Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead: Blog en-us Will Broadhead Photography (Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) Tue, 25 May 2021 15:19:00 GMT Tue, 25 May 2021 15:19:00 GMT Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead: Blog 120 80 One Year Deep

Time flies over us and leaves it's shadows behind. This time last year I was starting my first day as a self employed photographer, or unemployed depending upon your point of view. I had no work in the diary, no business plan and as time would prove no real idea of what I was doing. What I did know was that I was delighted to have closed a chapter on a 15 year career in retail that ultimately disappointed, took up far too much of my time and if I'm brutally honest, made me unhappy. 15 years is a long time when you are 31 and sitting here a year later, I can honestly tell you that life is too short to worry about the what-ifs and to just get out and take care of the things you can. 

The opening sentence is true, I can't believe where a year has gone. Strangely though, I almost can't remember a time before, this photography thing has become such an extension of me it's as though it has always been there. The year itself has been an incredible adventure that has led me to some wonderful places, opened up unthinkable access to events that I have always dreamed of going to and perhaps most importantly introduced me to some fabulous people, people that I am certain will become life long friends. Conversely there have stressful times, sleepless nights and anxiety induced by not having a clue what I'm doing. The learning curve has followed a gradient that at times has been perpendicular to the ground, I've had to learn to be self motivating, self critical and develop networking skills that don't come naturally to me. My comfort zone has not been somewhere I have necessarily spent a lot of time this last year, but the rewards this has engineered have been more than I ever could have hoped. 

As tough as it has been at times, I don't wish to come across as someone who bemoans the struggle. I'm sure it's the same for anyone attempting to forge a career, I am not unique in that regard, and I have to acknowledge the incredibly fortunate position I am in to even have the opportunity to pursue a life as a professional photographer, not many people get to follow their dreams and this is a fact that will never be lost on me. I am also not naïve enough to yet consider myself a professional. I've come a long way in a year, but I'm still not what I would call a pro. There is still so much to learn and so many boxes to tick before I can truly attest to being a professional, jobbing tog. But I will invest some time for some private reflection on what I have achieved this year, as important as it is to constantly evaluate and strive to improve, I think one also needs to take a moment to enjoy success as well.

I couldn't write this post without acknowledging all of the people that have helped me out this year, given their time, cooked me dinner on the road, fed me beer, listened to my fears or offered encouragement. There are too many of you to name and this isn't an awards speech, but I am humbled to have met you all. I must make a special mention of my dear old Mum though and my Old Man. Dad for being the person that instigated my obsession with motorsport and Mum for being chairman of the board, I couldn't and wouldn't be sitting here without the constant support and the upbringing I've had. So here's to the upcoming year, I'm looking forward to more adventures, catching up with friends and making new ones. It kicks off with a bang in a few weeks when I attend the Hero Events Winter Challenge to Monte Carlo, which I couldn't be more excited for.

This time next year Rodders...

  He might have dropped it through Clearways, just like everyone was doing at this point of the day as the track temp dropped, but well impressed with this man up to that point considering the injuries sustained last year.

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) beautiful wedding photography black and white wedding photography car photography motoring photography motorsport Fri, 02 Feb 2018 15:50:16 GMT
Memories of 2017 - The Mountain

2017 was a bit special, for many different reasons. My adventures behind the lens took me to some places and events I had dreamed of for years. Road racing, for a large part of the year, became my life and photographing these modern gladiators on motorcycles allowed me access to my passion in a way that made each race meeting more breath taking than the past. Whilst the Isle of Man TT was something else and an event I hold in the highest of esteem, it was another couple of weeks on that bit of rock in the Irish sea that provided some extra special memories.

I love the mountains, any mountains, always have. From climbing Snowdon to throwing myself down the mountain bike trails of the alps and the ultimate treat, cycling in Whistler, mountains and hills have been an integral part of my life from my early teens. There's something about the wild places that I crave. It wasn't a hard decision then, to spend most of my fortnight at the Manx GP roaming the higher reaches of the circuit. Although not miles out from any civilisation, I still found a solitude on the mountain road that was both calming and welcome after photographing at some of the TT's busier spots. The views are scintillating and on a clear day being able to see all corners of the kingdom is quite breath-taking. Those days are few and far between though and the rest of the time, the poor weather that is a regular feature of those heady heights is nothing short of captivating. 

The speed at which the cloud tears across the cap of Snaefell, battering all beneath it, rivals the speed of the motorcycles themselves. Goodness knows what it feels like to climb out of the sunshine and sanctuary of Ramsey, into the fog and uncertainty of the mountain atop a racing motorcycle. The wind bears into your face relentlessly and the cold envelops and breaks through even the warmest of winter clothes. Don't forget this is August, summer! Then there is the fog. Manannan's cloak has a density all of its own and when it descends, all beneath it are engulfed, including the riders. The skill and commitment of the pilots is unfaltering though and still they press on, all that tells of their arrival is the sound of an engine whistling through the murk, a brief glimpse and then the Doppler shift as the machine disappears back into the filth. One evening in particular, spent at Windy corner, the visibility was so poor, myself and the marshals huddled there could barely see across to the other side of the road.

Evenings up here in conditions like this were truly special, the display that the landscape and weather were putting on complimented the task faced by the competitors perfectly and whilst I've no desire to see the racers ride in conditions that are dangerous, the dramatic backdrop and lack of people left me with a feeling of being the only person in the world to be watching this superb spectacle. The weather was putting on a show and the racing was bettering it, with every twist of a throttle. If you are TT or Manx bound this year, I urge you to take a trip up top, ditch the car and watch the action from one of the more remote places. The excitement and anticipation of hearing the bikes clattering along the TT circuit on the opposite side of the Island, the lack of people and P.A. system to ruin the soundtrack of the engines and watching the racers negotiate the higher parts of the track, against a stunning back drop and leaden sky are all a fabulous reward for getting off of the beaten track. Even if you just do it for an evening, I thoroughly recommend it. 

