A switch from Canon in favour of Fuji !

Earlier today, I said a fond farewell to my Canon 1DX, the full range of lens that I owned, the flashguns, the battery  packs, and brackets, the releases and triggers……

The first DSLR camera I ever bought back in early 2000 was a Canon 350D – I quickly outgrew it, asking it to do far more than it was capable of.  Later, when I was studying photography at college – they lent me a Canon 5D – the first time I’d experienced a full frame camera… it was fabulous, and when my course finished I bought one.  Later as I started work as an agency photographer, and was shooting events, and the odd wedding – I upgraded again to a 1D MK4 – loved this so much, I bought a second one – one for me, and one for work…. later, traded the older one in for the DX – which I said then was probably the best camera I had ever owned.

Fast forward to two years ago… and I wanted a more lightweight camera for holidays – the DX was a bit too big and heavy for holiday use, and I plumped for the Fuji X-T2 – and what a revelation – lightweight, massive files – great colour rendition, and a fabulous retro feel that reminded me of my days shooting film.

One year later – I traded it in for the X-T3, bought another lens but still kept hold of the Canon DX.

Something inside me kept saying I should sell all my Canon gear, but somehow I couldn’t bear to part with it.  Then, last summer, I spent a couple of days on the Farne Islands… I took the Canon, the 100-400 lens, a shorter lens, and a tripod, and off I went…. Three days later – with a bad back, aching legs, and sore arms – I decided that it had to go… and I held off till today……

I don’t know quite why I held on to it for so long, though I think it was nostalgia as much as anything…. but inside I knew that the Fuji was performing as well as, and in some circumstances, better than the Canon DX.

The good news is that Canon glass, really does hold its value – and I was pleasantly surprised at the overall value of the camera body too….

So, I’m now Fuji all the way, and I’m looking forward to the new year, with a new start.  I’ve just got hold of the Fuji 80mm macro – at 2.8 it’s fast glass, and sharp as a tack.  I’m waiting on another lens (more on that when it arrives), and I have enough store credit with the local camera shop now – to upgrade to an X-T4 as and when it launches later in the year, or maybe buy a second body – I haven’t decided yet.

I have to highly recommend Fuji though – for their fairly regular firmware updates, which add spec. to the cameras as they go.  I don’t think I had a firmware update for the Canon ever……

So there we are, the lightweight mirrorless camera does it for me – My bag is lighter, the glass is excellent, and the body is neat.  The image quality is superb (dare I say better than the DX?) – I love the colours and the sharpness of the lens……. and finally I can probably ditch the really heavy manfrotto tripod and use a more lightweight one….. I can decide that later…. a heavy tripod can be useful.

I think that I’ve made the right decision, and I’m also pleased that I waited, and kept both systems running in tandem for a while.  I was able to compare and contrast rather than just rushing to dump all the Canon gear, and maybe have been disappointed.

What I found was that when I was going out to shoot, I was automatically picking up the Fuji, and the Canon was getting left in the cupboard more and more – so in the end – why keep it at all?

Watch this space.

And, if you have any comments or thoughts on a system change, I’d love to hear from you – what are your experiences?

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Take Advice

Sometimes when you’re shooting – you might find that someone comes up and asks what you are doing…… it’s always tempting to give the sarcastic answer – after all I’m stood there with a tripod and a camera on top – what do they think I might be doing?

Anyway – whilst I was in Bath last year, someone stopped and said to me “it’s nicer down there”….   I think that I might have ignored the advice, but something inside me said I should at least go and look. I suspect I’m not as clever as I used to think I was, but I decided to go …..

I went – it was better, I stayed quite a while, enjoying the scene, and thinking what I could do with it later…

Later….. when I was showing the photograph to a friend who was with me at the time – he said “I didn’t see that”.

Let yourself be helped.  Your pictures will still be your pictures – there is no way they can be changed just because someone suggested another point of view, or venue.  The person stood right next to you will probably have a different picture anyway….

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I said I’d never mention Brexit in a post!

I’ve been in a bit of a mood lately.  I’ve also been in a bit of a creative hiatus.

The only reasons I could think of was that I was just going through a phase, and also that there’s so much bad news about lately.  We are plugged into 24 hour news bulletins – it’s there all the time – TV, Radio, Internet, magazines, newspapers etc.  I’m bombarded with news everywhere I look – it’s practically inescapable – and this issue of Brexit in the UK is driving many of us to the brink of despair.

