Sunday, 20 January 2019

Not quite lights out

rear light at the bus stop


Matt is back, so it was the long way to the bus stop. He had been to Rome and it was time to chat about the trip. His blog posts had prepared my, he's not into tourist activities. He did see some of the sites of Rome, but was more interested in finding interesting places to eat. I know what he means. There is a lot of history but at such a busy place you are always moving. Throngs of people all josseling to take pictures, selfies mostly. It seems they are more interested in ticking the place of a list than really appreciating where they are. As a photographer I notice that most of the time they don't even stop walking, just point the camera and click. I like to compose the shot, try to get a picture that is a little different. What's the point taking the same picture as everyone else?

When I visit a place the cafe is where I gravitate to because, like Matt, I prefer to relax. The outside area is also the best part. A wander around the grounds allows time to chill out. And it's normally much less crowded than the big house or castle. We're both not really interested in who slept where a long time ago.

Back to the cycling; it was much colder than yesterday. My toes and fingers were soon painful, but on the bright side it's getting lighter in the mornings. I still need to turn the lights on as I leave the house, but unless it's foggy, they don't stay on for the whole ride.

The forecast is for snow this week. I hope it doesn't happen. It's fun for about five minutes and then really unpleasant. And there is the day to day stuff. Public transport grinds to a halt, the roads quickly become blocked, and panic buying sets in. Snow rarely stays for more than a day or two, but everyone strips the shelves of bread and milk etc. It saddens me how much must be thrown away because it isn't used before it goes off.

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Saturday, 19 January 2019

Bullbeggars Lane

bullbeggars lane godstone

A solo ride today, so I took the Kona past Godstone, round the Enterdent loop and back. I noticed a lane as I left Godstone, and followed it back to the church. It's called Bullbeggars Lane. I can't find out why it has that name. I did discover that when the plague decimated the area the dead were buried in two pits either side of the lane; one for men, one for women. If you know more, please leave a comment bellow.

It wasn't as cold as the forecast said it would be, so I had too many layers on, but it did mean that when I stopped to take pictures I didn't feel the windchill from the chilly breeze.

I was on the mountain bike so went off road for part of the ride. I can't keep the bike too clean for long. I probably have another visit to the jetwash in my future.

Marden Park

I cycled through Marden Park to Gangers Hill then on to Godstone.

The main reason to go cycling is chatting, and tea; without it I arrived home sooner that usual. It will be the two of us tomorrow so the question will be a cafe or not. My vote is for a cafe.

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Thursday, 17 January 2019

keeping them safe

I have written before about the reasons to pay for a photographer, please click on the link to read them.

I read about a couple who did have a professional photographer shoot their wedding. The article didn't say if they paid him; he was a close friend.

All of his equipment was stolen. The couple and the writer of the article seem very forgiving, both saying he was doing his best to get the memory cards back and asking other guests to contibute their pictures to an album he is compiling.

At first it appeared the crime occurred soon after the ceremony, but it actually happened a week later. Meaning for a week the photographer carried the only media containing the wedding files around in his camera bag.

This got me thinking. After a shoot I travel home and then copy the files to my computer, which is backed up to an external drive. This is kept at another location when I am not using it. But what about the travel between venues and then the journey home. I’ve read a lot from professional photographers, online and in magazines, they say the camera must have two cards, you must backup your files from the computer. But I haven’t read anything about that period after the shoot but before you get to your computer. Shooting tethered with an internet connection could alow immediate off site backup, but what if you are on location and off line?

I know back in the days of film there was only one copy, and no backup until the negatives could be duplicated. Today photographers are very focused on backups and duplicates. When Nikon released the Z6 and 7 with only one card slot the internet exploded with criticism. It had calmed down by the time Canon released their mirrorless range with only one slot. Even having two slots wouldn't have helped the photographer because they would both have been in the camera.

I guess there is only so much you can do to avert disaster. From now on I’ll remove the memory cards after a shoot and keep them on me.

I’m not sure how practical uploading from the camera or computer straight after a shoot would be.

But I would never leave it a week without backing up my files, and certainly not for a set as valuable as a wedding shoot.

As I said in the post I linked to at the top of this page. Having a professional provide a service should mean you can expect a level of competence. I don’t know if waiting a week to backup the files was normal for this guy or not, but it would seem he let the couple down and showed a lack of professionalism.


