Monday, June 27, 2016

Public speaking 101

Thank God that’s over with! 

I was asked to do a talk to just over 35 kids at my grandson's school this morning about the differences between life in South Africa and life in Norfolk.   I spoke for just under 50 minutes - thankfully my little grandson stood by my side the whole time for moral support.   I could feel my face going blood red as I started but by the end, my ruddiness had calmed down to just pale panic pink.   My throat kept drying up but otherwise I think I got through it okay.  

The kids all seemed engaged and interested - kept asking questions and interacting with what was on my presentation board or with things I said in my talk.   The three teachers present said they were impressed and that it was most interesting.  I had them laughing a few times (the kids and the teachers) and my grandson's teacher asked me to leave my presentation board behind this morning, so she could show it to the kids who weren't able to see it properly.     

I take bookings.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

God I'm such a plonker

There I go emailing and messaging Canon and SLRHut in my usual hysterial out of control frantic mode, after I received my brand new shiny Canon EOS 1200D with accessory bundle - 'cos the extra lenses they supplied wouldn't fit the body of the camera.  
I was right downpressed.  Disappointed.  Pissed off.  Now I had to find a bloody step up or step down ring adaptor, to fit the lenses to the camera, didn't I? 


I'm lying in bed just now and it hit me ... the fucking lenses screw into the Canon kit lens that came with the body of the camera!    They are EXTENSION type/format lenses.    So I get up, put the lights on wake up the house, try out my new theory and voila the lenses screw in just perfectly fine onto the existing Canon lens!

Bloody hell, I can't believe how much of a newbie twit I am and I'm embarrassed.

But delighted at the same time! 

'Cos now I can get to play with the wide angle and the telephoto lenses ... whoopy dah. 

As you were.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Post-production - exercises - before and after

This course I'm doing includes substantial Adobe Photoshop tutorial and post-production of photos.  I've done a couple of tweaks of some existing photos that were very flat and hadn't come out the way my eye actually saw the scene when I took the photo (a common problem I have with this Nikon of mine).  So here's a few examples of post-production editing of my photos  - one or two are extremely over-edited but I am learning, so leave me alone.

Auto-levels adjustment only and tiny crop:

Straightening, auto-levels adjustment, saturation and hue, substantial crop

And even tighter crop:

Auto-level adjustment, hue and saturation, brightness and contrast, slight crop

Auto level adjustments, brightness and contrast, hue and saturation, save, then more contrast adjustments

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Can't bloody well help myself, can I?

I started my digital photography course and by module two it was quite perfectly clear to me that there ain't anyway I am going to be able to do the projects/assignments/exercises properly without a DSLR camera.  So a ...

Canon EOS 1200D/T5 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55 Lens + Accessory Bundle

is now on its way to me, courtesy of Barclaycard.    Yes, I know it's entry level but I'm entry level, give me a break.    

Oh SHITE, don't tell anyone, I'll get into so much crap!   I have absolutely NO money to my name but if you are dumb enough to give me a credit card, I'll find a pressing need to buy something, sooner or later.  Oh dear, what have I done?!    

Too late.  
I'm supposed to have ordered all this stuff (per below list), although I'm suspicious that I'll get the full Bundle, just seems an awful lot of kit for what I paid :

Manufacturers Box Includes:
Canon EOS Rebel T5 DSLR Camera with EF S 18 55mm IS II Lens
EF S 18 55mm f/3.5 5.6 IS II Lens
Eyecup Ef for Digital Rebel Cameras
RF 3 Camera Cover
LC E10 Battery Charger for EOS Rebel T3
LP E10 Lithium Ion Battery Pack
E 58 II 58mm Lens Cap
Lens Dust Cap E (Rear)
Battery Cover
IFC 130U Interface Cable
Bundle Items Include
0.45X Wide Angle Lens
2X Telephoto Lens
3 Piece Filter Kit (UV CPL FLD)
16GB Memory Card
High Speed Memory Card Reader
Slave Flash
Mini HDMI Cable
Flexible Gripster Tripod
Table Top Tripod
LCD Screen Protectors
Cleaning Kit
Carrying Case

- my order still has to be 'approved' whatever that means 'cos the payment's gone through ??? Grrr.
You never know, maybe Karma will step in and save me from my credit card splurges.   Yikes.   (Shoves credit card in secret hiding place, so's can't find it again for at least six months).  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Beach hangovers ...

