Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Vintage Ploughing Match - Horsepower of the Horsey Type

Advertised in one of the local pubs for the 16th October was a Vintage Ploughing Match taking place in the nearby village of Trysull. So, come the 16th, with the unseasonably warm weather and bright skies, a friend and I decided to pop along with the cameras for an hour. By the time we got there virtually all of the tractors had finished, but fortunately the working horses were still hard at it.

Im afraid I don't know one type of horse from another so I'll leave you to decide if they are Shires, Clydesdales or Suffolk Punches.

From chatting with some of the spectators and a couple of the competitors I was told that part of the skill of ploughing with horses is to keep them walking. Apparently it is a lot easier for the horses to trot but it makes the plough almost impossible to control.

This pair definately preferred the idea of a trot.

I was also surprised how patiently the horses would wait while taking a break, some of the pairs just stood quietly on their own.

A few more mixed photos


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Flying In A Russian Classic - The Antonov AN2 Colt - Worlds Largest Single Engined Biplane

Although I don't fly myself, many of you are aware of my passion for aviation which over the years has provided the chance to fly in a number of different types. Recently, thanks to the generosity of a friend, I had the rare opportunity to take a short flight in an Antonov An2, one of only two currently operating within the UK.

Widely recognised as the worlds largest single engined biplane, (An3 is slightly bigger, but is a modified An2) the An2 first took to the air in 1947. By the end of the production run in 1991 nearly 18,000 examples had been produced by the Soviet Union, Poland and China, the latter two countries producing the type under licence. Code named 'Colt' by NATO the An2 has been in use with many nations including Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Byelorussia, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Georgia, Germany,Hungary, Laos, Latvia, Mali, Mongolia, Nicaragua, North Korea, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovak Republic, Tadjikistan, Ukraine, USSR, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

At 6'3" USA Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann provides some idea of the size of the An2

The example that I got the opportunity to fly on, was the Lithuanian registered LY-AUP. Based at Tattenhill this example is often seen attending airshows in the capable hands of John Calverley. On this occasion a friend had called by to say that he would be flying the AN2, with John, into Halfpenny Green the following day and that all being well there might be an opportunity to take a trip. Well the photos tell the story, although time was very tight, Marcus kindly made the trip happen.

     The business end and the back end - basic but functional.                                 Smokey start up!

John and Marcus line the An2 up for a landing on the 10 grass strip.

The flight was over all too soon, but I owe a big thank you to John for sparing the time (hope you weren't too late back to Tattenhill) and Marcus for providing the unique opportunity to sample the wonderful An2.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

New Birmingham Library - The First 12 Months

One of my current photographic commissions is to undertake progress and finished photography of the prestigious New Library of Birmingham Development.

Being built by the multi-national Wolverhampton-based construction specialist Carillion, the multi million pound Library of Birmingham occupies a prime site on Centenary Square between the Repertory Theatre and Baskerville House. When complete it will have the capacity to accommodate more than three million visitors a year making it the second largest library in the UK. Only the British Library which operates by appointment only and does not lend, will be larger.

Designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo, the new library is already becoming an iconic landmark, as the expanding glazed elevations are adorned with the circular metal features. (See my earlier September post - Can You Tell What It Is Yet). A quick search on Google against 'New Birmingham Library', and the number of results alone gives some idea of the importance and prominence of this development. Even attending site on a monthly basis there is a real buzz about the project, a feeling that sadly lacks on many projects these days.

The following images simply provide a snapshot of the site over the first twelve months of its development, look out for further images in future posts.

Site of New Birmingham Library - January 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - February 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - March 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - April 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - May 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - June 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - July 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - August 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - September 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - October 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - November 2010

Site of New Birmingham Library - December 2010