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Sunday, 13 January 2019

tea with a view


view across a field while drinking tea


Another cycle to a new destination, and a great view while drinking tea. Regular readers will know of our obsession with finding nice places to stop for a break. This morning we planned to visit the cottage by the route we had been on when we first found it. But our path was blocked by a closed gate, and a sign that said no footpath. I'm fairly sure that wasn't there the last time we passed this way. So we turned around and followed footpath signs across another field, until they ran out. Which left us next to a low wooden fence we could use as a seat. We got out the tea and biscuits and admired the view.

trees view while drinking tea


The bikes, mine in particular, were muddy. I don't normally care too much but the gears were starting to play up again. My local bike shop always comment on my poor maintenance regime, and say it's the reason parts like the gears need replacing as often as they do.

bikes leaning against a fence while we drink tea


When Matt suggested we use the jet wash on our way back to the green, I initially said no. But as we approached the petrol station I changed my mind. The local bike shop would be so proud. I have a very clean bike now.



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Saturday, 12 January 2019

Modern luddites

mud on kona bike at the bus stop


A short ride to the bus stop today, the long way as usual.

The topics up for discussion vary each week, we briefly discuss current events, but quickly tire of it.

Much better to not mention brexit etc.

I said to Matt it was amusing how the modern generation is addicted to tech. But every time something new is released they are the first to share all the conspiracy theories about health concerns. The new smart meters for instance. There are a lot of "reports" that they emit high levels of radiation and cause cancer etc. A little research shows that they are no different to mobile phones or the wifi routers we all have. In fact they are safer than mobile phones. You don't hold a smart meter to your head for long periods; do you? And there isn't any proof that mobile phones etc are especially dangerous. And even if they were the people sharing these posts on FB wouldn't give up their phones or wifi would they?

More generally the amount of propaganda, biased posts, or total fabrication that gets shared is depressing.  Are people so gullible? Or is it that any opinion can be supported by a quick internet search? Once you find something that proves your view is correct, you share it. Never mind that it might be wrong and anyone reading it wont do any research of their own. Unless they don't agree, but the search will only last long enough to find something that supports them. And it is unlikely anyone will change their mind.

I have said it before, the internet has given most people the ability to broaden their minds, to communicate with the world. But what has happened? People have become more closed minded and less inclined to listen. I would much rather talk face to face than online. You achieve more and it's not all about egos.


Now to explain the pic at the top of the post. I want a picture from every ride I do in 2019, but because new destinations are a bit thin on the ground. I'll have to be more creative.
The pic is a close up of my bike and the mud that is a permanent feature. I believe it's what the bike should look like.

Matt on the other hand disagrees.
Matt's clean bike
pic by Matt

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Sunday, 6 January 2019

First cycling of 2019

First time out this year, I was busy from early on Saturday. Sunday dawned cold but clear. I met Matt at the green as normal.

We headed for the bus stop, the long way. It was great to be out on the bike, and look forward to 2019.

No photo opportunities though. This pic is close to home on the way back. Tennis may be a way to keep fit but if you are like me with no eye-hand coordination cycling is a better bet.

tennis court


Matt will be writing much more than I about the ride, our conversations just don't stick in my head long enough to type them up. Old age is creeping up on me

It's an escape, a way to switch off from what else is going on, keeping fit as well. After, I think, twelve years I can't imagine not cycling at the weekends.

I saw a post of Facebook about a cycle route of over 3600 km or 2200 miles across Europe,10 countries, 6 Rivers. It's called the EuroVelo 6. Matt and I said it would be another item on our list for when we strike it rich. We would need about a month; eighty miles a day would leave plenty of time to take in the sights. And what a sense of achievement. It would have to include Richard and "other" Matt as well. A trip like this is much better if it's a shared experience. Another book for Matt and some great pictures for me.

As we sat drinking tea we looked at our bikes, and questioned their cost. The cyclist passing us got us thinking about this. We estimated the value of the bikes the group rode. Bearing in mind even budget bikes from the big names start at a thousand pounds. the swish of tyres could have been worth close the ten thousand pounds. There were six of them. They had all the gear so it would not be unreasonable to think their steeds were not from the cheaper end of the range. I follow bike websites and they always talk of "cheap" bikes for the winter. But often they are fifteen hundred pounds. If you buy a bike for that much to save your "summer" bike, how much must you have spent on it. We couldn't see how that cost was justified, by the materials used or the labour involved in their manufacture. Matt said is was considered a leisure activity and priced accordingly. I can see the value in buying above the very cheap end of the scale. But not the high end, unless your compete. That's where every ounce counts, but the majority of the cyclists we see can't be pro's in training. 

My mountain bike is second hand and it's had some replacement parts as they have worn out, my road bike is the same. But I don't think it will have been the bikes that prevented me from keeping up with others who have spent more. 

I guess everyone can spend what they want, we are happy with what we have. And they get us where we want to go. 

I got a heart rate monitor for Christmas, today was my first opportunity to try it. Unfortunately it stopped working near the end, but it was still interesting to see how much effort I was putting in. I don't think I'll be buying power meters or anymore tech though. It shows how quickly I start to recover after the hills, which is a good thing I think.




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