I decided that my Canon EF400mm needed recalibrating, seeing as I don’t think that I recalibrated it after replacing the lens mount last year, at least it was dry outside, can’t say that it was particularly warm though, but I can’t believe the amount of pollen that settled on the camera and the laptop in the hour or so that I was doing it.
The recalibration would appear to not really have been necessary, as the Micro AF adjustment just changed from +6 to +5, which in the real world is not particularly significant. I also ran few a few other test options and can report that all seems to be well.
You can never have to many back-up plans. I have a number of hard disks that are copies of the current archive, as well as disks that are “snapshots” of the archive from various points of time. Usually every 3 years is archived off to a disk for storage. Because of the increase in file sizes over the years, what used to fit on a 1TB hard disk now fills a 4TB hard disk & the next archive batch is likely to need a 6TB hard disk. This is not including video footage which will be added soon as I will add a drone to my arsenal in the coming months.
I have used a cheap caddy to access the disks until now, however a cheap 4 bay caddy came up & so at least some of the off-line archive will be more easily available. I have at the same time ordered a 1TB SSD to replace the OS disk in my MacPro. So more fun coming up in the next few days.
I haven’t speed tested the enclosure as the likely bottle neck will be the speed of the old drives that are installed in it. But hopefully it will be fast enough for the occasional delve into the archive.
The reason for the decision to increase the amount of “online” archive was because a former client got in touch to re-licence some images that are from way back in 2001/2 & required me to pull a rather dusty HDD to retrieve the High Res originals.
The manufacturer straps on my 1Dx bodies are starting to show their age, they don’t seem to like getting wet and in recent months they have got very wet & they are starting to separate. So ordered a couple of Think Tank straps, they seem OK, only time will tell, but everything else that I have from Think Tank have been superb. The only negative thing I can say is, they could have been more adventurous with the colours, only blue or grey available.
I have a number of PocketWizards, three Plus III and a Plus X, so I thought I should upgrade the Plus X to a Plus III, so after a bit of hunting around for the best price I ordered a Plus III from https://www.photospecialist.co.uk, who I have used on a few occasions. Within 48 hours I have my grubby hands on a Yellow Plus III. Until I went looking, I never realised that they did them in different colours. I am thinking that I may have to invest in another Yellow one for use as a remote release for behind the goal work.
The only downside is that I have to downgrade the firmware on the new remote to enable it to work with my older remotes. It is either that or pay $10 per remote to upgrade the old ones. Whilst there are quite a few changes to the “E” Release firmware, there is nothing that would appear to change the way that I use them. If in the future I decide differently I will upgrade the firmware.
Needed to update some labels on my camera bags & Lighting equipment bags, I have tried out a couple & they seem pretty good, and should be quite hardwearing. Over the course of the next few days I will replace the existing ones with these, there will also be some left over for a few Polo Shirts & Day-Glo vests.
Ordered some new hats, definitely required for the Canon EF11-24mm F4 L as the lens cap is huge, but they aren’t expensive so ordered a couple of others as well. The advantage with these is that you can screw them up & stuff them in your pocket, which you can’t with the hard plastic cap for the 11-24.
Having received a replacement rubber weather seal in the post this morning, I thought seeing as I had no football today get straight on with replacing the very worn one on my Canon 2x Extender. I have no idea how it became so worn as it is seldom used, probably less than a dozen times in the last 5 years.
Anyway a simple enough job, undo screws on the lens mount, lift the mount & slide the seal over, re-seat the mount and do up the screws, all in about 5 minutes, then a couple of test pictures to ensure that everything is in alignment and job done.
The Part Number for the seal is YA2-3463-00 and I believe the item is the same for most if not all Canon EF lenses that are weather sealed. I have a couple of other lenses that could do with the seal being replaced so I will confirm in due course.
So after a very mild Christmas & New Year, the cold weather is coming. Over the years I have had many pairs of gloves & they have either been great at keeping my hands warm & dry, but impossible to work the camera easily or they have been great for work, but useless & keeping the elements out. I have Adidas gloves for mild winter, I have NorthFace gloves for walking about when very cold & now I have added some Sealskinz gloves for when it is cold & I have to work.
