Sunday, 26 January 2014

New Macro Lens

You will all have to forgive me for posting these test images but it's my first play around with my new macro lens and I was very excited at the thought of this new hobby.

I have to say it's not at all easy-it's really not point and shoot photography. So I'm very glad that I went on those couple of courses last year to learn more about my camera. I know I need more practice at the focus and also found it hard to hold still as it's quite a heavy and big lens.

Pine cone

Heathers

Pine cone again

Tendrils on the Passion Flower plant

Fungus on old tree stump

This is very small fungus, but the macro makes it look big

More tendrils of the Passion Flower

The rest of the photos were pretty rubbish! So a lot more work is needed.

As a lot of you know it is the RSPB great garden bird watch this weekend and terrible weather has arrived here just in time to keep them all away. A few wood pigeons, a magpie and a blackbird are all that ventured out today.

A few more things happening on the web that you might be interested in

Call to ban wildlife snares in England and Wales-Cats Protection and League Against Cruel Sports have teamed up to try to get 60,000 signatures on a petition for the Secretary of State, Owen Patterson. Please take a look at the information on this page and see if you'd like to help  http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=122&ea.campaign.id=22552

A Herons view has been looking at a few environmental disasters and posted some interesting things recently, take a look at http://www.theecologist.org/ for some serious reading and fairly depressing environmental issues and also this outlaw ecocide blog from the same ecologist website
http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2238379/outlaw_ecocide.html

Wild China on the BBC. I watched the Shangri-La episode and it was breathtaking, there are still some episodes left to watch on iPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00bv6lk/episodes/guide

January 2014 has not been great-the credit card takes a bashing!

This month has been a disaster financially and I can't wait for it to end, not long to go now. My dog has been limping for a while and it's been getting worse. So after over £300 in vet bills for x-rays and blood tests, his kidneys are ok, but the x-rays revealed nothing more unusual than some arthritis which we knew he had. So after more vet visits and more tablets, he's just lame and we can't do much more. We have just started him on gabapentin to see if it works better for pain relief-poor little chap. He's happy though not able to walk as far or play as much.

One of the cats has been quite ill with a nasty infection which came back after treatment so that's another £100 spent.

I went to the dentist for a check-up and one of my big fillings had cracked with decay underneath, so that had to come out, and then that revealed a small hole in the back tooth so that filling came out too. With private dentistry, a large filling in one tooth and an inlay for the other, it's been a very very big bill.

On Friday night part of the temporary filling broke off, so on Saturday morning I walked the dog, and jumped in the car to go to the vets to pick up the dogs new tablets, then on to the dentist and one of the tyres was half flat.....aaaghhhh. I managed to get to the vet since I only noticed the part flat tyre as I was driving, abandoned the car at the tyre place in Brixham and walked back down to the dentist......what a morning! Fortunately the tyre cost £8 to repair...that's about the smallest bill I've had all month....oh and the car tax is due on 31st. Roll on February!!!!!

Moan over!

On a much brighter note it's a big birthday for me coming up. In a couple of weeks time I'll be 50, although I can't quite believe it, time has flown by. Hubby has bought me a new camera for wildlife photography as my 200mm lens just can't get close enough. After much research and thinking about what would suit me best, I've gone for a Panasonic Lumix FZ200 bridge camera. I can't wait to try it (it's been wrapped and hidden away until my birthday). I looked at the Nikon 400 mm zoom lens but it was quite large and I just didn't feel I could sling it over my shoulder and go for a walk into town or Berry Head. I'm really hoping I can get some great photos with the zoom lens on the Panasonic. As a birthday treat we are also off to Bristol, and a concert in the evening to see Del Amitri.

A lot of cold wet and windy weather to come this week, but at least the sunrise is happening sooner and the sunset is later.
Wishing you all a good week ahead
SeagullSuzie

32 comments:

  1. Those macro pics are fab! I particularly like the pine cone.

    What a month, you poor thing. Roll on Feb. And Happy Birthday for a couple of weeks time. M and I have been talking about getting a new camera too- I want something with a better zoom for bird photography, so will be doing some research.

