10 October 2016

Oldie newbie

Last week in work I finished my part in a project. I have been 2.5yrs away from my old role, and here i am sat in my dark living room, looking out the window, waiting to be picked up to collect a van to take my first baby steps back into my past. What a weird feeling.

And I'm all of a tizz about my painting/collecting miniatures hobby versus my new-found enjoyment of photography. Do i carry both on or focus all my money into the one. That'll be cameras and jazz most likely. Thinking of at least paring down my Oldhammer books and minis collection and using the funds elsewhere. I'm not going to jettison all of my stuff like I've done before - that'd be silly. But a slight cull will possibly help. This is what comes of sitting in the dark, waiting.

30 September 2016

My newest lens

Whoa! I'm standing right next to an object, yet when i look into my viewfinder it seems like an arm's length away. Whoooooooaaaaa!

So i was pretty excited as you can tell.

I've got to really get out there (in the streets, countryside, hills, seaside, wherever) to play with this 10-18mm malarkey, but i at least took a shot of the man station from almost on top of it:

28 September 2016


I'm sat in the University Hospital Wales, Cardiff, waiting on someone having a routine procedure. Anyway, i was sat in the concourse with my book and phone (free wifi - fair play), and a feller in a wheelchair was purchasing a coffee from a little takeaway gaff. He was struggling to wheel himself with one hand (the other was holding a coffee) so I offered a hand, but he said he was alright. He parked up next to me anyway, and we got to talking. He came in last night for a transfusion. He has terminal prostate cancer. He hopes to survive until February to see the birth of two grandchildren. He got us both a bit emotional to be fair, but he isn't a maudler. In fact, the feller has left a hell of a legacy. Simply put, he was a decorator when he was able to work. However, the kind of decorating he did was pretty specialised, mostly for Cadw, the body that works to preserve Welsh monuments. I'm talking castles, churches, all sorts. He was even on telly with Eddie Butler (of Welsh rugby fame - he said he was a bit bombastic, which was pretty hilarious), decorating a listed building in Pontypridd. What a remarkable feller - it puts everything in perspective, listening to someone in that position. And he had a bit of devil about him too, having sneaked off the ward for a taste of real coffee. He had me rapt. I hope I can leave even a little bit of something worthwhile behind, like he has.

Edit - the point being that life is fragile and you only have one crack at it, so at least try to enjoy it. I could go on. Feeling a bit philosophical. I'm not going to though, as it sounds way preachy.

New lenses

Been getting a bit excited about taking photos of late. Wanting to build on my cheap and cheerful Canon EOS 1000d, I went and got myself a new lens to give a greater focal range. I'm no pro (and I'm not much of an amateur either, but hey-ho), so i took some advice from the esteemed and creative spacemunkie (aka Scott Symonds). I ended up with an entry-level-ish telephoto-lite lens, covering 55-250mm. Effectively, it picks up from where my standard 18-55mm lens stops, meaning that the fullest zoom on the standard one equals the lowest zoom on the new one, and the highest zoom on the new ones gives me a far greater magnification. And, unlike the standard lens, it has in-built image stabilisation, meaning i can take longer exposures in hand rather than with a tripod. I think that's the technical terminology anyway. Well, having enjoyed the new lens so much (i even packed the whole camera kit to go to Ibiza for hols), i have now also ordered the lens that goes before my standard one, giving me a 10-18mm set-up. This will be more of a wide angle lens, and better for close-ups. It will again have image stabilisation. I'm frothing at the thought of it arriving, fair play. Second-hand purchases all, as it's a pricey old game otherwise. Some shots with the 55-250mm can be seen below:

Still managed to get a little camera shake on the hanging shoes which is a bit embarrassing..

I also took out the 18-55mm for a day trip to Ibiza Town, and some shots from that are shown below:

(The last shot was of a feller with a mobile knife-sharpening rig. He wheels it around and sets it up outside a restaurant, and the kitchen staff bring out their knives. He powers a wheel by using a pedal, and that in turn causes the grindstone to turn. He has another stone for fine honing on the other side. I could have watched him all day. 

And now I'm just waiting for delivery of my newest lens, on the morrow. Grand stuff. I'm catching the bug.)

31 August 2016

Instagram Splurge

Had a bit of a mad one on Instagram lately. Gone a bit nuts and chucked up loads of stuff. I undervalued it before now, but I'm beginning to see the light. My moniker is herodtheswiss and and here's a small selection of shots:

22 August 2016

Another week

Going up north again. Only as far as Llangollen and Oswestry this time, but I'll be away four days or three nights, however you look at it. Had a good couple of hours with the dettol yesterday, hanging out in my painting area. Didn't do a jot of painting but got the place looking hot. Now it's so tidy I'm feeling sad about leaving it, even if it's so under-used. Freed up all of my paints as well. Next step is incorporating my modest, unpainted collection. A picture or two below...

Anyways, off north now, leaving family and home behind like some itinerant, wandering monk. And on the topic of monks, my company will be Cadfael, on print format. Poetic really, considering I'll be split between Shropshire and Wales.

11 August 2016

6 months is a long time in real life

I've neglected the cathartic process of blogging for many months. I thought I'd get better at life, but it continues to have me in a half nelson. Anyway, during some away time with work, now seems a good time to pick up the process again. I may as well start with some stuff that happened (or will come to happen):

  1. A big family wedding in Cyprus.
  2. Decided to sell the caravan. Currently on the market.
  3. Actively seeking to move a bit closer to a local village-within-the-city.
  4. Agreed to do a half marathon (but see below).
  5. The project I'm on in work has entered its final, frenzied few months.
  6. My wife dropped to 3 days work a week to great effect.
I'm pretty sure loads more happened than that. Something about Wales qualifying for Euro 2016 - and then proceeding to electrify a nation by getting to the semis - springs to mind. Got a proper grown up telly as well. I'm not into bling and possessions, but a decent telly is a great investment.

  • Paint x1 miniature per month. Guaranteed. No shenanigans. Just do it.
  • Cook a new vegan dish per week.
  • Do at least 6 decent mountain walks.
  • Learn to use my camera in proper manual mode and look like a pro.
  • Re-learn French (to be achieved in conjunction with painting).
  • Jog twice a week.

To address some of my previous goals as outlaid in my previous post (see above), i have managed to paint one miniature. I have continued to push boundaries with my cooking, but probably failed with one new dish a week. I've done probably one mountain walk. The camera has gone far better, and while i don't do much with it I'm beginning to get to grips with stuff. I need to keep on with that and also develop my composition skills. On the learning/re-learning French, I had a really productive period of listening to French lessons in the car, but i need to get back on them after a period of time away from it. And then the running.... This has actually happened. Or at least it has quite recently. I even agreed to a half marathon, and was of the opinion that i could manage it until even more quite recently I had a minor operation to remove my little swimmers. That put me out of action for a few weeks, and my employment has also now started to encroach on the precious work/life balance, taking me away for some days at a time. This only looks like worsening over the final few months of the project, with trips to the north of Wales for several days at a time likely to be interrupting any routine i was building up with my running partner who, incidentally, is quite apparently far fitter than me. We'd taken our runs up to a 6 mile distance not long before i had the snip, but i fear for how I'm going to get back to that quickly enough and hit a 10 mile target before the main event that's now less than 2 months away. Add to that a constant need to evacuate my bowels whenever i run, I'm in a bit of a dark place with it all. I'm going to get back on it next week and hope for the best.

Here's that miniature i painted: