Condor Airlines/Thomas Cook – 757 Plane “Sunny Heart” Time-Lapse

Global Branding Initiative

Thomas Cook has rebranded their logo replacing the ‘globe’ based logo with a ‘Sunny Heart’. This marketing initiative would link together all their brands under one common logo. When Thomas Cook and Condor were thinking about how to demonstrate this, they chose a time-lapse video and of course Vivid to produce it.

The Sunny Heart logo being sprayed
The Sunny Heart logo being sprayed

This is what Condor said about the Sunny Heart initiative… “To express our mutual identity and establish closer ties with other like-minded companies, we are uniting under a common symbol: a sunny heart. We live by the values expressed by the heart – trusted, personal and innovative. The heart will follow our customers throughout their journey – from initial enquiry, aboard of our aircrafts, during their stay and all the way home. It will simplify their choices by offering flexibility, give assurance and provide a visual reminder that they are well looked after.”

As one of their leading brands, Condor Airlines wanted to commemorate their rebranding of a plane with a time-lapse video to document the change. Having worked with Vivid Photo Visual before, and being a leading UK time-lapse expert, they called upon Vivid to produce this innovative video.

Benefits of Time-lapse Videos

Time-Lapse videos have many benefits to them. Here is a small selection:

  1. Show long and complex processes quickly
  2. Provide interesting and innovative videos
  3. Captivate the viewer
  4. Can incorporate standard footage
  5. Work well with social media promotion.

The Time-lapse Process

Once we had received the job request, Vivid worked closely with Condor and Air Livery to coordinate all aspects of the plane re-spray video. The video was hot at Air Livery’s Norwich based Head Quarters. The job was set over a 12-day period with obviously a focus on the rebranding of the Sunny Heart logo on the tail. Vivid always have at least two fixed camera covering the entirety of the shoot. We then supplement this by have multiple cameras covering every aspect of the process. This is so we do not miss a shot. A typical job can capture between 3 to 4GB of data.

The wing of the plane being painted white.
The wing of the plane being painted white.
Sun flare hitting the camera as the scaffolding is taken apart.
Sun flare hitting the camera as the scaffolding is taken apart.

Embracing Video Promotion

One of the benefits of working with a company and brand like Condor Airlines is how they embrace Video promotion. They fully understand the benefit of showing the company inside and out. This entails showing all aspects of how the company is run and the increased social media interaction that is associated with their effort. Their videos are from the construction of their engines, to new cabin interior refits. They also include fun videos around festive periods for example, or more serious videos showing their important charitable efforts.

Image showing how Condor Airlines is embracing Video Promotion and Social Media
Image showing how Condor Airlines is embracing Video Promotion and Social Media

From a commercial aspect this has lead to over 3 quarters of a million YouTube watches. They have over 2000 subscribers and on the social media side, nearly 8,000 twitter followers and 172,000 people who like the Facebook page. These are impressive numbers and only likely to increase in the future with more people who believe in the brand. What this does is help push the brand forward in what is a very competitive industry. All these number are people who will continue to receive high quality video content from Condor Airlines. This all builds up the brand presence and image of Condor Airlines as they look to the future.

The Condor 757 just about to leave with it's gleaming new livery and paint respray
The Condor 757 just about to leave with it’s gleaming new livery and paint respray

Our Final Thoughts

At Vivid, we are extremely proud to have worked on such a prestigious project as this one and are extremely pleased with our output. This was all aided by the teams at Air Livery and Condor Airlines. We look forward to hopefully further work these companies in the future. We will of course keep our eye on further videos appearing on the Condor Airlines YouTube channel. If you would like to find out more about our Time-lapse service, please click on Vivid’s time-lapse production page.

The reveal shot of the New Livery and Sunny Heart Logo
The reveal shot of the New Livery and Sunny Heart Logo

Losing one stone in a week – My experience of the diet

My weight loss experience of the losing a stone in a week diet

Losing a stone in a week - Vivid Photo Visual
Losing a stone in a week.

My Background

Hello, my name is Glen Mackintosh and I work at Vivid Photo VisualPreviously, Graham had undertaken the ‘Lose a stone in a week’ diet and lost just under the stone. I think it is useful to provide you with a very brief synopsis of my weight and background.