    Hope the animals are better soon- can't remember if I left you a message about changing diets having an effect on joint mobility? Worth trying. He could be reacting to something in the food.

    Thanks for the links- I've signed the anti-snare petition and will forward to friends and family x

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    1. Thanks. The pine cone was the best photo I think, but not bad for my first try. I was limited as to what I could find and with the ground so soggy there was no chance to scrabble about on the ground.
      That's exactly why I was looking at a 400mm zoom lens to get much better wildlife images instead of having to crop from the 200mm. However the length and weight of the 400mm was just a little too impractical for the sort of person I am, so I looked at the bridge cameras and the Panasonic Lumix fz200 got the best ratings for wildlife photography. One important point about bridge cameras is that they don't all have view finders-and I could not take a photo without one.
      My lovely old doggie is just old and worn out, having been a working gun dog for 7 yrs and kept in kennels-it's a hard life for them (compared with a family pet). He has always had a very strange walk and it's probably an old injury. Thanks for the thoughts on his food though, he's on Arden Grange Sensitive which is a very good quality product and is healthy in every other way.
      Thanks for signing the petition and spreading the word.

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  2. Ouch at your expensive month. Sometimes it goes that way - all the bills come round in packs. We are doing daily cost counting (and budgeting) now which makes you more aware of what's going out, but still can't prevent the big unavoidable bills, though now Danny is no longer in residence, we've realized some quite big savings already! (Electricity, broadband, fuel, and our TIME!)

    Birthday greetings in advance and enjoy your amazing new camera. I think you will soon become skilled and really enjoy the macro shots. You've made a good start already and I look forward to seeing lots more in time.

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    1. Many thanks-It'll be great fun with the wonderful miniature plants on Berry Head in the summer. I'm so lucky that we could afford to pay all these bills....the dentist bill was just not what I was expecting...one of these days I'll go and there will be no more work to do!!

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  3. I hope that all the big bills end soon Suzie, that was not a good start to the year in financial terms at all. I hope too that your tooth and the dog are better soon. The first pinecone picture makes the scales look like some sort of shellfish or sea creature to me! Your new camera sounds very exciting, you will be out photographing all sorts of things. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY for when the big day comes. I hope that you have a wonderful time! xx

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    1. Thank you Amy-I think it looks like a tortoise shell. I'm so excited at the thoughts of getting a few bees with the macro lens...I just can't imagine what they will look like so magnified.

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  4. Very jealous of your lens. I would LOVE to have a proper camera. I'm getting a bit frustrated with mine to be honest. I didn't have enough money to buy a decent SLR with lenses but it'll do for now. Fabulous pics for your first experiments.

    As for your day.....my sympathies are with you. January is often like that I find. At least my car tax, having bought the Polo, no longer happens in January. Yesterday wasn't great as, having got the car back after its four week stay at the garage, a hearse opened its door while we were getting diesel and crunched into our front wing. An insurance claim already!

    Poor animals! I'm fascinated to hear the dog is on the same drugs as me! I know you know what you're doing and it will be really interesting to hear how it works.

    I'll be 50 in May so we should get together somewhere in between for a celebration. x

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    1. Hi Em, I'm trying to build the kit up now whilst we are working and earning as there will come a time when spending that kind of money will be out of the question. We have a great camera shop in Brixham called Mifsuds. They are known all over the country and sell excellent second hand equipment too, so maybe that will be a good starting point when you are ready.
      So sorry to hear about your car-isn't that just the way things happen?
      I thought of you when the vet suggested gabapentin-veterinary medicine has moved on a lot from just the usual metacam-He's way past that treatment. If this doesn't work he will come off all the arthritis meds and gabapentin and we will try PLT which is a steroid and can have marvelous effects.
      Oh yes Em-now that is a good excuse to meet up. My very dear friend who turned 50 last Sept said now I think we must meet up this year as we make 100 between us!

