I could. I arrived at Bendigo about eight thirty and was so relieved to find the place good. The racing didn’t start until three on Tuesday so I had a lovely morning reading the paper and watching some DVD’s I was given for Christmas.
The velodrome at Bendigo is great. Big, but good. It is red, which makes it a great backdrop for photos. People stand out on it and the photos look great. If you want to check out the photos look at my website Leanne Cole Photography. I also like the shapes and surroundings around the track. I got some great shots last year and I was hoping to repeat them or rather improve on them from last year.
However, one of the things that I really took to first were the clouds. I like collecting photos of clouds and I hope that one day I will be able to learn photoshop well enough that I will be able to use the clouds to put into other shots of landscapes that have boring skies. Well that is the plan. I am sure people thought I was crazy taking photos of the clouds all the time. They were so wispy and I liked the fairy floss look of them.
The stands at Bendigo are also exceptional and I liked the look of them in photos from last time. I knew this time that I needed more light on the faces of the riders and I did my best to achieve that. Not always sure I managed to get it, but I will find out when I try using them for prints. They had some writing, the name of the stand, on the top but during the day it keep blending into the sky in the photos. At night, and after another ground sunset., something that you can nearly always be guaranteed of during summer, especially when the weather is warm, are sunsets, red skies and clouds that look like they are on fire.
Once the sun went down photos became easier to take because the shadows from the harsh sun were gone and the flash was easier to control, though not always the case. I did try taking some photos without the flash, but they only worked if I wanted to get overall shots from a distance. In the photo to the right I quite like the deep blue colour of the sky. I had to try several different setting before getting this one and being happy with it. This was before a wheelrace and the men were just riding around while there holders/pushers were getting into place. Wheelraces, or handicap races are not my favourite to photograph. I find that all the holders stay out in the middle and can make it really hard for me to get any good shots. Many shots have been spoiled because of those people. I can’t say anything to them, but they do make it really hard. On a big track like this it isn’t too bad, but at DISC it can be impossible.
The Frank McCaig Stand, there it is. I don’t know what they do to it at night to make it stand out, but stand out it does. I loved it. I would love to get back and take more photos of the racing in Bendigo just to try and get that perfect shot of the stands with the racing. It will take me longer I suspect than just going up there once a year.
The locusts or grasshoppers at Bendigo were worse than Horsham, though I had been told that they were really bad, but they must have mostly moved on by the time we got there. When I got to Shepparton the next day, there didn’t seem to be any. The weather up until then had been quite good, though it looked like it was going to be a hot day in Shepparton, as always, and it was. The cycling club at Shepparton had lost its roof back in Febuary and they still hadn’t had it replaced. We were told work was starting on the new one in Febuary, so I hope it goes well and look forward to seeing it the next time I’m there.
Our reprieve from the locusts were short lived, and out of the three days I think it is fair to say that they were the worse in Shepparton. They were flying to the west all day. Quite a few shots were ruined because of flying locusts. All the dots in the image left are the locusts. This man was walking through the middle and he stirred them up and away they went. I think this is probably the best image I got of them. You can see how bad they are, though, once again, not as bad as they have been. I’m really glad I didn’t get to see them at their worse.
They would fly up the west end of the track and sit on it. More so as the sun went down. I don’t know how many squished grasshoppers there were by the end of the racing. Quite extraordinary really.
Though with Shepparton I will remember the bugs. Grasshoppers during the day and lots and lots and lots of mosquitoes at night. You could see them flying around everywhere. They were terrible. Caused by all the rain they have had and the water lying around everywhere. Why does there always have to be consequences from the weather?
So they are over for another year. Time will tell if I go again. But it was nice catching up with people and also taking photos of track outdoors for a change, though, not something I would want to do too often. Too hot.