Friday, 31 October 2008

Walk and photo sorting

I set my alarm for 5.30am last night, but it didn't wake me up this morning so I missed the sunrise. About 10am I went out on a walk with Rad. The walk was quite nice, but the sun kept going behind the clouds whenever I went to take a photo, so my photos will be quite flat and need exposure merging to prevent blown-out skies or dark land.

After the walk we went to Asda, and going round there took ages. We got back home about 1pm. After lunch I sorted/processed pics from the walk. After dinner I carried on processing the images, though I didn't finish them all.

Breakfast: Lemon marmalade toast sandwich; orange juice.
Lunch: Mature cheddar cheese with lettuce sandwich; ½ honey sandwich; banana; slice of marble cake; gold bar; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Sausage pie; cheese; mixed veg; potato; gravy. Pudding was 2x slices of jam swiss roll with fake ribena on and custard. Coffee.

Thursday, 30 October 2008


Didn't get up early this morning - was too sleepy. When I did get up the sky was covered in clouds with no sign of the sun, so I expect there was no (visible) sunrise for me to miss.

After breakfast I checked my email and HotUKdeals. Evohosting said my site had been moved to the new server and should be working now, so I gave it a quick test and it wasn't working properly. The test mysqli script from the manual was now binding parameters and inserting the data correctly, so that was good. phpinfo() gave the mysql version as 5.something. But PDO wasn't working.

I checked my milkcapmania test site, and the login still wouldn't work, very annoying. So I decided I would take the example script and modify it, turning it into the login script bit by bit so I could see where it goes wrong. So I uploaded a copy of the testscript with a minor modification, but when I tried to run it I got an error 404 - File not found. It seems that my 'addon domains' are not resolving to the new Server IP address. Hopefully this explains why the login script isn't working.

I originally thought (yesterday) that the change of server IP would take a while to propogate, but I don't think it needs to actually. The DNS servers should be pointing my domains to the evohosting nameservers, so only evohosting's nameservers would need updating. I think DNS propogation would only effect me if I was moving hosts so that the domains needed to be pointed to different nameservers.

I checked deviantart and then dpreview canon lens forum, then it was lunch time. After lunch I checked Flickr and my email. I received a reply from evohosting to say that PDO was installed and could I give them a list of my addon domains and they will change the IPs for them. Quite annoying since I gave them a list of the domains yesterday and they said then that the IPs didn't need changing for the addon domains, and that when they update the main domain it will update all the addon domains as well. I sent them the list of addon domains again and checked PDO again - which was now working. It definitely wasn't working earlier though - my PDO test script gave an error and while phpinfo() had pdo listed in the configure command, it didn't have the seperate section for it further down the page (which it does now). So I guess they must have realised that actually PDO wasn't working and fixed it.

I did a couple of minutes exercise on Maccy's rowing machine and then I was totally worn out. I went to the kitchen to get a drink and saw there was some sparrows in the garden so I brought the bird feeders in and cleaned them. After cleaning the long seed feeder with the two upper stalk bits that the birds sit on broken off, I decided that actually I might as well throw it away. I put up a peanut feeder that wasn't out before, but couldn't fill it up very far as I ran out of peanuts. I also put up a fat ball and a tray with some walnuts and robin feed in it. I didn't put up the seed feeder (that I didn't throw away) as it was still wet from being washed. Maybe put that up tomorrow.

After that I checked my email again and did part of a Japanese lesson. After dinner I watched Lost with Mac and Ben, then watched the Office (US) with Mac. After that I finished off my japanese lesson. I started reading the Canon 50d review on dpreview, watched Autumn watched, checked HotUKdeals, then finished reading the dpreview Canon EOS 50D review.

Breakfast: Lemon marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Breaded ham sandwich; satsuma; slice of marble cake; gold bar; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Beef burger in (not very much) cheese topped cob; baked beans; chips. Pudding was a slice of marble cake with custard. Coffee.
Supper: Home-made oat and raisin biscuit; hot coacoa.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


This morning woke up at 2.30am. Went back to sleep, then woke up again at 3.30am. Went back to sleep, then woke up again at 4.30am. Went back to sleep, then got up at 5.40am. After having a shower etc. I went out to the field behind the houses over the road. The track alongside the field behind the houses was a bit icy, but still quite soft mud and the puddles weren't frozen. I got to the field before sunrise, but could have done with being there about 10 minutes earlier as the sky got less orange as the sun got nearer to the horizon.

I took a few shots of the sunrise, but they're not that good really. There weren't any clouds in the sky and nothing interesting in the foreground (just the frost covered field). After the sun had risen a bit I walked a bit further up the path at the side of the field, towards Harborough and there was a tree with leaves falling off it and lying on the ground. The leaves looked quite nice lit up by the low warm sun, so I took some photos of that I think they came out reasonably well. It was nice just standing there and listening to all the leaves falling down from the trees.

Looking at the photos with the tree in it, if I zoom in a lot to look at the sun, it looks like that might make quite a nice photo. So if I wake up early again and the conditions are similar to this morning I might go out with the 70-300 lens and try taking a photo like the zoomed in section.

After that I walked back down the path alongside the field in the direction of Lubenham and took a 360° pano. Unfortunately it seems my Aputure (yes, spelt like that) remote shutter release cable is broken, to make it work I had to stretch it out as far as I could (so I had to stand a bit away from the camera).

I came back home and had breakfast with Ben, then started work processing the images. I spent the rest of the morning processing the images and checking my email & hotukdeals while I waiting for images to process/save.

After lunch I worked on the 360° pano, and that took all afternoon. It was a 5 bracketed exposures image, and when I processed it I didn't like the exposure fusion results, so I had to process it again, using the default exposure fusion settings and it came out much better. It took ages to process each time, and then the PSB file took quite a while to open/save. While I was waiting I checked dpreview.

In the evening after dinner me, Ben and Mac watched the first episode of Lost, then Autumn watch. After that I submitted the photos of sunrise with the tree in them to the critique group on Flickr to see which one people thought was best and if they thought they were too dark or could suggest improvements to make. I also checked my email and hotukdeals again.

Breakfast: Orange marmalade and Lemon marmalade toast sandwich; orange juice.
Lunch: Vegetable cup o' soup; 2 x slices of toast (to dip in the soup); satsuma; piece of chocolate cereal cake; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Noodles; pasta; 4x chicken nuggets. Pudding was 2x pieces of chocolate cereal cake. Coffee.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Frosty morning and getting closer to getting mysqli working

I kept waking up this morning, but then I would go back to sleep because it was still dark. On about the fourth time I woke up I thought I better check the time since I thought it must be time to get up by now, but it was only 5.30am so I went back to sleep again. The next time I woke up it was 6.30am and it was starting to get light outside so I got up. It was frosty but not misty.

By the time I'd had my shower and breakfast it was 7.30am, and the sun had already been up for a while, sunrise was at 6.53am. So it probably would have been better to get up at 5.30am so I could catch the sunrise. Since the sun had already been up for a while I didn't bother going to take photos of the sunrise and frosty fields, but instead went into the back garden and took some macros of frosty leaves and grass.

After that I did a japanese lesson and got granny breakfast. The sky had completely clouded over by about 9.30am, the sky was clearer earlier.

I checked my email and had received some replies from evohosting, who said that the mysqli Prepared Statements script works okay on another server so can they move my site there. Before replying to them I did some more checking on the version of MySQL needed to work with the mysqli extension for PHP, since it seems that the MySQL installation must be the thing that isn't working with prepared statements through mysqli.

The MySQL version installed on the server is 4.1.22, and the mysqli extension for PHP should work with MySQL version 4.1 and above. However, it seems that despite all the information given out in the manual and the MySQL manual and other sites, the mysqli extension for PHP does not work with mysql version 4.1. It actually needs MySQL version 4.1.3.

After finishing checking my emails it was lunch time. After lunch I checked HotUKdeals, then did another japanese lesson. It rained a bit. I checked the canon lens forum on dpreview and then processed/sorted the frosty macro pics I took this morning and also a few macros I took yesterday.

It's actually snowing now! Though it's not settling :(.

I uploaded some of the frosty macros I took this morning to the weekly dpreview macro thread. One of the images I had resized for web using Juza's technique of oversharpening the fullsize image and then downrezzing. The other images just had the default ACR sharpening applied on RAW conversion, and then downrezzed. The one using Juza's technique looked a lot better to me, so after posting the pics to dpreview, I re-downsized the otherpics using Juza's technique (actually I didn't follow his technique properly and I'm sure even better results could be had if following it properly). The ones using Juza's technique all looked a lot better than the originals to me. Then I uploaded them to Flickr and joined the BBC Autumnwatch group and added the photos to that.

