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From Paul Burgman 1986. Sara Crowe and Ann Bryson before they shot to fame as the Philidelphia Cheese Girls. Original Publicity photographs shot for their Cabaret Act the Flamin’ Hamsters. Paul Burgman/Press-Photos.com

Going through some old negatives, I found some that I shot of the Guildford School of Acting back in the early 1980s, the photograph above was of a couple of students from St Catherine’s Drama school, who went on to become quite well known in the 1980s & 90s. It was shot in a photographic studio that used to be in Godalming.

The photo above is of a Guildford School of Acting production of “Bent”that was put on at the New End Theatre in Hampstead again some time in the early 1980s, the actor on the left is Owen Teale, who went on to star as Ser Alliser Thorne in Game of Thrones, as well as appearing in BallyK and Line of Duty. Shot on Kodak Tri-X at 1600ISO Canon F1n 24mm F2.

Guildford School Of Acting & The Unlimited Theatre CompanyProduction of GODSPELL [Pic Paul Burgman]

The above was from a production of Godspell by the Guildford School of Acting in a church on Marlybone Road. Shot on a Canon A1 50mm F1.4 Ektachome 160EPT tungsten balanced transparency film.

Sharp

Needed to put an edge on a couple of penknife blades, cutting background paper makes them dull very quickly and I didn’t want to go the full whet stone & honing oil route, so I thought I’d try a pocket sharpener. Having attacked three different Swiss Army knives and a Leatherman I am quite impressed, very easy to use and even made a wrecked Swiss Army Lock knife which has been abused for over 20 years serviceable.

These pocket sharpeners are never going to get your blades up to Scalpel or even Stanley Knife blade sharpness, but even this old lock knife now has an edge that will shave the hairs from your forearm. So for £11 it is a bargain.

Important Note: Having seen a couple of reviews on Amazon, don’t drop the stone when you have removed the cover, it is stone & will break, same as most knife sharpening stones. Also don’t apply so much pressure that you snap it, there is zero flexibility so go gentle and enjoy.

Manfrotto Upgrade

I had to order a couple of QR plates for a Manfrotto head, and when I saw the price for a piece of plastic, I looked at an alternative. Not only was it 2 plates for just over the price of 1 Manfrotto plate, they are made of metal and are actually easier to attach to a camera/lens as the Manfrotto plate has a very fiddly screw.

Time will tell how they will work out.

Lockdown Killed…..

Memory Saver

Lockdown has finally killed my car battery. Only being used a couple of times a week & then for just quick trips to the shops means that the battery has been killed. Despite taking a run out with it last weekend it has died. So new a battery was delivered this morning & a Memory Saver having been delivered earlier in the week it was time to replace it. The memory saver is a brilliantly simple bit of kit, and whilst it probably will have been lost by the time I next need it, well worth it for the effort that it saved.

Essentially it uses a 9v PP3 Battery to supply the car with enough power to keep the time & radio settings (as well as other stuff kept in the volatile memory in the car) whilst the battery is disconnected.

Two Types of HD

There are two types of hard drive, ones that have failed & ones that will fail. This includes all types of media, whether Magnetic, Optical or Solid state. If you have only one copy of something, you don’t have a back-up, if you have a second copy you don’t have a back up plan. If it is valuable or important to you, you need several copies. Facebook is not a suitable place to use as image storage, nor is wordpress. You can have a back up on-line, but use something that is designed for data storage. You need to have at least two copies plus one off-site.

Anyway my point is I have had to dispose of a hard drive today that failed, not a cause for concern as everything is backed up multiple times in several locations, so new disk installed into the system and data restored to it.

Ice, Ice, Baby

Had to clear the windscreen of ice a couple of days ago & yet another useless bit of plastic snaps. I decided to investigate a new ice scraper. Over the years I have had many, usually brittle bits of plastic, sharp edged, ergonomically awful, frequently with useless rubber strips in sharp metal bits that lift a layer of paint, or numerous layers of skin if contact is even lightly made, or else a credit card, or a bottle of de-icer.

Well the Swedish Ice Scraper is none of the above, made from recycled perspex, it is a really well thought out, incredibly simple device. I don’t know how long they have been around, but if it is very long then it is one of the best kept secrets ever. A little more expensive than most, but I am sure that time will show it to be an investment.

Bloody Cold Weather coming

As the cold weather is almost on us, I have decided that if I get a puncture whilst out and about, I want to spend as little time as possible changing a wheel. So to that end I have got some sockets & adaptors for my rechargeable impact driver, which will greatly reduce the time that I may have to spend changing a wheel. Hopefully will never need it but better to have just in case.

