A recent decision that I’ve made is that rather than posting on a weekly basis, I’m going to aim for doing updates on a monthly schedule and publish perhaps 2, 3 or more posts at one time. Apart from currently being fairly busy, the idea has emerged from some design and experimentation that I’ve been doing on WordPress block websites which has focused my mind a little more sharply on what and why I’m doing this website.
Eventually this will lead to another site redesign and a repackaging of the material I’ve posted to date so that the whole thing makes a bit more sense by being better organised.
The season has finally turned, the overall temperatures improving and we are starting to get sunny days and the early morning chill I get on my morning bike rides is fading away too. Of course and being British, I don’t suppose it will be too long, if this weather pattern persists before we start complaining about “too much heat” ! However it is worth remembering that the longest day in June is less than a month away.
May is a marvellous month when the vegetation and tree canopy quite suddenly over very few days burst into blossom and life, a total miracle. I have been busy taking far too many photos using all four of my current ‘go to’ cameras though this too has led me to another decision which is to focus on turning my best shots into photo books to put on the shelf and then delete the rest.
This has proceeded at pace moving from pencil, charcoal and Conte crayon to pen and ink, gouache and spirit based pens. Of course it is not just what you draw with, I also have to relearn what to ‘draw on’ again for each type of media because different papers are required for each.
I have a lot of catching up to do before I can move ahead with a project that is forming in my mind where I will put my rediscovered draughtsmanship to work but I’m lucky because being old, I do have the time to put some effort behind this.
I say “experiments” but in reality it would be more truthful to describe them as “Rediscovering forgotten things from the past”. For various reasons I had dug out my Canon 450D which I had bought back in 2010 so quite an old 12mpx camera however with the Summer fast approaching and a time for taking wet film pictures, I suddenly remembered ‘zone focusing’ from back in the days when I first shot 35mm film.
In those days focusing aides were pretty rudimentary, split prisms etc so particularly if trying to capture fast moving objects there was a better way which if you practised it often enough would nail the focus. On the barrel of the lens is a distance scale as well as the f stop scale and using these together can give you zones where everything in that zone (distance from the camera), will pretty much be in focus.
It’s been quite fun because mounting one of my vintage FD lenses on the 450D means there is no autofocus in play so apart from just using your eye, zone focusing is the way to go. Better still, because it is digital, you can see instantly how good you are getting at doing it.
This is yet another camera I bought “back in the day” in fact I bought it new when it came out in 2007 so it is even older than the 450D. There is a particular oddity with this camera in that instead of having a CMOS sensor that the majority of digital cameras had, it has a CCD which was common on video cams but rare in still cameras. The consequence of this is that images and particularly JPEGS can have a quality that is more like wet film than normal digital images so fun to play with.