Posted by: digibirder | February 7, 2011

Another new toy

Following my eBay selling frenzy, I have at last managed to purchase my new lens with the proceeds (and still have some left over!). All my buyers were happy bunnies and left me good feedback, so I was free to spend the money. I had intended to go for the cheapest retail version, but in the end I did go for an eBay purchase. I was watching a few second-hand ones being autioned, but in the end bought from an eBay seller, who also have a real shop in Wales) at a fixed price. It was still a saving on the shop versions, being over £100 cheaper than Jacobs, which had been the cheapest I’d seen outside of eBay. I have since looked in Jacobs and they have now raised the price by about £80. Maybe I’m just being cynical, but I presume this may be because they are at the Focus on Imaging exhibition in Birmingham in March, and they need to raise the price now so they can promote special offers at the show and make it look like a bargain. I will be at the show, so I will make a point to have a look.

My new toy!

I’m afraid the Crumpler bag I bought in Manchester didn’t quite live up to its promise of holding a small amount of camera gear and personal stuff comfortably, so we headed back to the shop to get a refund. I am still on the lookout for a bag – not a rucksack – big enough, but not too big, to take a bit of gear as well as some personal items. I have seen some very nice camera bags for women that don’t look like camera bags, but they are American companies, and the cost of the item (not cheap) and the shipping (also not cheap) and then the customs fees, make it not very viable. I have seen some sewing patterns for bags that look OK, so I may have a go at making one myself.

We had a little trip out last week to Ripon in North Yorkshire, then took another route home via Pateley Bridge. Again, I was restricted by the fact that the shortest focal length lens I had was 50mm, as I hadn’t yet received my new lens. I certainly didn’t have the opportunity to use anything longer, even though I took my 70-200mm with me.

A very old door opposite the Cathedral – not sure where it led!

Ripon Cathedral entrance in late afternoon side-light

Pateley Bridge main street

For the third time in two weeks, we went to Manchester. Keith decided to do a picture framing course, which lasted over Saturday and Sunday. I stayed home Saturday, but I decided to go yesterday as it was the Chinese New Year festival. Having dropped Keith off at the training venue, I drove into the city and parked nice and early before all the spaces disappeared. I decided to take a few images round the canal-side area before making my way into town. There are some revamped warehouses which are now trendy bars and apartments, but there are still some remnants of the old industrial heritage of the area. Once in town I stopped off for a cup of tea in one of the many cafés before continuing my quest. There were a few shops open, but nothing I wanted to look at. I headed to the Town Hall in Albert Square where the dragon parade was to start later on and wandered around the trade stalls. I then walked to the spot where I intended to stand for the parade, having read that this was the best spot to be, and then carried on into the Chinatown area. I perused the craft and food stalls and settled on a tray of veggie fried rice for lunch and managed to find a corner of a bench to sit on and eat it.

I wandered back to ‘my spot’ about half an hour before the parade was due to leave the Town Hall. As it turned out, it was complete mayhem, with people crowding the road and blocking any advantage I thought I was going to have. The security and police did not have much luck in keeping everyone off the road, so I was very annoyed, especially as I had been there some time before and became frozen in the icy wind that was blowing. Eventually the parade passed and people disappeared, following the dragon to Chinatown (chasing the dragon!!). I went back to Chinatown  via a different route and had another wander before just standing watching the crowds and listening to the firecrackers exploding in the display arena where the dragon had now arrived. I had forgotten to print off the map of the dragon route, but as it happened, I was in the right place at the right time. A little while later the security staff came along making everyone stay on the pavements, as this was a very narrow street. I was right at the edge and did get jostled a few times, but I managed to hold my ground. I got a few images, but the light was fading a little by then and even the image stabilisation on the lens just wasn’t enough to enable me to get a good image. However, I am very pleased with my new toy.

After that I wandered back to the café for another cup of tea to warm me up, this time with a piece of warmed chocolate brownie (yum). The day had been quite cold and dismal and the light was completely gone by this time so I called it a day and drove back to the training venue to wait for Keith. He’d had another good day – Saturday he made a very professional-looking frame and Sunday they had been making mounts of varying sizes and degrees of difficulty, all done using images they had taken to the workshop. This should be a good companion trade to add to my photography, so we will be looking into what we need to get the gear for Keith to get into the framing business. The company will be at the aforementioned Focus exhibition, so we will have a word with them.

When Keith had finished, we drove into Cheadle Hulme to an Indian restaurant, Seven Spices,  that the tutor recommended having visited the previous evening. It was delicious and certainly worth the slight detour. We then drove home and collapsed into bed exhausted. We are mostly relaxing today.

The canal with Beetham Tower (Hilton Hotel) in background

Some rusting old Manchester Ship Canal barges

Abstract street architecture

Town Hall/Albert Square

Chinatown gate

Part of the dragon parade – not sure what the outfit signifies

The crowds chasing the dragon

The dragon coming through Chinatown

I’ve decided to book a few craft fairs this year, and have four already sorted, with a possibility of two more. We’ll see what happens, but with Keith’s framing we should have some quality items to sell.



  1. I’m sure you’ll like the 24-105 Diane. In the relatively short time I’ve had it it’s become my default lens – the one I have on my camera when I set off for the day, the one I take most shots with, and the one that often goes straight back on after I’ve used a longer or wider lens.

    Good luck with the craft fairs and framing!


    • Thanks, Tony. I really, really like the lens, and I think it will spend a lot of time on the camera. It’s very versatile.

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