The spring is here
Now the figures are in I see people do actually read my blogs here, so will keep going. The clocks going forward have now given me back my freedom, the dark months saw me consolidate areas with green patches, and am now about 10 short of my first full hectad when I get round to doing the rest of it. Having spent a year previously on Geograph-specific trips am now running out of many under 50 miles, so the stakes are rising as each new target is further away than the previous one. But I have so far risen to the occasion, and spent April mopping up the pre-Worboys road signs in north Kent I knew about, managing an eastern record in Paddock Wood of 67 east in TQ.
Being a lifelong collector my Flickr aim was purely artistic and road sign related, while here although I try my best (especially after the moving car experiments on various roads) to remain artistic some roundabouts are inevitable, and some hedgerows, simply as that is all there is in a square at times as any other attempts would be dangerous or impossible to attempt. But I hope at least they are well composed roundabouts, if not in focus at least. In the end I managed every pre-Worboys direction (I don't post them all here simply as the powers that be and vandals, often indistinguishable in this case, seem to coincide their removal with posting their exact locations online) in and around London, including twelve in Harlow (I knew of 8 and found four more en route) and amazingly despite the breadth of the place only missed one when I went back home and checked online. I'd Streetviewed most of the area for 30 miles or more so less likely more will turn up locally as I'm now over four years from the start of the project, but very soon after I'd completed the mission someone found a lovely example in a place I'd already been for the first one there in Petersfield. I checked the map and it turned out to be on a road heading south, meaning I could extend my coverage about 6 miles into the green after getting it and make something from having to repeat a 60 mile trip a few months later. I did find the same day I was a few hundred yards away from one in Seaford, but there is no decent road there from here and can't go much further as like the first time you hit the sea the minute you try. There has to be a cost-benefit analysis on duplicate trips, and the effort involved to Seaford would be far better used going to Worthing or maybe Eastleigh in the future.
So just over a month into the long days I've done around two trips a week and broken a few of my records already. I went to Finchdean yesterday from Petersfield, and still running the wooded roads looking for the inevitable similar anonymous photos with no houses or special features to single them out from similar miles of road either side. I was free today and almost followed the urge to go out again simply as I could, but although there may not be another chance for almost a week I resisted it as we are only human and once you hit 50 really don't want to overdo it as whatever the mind wishes the body does not always appreciate it when you follow.
There is plenty of time before October to do more than I want and have a list of places I'm gradually ticking off, while a few depend on other people to be available as well before I can go. It's been a very good start and have learnt from last year's errors to weed out the real rubbish, although a slightly out of focus hedge does represent that point, and if the only usable one in a square and possibly a rarely visited one it does contain more value than none, but preferable to find ways of getting something a bit better if possible. I can't stop my camera shutting down in indirect sunlight (one of the perils of older equipment, I doubt the more recent kit does that) and even the edits leave them looking washed out rather than funereal, as the programs can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. If you go east and return west you have the sun pointing at you the whole way and without the verboten shots with the sun included, simply having it in the same general direction makes my camera so shy it almost turns itself off. Being on auto setting it knows what it should be doing, and being compact if you try and use the numerous manual settings it either provides a blue tint or a blur, sometimes both. They basically don't work, at all. As I can take perfectly passable photos otherwise and edit most of the effect out, I'm not spending whatever it takes on a bridge camera (the wider field allows proper alterations for conditions, even freezing a 70 mph motorway shot as evident across the site) you can't put it in your pocket (unless you're a kangaroo) and probably needs a strap like my SLR, which unlike the current equipment was bought in 1979 and will probably last forever if someone doesn't try and press the wrong button like I did. That cost me £70 (well over the price new) but apart from losing the exposure meter when it fell off the back seat of the car is still as good as new. My digital has mangled four memory cards, various photos as a result, and barely has a zoom facility but as I don't take many views needing it and if I do then simply use the SLR, which has a 200 and 500mm lens, a tripler (hard to get enough light and needs a tripod) and a macro ring. Actually macro is the only thing I can do easily on the digital, although the resolution is not enough for a ladybird (I may try it on full pixels and crop it to an inch of its life as a test) unless something melts in it I intend to keep it for the duration. It's now 6 years old and taken about 15,000 photos and although the XD cards it uses cost four times more than the current equivalent, and don't go in my printer (plus the card reader I use to transfer them to one it does is now in the great cage in the sky) it does the job. And some of my best pictures were taken on an Instamatic so go figure.
- Tue, 1 May 2012 at 15:29
- Grid Square
- Chosen Photo
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