Weight and Stuff Report – 5 July 2015

Weight: 207.3 pounds (14 stone 11.3 pounds, 94 kg)
Steps taken: 4,872

Hmmm, up a bit today. Mutter, mutter.

The day started out bright and sunny, and I had the vague idea of getting out somewhere, but it soon turned cloudy, so I restricted my activity to a wander around some shops, which turned out to be not very interesting. So I came home…

So it’s back to yesterday’s photos. For many years, one of the most photographed things in Newcastle has to be the reflection of Emerson Chambers in the glass wall of Eldon Square. I may even have taken a few shots there myself. But no more. As part of the transformation of that part of the shopping centre into a restaurant area, the glass wall will be replaced by well, actual windows, which will no doubt make the restaurants nicer. But at the moment, the wall looks a wee bit stark:

On reflection...

On reflection…

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/200s
Focal length 32.6mm
ISO 1000
Taken 13:05, 4 July, 2015

On a brighter note, the Northern Goldsmiths clock is looking nicely shiny following its recent refurbishment. Apparently the shop’s been done nicely inside, too.

Restored

Restored

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/250s
Focal length 62.4mm
ISO 400
Taken 13:03, 4 July, 2015

 

 

Weight and Stuff Report – 4 July 2015

Weight: 206.7 pounds (14 stone 10.7 pounds, 93.8 kg)
Steps taken: 6,116

Back down a bit today. There was some serious rain overnight, but it stopped in plenty of time for me to go out. I started in Newcastle, where I took a few photos and visited the Laing Art Gallery.

My aim was seeing the For Ever Amber exhibition – a display of some of the Amber Collective’s extensive collection of photographs – it’s there partly as a commemoration of their work, and partly to stop photography fans getting too upset while the Side Gallery is being upgraded. There’s some great work there – some familiar, some not so, and it’s worth a look if you’re interested in photography, the north east, or indeed life in general.

As I was there, I paid the required £5 to see the touring British Museum exhibition Picture This, which shows a variety of illustrations from children’s literature. Interesting and fun, if a little expensive…

After the Laing, I took a couple more photos, including this one of the the pillars under Bewick Court, the tower block that sits above John Dobson Street. I can only presume this is related to the planned changes to make the road a cycle-friendly area, or something like that. Or it’s meant to scare the pigeons.

Is it Art?

Is it Art?

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/7.1
Shutter speed 1/200s
Focal length 27.9mm
ISO 3200
Taken 12:59, 4 July, 2015

By this time, the clouds were clearing, so I took the Metro to Whitley Bay, where I had an opportunity to test the improved autofocus in the X-T1. There was a quite impressive mist along the coast, which meant that the lighthouse was very hard to see. But the camera managed to lock onto it, and Lightroom managed to make it appear a lot clearer than it did in reality:

Out of the mist

Out of the mist

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/13
Shutter speed 1/240s
Focal length 135mm
ISO 200
Taken 14:10, 4 July, 2015

After a bit of a walk along the coast, I took the bus back to Newcastle and came home. And here I am.

More photos over the next few days…

 

Weight and Stuff Report – 3 July 2015

Weight: 207.1 pounds (14 stone 11.1 pounds, 93.9 kg)
Steps taken: 4,220

Hmmmm, up a wee bit more today. Shocking, etc…

No fresh photos today, so let’s step back to my visit to Hartlepool. This is the view along the deck of HMS Trincomalee:

On deck

On deck

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/13
Shutter speed 1/4000s
Focal length 18mm
ISO 5000
Taken 14:26, 30 May, 2015
Location 54° 41.4546′ 0″ N 1° 12.3968′ 0″ W

And this is the slightly in need of restoration Wingfield Castle:

Wingfield Castle

Wingfield Castle

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/9
Shutter speed 1/350s
Focal length 21.6mm
ISO 200
Taken 14:57, 30 May, 2015
Location 54° 41.3566′ 0″ N 1° 12.2425′ 0″ W

Weight and Stuff Report – 2 July 2015

Weight: 206.7 pounds (14 stone 10.7 pounds, 93.8 kg)
Steps taken: 1,925

Shock, horror, etc – back up today. I didn’t manage to get further than the sandwich shop at lunchtime today, so we’ll just have to go for a couple more photos from yesterday’s fisheye fun. Here’s a view along the river, featuring a nicely squeezed Sage:

Quayside

Quayside

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/1
Shutter speed 1/80s
Focal length 8mm
ISO 200
Taken 13:12, 1 July, 2015
Location 54° 58.1615′ 0″ N 1° 36.1826′ 0″ W

And here’s Grey’s Monument and its surroundings:

Monumental

Monumental

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/1
Shutter speed 1/250s
Focal length 8mm
ISO 200
Taken 13:46, 1 July, 2015
Location 54° 58.4055′ 0″ N 1° 36.7735′ 0″ W

I can see I’m going to have to take this lens to some more places….