I am 6ft1 (and I’m tons of fun and I dress to a tee). At the start of the last year, I weighed my heaviest ever at 14.7 stone. Through exercise, cutting out cheese sandwiches and aggressive betting with Graham, I got down to 13 stone. This has over time crept back up to my current weight of 13.7 stone.

The reason why I want to do this diet is because even though I play football 2/3 times a week, I can not lose this weight. My friend also did this diet recently and lost 9 pounds, so if I lose something like that, I would be very happy.

I just wanted to provide a daily update on my experience of the this diet. This is not my diet so if you die then it is on you or your family.

Losing 1 stone in 1 week - Vivid Photo Visual
Losing 1 stone in 1 week

Day 1 – Starting weight 13.68st

Breakfast

1 slice of dry toast with 1 grilled tomato or tinned tomato.Was not looking forward to this but I just put some tomatoes onto the toast and it was surprisingly nice. The milk/sugar-less coffee was not easy to take, I can not remember the last time that I did not have milk. This was not going to be an easy week but it is only a week.

Lunch

Fresh fruit any amount. This is where I messed up, the 2 bananas, 1 apple and half a punnet of Raspberries was no way near enough to suffice my increasingly hungry state. I should of doubled the amount taken and by the middle of the afternoon, I was starting to feel a bit sick and despondent. The black coffee was getting harder to take by each cup.

Dinner

2 Hard boiled eggs, salad and grapefruit. Unsurprisingly I came home early (I was starving). After repeated requests to my wife to go nuts with the salad (of certain meals it is not about the quantity), my wife came through for me. Even before the Grapefruit, I felt satisfied and feeling much better, the grapefruit was the bitter icing on the non-existent cake. That night I felt pretty good although it was hard(ish) as we had friends over and they cracked open a new case of red wine we had just received.

This was one of the harder days because of the content and because it was a shock to the system. My lesson from today is go mad on the fruit option. Will update tomorrow.

1st Days Loss – 3.2lbs

Day 2 – 13.36st

Breakfast

Grapefruit and 1 boiled egg. I am starting to like the pink grapefruits and I love boiled eggs, so the meal was not too bad. The only problem was my little girl requesting some of my egg and as she had said please I could not resist. I was not full but certainly was not hungry.

Lunch

Grilled chicken and tomatoes and toast. On the diet sheet it did not stipulate the quality of toast as it normally would, so I took advantage of this and got my local sandwich shop to produce the thickest sandwich of chicken and tomatoes you have ever seen. Not exactly sure if the chicken was grilled (it looked it) but not too bothered as I was starving at this point.

Lose a stone in a week diet - Steak
Lovely Steak

Dinner

Grilled steak and salad. My wife had visited the local market and bought some good quality but modestly sized steaks (even though I said several times to go large on the steaks). This was with some salad, which I made sure I finished all of it. The problem I was facing was this was football night, where I was expected to run around for well over an hour. I will say that my energy levels were certainly reduced, but that could be as much to do with the lack of food as much as the humidity.

When I got back home, there was nothing all night, no snacks, no cheese blocks, just isolation from all food. Sadly I have found myself getting excited about fruit tea. How the mighty have fallen.

I woke up this morning at 13.12st, not too shabby. You can start to see the weight-loss around my face but still the belly remains, hopefully diminished but still there. Onwards and inwards… See you tomorrow.

2nd Days Loss – 2.4lbs

Day 3 – 13.12st

This diet has started to be miserable, I was in the park the other day and saw kids playing football. I wanted to kick the ball the other end of the pitch, so that they felt the misery that I am feeling at the moment.

I am listless, quick to cause an argument, always and I repeat (for emphasis), always thinking about food. You do forget that you are on the diet and think “ooh I will have a bowl of cereal” and then quickly remember that this is not allowed, no snacking folks. I think my little girl is my worried about my unnerving stare as she drinks her nightly milk. I miss milk.

To be fair I am being dramatic, it is not that bad at all and weirdly I am find evening time (normally our usual shared bag of chocolate with my wife, she has the majority) a lot easier than I thought I would.

Breakfast 

Grapefruit and 1 boiled egg. Same as the day before and again my little girl using the key trigger of “please”, requested some of my egg, I duly obliged, although it was more of a slither of white coloured air than actual egg. Desperate times call for desperate measure people. Getting used to the grapefruit as I try to imagine them as bitter oranges.

