Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Just when I think....

... I have all the gear and no idea!

But I suppose he is at least making a living from photography, which is more than I am.

I have over the years wondered about doing some press\pap work. I watched the TV programme on Big Pictures headed by Darryn Lyons. I saw the mostly feckless camera weilding ex lorry drivers snapping away at celebs at various locations - most memorable was when Madonna jogged past the pap's van with her bodyguards on a road less than a mile away from her (now ex) residence Ashcombe House. The pap's initially couldn't even find the house and weren't ready - the bodyguards came back and offered for Madonna et al to run past them when they were ready with camera's in hand! Whilst I realise it isn't an easy job, a lot of it is based on tip off's and there is a huge amount of rivalry and mis-trust between them, can it really be that hard to do? Sadly, I don't think I've got the balls to give it a go.

Monday, April 27, 2009

THE lens - part II.....

.... about a year or so ago I wrote about the Sigma 200-500mm f2.8 lens.

I knew at the time that Canon had made to special order a fixed focal 1200mm f5.6 lens, but it was so rare that I didn't mention it. I never thought that one would come onto the market, but it did - B&H Photo Video of New York had one last year, the price tag - a cool $99,000 - believe it or not, it sold pretty quickly.

Never again did I think I would see another one available.... but yet again B&H Photo Video have one for sale, this time it's $120,000! It's an amazing lens weighing in at 36lbs, it's 3 feet long. With the current exchange rate and import tax to the UK it would set me back £95,000, I'm not sure if there is one of these in the UK yet - I can but dream!

As usual a brilliant review can be found at The Digital Picture.com website, looks like B&H got Bryan Carnathan to come and have a day with the lens, a video review is here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Blackberry market dominance....

.... not sure what the big numbers are, but in my mobile phone selection I have become a Blackberry convert. For years and years I was a Nokia fan, they did everything I wanted, the menu structure was familiar, the car kits were good, the battery life was excellent and they were mostly bullet proof.

But, a couple of years ago I was offered a Blackberry Curve as an upgrade on my Vodafone account and I took it, worked out well as it did loads of things that I wanted to do really well (like personal email), the qwerty keyboard was fabulous and little things like the camera\storage were also very useful and useable.

I was then given a Blackberry Pearl with my work contract - crap, big step backwards, shared character non-qwerty keyboard, no email integration (my employer wants me to pay £20 a month for the priveledge of getting work email on my Blackberry - so no thanks!)

With my personal Vodafone contract I have now got a Blackberry Bold, even better than the Curve, and a lot better than the Storm that they sent in error first (and have yet to pick up after a week or so!)

All I have to now is find a good quality 3.5mm over the ear headset - seems more difficult than I imagined!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Some idea's are simple.....

..... and it seems others are making a living from it.

I have said for most of my life "do the small things really well and build success"... reading an ex-colleague [Tony Cocks] blog at Stuff-O-rama it sounds like Seth Godin has similar ideas... "The future is about doing small things really well and growing from there"

Maybe I should become a life coach\mentor\agent of change? Sadly I don't have the mental capability to carry it off and make a few simple lines of knowledge, experience and wisdom into a book or 2 hour presentation. But the basic principles are there - keep things small, simple, easy to understand and then execute - it should then work.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sick, but still laughing.....

.... didn't get to see Barry Cryer last night as I have been off work all week, I really didn't feel up to going out at all. So have spent some of the week finding and listening to ISIHAC downloads from iTunes, some of which I had bought on cassette for the car 10+ years ago when I spent a huge amount of time driving around the UK demonstrating Lotus SmartSuite.

To me they are hugely funny, and the one-liners are brilliant. I have to assume that parts of the show were written well beforehand, but hope that some were genuinely off the cuff lines from very funny people like Willie Rushton, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden & Barry Cryer.

Whoever wrote Humph's lines is\was a genius - I have a sneaky suspicion it may have been Barry Cryer. Some gems can be found here.

The last word has to be the closing line of Humphrey Lyttelton on his last ISIHAC show......... "And so as the loose-bowelled pigeon of time swoops low over the unsuspecting tourist of destiny, and the flatulent skunk of fate wanders into the air-conditioning system of eternity, I notice it's the end of the show..."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Upcoming cultural events....

.... I have seen a couple of upcoming cultural events that I am considering. It's a while since I have been to see anything live, but these might just get me out & about.

April 17th - Barry Cryer at the Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke

May 17th - I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue hosted by Jack Dee at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton - as I write I find it's already too late as the show is SOLD OUT [so I may have to trek to London to see Stephen Fry host it, but will probably find that that is SOLD OUT as well]

July 27th - Gary Numan at the City Hall, Salisbury

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Canon admit problem, but they are going to fix it......

Canon have admitted to a problem with their flagship EOS 1Ds Mk III camera, even beyond the initial problems of the sub mirror fix for the 1D Mk III this appears to be a major problem for some users - me included.

I have to confess, I have never been 100% happy with the 1Ds Mk III since I bought one. All of the images were soft, was it me not using the camera properly or was it worth considering sending my lenses in for service and re-calibration at huge expense. Ongoing tests with the same lenses and other bodies such as a 5D & 40D (which I know how to use v well) infuriated me as they were nearly always better and the 40D outperformed both "higher end" bodies.

It wasn't until I tried the same setup of lenses & 1.4x extender with an EOS 1D Mk III that I realised how bad the 1Ds Mk III really was, at about the same time I got an email from Canon offering free collection, repair & delivery back to me of the camera to fix a couple of things - soft focus being one of them - see here for more details.

So, hats off to Canon for addressing the problem, they picked it up yesterday and I look forward to it coming back to me before Easter to try out and finally be happy with it.

UPDATE : arrived back on 9th, so a very quick turnaround - thankyou Canon. Very nice letter, thanking for me for my commitment to Canon products... lets see what the weekend tests bring.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Big Brother has started....

.......at last! As of today European ISP's will start capturing and then store the url's their customers visit as part of an EU security directive.

The BBC reports "All ISPs in the European Union will have to store the records for a year. An EU directive which requires telecoms firms to hold on to telephone records for 12 months is already in force.

The data stored does not include the content of e-mails and websites, nor a recording of a net phone call, but is used to determine connections between individuals.

Authorities can get access to the stored records with a warrant. "

Long overdue IMHO, activists and terrorists have been technology users for a long time, it's about time the bat was put in the other hand to uncover those who appear to be regular people going about their daily business as something else.

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Spring chores.....

Lawn cut (twice), gutters cleared & cleaned, ponds drained, cleaned and refilled, garage doors washed & polished, plants re-potted, broken pots replaced, plants in border dug out & repositioned, plus visits to tip.... a busy weekend it was.

Still more to do, hope long weekend brings nice weather.