I have tried mittens that fold back to reveal fingerless gloves, with thinsulate woven in, I have had “Easy-Off” gloves, that had rave reviews, but were almost completely unusable, I have tried gloves with “re-heater” pockets (similar to some ski gloves I had back in the 1980s) and everything I have tried has been poor or really poor for working in. Most people will probably cope with the cold better than I, but suffering from Raynaud’s phenomenon, means that I experience loss of blood circulation in the fingers at temperatures that most just consider to be a “bit” chilly.
Anyway my next miracle set of gloves (as yet unproven) come highly recommended from several professional colleagues. Their sizing for the gloves seem completely random, the perfect size for me is usually a size 9, but for the Sealskinz I need an 11. They claim waterproof, (a big claim as they have fold back index fingers) and windproof. First test, assuming that the crap weather that is forecast arrives, is shooting Guildford City Women in a Cup game at the Guildford Spectrum, a ground that is quite low level, in a hollow & very close to a river so it can get very cold.
Anyway, they are the most expensive pair of gloves that I have ever purchased, hopefully they will live up to their billing.
Having suffered with a knackered shoulder for the last year, and had back issues for a number of years, I decided that I would try something that a chiropractor that I saw years ago suggested. So I bought a TENS machine. It only arrived yesterday so no chance to really give it a go, but hopefully it will give some respite (not respit as our American cousins pronounce it) from the near constant pain that it causes. Expect an update soon, or not, depending upon how I feel.
Purchased a few of these last week & they arrived today, I will let you know how I get on with them. Just seemed like a good idea at the time, so I have them on camera bags key rings etc. Not very bright but bright enough to see a keyhole, just will have to remember that I have them next time I stagger home from the pub.
Having liked the Zippo hand warmer, I decided that I would buy another, whilst hunting Amazon I saw a “Whitby Warmer” and thought I’d give it a go. It was quite a bit cheaper than I remember the Zippo being, and when it was delivered I also found that it was quite a bit larger as well. Hopefully it will work equally as well tomorrow evening whilst shooting football.
A splendid evening at the Mandolay Hotel in Guildford for a fundraising dinner & a talk by Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier. A horrible mixture of LED RGB lighting & conventional tungsten lights means that colour balance was a right royal pain in the backside, as I really didn’t want to chuck flash at everything. Matt was very amusing & the host was also very good. I understand that the evening was a success in fundraising terms & certainly most of the guests seemed to enjoy it.
The old AA 12 Bay charger packed up, I can’t complain it has had quite a lot of use. So seeing as I only had a couple of 4 bay chargers knocking about, decided that I should get a new one. Spotted a bit of a bargain, as I couldn’t find many 12 bay or larger chargers on Amazon. Ideally I would like a larger number of bays, as I like to recharge all of my batteries the day before I need them, which even with the 16 Bay charger it is going to mean filling it twice to charge all of the batteries.
It’s getting close to that time of the year that I need to fire up this little beastie, nothing worse than cold hands pitch-side and unable to feel the shutter release. I have ordered a new catalyst for it which will be here some time next week, but I have tested it today & it seems to work OK. I also have in the boot of the car some one-shot hand warmers, which will step up, if the Zippo fails to work. Just need some foot warmers now.
Brilliant service from CPS, an EOS 1Dx that needed a new Mirror Box, Focusing Screen and Lens Bayonet mount. Dropped in to Elstree on Tuesday and returned via UPS on Friday. Only downside is that it looks like I have to recalibrate the AF Micro-adjustments.
After repairing the 400mm lens recently I have finally dropped my 1Dx that was on it to CPS Elstree, to have the mount replaced & a realignment carried out, hopefully won’t be too expensive. I have also arranged to have a second body that has “issues” looked at. I was informed that (as a platinum member) it should be a two day turnaround plus shipping time. Due to only having one camera that I am able to rely on, I have cancelled my trip to Jersey as the second body that I have is a very high mileage body with 600,000 activations which whilst good for it’s age is in dire need of a new shutter & mirror box as well as a complete service.