I’m pretty sure then that all this bad news can deflate our sensibilities unless we do something positive to combat it.

My ‘recovery’ began a week or two ago, when I started to look at more of the work that is appearing on a Facebook Group called ‘She Clicks’,  (www.sheclicks.net) – a group for female photographers.  Then I attended a Royal Photographic Society Event in Nottingham, where the speaker was Magnum Photographer Ian Berry.

I conclude that a further aid to my ‘recovery’ is to surround myself with excellence.

I must look at excellent photography, listen to good music, and watch artistic and creative films (for which Netflix has an abundance if you look carefully) – for example, the other day I watched an old black and white film called ‘Laura’.  I knew the music, but not the story – and it reminded me of family times in my younger days where we would listen to music together.

Moods change, and with it, creativity changes too.  I’m currently looking through some of my photography books, reading about editing, and discovering again things I want to try. the mojo (I’m pleased to say) is slowly coming back.

I actually want to get out now, and take some images, make some art….. it’s been a long time coming, but at least I now have an idea for the cure……

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Autumn is here – let’s go catch some colour……

It’s finished!

For the last year, I’ve been working on a project about the Lincolnshire Meridian.

Here’s the story – last October (gosh a year ago now), I completed my ARPS with a project on Fine Art, and the Lincolnshire Landscape.  I’d also been a member of a project orientated group (Lincolnshire Image Makers) and quite separately, another group of four, who decided that we would each make a new project which we could then present as a talk to be used at camera clubs, and elsewhere.

Some of you may understand the feeling of relief after completing something challenging like the ARPS – but after the results were in, and I’d passed, there was a certain feeling of ‘what shall I do now?’.

My project was to take the Meridian line through the county, and record interesting facts and pictures, and hopefully learn a bit on the way.  I didn’t think it would take so long.

12 months later, and the job is pretty much done.  It involved innumerable trips out – lots of research, and a trip to Greenwich to complete the section on John Harrison (Clockmaker, and calculator of Longitude) and his clocks.

There’s still one bit to get – Barrow (up near the Humber Bridge) is having a statue of Harrison made and installed in their market place.  I was hoping to get this to complete the project, but as of the time of writing, it’s not taken place.  The statue is being made – they seem to have all the funding in place, but it’s not been installed.

My first booking to give the talk is on September 30th – at my home camera club Cleethorpes – and I hope that they’ll give me a friendly reception as I bumble my way through a first reading.

I’m sort of excited and nervous at the same time.

Three days after that – I’m to give it again, at another club – further afield.  I’m not naming names in case it all goes AWOL !

Anyway – the Meridian project is done, apart from a few tweaks now, and it’s a relief.

I’m not entirely sure what the next project will be yet, but we have plans to do a joint one about either the Lincolnshire coastline, or the Fitties, or something else.

In the meantime, I need to sort something just for me again.

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The Guilt Complex

I’ve noticed – since I stopped working full time – (and so am not taking photographs because I have to) – that I work through peaks and troughs of creativity.  I seem to be really creative for a while, and then for whatever reason, it just drops off, and i have no idea what to do next.

I also found, that the more I worried about it, the worse it went (a bit like insomnia!).  Sometimes it’s just because life has got in the way, and I don’t have the time to photograph.  Other demands, and other things have to be done before I can have time to pick up a camera.  It doesn’t matter why I can’t do it, I still get feelings of guilt that  I’m not – even if the other thing I’m doing gives me pleasure.

I mentioned this to a friend a little while ago, and to my relief discovered that she had the same thing happen to her – and then when you open up the discussion – you realise that nearly everyone who makes or creates art of any kind has the same fallow times.

One photographer I know, gave up the camera for a good period of time, and concentrated instead on painting – she created some incredible artwork, and invited me to her house to have a go.  We paint poured (I’ll post an image when it’s dry, and she’s back off holiday) – and it was so incredibly relaxing. We sat in her summer house, listening to the birds, and crafted abstract images by pouring paint onto a canvas.

So totally different from photography, and much less instant, as the canvas will take days to dry completely, and will then need to be treated again to bring the shine back.

In between times, I realise that my camera sensor is filthy, and I need to deal with that before I do anything else.

So, till the inspiration comes back, I’ll relax, go with the flow, and try to do something totally different, and try to finish the words for my Meridian talk….

