Focus, focus, focus

Well, it´s been one of those weeks. A very frustrating one in my role as nature photographer. It began after debating whether it was worth carrying my heavy D300 down into the valley. I usually do but I decided not to bother on this day. Lo and behold the unusually hot weather had forced a grey heron to land on the local duck pond and four black swans took great interest in this new arrival. It made for a great shot as the four swans inspected the heron perched on a small island. I took some shots with my mobile but with it wildlife rarely comes out in focus and it was no exception on this day. The following day I took my camera along but of course there was no sign of the heron.

buzzard1

A few days later I spotted a buzzard perched on top of a pine tree. It was there for at least 15 minutes but the D300 autofocus refused to lock on despite trying everything. I even switched to manual focus but that is pretty useless on these ‘new’ DLSRs. I miss the days of SLR manual focus with split frenzel screens. A 500mm on a tripod would have done the trick but I have to make do with a handheld 18mm-270mm and the buzzard was a fair way off.

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Above: Chaffinch and buzzard out of focus shots and a jay caught in flight and in focus (sort of) but a long way off and too small to be of much use.

This afternoon I had a perfect opportunity to photograph squirrels collecting hazelnuts on a nearby tree. The sun was going down and the tree was shaded so I was forced to shoot a low shutter speed. Added to this it was hard to see the squirrels through the lens and be sure the focus point was on them. So like the buzzard this resulted in 50 or more photos that were out of focus and had to be trashed. A professional photographer would have nailed it for sure.

squirrel

A little later two jets flew so low down the valley I could almost see the pilots, I managed to grab my camera for the second jet but as usual the auto focus refused to lock on, not that manual focus would have been any better as I had no time to focus anyway.

Below this woodpecker shot shows how difficult it can be avoiding branches and such like which can play havoc with autofocus.

woodpecker

When auto focus works it is wonderful, particularly for nature work but often even with spot focus it finds something in the foreground or distance more interesting much to my dismay and the loss of many a good photo. In the days of analog you would have taken more time, been more selective and only taken a few shots.

… but hell, who wants to wait two weeks for 36 expensive postcard prints to arrive and still be disappointed.

Long live digital I say! 🙂

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Nostalgia

ARomeo2-200-E

For me these simple old-timers are still beautiful to look at and in many ways much more harmonious than some of today’s tortured designs. SUVs that look like they were created by a frustrated designer on coke or by committees only interested in their next cafe latte. What with bland one-box people carriers and family saloon cars that all look alike, it is hardly an inspiring sector. Of course times were simpler back then and there were less people involved in creating a product. Today it is probably a case of too many cooks, or something …

… one thing is for sure design aesthetics has not really advanced since the advent of the motorcar, it has just changed fashion and adapted to form following function, which is no bad thing of course. This old Alfa Romeo is a racing car too, so it is a little unfair to compare them but I think most petrol heads would agree the heyday of car design is over and we are now entering a more rational, controlled era … and talking of racing cars there is nothing more tortured than today’s Formula One cars with their nasty spoiler add-ons, bits stuck on here and there like wind-tunnel test models or an old guy’s shaved face flecked with bits of bloody tissue paper. The driver has also disappeared from view so you might just as well be watching slot car racing for all the entertainment.

Environmental waste

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Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

As a Briton I found this article in the Guardian today truly shocking. Hazardous waste found in metal waste sent to Sri Lanka. Not just hazardous waste but body parts, yes, human remains oozing from the containers! WTF.

This is upright Britain sending their crap to poorer countries and making out they are whiter than white. This is just one example of what has been going on for years in the West as they dump waste anywhere but at home. I am glad to see now that some of these countries are having it no longer and sending the waste back.

I watch the UK politicians pontificating in parliament about making a better Britain. Oh really! I just tried to contact the UK environmental agency but like Facebook, EasyJet, Google etc this is virtually impossible. There is no telephone number, no email address and not even a postal address. Yet the first thing they ask for is YOUR email address. No doubt so that they can keep tabs on you to ensure you do not interfere with their profitable projects funding their high paid jobs.

I think it is a fucking disgrace what is going on in the world today. Meanwhile factory farms are expanding at an ever increasing rate, causing more pollution and disruption to local neighbourhoods.

What will Boris Johnson really do for Britain? Will he clean up Britains act or will it just be more of the same, Britain’s elite living it up at the expense of the rest of the world just as it was in colonial times.

I am ashamed to be British, it really disgusts me how politicians can turn a blind eye to what is going on around them. If Britain really wants to lead the way to the future it needs actions not words and needs to clamp down hard on all these activities that are probably run by gangs and underworld mobsters that include well known Billionaires trafficking underage girls.

What are you really going to do Boris?

I am watching you.

Guardian article

On a lighter note it could be that the human remains in question are those of a mobster who may have been crushed in his car Goldfinger style. Who knows, my concern however is that the whole business is questionable. Sort your own rubbish out, then you might realise what a lot of garbage is created and begin dealing with it and bringing in new laws to control waste, instead of turning a blind eye. All this rubbish, recyclable or not, is being shipped around the world in cargo vessels that pollute more than any other form of transport.

Update 03.08.2019

Boris is right about one thing. Britain needs fibre-optic high speed Internet. How can a country that considers itself one of the leading nations in the world be so far behind technlogically. Taiwan had faster Internet and trains than any other European country and much of it was free. WHF are you doing Britain!!!

Pforzheim today

Having just read that a politician in Madrid, Spain will revoke a project that has reduced pollution in the city, nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to dumb politicians.

Today the traffic in Pforzheim was ‘chock a block’ and for all Germany’s talk of saving the environment, I noted that most of the traffic was made up of large luxury cars, BMWs, Mercedes and SUVs with just one person inside. Meanwhile the bus struggled to make its way through the congestion totally unable to keep to its schedule. Pforzheim has an excellent bus service, which is quick, efficient and cheap yet still most people prefer to take their over priced, over sized cars into the centre and then spend most of the time trawling the streets trying to find a place to park.

I could go on and on about this subject, talking about design, marketing and product planning in the car industry and town planning but I know now after all these years I am just wasting my breath. All I can say is that as I am unlikely to be around in 20 years, this is a problem you and your children will need to face. As usual money talks and most of those in power are only interested in keeping their positions no matter what the cost to others. The car was meant to set us free but instead we have become a slave to the car industry imprisoned in a metal box that rarely moves much faster than it did back in the early 1900s.