 

Weight and Stuff Report – 1 July 2015

Weight: 205.3 pounds (14 stone 9.3 pounds, 93.1 kg)
Steps taken: 4,185

What’s that? Down again? Well, so it seems…

It’s been another hot day, and for once I got myself properly out of the office at lunchtime. I walked down to the Tyne, where I carried out a traditional act. Whenever I get a new wide angle lens, I just have to do this:

Quite wide....

Quite wide….

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/1
Shutter speed 1/110s
Focal length 8mm
ISO 200
Taken 13:16, 1 July, 2015
Location 54° 58.1945′ 0″ N 1° 35.9671′ 0″ W

I consider it a win if I get the whole of the Millennium Bridge in the shot, and this does seem to do the job. As I was shooting towards the sun, there’s a bit of flare and a nicely odd ring of reflections around the main image.

After a bit more wandering in that area, I took the Quayside bus back up to the Monument area, and had a quick play in Central Arcade, which seems oddly elongated:

Infinite Arcade

Infinite Arcade

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/1
Shutter speed 1/17s
Focal length 8mm
ISO 200
Taken 13:47, 1 July, 2015
Location 54° 58.4204′ 0″ N 1° 36.7888′ 0″ W

General observations about the Lensbaby Fisheye, now I’ve taken it out for a play:

It seems to confuse the X-T1 into over-exposure. I may need to fiddle with some settings to see if I can stop that, but overall, it looks like dialling down 1EV should generally improve things.

It’s fun. I like it, and for the price, I’ve got no complaints at all.

And talking of not complaining, I managed to miss the thunderstorm and heavy rain, which happened while I was in the office this afternoon. By the time I went home, things had dried up nicely. Though it’s still a wee bit humid.

 

June 2015 Round-up

Oh, this is getting redickerous! That’s 2015 half-over already! Which means it must be time for the special monthly treat that you’ve all been looking forward to. If you’re a bit strange, that is. Yes, it’s time for the summary that saves you reading the rest of the nonsense I post here. Though you could skip this and wait for the annual report, I suppose….

Anyway, enough of that, and on with the show:

Weight

There have been some slightly wild fluctuations this month, with a brief dip to a hard to believe low and am almost as brief rise to an all-too believable high. But things seem to have settled down now.

June 1: 206.7 pounds (14 stone 10.7 pounds, 93.8 kg)
June 30: 205.9 pounds (14 stone 9.9 pounds, 93.4 kg)

That’s a not particularly impressive fall of 0.8 pounds (0.4kg). Not as good as in the last few months, but I have been on holiday, so there.

Eating

Did I mention having been on holiday? Lots of nice big breakfasts, some meals out. And so on and indeed so forth…

Exercise

Some moderate walking, but not all that much.

Posting

I do seem to have settled into not posting so much – just 36 this month.

Stuff

With two trips to Wales, a lot of photography has been committed this month. I’ve also added a new camera, a new lens and shiny new firmware that almost makes another new camera. Much more about all of those as tuits permit.

Lensbaby Circular Fisheye Lens

If you’re reading this on Facebook, make sure to click the link, or you’ll miss some photos, not to mention the whole point of the post.

If there’s one thing I missed following my switch from the big Canon 5D Mk III to the Fujifilm cameras, it’s this:

Tyne Bridges - Fisheye

Tyne Bridges – Fisheye

Camera Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Aperture ƒ/4.5
Shutter speed 1/320s
Focal length 8mm
ISO 100
Taken 09:24, 28 January, 2010

Yes, that ultrawide fisheye lens that captured those lovely circular images. It was a moderately expensive thing which I used only occasionally, but I enjoyed it, and loved those insanely distorted images, and the challenge of keeping myself out of the frame. But it had to go when the 5D went, and so I moved on.

