Posted by: digibirder | November 13, 2010

Here and there

More catching up to do. Where does the time go? Seems I don’t have time to post more, even though I am at home most of the time. I’ve been so tired and worn out lately, I really haven’t felt like doing anything. I’ve been having to push myself to do stuff for quite some time now, and I had to do something about it. A visit to the doctors resulted in a hospital appointment, and consequently another prescription for HRT. I have also put on quite a bit of weight this year, so my next resolution was to get moving more and I have therefore started a new exercise and healthy eating regime. We went for a long walk round the village the other day and that really got the heart pumping. We walked about four miles and were out just over an hour. I wanted to get my pulse into the ‘fat-burning’ zone, so I put on my heart rate monitor to test this. As soon as I started out it was hitting quite high figures! Talk about unfit.

I have also been a bit despondent that I haven’t really got going with my photo business, but I realise that I haven’t been trying very hard. The craft fairs have been a total failure, but I have one more booked next weekend and that will be that for a while, unless I find an organiser whose fairs are more popular with the buying public. So, I need to get going in other areas of the business and I’ve decided I need more confidence in certain aspects, so I have booked onto a couple of portrait workshops over the next few weeks, the first one being a free one next Sunday. I decided to stop using the word ‘trying’ and actually move to ‘doing’ something. I will then get some further practice by recruiting friends and family. Come the new year, I might even have some paid jobs!

Another issue is that, whilst checking my images at 100% magnification in preparation for submission to an online agency, I noticed some faults that have not been apparent at normal resolution when I’ve been editing the images for the blog or flickr. Some areas of certain images, and with certain lenses (especially the Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle), look distinctly ‘soft’ and this is not just the normal depth of field effects. I have sent some images over to my photographer acquaintance, Doug Chinnery, for assessment. I am particularly disappointed in the 10-20mm as this was thought to be a very sharp lens, although reading some forums it appears that there was an issue with softness in some lenses. Replacements were sometimes no better, but some people did eventually get a good one.  Unfortunately, mine is way past the guarantee expiry. In the meantime, I am going to experiment by taking off the UV filters I have on most of my lenses. I have read that these can sometimes adversely affect an image, and there is a general consensus that putting cheap filters on expensive lenses is not recommended. I have used mostly Sigma lenses up to now, but I have recently acquired a couple of Canon lenses, which do seem far superior. With that in mind, I am renting a Canon lens for the first of my workshops next weekend (Canon 24-70mm – from Lenses for Hire), but I will have the lens for a week in order to give it a good test. If that proves successful I may trade in a few of my Sigmas for this lens. It is, apparently, a very good portrait and general use lens.

We’ve had a few trips out since my last post, mainly to try and get some autumn colour. I missed out last year, as by the time we had a day off work, the leaves had either gone over or had been blown off by strong winds. we almost missed the colour this year, but I have managed to get some images of the turning leaves. We started with a walk round the parkland of Wentworth Woodhouse. We have been round here before, almost a year ago, and we took a similar route this time.

I decided to try a panorama, and this one was stitched together from five images

I thought this one would look better in b&w. The furrows and the single cloud show up better

On the way back, the cows had been set loose from the farm

Later that week we had a trip to York. There was a craft fair on in the centre of town, so I wanted to check that out for future reference. That particular organiser does charge quite a lot for their stands, but the photographer there seemed to be doing quite well.

View from the city wall towards the Minster

Along the riverbank

The following week we headed to the Yorkshire Dales and had a walk round Ilkley. Again, this is a walk we’ve done before, but we did it in reverse this time. I wasn’t feeling too well that day, so it was only going to be a walk through the woods, but we continued and did the whole walk. We then rewarded ourselves with lunch in the excellent Monkmans restaurant.

And finally, the following day (last Sunday) we drove out to the Peak District and Chatsworth House again. We parked at the far end of the park and walked towards the house and back. On the way out I used my Canon 50mm lens (first six images) but changed to the Sigma 10-20mm with a polarising filter for the walk back to the car (final two).

Blowing leaves – not sensor dust!



  1. Your pictures as usual are beautiful.and I particularly like the “downhill” views!

    I recently bought a new lens, and the very helpful guy in the camera shop also expressed the view that if you’re using a UV filter it should be a good quality one or the IQ will suffer. I also made the decision to take off the filter of the 100-400 lens and I believe it’s better without it.

    Mind you, that lens is so slow focusing and a bit soft that almost anything would be an improvement!

  2. and meant to add that the penultimate picture with the polarising lens is very dramatic!

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