sandiquiz's WunderBlog

Down the garden path

By: sandiquiz, 2:51 PM GMT on July 25, 2014

Those of you who have been reading my blog the last week will know that I tried to teach my camera to fly! 
Although it still works, and will be great for a backup camera, it feels "clunky" and just possibly, not as sharp as it used to be.

So any excuse for a new camera!

I have seven cameras, most of them kept in a basket trunk on the landing..... my first point and shoot in pretty pink, a Canon Ixus, two more Panasonic P&S cameras, , a Panasonic Lumix FZ18, the old Lumix FZ150, the new FZ200 and finally, the top of the lot, my Canon 450D, with three different lens.

I can hear you all saying, what is it with her.. why does she need so many?

Well, to be honest, the first one I mentioned is nearly 15 years old, and digital photography has come a long way since they were first introduced to the world twenty four years ago.

One of the first was the Kodak Professional Digital Camera System (DCS), introduced in 1991, with a 1.3 mega-pixel sensor. The DCS was aimed at photojournalists and sold for huge 18,750 pounds (about $25,000)!!

Today, the cost of photography for the professionals has become exorbitant, as they strive to get longer lenses to enable them to see further........into the celebrity's garden!

So, back to the camera that flew... I decided to spoil myself and upgrade to the new FZ200 camera, then spent all last weekend getting to grips with the zoom lens.... a massive 22-600 mm DSLR equivalent. Added to that, there is the ability to increase the zoom length by using the digital zoom, which brings it up to a whopping 1200mm.

There is no way it is a sharp, or anywhere as effective as the 1200mm lenses you can buy for DSLR cameras, but they cost tens of thousands! For instance, I found that the Canon 1200 lens, measuring 33" inches long and weighing a hefty 36lbs, actually cost £80,000, when first introduced in 2010!

I had had the camera four days when I decided it had a fault.

I was in two minds about what to do - was it a fault that might go away or might it get worse? Anyway, in the end I decided to ask for an exchange, and the new camera arrived 6:30 last night.

I was tired, and busy watching TV last evening, so other than charging up the battery, I left it until this morning to play with it. Within ten seconds of switching it on I knew it was a different camera to the one I had earlier in the week. This one focused quicker, the shutter release sounded quicker and the results are even better I feel. It was obvious the first camera had more than the scrolling LCD screen as an issue!

I took it outside and wandered around the garden, taking a few shots, just to try it out.

So come with me, down the gravel path, and let's see what there is to see in the JULY garden :)

On the right you can see the pond, where reflections of monbretia and buddleia colour the water. The hanging coloured glasses catch the morning sunshine, refracting sunbeams across the garden. It provides a shady area for the birds to come for a drink.

On the far side of the garden the "Verbena bonariensis" has grown six foot tall, reaching the top of fence. I love how I can sit inside on an evening and watch this huge plant through the conservatory windows as it sways in the breeze.

When I turn around, I can see across the lawn to the far fence, and the light that now streams into the garden, thanks to the removal of several huge trees on the bridle path last year. 

Pink hydrangea, white and purple buddleia all add colour to the July garden.


Finally, the wildlife comes to visit the garden, thanks to all the nectar giving plants.

I am not impressed with WU photos.... When Ii post photos from Flickr, I can adjust the sizes by adding width and height to make them all look uniform. WU will let me alter the width, but the height is stuck in ratio to what it was on posting to the site... :(

My neat, artistic self is offended by the photos.... but I did them through WU so Ylee could see.... :) (It's OK Ylee, I don't blame you. lol)


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Updated: 3:14 PM GMT on July 25, 2014


Another New Camera #46 :-)

By: sandiquiz, 11:08 AM GMT on July 18, 2014

Intrigued by the title? Well, yes, you might be!

On the evening of the 17th I travelled to the next county to attend the retirement party of my ex-head of faculty. T had invited just the members of the department, both existing and like me, those who had left or retired.

There was a small group of 20, just the right number to get around everyone and catch up with what had been happening in the intervening years. It is six years since I saw most of them.