Don’t Use Filters

I don’t often use filters, with the exception of a polarising filter occasionally, but as it was Christmas I decided to treat myself. Years ago when I first seriously got into photography (about 1980) I had some Cokin Filters, but most of them were to gimmicky to use more than once. In fact now that I think about it, I may have to have a look for them.

[UPDATE] Found them, can’t find the holders (either the A or the P) or the adaptor rings, may have to have a look on Ebay!

Damned….

Damned I’d forgotten just how big this case is. I haven’t used my Peli Case 1650 for a while, it was used mainly for storage and security in the boot of the Jeep with a couple of steel cables & padlocks. But seeing as the new inserts from A-MoDe in Hong Kong had arrived I figured that I should install it and configure it ready for use in the new year. Only downside is once it is fully loaded it is bloody heavy. I may reconfigure it to be my football box with just the 400mm, 70-200mm and the 24-70mm & three bodies, flashguns, remotes mini tripod, monopod and laptop.

They’ve arrived

New inserts from Hong Kong for the Pelicases have arrived. They are substantially cheaper than the Pelicase originals, and are not quite as well made but they do seem good value for money. I have got them for the 1510 which houses my 400mm and some odds and sods, and for the 1650 which, whilst I don’t use it at the moment is capable of holding most of the camera kit, including 3 bodies, 8 lenses & three flashgun plus still plenty of room.

Early Xmas

I know I probably have spent enough on myself in the last few months, but this is an early Christmas present for me, mainly because my old mag-lite is nearly 20 years old & although I have replaced the bulb with an LED replacement, new technology is often better. In this case it is particulary true, whilst the old torch does still work & and is no longer emitting that horrible yellow glow, the new one is substantially better. It will live in the car for those horrible nights when I’m searching for an address in the middle of nowhere.

New Tools

Decided that the cheap kit that I bought a couple of weeks ago wasn’t really up to snuff, so it will live in the car for those little mishaps that occur when away from home. The iFixit kit seems better made & comes with some useful odds & sods as well probably better suited to the projects that I do at home.

Don Zeck, No idea

Nope I have no idea who Don Zeck is, but he does a fine line in lens caps for big glass. The Canon supplied lens cap for the 400mm F2.8 is basically a Nose Bag, a right pain in the arse to use and only properly fits when the Lenshood is reversed. OK most of the time not a problem, but when it is not fitted it takes up an unnecessary amount of space. It won’t fit in your pocket!

Anyhoo only available to order from the US, and not exactly cheap (although cheaper than the Canon replacement) it arrived in about 15 days, which compared to the waiting time from stuff from China is not too bad. Just have to make sure that I don’t misplace this one.

New Wheels

The wheels on my 1650 Pelicase are crap, they are the original wheels fitted by Pelican, really hard plastic right upto the point that they start falling apart. I replaced the wheels on my 1510 Case a while back with some in-line skate wheels, however the 1650 uses much wider wheels. So I ordered some skateboard wheels 50mm diameter and 30mm wide, along with some bearings. Not perfect, I need to install some spacers but already much better than the original wheels.

Website Move

Having been with Supanames since about 2001 which was then taken over by 123-Reg it was time for a change. 123 have been properly rubbish, they cost me my domain name for 4 years because their integration between them & Supanames didn’t work, they are consistently overcharging for their service, they have been charging me nearly £180 per year for services that I have tried to down grade, but they will not permit. Finally last week they told me I couldn’t cancel the “auto-renew” but would have to cancel my hosting contract meaning I would immediately lose my hosting/email etc with no refund for the remaining month I had left on my contract, so anyway **** them. Eventually they conceded & I am now moving to a new supplier that has been recommended to me.

As with all these things there will be some down-time, I also have the work of locating & implementing a new gallery system for the images that I have & ones that I will be adding in the future. Whilst the website won’t have the ability to syndicate the images directly from the server, it will have the advantage of resizing images in the fly and when finally customised (when I get the chance) will integrate nicely with the rest of the site. Yes I know, I probably need to change the colour scheme & update the look, & I will in time, the main thing is to get something up & running before Christmas.

Have changed the DNS just waiting for that to promulgate & we are up and running, well, walking briskly, actually probably just hobbling with the aid of a stick, but I’ll get there.

Lockdown 2

29/11/2020 Hayling Island during Lock Down 2.0

Have hardly used the car during lockdown 2.0, and it only just managed to start with a very flat battery, so it & I needed a run out, so a trip to shoot Hayling Island in lockdown was the order of the day.

FA Vase Win

31/10/2020 Tooting Bec v GCFC FA Vase. City’s Theo Woodhouse (Capt) celebrates

Great to be shooting football this weekend, although it may be the last time for a while, with the new lockdown coming into effect on Thursday. City clung on for a 3-2 win to go through to the next round.

