The Song Remains the Same
In spring 2009, I was in Glasgow with my (then) 12 year old son (already an aviation fanatic). We found ourselves next to the Police helipad by the river Clyde. While we were looking through the chain-link fence the pilot and another walked out to the chopper, got in and started up the engines. They took off, hovered at about 10 metres for a few seconds and then, inexplicably, landed again and shutdown.
I’m sure they had a good reason to do this, but, part of me likes to think that they were putting on a little show for an excited 12 year old (and his dad), that would be a very “Glasgow” thing to do.
Anyway, that 12 year old has now had four flying lessons, including one helicopter lesson (by all accounts, he’s a natural) and is off to the states in January to start a college career that we hope will lead to a commercial pilots licence.
Why am I posting this now? Well, today, we’re shocked and saddened to hear that Scotland’s only Police helicopter (this one?) crashed last night into a busy Pub in the city centre. There were three crew on board and likely over 100 people in the pub.
That visit in 2009 was my last visit to my home town. I’m feeling a bit homesick tonight.
Dear everyone on Google+
If you post a photo with one line of text and 10 lines or more of #hashtags and +mentions when there is already a box for adding +mentions, then I AM going to unfollow you.
Well, I’m glad that’s been cleared up.
Oh, it’s a long, long time from May to December
But the days grow short when you reach September
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
One hasn’t got time for the waiting game
I passed this significant number a few hours ago. Yes, I know this post is now an incentive to unfollow me and get that number down again. I know that, and I expect that. But, the trend continues to be upwards.
To everyone who has followed me recently, thanks. If I post something and it takes you by surprise and you unfollow me, no problem, that happens.
I still haven’t quite worked out how they did this, but it’s cool never-the less. The up and down arrows are your friends.
Weddings are always difficult to photograph. White dresses can cause exposure nightmares. However, at this wedding it was probably the bridegroom’s suit that caused the problems. Talk about shiny!
Chinese weddings must be designed for kids. Bubble machines, smoke machines so much fun. AT least Shasha seemed to agree.
We were at a wedding in Fengxian today. Fengxian has a roundabout (pretty rare in Shanghai) with a big gold ball in the middle.
This was shot through the car windscreen so I reckon I can use the #throughglass hashtag.
Flt a Flag
On the way to the wedding, I took this through the car window. It’s a coincidence that that’s an Aussie flag and the bridegroom studied in Australia. #synchronicity
This fails on so many levels
I’m not sure which is worst…
* “MG”, a marque once synonymous with classic British sports cars, now being used for chunky and decidedly unsporty little hatchbacks.
* The hideous ‘Hello Kitty’ paint job adding insult to injury.
Lumix GF6, Six weeks (and a bit) later
I’ve now had over six weeks get used to the Lumix GF6. So, how do I feel about it?
Not too happy I’m afraid. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve found nothing to fault the picture quality and build, but, there are just too many ergonomic disasters to make this a genuinely pleasant camera to use. Here’s a list of the issues:
* Touch screen. Smartphones have a lot to answer for. On the marketing blurb, touchscreen looks sexy. In practice, it’s a disaster. The problem is that cameras tend to dangle around our necks, loosely cradled in our hands. The touchscreen is a liability. So many times I lifted the camera to take a photo, only to find the settings changed or a menu on screen because I’d accidentally touched the screen. I disabled the touch screen completely after a couple of days. I can see that, if I were a studio or landscape photographer with my camera permanently mounted on a tripod, there might be a use case for the touchscreen. But in that situation, I probably would be using a more professional camera.
* WiFi and NFC. I envisaged WiFi working this way: I connect to my WiFi router and the camera immediately shares the contents of the SD card so that I can copy the files onto my computer. After multiple attempts, the camera totally failed to connect to a network. I did get it working once with the Android app, which might be useful in a studio situation, but not for me. Haven’t tried to use WiFi since the first couple of days. The USB cable works just fine. As for NFC, it worked, once. Sadly you need a second tap to confirm the connection. Fail.
* Dual function Zoom lever. The zoom lever round the shutter button only works with power zoom lenses. If no power zoom is attached, it defaults to exposure compensation. I initially liked this feature, but thought that it would be much better controlling the priority adjustment. e.g. in Aperture Priority, use it to control aperture, in Shutter Priority, control shutter speed and in Program, control exposure compensation or ISO. However, much like the touch screen, I found that in too many cases, this little lever was being nudged and applying unwanted exposure compensation. Disabled.
* iAuto (intelligent Auto). I’ve tried iAuto a couple of times, but it seems to over use the ISO setting to compensate for poor lighting conditions. So, you end up with too many unacceptably noisy ISO3200 images. Now I just use Program or Aperture Priority and I control the ISO.
* Shutter sound. Jeez, this little camera is noisy. I’m sure it’s as noisy as some of the DSLRs that I’ve owned. A real solid clunk with every photo. Mirrorless yes, quiet no.
I made a deliberate decision when buying this camera. My ideal camera would probably have been the GX-7 but I chose the cheaper GF6 because I’m new to M43 and I thought it better to save a chunk of cash on the body so that I can invest in some reasonable lenses sooner rather than later.
That might have been a mistake. However, six weeks on, after disabling most of the ‘problem’ features, I’m getting a reasonable feel for this little machine.
I really do appreciate the tilting display. It’s so much better to hold a camera firmly at chest level than precariously in front of your face while you peer into the screen. Of course, a viewfinder or EVF would be nice, but I’m happy to use the screen; it’s bright and viewable in most conditions.
Manual focus is remarkably easy. No focus peaking (shame) but the zoomed area and the high resolution screen make focusing pretty easy. Much easier than any screen/EVF that I’ve tried before. I do wish that the manual focus scale would show the current distance and a depth of field range, but, perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the Ricoh GRD3’s display.
So, overall view, slightly disappointing, but all of the disappointments can be disabled or worked around. I’ll be sticking with it for a while. 3/5
We All Cling to a Precarious Reality
A friend, whom I’ve never met, spoken with or even ‘engaged’ with, to use the modern social media vernacular, has been through a particularly difficult time this week.
Somehow, when I was reviewing some old photos tonight and digesting the content of his post, this image of life succeeding under the harshest of environments struck home. It’s not much of a photo, but in my current state of mind it demonstrates that life for us all is precarious, just in different degrees.
For Mike Shaw
The Cooking Oil Factory. Another shot from 2010, this time from Anhui province. This was a cooking oil producer in a small mountain village that we spent an interesting day wandering around. The smell of this place brough back so many (unhealthy) memories of Fish and Chip Shops in the UK. Processed with Lightroom and #IntensifyPro
On the Brink
It’s that kind of Saturday evening, the kids are in bed but there’s not enough time to watch a movie. So, let’s revisit the back catalog with some modern technology.
This is a photo that I took in Sichuan in 2010. It isn’t perfect, but, I liked the composition, looking along the waterfall, but the foreground was always way too dark. I did spend some time back then editing but, my results today with Lightroom and #IntensifyPro are much closer to what I saw when I took the photo.