Anyway, the first course was served, enjoyed and cleared away, then we all got up and mingled, changing our seats for the second course. After the main course was cleared away, we mingled again, many going to the bar to replenish drinks.

The waiting staff had another big group to serve, so had asked us if it was OK to have a fifteen minute break whilst they served the other large party. Of course we said yes, mingled a little more, caught up with more friends, and then I went to the car to fetch my camera. The sun was setting and the view from the restaurant garden was very pleasant.

I wandered out, took a few photos and walked back. One of the group, who was looking out, saw me coming and raised his hand in salute, so I snapped a quick shot, using the zoom.

That was my downfall, literally, because as I took the next step I missed the top of an eight inch step down off the grass and onto the outside eating area. I went flying, landing heavily on my left knee and right elbow. The camera went flying out of my hand, and I watched it, almost in slow motion, bounce off the hard surface.

There was a table of four ladies right beside where I fell and two leapt to their feet to help me.

"Are you all right?" ...... Isn't that a silly thing to ask someone, when all their senses have been shaken! I had no idea whether I was all right, or not. But I soon realised nothing was broken, so levered myself into a sitting position, to gather myself together, and then stood up. One of the kind ladies put an arm under my elbow to assist, luckily choosing the one that hadn't hit the ground. The other retrieved the camera, handing it to me with a grimace, saying..."It hit pretty hard."

By this time several of my friends had seen what had happened and came out to help me back into the restaurant. I thankfully sat down, then investigated the damage. The left knee was skinned and swelling, as was the right elbow. I had even broken my right thumb nail! How, I don't know! The husband of one of my ex-colleagues went to the bar to get ice in a cloth, and I placed it on my knee.

It was then the shock hit, and for several minutes I felt physically sick, but gradually that subsided and I began to feel human again. The wife of the ice-fetcher told me I went as white as the tablecloth! The ice really helped, and took down the immediate swelling, but after my dessert, a delicious creme brulee which I didn't enjoy, I decided I ought to gather myself together and leave, to drive the 45 miles home before I stiffened up completely. They were all concerned about me driving home, but I explained I didn't need my left leg, the car was automatic!

It was a little uncomfortable, but I made it OK, although I was extremely relieved to arrive on my own drive.

This morning it is sore, but not stiff, I can bend it and walk OK. I have used ice, arnica and Voltarol, an anti-inflammatory gel I had used on my other knee .... yes, luckily, it was not the arthritic knee!!

So here is the photo .... the one that caused me to embarrass myself, and now requires me to purchase a new camera...... (just an excuse, really, as I have been wanting to upgrade my Panasonic for a while now!) lol


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Updated: 2:35 PM GMT on July 23, 2014


A Nature Walk:)

By: sandiquiz, 8:41 AM GMT on July 09, 2014

On Sunday morning I decided to go for a walk with my camera.

This was an event for two reasons.....

Firstly, I have been having problems with my knee for the last four or five months so walking any distance was difficult, but the last week it had been feeling better, so I decided to try it out and go for a gentle stroll to the wood.
It is only across the main road, probably less than half a mile away, but it was much further than I have managed to walk lately.

Secondly, I wanted to go to the wood to look for 'fungi', which is this months photographic challenge in one of the Flickr groups I belong to, so took my camera on the walk.

I had a very enjoyable stroll, even walking up the odd slope and over some uneven ground, but the knee held out really well. Unfortunately, not one glimpse of fungi did I see - so I guess the supermarket shelves might have to be the place to look, initially!

I didn't want to waste the walk, nor the fact I took my camera with me, so I turned it into a 'Nature Ramble', just like I used to do with the children when I taught in a village school!

I looked up, I looked down, and all around me, which meant I saw a wide variety of ground cover, hedgerow and climbing plants, plus some interesting trees and wildlife.

I took over 50 photos, but I selected just these as a cross-section of the flora and fauna I saw on my ramble.

