Thursday, 31 July 2008

Batman Returns

This morning Maccy had the morning off work (because he had to go to work dead early and got back late yesterday) so we watched Batman Returns, which was good. If you watched it as a Batman film it would probably be stupid and not very good, but if you watch it as a Tim Burton film, then its good. It doesn't really have any boring bits, even though its 2 hours long. I gave it a 9/10.

After that I tried to find some Eski music on my comp, but I didn't have any. I only had like 3 Dizzee Rascal songs, and they were all fix up look sharp. I must have deleted all the Eski music, and I couldn't find the Grime Session I recorded that was on John Peel's show. I dug out my oldest backup DVDs, but they didn't even have a folder for 'garage' or 'Dizzee Rascal', so they must be from after the stuff was deleted. Annoying!

After lunch I took all my backup dvds out of their cases and made a pile of DVD-RWs, a pile of CD-RWs, a pile of DVD-Rs and a pile of cases. When Ben gets back I'll see if he wants to smash up the DVD-Rs, the RWs and cases I'll keep.

I went on the pinternet for a bit, and watched the last episode of Dexter season 1. Went on the pinternet a bit more then watched Italian Spiderman.

Made dinner, then after that watched Battlestar Galactica with Mac P. Went on the pinternet more and searched for Eski on isohunt/piratebay, but the only thing they had was a 2007 Wiley album. I listened to it and it was quite good, but not really what I'd call Eski. I searched on the internet for Wiley Eski songs, I didn't find any you can download but did find a download of the John Peel Grime session! So I got that back, yay! I guess you might be able to get old Eski stuff off a filesharing service like bearshare, but can't be bothered to install anything like that at the moment. I had a look on ebay as well and you can buy some Wiley/Roll Deep mixtapes for about a fiver, actual old Wiley Eski 12"s look like they're quite expensive though. I'm not sure how old the mixtapes are either - from the track names one looked like it was from when Wiley and Dizzee Rascal fell out, so maybe not old enough.

Breakfast: Pecan & Maple syrup crunch cereal; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Cheddar cheese with iceberg lettuce sandwich; grapes; slice of treacle tart; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Nasi Goreng. Pudding was strawberry cheesecake. Coffee. Boost.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Not a lot

Today Moohar, Rad and Ben went on holiday, before they went Moohar told me how to look after granny. After they'd gone I cleaned the house a bit since it was quite messy, and so I'd have less cleaning to do before they come back.

In the afternoon I did a bit of work on my website, trying to get the navigation menu so that it would include the country names. It took me ages to work out how to do it since 1 record can have multiple country records, so linking them together means the same record will appear multiple times for as many countries as it is linked to.

Basically, I needed to have a subquery where all rows of the subquery are concantated together and then returned AS a field to the main query. Eventually I found out that you can do it without a subquery (I think subqueries slow things down anyway). You need to do CONCAT_GROUP(field that has multiple records for each record) AS field name you want and then further down the query you need to put GROUP BY field that only has one (different) entry per record e.g. the key for the pages table in my case.

In the evening I watched the first part of the Battlestar Galactica mini-series with Mac. Then I was going to do a bit more work on my website. I wanted to add the code to the page for the lightbox, but the .js file I had looked a bit old and I couldn't find the .css file that has the css expression for the background in IE6, I couldn't see the bit for enabling png transparency in IE6 either. So I think I am going to have to write the lightbox again. At least I can look back at the other versions to see what to do.

Breakfast: Strawberry jam toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: 2x Cheese on toast; salad; banana; satsuma; cup o' tea.
Dinner: 2x Sausages; potatoes; baked beans; brown sauce. Orange juice. Pudding was a blueberry muffin. Coffee. Roses.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Trying to photograph butterflies

This morning I posted the 450d and lens off to canon. After that went on the pinternet for a bit then it was lunch.

