A sunny walk with the camera

Reblogging this old photo post for the benefit of new followers since it was posted in February 2016. Almost six years ago, a few days after Ollie’s 4th birthday, and on a very cold day in Beetley.
The camera used was the Fuji X30, and the aperture settings were either f5.6 or f8. All the files are straight from the camera, with no post-processing.

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Despite the cold, and recent snow, I awoke to a sunny day, that if anything, was too bright. I made up my mind to venture out with Ollie earlier than usual, to get the best of the day, before any cloud settled in during the late afternoon. This meant that his usual doggy pals would not be around, so I quickly headed over to Hoe Rough, to give him a bigger walk, with my camera taken along too. As usual, all the photos are large files. They can be clicked on, for full screen, and further enlarged for detail. The bright weather allowed for some good photos today, and the details are very well-rendered.

The constant rains have waterlogged the ground. This standing water was frozen on the surface.

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A few paces further on, and the rest of that water was joining up, forming what looked like a small canal. It…

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Rome Around The World

When we think of the Roman Empire, the first things that comes to mind for most of us are the wonderfully preserved ancient buildings in the Italian capital. The Colosseum, Trajan’s Column, The Panthenon, and The Palace of Caesar Augustus. I have been to Rome, and enjoyed seeing all those sights,

But the Romans had a huge empire, covering much of the known world, and it is not only in Italy that you can see evidence of their presence.

Amman, the capital of Jordan.

Tunisia, in North Africa.


Armenia, in the city of Garni.

The city walls of Lugo, Spain.

France, the city of Arles.

France, the city of Nimes.

Algeria, the ancient city of Timgad.

Turkey, the city of Side.

Libya. Roman Sabathra.

England. The city of Bath.

Just a snapshot of the remains of Roman civilsation around the world, places that we can still visit today.

Our Last Christmas Present

Every year, one of Julie’s twin daughters gets us a delivery of an English High Tea as a Christmas gift. With all the eating and socialising over Christmas, we always choose to have this delivered later, in this case, today.

Piglet’s Pantry is a very reliable company, delivering on time, and everything freshly made and very well-packaged. We are actually going to have this for our evening meal later, as Julie was at work when it was delivered.

This version of a High Tea does away with sandwiches, which is fine in my book. We get Sausage Rolls in two varieties, an indiviual Quiche each, and two delicious hand-made Scotch Eggs. The sweet stuff comprises four delicious bar cakes in assorted flavours, and a Fruit Scone each, accompained by clotted cream and jam. To round it off, they supply two tea bags of their own special blend.

Julie is having a mini-bottle of Prosecco with hers, and I will be on red wine as usual.

Our special tiered tea plate comes out for the occasion, and this is what it all looks like.

Savoury selection.

Sweet selection.

(Photos from Julie’s phone.)

A Refurbished Frontage

This morning, three men arrived to work on the driveway and frontage of the house. The old gravel had ceased to combat the weeds, and it was looking unloved and overgrown out there. Although the space is not large, there is room to park four cars when necessary, so far too big for me to tackle it. I had hit one side of the five-bar gate with my car, so that needed a new gate post.

The old shrubs had to go too. The climbing hydrangea on the house was encroaching into the brickwork and guttering, and the unkown type (to me) of other bush seemed to only serve as a ladder for spiders to get in through one of the spare bedroom windows. Under the front Oak tree, the raised bed had been invaded by brambles, the dwarf conifer had started to grow out instead of up, and I had let everything get into something of a shambolic state.

Using a company recommended by our next-door neighbour, it was arranged they would come today with a digger and sort out everything, replacing the sharp gravel around the front of the house with the kinder, more rounded version.

Exactly at at 8:30 as promised, the digger was unloaded from a trailer, and they set to with a vengeance. It is only two and a half hours later as I type this, and they have already removed the shrubs and plants, tidied the raised bed, and scraped away all the old gravel and dirt. One of them is preparing to replace the broken gate post, and another is sweeping and clearing away everything not needed.

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10:45, and the clearance is complete. The old gatepost has been removed, and they are preparing the cement for the new one.

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Just after midday, I took Ollie out for his walk. The prepared ground had been sprayed to keep down any weeds that grow back, and one of the men has taken the tipper truck to collect the gravel from Fakenham.

