Last weekend, I went out wearing a tee-shirt and my ‘sun hat’ for the first time this year, it was springtime at last! I had advanced knowledge of narrowboats on the canal and they make for a colourful picture. The light was quite harsh and you can’t always choose which way to shoot. I took some shots into the sun which isn’t always a very good idea.
I usually take photos either with my Nikon D3200 or my old Fujifilm S5600 but now I have a new phone I’ve been trying out the camera. I can set the white balance, ISO and shutter speed just like on my cameras, but the aperture is fixed. Essentially, it is fixed wide open. A wide open aperture is great for portraits and selfies but not quite so good for landscapes. The pictures will never be as sharp as a DSLR but I’ve been getting some interesting pictures because the LG G5 has two lenses. There is a normal one and a wide panoramic type lens. I tried the panoramic lens in our town hall and it made brought out the grandeur of the main hall, but with a little distortion. Cameras with fixed apertures can still take great photos, though.
It’s Sunday morning and so once again I am going to ramble and give you a glimpse into my mixed up mind. What’s on my mind this week? Yes, it is things that aren’t all that they seem. Quite often, I think, this is not what it seems. People’s motives aren’t always what they say they are. You might think that new block saved drive is to drive the car on but is it? A slab of concrete or a tarmac drive would be easier to maintain and cheaper. Block paved drives look better, though. The real reason for that new drive is to show off a status symbol. Then you need a shiny new car to put on it. Why is status so important to us?
There seems to be a distinct lack of enthusiasm now that Christmas and New Year is over. We seem to have the January blues. However, underneath this apparent dearth of vitality lies an undercurrent of plans for the future. What will be happening in Wednesbury in 2017, we ask ourselves. I see signs of activity at the library and we have still to hear if the BIDS scheme will go ahead. Will the car boot be back this month? Will brave souls brave the freezing weather to make some cash to pay for their Christmas extravagance? If we plan anything outside the weather could spoil it. There are events, in the town hall booked through this year and they have some good nights as well as afternoon shows. There is a Frankie Valli tribute this month. There are lots of little shows at the pubs around the town too.
I hope everyone in Wednesbury had a great Christmas but now we have to look to the future. What will 2017 bring? There will be some changes with a few companies opening up new premises in or around Wednesbury. Lidl will have a new warehouse and so too will DFS. There will be a new car showroom to replace Carcraft and there are interesting developments on the Gallagher retail park. We also hope to get better Christmas lights next year, too!
If you had a new camera for Christmas you might want to get the most out of it by learning a little about photography. It takes some time to learn all the settings especially on a DSLR but just understanding the basic settings can help you take better pictures. You can go from just taking snaps to creating images.
“If you have got something good going, don’t tell nobody,” that was a tweet I read this morning. I suppose it would help avoid a lot of competitive envy. I have to admit to having something good going. I photographed a group of excited kids this week that came to the town hall to bring gifts for children less fortunate like the ones who have been taken into care this Christmas and will be away from their families. I experienced the true Christmas spirit.
I’m here again, Sunday morning and I’m sharing my innermost thoughts with you once again. I used to write my Sunday ramble while my lunch was cooking. This morning my breakfast hasn’t gone down yet. I only wrote a short post yesterday because I had a busy day. I have a photo shoot this morning too and this one is even earlier.
According to my SEO plug in I should always write 300 words in a blog post but I’m ignoring it today and relying on pictures to tell a story. These pictures were taken in the Black Country around my home town of Wednesbury.
I had a busy day yesterday with more Christmas events. I always write my blog post of course and did my photography post before lunch and then off to the town hall to photograph the Christmas lunch for the older and wiser members of the Wednesbury community.
The focus points on a camera are used to focus on your subject but they are also used for metering. My Nikon D3200 has 11 focus points and they are useful but I often only use one. Some cameras have a lot more focus points and they cover the whole frame.
It is only 10 days to the Winter Solstice and the official beginning of winter. Anyway, it’s Sunday morning and so as usual, I let you into the darker corners of my mind and share my thoughts with you.
There are the usual Christmas parties starting this month. There will be some for older people like me at the Town Hall and the Centre of Oneness. Various groups will have a Christmas get-together too.
Lots of people will photograph a sunset for the deep reds and bright oranges but rarely see that the warm light from a sunset offers a lot more possibilities. The sunsets can be a little boring too, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Try to get something in the foreground of your sunset and use the sunset as a backdrop. The Eiffel Tower looks nice in the foreground but a few trees can look quite dramatic!
Black Friday in the UK lasts for a week or more and there are deals everywhere. US-based companies are used to this annual promotion and so they lead the way. The biggest is Amazon who has offers on a wide range of goods.
We have the Christmas Lights switch-on on Friday with Dayton Grey and there will be fundraising for Sam’s Dream. Click the poster below to bring it up larger to see all the attractions.
I was talking to a Chinese student a few years ago about her latest assignment. She had to do the assignment as part of a group. I commented that I was usually better working alone. In a group, you have to come to an agreement with other group members before you can do anything. Alone, you just get on with it. The student told me that Chinese people prefer to work in a group. I think a group can be more successful than an individual if they have a common goal and essentially, leadership. A suggestion has been made that a BID – Business Improvement District be set up for Wednesbury town centre. Can Wednesbury businesses work together?
It is nice and sunny this morning in Wednesbury. I mentioned the History Society last week and I went to the talk last night. Robert Broadbent gave us an interesting talk about the Romans building Hadrian’s wall. I know, I said it was going to be about canals last week. I think I read that on a leaflet. It was still interesting. I nearly nodded off, though, not because I was bored, just tired from lack of sleep. I was told about a Christmas event next month with a buffet, next door in Churchill’s Club, I’ll have to get details; I was too tired to take it all in.
I went to the launch of the poppy appeal in Wednesbury yesterday and took a few photos and photographed our increasingly popular bric-a-brac market while I was there. I learned a lot and it was a successful day when I learnt not only about enriching our town in the monetary sense but also in the cultural sense. An empty unit at the end of the market is now being used to sell poppies and a selection of related products.
Sandwell Valley Country Park is the nearest bit of countryside to Wednesbury and a popular place for a day out. I often go there to take photographs. Parking charges will be introduced at my favourite beauty spots starting on the 1st of November. They work out to around 40p an hour because the council are short of money. I doubt if it will raise much money after they have paid for the meters and the wardens. There could have been better ways of making money from the park. Forge Mill has a lot of potential.
It has been announced that the Midland Metro tram system will be extended from Wednesbury to Merry Hill via Toll End and Dudley. Work on the new ‘super hospital’ in Smethwick, also called the ‘Metro’ will be speeded up, too. The government will go ahead with HS2 as well which will sort of link with the Metro tram system in the Midlands. Who will benefit from all this infrastructure construction? The big construction companies will benefit, but I’m not too sure about anyone else.
Yes, it’s heritage weekend and yesterday I went to the local art gallery and museum to listen to a talk by local historian Ian Bott on the mansions of the Black Country. Most of those are long gone or there are plans to turn them into flats like the Redhouse in Redhouse Park and Great Barr Hall. The art gallery and museum only opens a few hours three days a week. Meanwhile, in London, they get shed loads of money for the arts and heritage.