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) Thu, 04 Jan 2018 18:00:51 GMT
The Cafe Racer  

One of the coolest things about my job is the unique events I get to go to and the cool places I get to visit. The thing that really tops this off is the immense people that I get to meet on my travels. Thursday evening was one of those occasions, when I made the couple of hour trip down to an industrial estate in Shoreham-by-sea for the launch party of a very cool motorcycle shop. This is the new home of The Café Racer, a one stop shop for all of your vintage and retro style biking gear and clothing.

Ok, so I’ll admit that an industrial estate doesn’t exactly scream fashionista. In fact, the lifeless, non-descript warehouses that loom large as I drive up to Unit B4 on Evershed Way (yes drive, it is way too cold for a late night, 100 mile return journey on the two wheeler) are less than inspiring. But in a corner of this dark grey space there is a glimmer of light and the unmistakeable outline of motorcycles through the darkness.


This place is cool, I mean proper, not trying to be cool, effortless cool. What’s more it’s friendly too. I’ve been invited down this evening by one of the guys who works in the shop, Rory, who I have only met the once at the Bikeshed expo earlier in the year. He’s nowhere to be seen as I let myself in through the door, but no matter, as straight away bossman Phil says hello, offers me a beer and all is well with the world. Before I know it, people are introducing themselves, handshakes are being exchanged and so ensues an evening of talking bikes, bikes and more bikes.


As well as the chat, the range of gear is pretty fantastic as well. From boots to lids this place has you covered regardless of which bits of vintage apparel you prefer. There’s footwear from Stylemartin, awesome Rokker Jeans, Keytone and Biltwell mitts, every style of jacket you could ever want and a mega range of helmets in stock and even more available to order in. Of course, the latest Bell Lid is the latest Bell lid wherever you buy it and the guys in the shop all seem to be pretty aware of that. What strikes me about this place though is that for the whole team a sale seems secondary, they work here because they love the café and vintage scene, the shop is just a place to immerse themselves in that.


But why waste your time with reading my opinion when you could actually just get down there and check it out? If you want to have a nose at some cool gear in an environment where you can grab a coffee and have a chat with other like minded petrol heads, you could certainly do much worse. Plus, there’s ample parking at the new premises for bikes and cars! You just can’t go wrong. I’m looking forward to the better weather coming so I can have a trip down on two wheels instead of four, for a coffee and a chat. Well I say coffee and a chat, but as I walk away from what has been a great evening, the mental shopping list I’ve drawn up is pretty big. Ah well, you can’t take it with you, right?


You can find The Café Racer at: Unit B4, Dolphin Enterprise Centre, Evershed Way, Shoreham-by-Sea, BN43 6QB

Or on the web here – The Café Racer


(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) Mon, 04 Dec 2017 19:58:06 GMT
Taylor Made for You... Michelle's fabulous wedding decoration business!

One of the things that I love about my job is it's diversity, I'm always photographing something different, in a different location and meeting new people. It's great! If this variety is the spice of life, this job is Vindaloo! The other week I got asked to do product photography, of a sort, for the very talented Michelle Taylor and her business, My Taylor Made Wedding. Michelle provides wedding styling and visuals for clients throughout Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds, with delightful table and room decorations that even your mother-in-law would approve of! 

Now decorations and visuals are a key part of any wedding day, from classic styling to more themes, these items are what can transform or enhance your venue and put your unique stamp on your special day. It's the kind of thing that sounds simple enough, but in the hands of a professional, like Michelle, it becomes a real art form. Michelle provides several themes for your table decorations, so there is bound to be a style and colour combination that you like. She also has beautifully put together pieces to decorate the room with, seating plans, card boxes, items for displaying photographs and all of the vital bits and pieces you need to turn your wedding from super drab to super kitsch! 

I had a lot of fun photographing the various different set-ups, the nice thing about staging photograph is I can tweak things and move things to really take advantage of the light and my surroundings. As it was, we were working in the wonderful Manor Farm Tythe Barn, near Bicester. It was a beautiful building in a gorgeous village location and right next door to a Church as well. I'd thoroughly recommend checking it out and you won't fail to be impressed by the stunning, family run venue. 

The day flew by and as I soaked up the atmosphere of the gorgeous barn, whilst photographing Michelle's brilliant creations, we were soon done. I must say the speed at which Michelle, ably assisted by her Mum, put together the different set ups was impressive. As was her attention to detail, not to mention the creativity that went into thinking up the names for our 'guests'! I'd happily recommend Taylor Made Wedding to any couple planning a wedding and I look forward to working with Michelle and the folks at Manor Farm Barn again in the future!

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) award winning wedding photographer beautiful wedding photography black and white wedding photography experienced oxford wedding photographer experienced oxfordshire wedding photographer experienced wedding photographer oxford experienced wedding photographer oxfordshire oxford wedding photographer oxfordshire wedding photographer recommended oxford wedding photographer recommended oxfordshire wedding photographer recommended wedding photographer wedding photographer oxford wedding photography oxford wedding photography oxfordshire wedding planning directory wedding planning resource wedding planning site wedding planning tools wedding planning website Thu, 23 Nov 2017 19:51:28 GMT
No Regrets - Picking the Right Wedding Photographer for Your Special Day...

What do you consider when choosing a Wedding Photographer? Where does it fall in the hierarchy of things to sort out for the big day? Is it even important? The following article is hints and tips from couples that have got married and been through the process, what worked for them, what didn't and how they would choose if they had the chance again...


