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Sun is shining!

It’s Valentine’s Day today, the sun is shining, the sky is blue. The air is almost warm, garden is starting to think about coming to life after winter. I am still happily single, and will receive no flowers, no chocolates, and no I love yous.

And that is perfectly fine.

But Spring is coming, and it’s time to get outside again, camera in hand, and see if I can capture some of the things I see.

sun is shining

The moon always fascinates. At an average of 289,000 miles away, I find it incredible that my eye can see so much detail. Even more so that with a few tweaks to the settings, my camera can capture that detail so well.

For that shot, I used my Nikon D3300 with the Sigma 70-300mm lens – fully extended, and set to manual focus. Autofocus on the lens will never cope with that distance. The camera is in fully manual mode (M), with the settings as follows:

  • ISO 200
  • f11
  • Shutter 1/250

I didn’t change anything else. So there’s no exposure adjustment, white balance is set to Auto.

It helps if you have a tripod to steady the camera as the slightest bit of shake will cause problems. A tripod will remove that, if you have one. I’m lazy, and I lean on my washing line to steady my arm and hand. I’m pleased with the result.

While the sun is shining, and the moon is bright, I’ll be playing with the camera again, and that feels great!

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Snow days

Snow days

Across the UK during the past week or so, we have had snow days. It’s nowhere near as problematic as in some places, but it does disrupt things. I suspect, mainly because we’re not used to it!

So, with closed roads and school, advice is do not travel unless absolutely necessary. But mostly, life carries on as normal, just with an extra sweater, and added gloves!

But the Nikon camera struggles with all that white. When you’re faced with a large expanse of very bright, such as snow, the auto exposure settings can struggle. You end up with images that are over exposed and too glaringly shiny. The sea on a bright, sunny, day can have the same effect.

Fortunately our snow days haven’t been a total white out, and I did get some reasonable pictures.

On most DSLR cameras there will be a way to compensate for this. On the D3300 there is a tiny button with + and – symbols, near the on off switch. Press and hold this and thumb the wheel on the back of the camera to turn exposure up and down. This only works in manual or semi-manual modes. The function is not available in the auto modes. You’ll need to play around with it and see how much difference it makes for you.

A hood for the lens can help too, it shades the sensor a little and blocks some of the glare.

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Framed prints for sale

Wandered down to the beach for my usual Wednesday lunch with my Dad, and Oh WOW! My pictures, on the wall, Framed prints for sale at Francos, Aberavon, Port Talbot.

The original canvas prints are back on the wall, and the new framed prints are up as well.

Framed prints for sale

Sorry about the reflection from the window, these were taken on my phone, which doesn’t have a brilliant camera.

Framed prints for sale

I’ve set the canvases at £20 each, and the framed prints, £15 each – just ask the staff when you’re there.

While some of you might be able to wander down to the beach, most of you are too far away. If that’s you, and you’d like a print, let me know. I can go and grab it for you, and then let you know what the postage will be.

This has really made me grin today, Thank you Franco’s!

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Making time

Today is about making time to do things. Over the winter I’ve let things slip, rested back on habits and conveniences that aren’t ideal. We’ve eaten ready meals, far too much junk food, and fallen asleep on the sofa way too often.

Then on lottery, or euromillions, day, we sit and play the what if game. If we win, we’ll have this house, we’ll move and live there, if we have more time to do stuff we’d write, grow things, etc. But would we? really? If we’re not making time to do those thing now, why would a bigger house or more money make that much difference?

I fancy having a go at lino printing, so why wait? Recently I wanted to get back into writing but I find that despite having hours in which to write, I don’t.

I think it’s time for a change in attitude. So, yesterday I loaded up the slow cooker and make a batch of what I call mince mix. It’s a tomato base with onion, courgette, pepper, mushrooms, which is blitzed smooth using my hand blender when it’s cooked. Then I add in a large pack of beef mince and let is cook for a couple of hours. That gets made into pasta bolognese when it’s fresh. Once it’s cool, I make lasagne, or freeze portions.

But my freezer is over-full and needs defrosting. So, 2 of us had pasta bolognese last night, 2 of us are having cottage pie or pasta bake tonight. I like cottage pie, my daughter doesn’t, so I made individual dinners. And I made a 4 person lasagne for when my son and his girlfriend visit at the weekend, and a 2 person lasagne for my daughter and I another day.

My point is that I am making time to cook more healthy food from scratch, in advance. It makes meals easier.

It’s far too easy to fall into habits that don’t actually help us. So, I’m trying to change that, at least a little bit.

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Framed Prints

Canvases of my photos have been available for sale for a while at a local beach restaurant. But they’re redecorating at the moment. So I thought it might be time to change things up a bit. I’ve asked them to put up some framed prints instead.

The prints have been ordered, the frames purchased. Now it’s a wait for them to come together and take them in. Which will mean a trip to the beach. Probably lunch. Definitely with the camera now the weather is clearing a bit.

The prints, including the frames will be on sale for £15 each. The canvases were up for £30 each.

Prints are 8 x 10 inches, and each is mounted in a basic frame. I’ve chosen wood grain frames. Some are deeper, some have a narrow frame, some wider. I wanted to mix it up so they’re not all the same. If the restaurant owners want to they can mix the canvases with the framed prints, or spread them about.

Frame prints

If you want any of the framed prints, or canvases, and you can’t get down to Aberavon, let me know.

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