New Toy Time

MH804-3W

Having had a Manfrotto 055 since about 1981 with the standard 115 Junior 3D head, I felt that it was time to upgrade, I don’t use tripods very often, primarily because the 058 TriAut  that I purchased in 2001, is fooking heavy and because the 055 had the horrible 115 head. Anyway doing an interior shoot recently reminded me just how bad the 115 Junior head was, so I have replaced it with a MH804.

The Manfrotto 058 will likely as not remain mostly at home during shoots, but the new head means that the 055 will live in the boot of the car.

Initial thoughts on the MH804 is wow, that is so much better, but then it didn’t have to do much to be an improvement, not as solid as the MH229 that my other ‘pod has, but very definitely an upgrade.

New Graphic

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This week was different with jobs in Littlehampton & Portsmouth & then finish work on a new graphic for the Guildford City FC bar. The only problem was that the largest Guildford City crest that I obtain was only 1000 pixels high and needed to be resized to fit the new graphic which is 1300mm x 1000mm, at which point it was full of jaggies (artifacts caused by compression & resizing). So lots of work to get rid of the artifacts & then off to the printers to be printed on 3mm PVC with a matt laminate.

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So the good news is that I collected it today from the printers and it is ready to go up on the front of the bar. Looks good. Hopefully get installed tomorrow.

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Second Job of the weekend

 

Weybridge Cricket Club 2019 0158Photographing the Surrey Cricket Club’s testimonial event at Weybridge for Jade Dernbach.

FA Cup Action

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Down at the Non-League section of the football pyramid, the FA Cup starts very early in the season, Guildford City’s 2nd game of the season was an FA Cup game against Tooting Bec FC. After some poor FA Cup games in recent seasons City have got through to the  Preliminary Round after beating Tooting Bec 3-2.

Needless to say, there were some happy players come the final whistle.

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Busy Weekend Part 2

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Endurance Lawn Mower racing to finish the day.

Busy Weekend Part 1

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First up Brentford v Birmingham in the first game of the season.

Hard Disk Failure

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A hard disk is on it’s way out, it has become very sluggish & occasionally refuses to write, no major drama though, even if it is holding the 2016 to current archive of images. I have ordered its replacement and installed it, now just the process of repopulating the archive from one of its back ups which will take 24 hours.

Remember if you only have a single back up, you don’t have a back plan. Mine is relatively simple I have:

Two hard disks for the Archive installed in my MacPro (which are identical & kept so using “Sync Folders Pro”.  I also have two external hard disks which are mirrors of the Archive. This is for the on-line (or current stuff) most of the older images are backed up on disks that are no longer in my MacPro but can easily be accessed via a Disk Caddy.

My work flow is that recent images (and stuff currently being worked on are saved to two SSD that are on an Angel Wings X2) and when finished are then transferred to the Archive.

So hopefully I should be covered in the event of a catastrophic equipment failure be able to access the entire archive.

Seaside

20/07/2019 From Paul Burgman/Press-Photos.com. Bognor Regis Coastline photos

Nice weather so I spent a couple of hours at the seaside, even got me a stick of rock, but couldn’t find a “kiss me quick” hat!

Unusual couple of days

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I spent a couple of days in a field shooting with Nikon kit for a client, I have been a Canon user since 1980 and I love the ergonomics. Nikon couldn’t spell ergonomics back in the day yet alone implement it in their designs. Nikon pro kit was always heavy & brick shaped. However they have come a long way, but their definition of ergonomics leaves me baffled. I can live with lenses that focus the wrong way to infinity & dials that do strange things in strange locations. Give me my 1Dx bodies any day. Anyway Nikon’s flaws aside two days of shooting done & I am grateful for a supply of P20 Sun Cream.

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Mad Dogs & Lawn Mowers

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It could only be in England, that someone would come up with the idea of racing garden equipment.

Wings & Wheels

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15/06/2019 From Paul Burgman/Press-Photos.com. Wings & Wheels, Dunsfold Aerodrome, Surrey. Solo Hawker Hurricane display

A dull overcast day with 100% cloud cover most of the day & rain for the rest of it, made for a dull set of photographs, so I thought I had better stick some filters into the process.

 

 

Day two wasn’t an awful lot better & I bailed at lunch time.