After lunch I keyworded my photoshelter pics that got accepted ages ago and made them live. Then I went on a walk to the rough field near Lubenham where the butterflies are. On the way there I got chased by some bulls in the field near there, that was annoying. I also saw a heron in that field but it flew away.

Then I took some pics of butterflies and also grasshoppers (there were totally loads of grasshoppers there). I came home and ate dinner, then after dinner finished watching Young Frankenstein with Ben.

After that I googled 'tell your boyfriend hold your jar', one of the funny lyrics from Dizzee Rascal's latest song, 'dance wiv me'. Most of them were just lyrics, but eventually I came across this, which gives a nice breakdown of the song lyrics. Unfortunately they were just as perplexed by me as to what the 'jar' you have to tell your boyfriend to hold is. I guess it means your glass of drink, but it would be a bit wierd for a club to serve drinks in old jam jars.

If you visit that link and check back at the breakdown of Mariah Carey's recent song, that's pretty funny as well. I quote:

Lyric: "Let me wrap my thighs all around your waist."

You can probably wrap your thighs as much as HALF around the waist, but really it's the lower leg which completes the circle. In order to get them "all around", you'd have to have to have a hinge surgically fitted halfway down your femur, and I'm not sure the scarring would be all that sexy...or the silly walk...or the creaking from the hinge joint.
Its nice that someone else in the world besides me and Mac P thinks songs often have wierd lyrics. Maybe I should do some break downs like that, I think if I did I'd have to start with 50 cent's 'In da club'.

I sorted the pics I took today and posted some to wildaboutbritain for IDs.

Breakfast: Chocolate crunch cereal; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Honey Roast ham with iceberg lettuce sandwich; nectarine; blueberry muffin; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Kebab (lemon chicken, pork & beef); cherry tomatoes; noodles; salad. Lemonade. Pudding was a slice of toffee cheesecake. Coffee. Piece of Sainsbury's caramel chocolate; 2x Roses.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Looking for butterflies

This morning my 18-55 IS lens returned from Canon and also the replacement 1TB drive arrived from ebayer. Ben & Rad went to the Space Center in Leicester and I went on a walk to the meadows near the Leisure Centre.

There were some butterflies there, although not as many as the rough ground on the edge of Lubenham. They seemed to be flying almost continuously, so just about impossible to take a photo of. When I got to the top edge of the first meadow, there was some brambles there and quite a lot of butterflies feeding on the flowers. I stopped there for quite a while to try and get some photos, but the butterflies didn't seem to want to come and feed on the flowers where I was standing, and instead fed on flowers further into the bush where they were too far away for me to focus on.

I went into the next field and there weren't many butterflies in that one, at the start of the next field after that one there were some more brambles, but these didn't have any butterflies on them. I carried on and found a small tortoiseshell at the edge of a field that had been harvested already. It did get disturbed reasonably easily and flew about for a bit, but would always land back near where it was before, so I managed to get quite a few pics of it.

I carried on following the footpath, until it got to the edge of the hill opposite East Farndon. Then I went right over a stile, and along the edge of the hill/field until I got to the corner of the field, then went down to the gate and carried on following the footpath back towards Market Harborough.

After going through a couple more fields the footpath comes out on the road from Market Harborough to East Farndon. I carried on down the road until I got to the farm shop, then turned left there and went towards the track where I had seen quite a few butterflies on my last walk to/from Lubenham.

There were quite a few butterflies there, I stayed there for about 15mins to try and get some more pics, then I went through the field back towards Harborough. I came out of the jitty and the bridge was open for pedestrians to cross, so that was good and saved me having to go the long way round to get home. I got home about 12.30pm.

After lunch I sorted the pics I had taken. Later in the afternoon I opened the lens back from Canon and it said they couldn't find any problem with the lens and the problem must be with the body. Also they hadn't returned the receipt, even though (probably because) I had explicity asked them (twice) to return the receipt in my covering note with the lens when I sent it to them.