I read a few threads in the Nikkor lens group on Flickr, then it was dinner time. After dinner I watched Battlestar Trashlactica with Mac, it was the last episode of season 3 was and was actually quite good! Then I checked my email and had received a reply from evohosting to say they had moved my site to a new server which the mysqli prepared statement example worked on. After that watched Autumn watch, then checked panoguide, hen went to bed.

Breakfast: Orange marmalade toast sandwich; orange juice.
Lunch: Breaded ham with mustard sandwich; clementine; Gold bar; cup o' tea; Roses.
Afternoon snack: Cappuchino; malted milk; choc chip cookie.
Dinner: Slice of cheese and tomato pizza; slice of pepperoni pizza; peas; sweetcorn; deep fried potato; deep fried mashed potato; lemon flavoured couscous. Pudding was 1 ¼ coconut tarts with evaporated milk. Coffee.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Watching MacGyver

I woke up this morning about 6.30am, but was too sleepy to get up then so I went back to sleep and got up at 7am when my alarm woke me up. After breakfast I backed up my Pictures, then went in the garden to see if there were any insects to photograph, but the only thing I saw was a cranefly flying away. It was very cold so I came back inside and hoovered my bedroom.

Then I went on my comp, and Peerguardian still worked, which was good. I checked my email. I did a japanese lesson, then checked my email again. I checked Deviant art, Flickr, Red Bubble and Photography Blog, and uploaded some pics to them apart from Photography Blog, which said my account has reached its storage limit.

After that I checked the dpreview canon lens forum. We had lunch quite early at 12pm, then I checked my email again. I checked Andy Rouse's blog, Moose News Blog and Luminous Landscape. I checked HotUKDeals, and then went in the garden to take some more macros but there weren't really any insects around, I only saw about 3 flies, 2 of which flew away when I got near them and another one that flew off after I had taken 2 pics of it. I probably would have gone out on a walk this afternoon but Clare and Brian were both out so I had to stay in.

I spent the rest of the afternoon watching MacGyver.

After dinner I finished watching an episode of MacGyver, then watched part of an episode of Trashlactica with Mac. I watched Autumn Watch, then finished watching Trashlactica.

Breakfast: Orange marmalade toast sandwich; orange juice.
Lunch: Cheese on toast; ½ ham with mustard sandwich; satsuma; small fruit scone with butter; Rocky; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Minced lamb; Dumpling; Carrots; Roast Parsnips; Green Beans; Gravy. Puddin was peach slices with custard and home-made Oat and raisin biscuit. Home-made Oat and raisin biscuit; Coffee; Piece of Sainsbury's chocolate caramel; Roses.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Macroing and getting peerguardian to work

The clocks went back last night, so got an extra hour's sleep. It was raining this morning, but it stopped before we had to go to Church so we didn't get wet. I wore my rabbit fur Ushanka as I thought it would be cold and windy like it was when it was raining and like it has been the rest of the week, but actually it wasn't very windy and wasn't very cold either.

Before Church and after church I played on De Blob. After dinner I went on the pinternet a bit and did a japanese lesson. Then I went in the garden and took some macros of a grasshopper that had climbed up on the wooden trellis a bit, a couple of craneflies and a flea beetle. There weren't many clouds in the sky by about 4.30pm, so I didn't think the sunset would be up to much, but actually it was very nice, a yellowy orange horizon blending into purple sky higher up.

After tea I watched a couple of episodes of Trashlactica, which lived up to its name. Then I went on my comp and found that the latest windows updates I'd installed had broken peerguardian, so I did some googling but didn't find any solutions that worked. So I uninstalled the windows updates I'd installed today 1 by 1 (which involves restarting the PC after each uninstallation) until it worked again. I think the update that breaks peerguardian is KB956841, although I'll need to restart my PC again to be sure that it's working properly and not just a fluke.

When I'd got peerguardian working I processed/sorted the pics I took today and added a few of the pics the weekly dpreview macro thread.

Breakfast: Orange marmalade toast sandwich; orange juice.
After church snack: Home-made oat cookie; coffee.
Dinner: Lemon flavoured Couscous; 2x Bacon rashers; mixed veg. For pudding I had a slice of mandarin flan again. Coffee; Roses.
Tea: Chicken Tikka sandwich spread sandwich; mandarin; small fruit scone with butter; Rocky; cup o' tea.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

mysqli still not working

When I woke up this morning the sky was covered in a thin layer of cloud and it was lit up orange by the sunrise, looked very nice. After breakfast I went in the garden to see if I could find any inactive flies to photograph. It was very cold, so I put my gloves on, but couldn't operate the camera very well with them on so I took them off. I didn't find any insects other than a shieldbug and a crane fly.

I took hold of the leaf the shieldbug was on so I could use John K's technique, but the shieldbug obviously wasn't holding on to the leaf very well as it just fell off into the soil below. I picked it up along with a dead leaf and some soil it was on and took a few quick snaps, then it hid under the dead leaf. I got a nice green leaf for it because I thought it might want to have a drink, but it just hid under that, so I left it be.

Then I took some photos of the cranefly, which was in the long grass around the pond. I copied the pics from yesterday and this morning to my comp and generated JPEGs. I checked my email, and then that mysqli was working on my website, but it still wasn't so I sent another message to evohosting. I sorted all the pics out and copied most of them to My Pictures, except a few that I wanted to try taking the same pics again as the ones I took weren't that good but I liked the concept.

I received a letter yesterday from Alliance & Pester to say that I need to pay £500 a month into my current account or else they'll charge me £5 a month. Alternatively I can downgrade to a standard (instead of Premier) current account. So I got out my Hi Save bank details and logged onto their website (yay, it's still working) and transferred £500 to my A&L current account. Then I'll just need to transfer the £500 back to the Hi Save account when it arrives in the A&L current account. I'll need to do this every month though, which is slightly annoying, but not as annoying as not earning any interest or paying £5 a month for my account. I setup email reminders to move the money to my A&L account and then another reminder a few days later to move the money back to the HiSave account.

I read the Sony Alpha A900 review, then it was lunch time. After lunch I caught up on the dpreview canon lens forums and read some photography articles on

After dinner I finished watching Dune with Mac (we started watching it yesterday evening), then carried on reading the articles on while listening to Buckethead. I did a japanese lesson.

The weather was overcast all day, very windy and it rained a bit.

Breakfast: Orange marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Chicken Tikka sandwich spread sandwich; packet of Chilli flavour Doritos; mandarin; slice of Jamaica ginger cake; Rocky; cup o' tea.
Dinner: 2x sausages; mashed potato; baked beans. Pudding was Mandarin flan. Coffee.
Supper: Hot chocolate; Double choc chip Fairtrade cookie.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Geotagging and renaming images from walks on Wednesday

This morning went on the pinternet and checked my spleenmail. I got a phonecall from Alliance & Pester to say my credit card because there had been some suspicious transactions on it, a £1 itunes US purchase and then some o2 phone credit, neither of which I had purchased. So my card is cancelled and they'll send me a new one. This is the 2nd time this has happened in the last few months. I like to think I'm quite careful with my card/bank details, so I don't know how the details are being obtained.

I went in the garden and there were quite a few flies around (looked like dung flies), so I thought I might as well try and take some photos of them. But when I brought my camera down to the garden they'd all gone. I did manage to find a couple more, but they both flew off when I got near them. Maybe in the short time it took me to get the camera it had warmed up enough for them to become active? It was about 11.30am, so was getting warmer (although still quite cold and windy).

I took a few pics of grass and stuff, then came back inside and checked my spleenmail again. I checked that mysqli was working properly on my website since evohosting were meant to fix it on 22nd October, but it still wasn't working, so I let them know.

After lunch I checked my email again and had received a reply from evohosting saying they had trouble with some other servers on Wednesday, and so couldn't do the work, but would be doing it tonight instead. At least that means they didn't do the work but still not get it working.

I geotagged all the photos from the 2 walks on Wednesday, and while they were being processed caught up on HotUKdeals (had nearly 50 pages of deal to go through, and that was just a few days worth!) Then added tags to all the pics from the afternoon walk so I would know that I used a polariser on them. Really I should have done that before sorting/processing them as I could have done all the pics in one go rather than having to go through all the different folders and add tags indivdually.

I started renaming all the JPEGs and folders from the 2 walks, then had dinner, and finished renaming them after dinner. Some of the filenames were too long, so I googled to see if there was anything I could do about that, but all I could find was that the max filename length is 255 chars, and it seems OSX and Linux have the same limitations.

