Landscape work of the River Thames at Kingston upon Thames
Our fridge-freezer has gradually turned into a shrine. My wife is a huge Elvis fan. Hang on, I could have phrased that better, by that I mean she’s a huge fan of Elvis. 🙂 . Oh and somehow we’ve managed to squeeze in a few momentos of our travels but, sadly, not as yet, one of Graceland.
Original shot (no white balance correction applied) –
I really took this shot at ISO 6400 to demonstrate the incredible power of Topaz DeNoise AI in getting rid of noise. I don’t usually shoot at such high ISO settings but it’s a valuable tool in my software toolbox box for the occasions when I have to.
I’ve also finalised the gear for my next trip with the emphasis as usual very much on weight, total weigh of bag and gear, approx. 2.5 Kg!.
Olympus E-M1, Lumix 12-60 mm, M.Zuiko 9-18 mm, Lumix 12-35 mm. Olympus tough TG-5 and Forevercam,, Anker Astro 6700 mAH powerbank and cable, Newer battery case, 2 x E-M1 batteries, memory card case, Holux data logger, spare Holux battery and 2 x spare TG-5 batteries. All I need to travel light.
BUBM case, 2 x USB charger for EM-1 batteries, USB charger for TG-5 battery, Anker five-port USB charger, Olympus backup/USB charger for TG-5, mains cables, USB cables, memory card case, USB LED torch.
A short while back I was diagnosed with an eye disorder that will require laser surgery on both of my eyes in the near future which is pretty worrying. All these years of working with computer monitors have finally taken their toll 😦 . I usually run my desktop pretty bright as I’m always working on my artwork but I have come up with a method that works pretty well and helps my eyes.
Firstly there’s the free Chrome browser extension called Dark Reader this makes surfing web pages much more eye-friendly, you can also site list sites that you want darkened or left as normal although I haven’t found many sites that it doesn’t play nicely with. Also remember that if you work with Chrome browser, and possibly other browsers, that you can hold down the Ctrl key and use the middle mouse wheel to change the text size on a website.
Then I put the Windows 10 UI into dark mode . Next up I bought Turn off the Lights Desktop from the Microsoft store. This Windows App dims the whole desktop and I’ve set it up to dim the display to 60% all day, you can set times if you wish or manually toggle the display dimming from the tray icon. The app starts with Windows.
This left me with a problem as I run Dexpot virtual desktop software across multiple monitors and I have a couple of virtual desktops, specifically the one dedicated to my various graphics software, think of it as my “Art” mode desktop 🙂 . These virtual desktop I do not want dimmed so I used Dexpot’s Desktop Rules feature to copy Turn Off the Lights (running on my “Default” virtual desktop) to only the virtual desktops that I want dimmed and thus when switching to my “Art” desktop it automatically displays at my normal un-dimmed brightness. Dexpot is a very powerful and fully featured free program.
Hope this is of interest and take good care of your eyes. Contact me if you are require any assistance in setting any of these programs up.
PS. I forgot to mention another very useful program that’s better than Windows dark mode called Windows Blinds (30 day trial available) which is much better at customising Windows UI colours. I downloaded a free add-on theme/style called Dark Mode and customised it to my tastes.
PPS. I found a program to restore the system font changing that was removed in the Windows 10 Creators update, much to my annoyance, and I’ve changed my font from 9 point normal to 10 point bold throughout, you’d be surprised how much of a difference this makes.
I also found another nice style/theme for WindowBlinds, it’s not a dark theme but it seems to be quite comfortable on the eye and one can customise it in WindowBlinds 10 –
As I left this morning to take some shots I couldn’t help feeling that something was missing, my camera!, no it wasn’t in my camera bag, I didn’t have a camera bag, it wasn’t draped from my neck either, it was in my jacket pocket!.
The purpose of this morning’s brief outing locally to the river was to put my new camera through its paces. My latest purchase, an Olympus TG-5 Tough, this TG-5 Tough, fitted with Forevercam adaptor, 52 mm filter and one of my Olympus lens caps:
For some while now I’ve been looking around for a modern replacement for my very elderly Canon G-10 backup/pocket camera. I settled on the TG-5 as it’s small and fully featured. I know that it is rugged, waterproof, drop-proof, sand-proof, freeze-proof, crush-proof etc. but that’s not the main reason why I got it.
I’m not in to what I believe the collective term for is “adventure sports”, white-water rafting, kayaking, mountain climbing, scuba diving, skiing, hang gliding etc. etc. but I do like the idea that this camera will survive being drenched, dropped or crushed. The fact that this camera is claimed to be waterproof down to 50 foot isn’t a consideration, as a non-swimmer, if I ever found myself 50 plus feet underwater it wouldn’t be my camera that I would be worried about. 🙂
When I’m away I’m tired of carrying around a second camera body all day and I wanted something light and pocketable to take out in the evenings after I’ve freed myself of the weight of my camera gear. On the whole I’m quite impressed with my first findings, the camera performed well, it’s a little soft at the telephoto end but nothing to be over concerned about. The 24-100mm (in 35mm terms) zoom range is perfectly adequate for my requirements. I did find using the LCD screen and not a viewfinder a little strange but that’s just my preference and years of using viewfinders dating back to my film camera days. Although it was a sunny morning and it was okay, I can’t help but wonder how visible the display will be in strong sunlight. My wife’s point and shoot is more like point and hope as one can’t see a darned thing on the screen in bright sunlight! and it’s a hit and miss (more miss than hit) affair 🙂
The camera will do 4K video but this doesn’t interest me and I’ve not got anything to view 4K videos on if I took them, I’m not in to videos at all. What did impress me was the GPS recording feature which made it easy to geotag my photos on my return. I didn’t feel inclined to test it with their mobile app but I will be doing so. Instead I used GPS Track Editor on my PC to convert the .log format file in to .gpx format fle and Geosetter to geotag the images using the .gpx file.
I really like the macro mode, what they call the microscope mode which allows the lens to be as close as 1cm from the subject. I’m not in to macro much but it was fun to try out. Another great feature for me is USB charging, as it’s something that I’ve come to love when travelling and, in my opinion, something that should be a feature of all cameras. Apart from all of these useful features it does look incredibly sexy in red. 🙂 , chosen really because, if I drop it it’s more visible than black.
In my experience like all Olympus cameras the menu system can be a steep learning curve for those starting out but fortunately, courtesy of my years of experience with their Micro four Thirds cameras, I consider myself to be pretty much at the top of the learning curve so it came fairly naturally and intuitively to me.
A few test shots, all from RAW files @ISO 100, with a bit of fairly basic processing. I’ve yet to see a straight out of the camera shot that wouldn’t benefit from at least a few basic adjustments. This post isn’t a review as such, there’s plenty of them on the web, I like to show what the camera is capable of rather than what comes straight out of the camera. That’s not to say that the camera doesn’t produce good quality images but, processing is my “thing”. 🙂
Click above for a full-size image.