Friday, 22 August 2008

Experimenting With Flash 1

Experimenting With Flash 1 by michl_007
Experimenting With Flash 1
Originally uploaded by michl_007
(22nd August, 2008)
I tried the flash thing again today with a little more success, much more in fact since I managed to do it in only one set of shots with no mistakes.

Aperture: f10
ISO: 100
White Balance: flash

I actually meant to use a lower f number but since the same was used throughout I don't think it matters too much. This does not count as a mistake... *cough*

Anyhoo... what did I learn? I learnt that using the flash head on is very harsh, no shock there. While the light that's bounced off the surfaces is much softer there is also a definite colour cast. I could have changed the white balance but I'm trying to learn what's happening so figured it best not to tamper with things.

I enjoyed this small experiment because I'm starting to understand all the articles I've been reading about lighting, even if only a small amount. Very encouraging. I will try more experiments.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

SB600, Must Try Harder

Must Try Harder by michl_007
Must Try Harder
Originally uploaded by michl_007
(20th August, 2008)
Bah. I was trying to experiment with my speedlight by taking multiple pictures of this thing but with the head tilted and swivelled to different positions.

Half way through the first set of shots I realised that I hadn't tightened up the tripod properly and it had shifted. Silly mistake.

The second set of shots seemed to work okay, with very noticeable differences. But after zapping them over to my computer I realised that I hadn't made a note of which settings were on which image.

The third set of shots had a steady tripod. I had my notes of the various settings I'd used. I was good to go. Then I realised that I'd left the little diffuser flap pulled out so it rendered my experiment useless.

Shove Your Contract

Cloudy Clock by michl_007
Cloudy Clock
Originally uploaded by michl_007
(8th August, 2007)
You go into a shop to buy a mobile phone these days and they pounce on you like flies on shit. The whole "Can I help you?", "No thanks.", "What is it you're looking for?", "A phone." thing started to get to me after a while today. On the odd occasion you decide to break the news that you only want pay as you go rather than a contract you can see the light burn that much dimmer behind their eyes as the eagerness to please starts to evaporate.

I used to have a contract phone and was happy enough with it until it came time to upgrade. They gave me a deal on a Nokia N95 so I wouldn't skip to another supplier but the phone was faulty and I had it replaced. Twice. In less than a week. They kept promising to call me to sort out the problem but never did and told me that because it was an upgrade rather than a new contract there was bugger all I could do. Needless to say I didn't renew again after that one expired and swore to stay away from contract phones forever more.

It's hard to believe my cloudy clock photo was taken this time last year. The weather today has been particularly windy and rainy.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Getting To Grips With Blogger

Robin Red Breast 1 by michl_007
Robin Red Breast 1
Originally uploaded by michl_007
(27th January, 2008)
I think I'm finally getting to grips with this whole blogger templates thing and even cobbled together the header you see above.

I'm sharing this photo taken at the start of the year in lieu of any new pictures using my new lens. My motivation for some reason has been lacking. All the late nights can't be helping and I had the intention of getting an early night but I now see that it's nearly midnight.

Anyhoo... this photo was taken while on a walk around the grounds of the Styal Estate. I was very pleased with the detail I managed to capture, one of my better efforts.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Oh How I Hate...

...templates. I have been editing the template for this blog for more time now than I care to mention and it's a pain in the arse. I just got shirty and deleted all the changes. Back to the drawing board or maybe I'll go order an Indian takeaway instead and think about it another time.

The weather today was pretty bad so I didn't venture out with my new lens, bummer.

New Addition To The Family

New Addition To The Family
Originally uploaded by michl_007
(13th August, 2008)
I got some vouchers from work recently and decided to put them towards a nice new lens. I spent all night online trying to decide which one I wanted, reading reviews and perusing the various shop websites where it could be purchased.

As it turns out I could use my vouchers at only one photographic shop and that was Jessops. "Did they have it in stock?" I hear you ask. Yes! And at my local branch too! Too excited to sleep I sat up drinking coffee till opening time and made my way to the store.

Now... normally when you walk in this place they jump on you wanting to know if you need help but after walking by the two members of staff having a chit chat at the entrance and waiting for the other member of staff (who was being very helpful to the lady at the counter) I was forced to ask Mr Chit and Mr Chat if there was a member of staff available to help or were they just there for decoration. As it turns out, they didn't have the lens in stock after all. Ho hum. Before leaving I asked for the customer services number. Mr Chit and Mr Chat got a little nervous till I explained that I wanted to call and see what stock levels they had in other stores.

One mobile phone call later I knew that they had stock in the warehouse (which meant a three day wait), stock in Edinburgh (hours and hours away) and stock in London. I trudged up to London where they let me try out the display model and allowed me to get giddy with excitement about my imminent purchase. Only when I was about to pay did they reveal that they didn't have any in store but it would only be a couple of days for delivery. I managed to contain my desire to tell them to foxtrot oscar and told them that I didn't wish to wait.

By this stage I'd pretty much lost hope of getting the new lens but in desperation I checked with Jacobs (another photographic shop) which is right across the road.

Long story short(ish)... They had it. My vouchers weren't valid. I bought it anyway. I went back to Jessops and spent my vouchers on a new camera bag.

In conclusion, I have once again received poor customer service from Jessops. I won't spend any money with them again if I can help it, only vouchers should I get any more. Someone should tell them the difference between a shop and a showroom. Jacobs staff are generally much more helpful and knowledgeable and don't seem to lie to you with as much gusto as the staff in Jessops.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

My Most Viewed Photo

Chinese Golden Pheasant
Originally uploaded by michl_007
(2nd October, 2007)
I don't know how or why this image has garnered so many views but people seem to happen upon it more regularly than my others.

Today has been a miserable, raining, shivering cold day but I care not a jot because I'm now officially on holiday from work. I hope to make at least a couple of trips to Kew and the London Wetland Centre, weather willing. I also have a week in the Lake District to look forward to.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Introduction Part 2

My Favourite Tree
Originally uploaded by michl_007
(4th October, 2007)
I got myself a camera last year in about March and have been hooked ever since. This is one of my favourite pictures from 2007, taken at Kew Gardens.

Photography is definitely my favourite pastime now but I also like to read the occasional book and knit the odd sock. And yes, I do mean one as it's very difficult to get motived enough to complete the same pattern twice. It's called 'odd sock syndrome' and affects knitters far and wide.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Introduction Part 1

About once per year I decide to write a blog. I get all enthused for between one and five entries before realising that doing nothing is not nearly as bad as writing about doing nothing and so begins my blogging hibernation. Well this time it's different, this time... Ah shit, who am I kidding. Tomorrow, after I have slept, shall come part 2. Or not as the case may be.