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Where East Meets West -Part 14 – Greenwich

As my Meridian journey comes to an end (at least for the time being) it was only fitting to visit the place where it all began.  The Greenwich Observatory.

We set off, on a blistering hot day in the middle of July, for two days in Greenwich, to meet the heroes of my story really – the Harrison Clocks.

John Harrison, lived in Barrow – about 30 miles north of my home – he performed his first sea trials of the now famous H1 clock, on the Humber Estuary, before continuing with his other clocks H2, to H5.

Harrison was born in Yorkshire – moving with his family to Barrow when only a youngster – he and his brother together built a number of long case clocks (the first of which is now in a museum in Leeds) – a further clock, commissioned for the turret of the stables at Brocklesby park was made of oak, and Lignum Vitae (a very oily wood that made lubrication of the clock unnecessary).  Here it is, and still running for the last 300 years.

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Harrison was a man of many skills and he used these to systematically improve the performance of the pendulum clock. He invented the gridiron pendulum, consisting of alternating brass and iron rods assembled so that the thermal expansions and contractions essentially cancel each other out. Another example of his inventive genius was the grasshopper escapement– a control device for the step-by-step release of a clock’s driving power. Developed from the anchor escapement it was almost frictionless requiring no lubrication because the pallets were made from wood. This was an important advantage at a time when lubricants and their degradation were little understood.

In his earlier work on sea clocks, Harrison was continually assisted, both financially and in many other ways, by George Graham the watchmaker and instrument maker. Harrison was introduced to Graham by the Astronomer Royal, Edmund Haley. who championed Harrison and his work. This support was important to Harrison, as he was supposed to have found it difficult to communicate his ideas in a coherent manner.

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(London viewed from the Greenwich Observatory)

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And the observatory itself.

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You can see from the crowd how busy the place actually was.  It was impossible to get a straight shot of the Meridian Line.

Also, sadly, my site here does not support video, so I am unable to upload the video I did of the H1 – H3 clock movements.  However, you can see below – the changes from H1 to H4 (I didn’t see H5, as this is in a different location in London).

 

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Harrison died on March 24, 1776 at the age of eighty-two, just shy of his eighty-third birthday. He was buried in the graveyard of St John’s Church Hampstead, in north London, along with his second wife Elizabeth and later their son William. His tomb was restored in 1879 by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, even though Harrison had never been a member of the Company.

Harrison’s last home was 12, Red Lion Square in theHolborn district of London. There is a plaque dedicated to Harrison on the wall of Summit House, a 1925 modernist office block, on the south side of the square. A memorial tablet to Harrison was unveiled in Westminster Abbey on 24 March 2006, finally recognising him as a worthy companion to his friend George Graham and Thomas Tompion, ‘The Father of English Watchmaking’, who are both buried in the Abbey. The memorial shows a meridian line (line of constant longitude) in two metals to highlight Harrison’s most widespread invention, the bimetallic strip thermometer. The strip is engraved with its own longitude of 0 degrees, 7 minutes and 35 seconds West.

A further memorial to John Harrison will be erected in Barton town centre later this year. I believe the installation of the statue will be in September, with a formal unveiling in October of 2019.

I hope you have enjoyed this meridian journey with me.  Maybe there will be more to come.

In the meantime, I hope to have this talk ready for the road by the end of September this year.  I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

Where East Meets West – Part 13 – Holbeach

Holbeach is a fenland market town in the South Holland district of south Lincolnshire.  It is 8 miles from Spalding, 17 from Boston, and 43 from Lincoln.

The town’s market charter was awarded in 1252 to Thomas de Moulton, a local baron.  All  Saints Church, was built in the 14th century and the porch, which was built around 1700, possibly incorporated parts of Moulton Castle.  The associated All Saints’ Hospital, for a warden and fifteen poor persons, was founded by Sir John of Kirton, in 1351. 

The image below is the meridian marker here.

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Until the beginning of the 17th century, the sea came to within 2 miles of the town and there were severe floods recorded in the 13th and 16th centuries. The land drainage programmes that followed moved the coastline of the Wash to 9 miles away, leaving Holbeach surrounded by more than 23,000 acres (93 km2) of reclaimed land. In 1615,

Further enclosure of marshes were recorded in 1660, in Gedney, Whaplode, Holbeach and Moulton.  The work included the building of an embankment, and resulted in 9,798 acres being added to Holbeach parish.  You can see part of this embankment below.

