For health reasons, I am trying to make sure I take a solid walk every day. I recently found myself testing a new (to me) camera, so I thought I would combine the activities and see what came out of it.
The camera is an Olympus E-450, which I believe is about 10 years old, so I was curious to see what my photographs would look like.
Before I even took any photographs, I was pleased with the size and weight of the camera, which even with the kit zoom (14-42mm), easily slipped into my shoulder bag and was barely noticeable as I walked along country footpaths and climbed over stiles.
Back home again, looking at the files, I’m really pleased with the colours the camera produced. The greens look good (I hate it when they go neon). and the cows and flowers look – about right. It reminds me, that a good camera 10 years ago – is still probably a good camera.
One of the better things about not working, has been the opportunity to spend more time outside taking in the passing seasons. I know some people love winter, but I have say, I’m more of a spring person. It could be a Christian thing, but I suspect, it is just about looking forward to the summer.
Anyway, after a few hints here and there, I think spring has finally arrived. As you can see, I went to the beach, which close to me – and it was warm – and yes, some brave souls went in for a dip!
But, being spring of course, the weather is really changeable: next week the forecast is for snow!
Just a short post. Is there something which you’ve always wanted to learn, which you have never got around to?
My list is quite long, countless languages, limitless skills and I have always wanted to be able to make paper cranes. For years and years. Perhaps inspired by “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes”. So I looked it up online – and I made some paper cranes! One item off the list!
Time passes. I think we have all noticed that. Recently, on my morning walks, I have noticed some trees blossoming. But this photo is from three years ago. It was just a quick grab photo on my way to work. As you can see the light was very bright and contrasty, which made the blossoms stand out against the dark tree. Only the week before, there had been quite heavy snow, so the rapid change was quite remarkable. As I walked past, it was a quick snap with my iPhone and then on.
It has been a bleak spring day today, with driving wind and rain. So I thought I would post something from last summer instead.
I go through phases with photography, sometimes for months I will just use digital cameras – and then I will change over and just use film cameras for a while. In August, I was mostly using film. On this occasion, I was running a roll of film through a Lomo Fisheye2 camera. People talk about cameras being light-tight boxes – and this really is one, with a fixed 1/100 th speed shutter and a fisheye lens on the front. Unfortunately, I managed some how to use the roll of film twice, so lots of my images were double exposures! But this one isn’t. And I quite like it. If you look at the film, you can see the rectangle of film and then the circle of the image in the middle of it. I can’t decide if the strange colours at the side of the frame are because of exposure or because of the plastic fantastic lens.
To look at the camera, you might wonder if it was intended for underwater work, with its translucent lens cap and strange styling – but it isn’t!
I think I will try again with another roll of film – I think it would be fun to go to the beach and take pictures in the waves (obviously keeping the camera dry). Beacause of the fixed exposure 1/100th of a second, I would suggest sticking with 400ISO film – I really like Kodak Ultramax.
In a change from photography, I thought I would write about the book which I recently finished. I thought I would start by giving you a taste of the text:
“I see,” said the cat, allowing its head to look down thoughtfully. “While I would want to be of assistance in an emergency, this is a one-cat-space – and you aren’t a cat. Incidentally, I am not a Mr, but a Miss, which I would have thought was perfectly obvious by the cleanliness of the lodgings and the artful arrangement of the furnishings – clearly not a bachelor pad!” “I’m sorry!” said Erin meekly, for she had never thought of cats as sensitive or huffy, “May I ask your name?”
This is the meeting between Erin, a nine year old girl and Kitten McNoodle, a small black cat. The writing the story was quite straightforward, although at the end, I found myself cutting huge chunks which I felt didn’t really moce the story on. The real work, I found, was the proof-reading and editing. And then I considered doing illustrations. Then I spent ages trying to learn digital illustration. And in the end, I thought I would skip the illustrations (I have promised myself I will draw them for the sequal).
Then you come to publishing. To get published by one of the big publishing houses you need an agent to submit the manuscript. To get an agent you need to be an experienced writer. I can feel and chicken and egg situation coming on! So in the end, I have self-published on Amazon Kindle Publishing – to make a fairly inexpensive book which can be downloaded and read almost anywhere in the world. I’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.
Sometimes we go through phases, where we do the same things over and over. And then, things change and you do something else.
A good friend of mine from university repeatedly suggested that I should go and visit. And every so often, I woudl say something like, “I really should come and visit”. But I never did. And years passed. And then a decade. And then and then. And then I got a job in southeast Asia – and then I visited Hong Kong. And then I met the woman who became my wife – and then I went to Hong Kong really quite a lot!
Sometimes, I wonder why it took so long to go there. Part of it was money, because flights and worse still hotels there are really expensive. But most of it, I think was because I didn’t think I could solve the problems to get there.
If you ever have the opportunity to go to Hong Kong, my two favourite place to go are: Victoria Peak – walking right up to the top; and on the Star Ferry between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Both are lovely. Try them first thing in the morning or in the early evening, when Hong Kong looks particularly magical!
I made this picture by stitching together a series of photographs into a panorama. This is my new way of taking wide-angle photographs without a wide-angle lens. And as a bonus, it adds up to a really detailed file. I find I get the best results by overlapping each picture by about 25%. Using a tripod can also help with level horizons (which I tend to fuss about). In this case, I was using a Canon 6D and a 40mm F2.8 – and I think it came out quite well.
This is from last summer. I know I have titled this cows – but I have a feeling these are really bullocks. On the farmland near where I live there is always a fairly continuous turnover of livestock.
And as you can see here, the field now contains sheep. As subjects, they are quite different when I approach the hedge: the cows (or bullocks) tend to walk over to stare at me, while the sheep usually to run away. Sometimes, if I use my patented stalking method (stand very still), the sheep drift back. But they are aways watching me very closely.
Walking in the rain isn’t much fun. More recently, there has been a fair amount of it on my daily walks and this morning, I almost left my camera on its hook (making one less thing to dry out afterwards). But I didn’t. And, as you can see, when I saw this bird as I walked into the park- I’m glad I didn’t.
I’m sure I’ve written before about the wildlife which wanders into the park from the neighbouring farmland. I occasionally see deer, buzzards and on this occasion a common pheasant. I have essentially no fieldcraft skills beyond moving slowly and creeping closer. Although the bird was perhaps 5 metres away, with my lens at 70mm, it was hard to show real detail. But, I suppose there is a lot of that in photography, where unless you are specifically equiped for a particular subject, you are always going to be having to work hard to catch anything.