Shooting football in the torrential rain yesterday, meant that I was unable to shoot the women’s game that I was going to shoot today, most of the camera kit is dried out & ready to go, however getting the bags dry in time proved to be an issue. Fortunately the Canon gear I use is all weatherproof (although as I was asked yesterday, no not waterproof) so it has survived without ill-effect, however the Think-Tank Glass Limo & Retrospective 50 are still quietly dripping away in the airing cupboard. I know I should have used the rainproof covers for them, but they are a pain in the arse to use, so it’s my own fault.
Thought, seeing as I have a quiet week that I would check on some of the equipment that I don’t use very often, and opened my Elinchrom light case to find that the foam had disintegrated to dust, literally dust. a 600 x 400mm base foam had crumbled so much that it fit in a small carrier bag, with room for the egg crate lid foam as well. In fact there was plenty of room for a few more bits of rubbish. So ordered some foam which arrived today, just waiting on a single sheet of 10mm for the base and I will get it cut to shape for the 3 Elinchrom heads that live in it. The heads that I mainly use live in an Elinchrom Location bag, so I may put these up for sale in the near future. Will update soon.
Guildford City Woman’s Team made history today, playing their first ever League game against Richmond Park. Esme Parsons also scored their first ever league goal. Playing against a considerably more experienced team, the young City squad can hold their heads high, with a battling performance, with woodwork hit and a goal disallowed. They made history today, they will continue to add to it over the course of the season, as they grow in experience, confidence & ability they will, no doubt do the club & the town proud, C’mon you Gs!
It always surprises me just how much gear fits in the boot of my little old Golf. Had a couple of shoots recently that involved taking 3 studio heads, lighting stands, background, various reflectors, a Think Tank Glass Limo and a Think Tank Aiport Accelorator, plus all of the usual crap that is usually in the back of the car.
So… having found the locking tab for the lens hood, which in it’s bid for freedom only made it as far as the boot of my car, and not the gravel car park that I was in when it went AWOL, I thought I had better fix it. Before that I should just say that the reason I didn’t look in the boot initially is just that I am never that lucky, if something goes missing, it is never where you’d expect it. Today was a case in point, I dropped a 2mm E-clip, seeing as it was dropped on carpet, weighs F*** All, you’d expect it to be fairly close by, but no, searching with a magnet (always handy for these sorts of things) it had managed to travel 6 feet from where it fell.
Anyhoo, I wasn’t sure what size E-Clip was going to be required so I ordered a selection box from Amazon, with sizes from 1.5mm through to 10mm, as it turns out I was the 2mm one that I needed. I have never really given it much thought about how small a 2mm E-clip was actually going to be, well you don’t, do you?
So have assembled the bits required and tried a test run with a spare locking assembly, all went to plan, albeit bloody fiddly. So on to the actual assembly, as the Wedge & the Lock have be joined through the lens hood, it was a bloody nightmare. Holding together the Wedge, the Lock & the actual Hood whilst attempting to fit the E-Clip through a hole, onto a post, with a pair of tweezers. (This because of the last failure of the assembly, stripping of the screw threads required the application of some adhesive to screw threads)
So with the help of a magnet, and plastic bag (to catch the E-Clip if it tried to escape) a pair of iFixit tweezers a pair needle nose pliers and a small flat bladed screw driver, it is now Fixxored! The next job is to see if I can get someone to either machine or cast another wedge (maybe a few as I am sure there are others out there that could use a replacement) so that I have a full replacement for the part should the need arise. If you are needing a replacement, the official Canon part number is CY1-4292 which I also believe to be the same part for the EF300mm F2.8L IS, the EF400mm F2.8L IS, 500mm F4.0l IS & the EF600mm F4L IS, then get in touch as I maybe able to help.
Last weekend the Lens Hood lock on the 400mm decided to part company with the hood itself. Not a major problem, usually, except that it threw the circlip that holds the wedge (the black bit) in place & the wedge went walkabouts, So I get online to find a replacement, except that Canon don’t supply them anymore, despite the fact it is a common part across a number of lenses. So the search begins, after finding a number of ludicrous prices for the part, the most was some £600, although that did also include one of the screws, individually priced at £450.00!!!!!!!!!. A replacement complete lens hood is £700! Anyway frustrated by the prices I went and hunted in the boot of the car, on the off-chance that when it went ping it fell in there, rather than in the gravel carpark I believed it to gone.