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  5. Those images are fantastic with the new lens. I will look forward to seeing many more images in the future! It sounds as if you have had a bad start to the new year and hope things will improve and maybe the £8 is the start of cheaper bills! Sorry to hear about your dog, you will miss not taking him on all your walks.Your birthday trip to Bristol sounds good fun.We must be almost a year apart in age,we came to Brixham for my 50th! Sarah x

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    1. Thank you Sarah, yes poor doggie is just not able to go to Berry Head and back now-it's a lonely walk without him. However winter is worse for arthritis and joints so maybe in the spring before it gets too hot we can take a very gentle walk and see how he does.
      Yes I remember seeing your post on Brixham. If we weren't going to Bristol I would have gone to Paignton Zoo for the day and the Breakwater restaurant for an evening meal.

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  6. Well done on the Macro shots Suzie - they really are superb. Did you use a tripod??? I've never had much luck with mine and yes, I find the focusing exceedingly hit and miss but I was hoping to zoom in on the small detail as you have done but mine just doesn't seem to want "magnify" as I hoped it would.

    Sorry to hear the birds went missing for the RSPB Birdwatch - I do hope they return soon including Mrs Blackcap :)

    I've signed the League Against Cruel Sports petition (sending a letter to the dreaded OP!!!) and I'll check out your other links tomorrow - thanks so much for those.

    I'm sorry to hear of the expenses you've had this month although relieved to hear there is nothing seriously wrong with your dog - hope the painkillers ease his condition. My daughter has just been to the dentist about tooth problems and has been told its either an extraction for £85 or deep root filling for £375!!!! Complete nightmare - the tooth is at the back but as she's only 23 I think she'll go for the canal treatment - trouble there is no guarantee it will work :(

    I hope you have a really lovely birthday. So envious of your soon to be Panasonic Lumix FZ200 :) I've been looking into bridge cameras as I get so fed up with either carting camera and 3 lenses about or just picking one lens when I go out. So I will be really interested to see your photos with the new camera. Although goodness only knows how I'd justify to husband the expense of a new camera when I already have one! And its a long wait now till by next birthday ending in 0! Anyway enjoy your birthday and presents :)

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    1. Thanks so much for you comments-I remember you saying you didn't get on with the macro lens. I didn't use a tripod, but I have one (another past birthday/xmas present from hubby) and expect I will use it a lot more now...I can feel a remote trigger will be required soon!!!!!!
      I love my Nikon camera and lenses, especially the quality of the 200mm-it's a beauty, but as you say carrying them all out and about is just not practical unless you're in the car. As I do a lot of walking with my camera-cliff edges and harbour walls very close by, I just felt another lens was not for me right now. I can't wait to give the bridge camera a go and see what it produces in terms of quality compared with the Nikon.
      My teeth are heavily filled so maintaining them is expensive, but they are healthy. I spent a lot of money over the last year or so having the old amalgam fillings removed and lovely white ones put in-I am so pleased (and I had saved up) with the results. I've got no root fillings just need a big inlay for this back tooth-I'm hoping that's it for this year!

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  7. Hello Suzie!
    Using macro is a wonderful way of discovering detailed information, that our eyes generally skip over.

    Oh and while I am here; thank you very much for the mention of my blog x

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    1. Thanks, I can't wait to try it out on the red tailed bumble bees. Everything looks so different through the macro lens. I was amazed when I saw the results.

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  8. Your photos are fabulous. It makes me realise I must learn more about photography, here. I must admit I do love my bridge camera, it is so light and handy for walks.
    I'm sorry to hear you've not had an easy month. It's always one thing after another, isn't it? Hope your animals recover soon. Thanks for sharing about the snare petition - I'm off to sign. I do feel very strongly about them.
    Have a wonderful birthday!

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    1. Oh that's good to hear, I hope it will work well for me too and you are right they are so light. Thanks for your comments on my test photos-I'm going to try very hard not to drive you all mad with macro photos....but it's going to take a while to get used to it.

