The Sunday Fraggle Report~part 2

As well as taking pictures in Wardley colliery I also walked through the woods that are between the metro lines and our estate, too many pictures to post separately so here’s a gallery. It was great to see spring shoots on the plants and shrubs along the way, not so cool to see the rubbish left behind by people.

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The Sunday Fraggle report~ Part 1

Decent weather on Friday had me out and about in my neighbourhood with the Fuji in hand, and just down the road from me is Wardley Colliery, a disused coal mine opened in 1855 and closed down in 1974. It’s now a place for graffiti artists to practice their stuff, and a permanent reminder of the demise of one of the great industries of the North.

The Colliery from the path.
The Colliery from the path.

wcol-15

wcol-2

wcol-5

wcol-3

wcol-4

wcol-6

wcol-7

Whilst wandering around I came across a young chap and his paint cans, of course taking his photo would not have been OK but he let me take a picture of what he had been doing..

wcol-11

not sure what it says, but then I’m probably too old to understand. 🙂

paintshop
paintshop

wcol-9

wcol-10

wcol-12

wcol-13

wcol-17

wcol-18

wcol-15

wcol-14

laters gaters

😉

The XT1 cat report

I think I’ll have to do a separate blog for these ladies, they are such excellent subjects to practice on.  I used the fixed 35mm lens and also tried out the B&W film setting in the XT1 as a jpeg and not in lightroom, highlights were a bit bonkers considering she was in a shady room and the light was coming from the kitchen window a good way from her. Had to slide the slider right down, which isn’t so effective on a jpeg as RAW obviously. I think there are settings in the camera to clip the highlights and make a preset, but I can’t get my head around all that yet.

Storm in B&W
Storm in B&W jpeg

This afternoon my macro lens arrived. It doesn’t have brilliant reviews so another shall I shan’t I few days, the alternative is some mega expensive zeiss lens but my budget only stretched to a 2nd hand fuji60mm.  What decided me was going to the flickr site and seeing what people had done with the fuji lens, they looked OK to me so I took the plunge.

Skye's eye macro
Skye’s eye macro RAW

I can live with that.

The cats are doing just fine now, really settled in well, can’t wait to get them vaccinated next week so we can start letting them out and we can have the bliddy windows open!

laters gaters

😉

The Sunday Fraggle report~cats n kids edition

This weekend we were going to have a quiet one, not wanting to freak the cats anymore than they were, but on Saturday Carl came for a visit with his two youngest, Matty and Liv, and the cats were not phased at all, came down to see what was going on, and as Matty & Liv come from a 2 cat home, they weren’t bothered with them either. Matty & Liv are quite bonkers and funny, and I tried the XT1 out on them.

Matty & Pringles
Matty & Pringles (XT1)
Matty & more pringles :)
Matty & more pringles 🙂 (XT1)
Smiley
Smiley (XT1)
Live saying 'cheese'
Live saying ‘cheese’ (XT1)
Live having a laugh
Livvy having a laugh (XT1)
Garden footy
Garden footy (XT1)
Livvy & Grandad
Livvy & Grandad (XT1)
Matty & Grandad
Matty & Grandad (XT1)

 

Today we had Shelley and Cal over, and the cats were fine again in spite of Cal trying to get them to play with their toys, (which on the whole they have no interest in!). Cal was very excited as he isn’t used to pets, so it was a big deal for him when he got to stroke them.

Cal
Cal (XT1)
Another smiley chap
Another smiley chap (XT1)
on my way
on my way (XT1)

So a trauma free weekend, phew!

Tomorrow is our 3rd wedding anniversary, so we went out last night to Piero’s Italian and had a lush dinner.

Beef stroganoff and Gambolini Thermador
Beef stroganoff and Gambolini Thermador (Iphone6)

Then we came home and watched a movie, Transformers 4 which went on and on and though it was good in places, needed to end 1/2 hour prior to when it did!

Of course I’ve been taking some shots of the ladies

Snuggle time
Snuggle time (Iphone6)
more snuggles
more snuggles (Iphone6)

They’ve stopped hissing at each other now and are back to being pals.

So a nice weekend after the trauma of Friday.

Things I’ve learned about the XT1 today,

1)that when you import to LR5 adobe changes the colour profile, so even if you use one of the presets when shooting it gets replaced. You have to choose the colour profile you want in the ‘develop’ section of LR. Not sure if it is just for RAW files or on jpegs too, will have to try that out. Anyway I used ‘Astia soft’ for the kids portraits and garden shots. Anyway no point in choosing a film preset in camera when using adobe products for processing!

