A sad death to report.

Bah, I’ve been blogging for less than 24 hours, and I’m already swinging the scythe around. Thankfully, this isn’t the death of an actual person / animal / cellular structure, more an inanimate object. An inanimate object that I loved very much. I’m sad to announce the death of my big Canon camera, or rather the lens that came with it. It met a sad demise at 11AM yesterday morning when it lost a fight with the landing floor.

Annoyingly I was in the middle of preparing for my first proper photoshoot with it. I’d arranged with Gary F, Jamie S and Andy D, to take some photos of the vintage car rally that is brought to Hartlepool every year or so. For many years, I’d wanted to go for many years but unfortunately, other commitments (usually work) stopped me from attending. This year, I obviously didn’t have that to worry about, which meant I had the ideal opportunity to go and point the camera at brightly colured, shiny vehicles.

The morning started out a logistical nightmare to begin with. Jamie S’s car is off the road. Gary was coming to pick me up, but Jamie S also wanted to go. Fair enough. I send a text to arrange the slight change of travel plans.

Text: “Can you pick Jamie S up on the way?”
Reply: “You were meant to send that to Gary, not me”.

Yup. Turns out I’d sent a text to Jamie S, asking to pick himself up. Today was going to be a long day.

So, I go about preparing stuff, dusting down the big camera. Everything was OK. Ship shape, as it were.Gary arrives at the bottom of the long, gravel driveway that leads up to Mercuryvapour Towers. I grab the big camera, and on my way out of the door I think “oooh, I’ll take the little camera too”. I dash upstairs and realise I already had it, it was in my pocket. Gah, wasted trip. On my way out of the SLABJL office, Gary rings me, and in the juggle between answering phone and swinging unweildy camera bag about, the camera leaves the bag, and hits the carpeted, yet still hard, landing floor. “Whoops”, I thought, but the camera has survived harder falls than this. I bundle the whole lot back into the bag, and head off to the car rally. I switch on the camera. It doesn’t “sound” right. And it didn’t automatically focus either. Instead, it would judder around for a bit, the focus would attempt to fix itself, failing miserably. Sigh, the lens was dead. I lugged the camera around with me for the whole 2 hours we were there, knowing I was carrying what I’d class as a “dead relative”. We got back to the car, and I’d take a closer look at my deceased camera.

It wasn’t pretty. I’d tried to zoom in a few times, the lens jammed, I looked through the viewfinder, and was confronted with a broken image, as if part of the glass had shattered. Well, that was that. It was all over… maybe.

I get home, to inspect the damage. The first step was to remove the lens… and something fell out… THIS.

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Now, I’m not expecting any help from this blog directly, but I’m a member of a few photography sites which I’ll add this to, in the hope of knowing what its purpose is. All I know is that it fell out. The lens is just the standard stock / kit lens that comes with the EOS 450D. Here’s what the ITPC data has to say about it.

Lens Type Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Anyway, something was clearly broken. While the lens was out, I gave the focus / zoom a go. It didn’t jam up. I looked through it, and it appeared to look normal. No broken glass. I took a photo of Daddykins. It worked. Wow. Obviously, my lens was missing a part, yet still “functional”. Or so I thought.

Obviously, I had to try this out a bit more. I’m sure if I’d lost some of my internal connections, I’d act slightly retarted (What, more than usual? – Ed). Shut up. I went out into the back garden, and the results weren’t pretty. The normally “smooth-for-a-kit-lens” auto focus would judder and jolt, rather like a floppy drive hitting a bad sector, the sounds were similar. Your eyes, using the viewfinder might only pick up the centre of the image. It’s not until you view it through the computer that you get the extent of the damage….

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As my ex-work colleague Spence would say, in his own unique style… “Fuck, shit, piss”. Yup, something was shot. I contacted Andy D and asked if I could try his lens on my camera. I’m pleased to say it passed with flying colours. Or, at least the few shots I’d taken with it appeared to be OK. It means, that the loose part must have came from the lens (unless you know different?) and I’ll have no problems shopping for a new bit of glass.

