Tour de France stage 2 winner in Ripponden, Yorkshire

A bird’s eye view of the Tour de France 2014 in Yorkshire

Enthusiastic crowds welcome riders on Day 2 of Le Tour de France 2014 as they enter the village of Ripponden in West Yorkshire. Vincenzo Nibali, from Astana Pro Team, passes the camera at the centre of the peloton. He later took the lead on this dramatic day’s racing to win Stage 2 as it finished in Sheffield. Three weeks later he was crowned overall winner of the 2014 Tour de France after consolidating his early lead and finishing on the Champs Elysées with an eight minute overall lead.

Tour de France stage 2 winner in Ripponden, Yorkshire

An estimated 2.5 million people lined the route of this year’s Tour de France over two days of thrilling cycling across hill, dale and through historic towns and cities in the north of England. Le Tour Yorkshire has been a resounding success by any standard, showing off the enthusiasm of the folk of Yorkshire, and the beautiful landscape we have here. To view a sunset panorama of the view at the top of the gruelling gradient of Cragg Vale nearby, click here.

Tour de France stage 2 winner in Ripponden, YorkshirePhotographing this was a bit of a challenge; I shot fast and panned quickly to catch the peloton as it sped past. The camera was mounted on the top of a 3 metre high carbon fibre pole, which as usual caused plenty of mirth and curiousity in the crowd as we waited for the cyclists to pass.

In the end, the riders flew past us in around twelve seconds, slowing down only slightly to take the bend before climbing up to Ripponden Bank. It might’ve been over in a flash, but it was a fantastic experience never the less. If you ever get the chance to watch the Tour de France, do so… it’s well worth it.

Technical info: photographed using Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EF 8-15mm f4 fisheye zoom lens; RAW processed with Lightroom 5.4. Stitched with PTGui Pro 5.2.0, output using Pano2VR Pro 4.5
You can also view this panorama on 360cities_logo

369 steps above Halifax: atop Wainhouse Tower

Enjoying a bird’s eye view from the top of the Wainhouse Tower at Skircoat Moor on the outskirts of Halifax this Bank Holiday Monday. 

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser. Pressing the fullscreen button is highly recommended for maximum viewing pleasure!

astride_wainhouse_towerThis iconic building is maintained by Calderdale Council, and is open to the public on ‘high days and holidays‘. It affords a fantastic viewpoint across the local area, and is rightly popular with thrill-seekers and those with a sense of historical curiosity. There are 369 steps in order to reach the public gallery which encircles the tower near the top.

wainhouse_details-1I originally climbed the tower almost exactly five years ago, on a previous May Bank Holiday, and shot a series of panoramas. At the time I was pretty pleased with the results: however I’ve gained a lot more experience, and use much better kit since those days. Also I’ve wanted for a while to try out a nifty technique to ‘hide’ the building from the final 360°.

So when I got the chance to take up some friends who were visiting, I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to revisit the view. I travelled light this time too – no tripod or panoramic head was needed to make this photograph – as I’d learned the hard way climbing all those steps with a full pack of kit is hard work!

The result of ascending the tower once again is this high resolution panorama, which allows the viewer to look all across Halifax, the lower Calder Valley and beyond. Zoom in, look around, and have fun checking out all sorts of places which might catch your eye as you peek about…

You can also view this panorama on 360cities_logo

Technical info: photographed using Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EF 8-15mm f4 fisheye zoom lens; RAW shot as dual ISO using Magic Lantern firmware, then processed with LR CR2HDR, Lightroom 5.4. Stitched with PTGui Pro 5.2.0, output using Pano2VR Pro 4.5

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Celebrating the bicentennial of Stoodley Pike monument

A gathering to celebrate the bicentennial of Stoodley Pike monument, on the highest part of Langfield Common, overlooking Todmorden. The original monument was inspired by the Treaty of Paris in 1814, and as such it (or at least the stone monument which now stands in its place) is listed as one of the oldest towers in the world dedicated to peace. You can view one of my previous panoramas from the monument, during the lighting of a beacon for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, here.

This celebration included music from Todmorden Community Brass Band and the Handmade Samba band; giant puppets from Thingumajig, and a mayoral speech. There was a great party atmosphere, and the weather was uncharacteristically sunny. The celebration was especially apposite for Anglo-French relations because, as well as the monument standing testament to almost two centuries of peace between Britain and France, the party included a gathering of visitors from Todmorden’s twin town, Ronq in France; and all this occurs in the same year as the world’s most famous cycle race comes to Yorkshire, with the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014. Vive l’entente cordiale!

The finale of the celebration was the release of two hundred homing pigeons from the parapet of the monument… this panorama captures the moment they flew away into the distance over the crowd.

stoodley_flyer

Pace Egg play performance at Heptonstall

One of the Calder Valley’s most popular folk attractions is the annual Pace Egg Play. Its origins are now lost in the mists of time, but it continues delight generation after generation with a delightfully haphazard mix of performance, audience interaction and comedy. Revived in 1979 after a brief hiatus, the roots of Pace Egging hark back to before the 1500s, and are quite different across the north of England. In many towns the tradition has died out, but it’s still performed in the upper valley by players from Hepstonstall, and Calder Valley High at Mytholmroyd…

Clog-wearing players perform well-trodden routines and well-loved lines to an appreciative (and increasingly merry) audience in Weaver’s Square, Heptonstall, on the hill above Hebden Bridge in Calderdale. The central theme is a bit hazy, but involves St George and a host of others; a degree of pantomime theatre; some swordplay; and a healthy amount of ale-swigging.

It’s always a bonus when the sun’s out on Good Friday, and the audience numbers were swollen for this, the final performance of the day. As the players tend to retire to one or other of Heptonstall’s hostelries between stagings for some well-earned liquid refreshment, this was a glorious mix of ad-libbed responses, fluid moves and the occasional flubbed line, all being embraced and egged on by the audience. “Mince pies hot, mince pies cold; mince pies in the jar, nine days old…”

There’s much more information on the Pace Egg play here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bradford/content/articles/2007/04/02/pace_egg_play_heptonstall_feature.shtml
http://hebdenbridge.co.uk/news/2014/082.html

 

The Lamplighter Festival, Todmorden

After the overwhelming enthusiasm and participation which greeted last year’s Valley of Lights events in Todmorden and Hebden Bridge came a spectacular new nocturnal experience: The Lamplighter Festival, Todmorden.

On November 23, after the Christmas lights were switched on, Tod – a town with an individual character and strong arts heritage on the Yorkshire / Lancashire border – was illuminated with performance, parading, participation, pyrotechnics and passion. I positioned myself to capture some of the excitement of the procession with some elevated panoramas.

The town centre was lit up with a lantern parade, spectacular fire performers, illuminated installations and sculptures, shadow puppets, glowing show bands and belly dancers, and night markets.

The event was produced by Handmade Parade CIC, supported by Todmorden Town CouncilCalderdale Council and Thingumajig Theatre.… and enjoyed by most of the town. A great, memorable night for all involved!

You can view these as a set on 360Cities here, or click on the individual images below)