When I got back just before two, the gate was fixed and solid, and they were adjusting the fittings so that it cleared the deeper new gravel. Two-thirds of that new gravel had already been laid and levelled, and they were just waiting for the next load to come back in the tipper truck. The owner of the company told me that they will only be here for another thirty minutes once the last gravel is laid.

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I had other estimates for this work. One man wanted half the money up front, the other told me it would take two to three days, and the final price would depend on how long it took to complete. Both said I would have to have a skip for the debris, and pay for that separately. This man told me he would finish it in one day, and remove everything included in the price.

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14:30, work completed. Six hours after they started, including a short break for lunch.
Here is what it looks like. (There is no ‘before photo’ as I was too embarrassed to show it!

(The photos are Flickr links, and can be enlarged there by clicking on them.)

Driveway and side of house Dec 2021

The huge Oak tree in this photo is the one in our back garden.
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We didn’t even have to pay today, as we will get a bill by email next week. That’s what I call great service!

An Early Present To Myself

I bought myself an early Christmas present, and didn’t have to wait until the 25th to unwrap it. Always keen to expand my digital camera collection, I have currently been trying to find small cameras that I can carry around easily when I am out walking with Ollie.

Not long ago, I bought a second-hand Panasonic LX100 that fits nicely into a coat pocket. I have been pleased with it so far, so explored the range further. I found an immaculate used Panasonic TZ70 silver version, advertised as boxed with all accessories and instructions. The price was around a third of what it cost new in late 2015-2016. It arrived this morning, and is in first-class condition, as promised. In fact, it shows no signs of use whatsoever.

As well as a rear screen, it also has an electronic viewfinder, albeit a very small one.

The control ring on the front can be set to perform an operation of choice, whether to change aperture, white balance, or exposure compensation. As you can see, it does lack the range of knobs and dials that I usually prefer, but there is a reason for that.

It is VERY small!

It is actually small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, and is barely half the size of my Oppo smartphone. The downside of this is that some of the controls and buttons are fiddly to use, even with my small hands. It came with a dedicated wrist strap that doesn’t even fit over my wrist.

Yes, we are talking small!

However, this diminuitive digital camera launched in 2015 has two huge selling points. Like the LX100, the lens is manufactured by Leica. Unlike the LX100, it packs a massive 30 times zoom into the small body, offering a range from 24mm-720mm. (Equivalent) The compromise for this is the sensor, which is only a modest 1/2.3, the same as the one on my Fuji X30.

To help with the very long telephoto range five-axis stabilisation is built in, and as well as most features you might expect from a modern digital camera, it can also shoot video in 4K resolution. Add numerous effects filters, a tiny built-in flash, various focusing and exposure modes, and Panasonic really threw everything into such a small package.

Once I have charged it up and adjusted the settings, I will take some photos and let you know what I think of it in use.

A Sunny Autumn Afternoon

Today’s dog walk was cold (7C) but beautifully sunny.

I took the camera out with me, hoping to capture Beetley Meadows in low winter light.
(The photos are on Flickr, and if you click on them you can enlarge them there)

Ollie sniffing around under a tree. Its leaves have finally changed.

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Most of the berries on the Holly have been eaten by birds already, but these ones by the gate to the woods are on the lowest branches.

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The river was hardly flowing today, making the surface very still. I was able to get some reflections of the trees as a result.

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If this good weather continues, I may well take the camera out again soon.

My Latest Camera: First Impressions And Some Photos

As some readers may recall, I recently bought another camera, a secondhand Panasonic LX100 Compact.

It took me some time to actually remember to take the camera out on a walk, so with the benefit of a bright and windy afternoon yesterday, I put the camera into the pocket of my fleece jacket, and set off on the usual walk with Ollie. I took 50 photos, and these are the seven I have chosen to show you.

They have all been uploaded to Flickr, so clicking on them will take you to the photo on that site. Using the magnifier icon, you can enlarge them greatly on there, and move around them too. They are all standard j-pegs from the camera, with no post-processing applied.

An impressively large lone mushroom, spotted on Beetley Meadows.
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The cap of the same mushroom.
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A black and white version.
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The river bend at Beetley Meadows.
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Ollie on the riverbank.
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Ollie standing in the river.
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A fallen Silver Birch, in the woodland area.
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My impressions of using the camera? Well, let’s say it has pros and cons, like anything.