I moved the folders to my Pictures, then did a backup. After that I helped Ben do some lego, then checked my email again.

Breakfast: Orange marmalade toast sandwich; orange juice.
Lunch: Cheddar cheese sandwich; cherry tomatoes; a few beef flavour crisps; satsuma; slice of Jamaica ginger cake; Rocky; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Breaded Fish with spinach and Feta cheese; peas; potatoes; fish cake. Pudding was chocolate sponge with chocolate custard. Coffee; Roses.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Photo processing and headaching

Today just processed/sorted the pics from yesterday's walks. I also had a headache all day until about 5.30pm.

I also got outbid for a Canon 100mm/2.8 macro lens from the canon outlet shop on ebay. The winning bid was about £305 + P&P - they're only £330 brand new. Still, I would probably rather have one from the Canon outlet (assuming it comes with box & instructions etc.) since it presumably would have been tested as part of the refurb process and so should be working properly, wheras you may get a dud lens when buying new. Canon outlet lenses come with a 1yr guarantee as well, so the same as a new lens really, maybe why they nearly cost the same as a new lens?

Unfortunately it's been very windy this past week (especially today) so all the leaves are being blown off the trees before or as they turn into their nice Autumn colours.

Breakfast: Orange marmalade toast sandwich; orange juice.
Lunch: German ham with mustard sandwich; 2x ibuprofen; cherry tomatoes; milk choc chip chewey cereal bar; Chocolate Wacko; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Southern Fried chicken; peas; sweetcorn; chips; chili relish. Pudding was swiss roll with custard and sliced banana. Coffee; Roses; Malted milk; bits of choc chip digestive.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


This morning went on a walk to Lubenham, then along Laughton Road until I got to the canal. By the time I got there it was after 11am so I just went back home the same way so I could get back home in time for lunch at 12.30pm.

Then after lunch I copied the pics that I took and the gps tracklog to my PC, then went on a walk with Rad. HFM has said it would be rainy in the afternoon, and although it was cloudy (lots of large textured clouds, not overcast) it didn't rain. Although we were only out walking around 2pm-3.30pm, the sun (when it caught a gap in the clouds) was quite nice, warm and yellow like late afternoon sun.

When we got home I copied all the pics to my comp and the gps tracklog, and then checked my spleenmail while the pics were copying and then making JPEGs.

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening processing the pics from the walk in the morning, although I've only got a very small proportion of them processed so far. Most of them I took with the fisheye, and some of them need de-fishing because the horizon is too bowed. But often when the pic is defished and then cropped to a full image, it will cut off the edges of trees that were nicely within the borders of the fish image.

Breakfast: Orange marmalade toast sandwich; orange juice.
Lunch: Cream of chicken soup; 2 x slices of bread maker made bread; piece of Tiramisu; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Ham quiche; potatoes; green beans. Pudding was a slice of Farmhouse fruitcake with custard. Coffee. Roses.
Supper: Clementine; hot orange (drink).

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Updating yesterday's blog post with more info and pics

This morning went on the internet, updating yesterday's blog because I couldn't be bothered to put much detail in it last night because I was sleepy and wanted to go to bed. First I updated it by adding details on the different self standing monopods. Then I wanted to add details on the fisheye portrait flash setups. I wanted to upload the relevant pics to Flickr so I could link to them from the blog entry and also have them on Flickr. But first I thought I should upload one of the pics to deviantart that Mac suggested.

So I went on deviantart a bit and caught up on the last few days daily deviations. One of the DDs was a really good splash photo, and they had put a link to their blog in the description, so I visited their blog and read all their posts. Unfortunately all their posts were about what they were doing rather than how they do it, so it wasn't that useful, but they are a really good photographer so it was nice looking at all their great images including potraits, landscapes and macros.

After all that I finally uploaded the pic to deviantart, I would thumbnail link to it here but it seems deviant art won't let me, it just says

On the Web

  • Not available for this deviation

After lunch I uploaded some fisheye potrait flash pics to Flickr. I wanted to go on my email to see what the correct name for the small inflatable softbox is, so I could add it to the tags and photo description on Flickr. But when I went on the MSN website I started reading A Decade of Internet Superstars: Where Are They Now? and watching/listening/reading the videos/soundclips/websites linked to in the articles. Partway through doing that Clare asked if I could take Ben out on a walk shortly so he could get some exercise.

So I rebuilt my fisheye portrait flash setup for outdoor use and went up the hill on the way to Lubenham and took a few photos. I found that:
  • The setup is not suitable for close-ups of flowers etc. as the flash is too far away from the lens and so not enough light gets to the subject.
  • If Ben was standing in sunlight, then the sunlight is still the main light source and the flash/camera can cast nasty shadows on him. To fix this, try to move in front of the sun so you're blocking the sunlight from falling on his face.
  • The flash on the side of the face that is towards the sun should have the least power (as otherwise that side of the face will be too bright).
  • On the camera LCD the pics often looked quite dark (especially the landscape not lit by the flash), but on my PC they look fine.
When we got back from the walk I finished reading and checking the linked items on A Decade of Internet Superstars: Where Are They Now?. After reading/watching/listening to all that (the one red paperclip website took the longest time to read), I started writing this blog entry before I forgot what I'd done so far today.

I got into my email and searched for dealextreme to bring up the emails from them, but none of them actually say what I'd ordered, just to login to dealextreme for order tracking. So I tried to login to my account at dealextreme, but their site seems to be down. I did search on dealextreme for 'inflatable' earlier, but that didn't come up with the item I'd bought from them. Then I remembered that my spreadsheet of all the photography gear I own/want would have the title of the product copied off the dealextreme website on it. So I opened that up and apparently it's just called 'Air Inflated Camera Flash Diffuser'. I googled for this, and the dealextreme page is coming up in the results (obviously won't load though since their website is down) and also an ebay page selling 'Flash Diffuser Softbox for Sunpak Sigma Metz Vivitar', so I think I might as well call it 'Inflatable softbox' in my Flickr description.

After tagging up the photos on Flickr it was dinner time. After dinner I googled about using the PC sync socket and onboard flash, and found a thread a saying that it doesn't work on the D300 but replies seemed to imply that it did work on the D200. So I double checked that it doesn't work on my D200, then signed up to and added a reply there to see if anyone would tell me how to get it to work on a D200.

Then I added the fisheye potrait flash pics I'd uploaded to Flickr to yesterday's blog post. I caught up on dpreview canon lens forum posts, moosenewsblog and Andy Rouse's blog. After that I did a japanese lesson, but it had quite a few new words and I can't remember them so I think I'll have to do it again tomorrow.

Breakfast: Orange marmalade toast sandwich; orange juice.
Lunch: 2x slices of bread maker made bread; mature cheddar cheese sandwich with bread maker made bread; satsuma; piece of Tiramisu; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Meatballs; pasta; mixed veg. Pudding was apple pie wit custard. Coffee; Roses.
Supper: Orange marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Self standing Monopods & fisheye portrait flash setups

This morning I went on the internet, catching up on my emails and dpreview since I haven't checked them the last couple of days. I also had to go to Spar and buy some white bread since we didn't have any and Clare and Brian were both out all day until 4pm.

After lunch I did some japanese learning and went on the internet a bit more, mainly researching on monopods with legs so they can stand up by themselves like a tripod. I found 4 different options:
  • Manfrotto 678 Monopod Universal Folding Base (ca. £30) + Manfrotto 679, 680, or 681 monopod (ca. £30-£50). This appears to be the same as the Manfrotto 682B Self Standing Monopod (see below), except that you can choose which monopod you want, and get a cheaper one to lower the cost a bit.
  • Manfrotto 682B Self Standing Monopod (ca. £80). Quite expensive, and reports I read said that the legs rattle around and are quite noisy when folded up inside the monopod. A couple of people also said that mud and grit can get in the space where the folded up legs are stored and make it very difficult to get them out.
  • TrekPod (ca. £70). Looks to me like it should be more stable than the Manfrotto and Giottos offerings, but reading reports about it, it didn't sound very stable. There is currently an ebay auction for one, where they say they are selling it because their new camera is too heavy for it, so I don't think it would be able to cope with a Pano head and DSLR. A couple of Amazon reviews also said that the magnetic system it uses to attach the ball head to the stick isn't very secure and their cameras fell off.
    One of the reviews said that the legs close together to make the bottom of the monopod, and the rubber on the feet wears off very quickly when using it as a walking stick (which it's designed to be used as). Due to it's design as a walking stick rather than a monopod, it's smallest length is also quite long, so not suitable for clipping on to the side of your bag, which is what I'd want to do.
  • Giottos P-Pod (ca. £70). Looks to be the most flexible, you can add the legs to the top of the monopod and then lean it over for a low tripod support for macros. It comes with a built in ball head, for some this may be useful but I think I'd probably rather just mount my own heads direct to the stick.
With all of them I have no idea how stable they would actually be for using as a tripod and taking 360° panos with a pano head and DSLR.