Hartlepool Tall Ships 2010

Well, it’s been years in the planning, but finally, Hartlepool is about to host the tall ships. and, I, as a normal resident who will have to get to work on the other side of the town for the next three days, I can’t help but think that these years of planning have simply gone into making the lives of regular residents a complete and utter nightmare.

I wonder how much of the planning went into sticking yellow lines on almost every street, and making the whole of the headland a residents’ only park zone…. that’s got to be great for the businesses down there.

ENough of the negativity – unfortunately, I won’t get chance to “cover” it, as I’m in Employment Palace for 3 days out of the 4, still, I’m sure I’ll nip down at some point and get some photies.

EDIT: Yes, I think I will take some photies. As soon as this light turns green, I’m outta here…

The Solstice!

Well, it’s the first time for a good few years that I’ve actually been able to get out and photograph the June 21st sunrise, though I almost never made it.

Through some stroke of odd luck, I managed to bag a 2PM – 2AM shift, meaning I would return home in good enough time to judge the weather, and whether it was worth taking the walk to a decent vantage point to catch the sunrise. After I got home, I was a little tired, and thought that the walk simply wouldn’t be worth it, so instead got the big Canon, and the tripod out, and began to take photos in the street. Admittedly, these weren’t up to much, and sadly, it turns out that my camera remote has bitten the dust, so I won’t show any on here.

Onme thing I did capture, however, is my own sign that the summer had started. If I’m awake, I watch it every year, yet this year was the first time I had actually photographed it.

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Yes, it’s the instant that the streetlight outside of Mercuryvapour Towers extinguishes. I must have sat there, with my finger over the trigger button for about 10 minutes, waiting for the trademark clunk of the photocell’s relay clicking over, and the sudden lack of artificial light in the vacinity.

Shortly after, I decided that the cloud cover wasn’t bad enough to ruin a good photo oppportunity, donned the new pocket Canon, and headed off into the general direction of the fields. Well, I say fields, it’s been a housing estate for about 8 years, but there’s still a bit of undeveloped land which gives you a good view of any possible sunrise. I thought I was too late from the view of this photo…

Summer Solstice, 21st June 2010

I knew I only had a few minutes to make it to higher ground. I power-strutted like I’ve never strutted before, to the tune of “Don’t Go” by Yazoo. I am happy to report that I made it to higher ground before it was too late…

Summer Solstice, 21st June 2010

Admittedly, it’d have been better if those streetlights weren’t there.

On the way home, I did manage to photograph one thing which has been in existence for the majority of my childhood, but is soon to disappear behind a wall of ivy, are the old cricket stumps I used as a child. You’ll have to forgive me if I get a little reminiscent here, but I know one rather quiet troll reader who will no doubt get a shiver down his spine by viewing these…

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Here’s a closer shot after some of the ivy had been removed….

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Finally, here’s s shot if you were stood in the ‘crease’.
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A place I wouldn’t see very often, as I was shit at cricket, and used to receive unfair bowls from Chad, such as “grass cutters”. Chad, you will note that many of the features we used to use have been removed. It’s no longer possible to lose a ball in “Carl’s bush”, and that the impossibly rare 100 runs for hitting Ringwood’s garage can no longer be achieved. A 6 or 4 can still be earned by hitting it up his driveway, though he’s not lived there for many years since Mrs Ringwood died. I can no longer hit a ball into Kevin’s pond (Kevin, you may remember had more than a passing resemblance for Ex-Tottenham footballer Vinny Samways) thanks to a growth of elderberry to the left of where I stood, and the fact that the pond disappeared years ago. The pile of rubbish is pretty much where we bowled from – the house is currently empty and undergoing renovation, hence the rubbish.

And on that note, I’m off to bed. Morning!