Yep, I'm back - couldn't get rid of me that easy.
Whilst I had to leave landscapes like the one in the above photo behind, I'm glad to be home.  It was worth the long flight and travel hassles but saying 'see you later' to my sons was so unbelievably hard this time - even though I know that there are very good possibilities they will visit me in the UK soon.      It's just one of the prices you pay when you emigrate.

I have discovered ASMR on YouTube ... it's not something new, been around for years and some people say it's a load of old baloney but it works (so far) for me - although I only tried it for the first time last night.  I immersed myself in a few videos to first find my 'trigger', which for me appears to be the sound of paper - i.e. pages being turned in books, newspapers, magazines, even Bibles! and also the sound of paper being crinkled up, folded or used to wrap Christmas presents.    I switched off my tablet at about 10pm last night and was immediately asleep.   I had a good deep sleep, the first in a very long time (although I did sleep well on holiday).  For anyone who suffers from insomnia this is a boon - and I'm not just talking about a couple of sleepless nights here folks, I mean consistent insomnia every night no matter what happens during the day or evening, to the point where you dread going to bed.     I really hope these ASMR things get me out of the insomnia rut.

During my quiet time on holiday at the beach, I decided to focus the next few months on improving my photography and actually do some additional semi-formal learning.  There is so much I don't know or understand and it's hampering my creativity and spoiling my photographs.  I've been interested in photography since I was a teenager (we're talking more than 50 years here) when I got my first Kodak Brownie (what a brilliant little camera).   My 35mm Asahi Pentax was divine and I used it primarily for astronomy shots, with tripod, time-release shutter cable and actual film stock - what a pleasure that was!  I miss using actual film rolls.  I've used various point and shoot cameras, the best was the Sony Cybershot (most reliable rendition of what the eye sees, colour and light wise, with no fiddling about).   My first bridge camera was a FinePix and whilst it wasn't the greatest lens on the planet, it felt like I had come up a notch and was actually doing 'real photography'!     I've had my Nikon Coolpix P510 with the diabolically efficient zoom lens (in its class) for over three years now and I still don't know how it works!

(hand held zoom also)

I was very frustrated on holiday because I really battled with low light shots or trying to capture the essence of a particular scene the way I was seeing it.       It was just too much pushing and shoving, fiddling about and very little of worth coming out at the other end (sound like Shirley Valentine hey?).    So I came home with the best intention of buying a new camera and getting stuck into DSLR right away - SLRHut have a great deal on Canon at the moment.    After a long time trawling the internet and YouTube for camera reviews, I realised it's not the bloody camera's fault, I'm just expecting it to do stuff the lens is not designed for.     If I had more knowledge, I'd get a lot more out of my existing camera, which wasn't cheap at all when I bought it.     It's time to improve my knowledge and actually understand what I'm doing - I'm tired of a hit and miss approach.   I am very interested in low light photography, portraiture and also landscapes and want to get much better at taking those types of shots.

So I've invested in a photography course, which is in hard cover book format - so I can constantly refer to it whilst I practice.   I have tried online courses before but I battled to remember the stuff, 'cos we all know I have the memory of a pea.    This is also one of the reasons why I don't want to attend a person to person course because I can't trust my memory and all the hot shot young dudes and dudettes will think I'm a fossil and should be doing a knitting course, or something like that.   

I'm supposed to get the book today - so for the next 20 weeks (that's how long they reckon it takes to finish the course), I will not be painting or doing other creative things.  I am going to concentrate on my knowledge, so that I can get me an entry level DSLR - I've got my eyes on the Nikon D3300 but I might end up getting a Canon ... going to need unbiased   :) advice on which one to look at.  No, won't be going mirrorless, too many cons.