Beyond Red

I managed to get out with the infra red camera on Saturday morning. The sun was shining when I left the house and I managed to follow the clear skies around until I found a suitable location.

I’m still learning how to use the camera and the differences that infra red sensitivity requires in the taking process. For example, flare in the lens is far more pronounced as the anti-reflection coatings on the lens glass don’t work so well for longer wavelengths of light. It’s hard to judge the correct exposure when reviewing the image on the display. The Fuji S3 has a small LCD. I’ve been shooting with .jpgs but it would be easier to shoot RAW and have more latitude for adjustment on the PC. The camera can’t adjust the colour temperature enough to compensate for the infra red filter so all colour adjustments must be made at home.

Nevertheless, I’m pleased with the results so far.

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone. I hope it brings you everything you want, and a few pleasant surprises too.

When I was in college I experimented. Yes, I’m sorry to ruin your impression of me as an innocent. I tried new things, sought out new chemicals and saw what effects they had. One of the things I tried was infra red film. It was hard to handle, difficult to process and the results were hit or miss to start with. After college, Ilford brought out a black and white film (SFX) which had an extended red sensitivity and had to be handled carefully, like IR film. I got on better with that and as black and white was my chosen medium most of the time, I got used to it’s odd reproduction of colours and high contrast.

Digital photography tends to steer away from infra red because the sensors are, ironically, too sensitive to it. So manufacturers slap and IR blocking filter in front of the sensor which removes most of it. (Some cameras have less effective IR blocking filters and can be used with the appropriate infra red transmission filter in front of the lens).

I’d read reviews of digital cameras converted to infra red by the removal of their sensor filter and by recalibration of the processors to take account of new exposure and focussing parameters. I had even thought about getting my D300 converted. Then I saw the advert for a Fuji S3 pro, ready converted, at an excellent price. Temptation got the better of me and I wrote a pleading letter to Father Christmas. He was a little late, understandable given his workload for the weekend, but I finally got my infra red camera on Friday.

Of course, s*d’s law says that it shall be grey and grim and wet when you have a new(ish) camera to play with. I’ve only just been able to test drive it today. There’s quite a learning curve as the camera delivers files that initially look as if I’ve used a deep red filter. Which I have, of course, as that is what an infra red transmission filter is. But a little careful manipulation in Photoshop and I’m getting some interesting results. Time will refine them but I thought I’d share some with you now.

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In the interests of healthy living and a general need to remove excess body fat, I joined the gym in work. It’s a fantastic resource filled with the latest bits of equipment, housed in a recent build addition to the campus and, more importantly, it was purpose built from the beginning to be a gym, rather than converted as an afterthought.

Last week I went for the induction. It’s a health and safety requirement. After the induction, I realised why. My whistle stop tour included 7 machines that all looked the same but which had subtle differences. Each had a seat but some faced forwards, some faced back and two were sideways on. There were levers and handles and keys and buttons and displays and lights and heart rate monitors, most of which emitted a beep of some sort. The only thing I felt confident about being able to operate was the door to get in.

Last night, I had my first proper session. The instructor was very helpful and offered to create a personalised programme based on my requirements (body fat loss and preparation for the trek). In the mean time, he unleashed me onto the machines. I decided to start off slowly and build my confidence. He suggested using the step machine and I finally figured out how to make it work. I managed 1000 steps/330m ascent/15 minutes (I haven’t decided how to measure my performance yet). Then I went on to the exercise bike. How hard can an exercise be?

I couldn’t even adjust the seat. I tried all the levers I could find and then looked for ones I couldn’t see. I pulled, pushed and twisted. Then I did it again. I was conscious of all the gym professionals and how they’d pick me out as a gym virgin straight away. Eventually, the instructor saw my plight and helped me out. The secret is to jump on the seat while pulling the lever and hope the spring isn’t strong enough to launch me across the room. I managed 15 minutes/3 miles on the bike.

But, despite misgivings about gyms in the past, I enjoyed the experience and I can see myself going back on a regular basis.





Welcome to the future, Dave

Just a quicky to test out a post from my phone. I indulged in a gorgeous new smart phone today. I’ve resisted for a while now whilst secretly coveting them from afar.

After a delivery experience that wasn’t the best, I finally plugged into the PC (you need a PC or you can’t sync) and minutes later I was up and running.

I have to admit it’s a very stylish piece of kit. Even the packaging is gorgeous and sexy. And it works just like you expect it to.

Will I ever be able to put it down?

Sat Nav

My satellite navigation system is built into the car. I had no choice in it although its presence was one of the factors I used in deciding to buy the car. My car is German. Miss Whiplash, the voice of the sat nav, doesn’t have a German accent but only because she has learnt to hide it to avoid stereotyping.

Her voice is soothing on the surface, pleasant sounding on a long journey. She suggests a route in a kindly voice. But just like a school teacher, simmering beneath those lovely tones is the hint that should I choose not to follow her direction, Bad Things would happen. I talk to her, of course, and she tolerates my musings. But I know not to go too far.

Yesterday, I made the mistake of ignoring her preferred choice of routes to Clovelly. As punishment, she took me down ever narrowing roads until I was barely able to squeeze between the hedgerows. I think she even arranged for the open topped tour bus to be on the same stretch of road. I had company so she didn’t do anything overtly Bad.

Just in case she has access to a wireless network, I should add that I like my sat nav a lot. She is kind to me. Honest.