Around this time of the year, two things are pretty constant in my diary; The Photography Show & Ladies Day at Cheltenham Races.

This year, the races came a few days before TPS and I decided to take my Fujifilm X100F with me, as opposed to the X70 that I took last year, or the X30 that I took the year before.

For some reason, perhaps the economic climate, perhaps the weather, I’m not sure, but the course didn’t feel as alive as previously and I decided upon arriving at Cheltenham to shoot as much of the character of the people, as opposed to those gambling.  I never concentrate on the horses when I’m there.  For me, I’m totally interested in the people.  Much to the annoyance of the group of friends I go with as I’m always disappearing during the races with my camera.

I didn’t shoot much to be honest.  It was a struggle.  The light was harsh and the ambience a little muted.  In total I took around 300 frames.

I’ve been using Alien Skin Exposure more for my personal stuff recently and I had been dabbling with a very high contrast black and white recipe based on the Kodalith film simulation in ASE.

Kodalith is a high contrast film sometimes used to create art for backlit animation on an animation stand.  – PrintWiki

With that in the back of my mind, during the early part of the day when the sun was high, I shot a lot trying to make use of the harsh shadows and light.  In some cases, I was happy with the results on the LCD and in others, I was disappointed.

I shot almost everything from the hip, zone focused, and as others have spotted, it’s slightly annoying that the X100F resorts to about 2 metres focus point every time the camera is reset.  Hopefully, this is something that will get addressed in firmware as I’m not aware of any technical reason the camera should do this.

I’m a huge fan of filmic (is that word?) looks.  I try and achieve a film look to all my wedding photography even though I’ve never shot with it professionally.  In fact, I have no experience of shooting film of any kind.  And double in fact, I didn’t even pick up a digital camera until eight years ago so I offer no advice on whether the Alien Skin film emulation is accurate, or not.

What I do know, is that I like the look of this.

The images are not necessarily artistic, but I do like the simple fact that it reminds me of a fun day.  And that’s what photography is about to me; memories.

If you’ve ever been to The Cheltenham Festival, you’ll know it’s a blend of serious racegoers and serious party goers.

As mentioned, I tried to get in close, zone focused and I really wanted to fill the frame where possible to get an idea of the event.

The processing is kind of extreme.  I like it, though.  It’s a high-contrast reminder of a pretty high-intensity day.

When I moved into the drink tent, later on, the light was flat and low – almost garish, and actually, any kind of black and white (for me) would be preferable here (or some may have used flash I suppose).

These images aren’t edited from the camera.  By that, I mean, I’ve double processed them directly in Alien Skin from the raf files from the camera.  I haven’t (purposefully) tried to recover shadow etc as I was trying to get this high contrast look.

Anyhow, a different perspective maybe, of behind the scenes at Cheltenham Races.

Here are a few of my favourites. Exif is intact.

x100f-alien-skin-exposure-1 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-2 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-3 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-4 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-5 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-6 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-7 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-8 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-9 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-10 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-11 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-12 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-13 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-14 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-15 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-16 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-17 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-18 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-19 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-20 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-21 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-22 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-23 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-24 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-25 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-26 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-27 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-28 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-29 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-30 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-31 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-32 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-33 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-34 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-35 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-36 x100f-alien-skin-exposure-37

A quick reminder that I still have spaces on my Fujifilm Day in Lausanne, Switzerland in May.  It’s only £70 and is a full day event, being put on by Fujifilm Switzerland.  Maybe see you there.

Happy Snapping

  • Kevin