Lunch

Fresh fruit any amount. I have learnt my lessons from the previous day of fruit for lunch and to excuse my calculated pun, went bananas for the quantity of fruit.  To be precise I consumed 2 bananas, 1 apple, a punnet of cherries, half a punnet of raspberries and 2 kiwis. Yes I felt a bit ill after this quantity but at least I was not hungry (my key goal). As the afternoon progressed, I did feel a bit lethargic, but that also could be due to the hot weather. But I have learnt my lesson…. eat a lot of fruit.

Dinner 

2 grilled Lamb chops and salad (I forgot to have the grapefruit allowed). On my drive home, even though I had told my mum I was dieting, my mum described in great detail what she cooked for my brothers meal. This only made me place the car accelerator closer to the floor.

When I got home I must admit, my sole purpose was not to find out about my child’s picnic in the park, (more food talk), but to harass my wife to finish the food. Again I love Salad and the chops were lovely, so overall a good and enjoyable meal.

I woke up this morning at 13.02st, so while the weight-loss has slowed down, it is still going down. My wife commented this morning on my weight-loss around my face and torso. I have football tonight, so we will see how the energy levels are. Onwards and inwards… See you tomorrow.

Day 4 – 13.02st

I feel I must start with a semi apology, a good friend of mine pointed out that I has misplaced a few words in my previous update. This might be true but whilst it looks like I dedicate half the morning to this, in reality it is about 5 minutes.

My daily food lust has spilt over into the night. I long to have a normal cup of tea. Soon… Although she is thinking that she is quiet, I can hear my wife eating biscuits and chocolate in the kitchen. It nice for her to hide her gluttony, but it only exacerbates my pangs of hunger. The chinese banquet I am having on Monday is invading my dreams and becoming the main focus of my life.

Breakfast

1 slice of dried toast. 1 slice of dried toast….. I will let that sink in for a moment. 1 slice of dried toast, it is as unexciting and tasteless as it sounds. I have had to call in my new friend, introducing Mr lemon juice. Whilst I m not the biggest fan of lemon juice in general, it has over the duration of this diet being called into action numerous times, just to make the food a bit less dry. This time my little girl was not pestering daddy for any of my food.

Lemon juice the best thing for this diet
This will help you through the difficult times

Lunch

Fresh fruit any amount. Having learnt my lesson, I again went overboard on fruit quantity. I had 1 apple, 1 banana, half a punnet of raspberries, half a punnet of strawberries and 2 kiwis. I love fruit but having this amount of fruit in one go is not the nicest situation. To be fair, this surely has to be the first time that I have ever had my 5-a-day recommended daily allowance (I await some clever bod to point that statement out as incorrect “actually 2 kiwis would only constitute half a portion”).

Dinner

2 Hard boiled eggs and salad (I did not have the grapefruit allowed). Whilst it is getting monotonous, I am still partial to a salad and I love eggs anytime, so it was not too bad. Not that I am becoming obsessed with weighing myself (I am lying to myself) but I weighed myself before and after football. 13.1st before and 12.12st after my 75 minutes of football.

I do not know whether it was the lack of energy, the hot temperatures or me throwing myself around the pitch, but it was hard and I could feel it afterwards, I even woke up with stiff legs this morning. Having said all that, I had lost 3 pounds in the process, so it was a good step in the right direction. This was the first time since my early 30s that I have been under 13st, so I did feel somewhat elated.

I woke up this morning at 12.11st, so it was a big jump in weight-loss from the previous day, although I attribute some of this to the diet, the main thrust came from the football. Onwards and inwards… See you tomorrow….

Day 5 – 12.11st

It is on the home front now as I can see an end to this week. I felt good to have lost 10 pounds so far and also that on Monday I do not have to have just fruit for Lunch.

My wife has done a diet-lite but still has some chocolate biscuits at nighttime. As mentioned she eats them in the kitchen away from my eyes and over the sink which cuts down on crumbs around the house.

I do find myself wistfully thinking and talking with family and friends about food as if I was some elderly person recollecting on what used to be.

Breakfast

1 slice of dried toast. 1 slice of dried toast….. it does not get any better. What more can I say.

Lunch

Fresh fruit any amount. This is getting hard,  I love fruit but as a main meal it is becoming painful. Again went mad and had 1 banana, 1 apple, a punnet of strawberries and 2 kiwis. It is becoming a marathon.