Now I do have the lovely little Samyang fisheye, which creates images like this:

Fisheye Sage

Fisheye Sage

Camera X-E1
Aperture ƒ/1
Shutter speed 1/800s
Focal length 8mm
ISO 200
Taken 13:42, 26 June, 2013
Location 54° 58.0836′ 0″ N 1° 36.1358′ 0″ W

and while that’s rather nice, and still offers the opportunity to include my feet and fingers in the image, it’s never been quite the same. So when I saw that Lensbaby, makers of popular “toy” lenses had produced a circular fisheye lens in the Fujifilm X mount, I was interested. I read up on it, saw some sample images, and was even more interested.

Now let’s get one thing clear – this is not the same kind of lens as those made by Fujifilm, which are things of such optical beauty that their eye-watering prices are easily forgiven. It’s not even the same kind of lens as the Samyang. For a start, it’s cheaper – typical UK price is £209 including the dreaded VAT. At that price, it’s obviously not of similar build quality to my old Sigma 8mm, having a plastic mount, and relatively crude focus and aperture dials. It also, quie deliberately, and in a typical Lensbaby move, has a reflective inner barrel, designed to pick up lens flare and reflect parts of the image in a ring around the circular image.

Like the Samyang, it’s strictly manual focus, though as it generally the case with really wide lenses, depth of field tends to be huge, so focus isn’t too much of an issue. I’ve just had a quick play, and I plan to take it to work with me tomorrow so I can take my traditional wide lens test shot.

But for now, here are a few samples of what it can do. Here’s a Dalek (photographer’s foot included at no extra charge):

Exterminate!

Exterminate!

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/1
Shutter speed 1/25s
Focal length 8mm
ISO 6400
Taken 18:36, 30 June, 2015

And here’s a close view of a keyboard:

Fishy keys

Fishy keys

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/1
Shutter speed 1/30s
Focal length 8mm
ISO 6400
Taken 18:35, 30 June, 2015

And, errr, I might use this as my profile picture. I think it’s really captured me nicely….

Selfie!

Selfie!

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/1
Shutter speed 1/110s
Focal length 8mm
ISO 6400
Taken 18:25, 30 June, 2015

I haven’t included the Amazon link I generally use for product reviews as they don’t seem to have the Fujifilm version listed. If you’re in the UK and want to buy one, try Wex Photographic – they’re very good.

Weight and Stuff Report – 30 June 2015

Weight: 205.9 pounds (14 stone 9.9 pounds, 93.4 kg)
Steps taken: 3,232

Oooh, down again today, which might have something to do with it being a wee bit warm. I thought I was going to melt on the bus coming home…

Something has arrived, and I’ll be talking about it later. But for now here’s a hint:

Best I've ever looked

Best I’ve ever looked

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/1
Shutter speed 1/110s
Focal length 8mm
ISO 6400
Taken 18:25, 30 June, 2015

 

Weight and Stuff Report – 29 June 2015

Weight: 207.9 pounds (14 stone 11.9 pounds, 94.3 kg)
Steps taken: 3,117

And I’m back from that long Welsh weekend. And talking of back, so’s my weight – back up, that is. Let’s see how that goes over the next few days…

Not a lot in the way of new images, so here’s one of the Elan Valley:

Elan Valley

Elan Valley

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/320s
Focal length 18mm
ISO 200
Taken 12:40, 10 June, 2015
Location 52° 18.2964′ 0″ N 3° 37.3589′ 0″ W

In other news, that firmware update has arrived for my X-T1. I’ve installed it, and a quick indoor test suggests it really does work better at focusing in low light. Proper testing to follow…

Stuff Report – 28 June 2015

Steps taken: Hardly any

After all the travelling over the last few days, it was time for a less active day. My brother and I went to pick up his daughters[1] and we went to lunch at Pizza Hut. Then we dropped them off and came back to Pencoed. And here we are.

It’s a quick return to Portmeirion for today’s photos. Here’s a tower:

Tower

Tower

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/640s
Focal length 74.4mm
ISO 400
Taken 14:59, 16 June, 2015
Location 52° 54.7239′ 0″ N 4° 5.937′ 0″ W

And here’s a view out of an arch:

Through the arch..

Through the arch..

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/11
Shutter speed 1/210s
Focal length 18mm
ISO 400
Taken 15:06, 16 June, 2015
Location 52° 54.6519′ 0″ N 4° 5.9678′ 0″ W

[1] My nieces, even