Margate Meltdown 2024

First may I say a big thank you to the Ace Café London for hosting us all at the café which happens to be just down the road from me.

Giving me permission to photograph in and around the café, serving up a great beaky and putting on live music at Margate, more about that later.

I also want to thank the Margate Coffee Shed for their relaxed and warm hospitality to myself and many many others, especially when the heavens opened, more about that later also.

They truly make the very best coffee in Margate.

I have been planning this day for a few weeks and initially the Hasselblad with both the CFV II 50C digital back I recently purchased, with the 907x camera from Parks, and one or two film backs.

But the threat of rain meant I did not want to risk it, so the 2 Canon cameras were commandeered for action.

Canon R6 with EF 24-70 f/2.8 and the Canon EOS 1V 35 mm film camera with 35mm f/2.0, both performed flawlessly.

The “Meltdown” started with me riding down the road from my house, 15 mins or so, early to get fuel for the bike and for my belly.

Ace Café served up a traditional English Breakfast which stood me well for the couple of hours road trip I was about to embark on.

The staff kindly allowed me to take some pictures and one member of staff (name here) was really interested in the 1V film camera.

At about 9.30 the bikes started to arrive thick and fast, filling up the Ace Cafes car parking space quickly.

My YouTube video shows this and the digital photography version of the day.

I headed off at about 10:15, the official kick-off was about 10:30, as the car park was full and I thought I would get a head start so that, in my head, I could get to the A299 into Margate, stop the bike, and take shots as riders cruised in, which alas did not pan out. A romantic idea that did not bear fruit lol.

I must of had my Google Maps still set to “Avoid Motorways” as my outbound journey was scenic but not the fastest. This was fixed for the journey home.

If you have watched the video you will see that on arrival the place was heaving with motorcyclist from all over the UK. Really well attended which is a credit to the organizers and bikers not afraid to get a little bit wet.

I parked my NC750X on the other side of town as everywhere was full but I am glad I did. I got to meet a few people up there and discuss bikes , take photos and plan my photo adventure down the hill into the thick of the action.

In the gallery of digital shots below you will see some images, not of bikes but of the town itself, and its wonderful sandy beach, which was being well used by many.

The bikes on show were a feast for the mind and eyes and I captured as many as caught me eye. There were probably many many more and I am sorry if I missed yours.

I found my way down the hill and stumbled upon the Ace Cafe tent and stage where a DJ was playing suitable tracks and live bands were performing. A great touch indeed.

And then the rain came

Boy did it come down. We went from a reasonably sunny day to 10 minutes or so of the heavens opening, making all of us duck under the awnings of the various shops surrounding the Ace Cafe stage.

I am really glad it did as I found myself outside of what ended up being a true sanctuary to rest and get refreshed and a pleasant and helpful coffee house.

Whilst it was pouring down, I got talking to a fellow photographer, cameras and stuff, and once the rain stopped wished each other well and I decided to have a break in the Margate Coffee Shed.

100 or so miles on the bike demanded I use the boys room, so I thought I might as well have lunch before getting out and capturing more of the Mayhem.

The Margate Coffee Shed proudly state they serve the best coffee in Margate and I for one agree.

I’m a bit of a coffee buff and for me a weak froth on a cappuccino is the mark of a coffee house who do not know what they are doing. Cashing in as it were.

But no fear at the Margate Coffee Shed, as they served what I call the perfect cappuccino and I must say the Chicken Caesar salad sandwich I had was scrummy also.

They were rightly packed but the helpful staff made a spot for me to rest on the corner of the owners office space desk.

After dining I wished the owner and her staff all the very best and went off shooting both film and digital aiming to capture as much of the active atmosphere as I could.

Now to head back up the hill to my bike.

Hmmm, as some of you know my lungs are knackered so the thought of lugging myself and my rucksack of gear up any hill is never a joy to look forward to, as I found myself in the area of the Margate Coffee Shed, I thought a rest, coffee and this time some cake to get my sugars up would do the trick.

Toffee cake, Lemon drizzle, and another perfect cappuccino set me up a treat, I gave my best wishes for a second time and headed off to climb my way back to my bike for the journey home.

On the way I meet a nice chap who had a great look Harley Davidson so asked if he minded me taking his picture.

A slow march up the hill stopping for breath a couple of times and to take shots of bike I did not see on the way down, eventually got me to my bike prepping for the ride home.

This time it was motorways for most of the way.

In summary, I had a great day, met some nice people, and took some wonderful shots that I feel captured the moments on the Margate Meltdown Day 2024.

Film images.

I have developed the negatives in my Studio (shed) and scanned them but I got a surprise when I did.

To my dismay, as a couple of these shots I hoped would be 50’s 60’s Black and Whites ended up being shot on a reel of 20-year-old Kodak Colour film which I was playing around with in my Canon EOS 1V 35mm film camera.

Here are some of the best from that reel, some were film-damaged which was a shame.

Now on with the Ilford FP4+ Black and White film images shot on fresh film this time via my Canon EOS 1V.

Stay safe and the right way up people.


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