 

Bloody Hot Day

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Was tipped off about the Hells Angels “Ride Out” last weekend, so trundled out to Hand Cross, for about 0930hrs, having been told that the “Ride Out” would leave Pease Pottage at 1000hrs. I was informed that there would be more than 750 riders. However as the time dragged on, I was told that it would be 1100hrs, then 1300hrs and then eventually they left at 1400hrs.

There was a private event the night before with something like 3,000 Bikers from all over the world in attendance, to celebrate 50 years of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in the UK.

Instead of 750+ there were just over 100, as the Police had insisted that the people who organised it had the riders breathalysed prior to leaving, they had obviously had a bit of a session on the Friday night as many were still over the limit and didn’t take part. So bit of a damp squib.

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Damned that’s wide

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Decided that it was time to go, super-wide, had a 14mm F2.8L & a 15mm F2.8, but after reading the reviews available decided that I really should have a Canon EF11-24mm F4L in the bag. Got an acceptable price for the 14mm from MPB and a 16-35mm F2.8L and went for it. Damned it is a heavy piece of glass, but feels nicely balanced on a 1Dx, would probably feel a little strange on a 5D or similar without a vertical grip.

I have to say that I am really very impressed with the quality on the test shots that I have done so far.

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A revelation….

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I just received a near metre long mouse mat, it is a revelation. Why the hell I played around with a 10×8 mouse mat for the last 25 years I have no idea. It covers quite a lot of the desktop, and means that the Magic Keyboard doesn’t slide and the mouse works everywhere on the desk top. Don’t think about it, just buy one.

New Toy Time

Canon Ef11-24mm

It’s arrived, Yay…Hopefully that will be the last acquisition for a while. I decided to bite the bullet & buy the lens that I have been hankering for since the announcement of its release.

The Canon 11-24mm F4L is certainly Canons widest linear corrected zoom lens. It is quite a weighty piece of glass. It is nice to use however the lens cap is a bit of a pain, because of the size of it, it will not fit in a pocket easily so I picked up a Lee Filters fabric cap.

Bluetooth keyboard & mouse

 

Having upgraded to a Magic Mouse 2, I went the whole hog & also added a Magic Keyboard as well. Specifically the the one without the number pad, and boy does it make a difference so much extra space on the desktop. So fully charged & now unplugged, lets see how long it lasts until it needs charging again.

OK so an update is in order, originally charged nearly a month ago, the keyboard is at 89% and the mouse 22%, quite impressed.

Whoops, A gentle reminder

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I was shooting at football yesterday and noticed that the lens mount felt loose, with the 70-200mm on the camera, carried on shooting as I had no alternative with me, and in a couple of frames there was a definite alignment issue. As you can see in the image below, muzzy top right and bottom left.

GCFC v RPV 0022

Got home later that day & checked, and all four of the lens mount screws were loose, not just a little bit loose either. I usually remove and reinstall them with some thread-lock when I buy the lens, but I appear to have missed this lens. So tightened them all back up & then thread-locked each one in turn.  Whilst was at it I checked all of my other glass, without finding a problem, which is good news, as they are all transported and used in the same manner.

SO if you haven’t recently checked any screws that you can access are done up correctly, now is the time to do it.

It’s been a while…

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It has been quite a while since I have printed photographs, most are shipped electronically, however as Guildford City have an end of season bash coming up, it seemed like a good idea to print some off for the players. Hadn’t thought that it would mean 22 A4 prints though. Anyhoo all done now.

Been Playing Again

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Sitting around whilst listening to Totteringham getting all “Spursy” I thought that I would have a go at a style of photography that I have never tried before, essentially floating product shots. I am not a huge fan of playing around with Photoshop, other than to crop/balance & other basic edits, but this type of work requires the building of images from multiple layers. This is a simple composite of two images, one the background & the other of the light meter. I certainly won’t be doing anything like this tomorrow during the football, as I will be glued to the Arsenal v Newcastle game.

New Mouse

 

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Having had an old Apple Optical Mouse  (A1152) for a number of years, and on average having to clean the little scroll wheel every few weeks, I finally decided that I would go the wireless route again, (having had an Apple Mighty Mouse for a while but hated it) and purchased an Apple Magic Mouse 2 (A1657). The first impressions are very good, with luck it will have a long enough battery life to be usable. According to Apple it can recharge in less than five minutes to give enough charge for an 8 hour day. Pairing the device couldn’t be easier, plug it into a USB port on the machine you want to use it on, and  the Bluetooth pairing is done.

