No commissions for today, so took a wander out to the Guildford Cathedral, which was lit up in Red, White & Blue for Armed Forces Day, as I have damaged my shoulder in recent weeks, I decided just two cameras with wide glass on board.
But some nice weather after the howling wind & heavy rain meant I could get out into the garden for a while, the Great Tit chicks seem to be doing well. Also spotted a Wren but didn’t get a frame.
Spent some time shooting some birds today, didn’t get the Goldfinch pair that I saw on Saturday though.
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.
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.
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.
So dull that I have started to watch things that are so bad that I never watched them when I purchased them. Fortunately there are enough episodes to last most of the second week of lockdown, even though I draw the line at anything after Tom Baker.
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!
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.
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:
I will update this post if I see it anywhere else. UDATED 6/02/2020
Really WTAF do Gulls eat, dirty bastards, worse than pigeons, covered the front windscreen & drivers side window, stank like anything.
It was bloody chilly, won’t try that again any time soon 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Big job at the weekend, so sensor & lens cleaning time, probably an hour or two, with 3 sensors & 10 lenses, but it has been a little while, including some shoots in very dusty environments.
Having bought into the Lexar Workflow CF Card Reader a year or so ago, I decided to go the whole hog with a Workflow Hub as well, to help speed up the ingesting process after shooting an afternoon of football over maybe three or 4 CF Cards.
I must need my head testing, as the last two Lexar card readers have proven pretty crap, one the hinged cover broke after about 3 uses & the other failed in pretty short order.
After a few years of being dragged around football grounds, it was time to re-wrap the lens hood for my 400mm, will also have to do some of my Peli Cases & Lighting boxes.
Next week I am shooting some firework displays and I want to be able to have two cameras on a tripod one on a wide & another on a not so wide, however all of the remotes that I own don’t support keeping the shutter open in “Bulb” mode so I am going to make a work around, all in it will probably cost a ‘tenner’ but it will enable me to synch the two cameras. Some of the parts have arrived from RS Components, just waiting on a couple of 3.5mm sockets to finish it.
[Update] All finished and working as it should. I could have installed an LED and an On/Off switch but that would have added some additional bulk & weight.
Having invested relatively recently in a very wide piece of glass in the Canon 11-24mm, I decided that as I was enjoying it so much that I would add another wide to the kit bag, very nearly the widest that I have ever owned in fact. The last real fisheye lens that I had was a Canon FD 7.5mm F5.6 back in the 1980s, I don’t think I used it more than a couple of times before recycling it. So the latest addition is an 8-15mm F4L. which will probably be used a few times a year, but I have a few ideas for it, including a fireworks display that I am commissioned to shoot in the next 10 days or so.
Whilst working today a couple of packages arrived, including an absolute bargain from Ebay, an Canon ST-E3-RT for remote control of the 600EX-RT flashguns. Absolutely mint & fully functioning for not much more than pocket change.
So today was mostly spent shooting some impressively quick hardware including Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, Ferraris, Audi R8s & a brisk Ford Focus RS
Time to replace some old 580EXII flashes with some newer 600RTs, I don’t use flash very often, if I can help it, preferring to use my studio lights whenever possible, but sometimes it has to be done, so the 580 will be retired (or stuck on ebay).
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.
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.
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.
Just the one job on Saturday & a day of rest!
Last weekend saw the end of Guildford City’s FA Cup run with a 1-2 loss to AFC Vardeanians..
More football this weekend & a Surrey Cricket testimonial to cover.
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.
In the final preseason game Godalming Town v Guildford City in the Bill Kyte Memorial Cup. Guildford won 3-0, unfortunately I won’t be able to shoot the first game of the season as I will be covering the Brentford v Birmingham game
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.
Need a cold one after a long day in the sunshine that ended with a pre-season football match.
Pre-Season football for Guildford City, seems to get earlier each season. Also needed to do head shots for club website (no lights or backdrop, just straight heads). 16 done in 4 minutes!
This evening was spent kerbside for the Guildford Town Cycle Race….
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.
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.
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.
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.