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  • Photography – part 3 (final)

    Posted on by rob

    This is the final part to this ‘series’.  The final day with Red Cloud Days Photography course was better then the first day.  We were taken out to Wollaton Hall & Deer Park. The weather had cleared up a little, stopped raining and was even a little warmer then it was on Saturday, much the relief of everyone in the class.  There would be no need for the waterproofs I’d bought the day before Smile



    The intrepid explorers in the class and our fearless leader set out into the park

    To carry on reading the rest of this post go ahead and click the link .. I’ve split this as it’s gonna be rather big for the front page of the blog. BTW, click on any photo to go to Flickr to see it in a bigger size. I’ve only kept the size down for faster load times.

    Continue reading  Post ID 877

  • Photography – part 2

    Posted on by rob

    Well, finished day 1 of the Red Cloud Days Photography course. So far I’m pretty impressed.

    Simon Bolton, the instructor is quite good, sometimes the material gets a bit dry, but what can you do, there are some technical aspects that need explaining.  Simon has done quite well at not going into techno overload whilst explaining various bits to us, which is good.  I think he’s got it a bit easy on this course. He’d mentioned normally they have classes of 12, but this weekend there are only 4 of us on there.  I’m the only non-local, as the others are from the Nottingham / Beeston area.

    I’ve picked up a load of very good info that finally brings together how Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO settings all gel to make photos what they are. On their own I suppose they’re all very simple concepts and I’ve read a lot about each of them, but I’ve had a problem getting good explanations on how they work together in what’s known as the Exposure Triangle. This was explained to us in the class room, then we put it into practice and saw the results back in the class room.  It was a very basic exercise to say the least but one which made us see how it all works.

    First thing we covered really was Focal Length (simply put, the distance between the lens and the sensor / film in the camera body).  That lead into Depth of Field (DOF) and how that can be used and abused in photos both to improve the focus on the target and for artistic points of view.  This also included some discussion on how various sized lens will affect the perspective shown in the photo, ie, a wider angle lens such as an 18-55mm will give a good depth and show details such as ground contours in a landscape, but a long lens such as a 200-300mm will be flat and show nearly no contours.  This was something I’d noticed myself but never really gave much thought as to why this was, but that was explained in the class and I get it now  haha

    DSC_7124Focus on the fence and blur the background – f/5.6 @ 1/1600th @ ISO 3200

    DSC_7125Focus on the fence with less blur to the background – f/16 @ 1/200th @ ISO 3200

    Next we’d gone into ISO (film speed, or how sensitive the camera sensor is to light) and how that affects photos.  Simply put, the higher the ISO the more sensitive to light the sensor becomes, but you trade off the high sensitivity for quality by risking a “noisy” photo with a more grainy look.  Lower ISO’s provide the higher quality photos, but in low light they won’t perform as well, so either more lighting (natural or artificial) will required.  It was explained that ISO really should be a last resort change when making setting changes in the camera.  Aperture and Shutter Speed plus the correct lens for the job should be used to get the job done.

    We also discussed White Balance (WB) settings too.  This is certainly something I’d not really considered playing with and on all my cameras I’d simply left that on Auto, but having played a little today with the settings and seeing the results I can certainly see some uses for changing that when the situation requires it.

    DSC_7126DSC_7127In these two photos the WB is set to “incandescent” for indoor photos, because of the programming you end up with these blue sort of photos.


    Shutter Speed was something we’d spent some time on in the class room using some props (a ping pong ball on a table), using various speed settings to see the effects with the goal to using a speed that would completely freeze the ball in the air with no indication of movement.  We’d started at 1/60th of a second and worked up to 1/1000th of a second, very noticeable differences.  Then we’d stepped outside to do the same exercise but this time with cars as they passed the entrance of the building, we were shooting out the covered entrance (about 15 foot long and 10-12 feet wide).  So the window area to shoot through was rather small with lots of traffic passing by.  Again, some very noticeable differences in speeds, from 1/20th right up to 1/4000th of a second.  For these exercises I’ve got a bunch of pics HERE.  I’ve added descriptions to the photos of the basic camera settings (of course you can look at the EXIF data to get all the settings used).

    That was pretty much it for day one.  Tomorrow we head out to Wollaton Hall & Deer Park.  Here, we’ll put what we learned today to the test.  We have a list of photos that we should get using the different techniques we learned.  That should take a couple hours in the park, then it’s back to the class room to go through our photos and pick our 10 best pictures to review and critique.  There will even be a little competition for best photo of the day with the winner getting a gift voucher for £10!

    So, watch this space for another update either Sunday night (if I’m not too tired) or early next week.