So having found the wedge all I need now is a 2mm Circlip, so I have ordered a box of various sized clips (also known as E-Clips) which should be here tomorrow. I will also order a third party replacement hood from the USA, that will also work with the later version that I will be upgrading to later in the year.
Guildford City Women’s team played their first Home Pre-Season game & ran out 9-0 winners, they also debuted their 3rd Kit which is a celebration of the 100 years since the foundation of Guildford City (Guildford United as they were then).
Friday night visit to the home of Walton & Hersham FC. Whilst a great facility, lighting is really poor for such a new venue. City lost 2-0 which was disappointing, but f*ck me the standard of officiating was diabolical.
Took some of the studio kit on-site yesterday for some head & shoulder photographs, mostly they will be used as cut-outs for social media purposes, so a lit white backdrop was required. Kit used includes, Three Elinchrom D-Lite 4RX heads, two brollies, a background reflector and an Interfit portable background.
After an accident with my Canon 400mm F2.8 L IS USM a couple of weeks ago, the lens mount needed replacing. Seeing as Canon won’t touch it, nor most of the repairers I have contacted, I decided that if I could find a lens mount I would do it myself. Now Canon haven’t supplied service parts for this lens for a while, and if they did they wouldn’t supply them to an unauthorised repairer like me.
Fortunately for me Google turned up a saviour in https://www.eurohitech.com. I ordered the part with not a little nervousness, a) because it was £180 and b) I had never dealt with them before. Anyway two weeks later I am holding the replacement part in my grubby little hands, Thanks Sushil.
So time to crack on, it is a really simple job, just a little fiddly. PH000 & PH00 & PH0 screw drivers, and a plastic tray with a magnetic screw holder and a small plastic pry-bar (spudger) is all that you need. Firstly it may be a good idea it mark the correct orientation of the mount, I used a black marker pen and marked the position of the lens lock receiver, on the body of the lens, next thing is to remove the baffle, which on this lens is held with 3 small screws (a lot of the budget lenses they just lever out), then three more screws to disconnect the electrical contacts. Undo the 4 main screws and away the mount comes, complete with rubber weatherseal.
The reinstallation is simply the reverse procedure.
***UPDATE: All tested and working perfectly, so will be used for shooting football tomorrow & Sunday, Yay!***
The first league game of the season was away to Farnham Town. A 0-0 draw, but anything than a bore-draw. Guildford hit the woodwork twice, the home keeper kept them in the game for the first 60 minutes & the City keeper returned the compliment in the last 30. Not sure if it is in the genes of footballers at this level, but every decision, even blatant ones were questioned by Farnham players, their player leaps highest & clearly heads the ball, they claim their throw/corner, their player kicks the ball out of play, their throw in. It is getting to the stage were we need [like in cricket] penalties for over appealing. I am not sure if it is attempts to cheat or if the players are actually stupid. I mean a left back and a goalkeeper, disputing an off-side call from the other end of the pitch! WTF! Pleased to say that I have seen very little of this from the City players over the last few years, long may it continue.
A nice little run out to the seaside for GCFC resulted in a 4-2 victory over a very good Eastbourne Town side. Having damaged my Canon 400mm F2.8 so that it is likely beyond economical repair (Canon won’t touch it as they no longer provide service parts) I will have to source a replacement, I was limited to shooting with the 70-200mm, fortunately there was lots of action in the final third of the pitch.
So today saw the newly formed Guildford City Women’s team play their first formal pre-season game against an established team and draw 3-3. It has to be said it was played in a meadow, the only thing missing was sheep, at least they’d have kept the grass down to a manageable level.
Anyway a good test for the team. I have shot senior level football for over 20 years, but my experience with women’s football is limited, but it is harder to shoot than mens football for a number of reasons, but it is refreshing, because everyone has a smile on their face, there is no kicking someone upside down, just because. In fact there is a lot to be said for the men’s game taking a leaf out of the women’s game.