So now I won't be able to claim the £50 cashback from Canon on the body and also I have no proof of purchase for getting any more work done under warranty (which will be required if the body is faulty). Anyway, I boxed up the lens and body with another covering note and a copy of the invoice they sent back with the lens. I'll have to take it to the post office to post it tomorrow.

In the evening I opened the replacement hard drive from ebuyer and plugged it into the PC, rather worryingly it made the same clicking noise the last one made when the PC started up. I started formatting it, and then started watching Young Frankenstein with Ben as Mackie has gone to Worksop.

Breakfast: Chocolate crunch cereal; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Honey roast Ham with iceberg lettuce sandwich; satsuma; prawn cocktail flavour crisps; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Bit of breaded fish portion with salt; 2x fish cakes with tomato ketchup; potatoes; peas. Pudding was jelly with manadrin pieces in it; trifle sponge; squirty cream. Coffee.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Stayed in

I was wanting to go out today and see if I could find some butterflies to try and take photos of, but in the morning it was quite foggy and cool compared to the last couple of days.

About 10am Ben and Moohar and Rad went out, so I had to stay in and look after granny/answer the door if any parcels came. A parcel did come - my MP-E lens!! So I popped it on my 450D but the battery was run out, so I put the battery on charge and finished sorting my pics from the last few days. Also went on the pinternet a bit.

After lunch went on the pinternet a bit more, and the battery for my 450d finished charging so I gave the MP-E a test. I added an arca swiss compatible QR plate to the bottom of the lens tripod mount, then attached the Wimberley Macro flash bracket to this, and then attached an SB800 on that. I put a Sonia hotshoe - PC adapter in the 450d hotshoe and then connected that to the SB800. I did a couple of test shots at 1x and then a few at 5x. I didn't want to go out in the garden much in case the doorbell rang as I probably wouldn't be able to hear it.

I didn't have much luck shooting at 5x outside anyway - it was quite windy. I tried John K's technique of holding onto the stem of whatever it is you're trying to photograph and resting the lens on that arm/hand. However, I found that I would normally want to be shooting looking down at an angle at whatever it was that was on what I was holding. This meant the lens had to be higher up than my hand, so I couldn't rest on it very well. Also, the weight of the whole setup was twisting the camera out of my hand, and meant that my index finger couldn't reach the shutter button.

I ordered a shutter release cable off ebay for the 405d, then I should be able to hold the lens in the middle and trigger the shutter with the remote release. I should probably read John K's notes on the lens and technique again as well. Also, when I get the MT-24EX the weight distrubution will be different (currently it's offset to the side where the Macro flash bracket is).

The rest of the afternoon I went on the internet. I read about UPSs since I wanted to know if its a good idea to switch it off every evening or if this is bad for the battery and its best to leave it on continuously. From what I could gather it seems its okay to switch it off overnight, so I will do that from now on. Should save electricity and also the blue light on it is bright and annoying when you're trying to get to sleep.

I also read on the wikipedia article about UPSs that you shouldn't use a UPS and a surge protected power strip together. I wasn't sure if it meant you shouldn't plug a UPS into a surge protected power strip or you shouldn't plug a surge protected power strip into a UPS, but just to be sure I unplugged my UPS from the surge protected power strip and plugged it straight into the wall.

This way my PC will be protected by the UPS (which has surge protection built in) and the backup drive will be protected by the surge protected power strip.

After dinner Me, Ben and Mac watched Batman begins and a few youtube videos.

Barney McGrood
Breakfeast: Honey nut cornflakes; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Cheddar cheese with iceberg lettuce sandwich; ½ Scotch egg; slice of Victoria Sponge sandwich cake with blackcurrant jam filling; satsuma; cup o' tea.
Jin the Pinner: Spaghetti; pasta twirls; meatballs in sauce. Stuff that REM sing about and comes from a Scandinavian for value place where a rapper shops (Orange crush). Pudding was peach and passion fruit creamy yoghurt. Coffee; Roses.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Bug hunting

I didn't get much sleep last night, so it wasn't until nearly 9am that I got up. By the time I'd had a shower etc. even granny had had breakfast before me! Luckily Ben was very good and waited for me so we could have our breakfast together.