  • Canadian Holiday – Part deux

    Posted on by rob

    We’ve now been in Fredericton, NB for nearly a week now.  Only one more day before we pull out and head back to Ontario again.  It’s been a good week here and Nana Shirley has had a great time with the kids.  The kids have been staying with her in her condo while Yuki and I stayed in the guest suite they have in the building.  It’s been so nice for us not to have to wake up to the kids each morning hahah not sure Nana Shirley can say the same thing though 🙂  Mind you, she does have “Minnie” her little dog that needs to get up every morning about 5 for a walk outside.


    I must get some more pics of the girls with Minnie as well.. but she’s pretty skittish of the kids (and adults too really).

    Continue reading to see about the trip to St Andrews…. (photos from the day are in Canada – 2010 – Group 3.

    Continue reading  Post ID 877

  • Walking… get out and do it…

    Posted on by rob

    Well that’s what I’ve been doing, well trying to when I get the time.  I’ve been managing to get out a couple days a week at lunch time when time and weather permits.  I’ve been keeping a walking log which shows the route I’ve walked and distances as well as a my total walking distance.  You can see the spreadsheet by CLICKING HERE.

    On May 1st I managed to get a few hours to get out alone and go walking.  I’d planned a 3.5mi walk but it turned out to be a 5.5 mile walk.  What a great place to go walking.  There were two separate wooded area’s.  Once was Archers Wood

    About this wood

    Parts of Archer’s Wood are believed to be remnants of the original British wildwood, a ditch and bank in the northern section is a scheduled ancient monument and, true to its name the wood was a sanctuary for highwaymen. Even today you look to the north and imagine a 14th century Cistercian monastic grange that once stood there. Flat and easy to access, the site is dominated by oak, ash and field maple and served by a figure-of-eight network of rides so it’s great for gentle walks. Be sure to stroll along the main ride to spot the rare and beautiful wild service tree – and look out for foxes, woodpeckers and nuthatches.

    The other was Aversley Wood, both just outside of Sawtry, Cambridgeshire.

    About this wood

    A woodland gem in England’s least-wooded county, expansive, impressive Aversley Wood is well worth the steep trek (sometimes boggy in winter) required to reach it. Believed to date back to the Ice Age, it is one of Cambridgeshire’s largest ancient woodland sites and a full tour is not for the faint-hearted – but very rewarding, with impressive fenland views.

    You can see the full route of the walk with notes along the way by going to www.stepwhere.com.  I’ve been using this site for storing and planning my recent walks.  You can see all my public walks by going to my user name, M1XZG.  The process I’ve been doing with the site is planning the walk online and loading the track onto my GPS, then, when I’m out walking I record the actual track I walk and upload that to www.stepwhere.com

    To see some photos from the walk of the woods you can CLICK HERE for my www.flickr.com gallery.  Here are a couple of the photos.



    If you get out walking why not share your routes?   Also, why not check out www.walkingforum.co.uk – it’s a fantastic site for all manner of walking discussions.

    A detailed account of the walk …

    Continue reading  Post ID 877

  • Long time no post..

    Posted on by rob

    Wow, I’ve just looked at my blog and haven’t posted anything since Nov 2009?! ? WTF is that all about anyhow?  Lets see, what’s happened since my last posting?  Well, I’ve returned from South Africa :)  It was a great trip, ran longer then originally planned but it was good.

    We’ve all suffered through Christmas and of course New Years, so Happy New Year eh?

    Well, that brings us to today now.  I’ve converted back to Windows (it was a sad day yesterday).  I’d finally had enough of Ubuntu.  It was a series of issues that forced me back to Windows … apps that stopped working, funny things happening since upgrading from Ubuntu 9.04 to 9.10, that was a mistake for sure and generally speaking I just grew tired of missing functionality in Ubuntu when everyone you deal with uses Windows.  Oh well.  I’m not running Windows 7, 64-Bit, finally making full use of the hardware in my laptop.  The only “issue” I have right now is Win 7 doesn’t seem to support the ACPI power management stuff.. so, as a result when I pull the power and run on battery the only performance tuning that happens is the screen dims but the CPU’s run full out and thus drain the battery at an alarming rate.  I’m sure I’ll find the correct drivers for that issue at some point. 

    Oh yeah, I bought a new car as well .. pics of the new motor here ..

    There’s not really much else to report I suppose.  As usual, check out the photos on our flickr account for new photos and videos. Such as this one, Lisa playing her piano..

    I hope I’ll have some more interesting things to blog about in the future.. just sort of lost the desire to blog.. hoping it comes back.