Monday, August 30, 2010

UK Wolf Trust

So today is a bank holiday in the UK, and also one of the open days of the UK Wolf Trust. Popped over there for the afternoon for a bit of photography and brought my full kit down.

There have been some changes though, while we were allowed into the holding pens as before, there is now an extra fence in place >.< Extra fence + bright overcast = bokeh of doom. To be fair, there are slots cut open for photographers to put their lenses through, but they are all at human height. The height which I cannot be bothered to shoot at for two reasons: a) you don't get as intimate a shot of a wolf from 1.8 meters, versus a shot at the same level as the wolf, and b) everyone is shooting through those holes...... I don't need similar pictures I can find off flickr or google images.

I decided to ditch photographing the wolves and practice my gesture studies instead. I did however still get some shots during my time there and here they are:

Karluk Huskies were there, and as ever, super popular with a long queue to get in and cuddle with the dogs. I had a fair amount of reference shots from the last time and tried to get furball/human interaction shots.

And finally, the only wolf keeper shot I'm _kinda_ happy with. Not hitting my print list, but defo my wallpaper list.

Went back to work after that since I wasn't much in the mood for photography. Took a few snaps on the way to work, since the switch to Bibble 5, I am still trying to understand how the software works, how to get the look I want etc.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Out shooting a Border Collie

So, London doesn't have wild wolves roaming the streets. Trust me, I've been on the lookout. Urban foxes yes (I saw *one*) but thats about it for wild canidae. The next best would be Canis Lupus Familiaris. Already I've been to Eagle Heights as mentioned to sketch and photograph Huskies and Malamutes, so I've got a few more furballs on my list to get ref for like border collies and samoyeds. Few others as well but I've been gathering so much ref and not using them much so I think I'll be slowing down here.

This is Douglas, a rescue dog. He is unimaginably energetic. I literally got jumped on the moment I met him :) Such a nice dog.

Started with some gesture at the start of his walk, and I was like regretting not getting some shots of his motions. Some ways through I swapped the sketchbook for D200.

So much energy in a small package!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hanson SA-5 Saxophone: What's in the box :)

So I've been always wanting to get a feel of playing the saxophone for awhile. The last instruments I've played in recent years include the Piano (on a midi keyboard), Western Concert Flute and Native American Flutes.

After much deliberation, I decided to get a Hanson SA-5. They would have got a purchase much sooner from me had they described what exactly I'd be getting :P

This is the "metro" case option.

A touch I really like is the plastic buckles. Should the zip fail, those provide an added layer of insurance for the horn.
So you've got a compartment for the neck, the main body and a small section for misc odds and ends.

The odds and ends, include a letter with Hanson's name cards, warranty/service card, as well as a fingering chart. Lovely! The mouth piece included is a Vandoren Optimum AL-4 - which from the prices I see on the web, cost about a hundred quid. Again, judging from prices, this is not an entry level mouthpiece but at least a step up or mid range mouthpiece.

Inside the plastic box on the right, include necessary items like the neck strap, cork grease, 3 vandoren reeds of differing hardness (1.5 to 2.5), ligature, mouthpiece cap, patches, pad dryers, and a pull through cleaning cloth.

As of this post, I haven't even assembled the neck to the sax, much less blow on it (just had dinner - gonna shower then brush my teeth before I try it out).

Am looking forward to playing disney tunes on this baby :D


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Eagle Heights - cheetah day!

Another visit to Eagle Heights, I'm visiting it a little far too often. However, today I left my sketch pad at home and brought along my favourite duo (not like I have other choices lol) of my 300/4 AF-S and 70-200VR1, as well as my 1.4x teleconverter. Objective: Have fun!

My favourite thing to do is shoot portraits of the critters, so today's is going to be mostly closed in critter headshots. Enjoy!

Snowy owl, tried to capture the eye amidst the white.

Steppe eagle, attempting to capture a regal feel.

Heheheh I want noms!

Also, right now I'm still figuring out Bibble 5, trying to use it to get a feel as close as possible to Bibble 4.


White faced scops owls are amazing - one of the keepers showed me that if you danced to 'em, they dance back!

Erm. Cheetah fursuit.

Doggy portraits :3

Water monitor. 'es a big one.

Tortoise for fund raising. Gotta love 'em.

Griffon Vulture.

And of course, the cheetah, Boumani. The reason I brought in the 300/4 + 1.4x. Even so, still had to crop in. Bleh.

Awesome day out, defo recommended for parents with kids, the shows are really good fun.


Monday, August 02, 2010

Testing Bibble 5

Upgraded my OS to Ubuntu 10.04 thanks to me messing up the dependency system on my 9.04 install. At the same time made the move to Bibble 5. Here's some tests. A plugin I rely on for overlaying my borders isn't yet ported to B5, so I wrote a quick python script to do the comping :)