In the morning I arranged an RMA with ebuyer, they will come and pick it up tomorrow. I had to pack the drive safely, so I put it in a jiffybag in a box and filled the boc with padding. I used the polystyrene/corn foam bits, so I had to get some out of the ex-stick insects tank in Ben's room and there was a little polystyrene ball in there with a face and some matchsticks for arms or maybe legs and a feather, Ben said it's name was Lil' annoyer and it's job was to annoy Maccy.

I did some more research on the Sigma 500mm f/4.5 lens. I was planning to walk to the fields near the Leisure centre today, to see if there were lots of butterflies there, but although the day started very sunny it was cloudy and overcast by about 10am. I went in the garden and did some macros. Its been very windy here lately and it wasn't very windy, which was good for macro.

I copied all the pics to my PC and then it was lunch. After lunch I started sorting the pics, then I decided to do the same walk I did yesterday and see if there would still be butterflies around even when its not sunny. I also took all my camera stuff.

I found there weren't as many butterflies around, although there were loads of flies. There were still quite a few butterflies in the rough area though. I stayed there a bit and tried to get some photos of them.

I found my photo setup (18-70 with 20mm extension tubes and shoe mounted SB800 with my cardboard 'flash funnel' didn't work very well though - at higher magnifications the flash didn't reach the subject enough, and often the top would be overexposed while the bottom would be dark. Really I think I need a ringflash style flash that's based on the lens to get good pics. On a sunny day I might be able to get good pics without flash, although may need to up the iso a bit.

Also a lot of butterflies were in inaccessible places e.g. on plants behind nettles or flew off when you got near them. I tried waiting by flowers for some to come along, but this wasn't very successful, I think you'd need to wait for a long time.

I also found my bag (Slingshot 300AW) was quite heavy when loaded up to go just on one shoulder. Since I had to put the bag down and open it up to get my stuff out anyway, the 'slingshot' point of the bag wasn't useful. In future I'd probably be better off using the Aldi/Lidl photo backpack Rad got me when taking lots of equipment that doesn't need to be accessed quickly.

When I got home I sorted and processed the pics.

After dinner I finished sorting and processing the pics (although not filing them with the pictures, they're still all in 'needs sorting' at the momentre. I also won an auction for an MP-E lens, £410 inc. p&P, 2nd hand with no box or instructions or anything. I didn't bid on the Sigma 500mm 1:4.5 because it went over £1000. I'm kinda glad since I don't do much bird shooting at the moment, although I'd like to. (Phew that was close, I had the side off my PC and I just put it back on before a moth could fly inside it). Even though its several thousands pounds more, the canon 500mm f/4 IS may be better since it would work well with a TC and the IS would be helpful for handholding. Anyway, hopefully I won't be spending a lot of money on a super telephoto for a while yet.

About 8.30pm I went in the garden and did some macros, found some ants farming aphids, which was interesting since I was showing Ben the weekly macro thread in the dpreview canon lens forum this morning, which has a pic of an 'aphid farm' in it. I copied the pics to my comp and sorted them into folders, but haven't gone through them to delete the really rubbish ones yet.

Also, I forgot to say yesterday but I got an email from photoshelter to say my pics had been reviewed, I was expecting some would be rejected this time, but actually they were all okay and I even got 2 or 3 editors choice for some of the macro pics! Whoohoo! Now I just need to keyword etc them all! And find out how to take a good landscape pic worthy of editors choice! And submit some more pics! And stop using exclamation marks at the end of sentances.

