Tag Archives: purple

Spain Day 6 – Artists’ Exchange, Alcázar

Ken arranged for us to visit his artist friend Meg Robinson at her studio in the pretty little village of Alcázar today. Meg is an inspirational lady and showed us some very original work. She talked to us about her artistic process which was a revelation.

Attentive Students
Attentive Students

Meg was kind enough to give us a tasty lunch. Then we were free to wander around her amazing house and the village for an hour or so to find our pictures.

Artist's Palette
Artist’s Palette
Red Stool And Curtain
Red Stool And Curtain
Birds In The Bathroom
Birds In The Bathroom
The Candelabra
The Candelabra
Whispy Cloud In Blue
Whispy Cloud In Blue
Embossed
Embossed
Blue & Green
Blue & Green
Purple Drapes
Purple Drapes

As well as seeing plenty of colour, I also noticed the textures of The Church Door. I was surprised to find the local school abandoned and open for exploration – I wasn’t expecting to do any more urbex today!

Abandoned School Corridor
Abandoned School Corridor
I Want To Break Free
I Want To Break Free

The rest of my images can be seen here:

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM – Long-Term Review

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

I’ve had my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens since mid-2007. I bought a second hand model from the London Camera Exchange, treating myself to this fantastic piece of gear out of a  redundancy payment. They took my previous Sigma 135-400mm long zoom, and an old TTL Canon flash in part exchange. I think the final bill came to just under £1000 – which at the time was a bargain for this lens. It looks like you can still get one for about that now, so they’ve held their value extremely well.

At the time, I was attending lots of rugby matches, and taking photographs whenever I could.

Battering Ram
Battering Ram

During the winter, the matches would often finish under floodlights, so a lens with decent Image Stabilisation was essential. I was taking shots from the stands (not having access to the touchline), with the lens mounted on a small monopod, and supported on the edge of my seat. It worked reasonably well – the lens weighs in at a hefty 1.38Kg so holding that up by hand for 80 minutes would have been almost as brutal as playing a game of rugby myself!

By mid-2008, for various reasons, I was attending fewer rugby games and the lens was largely consigned to the back of a cupboard. Mainly due to its brutish weight. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it ever since. I love the quality of images I get when I bother to use it. But I hate the bulk and weight of it and use it much less frequently than I should.

Fast-forward to mid-2010 and it had another outing, this time to photograph the wonderful lavender fields, mid-harvest, in Eynesford, Kent:

Stripes Of Lavender
Stripes Of Lavender

Having reacquainted myself with its image quality, I was reminded to take it out on a shoot to the Salute For Heroes event at Glemham Hall a few weeks later. It was perfect for the flypast of the B17 during the afternoon:

B17 Flypast
B17 Flypast

And perfect for getting up close and personal with the characters, whilst remaining safely at more than a pike’s distance from the action:

Lovely Plumage
Lovely Plumage

Such a long reach means you can capture images of twitchy nervous wildlife without getting close enough to upset them. Below is a Blue Tit in may parent’s garden (taken through the kitchen window):

Blue Tit With Seeds
Blue Tit With Seeds

As you can see, it gives brilliant differential focus, isolating the subject from its background. I also found the lens very useful in a butterfly house during an outing at Tropical Wings – the butterflies would flit away as soon as I tried getting close with my 60mm macro lens – but were blissfully unaware of me stalking them from a distance with the 100-400mm:

Marbled Wings
Marbled Wings

On my crop-sensor EOS 7D the lens’ longest focal length is equivalent to a whopping 640mm – that’s nearly a telescope! Which gave me an idea… One clear cold autumnal evening I decided to have a go at photographing the moon. This is a crop from approximately 1/4 of the frame, but I was astonished at the details I managed to record (it was mounted on a sturdy tripod, using a cable release and mirror lock-up to minimise vibrations):

Once In A Blue Moon
Once In A Blue Moon

And so we come full circle back to sport and action shots. Firstly, some Point-to-Point jump racing at Mark’s Tey in February:

Rumbling Down The Hill
Rumbling Down The Hill

And white-water action at the GB Olympic Canoe Trials in Waltham Cross in April:

Stripey Canoe
Stripey Canoe

It was at this event that the lens started playing up – something felt like it was snagging when you pulled the zoom ring back towards the wide end – it would “ping” and come back easily if you just exerted a little bit of pressure. Clearly it needed looking at. But sadly I didn’t have the time to get it sorted out until a couple of weeks ago – so it sat in the cupboard sulking for 7 months!

But having paid a sizeable sum to get it repaired at Colchester Camera Repair, I vowed (yet again) to take it out and use it more! Immediately after I collected it, I took it for a sunset shoot in Brightlingsea and got some great atmospheric results:

Sunset Doggy Walkers
Sunset Doggy Walkers

As you can see, the results from the lens speak for themselves. It’s a fabulous piece of equipment for wildlife, sports and action if you have the muscles to carry it about, and a strong enough tripod to set it up on. This time, I refuse to put it back in the cupboard, for it will be out of sight, out of mind – and it could then be months before I use it again!

March ’12 Review

Purple Bokeh Flowers
Purple Bokeh Flowers

I had a few photographic opportunities during March, mainly from a week long trip back to Newcastle for Science Week. Beamish Open Air Museum was an interesting place to visit and the sun even shone for a while!

I also went to Warley Place again for Chelmsford Photowalk #39.

But that was about it, as I had a bad ear and throat infection when I came home, which curtailed my outings rather a lot. Let’s hope for better health in April…

In Search Of Pirates

After getting a bit lost in Tampa, we eventually found some Pirates at the Gasparilla festival. The colourful flags were almost pipped at the post by this for Day #1489:

Purple Heads
Purple Heads

Here are the rest of my images from the day: