It’s been quiet on this site for a long while now. The reason is because of the preparation involved in another project I’m currently involved in; a long distance cycle ride across the full length of the UK. Known as Lands End to John O’Groats, or LEJOG, or End to End, it is a classic of the UK cycle scene. You can follow me on this project via another blog – http://www.lejoblog.wordpress.com I’ll be back blogging on this site when my cycle ride is over
On our first day in Hyderabad, we visited the old part of the city. After walking around the Charminar and the Laad bazaar, we ended up at the Chowmahalla Palace. Over the space of these few hours, we were the only Western faces visible and, in a turning of the tables in regard to the norm of tourists photo’ing locals, we were inundated with requests from people asking to have their photos taken with us. It was a slightly bewildering, but not unpleasant experience. What did take us by surprise was the experience with this extended family. Firstly let me say that they were all delightful, happy, polite and well spoken – the children especially. The man in the pink shirt was the obvious head of the family group and, after a few minutes discussion, it transpired that we were almost exactly the same age. When he found out that I ‘only’ had daughters, he openly asked whether I was disappointed not to have male offspring and whether this was a big issue in my country. When I replied that it was just not an issue as far as I was concerned, he went on to explain that, in India, male children were far more important than female. This was all being openly discussed in front of his elder children – the girls – who were all future high achievers themselves (the eldest girl was studying civil engineering at university). In return, the girls all seemed to take this apparent insult to their progeny in their stride and not worthy of a riposte; on their behalf, however, I felt quite awkward at this turn in the conversation. Nevertheless, after the obligatory group photos, we all eventually parted on very friendly terms and, coincidentally, were to meet up again at another Hyderabad attraction over the next few days, when the kids all came dashing up to re-introduce themselves again. All in all a pleasant, albeit slightly incredulous cultural education for my family and I.
I spent 15 minutes or so today watching this kingfisher hunting. The bird was only successful on 1 out of the 3 dives that I saw it make and all of them took place in a very awkward spot for photography – as you’ll see from the gallery photos below. As I was about to give up the photo session, the bird obviously decided it had had enough of me also and flew off to another site. As it did so I caught the above image which I think was the best of the session.
From a trip to the Hong Kong Museum of History (highly recommended if you get a chance to visit) earlier in the week, we discovered that, over the last 150 years, water supply has been a constant problem for the population here. Large reservoir projects have been completed in the last 60 years or so and these seem to have alleviated the problem somewhat. However, we are beginning to see how much of an issue it could potentially be, as we haven’t had any significant rain here for a few weeks now and our local reservoir is beginning to show the effects.
In this photo, the camera is at the ‘normal’ water level and the ‘model for the day’ is at least 10 metres lower. On the opposite shore, the water should be lapping the land just below the level of the trees. I wonder how much water is left, how long it will last and when it will all be replenished?
This is what I use to capture my daily images; A second-hand, Ebay-procured, Canon EOS 50D usually mounted with an EFS 17-55 F2.8 IS USM lens – this combination usually comes out when I know I’ve got something I want to photo; A Canon G9 compact camera that gets thrown in a travel bag, a back-pack, or a pocket as a ‘just in case’ option when I’m travelling; And an iPhone that goes just about everywhere all the time.
In the time that I’ve owned all 3 of these ‘image recording devices’ (about 6 months), 60% of the photos that I’ve posted have been taken with the 50D, 35% with the G9 and 5% with the iPhone. It certainly appears that I ‘need’ more than one camera for my photographic purposes. (Non-camera-tech-minded-readers might want to give up for today at this point)
Now, I’m considering upgrades to my equipment, but I’m undecided which way to go. The iPhone will not change, so that’s easy. The G9 though is a bit old, has developed a slight blemish in photos under certain light conditions and doesn’t have great low light capability. However, it has produced some great images in the past and any replacement would have to be just as rugged, portable and capable of capturing such high quality photos. Canon G1X ?(a bit big I think). Canon G15? (not getting great reviews) Canon S100? Fuji EX-1, Fuji X-10? There are many possibilities.
I’m tempted by the Canon 6D as a replacement DSLR, but this comes with a pretty hefty price tag for the body only and would also involve the replacement of all my lenses….gulp! An alternative route might be to just buy a high quality L series lens to complement the EFS lens, with the future capability to upgrade the camera body in due course.
Given the cost of any quality upgrade to my DSLR equipment I’m wondering whether a total change of direction to a 4/3rds or mirrorless format might be able to bridge the DSLR/Compact divide and enable me to use just one system instead of owning a D50 and G9 equivalent combination. Under consideration would be the Olympus OMD, Sony NEX7 and Fuji XPro 1.
A further, or complimentary route to follow might be to spend my money on a Photoshop/Photography course, filters and accessories. This would be a way of maximising creativity without the need for expensive equipment – maybe the gear I’ve got is actually good enough and it’s just my skill-set that needs improvement.
I would welcome any advice, or suggestions from fellow photo enthusiasts who may have been through this same conundrum recently – any such comments would be gratefully received.
When we started out on our hike to the top of Sunset Peak on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island this morning, the sun was only feebly leaking through a grey and milky sky and the contours of the land were indistinct in the distance. Despite a steep initial climb, the lack of full sun and the resulting cool temperatures dictated that long trousers and fleece tops were the clothing order of the day; but, barely a few minutes before this photo was taken, we passed through an almost imaginary line in the sky and the atmosphere totally changed. Suddenly we were stripping off layers of clothing, the air actually tasted sweeter, we could see for miles and the sky became a beautiful deep blue – we had escaped the layer of haze and pollution that can envelope Hong Kong at this time of year; trapped and contained beneath a meteorological ‘inversion layer’. In the background of the photo is Lantau Peak, clearly showing this not-so-imaginary line in the sky. Unfortunately ‘what goes up, must come down’ and, after a wonderful couple of hours spent hiking in this territory we had to descend steeply back down into the muck – hard on our lungs, our thighs and our spirits!