Ongoing Repairs

Toolset

Having replaced a battery in the TomTom sat nav recently it became apparent that whilst I have loads of very small phillips, crosspoint & flat screwdrivers, I didn’t have any small Torx bits, or any of the slightly peculiar blades that many small electronic devices require. So a cheap set was purchased from Amazon, and on closer inspection it looks like a cheap set of “Chinesium” bits. Although it does come with a selection of spudgers and other useful accessories, I am not sure that much of it will last prolonged & heavy usage, so I may invest in the iFixit kit in due course.

However as it is time for the periodical check on all the accessable screws on my camera equipment, it will get used for that, before potentially being thrown in a drawer & forgotten about.

Oh Crap!

17/10/2020 GCFC v Sheerwater. City’s Eli Ogunseye

Once again the standard of officiating at this level of football pissed me off. Free-kicks not given, cards issued like they’re going out of fashion generally to the wrong player. Perfectly good goal given off-side by a 70 year old linesman three miles behind the play. No bollocking for a manager who kept straying onto the pitch.

Bloody Batteries

The lockdown has killed my Sat Nav batteries, hardly being used for months means that even when fully charged as soon as power is disconnected the thing shuts down.

TomTom G06000 SatNav

Normally not a problem, however it takes ages to re-start. I mean ages several minutes at least. Which if you are in a rush seems like forever. It also means that if the power is interrupted briefly it switches off, for example you go over a pot-hole and the plug works loose in the 12v power socket.

So after a few weeks of just shouting at the thing I did a quick google search for replacement batteries, ordered one & when it arrived today I fitted it. It was a bit of a fiddle as the internals on my G06000 seem to be different to all the others featured in the online videos, but 20 minutes later & it is all done. I have left it on charge & will let it charge overnight for the first cycle of the battery, hopefully this is the end of the saga.

Update: Given a long charge, have unplugged the power and it is still running an hour later, Yay!

Lock Down did my car no favours

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EGR valve became stuck closed on the cars first real trip out, resulting in really poor economy and performance. The Catalytic Converter warning light came on. Initial checks led me to think that the Flexi-pipe had gone & was causing the sensors to error message.  Anyhoo get back from Derbyshire & get the car booked in, it is due an MOT in a month so, got that done as well.  Mechanic said the warning light was for the EGR Valve.

Next day I pulled the cover off the EGR to reveal that several teeth had been destroyed. Checked the movement of the valve, which seemed ok. SO I rotated the gearwheel by about 10 degrees. And reinstalled. All good.

Clap for Carers

23/04/2020. Guildford Cathedral lit up with tribute to the NHS this evening

Lost count, is it three of these now? Visited the Royal Surrey County Hospital,  but they had moved where they were holding the applause, so got there a little too late, so afterwards I headed up to the famous Cathedral (if you don’t know why it is famous, then you probably haven’t seen The Omen). Anyhoo they had lit the building blue & projected a tribute to the NHS on the front, organised by #surreydriveUK.

23/04/2020. Guildford Cathedral lit up with tribute to the NHS this evening

Lock Down is boring…but

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If it prevents one death, reduces stress on the NHS and other key workers it is worth it. All of my commissions and work has dried up for the foreseeable & unforeseeable future. Shit happens. Today was the largest Supermoon of 2020, even though I am a key worker, I decided that it wasn’t worth the risk of doing anything more than shooting it from my garden.

In other news a delivery is due in the next couple of days, of some timber & bits so I shall be knocking up a couple of bird boxes, one for Blue Tits & an other for Robins & Wrens. The ones that I built 12 years ago are still going strong, but with the reduced traffic & human activity the birds seem to be flourishing, so as I can’t help the NHS Staff (except by staying home whenever possible) I might as well do something for our feathered friends.

Struggles with scanning…

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For years I have owned a Film Scanner, never really used it as I was unable to get decent results from it, I used to use one at Cassidy & Leigh (a Kodak RFS2035) without problems, it wasn’t brilliantly high res, but fine for newspaper work, and quite quick. I purchased a CanoScan FS4000 not long after they were launched, but never really got on with it.  The GetFilm app was pretty poor to use & the quality just never seemed to be there. The software for dust removal was also pretty poor and the Canon App never let you get into the bowels of the Scanner to tweak it. That all changed when I replaced it with VueScan, but it still never produced the goods.

The came internment, I mean social distancing & self isolation, which seeing as the business has completely dried up, means that I have time for some experimentation. Seeing as I know my camera gear inside & out, have cleaned all of it, including cases & bags and we are only 10 days in, time to fire up the FS4000US. Not quite there yet as I am still tweaking but substantially better than previous scans.