Any whey, I'm going to bed now byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Breakfast: Crunchy nut cornflakes; cup o' tea.
Lunch: 2x Cheese on toast; lettuce; satsuma; ½ banana; caramel rocky; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Chicken & veg pie; carrots; peas; potatoes. Pudding was victoria sponge sandwich cake (sandwiched with jam although I'm not sure what flavour).
Supper-ten-crupper: Dark Chocolate digestive; shortcake biscuit; cup o' tea.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Nice Walk

In the morning my order from ebuyer arrived, so I unpacked and setup everything.

In the afternoon after lunch I went on a walk to see what I could find. I went over the hill towards Lubenham, on the path up the hill there were a few butterflies, and one of them let me touch it's wing. There weren't as many as I saw when walking through meadows with Rad though. Then I down the other side of the hill I crossed the road, then went across the fields until you get to the edge of Lubenham. Didn't see much wildlife.

Then up the road, across the field and across the small footbridge to the other side of the river Welland. At the old railway line there were a few butterflies, and walking up the track towards the road I saw a big dragonfly with shiny orange wings. Also saw a yellow brimstone butterfly and quite a few other butterflies.

Then I walked up the road towards East Farndon, and the rough patch on either side of the road had quite a few butterflies and bees flying round. Carried on up the road and further up there were a couple of bare trees that had a small bird singing a song that I didn't recognise. Carried on walking and when I got to the footpath signs I went left back towards Market Harborough. There were a few butterflies down the footpath here.

Then that comes out onto a mud track, only saw like 1 butterfly down there. It smelt of strawberries, so that must be what they're growing in the big white plastic greenhouses down there. When I got to the farm I turned left and walked through the field, which I think must be Rye or Oats. As I was walking through it sometimes birds would fly out of the crops from near where I was walking.

When I got to the otherside I went down the jitty, the bridge over the Welland was all closed off while they put some pipes in it or sumat (that's what it looked like anyway). So I had to go to the roundabout, then left, down the road, cross the main road at Spar and then home from there.

I spent most of the rest of the day trying to get my new Samsung 1TB drive to work, after being formatted it wouldn't work and would crash windows or windows wouldn't start if it was plugged in when booting up the PC. It was also very noisy and made a broken sounding clicking noise when it powered up. So I raised an RMA with ebuyer for it, which said that I had to phone them to get the RMA authorised, but since it was in the evening I would have to leave it to tomorrow to call them.

Also, I found a Sigma 500mm/4.5 lens on ebay for only £560, so I researched that lens a bit to see if I should try and buy it. It seems it is very good, but not as good as a canon prime and doesn't AF with TCs.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Week in review

My fishtank arrived, along with a pallet, some extra wood, loads or large egg boxes (just what I need for a moth trap), some insects (mostly dead, but an alive cricket), loads of clingfilm and also some bottles of fish food/water stuff. In the afternoon I took photos of the cricket in the garden. There was also another cricket that must have come out of the egg boxes in Jinny's room. Me and Ben made another version of Maccy.

Can't remember really but I think I found that my 500GB backup HD for backing up my photos was nearly full. Probably processed the cricket pics from yesterday. Maybe did some work on my website.

Erm umm... Probably just went on the pinternet, processed some pics that I took near sunset on the hill nearby this week.

Again, can't remember really but I think I researched the safest way to backup and UPS's and bought a UPS and Surge protected extension socket (which has insurance if it doesn't work) from ebuyer. Also bought another Samsung 1TB drive from ebuyer, which I will put in the current e-SATA 500GB drive's enclosure. Also ordered some more RAM from MemoryC.

Submitted some beetle pics to photoshelter. Received an email back from Canon saying the 18-55 IS lens probably needs calibrating and to send it to them. I thought I would get an RMA number or something but it turns out I could have just sent it into them without waiting a week for them to reply to the support ticket.