Choosing your photographer could be one of the biggest decisions you make for your wedding, but for some couples I spoke to it was well down the pecking order. This is understandable, after all there's so much to decide upon and organise for a wedding; Church or registry office, all in one venue or separate locations for ceremony and reception, who to invite, the all important dress, bridesmaids, best man, vehicles, music, catering, alcohol, entertainment, decoration, wedding cake, the actual invitations - the list goes on and is as extensive as it is exhaustive! Why worry about a photographer when Mum's got her IPhone (other mobile phones are available) or Uncle Derek has one of those fancy SLR cameras and took some snaps once back in the 70's... Obviously being a wedding 'tog my opinion is biased, but after the day is done, all that is left of it is the memories and when you think about it, your photographer is the person that you are trusting above anyone to capture those memories for a lifetime. But enough from me, what do the married couples who replied to the survey think...


- I guess I was a bit unusual in that my photographer was under strict instruction to stay in the back and keep posed pictures to a minimum. I hate having my photo done and find this slot at weddings boring. He did exactly as asked and we got some lovely pictures! I think the point here is to make sure expectations are worked out early on so they can be met/managed! - Jo Christie


- As soon as we picked a venue I was looking for the best photographer I could find rather than the dress! To me money wasn't a problem when it came to picking our photographer as I know how important it is. My advice to engaged couples is don't look at price list first, look at their style and how they come across. - Laura Hutson


- We personally wanted to meet our photographer before hand and find somebody who could put us at ease on the day - I think having a stranger turn up on the day is hard, particularly if you are more reserved in nature. So picking someone who makes you feel comfortable is important. I think the 'fit' between photographer and client is probably the key to being happy with the end result. - Kerry Bayliss-Gore


- The main thing for us was to be super relaxed with the person taking the photos. So the pics would be 100% us and natural. We met them a couple of times and had a mini engagement shoot. Hugely important. I said I wasn't bothered about 'posed' pictures. Then on the day we decided that actually we'd really like some family shots. Without properly arranging this before they ended up being a bit jumbled. The other is we chose to not have a pre paid album. Just digital prints. This was cheaper. However it took us ages to sort doing an album ourselves. And when we did it's still pretty expensive to do it well and takes ages to sort through them all. It's certainly not as good as a professional doing it. Often these photos are the only lasting thing from the day so they are very important. - Hayley Penny


- The best advice I could give would be not to stint on the photographer. It’s easy to think that all wedding photographers are the same, and when organising a wedding, with all the other things vying for your time and attention, just pick the first one that pops up on a search engine. A lot of the potential photographers we spoke to were quite serious folks and seemed a little wooden in their approach. We wanted someone that fitted in with our day a little better, someone that could almost be a guest. - Dave Llewellyn


- Think about your style of wedding and more importantly how you want to remember it. Are you wanting to capture the emotion of the wedding, the people or both. This will help you decide if you want formal or relaxed photos. Make sure the Church/venue will allow your photographer to take pictures as some will only allow those that they are associated with. Our Church was strict on when you can and can't take photos and which part however due to the Vicar working with our photographer he relaxed the rules slightly. Look at packages and decide what's good for you. A photo album of your photos is always a good memento and is always better quality than the ones you put together yourself. - Becca Reeve


- The best pics I've seen were from photographers who completely blended in the crowd. They were in the middle yet invisible, which was incredible. Afterwards, the more you can personalise the album, the better. Our photographer put a lot of effort in selecting background pictures so that the pictures we selected were not simply on black background. - Aude Duquesne


So there you have it, advice from Married Couples. Thank you to everybody who contributed and made this article possible, I hope it is helpful and good luck on finding the right Photographer for your special day!!

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) award winning wedding photographer beautiful wedding photography black and white wedding photography experienced oxford wedding photographer experienced oxfordshire wedding photographer experienced wedding photographer oxford experienced wedding photographer oxfordshire oxford wedding photographer oxfordshire wedding photographer recommended oxford wedding photographer recommended oxfordshire wedding photographer recommended wedding photographer wedding photographer oxford wedding photography oxford wedding photography oxfordshire wedding planning directory wedding planning resource wedding planning site wedding planning tools wedding planning website Wed, 22 Nov 2017 09:39:38 GMT
A big loss and a proper gent

On Saturday morning I got up early to watch the Macau GP, a few minutes later and I wished I hadn't, the rest is history. For everything that is good about motorsport, there is a sinister side to it that competitors, fans, family and friends can't escape and unfortunately in the road racing community is it something that is always lurking just below the surface, but this isn't the time or place for that...

I wanted to share a few thoughts about Daniel. I didn't know him long, indeed we only met for the first time earlier this year at the Manx, but I had been watching him for a long time. I was introduced by another photographer friend and the three of us enjoyed a nice evening out in one of Ramsey's curry houses. I liked Dan instantly, he was easy going and had absolutely zero ego, preferring always to ask questions of me and our host for the evening. That night we could have been three friends who had known each other for years, such was the patter between us all. We stayed in touch afterwards and would chat business and bikes, Dan took great pride in his workshop and I was eager to listen and find out more about what made him tick. We spoke about future plans for the both of us and I looked forward to the next race meeting that I would see him at. Unfortunately that was never something that would come to pass, as fate stepped in and the world was robbed of another fabulous talent and more than that, a really top class chap. 

It seems strange to say that I will miss someone that I only ever met once and chatted to a few times, but I will. That is a measure of the man, that one felt so comfortable in his company so very quickly. Certainly to me that was the sort of person Dan seemed to be and judging by the things I've seen written by others about him, lots of others feel the same as well. The cheeky grin that seemed to be almost permanently plastered on his face, the down to earth discussions that we had about all sorts of things and of course, that yellow stripe fast approaching through my camera lens. I can't really begin to imagine what his family, friends and his team are going through at the minute in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, but my thoughts are very firmly with you all. I know it isn't easy, but stay strong and be brave, just like Daniel. You can all be so proud of him, he touched many people and if it is true that we are a product of our environment you that are closest to him can be proud of yourselves as well, as he was such a genuine, cheerful and grounded man.

