Barking Mad

Although most of today’s shots came courtesy of the wide angle lens, our stroll was also occasionally subject to ariel attack from a small group of impressively insane parawing operators… who proceeded to spend the afternoon riding the thermals. Judging by the swoopy moves and relative daredevilry, it’s a pretty safe bet that they were having a lot of fun…

But given that they go up with only one parachute – and it’s deployed by the time they start – what’s a “margin of error” ???

Panasonic DMC-GX1 with Olympus ED Digital M.Zuiko 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 Lens

Buckland Rings

Few people seem to know of Buckland rings, just on the edge of Lymington in Hampshire. In fairness, the area it occupies has become significantly overgrown and it helps to have someone who knows the site to point out the ancient ditch-and-dyke fortifications. Looking at them now, and trying to imagine what they were like when they were actively used for defense, and you realise what an intimidating fortification this must have been. Not for the faint-hearted!

Badbury Rings

Martin decided to bring the Spitfire down for the weekend, so when Sunday dawned as a beautifully clear, cool day with stunning visibility, we decided to venture out with cameras on a mission to capture the light. A not-quite random chance resulted in us winding our way to Badbury Rings, not far from Wimbourne, in Dorset. Lots of fun to be had wandering the lanes in a couple of convertibles, especially as mine has the benefit of heated seats and a blast-furnace of a heater system…

The Rings themselves were majestic – the light was perfect and despite a pretty chill wind the place draws you in and encourages you to explore. There were what looked like WWII-era concrete blocks with steel rings half-buried in the scrub, two good-sized hollows of standing water, plus an interesting mix of trees – including some out-of-place firs. Still not getting the best from this 24-70mm f2.8L, but it’s the user that’s defective, not the lens!

Canon EOS 7D with 24-70mm f2.8L Lens

I Don’t S’pose You’re Anywhere Near Bolton, Are You?

Do you ever have a completely surreal moment that just hits you out of the blue?

Earlier today my company mobile phone rang, introducing me to a gentleman with a Lancastrian accent wanting to speak with “Richard”. I explained politely that he may have mis-dialled or written down the wrong number.

“Oh, sorry,” he replied, “I don’t suppose you’re anywhere near Bolton, are you?”

Having explained that I was a couple of hundred miles south of there, I asked him why… It turns out that he was trying to get to “Richard” and he was lost. I had him read out the name of the first street sign that he passed and quickly put that into the location field in Google Maps… Then I asked him for the address that he was trying to get to and asked Maps to make a “journey” out of the two addresses.

At this point I was able to begin to offer him a series of directions, complete with verifications from me along the lines of, “You should be passing a Sainsbury’s on your right about now…”

We were making progress and the caller had taken a few turns based on my guidance, when realisation hit him. “‘Ere,” he asked, very suspiciously,”if you’re hundreds of miles south of here and you don’t know Richard, how in the ‘eck are you doing this?”

I told him that I was getting directions from my desktop computer…

That was too much – he didn’t believe that for a second. Then he asked me if I was “the Cops?” Then he thought I might be “CI5” [although I think he meant MI5]. Fortunately, before my interrogation could finish, he finally made it to “Richard” and I bid him a good day and said goodbye.

Made my day, that did.

Keyhaven In January

If you were to take a look at this image out of context…

you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was, perhaps, an early morning or late evening shot taken in mid Summer – or at least during the warmer months.

In fact, not only was this taken on January 2nd (and it was blisteringly cold walking along the sea wall), but it was captured with a tiny Canon Ixus S500 camera. About the size of a [kitchen] box of matches and sporting a shutter release and a “zoom in/zoom out” toggle switch, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is good for nothing more than basic snaps.

Yet, aside from the sensor/lens flare [which accidentally looks reasonably OK in this short] it does remarkably well!