Pros.
*It is very light. Despite metal parts, it sat easily in my jacket pocket, was unobtrusive, and the weight was hardly noticeable.
*All the main controls are set using dials and buttons, so no need to explore the electronic menu whilst taking photos.
*The electronic shutter is completely silent, very useful in some situations.
*Zoom action from the 24mm-75mm lens is smooth, especially using the lever around the shutter button.
*Buffering to load the image onto the Pro-spec memory card was almost immediate.
*The electronic viewfinder shows all the information I need, and gives a completely accurate representation of the final photo.
*The Leica lens renders true images as seen in the viewfinder.

Cons.
*Focusing is not perfect. I had 3 completely out of focus images from the 50 taken, and changing the setting around the lens to Macro focusing made very little difference to the close-ups of the mushroom.
*The small size of the camera can make it fiddly to hold and use. My hands are comparatively small, and I was still able to inadvertantly move dials or press buttons. This size also makes it potentially easy to drop, so I had bought a Paracord wrist strap and attached it before taking the camera out.
*The Panasonic 1-inch processor chip seems to favour browns and greens, with little colour ‘pop’ on brighter colours.

So, all in all, I am very happy. If you can find one of these old-model cameras for less than £250, I recommend you consider buying it.

Thinking Aloud On A Sunday

Selfishness.

Following the media hype about non-existent fuel shortages, the last few days have shown us the worst side of human nature that exists in this country. A blatant display of selfishness and disregard for others that always makes me ashamed to be English.

There have been confrontations in queues at petrol stations, and examples of flock mentality that makes me question the intelligence of English people in general. Hard to work out when this happened, but it is a long way from the pulling together and genuine community spirit that got this country through WW2.

Not content with filling up the tank of their car, many drivers rushed to also fill containers with extra fuel.

There were also people on Ebay trying to sell full containers at inflated prices. Shame on them.

This idiot was photographed filling unsuitable plastic water bottles with fuel, turning his car into a potential bomb.

I woke up this morning thinking about people like those pictured. People who don’t care about essential workers needing fuel to get into work to serve the community. People who feel satisfied when they have bought as much petrol as they can cram into any available container, then presumably drive home with a smug smile, hoping to boast about their exploits to family and friends.

They are not me. I am not one of them. They disgust me.

More Camera Stuff

This is about a camera, and technical photography stuff. If you have no interest in that, please skip the post with my blessing.

A few years ago, Panasonic released a new compact camera, the Lumix LX100.

I was immediately attracted to it, as it had a Leica zoom lens with a range of 24mm-75mm (equivalent), and impressively fast maximum apertures of f/1.7 to f/2.8. In a portable body that will fit in a coat pocket, this seemed to me to be a one-camera/one-lens option that had a great deal going for it.

There was also that rather ‘Retro’ look of it, something like an old rangefinder camera. Add to this the inclusion of a Micro-Four-Thirds (MFT) sensor, which at 17mm X 13mm is almost twice the size of the 1-inch sensor in my Sony RX10, and my excitement was growing the more I read about it.

Unfortunately, quality comes at a price. And at the time of launch that price was £700. Too rich for my blood, and not something I could justify spending the money on, when I already had perfectly good digital cameras.

More recently, an upgraded model was released, the LX 100 Mark ll. That sent secondhand prices of the early model crashing, and I was able to buy a used one at a great price through Amazon Marketplace. It was delivered yesterday morning, and I charged it up immediately.

It was missing any user manual and the DVD software extras, but operation is simple enough for anyone used to using digital cameras. I still downloaded a (free) 90-page fully-comprehensive manual from the Panasonic website though.

If you read about my recent experiences with the Nikon Z5, you will know I am a fan of knobs, buttons, and dials, over the electronic menu systems becoming widely used in cameras like the Z5.

Just look at the top view of the LX100.

Exposure compensation dial. Aperture selection ring. Zoom ring. Focus selector on the side of the lens. Selector switch for 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, and 1:1 ratios. Shutter speed dial with an ‘A’ selector to use when shooting in Aperture Priority, and an additional zoom control lever on top around the shutter button if you don’t want to operate the zoom using the ring on the lens.

That’s my kind of camera!

Photos to follow soon.