I have a photograph of Dan that I shot at the Classic TT this year, it's framed and on my office wall. It was a favourite as soon as I snapped it and will now be an even more treasured memory of a great man. Thanks for the memories Heggo, it was a huge privilege to know you, even for just a short while. 


(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) Tue, 21 Nov 2017 18:14:49 GMT
Photographing in Busy Places Photographing in busy environments isn't an unusual thing for someone that mainly takes pictures in the automotive or wedding industry. By default there are gonna be a lot of people around. There's a difference though between shooting a wedding and photographing a automotive trade show, after all as a wedding photographer you are there to photograph people. Sure the bride and groom are the focus of the day, but guests and whatnot don't necessarily get in the way, and, there is an awful lot less of them. Even at a race meeting, invariably I'm in front of the crowd line and even if I am not, the presence of people in a picture can often make it. 

A car or motorcycle show is different though. Number one there are more people, a lot more! Number two, your main focus is the cars and the bikes that are the stars of the show! Quite frankly, anything that distracts from them is going to potentially wreck a good photo and just to clarify, when I say distractions, I mean people. There are other things that don't help as well, like other cars, pieces of exhibits and the background isn't always the best. Oh, and the low light of a lot of these shows. But! There is always a solution and you can still get some great results with your photography if you start to get a bit creative...

A car is always the sum of all of it's parts, that is, there are lots of different things that contribute to its over all beauty. Start to break the vehicle down into pieces, really analyse what it is that attracts you to that particular automobile. Is it a particular line on the bodywork? Perhaps it's the shape of the rear wing that you like, or the badge? Maybe it has a super sexy set of pipes hanging out of the back end or protruding from under the skirts? Invariably if you think about your favourite car there will be a whole list of individual details that you like and as a photographer you can hone in on these and make a picture out of them. Take the shot I've included here of the Mercedes 300SL, one of my favourite cars of all time! I've picked out the  vents that appear on the side panels of these beautiful machines. For me they create interesting shots and your car friends can have a bit of fun with what car guess who.

Another thing to be aware of is not being afraid to use the cluttered backgrounds and foregrounds to help add interest to your images. Open up your aperture and use the obstructions that stop you from getting a clean shot, to produce some beautiful Bokeh. It's amazing what the bright lights, rope barriers and other cars can do for your photos when you stop worrying about their presence. Try it and experiment and you will soon start to view them differently. 

The last thing I mentioned was the light. Rule one, don't be afraid to exploit your ISO, that is what its there for! Much better to cancel the noise caused by that than try and fill in distortion caused by poor exposure. The high ISO performance on modern cameras is fantastic anyway, so you can get away with leaning on it more than you ever could before. Rule two of this is to experiment with picking out highlighted areas of what your shooting and intentionally under expose the areas you aren't so fussed about seeing. Back to the Merc badge shot above and the black areas really are black, as I've set my exposure for the emblem. Over-all the shot is under-exposed, but the details that I want are there to see. 

Check out this gallery from a motorcycle show I was at earlier this year, that was rammed with people and very dark! You may not be able to get that perfect shot of a whole car every time, but you can still get some fabulous photo's if you aren't afraid to experiment and unleash your creativity. Get out there and give it a go!

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:50:02 GMT
Weather dampens what could have been such a good event... Rain. I'm not a fan, I must be honest. When you are carrying around up to 20kg's of gear fighting against the weather isn't really something you want to be doing. Lenses and bodies getting soaked, waterproof covers impeding the use of your gear and never really fitting properly. Then there's the being cocooned in a waterproof jacket, stuck to you like shrink wrap that causes so much perspiration you may as well have just not bothered. It seems I'm not the only one that doesn't feel like venturing out when the skies are heavy either, judging by the empty spaces all along Regent St. on Saturday morning, as I arrived to cover their annual motor show. 

It wasn't all empty, but it was clear that they hadn't received as many exhibitors as they were expecting. Efforts had been made to space everything out, but in the end it just highlighted those that were missing all the more, with isolated trade stands and car clubs. It wasn't all bad and there were some fabulous motor cars on show. The veteran cars of the Royal Automobile Club were out in force, a superb showing of many pre 1906 vehicles entered into the concours for the day, later to be judged by Alan Titchmarsh. Wonderful Marques long since deceased, displayed in all their glory, wowing the visitors with their unique engineering solutions to creating self propelled carriages. My favourite by far was the Salveson Steam Carriage, but more on that in another post. 

There was also a cheerful supply of Fiat 500's, with a fine multi-coloured display of the mighty micro, celebrating it's 60th anniversary. Oh how I wish I had petitioned my parents to buy one of these when I first saw them on a trip to Italy 20 years ago, for the money that these tiny terrors are going for now is not to be sniffed at, highly collectible as they are. Further at the end of the street, or the start depending on your orientation, was a great display of the now defunct Talbot brand. A diverse and eclectic mix of cars from the start of the 20th century up until the second world war. The best thing about these old bruisers was that you could clearly see that a lot of them were still properly used, a fact that I always appreciate when it comes to historic motor cars. Automobiles like this need use little but often, to ensure they don't just rot away or cease to work completely. Some bore the patina of age with pride, whilst others were more factory fresh; but all it seemed were runners.

So it wasn't that the show was terrible, indeed I could see great potential and I am sure that on a sunny day it would be a fabulous success. But on this occasion the poor weather turned the tables on what could quite possibly have been an automotive triumph. As I walked past the marooned Route 66 stand, the event sponsor, I couldn't help but feel a little sorry for the organisers. But that's life, you can't have sunshine every day. 