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  9. I really am looking forward to your results with new camera. I'm waiting for an engineer to appear at the moment to service gas boiler so I'll have another look at bridge cameras. I have a remote trigger but its years old and for a non digital slr so doubt it would work on dslr. I would love a Canon or a Nikon rather than the Olympus but again I just can't justify the cost of replacing :(

    My daughter has the white fillings - they look so much better. I have a check up on Thursday - arranged as I have intermittent toothache so suspect more expense on its way :(

    Have a great birthday and really do look forward to seeing shots with your new camera and more macro work :)

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    1. I realised there is so much I'm missing without a long zoom as there are still beautiful seabirds here all winter and I'd like to catch them on camera. Had my inlay done this morning, it feels perfect, but they can be very sore for a good few weeks. Hope your tooth is ok.
      I've been on YouTube and there are some very good tutorials on the Panasonic Lumix -I can't wait to use it!

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  10. Happy Birthday! I hope you have a good time in Bristol. I love the photos, they look jolly good to me, I haven't progressed much further than an Instamatic!!!!

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    1. Oh the dSLRs are brilliant and so much fun, as you can just delete the rubbish photos with no expense! Thank you for your kind comments on my first macro photos, I hope to get much better, but the weather is not great to get out and try it. Supposed to be good for taking portraits too.

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  11. I am visiting via Em - what a treat to see your lovely macro photos, you must be pleased with it.
    I hate January from the point of view of the bills which just keep on rolling in day after day.
    Spring is on the horizon though.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Bills, bills, bills, it was really my teeth that over did it. Still all done now. Yes it's getting dark a little later and even if it's cold and miserable it wont be dark, cold and miserable!

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  12. Sorry your dog is not feeling great. Your macro photos look superb - I love the detail and how abstract things can look when you get really up close. Look forward to seeing what else you snap with them :) Hope you have a great birthday!

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    1. Thank you Tom. Much more difficult to use, although I was told that macro lenses are different and had read it's not too easy at first. I can see there will be a lot of lying down on my front (hopefully without the ants getting into my clothes-we have a lot of ants here) and trying to photo something interesting. The neighbours will be wondering what I'm doing again!

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  13. Your macro shots are fantastic! That lens is one that we would love to get at some point. I'm sure you'll get used to it and have a lot of fun playing around with it. Look forward to seeing the results. Sorry to hear about the bills, they always seem to come together, but hope dog, cat and tooth will soon be on the mend.
    Apologies if this is a duplicate comment, I think Blogger ate my last one.

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    1. Many thanks. A brief moment of ok weather, made me rush out and search the garden for objects to try it out on, all without kneeling in the wet and soggy grass. Dog seems to be picking up, not too sure about the cat but he has to go back again soon to check the infection has gone completely, new inlay is in my tooth-just quite tender as I had it done this morning. So hopefully that's it!

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  14. Splendid macro photos here Suzie and thanks for all this info. Everything seems to come at once doesn't it? I know how that goes. Hope everything gets on an even keel soon. Thanks for stopping by my blog, I've enjoyed my visit too.

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    1. Thank you Denise, I hope this is the start of a wonderful relationship with me and my macro!

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  15. A macro lens is a great investment and I'm sure you'll have real fun using it, especially when spring and summer come. As it is these pics are great and I really look forward to seeing more in the months ahead :-)

    You certainly had a run of bad luck in January and hopefully February will bring much better fortune :-)

    PS. Thanks for the link regarding the snare ban petition. I have always hated the use of snares and hopefully the government will take steps to ban this cruel method of predator control !!

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  16. Thank you David. With such bad weather I've hardly had any opportunities to try it out and the pets are getting fed up of me trying it on them! There are some great tutorials on YouTube so I must sit down and take a look at them next, before the good weather and interesting subjects arrive and I discover I haven't got a clue what I'm doing!

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  17. Suzie, I am delighted for your new lens and wish you much fun with it! I can imagine the weight will be a problem when it comes to holding it steady – I’m useless at that with my lighter lenses! Great first images! Looking forward to seeing what you capture through the year :-D

    That’s some useful links you’ve added here, sorry to hear about the bashing of cash and cards – now we are in February here’s hoping things will be easier so you can look forward to your ‘special day’ (all birthdays are special really). Gosh… Del Amitri… now that’s a blast from the past ;-)

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    1. Thank your Shirley, well the iron blew up yesterday...so hope that's not a sign of more spending to come! Thanks for commenting on the macro lens, it's a real challenge to get it right and I'm sure it'll be more fun in the summer.

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