Photos of Phones and Phonographs (occasionally)
This isn’t much of a photo (it’s just my cat sat on the roof of the lean to out the back of my house) but I’m posting it more as a test of the new blog template. I’ve decided that it’s time to increase the size of the images I post here.
In other news, I’ve been thinking a bit more about what I want to achieve in 2013. I’m not really one for “new years resolutions” (why wait until January the 1st to make a failed attempt at lifestyle change?) but I do have a few things I’d like to achieve by this time next year.
- Get back on top of photography. I want to shoot more, and get better. A mate at work (Hi Chris!) has been thinking about doing photo-a-day to get the most out of his new camera (with encouragement from me) so I might join him and see how I get on. If Chris doesn’t start (or quits early) then I will aim to finish the month we’re in at the time before quitting myself.
- Alcohol. I’ve been thinking of having another break from drinking. Last time I quit the booze I lasted 18 months, I don’t have a target in mind (or indeed any particular reason for quitting) but I think I might make 2013 a dry year. This should be a fairly easy one for me anyway.
- Food. Last January I had a bit of a play around with vegetarianism in a very loose way. I’m probably going to do that again. The rules being “I’ll be vegetarian as far as possible, unless I’m a guest in someones house and they’ve cooked for me – or if I’m eating out and there is no viable vegetarian option” … so if I’m at my parents house on a Sunday and mum has cooked a roast dinner I’ll wolf down the lot as usual, or if I’m in a restaurant and the only veggie options feature walnuts (which would kill me) I’ll go meat – but if I’m cooking then it’ll be meat free.
- Fitness. 2013 is the year I get my 6 pack back. I came close in 2012, but have put on a little winter insulation since the nights drew in, I stopped running regularly and started eating all that comforting stodge. I’m not going on a fitness kick immediately, but as soon as I can I’ll start running again and get back to the weights and chinups
- Charity Cheese Compilations. I’m also going to have a crack at putting together a semi regular, 30 minute podcast of easy listening from my extensive collection of charity shop records. Of all the aims listed in this post, this is the one I most expect to fail at.
So there we go. That’s what I’m aiming for in 2013. Lets see how we get on…
Light at Night
I’ve got a new tripod. I’ve been playing…
The first two are of the Severn Bridge, and the last one is of a bus stop on the A4 in Bristol. Near Shirehampton train station.
While I was at the Severn Bridge, I took this shot of a tree lined path, lit entirely by sodium vapour street lamps (30 second exposure). It’s got a really eerie glow to it.
It appears to have been quite a while since I pulled any photos off my compact, so here are a few “edited highlights”
I took this for the “what’s in your pocket” photo-challenge theme, but didn’t manage to find time to get it online in time (I’m only 2 months late!)
I went on holiday for a week in October, down to sunny (and rainy/windy) Cornwall. Most of our time was spent walking on the beach, occupying Bob the labrador (who is at least 6 sandwiches short of a picnic) The last two photos above are of a loco I found in a shed a short walk from the apartment we were staying in.
I didn’t make a note of the engine number, but do remember that when we looked it up on the internet it was Swedish. Or Finish.
I don’t know. I’m a rubbish train spotter!
Bob was staying with me this weekend, so I took him out exploring in the early hours of this morning. We went down paths I’d never been down before (just to see where they went) it’s funny how much more confident I am about exploring the wilds of Lawrence Weston (not the nicest bit of Bristol, the locals can be a bit.. erm… “territorial”) with a bloody great dog. Even if he is all mouth and no trousers.
I also took some frost photos for this weeks photo-challenge.
And in the afternoon we went for another walk, in a different direction (along bigger paths) – this is the first photo I’ve published here which was taken on an iPhone. I’m probably not going to be shooting a huge amount with the iPhone as it’s such a pain in the arse to get the photos off.
This weeks photo-challenge was to take a photo of an egg, lit only with a torch and using some white paper. As a torch, I was using a USB reading light I bought in poundland (no expense spent!) because it had a row of LEDs on it which would give the stripes I was after.