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) automotive bonhams british british classic car car photography fiat fiat 500 london motor show motoring motoring photography regent st. regent street motor show route 66 silverstone sports car talbot veteran Tue, 07 Nov 2017 12:11:26 GMT
BSB Finale: Twists and turns aplenty, as Byrne wins title It’s a funny thing, motor racing. Sport in general I guess. We watch it and participate in it because it can bring us so much joy and happiness, yet it can do the exact opposite as well. Almost a self-imposed bi-polar condition, jubilance one minute followed by frustration and failure the next. Each end of sports spectrum was displayed for all to see this weekend just gone, at the finale of the British Superbike Championship, with a massive shift in power between the two main protagonists played out against the natural amphitheatre of Brands Hatch in Kent.


Going into the weekend the stand out favourite had to be Derbyshire and Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam, a healthy points advantage and the form man during the showdown rounds, surely it was his championship to lose? Mathematically, four other men had a chance of winning the series but defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne was surely in the best position to mount a serious challenge, with five titles under his belt already this is a man that knows how to bring a trophy home. I’m sure many a pound note backed Shakey to get the job done in his back yard, Brands being his home track. On the quiet though, I had an idea that Aussie Josh Brookes could come on song at the right time and with the pressure and spotlight on Haslam and Byrne, sneak largely under the radar during the weekend and capitalise on mistakes made by the former. Not forgetting that he is a former champion in his own right, a claim that could not be boasted by his Ninja mounted rival.

Despite stunning weather being forecast for the weekend, conditions for the first practice were slightly moist after over-night rain but Brookes was straight out of the traps and looked like a man on a mission. Byrne and Haslam joined the party a little later, but ultimately Shakey ended the session top with main rival Haslam in a lowly 14th. First blood to the Ducati man. This set the tone for practice and qualifying, with Byrne finishing top of all sessions and being the only man to break into the 1.24’s. Brookes had a positive start to his challenge, putting the Tag Yamaha second in quali, only a couple of tenths off the man in red. Haslam found something to stick the JG Speedfit machine into 4th on the grid, but it was clear that compared to his rivals he was struggling for pace with a largely mixed practice session.

Now it is often said that you need a little luck on your side to win a championship, and this was set to be highlighted over the next three races. The first indication of where Lady Luck may direct her gaze was given early in race one, as the red flag came out with Byrne trailing the leaders after a poor start. Queue the restart and Shakey didn’t waste the chance the take the lead and in doing so the win, with Brookes in third as Haslam held onto a fighting fourth after a great battle with James Ellison and Jason O’Halloran, but it was clear that the big Kawasaki wasn’t showing the same form as in previous rounds. A 58,000-strong crowd descended upon the circuit on Sunday for the final day of the season, all wondering which way the pendulum would swing. Would the Kawasaki team have made the necessary changes overnight to give Haslam a competitive bike? Could Byrne keep winning or would the pressure get to the both of them and leave Brookes – who clearly had pace – to steal the crown out from under everybody? The pattern of the weekend was repeated in the first race, Byrne again leading from the front to take his second win of the weekend. Brookes had managed fourth, behind Iddon and Ellison, but the race had proved to be an absolute disaster for Leon Haslam. Clutch problems had seen him plummet down the order, eventually limping home in tenth place. The points gap between Haslam and Byrne had now been closed to 2 points, leaving the championship in a complete state of limbo for the final race of the day. It was going to be a winner takes all contest, with many not being able to see past Byrne for the win and the title. But Haslam was still ahead, just. Brookes too, was not out of the running. I can only imagine the pressure on the Kawasaki team at this point, going from the points lead that they had to almost having to win the last race, or at least beat the so far unstoppable Byrne and be in touch with Brookes. It was a telling sign when the cardboard cut-out for the Leon Haslam meet and greet had ‘cancelled’ penned across it, the man and the team had other things to concentrate on.

Since the introduction of the showdown formula for BSB, we have been treated to several close-run championships, not least the titanic battle between Tommy Hill and John Hopkins in 2011. That day the title wasn’t decided until the line, in a race that still gives me goose bumps when I watch it. The crowd around Brands was surely hoping for a repeat of that superb piece of entertainment and just for a second, it looked like we would get it. Haslam made a stupendous start from the fourth row of the grid and managed to put himself into fifth at the first corner, just in front of the Ducati of Byrne. It was enough to take the title if he could only maintain it for the rest of the race and for a few laps at least, it looked like he could.

It wasn’t to be though and as the bikes tipped into Hawthorne’s corner for the sixth time a gasp went out around the circuit as the bike of Haslam went straight on and into the barriers at some 170mph, leaving the title dream in tatters. Replays on the big screens around the circuit showed that something had clearly gone wrong with the bike and Leon had been forced to hit the eject button. It transpired later that it had most likely been brake failure, a terrifying thought at such speed. Everyone inside the circuit was relieved to see Haslam conscious and up off the ground as the rest of the bikes filtered round behind the safety car. So, Byrne now just had to finish and despite a race win for Brookes, Byrne did enough, bringing the Ducati home in eight and claiming his sixth BSB crown. An incredible achievement, although nobody, including Byrne, would have wanted it to have been decided that way. There was one final development though, when an injured Leon Haslam, appeared at the end of the race to congratulate Byrne. Haslam, who sustained a broken wrist and ankle in his high-speed crash, had to be carried onto the grid, but stood as the competitors embraced in a display of sportsmanship that is all too rare these days. A fabulous and genuine gesture, from a man that could so easily have gone straight to the medical centre and one that I hope permeates from our little corner of sport into the wider conscience of the sporting world - premiership footballers take note. I can’t wait to see what next season will bring.

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) brands hatch brookes bsb byrne haslam race report superbikes Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:35:35 GMT
Goodwood Revival Ok so this has been a long time coming, as the revival was a month ago now, but like a wine that has been left to breath hopefully the flavour from these particular grapes will be enhanced. So, I know that nobody in their right mind would leave a wine to breath for a month, least of all me, but this isn’t strictly my first writings on the subject of the revival. Indeed, you can read and gaze upon three previous articles and photosets I have produced from the meeting, published by those fine people at Links to follow. I must also admit that it has probably taken me this time to process the sheer amount of auto excellence that I saw over the weekend, in fact as a revival virgin, my awkward fumbling’s around the site barely scratched the surface of what it was possible to see. Merely, I just about managed to do enough to get the job done.

