Thursday, 26 February 2015

SMALL MIRACLES

Well my operation was cancelled on Tuesday and just to prove it isn't just the NHS that suffers from a lack of beds this was down to my private medical provider, idiots. They simply forgot to allocate me a bed at the hospital, not Northampton General but a private hospital. Funnily you don't hear much about that on the news. The operation was all set to go ahead. I was even sat there at the general (operate in NHS hospital then transfer to private, silly system) in the backless gown. Only to be told of the cock up but hey I don't mind exposing my butt for no good reason I do it all the time....I'm scheduled for the 3rd of March now.
On some positive news, for a change, I managed to walk (leg almost back  to full health) to the bottom of the garden to the shed without tripping, being knocked over, breaking a bone, straining a muscle or breaking a camera and nothing fell out of the sky to squish me too. And managed some images from the shed, not before removing any sharp implements, lawn mower and empty petrol can....just in case.
First up is my continuing love of capturing Chaffinches in flight.
 The Reed Buntings are keeping things interesting. I've got four in the garden now, two extra males turned up this week not to shabby for my small and very urban garden.

A Goldfinch.
 A Robin, someone with a bit too much time on their hands noted my fence panel needed replacing. I had to tell them I took the top strip off as it stops cats walking along the top, it works a treat....just not very pretty.
The Starlings are fun. Can't get the whole bird in the frame due to the feeder being so close to the shed. This particular image shows it calling, mimicking a Little Owl call. I hear it every day and each time I think I have a Little Owl in the garden, a really convincing imitation.
Same bird but doing a throat clicking sound. I loved watching this display, the colours and sound were wooing me never mind any other Starling

Not much variation but was just a opportunity to check out the loaned 1d mark2...just six dust bunnies so I'll be cleaning the sensor.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING!!!

Well some good news a good friend has lent me his 1d mark2, "it hasn't got a strap or eye cup" he said, "not a problem that's the only thing left working on mine" so after my physio I got my girlfriend to drive me down to Orpington to pick it up.
I went up to Moulton Quarry to give the camera a whirr but apart from four Snipe there wasn't anything around, thanks to two lads on motocross bikes scaring everything.
Now get this, on the way home (walking) this Fiat 500 on the other side of the road pulled "you couldn't check to see if I  got a puncture" said this lady (Sue) I did, she did. So being the gallant type I offered to change it for her. All was going OK until the last bolt got tighten, I stood on the spanner as you do to make sure it's tight enough when a really audible "pop" came from my leg, I've only gone and torn my calf muscle.....soooo I crossed the road and bad luck struck, seriously what the fuck have I done! I had to giggle as my local shopkeeper saw me hobbling in with crutches "what have you done now" I told him "I would tell you to buy a lotto ticket but you're probably get mugged" he laughed, to be fair so did I. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