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Holbeach also had a workhouse (as did most places) – and only read the following if you have a strong stomach… !!!

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In April 1882 the master of Holbeach Workhouse, Walter Brydges Waterer, was accused of the manslaughter of a workhouse inmate, 22-year-old Thomas Bingham.

Poor Thomas suffered from a skin disease, and therefore to treat him, Waterer had left the man in a sulphur-burning cabinet, which was used as a treatment for what was known as “the itch”, or scabies.

The patient stood naked inside the cabinet with his head poking out of the top. The sulphur was then placed on an iron tray at the bottom of the cabinet, beneath a grating, and ignited by a piece of hot iron.

On this fateful day, though, Waterer had left Bingham encased in the cabinet and disappeared to attend to a matter elsewhere, but then completely forgot about his patient.

Others were eventually alerted by Bingham’s cries for help, and he was released…but on stepping out of the cabinet, he had been so hideously burned that skin and flesh appeared to just slide away from his body. Thomas Bingham died a few hours later. Waterer was found not guilty of manslaughter.

And sadly also, here ends my trip around Lincolnshire – I’ll be doing one more post – following on a trip to Greenwich, which seems to be to be a logical final step.

I’m busy now putting the talk together which will accompany the photographs taken on my journey.  In the meantime.  Onwards to Greenwich…….

 

There’s Too Much Noise

I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s too much going on around me, and it’s distracting me from my photography.

Not the camera – but the rest of it – the internet (in particular Facebook), the computer generally, the radio, the television – it’s all getting to be too much.

I know I’m not taking enough time over my photographs – I feel rushed…. complete this, edit that, mount up this one… and I know I’ve talked about this before – and still done nothing about it.  Well from this minute forward I will – I promise.

I’m trying to be on a Facebook hiatus.  I do check in to look at what’s going on from time to time, but nowhere near as often as I did.  I’ve turned off the TV (other than Wimbledon) and I’m listening to podcasts only in the evenings.

I think that the more I can turn off technology, the more I should be able to concentrate on my photography – and do you know, it’s starting to work for me.

I’ve found more time for my edits, and am now looking at some photographs I took about 2 weeks ago and appreciating what I can do with them.

The plan is to go back to images I took ages ago, and re-edit them. I think that because of the rush to produce I’ve not always done my best, so I want to start again, and get some prints done, and keep up with the blog too.

Last weekend, was Armed Forces Day in Cleethorpes – I was away (on family business) for part of it, but did manage to join a couple of other photographers on the Sunday afternoon.  We shot some aircraft displays, and I purposely took far fewer images than I would normally do – and the results were much better.  The other plus side was that I actually watched most of the displays – something I would normally miss, as I’d be hidden behind the camera frantically trying to track a Eurofighter as it shot across the sky.

Here’s a couple from last weekend then, a fast one, and a slow one…….  the rest of the edits will just have to wait!

Make a Picture, Take a Picture

It’s been chucking it down with rain today – so what better to do than work through a few images taken over the last week.

I’ve been away visiting a friend just outside Liverpool.  I’ve not been there for ages, and my friend is not a photographer.  She came out with me for a couple of walks, but was obviously not interested in what I was doing.  “Let’s go for a coffee…” she said.

Now, I did go to visit her, so the invitation to coffee, was not really that; it was translated loosely as “stop ignoring me, and lets go sit down and talk”…  we sat down and talked.

The next day, we travelled into Liverpool centre to visit the Walker Art Gallery, where there was a Charles Rennie Mackintosh exibition.  He’s a Scottish artist I’d not heard of, but I was assured it was worth the visit, and it was.  It was very much reminicent of the Art Nouveau / deco style.  I loved it.

What interested me too,  was the fact that the gallery welcomed, and in fact encouraged, photography.  Even in the paid exhibit section.  They were asking photographers to share their images on social media, though having looked at their Facebook Page, there doesn’t seem to be any way to do so.

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It was an experience to be able to sit still and gather images together – I’d had a shot like this in mind for some time, but needed the space to do it.

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People watching is one of my favourite pastimes too.  I think the bloke at the back might have spotted what I was up to though.

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Lost in their own worlds.  Totally absorbed in the drawings in the Leonardo Da Vinci section of the gallery.

In the few days of my visit, I was able to take quite a few pictures, and on my return home, make a few as well.

Here’s a final one of a windsurfer on the lake at West Kirby.

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Normal service will be resumed ASAP…..  Enjoy your week…