If you have never been to the revival, or indeed any of Goodwood’s incredible motorsport events, well you simply must put it somewhere near the top of your automotive bucket list. It is quite simply a playground of engines and metals, of style and icons, fashion and pomp, colour, noise, smells; you get the idea. The point I am trying to make is that there is almost too much to see and if you attempt to tick everything off of the list, you will tie yourself up in knots of frustration as I did on my first day there. In fact, I would go so far as to say I didn’t enjoy the first few hours of my revival, but this was purely down to my approach. I tried to cover too much, to bend the festival to my will and purpose and you just can’t. This isn’t what it is all about. Instead approach the event with an attitude of wanderlust and whimsy, allow yourself to be taken along by the ebb and flow of what is going on around you and the revival will reveal itself to you at its own pace and the rewards will present themselves to you.

You aren’t so much there to see what you want to see, rather to soak up the atmosphere and engines and stunning machines and track action that is going on around you, and stunning the machines are. Beautiful cars of all types, from all marques. Poster fodder and dreams for people of all generations. From pre-war front engine monsters, carrying badges from across Europe, with their huge steering wheels and even bigger motors to the unlimited sports prototypes of the 60’s. Gas guzzling Lola’s and Ford’s, leaving black lines all around the circuit and captivating adoring eyes in the paddock. Not to mention the Grand Prix machines and, my favourite, the bikes. There is truly something for everyone here and with almost everybody in period dress, this is a celebration not just of a snapshot of motoring history, but everything that came with it. It is English eccentricity of the highest calibre, yet at the same time does not find itself dropping to the depths of ten a penny tourist shops in London, selling Union Jack phone cases and Bulldog money boxes. Indeed, the small smattering of people in eBay bought faux mobster fancy dress costumes are somewhat missing the point.

Morning DewMorning DewI love to shoot cars in the early morning sunshine, nothing picks out their lines or beauty like those first rays of light.

The Goodwood revival is magnificent in every way, it is extremely busy and not a cheap experience, but as far as I can tell it is unique. As I ponder my encounter now, my thoughts are drawn to what was easily my favourite part of the weekend. Sunday morning, early on in the day in gorgeous September sunshine. Mechanics busying themselves with waking some of the beasts on show from their slumber, a Spitfire in the air overhead and a real air of excitement about what the day was to bring. I had learnt to let the event set the pace of my work and in so doing was getting the best out of it. I cannot wait to return and experience that feeling every morning of the weekend this time and discover the revival all over again.

External Links

Petrolicious Bikes

Petrolicious Settrington Cup

Petrolicious Grand Prix Cars

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) british british classic car photography goodwood motoring photography revival sports car Thu, 05 Oct 2017 14:24:26 GMT
Nick Pelly-Fry and his Jensen Healey 'Rory'

So why Rory?

Nicks face cracks into a bit of an impish grin. 'It was my young cousin' he replies, 'when he first heard it start he said it was very roary, the name stuck'.

Roary, or Rory, I didn't get into the exact way Nick chooses to spell his British classic's name, is one of the 10,000 Jensen Healey's produced and was first registered way back in 1973. Now I don't know Nicks exact age, but I'm fairly certain he is nowhere near that vintage, so why an old Brit car like this? They say we are products of our environment and quite simply Nick was bought up with cars. His parents have owned several classics and competed in rally's for as far back as he can remember. So it was only natural he would get the bug. But why the Healey? It seemed a good price was the answer, not to mention it's a cracking car and reasonably rare. Produced for the American market, 7000 of the 10,000 produced made the boat trip across the pond. 

This particular example was featured in Auto-car magazine way back in 1980, a year in which it had won the Jensen Owners Club concours. To look at it today it would be fair to say it's showing the lines of age somewhat. But, as far as I'm concerned this is no bad thing. I'm a firm believer that cars were built to run, not be museum pieces and I would rather see a machine with a bit of patina than a immaculate display piece. Blemishes and scars aside, the Healey is still a beautiful thing, and is instantly recognisable as svelte and perky little sports package. Slightly less imposing than the Triumph Stag, but with a bit more about it than the MGB, for me it's the perfect mix of cute but business like. 

As soon as I see the nose of the car poking out of the garage I'm itching to get it fired up and listen to the 16-valve Lotus engine bark in to life, get it out of the garage and on the open road. Nicks happy to oblige and the 40 something motor fires almost instantly, emitting a glorious burble from its exhaust. A little blip of the throttle and Rory does exactly what it says on the tin. Now Nick isn't one for waxing on about mechanical details, whereas I can jabber on all day about the engineering of a car, he's more someone that appreciates aesthetics and the drive. So that's exactly what we do, hop into the thing and get out onto some of Oxfordshire's quieter country roads. She, sorry, he's a delight. Punchy, noisy, rattly. The car feels alive, the drive is exciting, but don't mistake that with something that's falling to bits, because it's not. The car's tight and nimble, as it ought to be. I almost forget I'm supposed to be taking pictures as I enjoy the brisk bounce along the backroads, top down, sun blazing. It's a beautiful day to be in an old open top sports car.

As we crack along we stop on occasion so shoot some photo's, against stunning countryside befitting of the equally beautiful car. Those lines, that bonnet hump and the classic twin pipes. I myself was bought up on a diet of Triumphs, so for me the Jensen is a treat. I'm enjoying finding new bits to admire through my lens and every town we pass through gains more admirers of this cracking motor. It's hard to ignore the raucous exhaust note, it seems to edge you on to go faster, thank fully the brakes work or this devils work would have resulted in the both of us and Rory having a surprise encounter with a VW Amarok. I think I know who would have won. We're all enjoying it though, including the car, that just seems to become more and more eager to please as the day goes on.