2)The face recognition thingy is brilliant!

laters gaters

😉

 

 

 

 

The Fraggle Report~XT1 and cat trauma edition

My new camera arrived yesterday at 3pm and is very pretty to look at.

XT1
XT1(Iphone6)

lots of dials and knobs to figure out, very different to what I’ve been used to with the Nikons, so a steep learning curve going on at the minute.  It feels small because my D700 was a big beast, but it also feels solid and of good quality.

first test shot
first test shot

I managed to spend an hour yesterday afternoon going through the manual so I could get it up and running, but as always camera manuals seem like gobbledegook to me, and also I was hampered by Storm.

RTFM
RTFM~ (fuji XT1 18-55mm)
Storm in a collar
Storm in a collar (fujiXT1 18-55mm

At this point, cat~ trauma 1 happened in the afternoon as Skye took exception to Storm with her collar on (it has a bell) and started hissing at her and then took off to hide somewhere. I was upstairs when this happened, so I took the damned collar off Storm and carried on with reading the manual. It got to 5pm and things were going slowly with learning it, when Storm decided it was dinner time, so off I went to feed them.  I called for Skye but she didn’t appear. I then spent 3/4 hour searching the house top to bottom and couldn’t find her anywhere, and realised she must have escaped through a window I had slightly open in the conservatory as it was 44degs in there with the sun on it. Can’t tell you how awful I felt. These cats have been indoor cats for 5 years with the previous owner, and they’ve only lived here 6 days,so I was really worried she would get lost and not find her way back.  When Phil got home I had to tell him the news and both of us were in a right state.  I printed out some flyers with our phone numbers,

Skye come home!
Skye come home! (iphone6)

and we set off around our neighbourhood searching bushes and knocking on peoples doors and giving out flyers. When we got home, despondent at not finding her, I went into the conservatory to open the window she’d gone through wider, in case she came back and needed to get in, and just as I leant over the stereo unit, in the corner of my eye I saw a little black movement. I could not believe it! Skye had got in behind the unit and was hiding behind the CD’s on a shelf. There’s no way we could have seen her, and she must have been in there for about 4 hours!  We coaxed her out and had some tickles, put some food down for her, and then we got a drink! We were so relieved. The cats are still hissing at each other, but will eventually settle down again (I hope!!). But that put paid to playing with the XT1. Trauma two happened today, after Phil went off to work this morning and I got up early~ish and went downstairs to get a cup of tea. When I went to open the living room door it wouldn’t budge. The cats had dug up the carpet trying to get upstairs and it was against the door and held in place by the weight of a B&W speaker just to the left. I was well naffed off I can tell you. I tried various methods to get the carpet back, used a variety of tools from Phils model room, but after 1/2 hr had a) hurt my hand, b)cried like a girl, and c)resigned myself to being locked upstairs without food and drink til Phil came home 8hrs later.  But then I thought to myself ‘what if Phil had been run over by a bus and I lived alone?’ and went back for another try, this time I managed to to push the carpet back, roll it under itself and then pull it through! Yay for me.

And now I could spend the day out with my XT-1,the sun was shining and regular readers know my favourite place for photography is on the coast at South Shields, so thats where I went, and the results are in. The following shots were all taken with the XT-1 with the kit lens – 18-55mm zoom and very little processing done in LR5. None of them are sharpened or have increased saturation,some of them did have tweaks and I’ll say what I did and why.

I started with the Weebles, (previous shot of them with the Nikon here )

accidental double exposure.
accidental double exposure.

This first shot I accidentally had managed to turn the dial to double exposure mode instead of single shot, so I went with it. 🙂

Weebles
Weebles

I had to reduce the exposure in LR as I hadn’t got the hang of the exposure dial and couldn’t see in the playback very well in the bright sun.

Weebles again
Weebles again
Walking the dogs
Walking the dogs

The colours are really beautifully rendered. I could see in this shot that I’d managed to catch the dog in flight with it’s ears up, so I tried a really tight crop on the people just to see if it was possible, and it is.

Flying dog
Flying dog

There’s a white highlight around the 2 people but still, not too bad I think.

The Groyne
The Groyne

Straight out of the camera. Just amazing colours.

lunch
lunch by the sea

I then moved down the coast a little to Trowell Rocks and took some more shots.

Dandelions
Dandelions
Dandelion going
Dandelion going

I used the exposure dial on the Fuji,  -EV2 but still got blown highlights but it was maybe asking a bit much.

rugged rocks
rugged rocks

The vignetting I think comes from the petal hood as this was at 18mm end of the lens.

