Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stage debut

My Fair Lady 2
Originally uploaded by bowtoo
My sons decided at the beginning of summer to enroll for the Summerstage at Manchester by the sea.

It has been quite an interesting experience for them - they both landed lead roles because of their accents, a shortage of male leads and (of course) their talent potential!

The Gloucester Times ran an article on the show and we are going to the last performance tonight.

I saw a dress rehearsal last week and took a number of photographs with my new camera (exercising some of the low light capabilities.....).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Honeybees sterilise their hives

A friend sent me an article on how bees sterilise their hives.

"Honeybees sterilise their hives with antimicrobial resin, scientists have discovered.

In doing so, they give the whole colony a form of "social immunity", which lessens the need for each individual bee to have a strong immune system.

Although honeybee resin is known to kill a range of pathogens, this is the first time that bees themselves have been shown to utilise its properties."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Well after the initial euphoria I have been getting some reviews that suggest that the 50D isn't quite what it is pitched to be.

Canon released this model soon after the 40D (a year) and it seems was brought out to compete with the Nikon D300. It does stack up quite nicely against the D300 by all accounts, but it seems that it doesn't stack up that well against the 40D.

Most features are the same but Canon crammed a 15megapixel sensor into the camera - and while the 6.3frames per second is impressive considering that the sensor is 50% more dense than the 40D, the speed is a little slower than the 40D's 6.5frames per second.

The camera also has a burst capacity that is lower than the 40D and the image quality is lower in some circumstances. The higher density can apparently hurt you in low light.

The 50D has some features that are very cool for photographers who are transitioning from a point and shoot. For example in live view mode the camera will lock onto faces like the point and shoots do.

The image processor is the same as the 5Dmark II and the Rebel T1L and offers several ISO settings and noise reduction settings. The LCD display on the back has a higher resolution and is brighter. The 40D today is around $130 cheaper than the 50D.

I have a few days to decide whether to return this camera. Still am not sure one way or the other. The 12800 ISO isn't really much to write home about, but at least it is there. The 40D goes to 3200.

Funny - most of the reviewers end up rating the two camera's more or less equal - but here is one reviewer (who owns a 50D) who came down on the side of the 50D.

I really like the LCD display brightness and resolution and the high ISO with built-in noise reduction looks quite promising to me. So the jury is still out for me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Originally uploaded by bowtoo
Well this is my 50th year and it has been 5 years since my family clubbed together to get my first Digital SLR so it seemed appropriate to go for a camera upgrade.

The boys and Anne contributed to the project and I went to pick up the camera this afternoon.

It was a tough choice. Camera technology has really come along in the past few years. Most camera manufacturers have brought Video into play (imagine HD video with the great lenses that you can put on a DSLR body)!

The direct upgrade from what I had is the Rebel T1i (500D) which uses the same digital processor as their new 5D Mark II. It boasts great low light potential at 3200ISO (with two very high ISO ratings 6200 and 12800). I suspect that 3200 is probably as noisy as the 800ISO was on my Rebel.

A step up from the Rebel (same processor and ISO levels) is the Canon 50D. A more substantial camera (heavier, more solid looking) than the Rebel with many of the same features.

Most compelling in this camera is the viewfinder optics. It is immediately noticeable when you look through it - bright and clear. You can really see when things are in focus. This higher quality viewfinder had me right from when I put the camera up to my eye and looked through it in the store. Add to that a frame rate of 6.3frames per second. For sports and action photography this is incredible. The camera also doesn't hesitate. I don't know how many frames it will shoot before slowing down (my old rebel could do no more than 3), but I was easily shooting 6 or so frames without a slowdown.

The camera actually came out in Aug 2008 so it isn't new. The autofocus is pretty cool too and I see that the camera has built-in functions for fine tuning focus dependent on the lens attached to the camera. It will be interesting to see how focus performs compared with the Rebel.

Very cool.... thanks family.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

As American as Cricket?

A friend forwarded this article to me - it makes an interesting read: a cricket lover noting some of the similarities between cricket and baseball.

Mentioning the game cricket in America will almost always bring a smirk and some comment about how long or slow it is.

I have a friend who grew up in Michigan and came to love cricket at college - which is a good thing, because it is great to hear him expounding on some finer detail of the game!

Of course it is really hard to follow cricket here. Buying a series on TV is only possible if you have one of the two satellite services and it costs. I think that the last world cup cost $300 (R3000) to watch on TV.

The games are streamed on the internet now, so have become a little more affordable, but then you have the time difference to contend with as well.... sigh.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Time Binder - antique photographs

I came across Timebinder in the This Week in Photography podcast.

This is a site dedicated to showing antique photographs that this collector has found and researched. He has posted high quality images of the photographs on the site along with notes describing their origin and some background information.

Well worth a visit.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Balloon man

Balloon man
Originally uploaded by bowtoo
in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and



balloonMan whistles

In Just
e.e. cummings (published 1923)