Soon it's time to stop for a bit of refreshment. The Lord Nelson pub happily obliges and the car looks resplendent outside. In fact with no other vehicle in sight you could be forgiven for thinking you had been transported back to another era. I suppose that's the magic a classic car can create. It doesn't matter that there's scrapes and grazes on it, or that the paints bubbling in places. It doesn't matter that it makes the odd noise it shouldn't. It doesn't even matter that Nick isn't a technical anorak. All that really matters is that this car is out on the road, being enjoyed by its owner and all those that see it and that the Rory creates some magic for Nick. Surely this is the reason these cars were made in the first place?

Well, whilst you consider that, Rory is peeking at me through the doorway of the pub. I'm off for another drive...

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) british british classic car car photography classic healey jensen motoring motoring photography sports car Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:16:33 GMT
Sam Johnson + Colin Dunlop Racing

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) Wed, 05 Jul 2017 21:02:12 GMT
Two weeks to go... My head is buzzing.

Two weeks today I will be waking up unemployed for the first time since I was 13 years old, very nearly 19 years of solid employment. Well, I say unemployed, self employed actually, but I won't class myself as that until I have a lot more jobs in the diary for the year than I do now. When I grow up I'm going to be a Photographer, or at least that's the plan...

So what has driven this moment of madness? Premature mid-life crisis perhaps? It's certainly possible, after all I am the male of the species, late to mature and therefore probably keen to revert to type through the adolescent yearnings of such a crisis. Hopefully not though, I prefer to think it is drive itself that has got me to this stage, as well as a large serving of dissatisfaction. For a large part of my life I have been involved in a career in management, that for the most part was going well and accelerating onto greater things. But life happens, sponsors move, companies change and all of a sudden you find yourself dropped into a gun fight. With the cast of The Un-pronounceables (or was it expendables?). Armed with a knitting needle. My Dad always taught me that if you think you've taken something as far as you can, you should try something else. Never be afraid to go a different route, do everything to the best of your ability. But don't tread water. If you ain't going forward, you're going backwards.

So that's what has prompted this little switch in the path my life is taking. It wouldn't be possible without the support of some very special people, mostly my Mum, but also friends and colleagues that have re-assured me that the pictures I produce are decent enough to sell. I hope they're right. Mostly I'm excited by what lies ahead. In many way's I'm also clueless, my plan is as loose as it is organised. I've put as much infrastructure into place as I can; website, blog, webshop, twitter, facebook, Instagram, advertising, business cards - the list goes on. I've even managed to get myself published, although not paid just yet. What's scaring me most though is bookings, or a lack thereof. I know a certain amount of patience is required, but when you are used to working in an industry where everything happens yesterday it is a different change of pace!

I do have plans though, I'm starting to get enquiries and even bookings for the Wedding photography and the motorsport photos are starting to gain some exposure (see the published comment). Photographers in the business tell me the next few months are key for the Wedding side of things, so here's hoping and I've still a month or two before I apply for my motorsport press passes, so perhaps I just need to hold my nerve, sit tight and remember what they said in Wayne's World, or was it Field of Dreams?

So what's the plan if it doesn't work? Well, then I will do something else, but lets hope that's a bridge I don't have to cross.

Two weeks to go.

Two weeks until my Photographic odyssey begins.

Two weeks until the start of the rest of my life.

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) Thu, 19 Jan 2017 20:02:45 GMT
The Great British Summer Car Show There's something quite special about a hot summers day in England. Perhaps its beacuse we don't get many, or that we are as a nation completely obsessed with the weather. One thing is for certain though, that on those rare days when the sky is a beautiful azure blue, when the lilting gentle breeze massages itself over your skin and haze rises up from the concrete, we Brits will head for the outside. BBQ's, beer gardens, the call of the coast or the draw of a days cycling - I love all of these things. A car show on a gorgeous summers day though is something quite special.


There's something quite stunning about exotic and historic metal, lit up by the Sun, the burble of engines crackling through the air. I think it may have something to do with the desire to disappear into the sunset with the top down, surely everyone has that dream? It's a romance that takes us back to the Halcyon days of childhood, when summers seemed to last forever and dreams of owning beautiful cars didn't seem that far out of reach. Of course for most of us these days with normal existances the cars we lusted after as kids are always going to remain a dream. Thank goodness then for the car shows that are such a feature of a summer season, that allow us to get close to and, just for a second, come within touching distance of our metallic crushes. To be so close to some of those Marques is akin to meeting a celebrity, whether Italian finesse or American muscle is your thing people pose next to their idols for photos - mechanical celebrity met.

For me the beauty is in the detail. The beautifully crafted curves of the body, the famous badges and the smattering of exitic materials - Carbon weave is a truely stunning thing to behold. I like the little touches, spark plugs in the cockpit of old endurance racers, labels showing which dealership sold the car way back when and the neat individual owners touches. Then there are the colours. Nothing quite beats the deep, sometimes outlandish paint jobs of a supercar or hotrod, shimmering in the light.


All hail the great summer Car show.

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) Fri, 20 May 2016 19:18:16 GMT
Shooting Bikes I had an email recently asking me what settings and equipment I use when shooting motorsport. Whilst extremely flattering it also made me think, what do I do? The reply I sent the chap was mostly concerned with technical info, but it got me thinking, surely there's more to it than that! Below are some top things to think about when shooting motorsport, that aren't just concerned with what aperture you should be using and what lens is the best...


Slow to be Fast!!

