Kit cameras

Cameras fascinate me, especially unusual and quirky ones, so what better than a camera that you get to build yourself. I ordered this off Amazon, and when it arrived it was just a collection of bits packed carefully in polystyrene, with the instruction manual, a neck lanyard and a magnetic screwdriver which turned out to be essential. there are some screws that would have been impossible to put in place without it.

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It was interesting putting together especially the trigger mechanism which required some very delicate adjustments to get it to work just so. I have no idea what the shutter speed is on this little camera except the instruction manual recommends using this camera with 100ISO film in sunny conditions, (the manual also recommends not standing on roads or at the edge of cliffs while taking photos. It’s surprisingly concerned with the safety of its users).

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Yes it suffers from light seepage. Unfortunately there’s a part that clips on permanently that means I can’t get back into the camera’s bowels to fix the issue. Of course this means when I get the films developed I’ve ended up distressing the processing people despite warning them that any aberrations on the images are entirely the fault of my camera. It’s also difficult to wind on the film, so double exposures are also something of an issue as is camera-shake, but to be honest I’m not that bothered. The results are interestingly strange and atmospheric, and extremely unpredictable.

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Black-Belt Certification

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Just done my six month certification to prove, if just to myself that I’m still black-belt standard and I’m aching, and I’ve taken the skin off one of my toes.But I did get to try out my new sparring technique which is basically to get as close to my opponent as I can while flailing my fists. It sort of works. I also got punched in the face a lot. Fun times.

My karate club also has this “fun” thing with their black-belt gradings where early the next morning we all get to go on a lovely run with exercises and everything, for two hours. Generally it’s muddy, this time it was really muddy, and there’s always someone who turns up in their gi. I have no idea if that guy will ever his trousers clean again.

I Hate Adult Colouring Books

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They’re frightening popular as the shelves of my local branch of WHSmiths shows. Unfortunately these colouring horrors are squeezing out art magazines, hobbiest as well as more serious ones, including my absolute favourite Juxtapoz. This is an American comtemporary art magazine which showcases the work of really interesting and talented artists from around the world that I wouldn’t otherwise get to see…and now I can’t get my hands on it will struggle to get to see 😦 their website, though nice, isn’t anywhere near as good as the magazine itself.

And it’s not much better over by their selection of art books.

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Most of what they have on offer are the dreaded colouring books; in fact next to their “art” section is a full section display of the blasted things. All that’s left is a few how-to books for popular media like water-colours and acrylics, and things like “365 things to draw”.

I’m frustrated, beyond frustrated. I’m also dubious as to their claims of being theraputic. I have actually tried some myself and ended up bining them when they resulted in several months of my getting nothing very much at all done. I found them to be an extremely soporifc experience rather like day-time television, neither creative nor a helpful release for any stress or tension I might have been experiencing. In fact because I wasn’t getting of my own work done I ended up feeling worse than if I hadn’t touched the blasted things.

Maybe some people do find them helpful but I do not, and now I see them taking over the subject that I love so much.

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Latest drawing. This is another image based on “found objects” (or should that be found things) that I’ve taken photographs of.

I used coloured graphite pencils for this one.

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And a little close up…

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I’ve always been a little nervous about being able to see the pencil marks in a drawing. If they’re not carefully handled they can look very messy and ruin an otherwise good image. So I’ve been working hard on making sure I’m always working in the same direction. It’s been very worth it.

So I finally had a holiday…

…in Edinburgh, somewhere that I’ve never been before. Which turned out to be absolutley brilliant.

I’d been assured by family members that it would be cold, so I took a nice sensible coat and plenty of jumpers and other warm clothes, none of which I ended up wearing thanks to the week long heat wave. I spent much of my time wearing jeans and t-shirts and worrying about sun-burn, and wishing I’d brought shorts.

The top two floors of the middle building belong to the flat we stayed in, and the right hand gable was my bedroom window. Absolutely awesome 😀

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And this was the view out the front door. I got used to sprial staircases very quickly, and frankly stairs in strange and random places fullstop, because Edinburgh seems to have more than its fair share of them.

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And then we have Arthur’s Seat. It’s like a baby mountain plonked down in the middle of Edinburgh surrounded by smaller hills and little lakes and a river on one side, and it is utterly beautiful. As soon as I saw it I was determined to go and climb up it.

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And so I did 🙂 and met some of those famous Scottish midges while I was about it. I think they must have been confused by the unseasonal heat.

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A litte random extra – on my way up on the train I spotted this little house huddled by trees, straight out of some grusome fairy tale.

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