Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I tried experimenting with some new software to make HRD (High Dynamic Range) photos today. It's a trail hence the watermarking on the images. Basically you take 2 or more exposures of the same image and it stitches them together to make a single image. It allows you to get detail in both the shadows and the highlights on the same image. Now, the test images I took are far from suitable but you get the idea...


I went to K's yoga class last night to see what it was like. Have to say it wasn't bad. I didn't care for the spiritual and self-proclamation parts of it but the actual physical stuff was pretty good - think I'll go again :)

Monday, January 29, 2007

My 3rd 400D :)

So - I received my 3rd Canon 400D today. First one was returned almost immediately due to a bad pixel on the screen. The second one was returned today after random issues with the kit lens focusing in dim conditions. The nice guys at Jessops simply swapped it over and also refunded my Tamron 70-300 whilst I was there - that's what I call service!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Children of Men

If you are after a *good* film to get on DVD at the moment I cannot recommend "Children of Men" enough - we just watched it and were bowled over. Besides a fantastic story line I have to say the camera work was breathtaking and the soundtrack one of the best I have EVER heard on DVD!


K and I went to London for the day on Sat. Primarily to see P who was visiting with his family for his Mom's 60th. We spent quite a lot of time in China Town and ate far too much at the Golden Dragon. Following that we went to Fortnum and Mason's (via De Hems bar) to look at a load of heavily overpriced stuff. Satisfied with our curiosity we returned to China Town to buy a wok and then headed home. Surprising how tired walking around all day makes you...

Friday, January 26, 2007


I spent last night in Cheltenham - working late in order to upgrade some servers. Stayed at the George as usual and ate at Cafe Rouge (where the special wasn't that special!). Took my new lens out for a walk and grabbed some nice night shots - the IS really REALLY helps keep things sharp and impressed me no end.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


It snowed last night leaving everything white this morning. However, it is now melting :( I hope we get more tonight...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More lenses = bigger bag!

Well, I got the EFS 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM which is fantastic - low light hand-held is stunning. Only problem is that my bag is now too small for the camera and all my gear :( No problem though as Lowepro do a larger version of the same bag. So - off to Jessops and a new bag is sourced :) Just have to sell the old one now to be able to afford the new!

Friday, January 19, 2007


Bad news and good news folks...

Bad first - the TIKI bar has been hit by its first tropical storm - with wind speeds approaching 100mph and driving rain. This flash weather caused havoc in TIKI-land throwing the bar some two metres to the other side of the bar area. Luckily - LUCKILY - no one was hurt as the bar was miraculously empty at the time. The surrounding area was also hit hard with one tree left tilting at an awkward angle.

The good news - the bar has been repaired and is open for business again. Management would like to thank the courageous acts of the staff who helped right the fallen bar! May the TIKI Gods smile fortune upon you!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Canon lenses

I have been looking at lenses long and hard the last few nights. I am keen to replace the kit lens on my 400D with something a little more capable. I also want to replace my Tamron 70-300 with something that remains sharp through to the 300 end and with stabilisation. It seems that these two lenses off what I am after.

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

However - UK prices are around £1,100 for the two. Luckily all is not lost - going to the USA soon where the price is much nearer £800. Now, that leaves some money for a flash doesn't it......

I can see that this photography hobby may be a little on the expensive side! Although a LOT chepaer than my last one (helicopters).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Police CCR visit

As part of my on-going KNW activities we were given the chance to visit the country Police HQ and the various 999 call centres and incident rooms etc. Quite informative and remakrably small an operation. I was surprised to hear that the county only receives 1,500 calls a day from all of Hertfordshire.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Flickr updated....

Am suffering from terrible insomnia at the moment - been up past 02:30 most nights since New Year which is leaving me exhausted in the mornings. The culprit is learning of course - I spend the days reading up on several new technologies for work and although mentally stimulating it leaves my mind racing at night. Had the same thing at Uni!

Still, it has given me time in the evenings to play with my camera and organise a few things. Tonight I figured I'd reorganise my flickr account and put *only* my favourite shots up instead of the usual mix - try to make it look more pro...

Whaddya think - http://www.flickr.com/photos/rakh1/

Monday, January 08, 2007


Question - what happens when you leave R alone with:

a) his new camera
b) the diagram below
c) this website http://www.electricstuff.co.uk/extube.html#focus
d) a smal spec of dirt on his focusing screen he cannot quite reach

Well, it is very simple, involves most of R's smaller tools and looses him an hour of his life. However, after several tries (the 400D is quite different to the 300D mentioned in the article) I managed to get it all back together again - and luckily the spot of dirt has gone.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

I've left the IET

It is a sad day but after 10 years I decided to resign my membership. Why? Well, they do nothing for me quite frankly. I even went to a membership day a couple of months ago armed with all sorts of leading questions only to be told that it would probably not help me a lot to stay a member!!!! So, with the rise in fees from £40ish to nearly £100 I handed in my notice. I no longer have MIET after my name :(

Vista DEP problems

As you know I have been playing with Vista since it RTM'd a while back. Vista has some great new security features which in the long term will be great. However, until manufacturers start shipping programs designed to deal with them you may find these get in the way. A major one of these is the DEP (Data Execution Protection) that is on by default. This has stopped several of my programs running. Luckily there is a way to turn this off for now:

1. Click Start
2. Click All Programs
3. Click Accessories
4. Right Click on Command Prompt
5. Left click on Run as Administrator
6. Click the Allow button if it asks you for permission
7. Type or copy and paste this into the command prompt window:
bcdedit.exe /set {current} nx AlwaysOff
8. Hit enter and you should see the confirmation: Operation Completed Successfully
9. Reboot and DEP should be off

Seems to work a treat....

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

It's been a very busy year throughout 2006 and as such has gone very quickly. We have gained a nephew, made new friends and finished our garden. K started to work for herself, I got my SQL2005 exam. Both of us have had a great year and look forward to another exciting one ahead - one in which we both turn 30! To all our friends and family - HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! xx

New Year Party

Following Dinner we went accross the road to party at S&S's... The party was fancy dress in the style of "S". I went as Saun Connery's Stunt Stand-in (lots of S's) and K went as a Silver Sophisticated Swede. Amongst other guests were Satna, a Surgeon, a Swash-Buckling Scoundral, School-girls/boys, etc etc... Party went on till the early hours - fantastic!

New Year Dinner

Every New Year we have a meal with friends and this year was no exception. K made mushroom soup to start, followed by beef fillet and ending with a New Year's Bomb. By the time the cheese board surfaced we were all stuffed!