Saturday, March 21, 2009

Street View Celeb

Google Street View is out in the UK and what fun it is!!

My younger brother is now a Street View Celebrity, but he's not sure if he likes the idea or not.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Radio Uncompromising

I used to listen to the John Peel show.
Unfortunately he died a while ago, I still miss him.

Most of you have probably never heard of him, but I listened to his show for something like 30 years, I managed to record the last few years of his show and still enjoy listening to them.

Apart from being an incredibly nice guy, he was considered by some the most influential DJ in the history of the BBC.

He would play whatever he liked, which included a lot of stuff that would never otherwise get a chance to get on the radio, always surprising, always eclectic.

I recently found a kind of substitute, a radio show that streams over the net called Dandelion Radio. “The Internet Radio Station Inspired by John Peel. Independent. Original. Uncompromising”.

I use this stream URL in iTunes.

The same with John's shows, I cannot say I like everything that is played, some of it is pretty challenging, but if you have as deranged and confused a taste as me and you crave your “new music hit”, maybe you'll like it, give it a go!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My New Tripod

I have been yearning for a new tripod, ever since I found the old one was not sturdy enough for a DSLR.

I did a lot of research, some of it probably useful but in the end there is no substitute for actually getting your hands on something like this ...... and there lay the first problem, actually finding somewhere that keeps stuff in stock at a shop, where you can go ...... you'd think, living in London that this would be easy but even professional suppliers would have everything in their online catalogues but next to nothing in their physical shops.

In the last few months I watched different photographers use tripods in different situations, doing astonishing things with them, easily ..... they were all Gitzos, so that began to narrow the field, except Gitzo seem to have a ludicrously huge range.

I eventually found one in a shop in Tottenham Court Road, it had a broken leg, so I could not buy it but I had a chance to play.
It was one of their levelling range, there is a gimbal holding the centre column, which has a spirit level at the bottom, so you can adjust the level of the camera after setting up the legs. This interested me, I like low light panoramas.

You can do a lot with it. It's light and strong. No catches to catch my fingers. The legs are easy to use, they can lock at different angles so you don't just have to use the floor. I can place the camera anywhere from taller then me, to ground level.

I found this one, end-of-line, big discount.

So, it finally arrived. The first thing I tried was to get it really level, level enough so that when you rotate the camera, it stays level.

No way.

Maybe my eyesight is not as good as it was, maybe the spirit level is too small, maybe it's the slight nudge it gives as you clamp the gimbal, so far I have been unable to get it level enough for a panorama that did not drift.

The leveling is really useful for fine tuning your framing, but my expectations were too high regards panoramas.

So I went out on my first night shoot with it.

I was very pleased. It was a very windy night and I was doing long exposures, not a good combination but I could do what I needed and work quickly with it.

The unexpected problem was the law.

I got moved on by renta-cops from the South Bank. Later I heard Lambeth Council requires anyone using a tripod in the street to have a permit and pay by the hour, because if you use a tripod you must be (a) professional and (b) causing a potential public liability insurance issue.

Paranoia Britain, don't you love it.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Do Something About It

http://www.dosomethingaboutit.org.uk has just issued it's first vote to members, to choose the issues it will attempt to tackle in the next few months.

Their boilerplate text :

I've just cast my vote to decide DoSomethingAboutIt.org.uk's campaign priorities for the coming months. We can either wait for political parties to tell us what the next election is about, or we can take the initiative and tell them what matters to us. By logging on to www.DoSomethingAboutIt.org.uk, you can let politicians know what you want to see happen- and if they don't listen, then you can get rid of them by using DoSomethingAboutIt.org.uk to link up with thousands of other progressives across the country. Check out the website yourself, and cast your vote today!


Hopefully a worthwhile attempt at grassroots democratic lobbying.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Birthday Present

It was my 50th birthday recently, I celebrated with a party in my local pub, the Effra Tavern, friends came from all over, it was a great evening, many thanks to you all.

Two friends Gab and Mau came all the way from Amsterdam, impressive in itself . . . but they topped that by giving me the most incredible present.

They chose a load of photos from my Flickr Photostream, downloaded them all, copied all of the captions and assembled it all into a book, using blurb.com.

Mau just made it public, so you can see it for yourself or even buy a copy!

Many thanks guys, you're the best :-)