Tuesday, May 26, 2009

home again

From my long weekend in Brighton.
Did all the usual things we get up to there, but rather foolishly decided to go to Bognor Regis on Saturday.

My favourite paper signboard ever:

Honouring The Dead

Which strikes me as wholly inappropriate!

Bognor is not a place I would much care to visit again. It was obviously once genteel but now is just rather boring, though we met some brilliant people - notably the woman in the camera shop with frightening nails; the woman in the taxi office whom I confused by photographing her sign:

The Ace Of Spades

and the couple who owned the cafe where we had lunch.

The downside was having to scramble the emergency services to prevent some 10 year-olds taking a golf-club and laying into a drunken down-and-out: another good reason for banning golf, I think!

The run-down to summer is upon us. The students are all running about like mad, trying to get things finished. A frustrating and sad time of year for everyone, even the staff.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

annoying news, yet again

I am going to have to stop listening to Radio Four news!

  • Hazel Blears: was there ever a more clear-cut definition of the words "Smug" and "Odious"?

  • The Catholic Church: It is quite OK to systematically abuse children in your "care" but it is completely wrong to use Twitter.

  • What is the matter with this planet?

    Saturday, May 16, 2009


    The weather today was a bit patchy, but I took the camera out to get a bit more used to what it can do. As an experiment - and a bit of a reaction against the rate at which I've been acquiring/building lenses! - I only took one lens with me, the Olympus 35mm (70mm equiv.) macro lens, a true macro which continuously focuses from infinity to very close-up indeed. The 35mm is a bit longer than would be ideal for general town photography and it is not the fastest lens in the world, with the largest aperture being f3.5: it is also manual-focus only. In short, not the ideal lens for snapshots! I did, however, end up taking almost 200 photographs, of which about 30 are interesting enough to post to Flickr.

    The best thing about this lens is the macro. When it is set up properly and in ideal conditions (the wind not blowing the thing being photographed!), it produces some incredible images:

    Chucked By Apollo...

    Moss and Lichen

    Though it is super-sharp at all ranges.
    There was a hideous "orange walk" in town today, to which I stepped boldly and took photographs. It was quite liberating to assert my right to be there instead of skulking away and avoiding them, changing my plans to accommodate their sectarian bullying. I also got some very disturbing shots:

    Orange Walk 5

    Orange Walk 4

    Orange Walk 3

    Orange Walk 6

    The first of these pictures was especially upsetting as the little boy at the back got slapped on the back of the head by the adult who was with him for not paying attention to what was going on. These children are not only being slapped about the head, but they are being indoctrinated in a system of hatred. For anyone not familiar with this "event", those uniforms signify nothing, mean nothing: they are not millitary, not police, not even as official as a security guards. They are something made up, an invented fantasy.

    This lens was particularly good for this set as it let me take pictures candidly without being too close to the subjects to worry them.

    Of course, there was the usual nonsense I like to photograph too:

    Graffiti Character

    More Gutter Heart?

    Dispensing Chemist

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009


    I don't know why everyone is bleating about the "scandal" of the MPs expenses. Looking at the figures, it seems as if everyone has spent more-or-less the same, around £150000. OK, so some of those expenses seem a little far-fetched, but the majority are trivial: furniture, toilet-seats, bedding... Things we all need.

    Has nobody considered - given the fact that all the figures are similar - that it perhaps COSTS around £150000 to be an MP?
    Has notbody considered that if Silvio Berlusconi saw these figures, he would probably sneer with disdain?

    Yet again, all I can see is the British media trying their best to undermine British democracy. The system is not perfect but it is not open to the sort of wholesale fraud inherent in many other systems. Even in the current form, the system is better than the system we had here only 25 years ago, where one had to be wealthy gentry or union-sponsored in order to be an MP.

    Disaster struck in the workshop today. Well, not quite disaster. I broke one of the irreplaceable stones in the final "Four Cocktail Rings of the Apocalypse":

    The Four Cocktail Rings Of The Apocalypse (Disaster) 27

    However on analysis, trying to find a replacement for this stone, I decided that the ring doesn't really match the others in the set. SO, it is back to the drawing board to make a different one which is more in keeping with the first three.

    Much improved pinhole for my camera. I went out on Sunday with an even tinier pinhole and took some photographs and the images are way sharper and more interesting:

    Sink Estate With Bike 2

    Moving Cyclist

    Papaver nudicale and Scilla

    Saturday, May 09, 2009


    Having spent a rather large amount of money on a new DSLR and two exceptionally good lenses (Olympus f2.8 28mm Pancake and Olympus 35mm Macro, 4/3), I've spent the last couple of days making completely crap lenses to go on the body too, a pinhole lens and a modification of a Diana+ lens:

    Lumix G1 With Diana+ Lens 3 Lumix G1 With Pinhole Lens 1

    I didn't get the Diana lens finished until this evening, but I did get the pinhole finished enough to use.

    Annoyingly, the weather has been so bad that I've not really wanted to take the camera outside, but I did get half an hour between showers in the Necropolis in glasgow today.

    The photographs taken with the 28mm are amazingly crisp:

    Mother And Child

    And the depth-of-field effects achievable with it are wonderful:

    O Grave!

    Compare the photograph of the statue above with the pinhole version:

    Pinhole Mother And Child

    This is actually too soft-focus for my liking, as can be seen from some of the other pictures:

    Stained Glass Pinhole 2 Pinhole Towers In And Out Of The Dusty Bluebells Stained Glass Pinhole 1 Pinhole Tomb When Lilacs Last...

    I remade the pinhole this evening to use an even smaller hole, only using the tip of a pin to make it. This should sharpen things up a bit.
    More test pictures tomorrow.

    Tuesday, May 05, 2009

    pissed off

    I am SO f*cked off with Google's Picasa which has just managed to wreck more than half the photographs I took over the weekend with my new camera. I have no idea what happened but they are irretrievably damaged, scrambled into lines and blocks of colour. I used Picasa to download the photographs from the camera - which is what I have done for the last few years - and then watched as the thumbnails generated, looking like an absolute mess. I checked one of the pictures and - to my horror - found that it was all scrambled. The next was the same. On closing down Picasa, I checked the photographs in Photoshop: completely unreadable. Utterly destroyed. Fortunately, all the pictures after I closed the programme are fine and readable.

    The programme has now been deleted and I recommend that everyone else does the same, just to be safe.

    I also hurt my neck really badly yesterday. No idea what happened: I just woke up with a horrible pain in my neck and shoulder, which made travelling quite unpleasant. Feeling a bit better today. Early night tonight.

    Great weekend in Brighton, seeing Dingo and playing with my new camera. Went to see part of the Anish Kapoor show which is on there at the moment. Wonderful:

    Anish Kapoor 4

    Dingo went out on his bike a bit and I took some infra-red photographs. I'm really pleased with this one:

    Queen's Park Pond

    It's exciting to be able to experiment again!

    Friday, May 01, 2009


    Are You Washed In The Blood?

    Are You Washed In The Blood? 16

    Taken with my new camera!