Grr @ Luggage Handlers

Well, I’m assuming this was the result of my luggage being thrown…

 Cracked Lens Filter

This occurred sometime between me handing my luggage to First Choice at Faro airport in Portugal and getting it home after traveling to London Standard. It’s an expensive lens filter but it saved the more expensive lens from damage and the SLR still works.

Given how luggage is treated (read: thrown) by handlers this is not surprising. I did however pack within a Lowepro Compudaypack which itself was within a large sturdy case padded by clothing.

Now to find a replacement filter…

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Aww! Russian Kittens!

 Kittens

See the set on Flickr.

My First eBay-ing

So I decided that the cheap 18-55mm kit lens Canon supplies with the EOS 350D SLR should be replaced by something of a higher quality. Part of that decision came from seeing the lens on eBay selling for around £20.

I never spend anything substantial (> £30) without looking carefully at it, particularly when there’s more money at stake. I checked out the photography review sites and forums and found general agreement that the Sigma 17-70mm macro was a bargan for the £250 price (roughly).

Jessops had it in-shop for £279.99. Too much. Their on-line store had it for £259.99, in the right direction. A search of Google’s Froogle engine showed prices in the range £210-£250 common, cheapest being eBay sellers.

So after giving up bidding on one of these lenses going insanely cheap (was £110 ended up £185) I decided to buy another copy (same seller) for £191 + £10 delivery. I bought the Sunday evening (bank holiday), and it arrived the following Wednesday. That’s a quick bargain in my book.

I also bought a filter, a Hoya Pro 1D Circular Polarizer. List price: £129, paid: £34.99 plus around £10 postage. This arrived the Thursday.

I used both the following Saturday afternoon and the images turned out well. Can’t really argue, but bear in mind both seller’s had > 99% seller ratings and I paid via PayPal on my credit card. I advise anyone thinking of a purchase of any real value to take the precautions eBay recommends.

But, I approve.

Pizza Hut, Great Yarmouth (A12)

Landscapers urgently sought.

View From Pizza Hut

Aww, all Christmas-sy

It’s absurdly mild outside, but inside the decorations have us very much in season.

xmas0003.JPG

Controlling out-of-focus blur, in photos

I recently experimented a little with my Canon DSLR. I wanted to see if there was a quick and easy way of remembers, even understanding, the rules behind background blur.

You’ve seen the shots – a flower or face sharply in focus. The background is a blur. Creates a single focal point (in most cases).

Basically, the wider your aperture, the more it will blur. So, F5.6 will blur more than F16.

There is a side effect. By increasing aperture you increase the light into the film/sensor, and potentially overexpose your shot. Of course, the upside is you can then lower the ISO possibly down to 100, increasing resolution/quality.

There is another matter to consider. The length of the lens used – a telephoto will also increase blur compared to a wide-angle. So 105mm will have more blur than the same F-stop on a 50mm.

The actual “blur” is more often referred to as the areas outside of depth-of-field. For depth-of-field is the distance over which things are in focus. A photo of a garden with plants and hedges will for instance have a must high depth of field (no background blur) versus a bee within a plant. There are calculations to work all this out prior to your shot being made, personally I prefer a little live experimentation.