After dinner I went on de Blob, went on the pinternet a bit more, watched the Gadget show and took a couple more pictures of Ben with the fisheye to test flash setups.

I found that when using the onboard flash the camera's PC connection won't trigger a flash. I also tried mounting a hotshoe to PC adaptor in the hotshoe, but that doesn't work either when the pop-up flash is up. So for outdoors shots I would need to use a shoe mounted SB800 and another SB800 connected together with a PC sync cord. But inside I can use the onboard pop up flash with CLS to trigger a SB800. Then I can use my other SB800 placed somewhere within the room bouncing off the ceiling or wall to light up the room if needs be.

Indoors setup:

Fisheye portrait flash setup for indoors
Originally uploaded by djeyewater

Example pic:

Sad Ben
Originally uploaded by djeyewater

Outdoors setup:

Fisheye portrait flash setup for outdoors
Originally uploaded by djeyewater

Example pics:

2 hats Ben 2
Originally uploaded by djeyewater

2 hats Ben 1
Originally uploaded by djeyewater

Breakfast: Pecan and Maple syrup crunch cereal with cornflakes; orange juice.
Lunch: German ham with mustard sandwich; a few Beef (tasted more like Paprika) flavour crisps; apple; mince pie; cup o' tea.
Dinner: 2 x Tortillas; Fried beef mince with peppers and mexican flavouring stuff; Rice. Pudding was: ice cream; tinned pear half; strawberry sauce; toffee sauce; chocolate sauce; 2x wafers. Coffee.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

De Blobbing

This morning played on de Blob/watched Ben play on de Blob a bit, then went to Church. After Church played on de Blob/watched Ben play on de Blob a bit more.

After dinner watched Ben play on de Blob a bit more, then me, Ben and Mac finished watching Superman. It's quite a weird film, it has pretty good special effects for its' age. The bits set in Kansas are good, showing off the landscape nicely. The disaster bits are also very well done. But the plot is pretty stupid, Lex Luther somehow just knows loads of stuff about superman, like that he's vulnerable to kryptonite. Superman flying round the world to turn back time is also silly, and when he's done it Lois comes back alive and her car gets out of the crack in the earth, but somehow the crack in the earth doesn't come back.

After finishing watching that I had a headache so I went to bed. I got up in time for tea, then after tea I watched Ben play on de Blob a bit more. Then we had a quick 2 player paint match on de Blob, then 3 player 12 track mario kart.

I tried taking some more fisheye photos of Ben to try and get a good flash setup for fisheye portraits. But after a while Ben went and watched a film with Mac so I couldn't take any more pics, so I'll have to do some more tests with him tomorrow. I sorted the pics I taken recently and moved them from 'Needs Sorting' to 'Pictures'.

Then I checked Hot UK deals (had about 2 days worth of new deals to go through) and then went to bed.

Breakfast: Pecan and Maple crunch cereal; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Nasi Goreng; noodles. Pudding was 4x Profiteroles with chocolate sauce. Coffee; Roses.
Tea: ½ scotch egg; mature cheddar cheese sandwich with garden salad; mince pie; cup o' tea.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Fisheye photoing

Some funny videos I've watched recently:
  • How is Babby formed?

  • Blinky Bill opening català
  • inspector gadget opening català - the bloke singing sounds weird
  • las tortugas ninja opening catalan (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
After watching those videos I went on the pinternet for a while. Re-named and moved the pics I took yesterday, then backed up my pictures. I watched a load of videos about Canon lenses on the canon japan website. Next I tried taking some photos with a piece of A4 paper rubber banded to the flash to act as a large bounce card. I wanted to see if it would give the nice bounce effect you get when bouncing flash off the ceiling, except it would also be useable outdoors and in places with high ceilings. Here's the results:
  • Flash aimed at the ladder, no bounce. You can see the shadow is quite harsh, but the flash needs a lot less power (a good few stops) than when it's bounced.
  • Flash aimed at about 60° upwards, with A4 paper acting as a large bounce card. Shadow is softer and not as dark, but still visible.
  • Flash aimed at about 75° with small flash's built in bounce card up. Shadow still visible, but only just.
Probably I should do some reading on strobist or something to find out about getting nice flash outdoors.

After that de Blob arrived in the post for the Wii, so me, Ben and Maccy played on that for a bit. Clare wanted to go out somewhere and take lunch with us, but me and Ben didn't want to eat a picnic out and Mac said he didn't want to go out without me and Ben, so we ate lunch at home. Then after lunch Clare said she didn't want to go out any more.

Ben played on De Blob a bit more, then I got my fisheye lens to try and take a picture of Granny when she was asleep (or pretending to be asleep) but then she woke up before I could. So I took photos of Ben and Mac instead. I found that using just the onboard flash, just one side of their head would be lit. So I got my Wimberley Macro bracket and put an SB800 on that in remote mode, so it was placed on the other side of the lens opposite the onboard flash. I found that that was too powerful, even at 1/128 power, so I put a diffuser in it with some folded up tissue paper and that toned it down to a reasonable level. The lens was set at f/3.5.

I carried on taking pics (indoors), but always the face would be lit okay but the rest of the image would be dark. So after a while I placed another SB800 in remote mode and about ¼ power, pointing at the ceiing to bounce, on the stack of DVDs on the CD shelf in Mac's room. This worked quite well, and exposed the rest of the room nicely although the wall and ceiling around where the flash were were blown out.

Clare said Ben had to go on a walk to get some exercise, so me and Mac went on a walk with him, along the road to Church, and then up the alley to the field, across the field to the track, along the track a little way, then back down the side of the field (I never knew a footpath went down there before). I took my fisheye potrait setup with me, to see how well it worked outdoors. First of all, I had to increase the shutter speed to 1/250s and then since that's the max sync speed of the camera I had to decrease the aperture to f/8 to get a reasonable exposure where the sky wasn't blown out. I then had to remove the tissue paper and increase the flash power to compensate for the decrease in aperture.

It was quite cloudy. I found that looking towards the sun, a large part of the sky would be blown out. Looking away from the sun (when it was out) you could easily see my shadow in the shots. So looking at right angles to the sun should be best.

When the sun was out, exposures were quite good, but when the sun went in, I would need to drop the shutter speed to about 1/40s and this would make the ground still quite dark compared to when it was sunny, and also blow out the sky a lot more. It also introduced motion blur (sometimes wanted, sometimes not).

Sometimes (outside) the SB800 didn't fire (not surprising since it's receptor wasn't in the line-of-sight of the onboard flash). So it would probably be better to connect it to the camera with a PC cable than use it in remote mode.

After we got home I started to process the images, and I found that in all of the flashes seem to have made some 'hot' points on the face. Shadows in some shots were also quite harsh. So tomorrow I will need to test diffusion to see what can be done (I'm thinking inflatable softbox on the SB800 and Puffer on the onboard flash).

After dinner I processed a few more of the fisheye shots, then me, Mac and Ben watched Superman. After we'd watched half of it Ben had to go to bed so we stopped watching it and I finished processing the fisheye pics.

I forgot to put in yesterday's post, the 400/2.8 IS lens I was looking at on ebay ended up at £2,850, much more than I was willing to pay. Still quite a bit cheaper than the cheapest one curently on ebay (£4200 new from HK). It seems that it was a scam anyway, as the seller now has some negative feedback saying 'This is a scam!!! - Asked me to pay through MoneyGram - I will not be proceeding'.

Breakfast: Strawberry jam toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Slice of breadmaker-made bread; Fabulous Bakin' Boys Lemon iced cupcake; Waver (like a dark chocolate Montana) choc bic; cup o' tea.
Afternoon snack: Pack of Chilli Heatwave flavour Doritos; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Toad in the hole; potato; peas; sweetcorn; carrots; roast parsnip; mustard; gravy. Pudding was a piece of Tiramisu. Coffee.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Possible pack full of gear to use in Japan

This morning went on the pinternet, checked my spleenmail and dpreview. Did a bit more japanese learning (actually just re-did the lesson from yesterday by accident). Jon went out to Leicester in the morning, but I couldn't go out as I had to stay in and look afetr granny again.

