Looking out

Dark berries
Keeping my eyes open

In my youth I was rubbish at taking photos and I do like the fact that the digital age has revolutionised photography. I think the most important thing I’ve learned about taking photos is the importance of keeping my eyes open, seeing the details. Although we can capture a wide vista in a photo, often it will include elements that would preferably not be there; the lens tends to record a lot of things that our eyes simply edit out. I like a nice close-up shot like the berries in this photo, but this is not a good photo because for some reason the soft-focus areas have pixellated. I could crop them out, to be sure, but then I would end up with an oddly-shaped photo. Either way, it would not be perfect, and that’s the point – does it need to be?

I think keeping your eyes open, getting a clear view of both the vistas and the details, is an important life skill. I think the more we get used to how things look in real life, the better we will become at judging our own efforts fairly.  Let’s not edit out the less than perfect things in our photos and let’s not edit out the less than perfect things in our lives. Let’s live it as it comes.

Here are two examples of today’s efforts:

Chutney labels
Those labels
Treacle tarts
These tarts

The chutney labels aren’t perfectly applied; the filling escaped from the tarts and the pastry crumbled on a couple of them. Instagram would not approve. My tummy, on the other hand, has absolutely no issues with either of these efforts, and my tummy is far more important than Instagram. It has also been around longer, so I guess it knows more about real life than Instagram does.

Considering those tarts I have to conclude that they will look a whole lot better when I cover them with custard at luncthime. Maybe many things that don’t look so good on their own would look better with custard? It’s just a thought.

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Knitting photographs

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Close-up of Rowan Felted Tweed DK

There has been steady progress on my Gaudi cardigan and lace-back mitt over the past week, but nothing hugely interesting to photograph, so I thought I would talk a bit today about what I use to take my photographs.

This has been prompted by the fact that over the past few days I have been playing with my decent camera instead of just grabbing my phone to take snaps. My decent camera is an Olympus E-510 10 megapixel digital SLR camera. It is hardly in the first flush of youth, it seems this particular model debuted in 2007 and was superseded by the E-520 in 2008. I bought the camera second-hand and I’ve had it a few years now. I have three lenses for this camera, which include a macro lens for close-up photography – the one I used for these photos. My phone is the iPhone X with a 12 megapixel camera and it is a year old.

I have to say the phone suffices as a camera for pretty much all of my needs and I haven’t used my Olympus much at all in the past year. The one time this year that I have taken it out for a walk with me, I struggled to get it to focus; I am still not sure if that was due to the battery needing a charge, an actual issue with the camera, or simply me forgetting how to use it properly. However, this week, having charged the battery, I have grabbed a few photos and had no issue with the focus so I am hopeful that it is still in good working order.

The thing I really like about the Olympus, over and above the iPhone, is that I can use it with a tripod. This makes taking decent close-ups easier because even with image stabilisation my grip is prone to wobbliness. I have a remote control for the camera and that makes it a cinch to take photos of myself wearing my finished knitting projects. I know when I finish Gaudi I am going to want to take some photos.

On the other hand, the thing I really like about the iPhone camera is that it goes pretty much everywhere as a matter of course, and it’s easy to pick up to take a quick snap whenever I want. There is a lot to be said for convenience.

As to the picture quality, I honestly don’t know that there is much in it. In view of that I am just counting myself as lucky that I have a choice of cameras to suit different situations. If the Olympus does give up the ghost, I probably wouldn’t buy a replacement. Then again, if I decided to downgrade my phone next time it’s time to change (quite possible if my mood of frugality continues) then having the Olympus means my choice wouldn’t be narrowed to only phones with good cameras.

Here are some more photos of my knitting taken with the Olympus:

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Mitt progress
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Gaudi colour blocking – I really like the colour reproduction on this.

I hope your projects are going well and I’d be interested to hear whether you have a preference between a phone camera or a more standard camera for your photography.


 

Why “Palms Socks”?

Heel and gusset worked

You may be wondering why I’ve decided to name this pair of socks “Palms Socks”.  Well, this is why:

Alan Reed photographic prints in my living room

If you click on this photo to see it larger, the print on the left as you look at it is the exact same colours that appear in the yarn for these socks.  The print is called “Palms” and thus the socks are called “Palms Socks”.

A bit of background to these prints.  They are by a photographer called Alan Reed who lives and works locally here in Norwich.  I bought these two prints soon after I moved into my flat and I love them to bits, as I do the majority of his work.  I bought these at my local art gallery “Grapevine” which is literally a five minutes walk from my flat.  The other print is a view inside Norwich Cathedral which is about a 20-minute walk from my flat, so I hope that makes these prints relatively low-carbon-footprint, so long as we ignore the cameras, computers, printers, paper, ink,  possibly chemicals…..  But, hey, lower carbon-footprint than if they’d been shipped all the way from the United States for example!

As you can see from the photo of my knitting, the first sock is coming along well.  I decided to do the heel flap in a twisted rib for a little bit of texture.  My go-to pattern is very plain indeed, but it fits.  I did once try to do a different heel shaping, but the heel flap and gusset works well for me, so I stick with it.

The first week of the Tour de France has been a roller-coaster ride for the team I support – Team Sky.  On Thursday Edvald Boasson-Hagen won the stage, the first stage win in a Tour for Sky, then yesterday their star rider, Bradley Wiggins, crashed out with a broken collar-bone and the team plummeted from second place to bottom just like that.  Let’s see what today brings.