Archive for December, 2004

Woohoo - All over for another year!

Christmas is over for another year. Woohoo!

I’ve never been a major fan of this time of the year. It’s cold, wet, and everywhere you go you hear dreadful ’seasonal’ music piping out from everywhere. I don’t know how shop staff can bear it to be honest. Not only do they have the music, but they have crowds of rude shoppers to contend with. Anyway, all over :-)

So, what have I been up to? Well, mainly playing with my new EOS 20D! I was in Cambridge last weekend (after Bristol), and while I was there I picked up a vertical (battery) grip (BG-E2), a remote release (RS 80N3), and quite a nice lens: the EF 50mm f/1.4.

The lens is very nice. It’s like an 85mm lens in 35mm terms, and the background blur is good, so this will make a nice portrait lens. The battery grip on the other hand isn’t so great. I got it because the camera body is just a bit too small, and my little finger seems to float around doing nothing. On my EOS 5 the vertical grip makes a real difference: it’s really comfortable to hold, and makes the camera really nice to handle. On the 20D though it’s not nearly so good. The ergonomics are wrong, and it doesn’t add much to the handling. It also feels quite cheaply made compared to the rest of the camera.

Hey ho.

So what about Christmas? Had a nice day with the family, but it seemed rather quiet once my nephew had gone :-( Still, I got 15 pairs of identical socks (for easy washing/sorting), and some new slippers, so I was feeling quite content! Got a cool Quincy Jones album called The Dude which was good too, along with some good photography books.

Been having a bit of a tidy up today, and got to get on with work tomorrow :-(

Am currently drinking Old Speckled Hen and eating Dairy Milk. Dairy Milk doesn’t go nearly as well with beer as Galaxy does, in case you were wondering.

I still can’t believe someone stole my Rover badge.

bah humbug

Well it will soon all be over for another year :-)

Been a busy few weeks, and I’m looking forward to catching up on some sleep and food over the next week.

With luck I will get out to play with my new camera too - though you can count on the weather being nasty now.

Got to plug Jim Downing’s web site. He’s not turning up in google searches for his own name, so if you’re feeling generaous you can plug him too :-)

Still got presents to get, so gotta dash!

Why?

It’s been a busy few days! I went down to Bristol on Friday night, and then on to Exmoor on Saturday morning. Did a five hour ‘yomp’ with a couple of guys I know from Uni, and finally made it back to the pub we were staying in by about 6.00 PM.

Boy I enjoyed my first pint. And the second one come to think of it. In fact, beer always tastes best after a good day in the fresh air.

It was a strange place where we stayed. There was a fox hunt (without the fox) going on around us while we were doing the walk. Dozens of dogs would just appear from nowhere, and then vanish all of a sudden. Then they’d all appear again, but from an entirely different direction. They sure keep themselves fit these fox hunt hounds.

Once back in village, we settled in to enjoy our beer. Outside there was a bunch of blokes wearing bells and hitting sticks in some sort of odd dance. This was followed by a brass band playing Christmas carols, who all decided to come into the pub for a quick beverage. After that, some odd people came in and handed out sheets of paper with carols printed on them. This chap then sat down at a piano and proceeded to play ‘Deck the halls…’, while several of the locals all piped up and sang along. By the second song most people were (thankfully) bored with this, and the guy finally gave up.

It was then that a rather feeble attempt to raise money for charity was initiated. Some sort of raffle was held, and instead of picking the winner (out of 76 tickets), they picked all the losers out first. 10% of the money raised was going to go to charity (unbelievably tight), and the remainder was going to go to the winner.

This was quite a stressful time for me, as I actually made it to the last two tickets. If I won, I was going to give all the winnings to charity (you don’t miss what you never had), so I was rather gutted when a fat, loud, and rather drunk woman from Bristol won it. It wasn’t long before her and her equally loud friends had drunk the winnings up. I think I was in bed by 11.00 PM. I was absolutely zonked.

The next day I had a look in some of the antique shops in the village. I’ve recently started collecting old Ordnance Survey maps, so I was quite pleased to find a few nice ones there. After that, we headed back to Bristol for a late lunch. After dropping various people off in locations across Surrey, I made it home by about 8.00 PM. One takeaway pizza later and I was ready for bed. Which is where I’m going now I’m still zonked!

Oh yes, one more thing. The title of this post is Why? Some unbelievably sad git has pinched the badge off my car! Now I could understand this if I drove a Ferrari or perhaps even a BMW (though I’d still be irritated), but I drive a bloody Rover! Who the hell would want to steal a bloody Rover badge? There are some real losers out there! Anyway, my head hurts. Definitely time for bed!

Woohoo! The weekend is nearly here!

OK, not quite - still got a whole day in the way, but it feels close. I didn’t get a chance to play with my new camera last weekend or during this week, so the weekend will be my first chance to see what it can do.

I’m looking forward to it, though I’m not feeling to creative at the moment. I’ve not actually used it in daylight yet, so I’ll finally be able to see if my lens will be OK in daylight. It’s an f/4.0 all the way, so although it’s not exceptionally bright it should be ok for general use.

I may bung a film in my analogue SLR too and try the lens out on this. It’s a super wide angle lens when used with film, so it will be good to try this out with some sweeping (and hopefully) dramatic landscapes. I’ve not got a polariser for the lens yet - the 77mm thread makes them rather expensive. As the sky has been uniformly grey for the last two weeks I think a graduated grey filter would be good too, but again I’ve not got one of these yet.

I used to be really into photography, so I hope this new acquisition will get me back into it. I realised that I spent more on the camera and lens than I did on my car, so it had better do! :)

Right, back to the grindstone.

Why do banks suck?

What the hell does it take to get hold of an account manager???

Canon EOS 20D

Long time no blog. It’s been a long week I’m afraid!

Today has been a good day. One of my brothers has just got engaged, so I met up with him and his other half for dinner. Had a really nice (pub) meal which was a bit of a surprise. It seems increasingly difficult to find a decent pub with decent beer and decent food. My bro’ got me a Good Pub Guide last Christmas and this has helped a lot, but I am generally disappointed with pub grub these days. Anyway, I can’t remember the name of this pub, but it was a good one.

Before meeting them I stopped off at Park Cameras and picked up my brand new camera: a Canon EOS 20D. It’s my first foray into the digital world, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the camera does. I’ve not really had much of a chance to look at it yet though - the battery was nearly flat when I got it, so it’s charging now :-(

I got a Canon EF 17-14mm f/4.0 L lens with the 20D body. This seems like a good lens, but it weighs a ton! I’ve just tried it on my rather old (film) EOS 5, and it’s great! You don’t get the full wide angle effect on digital (see the lens calculator) like you do with film, so I’m really looking forward to taking some sweeping landscapes with it on my film body :-)

EOS 20D

Canon EOS 20D and EF 17-40mm f/4.0L - picture from Imaging Resource

I had a quick look through the manual and it all looks rather complicated. Not like film, but there we go.

Woohoo! The charger has stopped blinking, so I think that means the battery is charged. I’m off to play! I’m quite sure there are going to be lots of snaps appearing on the site now!