The extra 4GB of RAM arrived (same as what I already had I think), tried to install it but had lots of problems. Eventually got it working and also overclocked the CPU slightly and went on the internet lots reading about overclocking etc. I haven't overclocked the CPU properly as most settings I have left at auto, will probably look into this properly when I get a bit more time. In the evening I went up the hill nearby to try and get a good sunset pic, they came out okay but I was a bit later than I would have liked (the sun was behind clouds earlier) so there wasn't as much light and also it was very windy and cold which blurred the wheat a bit.

Went to Church, watched Serenity again as me & Mac have now finished watching firefly. You never find out what the Shepherd's past is. Also watched a WC Fields film with Mac. In the morning I went on a walk up the hill nearby on the way to Lubenham to see if there were loads of butterflies there like there have been in fields of long grass on walks with Rad. There were a few butterflies, but not loads. At the top of the hill there was an iridesent blue mayfly, a chalky blue mayfly and a white mayfly. Quite wierd since I thought they lived near lakes/rivers and I've only ever seen the iridescent blue ones before. Possibly they weren't mayflies and were damselflies, but I don't know the difference.
I also processed the sunset pics from yesterday and was quite happy with the 360° pano I did.

Sunset 20-07-08
Originally uploaded by djeyewater

Food (today)
Breakfast: Crunchy nut cornflakes; cup o' tea.
After church snack: Malted milk biscuit; Plain Chocolate Digestive; Coffee.
Dinner: Chilli con carne; rice; tortilla chips with cheese. Pudding was Müller Corner, I had Strawberry Cheesecake flavour with white chocolate coated biscuit bits. Cup o' tea.
Tea: 2 slices tiger loaf bread; banana; grapes; cup o' tea.
Supper: Malted milk biscuit; Plain Chocolate Digestive; Cup o' tea.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Buying yet more stuff

This morning it wasn't raining, making a nice change from the last few days (it rained all day yesterday). So I took my 450d and D200 on a very short walk just for one more test to confirm the front focus problem with the 18-55 IS lens on the 450d. I took a few shots, for each one, I did one using normal AF and one using liveview with contrast detect AF on the 450D and one using normal AF on the D200. The contrast detect AF pics and D200 pics were mostly focused correctly, whereas the phase detect AF 405d pics were mostly front focused. So I think this confirms the problem with the 18-55 IS lens. I think the problem is that its focus travel is very small, so a tiny movement of the focus ring equates to quite a large movement of the plane of focus, and the lens motor is just not accurate enough it get it just right when there are such small tolerances.

After checking the pics I had another cup of tea and went on the pinternet for a bit.

Then I went down the town, my shopping list was:
  • Glass fish tank
  • Plastic/tiles for mini studio shots
  • 2mm perspex
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Shaving gell
First I went to Alliance & Pester to pay in a cheque. The teller woman asked me how come I wasn't working today and what I do, like she always does. Then she tried to sell me some life insurance, I think now that lending conditions have tightened they are trying to sell insurance annoyingly instead of mortgages annoyingly, as they asked me about insurance last time.

After that I went to the British Heart Foundation, then Help the Aged (or maybe Age Concern) to see if they had any fish tanks or books on photography. They didn't. Then I went to Saers and bought some Gilette Fusion Stealth gel, which was £4! Bit of a rip off probably, but I couldn't be bothered checking other shops to see if it was a bit cheaper. I carried on up the highstreet, and went into a hardware store that had what looked like cat/dog baskets outside to see if they had any fishtanks. Inside the shop was totally cramped and they had stock piled up everywhere. I had to wait for a few minutes while some other people were served, then when I asked them they said they didn't have any fishtanks.

I carried on up the street a bit further to Welland Valley Feeds, which had come up on a web search I did before as the only pet shop in Market Harborough. They didn't do fish tanks either and suggested to try Kettering or Corby. I went back down the street, then off a side street and went in an Age concern (or maybe help the aged) shop, they didn't seem to even have any non-fiction books. Then I went through St. Mary's place, past Sainsburys and into Instore, they didn't have any fish tanks or sunflower seeds. I went up to Homebase, they had tiles but only in large packs, which cost about £20. They didn't have any fish tanks either (they don't do any pet supplies).