Guildford City have probably their most prestigious pre-season friendly (at least until I can persuade Arsenal to visit) against AFC Wimbledon this evening. Whilst the AFC Wimbledon featured academy players, most of them are just a short way from signing professional contracts. City started brightly but didn’t capitalise early on and went two goals down in the first half. Second half didn’t start that well, conceding a 3rd in pretty short order, however, a couple of changes and a lift in tempo and City reduced the deficit with two well taken goals & probably could have added a 3rd. Brilliant for the neutral supporter, hopefully we will see AFC Wimbledon again in a pre-season.
Friday night saw me shooting Guildford City FC versus Carshalton Athletic, a team a few steps higher in the footballing pyramid, a creditable performance by the underdogs in a goal-fest eventually losing 4-3. Saturday was going to be an busy one, I need to replace the roof-lining in the Golf, but the weather put paid to that. Sunday I was shooting the very First football match for the Guildford City Women’s team.
An idea only three months ago & now a football team playing it’s first game, albeit in a field full of clover, and three inch grass. With 11 players in the squad who had never taken part in a formal football match before, they were given a bit of a lesson by the Badshot Lea Women’s team. However there was much to be positive about and plenty of work to do, but games will be a little easier on short grass or 3G. I am looking forward to shooting them again next weekend, in what will be the teams first match on a proper football pitch, with fans (Covid permitting).
Tomorrow night will see me shooting Guildford City’s senior team against AFC Wimbledon, which I am sure will be an interesting spectacle for both sets of fans. See you there at the Horsham FC stadium from 1830hrs. Assuming I get back from Daventry in good time. COYG!
It is time to upgrade my 1Dx bodies (well two of them, one of them has some 500,000 actuations, so next to worthless, so will be kept as a remote) One has 119k actuations and the other just under 140k. Looking for about £1k each, with battery & charger. They both have some wear & tear commensurate with their age and usage. I do look after my kit, so they are nowhere near as worn as many of the ex-press photographers gear you will find on ebay. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Needed a replacement battery cover for a Pocketwizard Plus X, so ordered a replacement from the UK importers Colour Confidence arrived within 48 hours, unfortunately I ordered the wrong part, it was only £9.95 so thought I’d keep it as a spare & order a replacement, however Colour Confidence sent me the correct part gratis. Brilliant customer service.
The replacement couldn’t be simpler, undo two screws & crack the case open, swap the back & reassemble.
New foam has arrived for the Peli-Case. Seems pretty good, however I am going to require some further practice before I start cutting the foam, fortunately they supply an off-cut so that you can. It would appear that the technique should be a flowing cut, rather than sawing. Anyway will have go over the next few days, when I have worked out what kit goes where.
The manufacturers are a company called Shadow Foam and they have a distributor that supplies foam pre-cut to fit a wide variety of Peli-Cases. Including the Peli-Case 1510.
I had, but now cannot find an Agfa-Gevaert Colour chart for many many years, it was a little worn, but was regularly used when I was shooting film, back in the day. Anyway it’s gone missing so I ordered a similar item from China, although it is a little bigger & doesn’t fold in half to fit easily in a bag.
Having had Apple Mag-Safe chargers on older MacBook Pros in the past I was surprised when I upgraded to an iPhone that they didn’t do the same for the phone charging leads. Ah Well, at least somebody else does and not only is it magnetic it also will charge at an near infinite number of angles as well. As a bonus it not only supports the Apple Lightning Lead but also USB-C and USB Micro as well.
The package that I ordered came with 4 USB leads (2 different lengths) and 3 Apple connectors, 3 USB-C connectors and three USB Micro connectors. It has the added bonus that the connector end has an LED so that it is easy to find when you climb into your car in the middle of the night.
Seeing as nearly every other pro photographer I meet on a job is using Think Tank camera bags, I have decided that I should make mine clearly identifiable, probably don’t need to with the Airport Accelerator as it is probably the oldest one still being used. All the other equipment is tagged with fluorescent tape so that it can be easily recognised when behind a goal mouth or dumped in the press room. Most of us have done something similar either a brightly coloured luggage label (airline ones seem popular) or distinctive bungee straps. Not designed to prevent theft (as that very rarely occurs between working professionals) simply so that I pick up the right bag when leaving the ground.
