Royal Tunbridge Wells – sounds regal

I travelled to the town of Tunbridge Wells in the county of Kent UK, or to give it its full title Royal Tunbridge Wells, after King Edward VII granted the town its regal title in 1909, due to popularity with the royal family over the years.

The town has some very fine buildings dating back to the early 17th century when the discovery of the spring opened its Spa waters at the Chalybeate Spring, hence the name wells.

Chalybeate Spring

The Chalybeate Spring – Tunbridge Wells

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Eridge Railway Station

Eridge railway station in the county of East Sussex in England is located on the branch line from Uckfield. This line serves a fairly rural community as it winds its way through the county of East Sussex before sneaking into Kent and then joining the East Grinstead line at Oxted in Surrey.

Eridge Station Platform

The heritage platform side

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Sony HX60 a good travel compact camera?

Just got hold of a Sony HX60 as I thought it would maybe make a good compact camera for carrying with me as an alternative to the RX100 MkII. Although I love the RX100 I just sometimes need a bit extra reach when I am out and about on a walk, and don’t want to carry the Olympus E-M1 and a couple of lenses. I remember back in the days of film cameras carrying a large bag of equipment especially on trips to France and Italy, how did I manage that weight I will never know.

So what does the HX60 give me against all of my other camera gear, well to start with a zoom lens that covers the 35mm equivalent of 24-722mm, that’s a 30x zoom lens in a very small package. Unfortunately, the lens is not very bright, with an f-stop of only 3.5 at the wide end, and 6.3 at the telephoto end. The other key point is no RAW capture, not that is a major issue, it’s just that I would prefer that to Jpeg only.

So how did it perform, well not that bad really, I used it with the FDA-EV1M electronic viewfinder that I use with the RX100 MkII, as I feel it gives the camera a bit more stability, especially on the telephoto end. I would also add that I used the lowest ISO setting of 80 where possible to get the best out of the camera, as I would expect that raising the ISO would result in increasing the luminance noise.

To test the camera I walked to Buxted Park not far from my home in the county of East Sussex in the UK.

Dragonfly

A Dragonfly laying eggs in the water @493mm focal length

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Sussex by the sea

Here in the UK, we have been having a mini heatwave, well temperatures in the upper 20’s for a few days. So I thought it would be a good time to visit my nearest city Brighton, on the Sussex coast and have a wander along the seafront.

The first place I like to visit when I go to Brighton is the West Pier, it is now slowly crumbling into the sea, after every storm you see another section missing.

West Pier Brighton UK

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Been busy moving house

The last three months have been fairly busy as we have just moved house, so most of my time has been consumed with this, either planning, organizing, fitting, fixing or decorating. Although there is still a bit to complete, I thought it was about time that I set aside a day for a bit of exercise, exploring and photography.

I decided to take in a walk around the town of Uckfield in East Sussex, the walk would be in both the town and surrounding countryside.

It started from the Eastbourne Road near the Highlands Inn pub, which incidentally always seems busy especially at the weekend. Heading south-east along the Eastbourne road to pick up a footpath that now runs through two housing developments, one fairly recent while the other built back in the mid 90’s.

Woodland Path

Woodland Path Ridgewood Uckfield East Sussex

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Airplane travel and camera gear

Having just returned from a short trip to Spain, travelling on a commercial airline is becoming harder and harder for photographers on a budget. So this post is not only my view but also something that may change what gear I currently use or choose in the future.

My current travel camera is my trusty Olympus E-M1, I carry this with a flashgun, two primes the 60mm macro and either the 17mm or the 25mm and two zooms, the 12-40mm and the 75-300mm. I fit all this and my 13″ Mac Book Pro and Kindle (essential for air travel, as I get bored flying) into an old Lowepro Mini Trekker AW. My tripod, filters, charger and power supplies go into checked in luggage. The carry on luggage usually weighs in about 10lbs, so currently is ok for all the UK budget airlines.

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My well worn Lowepro Mini Trekker AW

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A day out in the capital London

I do enjoy a day out with the camera, so a trip to the capital city was the plan, with a view to walking along the northern bank of the river Thames towards the Palace of Westminster, better known as the houses of parliament. From there crossing Westminster bridge and walking along the Southbank to the Millennium Bridge, back over the river to St Pauls and then down to Tower bridge and finally back to Blackfriars. That should take up most of the day allowing for a few stops for photos.

The journey started with a train ride to Blackfriars station, on arrival I decided to have a bite to eat saving some space in my bag for my jacket, that I certainly didn’t need. It wasn’t a gourmet feast just a roll and a packet of crisps followed by a couple of wine gums.

The walk down to Westminster was fairly quick, the reason being that I drunk too much water on the train up and was desperate for the toilet. I would have used the toilets at Blackfriars, but it was just my luck that they were out of order, so I had to wait until reaching Waterloo (oh how appropriate). At least they didn’t charge unlike at Blackfriars where they charge you 30 pence, the problem is I can remember when it was a penny, hence the saying “spend a penny”.

Just after Waterloo station, I saw Princess Anne being driven in a car that was escorted by several Police outriders and two other vehicles, she was probably only going down to the supermarket 😉.

I crossed the river via Westminster bridge hoping to capture a long exposure shot of the Parliament buildings, only to find they had the builders in with lots of scaffolding up. I do now recall a news article about the work required on the crumbling building, so I just took a quick shot with the camera phone instead.

The Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster Lumia 930 4.46mm @F2.4 1/1200 sec ISO 64

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The Ouse Valley Way (from Southease to Lewes)

After having to abort a walk yesterday because of rather windy and wet conditions, I thought I would try again today as the weather forecast didn’t predict any further rain. This yet again involved a train ride in getting to the start of the walk, as there are no direct trains to Southease it meant into Brighton and onto another train along the coast.

Arriving at Southease I joined the South Downs Way for a few hundred yards, crossing the swing bridge before turning onto the path that follows the course of the river into the historic town of Lewes in East Sussex. There is a path on either side of the river but I chose the west side of the river, the reason being when I arrive at Lewes it would be nearer to the station.

The swing bridge, as far as I know, hasn’t been opened for many years, probably because no large boats travel up the river anymore.

The Swing Bridge at Southease on the river Ouse.

Sony RX100 MkII 10.4mm @F6.3 1/400 sec ISO160

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The journey begins

Well here goes my very first blog post, the reasons why I started this and what I plan to do with it.

I have been meaning to start this blog for some time now, in fact, it was a New Year’s resolution but I kept putting it off until now. I have been a photography enthusiast since I can remember, borrowing the family camera for a school trip or holiday, until finally investing my hard earned money in purchasing my first SLR camera a Zenith EM. My second camera was much better, an Olympus OM-10, and I still fondly remember it, very compact especially with the only lens I owned, a 50mm Zuiko F1.8. So this blog will be my thoughts and actions while wandering ‘through life with a camera’. Continue reading