Tuesday, 18 April 2017

focussing on spring

Certainly not focussing on anything in the news. If life without TV taught me anything it is that living with one's head partially in the sand (or clouds) is hugely preferable than listening to our overlords down south spouting their lies and rhetoric. As soon as you realise you are powerless to influence or have your say, but that you can stop listening to them by using the off-switch, suddenly the ground is level. And that it's easily possible to eliminate the horrors of the middle east by simply not allowing them into your house. While the accusation of neglect may be levelled, (and at the risk of sounding all Russell Brand) since I can effect change as easily as influence the weather on Jupiter, I am opting out. A pox on their general election and a pox on the media coverage of it. There are many things worth paying attention to. Why, when we live next door to so much beauty, would you put your head in the sewer and then complain about the stench? All those posting election thrill status updates, have a word with yourselves. It's just the administration calling a tune to which you are dancing.

Mary had run past the Botanics and commented that the birds there had seemed particularly frenetic. It's a while since I've been along and the idea of a pleasant afternoon in the sunshine taking pics of the burgeoning, budding plantlife, while birds chirruped in the background was irresistible. The forecast was middling but I hoped the sun would put in an appearance for some of the time I was there.

The rhododendrons and azaleas are the stars of the show currently with their lavish displays colouring borders with whites, reds, purples and pinks. Lots of bees buzzing about although I didn't see one butterfly. Lots of birds as Mary noted and although I didn't see many at close quarters to photograph, the trees were full of their calls and songs.

I took both the compact camera and the G3. The larger camera was giving me focussing problems and I took the first hundred pictures before I realised it wasn't focussing as it should be. The screen was difficult to see in the sunlight but a lot of the pics weren't looking as sharp as they should be. Normally it's on auto-focus. I must have changed the setting accidentally (the downside of touch screens) and it was only later in the afternoon I realised I was on manual focus and that I could control this from a ring on the lens. I am embarrassed to admit I didn't realise there was a manual focus option using the lens ring, as it doesn't work unless in manual mode. (I've had the camera 4 years!) Handy for macro pics of tiny buds and flower heads. And while evf technology has improved recently, the viewfinder is good enough to get a sharp focus with an additional magnification box showing the subject (and therefore the focus) greatly magnified. It was a sad reflection of my photography skills: that normally I am just running with the camera on fully auto, and only doing any fine tuning later.

So a lot of the early photos looked like this. Bah.

Once I realised I was filling the sd card with out-of-focus shots I got the compact out and just enjoyed it doing what was asked of it. The next batch, at the alpine houses and tufa wall and then past Inverleith House pond etc. are all taken on the TZ 35. But then the battery got low and I felt I should at least try to resolve the G3 problem. Found the manual focus and got lost in sunshine and tiny flowers over by the rock gardens, my favourite place in the grounds.

not sure how this one lost their ears 

The robin was very friendly. Not interested in the peanuts I had in my pocket for the squirrels and pigeons; think he was hoping I'd do a bit of gardening and turn over some worms.

Back to the G3....

No doubt about it the sun makes a huge difference to photos. Towards 6pm the clouds came over, the wardens started closing up and I was running out of batteries in both cameras. Time to cycle home. 541 photos and some video of the stream that runs down the hill into the Chinese gardens. 

I cycled home intoxicated by the experience, mind emptied of the trash and thrash of media hype and televised squalor. A beautiful and brilliantly maintained spot in the city to escape the trouble and toil of life. Can't recommend this place highly enough.

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