I had a bit of a think about what stuff I'd want to take on holiday with me, and wanted to go out on a walk this afternoon, so I tried packing all the stuff I'd probably take with me to see how heavy it would be.

Bag packed full of photo stuff
Originally uploaded by djeyewater

Bag packed full of photo stuff
Originally uploaded by djeyewater

The above photos were taken with my 450d + 18-55IS + MT-24EX, the flashes mount on the focusing ring, so to (manually) focus you have to turn the flash mount!

At lunch I ate a Wacko bar, which are like Fox's Rockys, but they're endorsed by Michael Jackson (hence the name). Here's some pics of them:
After lunch I went on a walk to Lubenham, then towards the canal. Going up the track from Lubenham to the fields I went past the house that was covered in red Ivy when I did this walk last week, but now nearly all the leaves had been blown off and it was just covered in stalks.

I stopped in the field to the right of the track to take a pano of the fields full of black plastic wrapped haybales. For some reason I decided to use my tripod & pano head for the pano. Because one leg of the tripod had to go down in a small ditch on the other side of the fence, this meant the panohead wasn't levelled, so the shots are all at an angle, so lots of the top and bottom of the final image will have to be cropped out (one side of the pano will be much higher up than the other side). I don't know why I decided to use the panohead and tripod since I was using a 50mm lens so I could have just hand-held it and parallax wouldn't have been much of a problem.

I carried on and came to the field with the grasshoppers/crickets in it, and tried taking some photos of them with a reversed 50mm and onboard flash and milk bottle diffuser. It didn't work very well, focusing with the reversed lens was quite hard, and the flash was quite harsh and also took ages to recycle. I think also the flash duration might be quite long, causing blur. I did have an SB800 in the bag, but didn't have anything to make it direct the flash down towards the subject, so I didn't try it.

After that I came to the field with dandelions by the path, and although there were a few flies on them, I didn't see any butterflies like I did last time. I went up to the canal and took a couple of pics of the trees reflecting in the river by the thin footbridge, then I went back down to the field and walked along the edge parallel to the canal and then up to the canal at the other end of the field. Then along the canal and home the usual way.

I was wearing a sweater until I got to Lubenham, when I took it off because I got too hot. I found that when I was wearing the sweater, the bag and tripod didn't feel too heavy, but when I took the sweater off you could feel the weight of them a lot more. I carried the tripod so that it was over my left shoulder, while the bag strap goes over my right shoulder, which spread the weight a lot more evenly than carrying the tripod on my right shoulder.

I was only out walking (and stopping to take photos) for about 3 hours, but I was still quite worn out when I got home. If I take all the stuff out with me when I go on holiday, then I will need to be carrying it for a whole day.

When I got home I copied, sorted and started processing the photos.

After dinner I did some more photo editing, then finished watching National Treasure with Mac and Ben, then watched the latest Office (US) episode with Mac. After that I did some more photo editing.

So I didn't even get to do a new Japanese lesson today.

Breakfast: Strawberry jam toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Mature cheddar cheese with garden salad sandwich; banana; satsuma; Fabulous Bakin' boys Lemon cake; Wacko chocolate bar; cup o' tea.
Dinner: 2x fishcakes; baked beans; mashed potato. Pudding was apple pie with custard and a small bit of thick cream.

Thursday, 16 October 2008


This morning went on the pinternet and then did some Japanese learning. It was nice weather (although cold and windy) but I couldn't go out as I had to look after granny.

After lunch I did a bit more japanese learning and went on the pinternet a bit more. Jinny came back from his driving test and passed it. Then I went in the garden and tried to take some macros, but although there were a few flies and grasshoppers around I could never find them in the viewfinder (at 4x), so didn't get many photos and those that I did get tended not to be very good. I couldn't go out in the afternoon either as Clare and Brian were both out for the afternoon as well.

Then Clare and Brian were out for dinner so I had to make dinner. After dinner I went on the pinternet a bit more, then me, Mac and Ben watched half of National Treasure. It's quite good 'cos Nick Cage parodies himself and shouts 'burned!'.

Then Ben had to go to bed so I went on the pinternet a bit more checking into stuff for going to Japan because Maccy wants to go there soon. I think I will need to buy a cheap laptop and then I can take my 1TB backup drive and copy my pics to the backup drive through the laptop every day. Then I can format the memory card(s) and use them again the next day. I am thinking of getting an EEE PC since they are small and relatively cheap. I may also buy another couple of sandisk CF cards, since my 8GB Datawrite card often seems to corrupt images.

I checked into plugging in UK devices in Japan, and it seems they use 100V over there, and so long as your power brick/device is rated for 100V, then all you will need is a plug adapter. I checked my external harddrive power brick, and that's rated rated for 100-240V, so that should be okay. I need to find out what the EEE PC power brick is rated for.

I also checked what the monopod with legs is that Hans Nyberg uses, and found out it's a Manfrotto 682B. I thought it would be a good idea to get one of these since it can be used in crowded places/places where tripods aren't allowed, but can also be used like a tripod and should be a lot more stable than a monopod. I had a look on ebay and they seem to be really expensive - about £70!!!

There's also a mint 400mm/2.8 IS lens on ebay at the moment with about 1 day left and currently less than £1500. If I bought it for that much (unlikely as I expect a lot of bids will come in tomorrow) then I would have hardly any money left in my current account. I checked my A&L online banking and I only have a few quid in my other accounts with them.

I had a look at what I probably have in my other accounts, I think I might have some money in Ice Save, but that's probably not accessible since they went bust recently. So I think I would have to get some money out of my Bristol & West/Britannia account if I did buy that lens. The seller of the new lens has 0 feedback, so I expect it will go for quite cheap, and the payment is protected by paypal so there shouldn't be any problems if they are dodgy (although I expect getting your money back through paypal takes a long time and is hard work).

I also need to have a look at travel insurance since it's probably needed if you have to go to hospital and definitely needed to cover anything happening to my camera stuff.

Breakfast: Lemon marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Mature cheddar cheese with garden salad sandwich; packet of smoky bacon flavour crisps; banana; slice of iced Madeira layer cake; Wacko chocolate bar; cup o' tea; Roses.
Dinner: Slice of Pepperoni deep pan pizza; slice of cheese and tomato deep pan pizza; chips; peas. Pudding was a Peach and Passion fruit creamy yoghurt. Coffee; Roses.
Supper: Choc chip digestive; cup o' tea.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


This morning I went on the pinternet and also read a bit of the November 08 Shutterbug Magazine which arrived in my Zinio reader today.

I also heard back from Fotolia on the photos I submitted to them yesterday.

The following were rejected because the quality (which includes focus and composition) wasn't good enough:
  • Clothes hanging on washing line
  • Packet of pills with 4 popped out
  • Bottle of pills (Top down view Black BG)
  • Bottle of pills (Top down view White BG)
The following were rejected because they didn't think it was the type of photos their customers would be looking for:
  • Paint peeling off brown tiles (old cinema in Brighton)
  • Energy saving bulb in lampshade (reflection on black plastic sheet)
The following were rejected because they already have lots of similar images:
  • Pine panel (Ikea shelf)
  • worn wood panels (top of stool)
The following were accepted:
  • £10 note origami crane
  • Cappuchino/Mocca Froth
  • Bottle of pills spilling out
  • Pills spread out on black background
  • Pills/capsules on a lightbox
  • Falling pills
  • Coloured glues in glass jar
  • Coloured glues
  • Glitter glues
  • House Roofs
I am kind of surprised at the top down views of the bottle of pills being rejected since I thought those images were alright. So far I have submitted 24 images to Fotolia, of which 13 have been accepted, so about 50% acceptance rate at the moment. I have only sold 1 image so far, which was a large size and netted me about 50p.

Stockxpert have approved all the images I submitted yesterday apart from about 4 which are still awaiting approval. I haven't sold any images through them yet.

It's a plain grey sky today and rainy, similar weather to yesterday except it didn't rain so much yesterday.

After lunch I went on the pinternet a bit more and watched Vantage Point, which was reasonably good.

After dinner I watched 2 episodes of Prison break and an episode of The Office (US).

Breakfast: Lemon marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Ham with garden style salad sandwich; banana; slice of iced madeira layer cake; Wacko bar.
Dinner: Chicken and bacon pie; carrots; broccoli; potato. Pudding was golden syrup sponge with golden syrup and custard. Coffee.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Watching english films

This morning I went on the pinternet, then finished tagging some microstock photos, then uploaded them to Fotolia and stockxpert.

After lunch I had a headache so I went to bed for a bit, then I watched Son of Rambow.