Dinner 

Salad, get used to it.
Salad, get used to it.

Fresh Fish and Salad. My wife prepared a lovely Sea bass, which was joined by,  yes you have guessed it…. salad. Unlike fruit, I am still enjoying salad so not too much of a problem. What was a problem, was I then attended a good friend’s family barbecue. It looked a lovely spread and was not easy to watch people drinking alcohol and tucking into sausages. This social situation was made worse, when they offered my daughter a sausage and it had to brush past my mouth to make sure it was not too hot for her. Anyway 2 more days.

I woke up this morning at 12.11st, so no drop at all. Maybe today’s breakfast of Grapefruit juice will aid the weight-loss. Onwards and inwards… See you tomorrow….

Day 6 – 12.11st

Weekend update as I did not have the time to do this yesterday.

Breakfast 

Grapefruit
I hope you like grapefruit juice

1 glass of grapefruit juice. What more can I say.

Lunch

Fresh fruit any amount. This diet has pushed me to the edge with the quantity of fruit I have eaten. Thankfully this has been the last lunch of fruit.

Dinner

Grilled Chicken Carrots and Grapefruit. Not a fan of cooked carrots but they were steamed just right by my wife, so not too bad. Used some juice from the grapefruit, to make the chicken tastier and less dry. Seemed to work.

My wife forced me to go and get some chocolate for her, on the proviso that I needed a large amount of eggs for the final day (I could of got the eggs in the morning). Even had to fetch (not whipped she was holding the baby) the bag of sweets from the kitchen for her. Liberties..

I woke up this morning at 12.11st, so no drop at all.

Day 7 – 12.11st

This is the final day and to be fair not a bad day to finish on. There is a lot of eggs and a steak meal at the end.

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs and Grilled or tinned tomatoes. This is more like, 4 eggs scrambled (quantity not important) and some tinned tomatoes. Great breakfast, felt full up.

Lunch

2 Poached eggs. Since my 7 am breakfast, I had not had anything to eat. After meeting friends, by 2.30pm my stomach was eating itself. Thankfully my wife and mum produced two lovely poached eggs on a bed of spinach and I was full for now.

Dinner 

Grilled Steak and Salad. I bought 2 medium steaks from the market and made a nice meal with some salad. Again Mr Lemon came out for seasoning.

This was my last night of in-effect fasting, so I drank my fruit teas and watched the F1 and tried not to think about my wife sitting next to me scoffing on gummy sweets and chocolate bars, drinking her milky beverages.

The diet for me had slowed down by this point as I think I had reached a plateau of weight. Now I was ready for my final weigh in tomorrow morning.

My final thoughts…losing a stone in a week diet

I woke up this morning at 12.1ost, so overall I had lost close to 11lb. Before I started the diet I did not believe I would achieve the full stone weight loss. This was because I did not think I had a stone to lose. A friend of mine had done the same diet but only lost 9lb (he had cheated with tomato soup).

So an 11lb lost is a really great result for me. I started the diet as I was not quite happy with my weight. I was struggling to lose weight through exercise or my relatively (too much cheese) good eating.

So I used this diet as a get rich scheme to lose the weight. This would be a catalyst to turn my lifestyle around somewhat. I do think I have somewhat changed my outlook to food. This week has taught me that I don’t need the bowl of cereal at 10pm, chocolate should be a treat not a prerequisite of my daily diet. Also no more crisps, they are the devils food.

At the end of the day, it was not an easy week, I missed milk and cheese the most. I missed having the ability to have what I want when I want, but the flip side of that is I got to a weight I have not seen in years and I can use this as springboard for a slightly healthier lifestyle and to be a bit trimmer.

I believe you can easily lose weight with just a bit of discipline and pretty much any decent diet plan. This diet is a drastic measure and a quick fix that I hope I can continue into a healthier lifestyle. Thanks for reading and I am going to get off my high horse as I look forward to putting all the weight back on. This food binge will start with my Chinese banquet tonight.

I hope you found my ramblings useful and I wish you well in your own journey.

Just remember, until next time, take care of yourselves and each other! Much love.

6 Stunning Time-Lapse Videos

The Vivid team always loved watching time-lapse videos, due to our commercial interest in the style. We also love the fascinating imagery it can produce. Over the last 12 months there have been a few time-lapse films that have broken the mould in terms of visual production values. We wanted to show what can be achieved with time-lapse video production. We hope you enjoy.