Important job coming up

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SO time for sensor & lens cleaning session, sensor cleaning is relatively painless, a quick wipe with Fairy Liquid & a pan scourer, obvs not the steel type, but the nylon ones. Lenses will be polished with windolene, the only downside is that it turns crusty & when wiping off and needs a lot of canned air or the close proximity of a powerful vacuum cleaner, the kind that the EU have now banned, so fire up the 10 year old “enry”.

On the other hand, seeing as I have some of this stuff knocking about …

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Should only take about an hour to do three sensor cleans & 8 lenses (although only 4 will probably be used), including test photos & re-cleans. Then charge & condition the camera batteries (best do all of them) and charge the Eneloops and the Turbo also. Pack all the gear into the motor & actually do some work!

 

F*ck that was tough

16/03/2019 GCFC v Horley at Wey Court

That was bloody hard work today, with winds gusting at about a zillion miles an hour it made it very difficult shooting football, in a stadium it can be awkward, but when you have no shelter from the wind it is bloody awful. Probably shot the fewest frames in a football match ever because you simply couldn’t predict where the ball would land. If a clearance went 15 feet up, it could come down either where it was struck or 30 yards forward or back or to the side.

If you have a Manfrotto Magic Arm

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If you have a Manfrotto Magic Arm and it makes a horrible clunk & or grinding noise when you lock it in place then you have a problem, not an insolvable one, but a bit fiddly.

The problem seems to be a bearing that jumps out of its runner so it needs to be put back in its place.

You will need an allen key, you may need some grease as well,  if it has been doing it a while there may be bits of ball bearing floating around, so you may also need a replacement bearing set. Which are available from our friends  Manfrotto Spares in Dunsfold .

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Firstly loosen off the silver allen bolt a couple of turns, this will free up the locking handle end so that the handle can be removed by unscrewing it. Make sure that you keep the assembly together in your hands as you will otherwise be hunting for the 9 ball bearings on the floor. Once the handle has been removed you will see the three seats for the bearings.

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Simply place one bearing in each seat, and re-assemble, takes all of 5 minutes. Job done, no more grinding.

Good luck , as with most things, Don’t try it if you are not confident that you can manage it, as I shall not be answering individual requests for help (probably), and don’t try it if you are in the warranty period, also accept no responsibility for you getting bearings stuck up your nose or any other orifice.

 

 

Focus Stacking

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Yesterday afternoon I decided that I would have a little experiment with Focus Stacking, to be honest, it wasn’t really something that was on my radar until recently, I it seemed like it was something rather complex & requiring of special software, but a bit of research & some experimentation and some trials (none too scientifically done, largely kind of finger in the air, seat of the pants stuff) but with a little practice I think that I can nail it. I have a project that I am thinking of using it on  in the not too distant future.

It’s not perfect but this was my first attempt, gladly receive any pointers from anyone with some experience.

Focus Stack 002

Finished Focus Stack

The final image is a composite of 22 images, whilst not perfect it is, I think close, I shall have another go later in the week. The images were shot on a Canon 100mm Macro lens at 39cm at F6.3, the amount of DoF at that distance at that aperture is very little. The image below is the first in the sequence. Continue reading

Chinese Imports

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The power supply on my Old Apple Cinema 30 monitor went bang a couple of weeks ago & you can’t buy them from Apple anymore so it was either take a chance on ebay for a Power supply that is as old or possibly older than the one that has failed, or look further afield.

Today, my new PSU from China arrived & it is completely indistinguishable from the original supply, except for the tape hiding the Apple logo, plugged in & switched on & all is right with the world, except for the snow, outside, not settling.

It had to happen..

CF Cards

It had to happen eventually, last week I had my first ever SanDisk CF failure, first time in nearly 20 years since I moved from Lexar cards. The card was shipped  faulty, it formatted fine the first time, but couldn’t be written to in camera & wouldn’t mount on the desk top in a card reader, however myMemory turned around a replacement in pretty short order.

Murder on the slow train

horsley murder 0013

Police cordon was in place this afternoon at Horsley, a couple of train stops from Guildford. No one has been arrested yet, and there is a search on going in the Clandon area.