After dinner I went on the pinternet a bit then watched The Bank Job, which was quite good.

Breakfast: Lemon marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Ibuprofen; Genoa style ham sandwich; satsuma; slice of Iced Madeira layer cake; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Pasta; cheese sauce; flavoured rice; mixed veg; chicken dippers. Pudding was Strawberry cheesecake. Coffee; Roses.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Taking more photos of pills

It was quite cloudy today and misty in the morning, although it did clear up a bit later in the afternoon.

In the morning I mainly went on the pinternet and got granny her breakfast. I also did a bit more taking photos of pills.

In the afternoon I took more photos of pills.

In the evening I tagged and described some microstock photos, I'll have to upload them tomorrow.

Breakfast: ½ bowl of chocolate squares cereal; Lemon marmalade toast; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Genoa style ham with garden salad sandwich; Banana; Pear; Slice of iced madeira layer cake; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Peas; Sweetcorn; Ham quiche; grated cheese; mashed potato. Pudding was 2x American style chocolate brownies & a couple of slices of apple.
Supper: Choc chip digestive; shortcake biscuit; Hot chocolate.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Taking photos of pills

Well yesterday HFM said it would be rainy and stormy today, but actually it was very nice weather.

In the morning went to church, then after lunch Me, Mac and Ben watched a WC Fields film.

For the afternoon and most of the evening I tried to take some microstock photos of pills/capsules. Later in the evening I watched Hellboy with Mac, which was a good film.

Breakfast: Chocolate squares cereal; cup o' tea.
After church snack: Choc chip digestive; shortbread finger; coffee.
Dinner: Chicken curry; rice; mixed veg; sultanas. Pudding was: ice cream; sliced banana; strawberry sauce; chocolate sauce. Coffee. Roses.
Tea: Mature cheddar cheese with garden salad sandwich; clementine; scone with butter, strawberry jam and thick cream; Rocky; cup o' tea.
Supper: Cup o' tea; choc chip digestive; shortcake biscuit.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Looking for dragonflies

This morning I wanted to go out on a walk towards Lubenham, then go up to the canal and see if I could find any dragonflies. I thought there might be some around the small pond near the footpath from Lubenham to the canal. But Clare and Brian both went out so I had to stay home and look after granny. But luckily Clare came back and said she'd stay in until Brian got back, so I could go out.

It was nice weather, blue skies with a bit of cloud, although there was a bit of wind making exposure merges harder. I took a 360° pano at the top of the hill on the way to Lubenham, but unfortunately I forgot to bring my shutter release cable so I had to press the shutter with my hand, which meant the pics wouldn't align accurately for exposure merging.

When I got to Lubenham I went up the first road to the right, and took a photo of the trees going over the track:
Obviously, this shot had to be exposure merged, and it also had to be taken at quite high ISO (400) to get a reasonable shutter speed for hand-holding. For some reason I thought that if I wanted to use the tripod to take the photo, I would have to change the head from the Nodal Ninja to the Markins M10, obviously I wouldn't have needed to though since it's a potrait composition, so I took it handheld.

At the top of the track I turned right and went along the edge of the field, and spotted a view I thought would make a nice photo in the afternoon. In the morning the sun was shining on it from the wrong direction and making it all hazy. I took a photo to remind to go back there in the afternoon sometime:
I carried on and after a couple of fields came to the field with the pond in it. The field had lines of mown grass, and I heard some grasshoppers in the long grass at the edge of the field. I had a look and they weren't meadow grasshoppers. I took a couple of pics for ID purposes, but didn't get any close-ups or anything, they kept jumping about all the time and hiding in the long grass, so were too difficult to photograph properly.

The pond was nearly all in shadow, and is also quite small. I didn't see any dragonflies/mayflies etc. around. Further on in the next field there were quite a few dandelions and there were Small Tortoiseshell butterflies, what looked like Eristalis sp. hoverflies, and other insects drinking from the flowers.I took a few quick pics of a small Tortoiseshell on a dandelion, but didn't bother trying to get any good pics since I didn't have much macro stuff with me (could have used 18-70 + close-up filter + onboard flash).

I carried on up to the canal, then walked back along the canal towards Harborough. There was an old couple walking quite slowly that I got stuck behind.
Then I turned off the canal down the jitty and carried on home.

When I got home it was about 11.30am, so I copied all the pics to my comp and the gps file (I checked that tracklog recording was on when I switched it on and it was). I started sorting/processing the pics.

After lunch I finished processing the pics from the walk, and that took all afternoon.

After dinner I went on the pinternet, checking dpreview, hotukdeals and my email. Finished watching 'Boys from the blackstuff', then went to bed.

Breakfast: Lemon marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Mature Cheddar cheese with garden salad sandwich; packet of Chilli flavour Doritos; slice of cherry madeira cake; Rocky; cup o' tea.
Dinner: 2x sausages; baked beans; mashed potato; brown sauce. Pudding was strawberry & vanilla yoghurt. Coffee.
Supper: Lemon marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Editing photos from yesterday's walk

This morning I installed the desktop Zinio e-book reader, but it's not very good really - if you zoom in to a view a page at 100% then try to move about the page by click and dragging, it's really slow and jumpy and maxes out one of the CPU cores. Also the search function isn't very good and you can't copy/paste text.

I did some searching to see if you can convert the .zno files to .pdf, but the only info I could find was to print the pages one by one to PDF, then merge all your pdfs into one file. I did export one set of pages to PDF, but they're exported as image files, so not great quality and you can't search the text, so I didn't bother converting to PDF since it would take a long time to do a whole magazine and I may well not actually read the magazine anyway (or if I did read it it would probably be sometime in the future when it's out of date).

Clare and Brian both went out today so I had to stay in and look after granny. I went on the pinternet a bit, checked deviantart, dpreview, redbubble, and my email. Also read a bit of the Layers magazine. It's a bit weird as it has photos with the titles of articles, and the photos have nothing to do with the article.

In the afternoon and evening I processed the pics from the walk yesterday. The weather was quite nice today, mainly blue skies with a bit of cloud.

Breakfast: Blood Orange Marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Mature Cheddar Cheese sandwich; ½ honey sandwich; pear; caramel Rocky; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Pasta; Sudo Carbonara sauce; mixed veg; bacon; black pepper. Pudding was a slice of cherry madeira cake. Coffee.
Supper: Shortcake biscuit; shortbread finger; cup o' tea.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Went on a walk and evohosting admit they're wrong

It was a lovely day today, nice blue skies, sunny and warm and not very windy, which is weird since normally whenever Rad wants to go on a walk it's grey and cloudy. So me and Rad went on a walk in the morning, where we went there weren't many Autumnal trees, but we saw quite a lot by the side of the roads on the way there. After the walk we went to Asda and got back home shortly after 1pm.

After lunch I copied my pics to my comp, but rather annoyingly my GPS hadn't recorded a tracklog, even though the batteries hadn't run out or anything. I think that each time I switch it on at a start of a walk I'll have to go in the setting and check that record tracklog is set to on since it seems to keeps switching itself to off. I sorted all the pics from the walk, but didn't process any of the panos or ones that needed exposure merging. I had a headache so I went to bed for the rest of the afternoon.

In the evening after dinner I checked my spleenmail and had received a reply from evohosting finally admitting that the server wasn't configured properly for using prepared statements with mysqli (they actually said that mysqli wasn't installed, but I don't know how that can be since I can connect to, write to, and delete from the database using mysqli, just can't bind parameters, and also phpinfo() shows mysqli extension as being installed). They said I could either have my site moved to another server next week, or wait until 22nd October when they are doing some work on the server my site is currently on, and then they'll fix it then. Since there's no urgency and by next week it'll be much nearer the 22nd anyway I said I'd wait until the 22nd. I also asked them to turn off magic_quotes_gpc on my virtual host when they do the work.

I checked PDO is working correctly before I replied to them, in case that needed enabling as well, but that seems to work okay. So now I have just over a week with no set work. I was planning on working on my websites over 'winter' (i.e. now until spring) unless the weather was good and then I might go out. I don't want to do any more work on my site until I can test it on the server otherwise I may end up writing a load of useless code that doesn't work on the server, or make a mistake somewhere that becomes hard to find because I've written so much code without testing it. Of course I do test my code regularly on my PC, but my Apache isn't setup the same way as the server and I'm on windows (case insensitive) compared to Linux (case sensitive) on the server.

I got my first sale today on Fotolia, which was quick, it was of the medicine bottle and pills. I'm guessing I won't get another sale for quite a while. Maybe during the next week I could try taking some more microstock photos.