XT1walk-14
oops the horizon’s a bit off 🙂
more dandelions
more dandelions

think this was -EV 2&1/3

landscape
landscape

I exposed for the sky and brought the shadows out in LR, the greenery was very dark but the detail was all there when I enlightened it. This was 18mm.

Rock creature
Rock creatures

No tweaks on this one, this reminded me of Mummy and baby rock creatures, but I’m possibly the only one that can make them out! 😀

Lost my direction
Lost my direction

I love finds like this, some poor little girl has lost her direction, or gone in another.

XT1walk-19

another landscape where I pulled out the shadows in LR.

and another
and another

I zoomed in a bit for that one,

XT1walk-21

and that was at 55mm.

backlighting
backlighting

The sunday challenge this week on Ipernity is ‘back lighting’ so had a go with a plant outside the Mango Beach Bar.

 

Then for my last port of call I went to Souter Lighthouse to see how red, white, blue and green fare on a sunny day.

Souter Lighthouse
Souter Lighthouse
nice car
nice car

a very nice Toyota, kinda like my Toyota, but  a different shape and colour and 4yrs younger 😀 😀

After this I went home, and as it was still sunny took a shot of my blossom tree and a couple of backlights in my garden.

blossom
blossom

 

daisy
daisy
on fire
on fire

I didn’t get to finish this last night, so continuing on…

When I got home yesterday I came to my mac to upload the photographs, and went to the camera box to get the lead to plug it in. There wasn’t one. I have always used a lead and so forgot about the SD slot in the back of the mac (duh!) and wondered how the heck I was supposed to get my pictures up. Apparently Fuji expect you to do this wirelessly, as the camera has this function, you download an app to your PC, connect the camera over the airwaves and hey presto. Except it wasn’t hey presto at all, the camera connected but wouldn’t register. I faffed on for ages but no luck.  In spite of all my research re: the XT1, not having a lead had not shown up anywhere.  My lead I used for the Nikons doesn’t fit, nor does Phil’s for his old fuji sx8000. I had a brainwave though as the port looked similar to my samsung USB connecter for the mobile phone I had, and so hey presto for real, I uploaded my shots at last.

After uploading I found out that although I set the camera to RAW shooting, I’d actually been taking fine jpegs! Grr, and then when I tried to reset to RAW, the camera wouldn’t let me, I am not sure why, and since then I’ve played around and it now seems to be set on RAW, I followed the set up procedures in a  great blog I found, details below.

The next problem was my processing software, though I had sorted this prior to purchasing the camera (research, always do your research 🙂 )was that I use a combination of Lightroom 4, and PSE11, which I’ve grown to know very well, but LR4 does not support TX1, I’m not sure about elements 11 as it was enough to know LR4 didn’t.  I had been humming and hahing about signing up for the cloud versions anyway, so I took the plunge and am using LR5 and PS CC.  Wow is photoshop different from elements, more so than I expected. That’s going to be another steep learning curve, but luckily LR5 is very similar to 4 and I’ve had no problems using it, the lovely thing is it took all my presets and catalogues over from 4 just on a click of the button.  I do have a fair few actions in elements that I’m going to have to lose, as I don’t want to jam the mac up with PSE and CC but that’s OK.

As I said before, I find camera manuals mind boggling, so I found a great blog by someone who obviously is a pro photographer and is a great resource for the XT1, if you are considering buying one I strongly advise putting the manual on your bookshelf and going to John Caz’s site, if you click through his name you’ll get there.

There is a lot yet for me to find out about the XT1, it’s supposed to great with it’s film presets in camera, and the black and white ones too look amazing from what I’ve seen on other’s sites.  Today’s struggle has been upgrading the firmware to the latest version, something I’ve never done before so a bit stressful, but I followed all the instructions at Fuji’s website HERE and only cocked up once 🙂 and got it done, the camera has survived.

So that’s the beginning of my XT1 journey.

I’ll still use the iPhone, and my polaroid of course, but I must say I’m in love with the XT1 already and looking forward to trying out all it’s features.

Iphone6 panorama
Iphone6 panorama

and for those of you who don’t live near the sea,

 

laters gater

😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Settling in quite nicely

Still awaiting my new camera but shot some quick snaps of Storm & Skye on the eye phone.

lapcat1
lapcat1
lapcat 2
lapcat 2
lapcat1 on 2nd lap
lapcat1 on 2nd lap
madcat
madcat
cutecat
cutecat

I’m so going to be a boring cat lady 🙂

The Sunday Fraggle report~pussy cat edition

Back before I started this blog, I had 2 gorgeous ginger Toms, brothers, who had sadly died earlier in that year, 2012. They were great cats, full of personality and Phil and I loved them to bits.