 

 

Had a mooch about

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With the first day of the lock-down I thought that I would dive out and see how it was affecting the town centre on Saturday night. Guildford High Street is usually rammed with cars parked on both sides of the street. However 2100hrs last night there were two cars & a truck. Hopefully the Pubs will survive these closures, because by the time this Corona Virus pandemic is over,  BOY ARE WE GOING TO NEED THEM!

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Not Work Related

driver

With a weekend off, I was planning on doing some running repairs, so I purchased a new  Drill and something I have never owned before, an Impact Driver. What a revelation, needing to drive a few 100mm+ screws, it made life so much easier. So if you are using a drill/Electric Screwdriver, stop, get yourself an impact driver.

From a while back

22/10/2016. Guildford City v North Greenford United

22/10/2016. Guildford City v North Greenford United. Guildford City Celebrate scoring and Substituted (due to pulled hamstring) Captain Darryl SIAW joins the celebrations from the dressing room.

A photograph taken during one of Guildford City FCs games last week seems to gone a bit wild.  The Guildford City Captain, Darryl Siaw was substituted having pulled a hamstring during the game & had an early shower after the team came out for the second half of the match, however in the opening minutes City scored, so Darryl legged it from the shower to join in the celebrations, however, he seem to have forgotten to grab a towel.

Anyway the photograph has been tweeted & re-tweeted so often I have lost count.  But there are a few noticeable landings including:

Non League Paper

ESPN

Who Ate All The Pies

Macedonia

Portugal

Switzerland

Mexico

Hungary

 

 

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I will update this post if I see it anywhere else. UDATED 6/02/2020

22/10/2016. Guildford City v North Greenford United

22/10/2016. Guildford City v North Greenford United. Darryl SIAW receives his MOM award sponsored by Sainsbury’s Worplesdon Rd

Bugger!

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I could have done without that, the car started making a knocking noise on Christmas Eve, so cancelled the jobs in the diary, rescheduled some, and farmed out another, and parked the car up until I could get to the workshop. Picked the car up yesterday, Yay all good, could have done without the £400 bill (admittedly I did get them to give it a full service as well) for replacing the Near-Side Drive shaft. Strange that it had given no tell-tale creaks or knocks on full lock, just catastrophically failed on Christmas Eve. Anyway all good & back to work next week.

New Phone Time

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Had the iPhone 6S for a while now & seeing as EE were doing a deal with the iPhone Xs with 100gb of data for the price of 30gb it seemed a no brainer, Now I just have to go through the hassle of moving everything across & learning a new iOS & phone.

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First attempt to update the iOS resulted in it bricking the phone, eventually persuaded it to update, now have restored the data back to it and all up and running.

The things you find

Scan-191225-0001

Whilst I was looking for my copy of “My way with a camera”, I found my old Canon Lens Work book printed in 1981. From memory they were released in fairly small numbers, I received mine from J.J. Silber who were the Canon importers at the time, I think it was when I ordered my first Canon F1n in about 1983.

A New Old Book

 

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As it is the season of giving, I just gave myself a present, I already have “My Way with a Camera: Adventures and Lessons of a Career in Photography” by Victor, I saw “Naff Off! for £3.00 and had to have it.

Nostalgia isn’t as good as it used to be, I remember reading Victors column in the Amateur Photographer Magazine back in the late 1970s & early 80s, along with Ron Spillman.

 

Oh and Merry Christmas

Fulham v Barnsley 007

Value for money

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I like good value for money, however it was bought home to me that different manufacturers have a different idea about it. Both items were about the same price, however I can’t help but think the watch is considerably better value. I mean £70 for a small bit of plastic that I could have ordered a copy of from China for about 7 quid. Anyway the reason for the both is that I broke my work watch on a job in the week & lost my lens hood.

AF Micro Adjustments

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Time to match the new lens to the camera bodies, so fire up the FoCal. It is once you are used to the software quite simple to use, even easier if you have a camera that supports fully automatic AF micro Adjustment. Set up your target, hook up the camera to the computer and away you go.

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After you have done a series of photographs at different levels of adjustment the software calculates what the final adjustment should be (on Canon if you are adjusting zoom you repeat the process for the Wide & Telephoto end).

The software is capable of a number of tests, including calculating what is the best performing aperture.

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Upgrade Time

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Whilst I enjoy the 11-24mm F4 immensely, at nearly 2 kilos it is a bit of a lump to lug around all day when you don’t need to shoot so wide. So it was time to upgrade a 17-40mm F4 L that I had knocking about to the latest 16-35mm F2.8L mkIII. And what an upgrade it is, just need to dial in all the AF Micro Adjustments and we are good to go. I use Reikan FoCal to calibrate, it is disappointing that Canon do not support the full automatic calibration process which would substantially reduce the amount of faffing about, but hey-ho.