I checked hotukdeals, and there was a good freebie offer for free online magazines, they had stuff magazines like 'Tea', 'Elevator World', 'Rap Fanatic', 'Wichita' and 'American Cowboy'. I got 'shutterbug' and 'Layers'. Unfortunately you have to use proprietary software to view the magazine, and you only seem to be able to print out one page at a time (I was hoping I could just print the magazine to PDF as I would prefer the magazine in PDF format than having to use some software or their website that might go out of date/ not be available in the future). Still, can't complain for something that's free.

I got an email from birdforums, and it had a link to a website about going on holiday to Tirol, might be a nice place to visit in the future, and could listen to the 'Wir grüßen dich, Tirol (Greetings to Tyrol)' song there.

Watched another episode of 'Boys from the blackstuff', then went to bed.

Breakfast: Blood orange marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
After walk snack: Coffee; Dark chocolate digestive; hobnob.
Lunch: Mature cheddar cheese sandwich; banana; white grapes; caramel rocky; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Pepperoni deep pan pizza; peas; chips. Pudding was yoghurt. Coffee.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Waiting for evohosting

This morning I went on the pinternet and was also in contact with evohosting a bit more about binding parameters using prepared statements with mysqli not working.

phpinfo on the server says mysqli extension is installed and it can connect to the database, retrieve records and write to the database all using mysqli. What the problem is is that the parameters are not being bound, an INSERT statement will just insert a blank row.

Evohosting are not being too helpful so far and just saying that the server is setup properly and working okay. I have uploaded the example script for bind_param from the PHP manual: to the server, and that doesn't work either (just inserts a blank row and then obviously can't delete the row since it can't find the data). So I am pretty sure the problem is with the server, although I'm not sure how you would disable/enable bind_param from working properly.

I also went in the garden and planted some grass Clare bought a small heather plant. I tried to take some photos of grasshoppers but they kept hopping away and although I did see a few flies (not many though) they all flew away.

I checked how well my investments are doing and found that both my gold investments of ca. £3000 ea. have increased by about £300 ea. but my silver and commodities investments of ca. £1000 ea. have decreased by about £300 ea. So I haven't made or lost anything. If I hadn't bought gold when I did and instead bought it when it dropped to $700/oz a few weeks ago I could have made a lot more though. The price of gold is actually less at the moment that what I bought it at, but the value of the pound has dropped a lot, hence the increase in value.

After lunch I went on the pinternet a bit more then did some japanese learning. Then I checked Fotolia I found the following images had been declined because they already have lots of similar photos:
  • Clouds and trees reflected in canal
  • Backlit leaf texture
  • Autumn Leaf (Silo)
Whilst the following were accepted:
  • 3 £20 notes in a jar (Silo)
  • Fly with green background
  • Capsules and medicine bottle (Silo)
Fotolia (like all the other stock agencies) have a page saying what type of images they're looking for: so I will have a read of that. Unfortunately it seems most stock agencies are looking for images featuring people, and when you don't know any models/people willing to model and sign a model release it's not possible to take people stock photos.

I also just checked stockxpert, and I have been accepted there now. Both agencies seem to have been quite quick to get back to me, since I only submitted the images/application at the weekend, and it's now only Wednesday afternoon. Neither of the sites email you to say you/your photos have been accepted/rejected so you have to check them yourself. Since I haven't checked either of them since I applied, they may have actually approved/rejected the applicatin/images earlier than today.

Strangely stockxpert don't seem to list the images you applied with, so I have had to upload them again. I also added some more Twycross Zoo photos to deviantart, redbubble and Flickr. I went on the pinternet a bit more. Evohosting tried to prove that mysqli prepared statements work properly on their server by showing me a script that showed that mysqli prepared statements weren't working properly on their server. I watched the second episode of 'Boys from the black stuff', the first episode 'The Muscle Market' isn't on the DVD so I'll probably never see it.

After dinner I watched some more episodes of 'Boys from the black stuff'.

Breakfast: Blood orange marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: 2x cheese on toast; white grapes; ½ banana; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Chicken and ham pie; mushrooms; mixed veg; parsnips; potatoes. Pudding was sponge with peach slices and custard. Coffee.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Watching TV serieses

I woke up quite late this morning, about 9am so it was 10am by the time I'd finished breakfast. For the rest of the morning I went on the pinternet while I waited for Granny to get up and have breakfast.

After lunch I watched a couple of episodes of Prison Break season 4. Whilst the first episode is still quite good, they throw away all the plot built up over season 3, which is a bit weird and stupid. I also received some replies on websqueeze about my mysqli prepared statements problems, and it seems like my code is probably okay, so I raised a ticket with evohosting to see if they were doing something to stop prepared statements from working.

I went in the garden for a couple of minutes, and although it was raining slightly, there were quite a few flies about (mainly hiding in places where they wouldn't get much rain on them) and I also saw a grasshopper. It might be that they've come out because it's not so cold today. I watched a couple more episodes of Prison break and then went on the pinternet.

After dinner I watched an episode of Tattletstar Galactica with Mac, finished watching Charlie and the chocolate factory - oh it's actually called 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory', then watched another episode of Trashlactica with Mac. Went on the pinternet for a bit, then went to bed.

Breakfast: Blood orange marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Bishop's extra strong cheddar cheese sandwich; apple; white grapes; caramel rocky; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Beef burger with cheese and chili sauce in a bun. Pudding was cold chocolate blancmange with sliced banana in it; Chocolate Digestive. Coffee; Roses.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Trying to get a prepared statement to work

This morning I woke up about 6am. After breakfast I went on the pinternet, then after the sun had risen I saw it was misty and the sun was shining through the mist with a nice orange glow (I had to go outside and look down the street towards the sun to see this). So I went on a walk to the nearby field full of black plastic wrapped haybales.

The sun rose at about 7.15am, and I went out about 7.50am. I think I would have been better going out at 7.15am as likely the sky would have been more orange than it was when I went out and the sun was already reasonably high in the sky. Going out much later than I did wouldn't have been very good as the sun would have had time to melt the frost. There was no wind, and I took my tripod and carried it by the strap, which worked well. Unfortunately I didn't bring a remote shutter release, pano head or fisheye lens, all of which would have been useful (both together and seperately).

I had to bracket 9EV to get the full range in. I hope the images will align okay for exposure fusion/HDR etc processing, although since I didn't have a remote shutter release cable there may be some mis-alignment between the bracketed images.

I got home just after 8.30am, then sorted and processed the pictures. Mainly I processed them in PTGUI using exposure fusion (even though they weren't panos) and then edited them in PS. Even though the images didn't line up exactly due to not using a shutter release cable, the exposure fusion still did a good job. When I had finished processing them I backed up my pics and hoovered my room. When I put my tripod away I found that my tripod carrying strap had scratched some paint off my Markins ball head. It won't affect the ball head's performance at all, but will knock off quite a bit of it's value should I want to sell it. So that was annoying and I'll have to try and be careful not to let that happen next time I use it.

After lunch I finished backing up. For some cheesun when I started the comp up with my external internal (or should that be internal external?) backup drive it gave a message saying sumat like 'cannae boot from device jimmy, change the disc or reset'. I checked the BIOS and the external internal drive wasn't set as a boot device at all. So I had to start up the PC with just the power plugged into the external internal drive, then when windows loaded I plugged in the SATA cable and it worked okay. Weird since it has always worked fine from startup previously. The best way to do it would be to plug in the power and SATA cable while the PC is switched on, but I don't really want to do that and risk damaging the drive/PC/getting electrocuted.

When I had got that backed up okay I went in the garden and saw a couple of grasshoppers, so I guess it's still not too cold for them yet. The Knot grass moth catterpillar was still around eating the lemon balm as well. In the boggy patch next to the pond there were bits of thick red stuff sticking up through the surface at various points. I asked Clare if she knew what it was, and she pulled up some Greater Willowherb that was growing in the boggy patch, which had similar coloured roots near the surface and thick white roots beneath the surface, so it's probably Greater Willowherb.

I found some more of the flat moss that probably grows on the roof in the garden, so I brought that in and took some photos of it. I already had some old stuff I had taken photos of, but that was all covered in bits of stuff from being in my room for ages. Then I sorted/processed those pics, and opened my post, which was my fake Gorillapod SLR Zoom I've been waiting a few months for from dealextreme. (They originally sent me just a normal Gorillapod rip-off rather than the SLR Zoom version, and it took them ages to sort out the problem with their supplier who apparently had supplied them with the wrong items, then it also takes quite a while for the post to get here from them. They did let me keep the fake normal Gorillapod as well though, which is just as well since postage to return it back to them in Hong Kong would've been more than it cost.)