Barcelona

First up is a superb time-lapse by Rob Whitworth titled ‘Barcelona’. Rob has produced many amazing time-lapses but personally I think this is his best to date. Some of the scene transitions are mind blowing, literally how does he do it?

Ancients

There are some truly creative time-lapse videos out there. I always love a time-lapse that shows the beauty of Mother Earth. This one does that amazingly well. It’s simply titles ‘Ancients’ and by Nicholas Buer. Check out some of the night sky scenes, incredible!

Earth

The next time-lapse that I came across recently, dates back to 2011 but certainly isn’t in anyway dated. In fact it’s safe to say it’s out of this world, as the image were taken from the ISS International Space Station. The photographs taken over a 3 month period captures some stunning natural phenomenas, Aurora Borealis and Australis from various passes of the Earth. The whole time-lapse was skill-fully edited together by Michael König and is simply called ‘Earth’.

Virgin Atlantic

Next up is actually one of our own time-lapses, well you’ve got to like one of your own haven’t you? It turns out that other people must had liked it as well, as it was given a Vimeo Staff Pick award, which is cool.

Vivid Photo Visual’s Vimeo Staff Pick Award

It’s a time-lapse of a VAA Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 repaint, that was filmed at Air Livery in Manchester. It was initially put on Vimeo by the design company that was involved with the rebranding, and has now had over 325K views on their page. Maybe a little naughty on their part as it is our video, but they have now given us a credit in the description. I’ll link to our version as it’s the HD version.

The Lion City

The last time-lapse that I have for your perusal is from a guy that personally I think produces some of the most creative time-lapses I’ve ever seen. Keith Loutit was the first to create the ‘miniature’ look time-lapses using tilt shift lenses and other techniques. He’s now taken this a step further by allowing the viewers to experience focus and distance. Check out Lion City and be amazed.

Miniature Manchester

As an added bonus video here’s is our video ‘Miniature Manchester’ which was inspired by Keith Loutit’s series. It was filmed from a few rooftop locations around the city centre, as well as an apartment on Deansgate and Victoria Station.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick blog and watching a few of the time-lapses.

Who we are

If you think your company or business could benefit from their own time-lapse video or any other type of Web Video speak to Vivid Photo Visual, we’re based in sunny Stockport near Manchester and specialise in commercial video production.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outer Hebrides Wildlife Photography – An unforgettable encounter

Wildlife Photography in the Outer Hebrides

I’ve been overwhelmed with the ‘likes’ I’ve had for my previous blogs about my wildlife photography trip to the Outer Hebrides, thanks guys ‘n’ gals. The Outer Hebrides is a chain of islands off the West Coast of Scotland and a haven for any wildlife photographer.

Pattern on the side of a Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), North Uist
Pattern on the side of a Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), North Uist

A Sad Encounter

This particular blog has a sombre feel to it. My amazing week on North Uist was drawing to a close, I’d seen and photographed some fantastic wildlife. Even in the short space of a week had grown very fond of this windswept group of islands. The weather had recently taken a turn for the worse. The wind was rolling the clouds over from the West and it felt like a storm was brewing. The group felt that a walk to Balranald beach was in order. Maybe it would possible to see if any Skua’s would be pushed in close to the headland by the wind.

As I approached the top of the dune system, I could see Dave ahead frantically waving his arms. I thought to myself  ‘slight over reaction to seeing a Skua!’ but hey Dave likes his birds. What I saw next is probably the most surreal wildlife moment I’ve had to date. One of those moments when your brain is expecting to see one thing but your eyes see another. At this moment of realisation your head just explodes. A Minke Whale was thrashing in the shallows, probably no more than 30ft out in the bay. There was no one else around, just Dave, Matt, Ferne and myself.

Juvenile Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) struggling in shallow water.
Juvenile Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) struggling in shallow water.

Feeling Helpless

What could we do? The honest answer is nothing! All we could do was watch helplessly as this incredibly brave young Whale fought for his life. On my list of species to get a fleeting glimpse of on the trip was a Minke but I never expected to see one in this scenario. I have to say it was incredible to witness, exhilarating, shouting at him and wishing him out to sea. I can still hear the thrashing of its fluke as he used all the energy he still possessed.

Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) as she thrashes for survival.
Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) as he thrashes for survival.

We’d already made a few phone calls to different organisations to see if there was anything that could be done. The problem was our location, we were remote to say the least. Ferne had already got her wetsuit on, she wanted to get in and help. We all did! Thankfully we all agreed that that would be too dangerous. All it would take would be for the 5 tonne Whale to roll and trap one of us and it would be all over.

Ferne just wanted to get in the water and help.
Ferne just wanted to get in the water and help.

Being photographers we did the only thing we could, we tried to document the plight of the Whale, so others could see what we’d witnessed.

Juvenile Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) fighting in shallow water.
Juvenile Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) fighting in shallow water.

Fading Hope

There was one point when we all thought that he had managed to make it out into deep enough water. There’s no doubt in fact that he was able to swim but within 30 seconds of our elation it was clear that all was not well. The Whale was obviously so weak, the lactic acid builds up so quickly in their muscles that he was unable to fight the strength of the tide.

The final fight of the Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
The final fight of the Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)

We seemed to watch the final battle of the Whale for hours. In fact it probably took less than 10 minutes to reach its final resting place on the beach after its brief attempt at survival.

It was all over for the Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
It was all over for the Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)

After the exhilaration  of  wishing the Whale back out to sea and seeing it end in such a sad fashion, there was a massive emotional come down. We all just stood around and looked at each other. It was one of those moments you’ll never forget. How easily such a powerful creature can be overpowered my mother nature.

We went back to the cottage to gather out thoughts and have a bit of a chill out. We needed to return when the tide had gone out as we wanted to secure the Whale for the University team that we arriving from Inverness the following day. They could try and determine what had caused the Whale to come into the bay.

Final Resting Place

The scene when we came back to the beach was again an emotional one. There he lay on the sand, almost lost in the grand vista of Balranald.

Her final resting place.
His final resting place.

Everything seemed so much calmer now and I wanted to take a final image of the Whale that showed his final resting place with an air of drama. I wanted the picture to tell the story, the battle scars, the struggle and Mother nature.

The final image of the Minke Whale
The final image of the Minke Whale

A Memorable but Sad Photography Occasion

So in closing it was the most memorable wildlife photography session I’ve had so far. I do hope you’ve liked the blog even though the subject matter is rather sad. Maybe with the results from the post-mortem they can further their knowledge about these fantastic mammals.

If you would like to find out more about my own wildlife photography, please visit my website Images of Nature. If you would like more information about my company, please visit the Vivid Photo Visual website.

Tour de France 2014 Stage 2 West Vale Yorkshire

Tour de Yorkshire

Tour de France Logo - West Vale
Tour de France Logo – West Vale

Well I’d be the first to admit that I’ve never really paid that much attention to the Tour de France. When I found out that the first 2 stages of the 2014 tour, were to take place within an hour of where we live, I thought let’s see what all the hype is about.

Fun Facts about the Tour de France

Here’s a few fun facts that I discovered about the Tour de France while I was doing some research.

1. The youngest ever stage winner was Henri Cornet aged 19 in 1904. I could’t believe it when I saw a man dressed as him on one of the bikes. See the picture in the blog.

2. There are usually between 11-15 million spectators that line the route each year.

3. Riders burn around 124,000 calories during the tour.

4. If you cycled the entire course you’d sweat enough to flush 39 toilets…nice!!

5. The Tour de France inspired both Kraftwork and Queen to write songs.

Polka Dot and Yellow Tour de France bikes
Polka Dot and Yellow Tour de France bikes

Stage 2

I put a message out on Facebook to see if any friends could give me any advice on an accessible area to view stage 2 of the race from. Stage 2 ran from York to Sheffield and covered 201km. One of the suggestions was the Yorkshire village of West Vale,  which turned out to be both a fantastic little village but also a great place to watch the race. I tried to learn a few of the cycling terms/phrases that I’d heard people mention before I went, so I wasn’t a complete novice.

Cyclist getting into the Tour de France spirit - West Vale, Yorkshire 2014
Cyclist getting into the Tour de France spirit, dressed as Henri Cornet the youngest ever stage winner in 1904 age 19

Family Fun

I went to the race with my wife and eldest son, as well as 3 other friends. To secure a good view we had to get into position a good 4 hours before the main Peloton was due to pass. What I hadn’t realised is that there would be so much to see before the main event. There was a real fun and party-like atmosphere to the event.

