I do sometimes take pictures other than landscape

We hit upon this seal colony by chance, just from looking at the map of the area. The colony is wild and the shore it inhabits is both rocky and full of shingle. Further away from the shore greenery surrounds a tarmac car park which was full of cars when we arrived. The seals blended in so well with the rocks that we frequently approached one without realising it and tourists passed the world along to others when another seal was discovered. People were laughing and pointing and some of the teens were just as funny as the seals when they suddenly realised they had nearly stepped on a seal and hastily jumped out of the way. The Bull seal in the picture was hiding in the greenery and one man approached a little too near. It lunged forward and emitted a roar of warning and the man hastily retreated.

One of my favourite photos from New Zealand

Last year in NZ, we couldn't get on the Helicopter trip because the weather was bad in the mountains and all flights were cancelled. This year, we tried again but were determined to stay at least 2 days at Fox Glacier to maximise our chances of the weather being suitable. The first day was a no-no so the receptionist booked us on the early morning flight the next day, report at 8.15 am which meant getting up about 6.00 am in order to breakfast, pack up and get the camper off site and parked in the village before 8am.
There were lots of teens and twenties milling around waiting to go on the more strenuous hikes up the Glacier with guides. I don't think some of the people knew what they were letting themselves in for as some were dressed very inappropriately as we knew from last year that as you approach the head of the Glacier, it gets considerably colder until at a few hundred yards away, it's like being in a freezer. I say a few hundred yards because the area immediately near the head where the melt runs out is restricted because chunks fall off at intervals and the pieces are big enough to cause substantial injury.

Sunny Cromwell

Here we are having just been for a huge hike. The sun is going down and I've been able to check my hotmail messages for $2.
Hope Matt has been able to turn on the central heating. We had an email saying what problems he was having. Having to type quickly as the money is running out of the time on the computer. All going well, John and I are still talking, weather is a lot colder than we expected but they say their winter has been a bad one this year. We've seen lots of lambs plus a few dead ones. Having to look to see if their tails have yet been docked to save them from flystrike, so I'm told.

Mat's Graduation

Now that I've finally got my coursework out of the way I've had time to have a go at sorting out some of the photos that I took at my brother Mat's graduation on the 1st of September. The light was pretty harsh and trying to get my brothers to pose for photos in which they both look at the camera and smile at the same time is difficult but there are some reasonable ones. It was a good day out, we all got to be proud of the 'baby of the family' and the 'baby' seemed to enjoy himself. Now if I could just get both my brothers to smile!


If you're wondering why my computer for the first time in forever is not 'online' it's because my internet connection is down. I'm updatating this from my bro's computer in Reading who I'm visiting this weekend. I'd update from work with a placeholder message such as this but unfortunately my workplace classifies my site as 'unsuitable' for viewing and denies access to it with an error page that implies you've done something hideous like you've tried to look for warez or donkey porn ! This wouldn't bother me so much if this site was actually controversial. Then being denied access would be cool - like a badge of honour, rather than just an annoyance and slightly sad. Ciao for now...

Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2006

My parents bought me a flight in a balloon as a Christmas and Birthday present last year and Saturday was the day I was scheduled to fly. My mum had organised for me to take a flight during one of the launches at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. After checking the weather reports on the Friday night it didn't seem likely that a Saturday morning launch would take place but given no cancellation message on the balloon company's weather check line I dutifully turned up to the launch meeting point at 05:30 on the Saturday.

Definition of Sheer Terror....

.....Cleaning the sensor of your camera in preparation for an amazing photo and life opportunity, accidently dropping a big blob of wet cleaning solution onto the sensor and watching it leave a big mark.

Examining the resultant photos from the camera and seeing a huge smear mark all along the longest edge of the picture.

Trying to clean it with a swab and seeing the circular type mark turn into a long smear.

Spending the next hour carefully erasing the mark using a 'speckgrabber', the tool that dumped the rogue cleaning solution from a crevice that hadn't emptied fully of solution after cleaning it.

Moral of the story: don't just check the Speckgrabber twice that it's dry before sticking it on the sensor - check a third time!

Irony of the story: the two dust specs that I was trying to clean off before 'the incident' are still present! After having my heart in my throat for so long - I think I can live with the cloning task on this weekend's photos.

Annoying Light Bloom

This weekend it was inevitable that some sort of insect would become trapped inside the house and subsequently die what with the hot weather and the windows being open. Sure enough, the first dead fly appeared on Saturday and inspired me to try some super macro photography but this time I wanted to try a slightly different technique that that I used last time. This time I wanted to try to use the distance of the lens away from the camera sensor to provide the magnification. I had an old Pringles tin which I cut the end off to form a subsitute bellows, affixed one end to my lens-less camera with sticky tape and wedged my macro lens in the other. After setting up I noticed that I was getting an odd light bloom inside the image. I thoguht that maybe the light was bouncing around inside the tube as the inside was still silvered so I improvise a dark material to line the inside of the tube (it was a black bin liner) and tried again after wrapping another bin liner around the join between the tube and the camera to cut out any possible light leak through the rough join.

ISO F*#k-up

I knew I would finish late from the course I am on tonight so planning ahead, I packed my camera and tripod to take some pictures of the Clifton Suspension bridge. I intended to get a smal panorama of the bridge to see how it came it. Amazingly, there was a hot air balloon just drfiting very near the bridge as I wa taking pictures so armed with a view of two of the things Bristol is famous for I happily snapped away, dreaming of the cool panorama that I would produce from it.

Got home.

Realised I never set my camera back to ISO 100 from ISO 1600 after checking out the images I took and seeing they are all 'noise-tastic'.

Set my camera back to ISO 100 so I don't forget again.

Repeatedly bashed my head against the desk for continuing to have the same stupid mistake occurring as happened on my photo weekend with Dave.

Anyone got any ideas what I can do with 350MB of unusable digital pictures apart from delete them?

What a waste :-(


As you may have gathered I have got into trying to take panoramic photos in a big way lately (stitching 2 or more images together to forma larger picture). A couple of days ago I started my computer off calcultaing and stitching together a set of photographs that I took of the main street in Marshfield Village. Tonight it finally finished and outputted a stitched picture. It's not a finished picture by any means. It needs cropping and other sundry tweaks to get it looking even half decent (using the same exposure settings on the camera over a large field of view inevitably produces areas that are more dark or more light than you like. So to stitch my 56 images together has taken about 48 hours for my 1 GHz computer to process (although my computer performs a few other jobs between while computing but nothing particularly arduous).

Was it worth it?

Probably not but it's the largest 'photo' I've ever produced with a single tiff file of 686MB.

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