I put down a few grains of salt to make the egg stand up, that could be construed as cheating (as salt wasn’t on the list of materials) but I think I can probably get away with it.
Exposure was about a second, and aperture was closed right down (f22 I think) to thoroughly kill the ambient. My tripod is knackered, so was held together with cable ties for the duration of the shoot. I don’t think it will last another, so it’s time to go shopping!
“Bloody hipster” was my recurring thought while making this.
That and “I really need to buy a new computer, this one is seriously struggling with a 40 layer gimp file comprised of full res photos”
Light, fruity red
My entry for this weeks “Downside Up” photo challenge. I took a setup shot as well
Hmm. Bit of a “meh, that’ll do” week for me on the photo-challenge this week. The plans I had came to nothing (mostly due to lazyness if I’m honest) so I’ve gone for the last minute “something I found around the house” option.
It’s probably best not to ask why I’ve got a collection of empty egg boxes in my front room.
DFR Diesel Day
It was a Diesel Gala Day at the DFR on Saturday. Had I realised in advance, I’d have taken my DLSR and taken some better photos but all I had with me was my compact which isn’t *great* for train photography. John and I spent the day in the bottom of Lydney Junction signal box working on the power and fusing arrangements on the concentrator rack. It now makes a lot more sense, and is ready for the exchange we’re building to go down there.
Lydney junction saw a lot more movement than a normal running day, with engines going back and fourth every couple of minutes as they ran round, swapped places and stock before pootling back off up the line.
We also had a special visitor – a Hastings Unit which had come to visit us, from hastings! I’m told that these are special in that they’re extra narrow so that they can fit through the tunnels on the Tunbridge Wells to Hastings line (which are narrower than they should be for some reason). The train came to us from the mainline at about 12:30 and then did two trips up and down our line before disappearing back off up the mainline.
I think this was the first time I’ve ever seen three out of four lines at Lydney Junction occupied. If only they’d been able to squeeze a 4th train in! Left to right we have a 14 (“Teddy Bear”) the Hastings, and then the Dean Forest DMU.
Trains aren’t really my strong point…
Bread and Soup
I’ve had a busy day today, cleaning up an STC MX5 phone exchange (a small, 5 extension electronic exchange) and building most of the kitchen unit for BOV (and designing the rest of it!)
I didn’t take any photos of the MX5 or BOV today but I did bake some bread to a new recipe and made some french onion soup to go with it, so this is a recipe post (in case I ever want to make the bread again!)
Onion and Tomato Bread
- 1lb of self raising flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8floz water
- 1 small red onion, finely sliced
- The leaves from a small handful of fresh rosemary
- A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, olive oil and water together into a loose sticky dough. Flatten slightly on a floured surface. Spread the onion and tomatoes evenly over the surface. Bring the edges of the dough up and over to form a ball. Turn the dough over, and kneed slightly then form into a round.
Transfer to a pre-heated baking sheet. Use a wooden spoon to divide the dough into sections, pushing it almost all the way through the dough.
Bake for 35 minutes at 200C
Note to self, next time you make this – try sticking some cheese in and see what happens. It feels like it should work…
Easy Onion Soup
- 1 large onion per person
- 1/2 pint of beef stock per person
- knob of butter for frying
- 1tbsp of flour
- chilli flakes to taste
In a covered saucepan, gently fry the onion and chilli flakes in the butter for about 20 minutes until soft, golden and slightly caramelised. Stir in the flour. Add the beef stock and bring to the boil. Cook out the flour for 5 minutes or so (until it begins to thicken) and then serve.
Jonathan and I went for another lunchtime photowalk to get out of the office for a bit on Thursday. It’s taken me a couple of days to get the photos online, mostly because as a walk it wasn’t all that inspiring. I think we’ve hit a point with the lunchtime photowalks where we’re running out of places to photograph within a lunchtimes worth of exploration from the office.
Perhaps we need to pick a new direction to walk in and see where it gets us.
Both photos in this post were an attempt at a “ground level” photo for this weeks photo-challenge, but I’m not sure they’re interesting or original enough. I’ll see if I can come up with something better by Tuesday.