My son adds his name in chalk to the road. The kids were encouraged to do this.
My son adds his name in chalk to the road. The kids were encouraged to do this.

Everywhere you looked people seemed happy, there were families, groups of cyclists, jugglers, side shows, food stalls and even a parrot! I kid you not, a young boy had brought his pet bird to watch the race.

A boy brings his Parrot to watch the Tour de France.
A boy brings his Parrot to watch the Tour de France.

The Caravane

About an hour before the race the fun picks up a notch as the Caravane makes its way around the course. Playing music and throwing things into the crowd, the kids loved it.

The Festina caravane Tour de France 2014
The Festina caravane Tour de France 2014

 

Fun during the Tour de France caravane, Yorkshire 2014
Fun during the Tour de France caravane, Yorkshire 2014
Vintage Citroen joins the Tour de France 2014 caravane as it passes through West Vale
Vintage Citroen joins the Tour de France 2014 caravane as it passes through West Vale

The organisers did a fantastic job of keeping everyone safe and made a special effort to get the crowds in the Tour de France spirit. I think the crowd thought this Police officer was going to do a ‘burn-out’ right in front of them.

A Police motorbike geeing up the crowd in West Vale, Yorkshire
A Police motorbike geeing up the crowd in West Vale, Yorkshire
The Fruit Shoot vehicle passes through West Vale, Yorkshire.
The Fruit Shoot vehicle passes through West Vale, Yorkshire.

I’m not sure but I think even the model Caprice may have been there.

Enjoying the Tour de France...could this be Caprice?
Enjoying the Tour de France…could this be Caprice?
McCain Oven Chips
McCain Oven Chips

As you can see it was fun for all the family as the last of the pre-race Caravane passed through the village.

Fun for everyone during the Yorksire stage of the Tour de France 2014
Fun for everyone during the Yorksire stage of the Tour de France 2014
Teisseire Zero through the Tour de France 2014
Teisseire Zero during the Tour de France 2014 caravane

Race Start

After the buzz of the Caravane had passed everyone eagerly awaited the main event. I had been warmed up nicely but to say I wasn’t ready for what was to happen next was an understatement. Over the horizon we could hear the helicopters. I think there were about 6, the cheers from the crowds could be heard from the top of the hill, then the breakaway group came into view.

Perrig Quemeneur of Team Europcar leads the race
Perrig Quemeneur of Team Europcar leads the race
Bart De Clercq and Cyril Lemoine
Bart De Clercq and Cyril Lemoine
Armindo Fonseca - Bretagne-Séché Environnement Team
Armindo Fonseca – Bretagne-Séché Environnement Team

The First Group

The speed that they came down the hill was incredible and really tested your speed using a camera. Within seconds the first group had passed. So it was time to recompose and wait for the main Peloton to come down the hill.

BMC Racing Team lead the main Peloton
BMC Racing Team lead the main Peloton

Fisheye Photography

I had a great shot in mind, that I thought would be different but as things panned out it wasn’t great. I’d set a remote camera on top of a monopod that I would get my wife to hold up high. I was expecting, as in other areas of the course for the riders to fill the whole width of the road and thought if I shot with a 15mm Fisheye lens this would give a completely different image.

Tour de France with 15mm Fisheye
Tour de France with 15mm Fisheye

As you can see, although it’s still a different looking image, which I do quite like, there is too much empty space in the foreground as the riders kept there racing line through the bend.

The riders of the Garmin Sharp team in the Peloton
The riders of the Garmin Sharp team in the Peloton
Sébastien Reichenbach drops into West Vale
Sébastien Reichenbach drops into West Vale

On the outside of the main Paleton was two of the Astana Pro Team one of them being Vincenzo Nabali who went on to win Stage 2.

Vincenzo Nibali Stage 2 winner
Vincenzo Nibali (centre) Stage 2 winner

Final Thoughts

So as the day drew to an end, I have to say I am a Tour de France convert, it was fantastic to watch. I’ll certainly be watching as much of the rest of the race as possible. I think Yorkshire did the country proud, with over 2.5 million spectators watching the tour. At the end of the day it was about having fun and I love this last shot of a couple of local teenagers that came down the hill to the cheers of the crowds.

Tour de France future stars
Tour de France future stars

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