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When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade

28 May 2020 9:17AM   Views : 442 Unique : 296


In England, most of lockdown has, in some senses, been easy. The weatherís been the way that I remember when I was at primary school. OK, itís been frustrating that we canít (prime ministerial advisors apart) travel to our favourite locations, but sunshine is cheerful, even seen through a window.

The airís been exceptionally clean, as well. My road has been quiet (normally, a weekday morning will see standing traffic in both directions before nine, and 20mph is a good speed to average along it, despite the limit being 30.

Iíve had time to go back into my darkroom every week, and start building up my ability to print again. Itís not that you forget, any more than you forget how to ride a bicycle, but you do lose conditioning, the memory in your fingers of how to do things.

I've also been playing with my old 85mm f/1.4 lens on its A-Mount to E-Mount adaptor (for most things, a newer, lighter f/1.8 lens works better, and offers far better AF without the adaptor - but not quite as much differential focus...)


Iíve also been working at my ability to write every day, on a topic that isnít necessarily part of a longer-term plan, often illustrating with pictures Iíve taken that morning. As an internal auditor, part of my work was talking to people, asking questions: the other parts were seeking and collating documentary records, evidence, and putting all of this together in reports. There was a brief to work to: sitting down with a blank page Ė as I have done today Ė is scary.

So todayís the day Iím writing about nothing, and turning it into something. Seeking out something that may provide a hanger for what you could do.

So Ė the weather, the traffic, pictures Iíve taken standing in the middle of the road outside: and now thereís an idea.

When I pick up my camera after writing and posting, Iíll be looking for something that Iíve not photographed a lot to shoot Ė maybe a bookshelf, or perhaps an ornament (I have one in mind: bought from a show at Wodbridge Art Club nine or years ago. I christened it the Little Brown Wodget, and it will possibly feature in my Saturday shadows pictureÖ)

What are you going to shoot today?


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cats_123 Avatar
cats_123 Plus
19 5.2k 31 Northern Ireland
28 May 2020 9:33AM
First time I've dropped in..and it's a pleasure to get away from the media hype about everything and read something that's about nothing (in the nicest possible way) and about everything.

I've started carrying my camera everywhere, on the just in case basis, and am surprised at how much you can notice when you really look. The reduction in noise levels is my greatest win from this dreadful period.

Stay safe 😁

dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
28 May 2020 9:55AM
Hi, Jeff, and thanks for dropping in. Consider yourself offered a virtual cuppa and biscuits!

I've started doing a short walk round the block: on an 'ordinary' day, it would be a recipe for lungs full of clart, but currently, it provides a leg-stretch and a bit of activity. (Didn't mention 'steps' there, did I?)

Yes - slow life gives you much better value, I think. Working on it...
altitude50 Avatar
altitude50 19 24.1k United Kingdom
28 May 2020 11:21AM
During my 12 weeks self isolation I have taken up water drop photography as I mentioned elsewhere. I also have had to take my car out for a drive weekly (after the first month) to clear the cobwebs and make sure it starts, no possibility of charging it at home. I didn't stop anywhere for the first few times.
I took my compact camera out with me after about 10 weeks confinement, I was quite surprised at how busy the roads were. I stopped at a familiar place that looks out across an inlet of the sea and took some photos of seagulls, then used the panorama effect on the view which I do not use very often and which had a reasonably good result.
So yesterday I woke up early and went back at 6.30 am (the roads were still very busy!) with my Sony a7 and swept the scene with the pano effect, the result was better but the tide was out, so next time I will be doing the same at high tide and rotating at different speeds. The Sony stitches the images together incredibly well with no hint of a join. Gimmicky yes, but satisfying.
woolybill1 Avatar
woolybill1 Plus
17 39 79 United Kingdom
28 May 2020 11:38AM
Morning, John,

Today I have photographed a gatepost without a gate, a rusty inspection cover in a local street, a footpath at the edge of a field and (with my phone) a treetrunk, felled and left in situ many years ago. I've also heard my first jet airliner since lockdown began, remarkable because the western approach to Newcastle airport follows the Tyne valley, less than a mile from here. The first significant aural disturbance for ten weeks, therefore; the lonely Cessna at the week-end was no louder than a bee and far less threatening! The peaceful life has been very welcome, as has the clear air.
Despite the wide variety of lenses in my kit I have only once gone out with anything other than my 14mm Panasonic on the EM10 MkII, a combination so nearly weightless that I forgive its limitation of f2.5. Of course it means I have to make pictures rather than simply take them. Besides, it's all I can fit in my smallest camera bag!

I've read every word of your blog (when I've remembered Blush) and thank you for your efforts. I had vaguely considered writing something myself but have been unbelievably busy, an experience that I'm certain is far from unique!

Your last comment to Jeff rather sums me up, I suppose.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
28 May 2020 2:45PM
Thank you, Gentlemen!

Richard, I've occasionally used the panoramic ability of my Sony bodies (though the Alpha 7R III lacks the facility: things are getting serious!), and have found only three drawbacks: a tendency to crop top and bottom, especially if your sweep wavers up and down a bit; overall small size, comparatively, and a lack of a RAW file.

My guess is that the stitch function in Photoshop is now monumentally effective, leaving Sony to get on with making the basic files even better...

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