Next I went to Wilkos, and they had some Sunflower seeds there so I bought them. They seemed quite expensive though, £2 for a kilo (I think bird seed is normally £1 a kilo). They were called sunflower seed hearts and looked grey rather than black and white like normal sunflower seeds. I went out of Wilkos, back through St Mary's place and along the road to the station. When I got to the crossroads, I went up towards the roundabout where Aldi and Lidl are, then right alongside the river and back towards Sainsburys. Then I went back up past Instore and Homebase and along the road past Welland Park College and home. In my whole walk I didn't see any shops that looked like they would sell plastics.

When I got home I had a cup of tea, then started adding info to my photoshelter pics that were accepted last night. Then I ate lunch, then finished off doing the photoshelter stuff. Quite a few of my landscape pics weren't in my accepted, nor were they in rejected or pending, so I wondered what had happened to them. Eventually I found them in the area your pics go when you first upload them (can't remember what its called). They had been soft-rejected for insufficient caption. Their rejection notice doesn't tell you why the caption wasn't good enough, but does give a link to a page with caption examples and advice. I couldn't really see what was wrong with my captions, but I hadn't put where they were taken, so I just added that and resubmitted them.

Now, if someone else is reading this (unlikely) or I am reading this sometime in the future and have forgotten, you (I) may be wondering why I wanted to buy a fishtank. It's not for fishes, but splash photography.

Quite a while back I tried taking some splash photos using Ben's tank that he bought for his stick insects. The pics didn't come out that great, contrast was very low shooting through the tank and also it wasn't possible to get both above the water and below it in focus, see Water bell pic.

citrus splash
Originally uploaded by mad_airbrush
A week or so ago I saw some really good pics of things splashing into a tank of water like this one on Flickr. They've done a good job at getting the object below the water (the lime halves) and above water (the splash) in focus, so I wondered if the reason for the problems with my pics was due to the tank I was using. They said they were using a fish tank, I guess its a flat glass design, Ben's tank that I used was plastic and with sloping sides.

Anyway, I couldn't find any fishtanks in the town so I had a look on the pinternet this afternoon. I found what looks like a nice basic fishtank eventually, a clearseal 18" x 12" x 15" glass tank. It was cheapest on, at about £16, but when I came to checkout postage was £15!! The cheapest other place I saw it was, where it was about £24 + free postage, so I bought it from there.

Other stuff I have done in the last couple of days is find another MP-E lens on ebay (is in the US though), auction doesn't end for another 6 days or so. I also bought a bottle of Melatonin after I got a shortcut bulletin email extolling its benefits. I checked wikipedia on it before ordering it since the shortcut bulletin article made it seem too good to be true. The bottle is 60 3mg tabs, a low dosage is recommended in the shortcut bulletin article (0.5mg), so I think what I will do is break the tabs in half and get 120 1.5mg doses. It cost about £5 including postage.

The rest of the afternoon I read a few threads on the insect board of the wildaboutBritain message boards and researched moth photography. After dinner watched firefly with Mac, then checked HotUKdeals. After that I did some research on moth traps.

Breakfast: Pink Grapefruit marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: 2x cheese on toast; salad; satsuma; white (green) grapes; slice of coffee cake; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Chewy battered fish with vinegar and black pepper; peas; mushroom; potatoes. Pudding was tapioca with blackcurrant jam. Coffee and a couple of Roses.

Monday, 7 July 2008

New Jam Spamera!

My new EOS450d with 18-55 IS lens arrived today, the camera is quite small and dinky compared to my D200 and the lens is very light and quite small compared to the Nikon 18-70lens. First of all I thought it didn't have a focus ring, which was quite annoying. But I just checked again now, and the lens does have an AF/MF switch. Switching to MF allows you to rotate a very thin ring at the right front of the lens.