Turn that shutter speed down! No really, you don't want to be capturing the racers looking like they're parked up! If you shoot with a super high shutter speed that's exactly what you're gonna get. I often shoot at 1/125 and even lower. Set your focus mode to AI Servo so it changes as the subject moves and pan with the racer. If it works you get a superbly crisp subject and a nice blurred background, giving the impression of speed.


Spend some time on the net finding out what you can about the circuit you're going to. Learn about where you will be able to get to on the circuit, where people recommend you stand and if you can how busy it gets. I often watch youtube videos of old races to see where the action unfolds and to learn the circuit layout before I go to the race weekend. Attending practice days is also a good idea if you can, as they are less busy allowing you better access and time to practice for the main event!


Talk to the other Togs!

There's always an absolute raft of lenses bouncing about at the race track, so speak to other people and find out what they're doing, You could be amazed at what you find out. The best thing about photography is you can learn new things constantly, plus why wouldnt you want to have a chat with a fellow enthusiast. Even if the guys got a blue bib on, at some point they were starting out and so are just as passionate about racing and cameras as you are.


Bigger isn't always better

Generally when you're shooting motorsport you're gonna be using a long lens - I recommend an F2.8 70-200 as the most versatile. However sometimes it pays to be brave and mix it up a bit. I've been increasingly using a 35mm prime to capture a different sort of shot when I'm shooting road racing where I'm nice and close to the action. I'd love to try an even wider lens for even more of an impact! The shot below was taken at 35mm, I'm dead close to the rider, but it also lets in lots more information about what's going on around - the proximity of the bushes, the furniture and from an arty sense a nice moody sky. Never be afraid to experiment with something different.

It's not just about the Bikes/Cars

There's so much more going on! Candid shots around the paddock are great if you can get them, shots close in on the riders eyes on the grid and even photos pf the crowd or the marshalls! From circuit details like famous clocks or arty shots of rumble strips, to shots of the track surface with rubber laid down, there is always so much going on at a motor race.

Dress Sense

No I'm not suggesting you need to be rocking the latest fashion to do a good job of your photos, you do however need to be dressed appropriately so that you are warm and comfortable for the duration of the meeting. Take waterproofs, wear something sturdy and comfy on your feet (I always wear walking boots) and make sure you're going to be warm. On a lovely summers day it's great in shorts and tee, but invariably the weather changes and can go from one extreme to the other very quickly. On a recent shoot in Ireland I got both sunburnt and drenched in one day, we even had hail and snow storms!! The bottom line is though, if you aren't comfortable you wont enjoy it, and if you don't enjoy it you wont get great shots!


Review your work!

The histogram and review function on modern DSLR's is a God send. In the old days of film you had no way of knowing what you were shooting, its a gift! So use it!! Constantly review what is going on and how your shots are going down, so you can adapt and change as the day progresses. Light will change tremendously through the course of a day so it's vital you are checking what you're doing. Also don't be disappointed if lots of what you see on the LCD screen doesn't look fantastic, not every shot can be great!! It's all learning though, if something hasn't gone quite right try to disect the reason as to why and try something different next time.


Be Brave

Don't spend the whole day following the crowd. Getting some banker shots is all well and good and should be encouraged, but after you've got a number of great images on your memory card from a faithful location, why not move and mix things up a bit? You could discover an angle nobody has found yet, or put yourself in line to capture a special image or moment that you might not have seen otherwise. Sometimes the less obvious locations provide the greatest images.


So there you have it, hopefully a few things to think about that you might not have considered before. The most important thing above all of those though is to stay safe and have fun! Go out there and capture some great images!!!

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) Tue, 17 May 2016 19:01:56 GMT
Road Racing - So beautiful, yet so cruel. Two weeks ago today I was sat in a pub in Dungannon, sipping a pint of the blackstuff whilst looking back on two days of superb racing at the Cookstown 100. My friend and I were talking about all we'd seen and eagerly chatting about how fantastic it had all been. The meeting had been superb, my first experience of Irish roads and it did not disappoint. The racing was fierce, close, fast but most importantly it had been safe. Aside from one or two offs it had passed without incident and nobody was seriously hurt.

Fast forward two weeks and I find myself with a totally different set of emotions. Euphoria has turned to sadness and instead of adrenalin pumping through my hurt it is instead filled with sorrow. One rider had really stood out for me at the Cookstown meet, a certain Manx GP winner who'd set the road racing world alight in his short time riding road bikes. His style and flair set him apart and made you look at him, as if the orange new comers vest battling in amongst the top names didn't make him stand out already. Clearly a talent and clearly someone for the future. That rider was Malachi Mitchell-Thomas and for me he was the man of the meeting. Capturing him on film was something I'll never forget, the front wheel high over the jumps, the clear visor allowing me to see right into his steely, focused eyes round the bends. Clearly this young lad meant business. But what was even better was that as soon as the helmet was off the eyes softened, the smile cracked and the personality shone. Each and every interview I saw with the lad made me like him more. Since the meeting I had published my photos and got talking to Louize who administrated Malachis facebook fanpage, we discovered we were both to be at the Southern 100 and I was looking forward to catching up with them in the paddock whilst there.

Sadly though Malachi will not compete at the Southern. Road racing has lost one of its true rising talents and coming only a day after Billy Redmaynes funeral, two lights extinguished in far too quick succession. Two young men robbed of their lives. More importantly two families robbed of their Sons and Brothers, friends left bereft. People will say that it was their own fault, they dallied in such a dangerous sport and this much is true. However risk is so much a part of Human evolution, if not for risk we would all still be in the cave. This is not the time for this debate though and despite the great tragedy of days like today I know where I stand on it. Instead lets put our thoughts with Malachi and his family and friends, I can only begin to guess how they are feeling.

My love goes out to you at this most difficult of times, this sport can be so cruel,

RIP Malachi and ride hard in the sky.

(Motorsport and Automotive Photography Oxfordshire – Will Broadhead) Sat, 14 May 2016 23:37:33 GMT