Saturday 6th August 2011 – Summer Outing to Argory


The title of this is Summer Outing to Argory.  Excuse me.  Exactly where was Summer!!  Total washout.

Twelve forlorn souls and a baby braved the downpours and thunder and lightning in the name of photography.    Were we downhearted.  Heck, No.  After all photography is only part of it.  Its mainly about the coffee, tea, 4 varieties of scones (plain, fruit, cherry and date, for those who want to know) topped off with 3 types of home made jam, made of course by our own Mrs Hartley no less.

Some got transported like queens in a luxury Porche 4×4 including the special wave, whilst others followed.   Argory was easily found and no one went missing this time.

We really should have known what we were in for as the skies became heavier and blacker with telltale very wet portions of the road.   On we went.

After our picnic, we set off around the outside of the house and before we had gone 100 metres, the heavens opened.  By some good fortune, a marquee had been erected in the garden beside the house and we sheltered there, playing with macro lenses et al.  Someone commented that we could now get photos for our own version of Droppy, with the amount of rain washing over the side of the shelter.

This was a good opportunity to show our less experienced members some camera settings and their resultant exposures.

Cooperman heard the thunder and thought that it was a good idea to bounce his flash off the marquee roof, causing certain people to think we had lightning.   A few minutes later we had real lightning.  Julie braved the rain on her own during this so we await eagerly her photos next week.

During a short break in the rain, we got photos of the entrance and seats and foliage thereabouts.   I returned to the car with the intention of taking my wife, who was waiting in the car, for a tour of the house.  As it turned out only conducted tours without cameras was allowed and these took about an hour,  It also involved stair climbing and long periods of standing so we agreed to give it a miss.  Maybe we’ll return some day.

After our lunch, some of the others appeared and eagerly awaited to see what size of lunch Julie, Christine, Helen and Velia had brought.   I spotted the Sainsbury’s basket poorly disguised in the boot of a car.

The photos below again feature the handsome lunches enjoyed by some.  As I said, photography was only a side issue on this outing.

We decided to abandon the onward trip to Ardress and head home.  Amazingly, the weather in Bangor was bright with some actual sunshine!!

Below are two photos, one of the picnics some enjoyed, the other of the entire group.  Photo taken by Alan’s wife, Helen.

Roll on Wednesday till we see some of the photos.

Our Lunches

The brave ones

The Brave Ones

Friday 5th August 2011 – Clubnight


John had requested me by email if I would help clean his “mucky sensor” this evening.   He arrived with a Nikon and although I had forgotten to bring my magnifying loupe, we started on the task.  Firstly, the mirror showed a slight layer of dust buildup so I opted to use the Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly brush which generates static in the bristles by periodic spinning.  A couple of gentle swipes outwards, and it looked clear.

Cleaning of the mirror or the underside of the prism (to remove dust which is visible in the viewfinder) is a very delicate operation and is fraught with the danger of scratching the coating, to be seen forever.  John operated the command to raise the mirror to expose the sensor and first line of attack was using the Rocket blower with the camera inverted.  I asked him to reattach the lens, set to f22 and manual focus and go outside and take a photo of cloud or blue sky to help show up the location of dust spots.  By magnifying the resulting photo and/or viewing on the computer any spots will be revealed.  There were still some spots so we tried the Butterfly brush then finally the Pec-Pad with a spot of Eclipse cleaning fluid.  One careful light wipe should normally be enough.   Another photo and mission accomplished.

Meanwhile Jack arrived with a memory stick with his AV for the national competition called “All that Glisters”.   His final version was warmly commended and was really refined especially with Jack’s refined voice-over.  Well done Jack.   We couldn’t let him away without seeing again his famous work, “Droppy”.

Alli, Harry, Trevor also submitted photos on a stick for appraisal.

By request I showed a couple of my old AVs, A Taste of Venice and especially for Christine, Barcelona 2007.

I mentioned that the new season programme was almost ready for publication, meanwhile I will publish in this blog, the finalised dates for Competitions and NIPA Rounds.

Tomorrow was the last scheduled summer outing to Argory and Ardress House, both National Trust properties.   Hope the weather holds.

Feedback and comments in this blog would be appreciated.