Hunted by Red October

Hurricane Ophelia carried a very spooky sky to the UK two weeks ago. Everything looked orange and the sun turned red in the middle of the day. After ascertaining that it wasn’t in fact the sun dying (that really was my first thought, not that anyone could accuse me of being dramatic…), I thought I should probably take some pictures.

The sunset that evening was also rather beautiful.

I Love Limehouse

After having been roaming the canals around London for a year now, I’ve seen parts of London I’d never even heard of before. The city looks infinitely fascinating from the water and my journey North East from Slough has been beautiful, horrible, and all things in between. But it’s never too noisy. The roads are never too close. The towpaths come alive in some places and are neglected in others.

Limehouse so far is my favourite spot to moor. It’s not especially pretty, or quiet. [Although it does benefit from being beautifully soundtracked with the quarter hourly chimes of St. Anne’s.] It has a character about it that beckons. I felt instantly at home here.

This is a little ode to Limehouse.

Endeavour, and ever, and ever…

The past five or six weeks have been a srange and busy time. Mostly spent on dry land having various urgent attentions spent on my lovely boat. It felt almost neverending at one stage. It was truly a strange experience to be onboard the same boat with absolutely no movement and climbing a ladder to get in. It’s a slow and tentative sigh of relief to be afloat again now.

I got everything done and fixed that I needed to, except that I haven’t got around to putting the name back on her yet. I’m procrastinating a little over that… But bit by bit, she’s starting to look quite smart.

The gift of Sound and Vision

On 5th February I went ice skating at Alexandra Palace with my mother, one of my brothers, and a wonderful colleague for a David Bowie soundtracked evening of skidding about and falling over, hosted by Feeling Gloomy.

I don’t know anyone who wasn’t saddened by Bowie’s passing, and what better way to blow off the cobwebs than such a ridiculous and fun tribute.

I took my Pentax K-S1 and intended to get lots of fun shots of the inevitably Bowie-emblazoned skaters, but admittedly I spent the vast majority of the time enjoying the skating. It’s over 20 years since I’ve purposefully stepped onto ice and I loved every single minute of it.

My brother looked utterly fabulous in his golden spacesuit and I at least managed to capture this for prosperity. He drew much adoring attention both on the ice and during the journey there and back. Even the lovely staff at Pizza Express didn’t seem to mind us applying our face painted lightning bolts at the dinner table beforehand.

Farewell, Starman.

 

Beyond Beyond Chocolate

There were a lot of ridiculously delicious cakes provided by Abbi’s Pantry at Beyond Chocolate‘s celebration of “no diet day”. I went along to take some photographs of the food and the round table discussions.

 

I took my back up camera for this shoot, my primary camera being out on loan. I’m more than happy with how the relatively humble Pentax KS1 handled the task. I can’t really compare it favourably to the Pentax K3 in performance overall (that thing is a dream machine!), but I can say that the final image can be a hair’s width in difference. The sensors are not significantly different, and I’m using the same lenses, so I’d say the biggest difference is to do with ease of use.

Focussing is slower and sometimes clunky with the KS1. I took most shots focussing manually. Overall it’s probably comparable, in the experience of setting up shots, to using the Pentax k-x. The k-x was my first digital camera and one I used for a good few years with fabulous results but it needed to be bullied a lot in camera and in post.

The key really is understanding and getting to know the equipment, its limitations, and its potential. In general I’d say that the potential for quality images from the KS1 is light years nearer to the K3 than the k-x and I should use it more often to know how best to release its strengths and better circumnavigate its weaknesses.

The best thing about the KS1 is how very light it is. I used my favourite lenses which all seemed to weigh more than the camera. This had a really positive impact on my experience. The slightly more cumbersome handling of settings was more than made up for by the fact that my back wasn’t aching as it would with the chunky K3. For long shoots I think it will even serve well as first choice in that regard.

Bathtime

This week I went to Bath for a few days for a course. It is a very beautiful, very friendly town and I was lucky enough to find gloriously warm and sunny weather awaiting me too.

I spent most of my free time prowling about with a new digital camera. I was recently given a Pentax K-S1 as a present to serve as a back up to my usual workhorse (the absolutely superb Pentax K3), so I wanted to give it a good test run. The K3 knocks it out of the park of course, and it’s really not worth comparing them in any kind of detail, but combined with excellent lenses, I’m actually pretty surprised and impressed with what the K-S1 can produce considering it’s an entry level DSLR camera.

Me and the K-S1

Me and my new K-S1

It was a good way of seeing how the lenses used (and of course the photographer behind them!) really do have a larger influence on the final image than the camera used does alone. As a back up, I think it’s perfectly capable of producing good quality pictures. It is also so very light in comparison to any camera I’ve ever used. Weight was important for me to scrimp on because in contrast I also took my 6×7 film camera with me which weighs the same as a small cottage.

As usual you can find a growing album of images over on Flickr too. The 6×7 film shots will get their own post at a later date…