Archive for April, 2010

A new camera – The Nikon D5000

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Yes yes yes, I know it’s only been two years and five months since I bought the D40, but I have upgraded to the D5000! The kit I purchased came from Jessops, and had a new 70-300mm Tamron macro lens thrown in. But, it is a most awesome camera and I enjoyed today’s quick trip to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, followed by a quick trip up the Vale of Llangollen along the narrow and bendy Rhewl road, and then back along the Worlds End Pass road. The camera is as easy to use as the D40, just about the same weight, yet comes with a whole slew of new features that boggle the mind, such as on the go retouching (including a handy perspective feature which tries to straighten out any non straight buildings due to lens angles); as well as HD movies, and a swivel screen that, with live view, allows you to reach over obstacles and see what you’re looking at.

The movies are okay, but ‘ve got to figure out where the mic is so I can shelter it from wind with my hand. As it’s mono there’s no noise cancellation, and the slightest breeze becomes a mighty hurricane.

The two new lenses are most awesome. One is a VR version of the same 18-55mm I already possess, and the other is a telephoto macro that can zoom further than the 55-200mm, and also pick out finer details on Macro mode. The two photos here are made using the Tamron lens. Hopefully the 70mm will also be more adaptable for indoor use, as currently I need to switch between the two. However I suppose I could sell my VR 18-55 and VR 55-200 and simply purchase the 18-200mm. This would leave me with the two best lenses, although the larger the lens, the heavy the camera for normal use. This should now be less of a problem, as I have a new bag with the kit. It fits all three lenses, and all the accessories I possess, such as the remote, and the crazy USB it uses. On that note, the camera interfaces with Windows 7 quite well, having come out over a year ago, the Nikon devs would have had time to work on it – The icon on the taskbar is an image of the camera, and mousing over shows battery time, and a button to go straight to the photo folder. Most usefull.

As can be seen above, that’s everything the kit included. It was £689 from Jessops including the postage, but this comes down with the £200+ from the D40 I’m going to be selling, and the £50 cashback from Nikon. I could potentially get £300 off it in total. I leave you with the video test. I apologise for the sound, but there was a slight breeze!

Conquering Mountains

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Well, on Sunday the 21st March, me and two friends from work successfully climbed Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales, at 1085m (3500ft (ish)). Three weeks later, we climbed Cadair Idris. With Snowdon, the journey was filled with much peril and adventure but we persevered and made it to the peak and then back to the car park in eight and a half hours. That’s more than a full working day. Hell, throw in the drive times and intial picking up of people it was more than 13 hours!

We made it up and down with no major problems, apart from a ridge near the top which was very narrow and flanked by steep, near vertical 1000ft drops. The weather was horrible, although initially sunny and clear, this became cloudy. Then overcast. Then rain. Then heavy rain. Then heavy, freezing rain. Combined with the Snow at the top, which in places was in excess of 8ft, this was the worst weather I had ever experienced. Below is a truncated video of the 13 minute Facebook one. Sorry for the crazy Aspect ratio, first iPhone video.

With Cadair Idris, it was completely different. The weather was sunny and clear all day. So much so that we burned ourselves. The climb was a lot easier, and the views, perfect. We got lost in Dolgellau for a short while, but made it to the Snowdonia National Park Car park for the Pony Path. On the way down, I broke the strap on my birthday watch when I fell and smashed the steel buckle to pieces between a rock and my wrist. Almost two weeks later, and the scratches the buckle left in my wrist are still present. Cadair Idris was particularly busy, so we stopped and waiting on a particularly comfortable piece of grass for people to overtake until we were relatively alone. We made it up and down inside six hours, but the weather was partly to blame of this; we weren’t exactly rushing up the mountain, and stopped several times to take in the view and the weather.

We will be climbing Glyder Fach in May; hopefully we can be photographed on the Cantilever Stone!

Cadair Idris was definitely the better mountain to climb. We will be retackling Snowdon’s other paths inevitably, including the notorious Watkin Path. There’s even been talk of learning to rock climb!

And now for the obligatory photo montage. Only the last two are from Snowdon. I didn’t want to break my camera with rain! Not that it matters much, but there’ll be a post on that in a few days…

Climbing Cadair Idris Climbing Cadair Idris Climbing Cadair Idris Climbing Cadair Idris Climbing Cadair Idris Chris has the horn Group Photo