Herky (Hercules)
Herky (Hercules)

Herky was a big scaredy cat, a bit needy and scared of everybody he didn’t know, and most people he did know too 🙂 but was loving and affectionate with us, he used to love sitting on Phils knee to have strokey rations when Phil was trying to be on the computer.

Yoyo (Iolus)
Yoyo (Iolus)

Yoyo was a feisty little character and not scared of anything or anyone and used to pop into next doors house to see if he could get extra food and tickles, and befriended people who would walk along the path in front of our garden. At night he’d squash between us on the sofa and have ‘telly tickles’.

We were bereft when they both died within 3 months of each other, and not good deaths either, we had to have both put down.  We grieved a long time, & many tears shed.  But of late, I have been checking out our local cat rescue place, and thinking it might be cool to have cats again, but blowing hot and cold on it. Eventually I took Phil along to one of their open days as I’d seen a cat called Mozart who sounded lovely, to see if we could adopt him, but someone had already spoken for him before we arrived.  However, the lady at the place told us they needed a home for 2 cats whose owner could no longer look after them and she would send pictures of them to us to see if we were interested.  Phil got the email later that night, we looked at the photo’s and knew straight away these were going to come and live with us. I picked them up on Friday and they are beginning to settle in.

I think there will be quite a few photo’s peppering my site in future as  both these ladies are so beautiful, what do you think?

Skye
Skye

Skye is a bit needy, but not scared of anything except the hoover 🙂 and is a picky eater.

Storm
Storm

Storm is  very cool and settled in more or less straight away, sleeps on the bed in the spare room and loves her food.

They are both affectionate and love their tickles, but we’re all still in the ‘getting to know you phase’.  We’re having to keep them indoors for now as they need their vaccinations and anti-flea drops, and they have been indoor cats for the last 5 yrs, but you can tell they are itching to explore the world outside, so it’s going to be fun when they go out for the first time.

And that’s been my weekend, Phil went to the Darlington model show on his own as we didn’t want to leave them alone on their first day here, and I missed going but never mind, will be back their next year.

Anyways, here are some more photo’s of Les Girls 🙂

Skye3_edited-1

Storm1_edited-1

IMG_0425

Skye5_edited-1

laters gaters

😉

The Easter Fraggle report

It has been very nice to have a long weekend, and really nice to have the last 2 days with sunshine and blue skies.  I haven’t done a lot of photography, but on Thursday I had my lunch parked up in a country lane in Hexam, and had a little company.

Easter Bunnies
Easter Bunnies (nikon S1)

We haven’t really done much this weekend, Easter weekend is bonkers with traffic on the roads, and we like being at home anyway 🙂 but we did go and visit Shelley & Cal for a cup of tea on Saturday, and managed a trip to ASDA today 🙂

My polaroid camera came back from repair and seems to be working OK, although it’s taken a few crap shots before I got the hang of it again, still a bit hit and miss but I think I’m getting there. I’ll add some to the SX70 project up in the menu there if you are interested. But I will post a couple in the main blog as I really like them,

Blossom (sx70}
Blossom (sx70}

Thats my blossom tree in the from garden, which is just coming into flower now.

tomato soup to be
tomato soup to be (SX70)

I’m into making soup at the minute, and today have made a job lot of tomato and basil soup, lush it is too.

Got another shot of our visiting Bluetit

Mr.Bluey
Mr.Bluey (nikon S1)

I took this shot of Phil back in 2014 when he was reading the menu in a chinese restaurant, and as I’m trying to be more B&W at the moment (inspiration from Reinhold and Emanscamera) had a go at this one, I like it quite well.

Looking down (nikon S1)
Looking down (nikon S1)

My big thing this weekend has been cleaning up all my cameras and lenses, as I have decided to part exchange all my Nikon equipment that I’ve amassed over the past 5 years and tread a different path.  I’ve been thinking of it for a while, as I’ve had 2 cameras and several lenses sitting on a shelf doing nothing, and my main camera the D700 along with any lenses is really heavy to carry around all day or take on holiday broad, it hurts my shoulder after a while. I mostly use the S1 when out and about in the car at work, which I will keep, but still need something better for outings etc. No doubt when the new stuff arrives there will be a post about it.

Goodbye dear friends
Goodbye dear friends (nikon S1)

I have to say I’ve had 2nd thoughts and 3rd & 4th, but I have done my research on what I want next and am quite excited about it now. I know, it’s not the camera but the photographer which makes good or bad shots, but this is a matter of weight and shelved lenses being wasted, more than anything.

So now I must get back in to a work frame of mind, and prepare for tomorrow,

laters gaters

😉