Meadow buttercup, conkers - the fruit of the Horse Chestnut, white popular leaves - green on top, white underneath and bird's foot trefoil

Daisy, white clover, cow's parsley and dandelion.

Rose bay willow herb, red clover, selfheal and thistle

Cherry Plum tree, wild honeysuckle, brambles, dog rose.

Finally a very determined crow. I watched him from a distance, after his raucous call alerted me to his presence. He had found a discarded packet of savoury snacks... puffed wheat perhaps? Obviously there was only a couple of pieces in it, and his feathered friends were trying to get in on the act. He had this big piece in his beak and try as they might, he wasn't letting go!

After a few minutes they gave up and he hopped along the grass verge, proudly holding his prize aloft!


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Sgt Pepper's .... band!

By: sandiquiz, 11:16 AM GMT on July 01, 2014

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

About a week ago I went onto the Amazon website and bought myself a CD.
Nothing unusual in that, you say, but the CD I bought was "Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" by the Beatles.

And why did I do that! Well, I just wanted to play it through again!.

Way back in 1967, when I was still at school studying for my A level exams, (the equivalent of the AP exams in The US, I believe,) I saved for weeks from my meagre-part-time-shop-assistant-wage, to buy the "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.

I'd heard many of the songs from the album when they'd been played on the radio and also heard them on the Saturday night television programme, "Juke Box Jury" and Thursday night's "Top of the Pops"!

I was a Beatles fan: I loved all their songs.

I suppose I was just a typical teenager. I wouldn't, however, class myself as one of the screaming banshees who followed them around from venue to venue, but I liked singing along to their music. A couple of weeks after my 17th birthday an elderly aunt sent me a belated birthday card with a ten shilling note in it - and that was that - I had enough to purchase the long awaited album.

Once I owned the long-awaited album I played it repeatedly on the small record player I had in my bedroom.

'Lucy in the sky with diamonds', 'Lovely Rita' and 'When I'm Sixty-Four', plus all the other songs on the album, helped me through my boring A-level Science, English and History revision!

Of all the songs on the album, I always stopped whatever I was doing and sang along with 'When I'm Sixty Four'.

At the age of 17, with the rest of my life spreading out in front of me, I tried to image what might be doing when I was 64?

To me, being 64 was a very long way off. My parents were only in their early 4's and seemed old, wrinkly and 'not with it, man'! My grandparents, on the other hand, were already in their 60's and seemed ridiculously ancient!


After I had decided to write this blog I did a little research about the song itself. Apparently Paul McCartney wrote 'When I'm Sixty-Four' when he was only 16.
Paul's father had been a musician in a jazz band and was a self-taught pianist. Paul learned to play the piano at a very early age by copying his dad.

He is supposed to have come up with the tune for 'When I'm Sixty-Four' and some of the lyrics in 1958, but the rest of the words were not put together until they were planning the Sgt Pepper album in the summer of 1966.

Initially, when he wrote the tune he was thinking it might fit in a musical. The idea of it being included on a pop album hadn't really occurred to him.

Although Paul never said that it was actually written for his father, who was only 58 at the time of Paul composing the tune, many music critics reported that the reason it was included in the Sgt Pepper album in late 1966, ready for release in April 1967, was that his father was 64 in 1966 - on the 2nd of July, as coincidences happen….which leads me on to why I bought the CD last week?

On Wednesday, the 2nd, I will also be 64, and all the intervening years, since I first bought the album, have been and gone.

Were they as I had imagined? Well, maybe not, but I can’t complain. I've had my ups and downs like many people have had, but I compare it to the comment my teachers' wrote in my report book whilst I was still at school ….. "Sandi continues to make satisfactory progress".

I can now report that the previous 47 years have been 'fairly satisfactory'! lol


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Updated: 11:18 AM GMT on July 01, 2014


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sandiquiz's WunderBlog

About sandiquiz

I have been a WU member since September 2005. Now a retired teacher, enjoying my garden, writing, sketching, taking photos, and having great fun!

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