HOW TO WIN THE LOTTERY AND OTHER "LUCKY" TIPS

Is the title to my own book, it's a short read (10 pages including the preface, contents page and index page). 2015 has been a truly crap year for me to date. I'm sat here trying to figure when exactly I kicked a black cat, whilst wandering under a ladder and crashing into a shop full of mirrors....seriously just drop an anvil from the sky onto me and get it over with.
Firstly the arm, I'm pencilled in for the 24th to have the arm operated on. The Radial head has to be shaved which was nicely demonstrated by the consultant which was like the moment someone runs the fingernails down a blackboard and had me squirming in my seat, after that it has to be pinned. The net result 6 to 8 weeks of no physical exercise. Taking a slight detour off topic moment, if the NHS needs to save money here's my two tips 1:stop sending automated texts asking what I thought of the service. At roughly £1.50 a text to the NHS (they don't charge you) I've had eleven so far (each physio appointment and hospital appointment) that's £16.50 just for me, SO FAR. You add up the number of visitors to just one hospital on one day and I dread to think how much it'll will add up to during the course of the year. What's wrong with pen and paper given to me at the appointment to fill in a form, surely a free post 2nd class envelope has to be cheaper/cost efficient option. Then there's the automated text/phone call "appointment reminder" and probably more expensive the fully automated phone call that reminds you have an appointment, very efficient is the call, the setting up of the very clever but annoying call (it's the voice, sounds like a dying Terminator) must've cost a fortune. My call for example, asked me to confirm my details (date of birth etc) before telling me my appointment date/time/department, which doctor I'll be seeing and how to get/find particular department at the hospital before asking me to confirm I'll be turning up, very, very clever but with all very clever things it normally has a very clever price tag attached. Is it really needed? No at some point we the customers of the NHS have to take some responsibility. Most of us have mobile phones with calenders/reminders some phones will even remind you with an annoying voice. For those that don't and haven't got the "know how" to receive emails,  they must be able to use those paper things with picturesque images, what are they called again....oh yeah calendars , just my opinion.
My firm has decided to recuperate my health care(on my firms my medical/health plan) costs and their costs by taking the driver to court for compensation which for me at the moment is very tempting for me to do like wise,  as my second bit of bad luck slapped me in the face like a wet kipper, my 1d mark2 has died....
These are probably the last two images I'll take for a VERY  LONG TIME.
What went Wrong? Not really sure. I charged the battery up on Monday night ready for a visit on Tuesday to Lings Wood. Set the camera up and took a few shots to make sure all was well. It wasn't. Canon's default "err99"(error99)displayed on the the lcd screen. Turned it off took the battery out then back in, shutter released and "err99". Initially the mirror box assembly was prime suspect. But when I looked through the viewfinder there was none of the usual information (aperture/shutter speed/frames left etc) on display. I went to menu button in order to lock the mirror up but nothing appeared on the big lcd display, electrical issue? So before going up to woods I popped it into my local camera shop who for a fiver gave it an inspection. I got a phone call a couple of hours later, "it's dead mate", my heart sank. I was a bit baffled so asked for better details when I got to the shop. "every single electrical circuit is fried, you haven't dropped it in water" nope, "it is weather proof" I know but haven't been out in the rain so far this year, nor the snow "it's a weird one for me I've never seen damage like it I phoned up Canon to see if they've ever seen anything like it (they hadn't)" so how much (half waiting for the figure) "it's beyond economical repair" then came a very long list of parts. "are you sure you didn't drop it into a puddle". Yep "it is definitely water damage" he showed me some pictures he took (he emailed them to Canon), yep water damage and no one else had access to my camera body and equipment it ALWAYS goes into a locked cabinet when not being used, only I have the combination and key so no one has got it out and damaged it. I was baffled. "Could it be something that's happen over time"  I asked. "not in  my opinion, the scoulding of some of the parts look fresh". When I got home I checked the cabinet for any water/damp ingress, nothing, also due to the height of the cabinet nothing can be put on top like damp clothing/cups of tea. The room is the one room the dogs aren't allowed in and can't get in plus they're house trained and don't have "accidents"..ever.
So, I have one completely dead 1d mark 2, a 1d mark3 that needs a new mirror box and service which will cost £800. Second hand 1d mark3's are retailing for £800-£1000 so it really would be the better option to go second hand. A 1d mark2 is about £400. But not an option to be honest the 1d mark2 was showing its age compared to newer toys, less megapixels though that's all bollocks and is really only an issue for "braggers" I personally hated the colour rendering of the mark2 compared to the mark3. Browns on a Kestrel for example always appeared washed out/faded to me and even a simple blue tone was lifeless tone compared to dark rich tone of the mk3 and the file size was to small too. Not to mention the ISO ratings ISO 800 was the use able upper range of the mark2 compared to ISO 2000 on the mark3 (yeah it would go to 3000+ but wasn't useable). Either way a new/used camera body isn't an option at the moment, so expect no new images from me for the foreseable future.....Tommorow I shall attempt to try and cross a road, wish me luck....actually don't lol

Sunday, 1 February 2015

MORE FROM THE GARDEN

I apologise for the repetive nature of this blog of late, if you bored of seeing stuff from my garden just imagine how I feel. A couple of times during the week I thought about venturing out but each time the weather scuppered me. On one visit to the physio with camera bag and packing my 300mm and a 1.4 and 2x teleconverter I was going to take the short walk to a local park where some Ring Necked Parakeets have been seen, no sooner had I left the physiotherapists it pelted down with snow and ducked onto a bus.
The problem with venturing out on foot, still can't drive, you're very dependent on the weather snow and rain just don't do it for me.
The garden has pulled a few treats, 27th after the RSPB GARDENWATCH I got a Chiff-Chaff and when the snow fell two Reed Buntings came to the garden, a male and female both are still in the garden which is actually a new species in the garden.
A couple of flight shots thanks to the feeding style of Chaffinches

The male Reed Bunting, the female is a bit too shy sadly.

My actual arm is not going to well, before my first physio started they measured the angle of the bend in the arm it was minus 30 degrees at my last appointment it was only minus 20 degrees, given the number of appointments they'd been hoping for around minus 10 to minus 5 plus there is a click from the elbow and some pain, I have another appointment with the fracture clinic in two weeks and they'll decide if they need to shave the bone and put pins in....oh joy.

My new bike arrived on Friday which seems a bit redundant now but provided an hour of entertainment as I assembled it, well most of it, I have to "index" the gears but can't really do it until I can either find a stand to place the bike on or be able to get on it to sort the gears out, it has 21 gears compared to the old one which had 18. I stripped the old bike for spares which wasn't much, two inner tube, a set of pedals, rear derailleur, brake cables and brake handles never know when they may come in handy.

 I did manage to finish of a book too. A very good read indeed called The Historian by an American author called Elizabeth Kostova. In short it's a vampire story but not at all cheesy. It's a cross between a gothic novel, travelogue and detective story. Some of it is based in the UK and is so well written you actually recognise the locations and one part so tense it left the hairs on my arms standing on end, I was actually scared it was that well written, it looks like I'll be reading more books at this rate,  after I watch the Super Bowl tonight