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The first event of 2021 that I attended was horse racing at Down Royal on 4th February 2021. The was again held under COVID-19 restrictions with no spectators allowed and also limited racing personnel. It was good that the meeting went ahead the normal atmosphere was lacking with no spectators in attendance. Hopefully with vaccine roll-out underway spectators will soon be allowed to attend.
The last event I attended in 2020 was at Down Royal on 17th December 2020. The meeting was held under strict Covid-19 conditions whereby no spectators were allowed to attend. It was held before Christmas on the 17th rather the usual date of Boxing Day to accommodate live TV viewing.
The picture shown is of Ben Crawford riding Dixie Flyer trained by his brother Stuart at Magheramourne near Larne winning the Bumper Race - the final flat race of the meeting
I gave a Zoom talk to members of my camera club on 13th October 2020.
The talk was titled "The impact on my photography of setting up a website" and I focused on my photography before and after setting up my website from the point of view of what I considered were photographic accomplishments.
I have attached a pointer to the slide set I used for the talk.
I gave a Zoom talk to a few members of my local camera club on Thursday 26th November 2020.
Storm Ciara was in progress over the UK and Ireland on Saturday 8th February 2020 - the Met Office had declared yellow warnings for rains and wind - when I attended the East Down Hunt Club Point to Point at Kirkistown ( a round trip of 96 miles for me). As I drove along the east side of Strangford Lough the sea was breaching the wall and cars travelling north were being lashed with sea water - very dangerous.
Kirkistown is flat and open , it is beside the car race track, so it was extremely windy and cold but was dry and sunny to start with but as the afternoon wore on it darkened and rain threatened.. The ground was firm and dry so no cars or lorries had to be towed out by tractor as has been the case at recent meetings at thus location.
There was a good turn out of horses but a smaller crowd than normal for this event. The was schooling after the racing with many horses taking part.
The rain came as I was driving out of Belfast and got heavier as I approached home. I was happy to het home dry with my change of clothing still in my bag.
I took 758 photographs and 239 keepers posted on my website.
My camera setting at the beginning were ISO 160, f2.8 and 1/2000th second and at the finish were ISO 800, f3.2 and shutter speed 1/1600th second.
I attended the East Down Point to Point Steeplechases on Saturday 25th January 2020 at Tyrella which is near Downpatrick and is overlooked by the Mourne Mountains. It is a scenic course with the mountains as a backdrop on a clear day. Occasonally there is snow on the peaks of Slieve Donard , the highest mountain in Northern Ireland at 850m. Unfortunately the horses are running towards the Mournes which means in order to include the mountains to horses are running away from the camera not towards.
It was dry day, dull and cold with a medium breeze and there was a good turnout. It was my first proper photographic outing since I was at Maralin in May 2019 because of a hip problem and subsequent operation in September but after a cautious start for the first three races I was able to move around almost normally for the last three - getting to the last fence and also the parade ring for the presentations.
I was pleased with my progress.
See photographs at: https://www.hmphotographs.com/p979756747
My photograph of Rory McIlroy leaving the green at Royal Portrush in 2005 after he had broken the course record with a score of 61 was published in the New York Times on 16/7/2019 just before the 2019 Open Championship started at Royal Portrush
I attended 12 events in 2019 as follows: 10 Horses Racing and Point to Points and 2 Golf events.
I had 91 photographs published in various newspaper - local, 2 national and 1 international.
The Horse events were:
The two golf events were at the British Open Golf Championship at Royal Portrush in July.
The number of visitors to my site for the year was 1955 and site page views were 28,585.
The visitors came from 71 countries.
My year was restricted because of a hip problem - see separate post .
I attended the following 12 events in the early part of 2019.
This was a shorter than normal list as I had been persevering with a hip problem for some time which was slowly reducing my mobility to the point were I was unable to attend events from April.
I managed to attend the Open Golf Championship in July with the aid of a crutch and got some images but was unable to move around the course to any degree so photographs were taken from limited viewpoints. I was unable to get to the new holes or any of the holes near the sea which was where the scenic images were.
I had a full hip replacement operation in September 2019 and hope to be back to full fitness for the 2020 season.
The Forty Thousandth (40,000) visitor accessed my site today - Tuesday 14th January 2020. This has been a major goal.
Zenfolio records all access requests related to your account, and makes this statistical information available to you in real time for each photograph, gallery, group, and account overall.
A gallery is counted to have a visitor if at least one full size photo from it is viewed (viewing of thumbnails does not count). It's important to realise if the same visitor looks at another photo in the same gallery, only the photo counter will be incremented but not the gallery counter.
A photographer's "visitors" are a sum of all unique visitors to his or her photographs. The number of unique visitors determines your popularity, as well as the popularity of any gallery or photograph.
I joined Zenfolio in February 2010 after using a number of other website providers.
I first began posting photographs to the web in 2006 and used a provider called Beanpix which met most of my needs but it went out of business. I then joined Fotopic which also met my requirements but again it went out of business. Whilst using these two services I used Clikpic which I liked but I needed a facility which allowed me to load 1000s of photographs which Clikpic did not provide for.
A year before Fotopic went out of business I began to use Zenfolio as I could see the writing on the wall for Fotopic - slow response to problems. unexpected downtime, delays in producing prints, until eventually it just went off the air.
I try to annotate all my photographs and all my time spent uploading and annotating photographs - hundreds of hours - on Beanpix and Fotopic was lost- a very annoying experience.
This image of 16 year old Rory McIlroy leaving the 18th green at Royal Portrush Golf Club in 2005 was the most viewed image on my site in 2019.
Rory birdied this hole to score 61 to break the record for the course. He shot 33 on the front nine and 28 on the back nine and had 26 putts.
The course layout was changed for the 2019 Open - 2 new holes were added with the old 17th and 18th being replaced - so a new record exists for the new course layout. Rory's record will therefore never be beaten.
This image shows Steve Ovett at the start of the 1978 International Cross Country Race at Mallusk near Belfast. Steve won the race in 24 minutes 8 seconds. The image is the most viewed on my site for the period 2010 to 2019.Steve went on th win the 800m Olympic Gold Medal at Moscow in 1980.
Picture by Norman Potter of Roger Bannister breaking 4 minutes for the mile on 5th May 1954.
Another superb photograph by Neil Leifer of Secretariat winning the 1973 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
First event of the New Year was the Antrim International Cross Country.
Photographs of the Senior Men's and Womens Races at: http://www.hmphotographs.com/f75810648
I attended the second running of this race in 1978 at Mallusk Playing Fields near Belfast. Steve Ovett won the race on that occassion
Photographs of the race at: http://www.hmphotographs.com/p557284311
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