Got my second Covid Jab today, so hopefully in a week or so the vaccination will be in full effect. I haven’t felt the need to install any Microsoft software products on my Mac yet, but I assume that Bill Gates will be messaging me soon. I treated myself to a packet of peanuts for being such a brave little soldier and because they didn’t give me a lolly or a sticker at the Vaccination Centre. I have also drawn up a list of bits that I need to build a couple of bird boxes out of some left over 4″ pipe that I have. What an exciting life I lead…..
After some issues in the week with a 2x Extender that hadn’t been calibrated with the 400mm I fired up the Reikan FoCal software. Which has been updated since I last used it, so downloaded the latest release and printed a fresh target. Some 3 hours later with the laptop battery nearly dead, after 6 reboots, numerous software re-starts I was no closer to actually calibrating anything. If anything I was in a worse position than when I started as I was unable to calibrate the 400mm with the 2x or the 1.4x I decided to attempt to do just the lens on its own. BIG MISTAKE. It had then threw out my original calibration & unfortunately I hadn’t noted the original calibration details.
So fast forward to Sunday and another attempt, this time just the 400mm on its own. Now the lens & three different camera bodies are properly calibrated, hopefully I will get time tomorrow to do the 1.4x & the 2x extenders as well.
The software is quite intuitive when it works certainly a damned sight easier than doing it manually. I looked at the Canon instructions for calibration and it isn’t for the faint hearted.
Now it is properly pin, not bad for an old EF 400mm F2.8 L IS mkI.
SO lock down is coming to an end, hopefully will get back to shooting more football in the coming weeks, if my shoulder ever heals up. I love Pelicases and have several, however for most of the jobs that I do, all they really add is extra weight, in the case of the 1650 an awful lot of it. OK I know it carries a lot of gear, but since tearing the Rotator Cuff I really wanted to reduce the amount of weight I physically lug around with me.
For football, depending upon the level/client that can mean anything from two bodies, 3 lenses and an iPad to 3 bodies, remotes, 6 lenses including a 400mm F2.8, monopod, clamps & minipod, laptop & associated bits a mini max stool. Which when split between a Think Tank Airport Accelerator and a Pelicase 1510, weighs a lot.
So I have decided to try a different route, a Think Tank Glass Limo for the 400mm and one body with monopod & odds & sods and the 1510 with 2 bodies, 8-15mm, 11-24mm, 24-70mm & 70-200mm, two 600RT flashes, meaning that I will have much less weight on my shoulders/back hopefully my chiropractor will thank me.
The trouble is that I probably have too many bags, with a Think Tank Retrospective 5, Lowepro Stealth, Lowpro backpack, Tenba P211, plus the Airport & Glass Limo. However whilst many of them are great bags, they are not ideal for every situation. The Stealth & Retrospective are great for shooting on the move, the Tenba is great for a single body, three lenses, and the backpacks are great load carriers but harder to work with. It’s the same with the Pelicases, the 1510 is great as a footy box, plus you can sit on it at a push, but not great on wet grass or mud, the 1650 is huge and will take most of my kit, which is then impossible to lift.
Good to be back shooting football after a prolonged delay due to Covid-19. Still no crowds allowed so games currently being played behind closed doors. Although that didn’t stop a signifcant number of away fans from gathering in the Spectrum car park to sneak a view over the fence.
Considering it is a third of the way through April, I couldn’t believe how cold it was, fortunately I had a big coat in the boot of the car as well as a hat, otherwise I’d have been frozen.
City lost on penalties after a feisty game, and now look to the “inter league” Fripp-Smith Trophy which takes place over the next 4-5 weeks.
The Kill The Bill protest in Guildford passed off peacefully, with no incidents that I saw. To be honest Guildford is not really that sort of place. I expected some tutting & maybe some disdainful looks.
Took some time to clean out some desk drawers, can’t believe how many USB cables, power cables, network cables, flash sync cables there were, and how much of a mess they make as they unravel. So purchased probably the cheapest thing that I have ever bought on Amazon. A pack of 50 velcro cable ties for £4.99 I have used about half of them just sorting out the desk drawer. I still have the mess behind the computer to sort out as well as the Studio Light power leads etc.