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Do what the man says….

Yaaay …. I’m back ! Well, the PC is back. Its alive, its working and all is good in the hood. A massive thank you to Andy, its been a long time since we saw each other but this guy went out of his way to help. In the end, it wasnt as serious as first thought and a small purchase from my favourite PC retailer solved it. RAM or random access memory if you are not in the know. What does it look like..well let me show you.

So there you go. That was the problem. I was trying to squeeze a double-decker bus under a low bridge in record time doing 70 miles per hour and it just didn’t like it or fit in the buses case. I can understand why now. I don’t know about you but opening a box containing circuits and hard drives, fans and wires, lots of wires actually, coloured ones as well scares the living daylights out of me really. I can identify what all the bits do, I was brought in to computers in 1982 by a very nice teacher at school called Mr Gaffney. If I recall we were the first school year to have this type of education back then. It was fantastic learning about flow charts and binary, it made sense at the time but it was very difficult to associate it with anything outside the classroom. Logic…now that’s a word isn’t it? That’s what it’s all about. Anyway, without drifting off track; I absolutely loved Computer Studies, it taught me how to program and how to understand computers. And in the end I came out with a GCSE and an A grade. I find it really funny now, since my first computer which was a Sinclar ZX81  ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX81 ) people not in the know have always seemed to turn towards me for help. I wonder if computing over the years has always been and still is one of those “you either know it or you don’t” scenarios. Over the years its done me well, don’t get me wrong here I don’t know it all, in fact thats quite rash because I know sweet Felicity Arkwright compared to most after all you only need to read what happened over the last few days to work out that I needed help and I will be the first to admit it. Many times I have been offered a couple of quid or a freebie of some variety for popping round and performing the simplest of tasks on the hosts PC, walking away feeling very happy with what had been a simple task for me and my pockets lined with english pounds.

To give you an example of my incompetence, before Christmas I installed Windows 8 and I loved it, I then went on to have a new hard drive installed and that’s when it went wrong. My initial thought was to blame myself for something I had done, this is despite the fact I hadn’t done anything. It seemed an easy way out. Elaine has seen me like this before, she know what it does to me when the PC is not playing ball. I become quiet and seem to retract inside myself if that makes sense and as much as I will deny that anything is bothering me she knows, it’s a wifes intuition I am sure of it. The very sad fact is, I know what I am like, I don’t think I am happy until it’s the way I want it, and the repercussions of this involve me messing and tinkering until it does what I want. The internet is a massive resource for finding things out but it’s not always the best. In past instances its proved to be my downfall; believing what I read and standing by it until it all goes tits up and then there is no one else to blame but yours truly. This is all by the by now as my machine is alive and kicking. No screen flickers, no sudden shut downs and an up turn in performance.

January was a terrible month for photography. In past years I have managed over 2000 images, blue skies and sunshine been the reason. When you have taken images of places in all weathers it’s very hard to muster up ideas for something different especially when you seem confined to barracks wrestling with a poorly PC. This has an added effect of ” What will I do with the images if I take them as I have no PC”. It’s a non starter really, so I didn’t bother. For almost one whole month I have had my photography brain switched off and used what very little I have had in ideas on writing this blog. But, and that’s a big but…Here I am ready to start editing. And, in the future I am going to try listening for once and doing as the man says……… I think!

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Finally, some light

After the atrocious weather over the last few days and only a slight dusting of snow overnight it was a pleasant surprise to see the sun this morning. Ah yes, sun I here you say? Remember, that spherical object that sits in our universe providing light and heat to our world.  It made an appearance this morning, and in style too. In fact it was so nice that a proper camera was taken out of moth balls as Elaine and I proceeded to have a very gentle saunter around the dam (also known as Yeadon Tarn). On a side note, don’t get me going on this one, apparently it doesn’t matter what I call the “puddle of water” I always get it wrong.

Yeadon in the snow

Yeadon in the snow

But that’s another story, one I wish to try to avoid for fear of upsetting the locals. The water was 90% frozen and covered in a thin layer of snow and how pleasant it was. The sun appeared to be generating some winter heat and before I knew it the gloves were off and stowed away in a spare pocket and the fleece jacket zip was lowered to half mast. I took a staggering 176 images this morning which considering I took 1700 in January 2012 as a whole and bearing in mind that this is the first outing this year I don’t think I did too bad. There was plenty to see and capture by camera too; far too much for me to demonstrate on my blog. If you head over to my Flickr pages in a few days time I will have uploaded a whole set from this morning. The light was sublime; an ideal winters day for a landscape photographer. Crisp, clear, long shadows, plenty of contrast all set against the blue. I was in my element. I had expected exactly that and my only failing was leaving the tripod behind.

Yeadon in Winter

Yeadon in Winter

I always carry a tripod with me, even if it’s just in the boot of the car. I have been asked why so many times. The answer, well I am quietly confident that any photographers will already know the solution to that question but here goes anyway. The use of a tripod has an obvious answer and a not so obvious answer. I am going way back now and digging up this from the bowels of my photography history so here goes. The tripod is one of the photographers best friends; but not something you see being used everyday. Ask yourself the question…when did you last see a photographer? I don’t mean someone with a camera, I mean a “Photographer” with a tripod? That’s because it’s not such a common sight anymore; all down to the advent of digital photography combined with upgraded equipment and image stabilised lenses. Its true, why spend time trying to create something in the field when you can do exactly the same thing back home in the warmth of your living room using Adobe software. Makes sense doesn’t it?

Yeadon in the snow

Yeadon in the snow

There are a few uses for a tripod, as much as they are a bind to carry around. Firstly, they are fantastic at holding the camera still for you; preventing movement and increasing stability. I am only joking, they are THE best thing for holding your camera still. The ultimate objective of the tripod. When the ground is covered in snow or wet from the rain, the little hook on the centre column is great for holding your camera bag whilst you fiddle around with your camera settings. A tripod is also handy when it comes to getting the horizon or verticals completely level, once you have set it up using the spirit level, Bob’s your uncle. Another one for you….close up and macro photography like taking photos of small objects close-up can require a lot of skill, and minor movements will be crucial to a perfect image. Using a tripod will noticeably reduce unwanted movement of the camera. My ultimate reason for using a tripod, to increase depth of field in landscape photography. By closing the aperture down to f27 or similar and slowing the shutter speed down to match your landscape images take on a whole new meaning. Sharp and clear from front to back. So there you go, a few benefits of the tripod. The next time you head out of the door, consider taking her with you, that’s the tripod by the way.

Thank you for reading today’s short blog. I hope you like the images and also understand why it was an opportunity not to be missed.

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