Daily Archives: Sunday, 23rd Jul 2006

Sunday afternoon

Well, it seemed like a good idea to go for a walk around Newcastle and Gateshead with my new camera. At this stage, I wanted to get used to handling the 30D, which is soooooo much bigger than any previous camera I’ve used that some practice was necessary. To avoid getting too confused, I left the 70-300mm zoom at home, and stuck with the 17-85mm lens. I also avoided playing with any of the numerous settings – getting to grips with apatures, exposures and white balance can wait for another day.

I walked into Gateshead, then across the Tyne to Newcastle. My first stop was at the City Keep, which in the well over twenty years I’ve lived in the area, I’ve only visited once before[1]. The keep dates back to the 12th Century, and was largely restored in the 19th Century. It’s an interesting old building, with some nice museum exhibits, but the best part has to be the stunning view from the roof. I took some pictures there.

I wandered around Newcastle, and succumbed to the inevitable cliché of taking pictures of the reflections in the glass walls of the Eldon Square shopping centre. This is a great example of how modern buildings can fit in with older ones and produce a quite lovely result.

I also took some pictures of the shrouded Westgate House from various angles. It’s gradually being taken down behind those covers. It should be gone by the end of the year.

On the way home, I popped into the Baltic, but unfortunately the balcony was closed for repairs, so I couldn’t take any pictures from there. Then I went over to the Sage, where they were holding their Americana Festival, with a free concert outside. By some quite remarkable feat of random timing, I got there just after the start of Aberfeldy‘s set. I bought their first album on the strength of the single “Heliopolis by Night”, and although the rest of it was quite different from that track, I enjoyed it. Much of the set was based on their recent second album, which I’m going to have to listen to now, and much to my delight, they closed with “Heliopolis”. Good show in a great setting and in lovely weather.

In contrast to my usual habit of taking lots of pictures then not getting round to uploading them for months, I’ve uploaded all the images as they came off the camera. And that took a while – there are over 150 images, and each JPG is around 3MB. Next time, I’ll do the resizing thing first.

I’ll spend some time sorting out these pictures later – a bit of resizing might be a good thing, some of them could do with cropping, straightening or both, and a lot of them could be improved with some Photoshop tweaking. And a final gallery will be more selective than the huuuuge number of pictures on show here. But it should give some idea of what the 30D is capable of, even in the hands of someone who needs a lot more practice…

[1] No idea why :?:

50 Greatest Comedy Sketches

Well, I suppose it’s been a while since the last one. It’s another one of Channel 4’s Sunday night “50 Greatest…” shows. It’s the usual sort of thing – lots of people talking about either their own work or (in generally admiring terms) other people’s, a voice-over by Tom Baker[1], and lots of classic TV comedy clips from Monty Python, Not the Nine O’Clock News, Morecambe and Wise and many, many more.

As ever, it’s based on some arbitrary poll or other (they never say how many people responded…), and the order is of no real relevance, but it’s a great opportunity to show some good 9and it has to be said, not so good) stuff.

I may add a note of whatever the Number One sketch turns out to be…

[1] Yes, former Doctor Who :smile:

Astronomers glimpse exploded star

In another life, many years ago, a much younger and thinner me began a degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. What with one thing and another, that didn’t quite work out as planned, and I left the course after the first year. Although time has passed[1], I still take an interest in astronomy, so I was moderately excited by this BBC report about a star that appears to be on the way to becoming a supernova.

There hasn’t been a supernova detected in our galaxy since the invention of the telescope[2], so if RS Ophiuchi does go supernova, it will be an unprecedented opportunity to investigate one of the most extreme phenomena in the universe. Of course, it probably won’t happen for another 10,000 years…

[1] After counting on fingers, toes and other bits, I make that a quite shocking 24 years
[2] Astronomers find this quite frustrating