By lunch time the sky was covered with grey monotone cloud, so what started as a very nice day quickly changed. I'm glad I didn't go out on a walk, not many of the trees seem to be in autumn colours yet either. I expect the wind and rain the last few days have blown off any leaves that were going coloured anyway.

I read about the human eye and how it relates to photography in terms of resolution, f-stop dynamic range etc. After that I did some work on my website. For some cheesum I couldn't login today, even though it worked yesterday. I found the problem was that I had an SQL statement which said 'SELECT Key.. blah blah blah' and of course 'Key' is a reserved word and needed backticks round it to make the query work. I don't know how it worked yesterday since I'm pretty sure I didn't change the login script at all.

I spent all the rest of the afternoon and quite a bit of the evening trying to work out why my prepared statement for the login script didn't work, but couldn't work out why so posted it as a question on thewebsqueeze. At 8pm I watched the Gadget Show, then went on the pinternet for about an hour.

Breakfast: Blood orange marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Smoked ham with mustard and crunchy salad sandwich; white grapes; slice of coffee cake; cup o' tea.
Dinner: Omlette with mushrooms and ham; peas; sliced carrots; chili sauce; oven chips. Pudding was hot chocolate blancmange with sliced banana cooked in it and biscuit crumbs on top. Coffee.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Getting wet

This morning when we went to church it was raining and me and Mac got soaked. It was quite cold and windy as well. Really I should've worn a longer coat e.g. my Soviet coat and a hat e.g. a Ushanka. When we came back home there was a massive puddle on the junction between Welland Park Road and Northampton road, and cars were going through it splashing water everywhere. I thought it would be funny if someone emptied a bottle of washing up liquid into the puddle, then each time a car went through it it would get frothier and frothier. The cars would get washed with soapy dirty water as well as a bonus.

After dinner I started processing/sorting some pics. Then I watched 'The Proposition' with Mac.

After tea I finished sorting the pics and uploaded the same stock pics I applied to istock/stockxpert with to fotolia. Fotolia is a bit different in that you don't have to upload some pics for them to check before you are accepted - you can just upload straight away. Their upload system is a bit weird though, it seems to fill the title of picture with the description information from the image's IPTC data. Then when you submit the photo it will tell you that you need to fill in your full name, even though there's no field for your name anywhere. What the problem actually is, is that your title is too long since it's actually the description. So you have to give the image a short description, and copy the description to a field called 'Notes to editor' or sumat similar.

Later in the evening started watching Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (not the Tim Burton version) with Mac and Ben, but Ben had to go to bed after a bit so then I watched a couple of episodes of Battlestar Trashlactica with Mac.

Breakfast: Blood orange marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
After church snack: Dark chocolate digestive; hob-nob; coffee.
Dinner: Chicken flavour rice; chicken nuggets. Pudding was bakewell tart with custard. Coffee.
Tea: ½ beetroot sandwich; ½ cheddar cheese sandwich; white grapes; slice of home-made coffee cake; cup o' tea.
Supper: cup o' tea; slice of home-made coffee cake.

Saturday, 4 October 2008


After breakfast I went on the pinternet and listened to a bluegrass cover album of Metalica songs. After that I went in the garden to test out shooting macros with a stopped down reversed lens. I found that focusing was quite difficult, as (comparitively) lots of the image looks in focus, also the viewfinder was quite dark, although useable. This was on an overcast day though, if it was sunny or I had focus lamps on the camera it would probably be much better.

I stopped the pop-up flash from popping up too much by putting an elastic band round it and the bottom of the flash bit that sticks out above the lens mount. The flash was quite harsh, possibly may be able to be improved with some diffusion. The main problem I had was it was just too cold outside and froze my hands. September is normally (well the last 6 or 7 years anyway) one of the hottest months, but this year it seems to have gone by quickly with just a lot of cloud and overcast skies, just like the rest of the summer. It's annoying how when I was at work it was always boiling hot during the summer, but the last 2 summers when I've not been working it's been cloudy and rainy and cool. I expect if I get a job again the weather in the summer will go back to being hot and sunny.

After that I went on the pinternet and took some macros of a bit of rock and a conker.

In the afternoon and evening I did some work on my website, which turned out to be a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.

In the evening I also watched Kung Fu Hustle with Mac, which was good, kind of like a non-stop action live action cartoon.

Breakfast: Blood orange marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: Pack of Chili flavour Doritos; Ham with mustard and crunchy salad sandwich; clementine; bits of home-made swiss roll sponge edge; chocolate digestive bar; cup o' tea; Roses.
Dinner: 2x Posh delee sausages; mashed potato; baked beans. Pudding was Chocolate whip with pear half. Coffee; Roses.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Processing pics

Yesterday evening I was going to re-submit my application to istock, but when I went to do it they already had the last 3 images I submitted as part of submission, and they wanted 3 more images, so I couldn't just re-submit 2 new photos and one of the ones I submitted before.

So this morning after breakfast I went in the garden to take some macros, unfortunately it was quite cold, and there weren't many insects around. There were some flies warming themselves up on the wall, where the sun was shining, but if you got near to them so your shadow fell on them, they would fly away. The only other place in the garden I could find any insects was on/near the Lemon balm. There was the Knot grass moth catterpillar, but it kept getting out of the way and hiding whenever I got the camera near it (the flash heads would push against the plant and I think this disturbed it). Then on one of the leaves of the plant that grows with the Lemonbalm, there was a fly on that, but it was quite hard to photograph due to being reasonably high up and lots of plants in front of it.

After taking some photos and keep checking around the garden to see if anything had turned up elsewhere, I went back inside and processed the photos. I think it must be getting too cold outside for insects now, it's quite cold for humans as well, my hands got pretty cold and I had to wear a jumper and my thick coat.

The photos of the fly I'd taken were quite dark, so I had a look through my other fly photos and found a couple there I thought might be better. After lunch I processed the one I thought best to remove dust spots and then uploaded the 3 pics (leaf texture, clouds reflecting in canal and fly) to istock.

Trying to search for information on what type of fly it might be I came across these weird flies that have their eyes on stalks. Then that lead me to a site that had a document about ageing. Although I didn't understand all the technical terms used, it was still quite interesting, and that lead me to reading about Mitochondrial DNA.

I spent quite a bit of the afternoon playing on de blob for the PC, which was a free download, although I didn't know how to complete the level. Also went on the pinternet a bit.

In the evening I went on the pinternet a bit more, in the weekly macro thread there was some discussion on using reversed lenses. This was of interest to me since I previously used reversed lenses before moving to the 450d - MP-E - MT-24EX setup, and if I could sell part of that setup and get similar results with much cheaper reversed lenses it would be very useful.

The points made in the thread were that with canon lenses that don't feature an aperture ring, what you can do is mount the lens normally and set the aperture you want to use. Then while holding down the DOF preview button, remove the lens. The lens will now have it's aperture set to whatever you set it as. Then reverse mount the lens.

The disadvantage is that the lens is permanently stopped down, making the viewfinder quite dark, although people had posted some good pics using this technique, so it must not be too much of a problem. The main problem I had with using reversed lenses was that you had to stop down the lens just as you're going to take the shot, and this would cause a bit of judder, and throw off your composition and focus. So if the lens is already stopped down, it should elimnate this problem.

I tried reverse mounting my Miranda 24mm OM mount lens on my D200 and stuck a bit of plastic from inside my Freecom external Hard drive case next to the aperture lever to keep the aperture closed down. Surprisingly, I could see well enough with my light on to focus. In the shadows though (it was still light enough to see easily, just not receiving direct light from the light) it was too dark to focus. The other thing I found was that with the pop-up flash pushed down slightly, it would light the subject properly, but with the pop-up flash extended normally the light would be thrown beyond the subject and the subject under-exposed. If the weather is okay tomorrow I will have to try it outside and see how well it works in real life.

I received an email back from istock to say I had been rejected, so I obviously need to work on improving my photography more. Though it's sad to be rejected, it's good how quick they get back to you to let you know. I applied to stockxpert with the same pics, so it'll be interesting to see if I get in there. Then I watched 'O brother, where art thou', which was pretty good.

Breakfast: Blood orange marmalade toast sandwich; cup o' tea.
Lunch: ½ Beetroot sandwich; Strong white cheddar cheese with crunchy salad sandwich; Nectarine; Chocolate digestive bar; cup o' tea; Roses.
Dinner: 3x fish cakes; potato; peas. Pudding was Slice of Apple tart with custard and cream; small coconut tart with custard and cream. Coffee; Roses.