I hope it will be able to AF with my big 77mm polariser on the front. I've ordered a 58-67mm adapter off spleenbay so I can use the same filters and adapter rings as on my Nikon 18-70mm. When I've used the 450d + 18-55 IS for a bit, if its better than the D200 + 18-70 I'll sell the 18-70.

I haven't had a chance to use the camera yet, the battery is still charging, but I went on canon's website to get the £50 rebate form. It says you need to send in a copy of the receipt, but unfortunately Empire Direct didn't send one, just a packing slip. So I did a search for 'Empire Direct receipt' and it doesn't look very promising. I've emailed them asking for a receipt.

Yesterday I got outbid for an MP-E65 on spleenbay, it ended up going for £510 + £10P&P. The one before that went for £480, and included a macro focusing rail, so I wish I had bid on that one. There doesn't seem to be any non Hong Kong MP-Es on ebay at the moment, and it seems to be at least £600 anywhere else (a Hong Kong MP-E would work out about £600 when VAT & import tax is added) so I guess I'll just have to wait until another one gets listed. Its looking rainy for all this week anyway, although would still be nice to have it to practice with.

I did a bit more work on trying to create a menu for my pog site using php and mysql, but asort() didn't work how I expected so I posted to Web Squeeze to see if I could get any help with it.

I checked hotukdeals, went in the garden and took a few pics but it was too windy so came back in and carried on checking hotukdeals.

Ate lunch, then after lunch tried to carry on checking hotukdeals but the site was down. The battery for my new camera was charged, so I spent the rest of the day testing it, and found that unfortunately it would front focus on subjects at a distance of more than 10metres. I guess I will have to send either the body or the lens into canon for calibration.

Breakfast: Chocolate oat crunch cereal; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Breaded ham with mustard sandwich; banana; slice of Maccy's birthday cake (Chocolate sponge with vanilla buttercream filling and chocolate icing); cup o' tea.
Dinner: Bacon quiche; potatoes; peas; butter. Pudding was a cherry bakewell. Coffee.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Nice walk

This morning went on a walk with Rad to Fermyn Woods, when we had just started going into the woods bit there was about 6 people in the path all taking photos/videoing/watching something. We went closer and it was a butterfly, I asked someone what it was and they said a purple emperor. We didn't want to get in the way of people's photos or scare the butterfly away so we waited for a few minutes and eventually they stopped taking photos for a minute so we could get past.

Then a few feet further on we saw another of the same butterfly. We carried on and there were quite a few other people as we walked round with binoculars and cameras, and also quite a few butterflies. After a bit we went on a track to the left and away from all the people, but there were still lots of butterflies. Eventually we came to Lyveden New Bield, which is an old house that was never completed. Then we went down the hill back to the car. The weather was very nice for our walk, mainly sunny with blue sky and fluffy white clouds.

After that we went to Asda and bought some tiger bread which was 50p a loaf and some 13p semolina and a packet of Green's cheesecake mix, which was cheap but I cannae remember how much, and also other other shopping.

When we got home we had lunch, after that I sorted/processed my photos from the walk until after dinner. In the evening I went in the garden and took some more bug photos, then I tried to get the N64 to work on Mac's TV. Eventual-chee I had to nick the gamecube composite cable and plug that into the N64 and Mac's TV, then it Michael Beurked. When the N64 was Michael Buerking I played on Blast Corps for quite a while.

Breakfast: Strawberry jam toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
After walk snack: Fox's triple; coffee.
Lunch: Slice of tiger loaf bread; ½ Peppered ham with baby leaf salad sandwich; clementine; nectarine; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Breaded fish portion with vinegar & black pepper; peas; mashed potato. Pudding was treacle tart and spleenvap (special treat for granny's birthday). Coffee.