It perhaps serves me right for feeling a little smug that we'd both survived about 3 winters without either of us succumbing to much more than a modest sniffle - we'd managed to avoid all the bugs that do the rounds and were in decent health when those around us were struck down. So it would appear that we were paid back by getting all three winters worth in one dose.
Please click on any of the photographs for a larger view.
It's lovely in summer months to get out for an evening walk whilst dinner is in the oven and Monday evening gave us such an opportunity after a rather grey day.
I have also been without my most recent camera for some weeks whilst it was repaired under warranty, but having picked it back up at the weekend, it appeared to be fixed - and it's true that the major problem had been cured with a new lens and sensor unit - but there are still restless ghosts in the machine and I've taken the shop manager up on his offer of upgrading to the newer replacement model by paying the difference in their prices. They can't replace it directly as they can't get the model any more.
I've taken this scene very many times and can't resist walking past and taking another - I was actually looking for two families of young ducks who live on this stretch of river, but they were obviously all off on adventures.
I would actually have the new model in my sticky mitts right now, as I'd worked out a convoluted way of walking and bus journeys to attend to several errands in one trip today, but I totally forgot to get out and take with me the camera receipt and had to return home and cancel my plans - I'm livid about it and have no one to blame but myself. Having been very good for about 2 weeks, I was going to treat myself to something nice for lunch too - so now I will have to raid the store cupboard instead. Serves me right really, I deserve to be punished.
Having collected the repaired camera on Saturday morning, I was keen to do some work with it to ensure it was now working well before we go away next week, so I fired off quite a lot of assorted shots to check how it was working and a few during a walk on a rare nice evening on Monday.
I was rather surprised at how well my camera and close up filters worked when I saw the detail in the face.
One of the things I was keen to try with it was to do some close ups with some additional close up filters. I didn't even know if they would work with a digicam of this nature (I usually use them with my DSLR and lenses), so dug them out to have a go. They seem to work pretty well, by shortening the minimum focus distance for any particular focal length (i.e. zoom) - allowing you to focus on something that bit closer than usual and thereby increasing the size of the subject on the sensor.
The definition of macro is that the subject is captured at 1:1 scale on the sensor or film plane - or better. So most digicams, despite having 'macro' modes aren't capable of actually capturing true macro photographs, they'd be more appropriately described as close ups. For example, the camera in question has a sensor 6.17mm x 4.55mm in area, so to capture a macro photograph, something 6.17mm wide would totally fill the photograph from left to right.
This particular bee with a taste for my lavender got rather camera shy and would vanish when I started taking photos, so I had to get sneaky to catch him in action.
But the addition of the close up filters (+3 dioptre in this case) - which it transpired were a different size from the front screw mount of my lens - so had to be hand held in front of it - clearly allowed a little extra magnification. My technique whilst working in this manner needs some work (I was just tinkering very quickly to see if it had merit before buying filters the right size) and I think the filters I have are rather poor in quality and I was getting some terrible colour halos around any edges catching the light. But I think it might be interesting to play some more with them and work out the maximum magnification and a suitable working distance to optimise the potential. I think it's something that I will enjoy working at.
Just as soon as I get my replacement camera that is - and the sun coming back out would help too, please!