What a COMPLETE PITA communications are!

It is highly likely that I will have no land line, mobile or internet connection after tomorrow (30th March 2014) – my internet connection has been VERY unreliable for over 10 days, and I have failed to get it sorted so far, so I expect to cancel EVERYTHING on Friday. If you need to contact me, try email to my gmail address, and I may be able to pick this up via computers in the local library, or other public locations. If the worst comes to the worst, as I currently expect it will, I’ll try to get a cheap smartphone to give me limited internet connectivity, and will post the new ‘phone number where appropriate  - sorry, that does not include here!


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Ater the rant, a RAVE

I’ve always been pragmatic about my camera gear, and that means compromises, and applying the Pareto principle, ie you get 80% of the quality for 20% of the weight and bulk (well, that is overstating the case for cameras, but I hope you get the idea). I loved my half-frame Pen back in the early 1960s, as it was near the image quality of my FF Pentax S1a in many situations. I have far too many camera systems at present, but my favourites have been the original four thirds system, and now micro four thirds. However, I have to say that although I don’t think that many APS-sized sensor cameras are any better than the current generation of micro four thirds cameras, I am overwhelmed by the images I get from the Fujifilm X-E1, and, as of earlier this week, the X-T1. The Image Quality (IQ), and optics of the cameras and lenses I have used (X-E1 and X-T1, 18-55mm, 55-200mm, and 60mm macro), are stunning. I’m not a pixel peeper, so these observations are subjective. These Fujis are not without some drawbacks (name me a camera that does not have any weaknesses), and the X-T1 seems to have both a tendency for holding it to put it in Menu mode, while the buttons on the back are both far too difficult to press when you want to, yet too easy to press accidentally!

Apart from the fact that you can change ISO between shots, digital has long offered better IQ than film did, even at modest ISO. I’m 68 years old, and have been a keen photographer for over 60 years, and I enthusiastically embrace all the improvements that digital has brought in recent years.

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Robin singing

Robin singing

Lots of interesting captive animals, reptiles and birds to see at Dudley Zoo, and in good conditions, with an important aspect of conservation throughout what they do there. But this is an entirely free and wild robin on the wooded hillside (the Zoo was created on the hill around Dudley Castle). The food put out for the various animals etc also provides for the local wild birds and animals.

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Ghost Busters!

Robin singing, and Ghost Busters!

I went to Dudley Zoo in the morning, but on the way home through Priory Park I found the Ghost Busters scene being photographed by the press – publicity for Priory Hall for weddings, and also wedding organisers. Dudley’s Mayor, Alan Finch, was once again working very hard to support not only Dudley, but his (and my) area. Many thanks Alan (or should I say Mr Mayor, though for someone of my age that term brings back Larry the Lamb on BBC radio!).

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RANT – Castle Street Dudley

RANT - Castle Street Dudley

This is Castle Street in Dudley, the centre of Dudley, and it seems it will be like this for about 4 months – improving the market stalls, relocating the public conveniences etc. Even the bus station is almost completely closed – the bus I took from Birmingham towards Wolverhampton a week ago went along the same stretch of Castle Hill no less then THREE times as a result.

Why are they doing this? Supposedly to revive the centre of Dudley, but what we lack is serious shops (two of the few remaining ones have shut down in the last month, so almost nowhere to buy even food), and car parking: much as I may regret it, many people do use cars for shopping, and the only thing that has happened here is that the amount of car parking has been reduced to almost zero in the centre, and the one way system makes it almost impossible for even someone who has lived here for 68 years to know how to get from one part of central Dudley to another by car. We have an excellent MP, and some very good councillors (notably those from my area), but my opinion of the council employees and their schemes is unprintable (one of their traffic schemes resulted directly in my opinion in 2 deaths, but of course no one was ever held responsible for what what was, and still is, manifestly obviously a potentially unsafe road layout).

This is all very costly for local tax payers, and personally I cannot believe it will improve things in any way, in the absence of any major national shops, and ever-decreasing car parking and access. Just resurfacing the road, rebuilding the market stalls, and demolishing and relocating the (relatively new) public convenience will do nothing for the town, though I’m sure that some people will make a lot of money out of the project.

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Dirty sensors

I have had few problems in this respect in the past, but just recently things have got MUCH worse. So far none of my Olympus cameras have suffered in this respect (they originated automated sensor cleaning, but the new 5-axis stabilisation system does mean that if you suffer in this way it is almost certainly a service return, which is not good news, though the stabilisation is fantastic). Both the NEX6 and GX7 have had major dirt-on-sensor-problems (as has the A77), and I’m far from convinced that I have solved those problems – test shots seem OK, but when I take real photos later, problems seem to come back. The HUGE blurred blob on all on the images I shot today with the GX7 were very bad news – it is quite blurred, and semi-transparent, but I can’t see anything on the lens, nor on the sensor, and it is not just a spotting job. If it had been on the A77 (or NEX with the adapter), I would have thought it was dirt on the mirror.

The rubble the builders have not yet removed means I can’t get the car out at present, so I was trying to travel light to do some work for the BCLM today, hence I used the GX7 … I got very wet walking back there and home, as I can’t use the car. Having to spend time repairing the images is not good news.

I really like the GX7, but I need to solve the problem of the large dark spot that currently appears on all my images – any advice on what to do about sensor cleaning (I have a very effective air blower for sensor), would be welcome – emil me at mikehessey at gmil dot com (sorry for giving the address this way, and mis-spelling of emil and vmil, which should of course have an ‘a’ in them, but it does reduce the likelihood of spam or worse).

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The Struggling Man – another business that has gone under.

I was going to visit Dudley Zoo today, but decided against it. I only took a P&S camera as a result, but it was adequate for the alternative shot of giraffes NOT in the zoo(!), and this comment on the struggles of local business.

I’ve been very unhappy with the recent attempts to use various camera apps on the iPhone though, as they (and Safari) keep crashing on the iPhone, and in the case of the camera apps, images are often lost, which leaves me VERY unhappy. I really hope that Apple can sort this out very soon, as losing images is totally unacceptable.

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