I'm not a spiritual person - I don't give up things for lent as a religious observance. However this year I've joined my wife in giving up Twitter and Facebook for lent. FB is easy. I don't use it much anyway, there's only so much bullshit "pass this on" rubbish one can take. "Friends are wonderful, if you have a friend share this to show how much you love them", "Parents are great, share this if you're a parent". You know, that kind of shite. However I love the discourse of Twitter and already on day one I'm missing it. I've had to remove the Tweetdeck icon from my taskbar and from my browser just so I don't automatically open the program by mistake. I will likely still post on Twitter/FB without visiting and reading the sites purely because my blog can auto post, I can share links via my browser and I will share links from my Flickr photostream. But the traffic will be one way, it's just auto stuff, not me getting properly involved in the streams. I live a long way from my family and have no local friends. I maintain existing friendships via social media - mostly Twitter. So it will be interesting to see how I cope over the next few weeks. It's an interesting experiment - watch as Harry is shorn of his social contact and slowly goes insane.
A sunny day at West Bay - with a very clear view eastwards. Compare this to the shots next to it in my photostream - West Bay certainly changes character when the wind blows in.
The morning after Storm Rachel it remained very windy in West Bay. I really struggled to take any shots for two reasons (1) because the wind was so strong keeping a camera still was very difficult, (2) I had to wear gloves against the biting cold and it made camera operation difficult. But I soldiered on (what a brave little poppet) and did get a few photos I like.
My plan was to take a few wide angle photos down by the East Cliff. But when I got there the wind was so strong it was whipping up small stones, some of which hit me in the face. Worried a stone might hit my eyes or worse - damage my camera - I decided discretion was the better part of valour. As you can see the storm had been so strong it had knocked over the life preserver. I wandered along the sea front towards the West Cliff, watching the massive rollers crash onto the beach. The wind made it biting cold and camera batteries were draining fast. It was a beautiful morning in West Bay thanks to some son and the dramatic weather. On returning home I felt that black and white captured the mood of the town this morning than natural colours.
I'm just back from the cinema and thought I would jot down my thoughts. The Battle of the Five Armies is a really great finish to the trilogy. I've enjoyed the other two films, but not as much as LOTR. But this third part felt much more like the LOTR trilogy - in tone, in look, in humour, in battle and in other ways. While the book has been split into three parts this film isn't really the extra one. That was Desolation of Smaug - Jackson says so himself in the appendices to that film. Smaug filled out the middle of the story.
Maybe others have done this before, but I want to relate a little story of how I solved an issue with my Fujinon 18-55mm and a persistent blob of dust on the inside of the front element. I had this big piece of dust on the inside front element of the lenses. This didn't adversely affect the image in any way but was annoying me. I believe it was a dust mite, it even seemed to move around a little and would come towards the edge of the lens when I shone a torch there. But I could not shift it completely, it kept returning to the front element.
I read some advice about killing mites in lenses by freezing. So I sealed the lens in a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer for a few hours. I didn't release the lens from the bag until it had returned to room temperature. Whatever the dust blob was it didn't move again after this. But it was still sat there in the middle of the front element. I had killed the beast but not shifted it.
Today I began work on a long post that I intended to use to look back on my best photographs of the year. I fired up both Flickr and Lightroom with the aim of putting together several themed galleries that I could discuss in the post. Looking back on my photographs of 2014 made me rather sad. While I am merely an amateur photography with so much to learn I had thought over the last few years my output was improving.
But looking at what the year had to offer looked like I had taken a big step back. And since beginning the process my thoughts have flip-flopped several times. I've gone through the photos and decided there are plenty I really like. Then some I don't like. I believe that the real issue is that I haven't been out and about with my camera very much at all in 2014 and the result is that I have a smaller pool of shots to choose from.