Week 62 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 17th May 2009

Well, today we get two big cruise ships, namely Voyager of the Seas and Queen Mary 2.

The day is beautifully warm and we end the evening eating ice cream down in the marina surrounded by boats that we are glad we did not buy.

Monday 18th May 2009

At mid-day we set off for Manchester where the weather is wet, windy and cold. So, no change there.

In the evening we go to the Trafford centre for the usual wander around and spot an amazing pair of shoes.

Later we go to see Star Trek which has been given a lot of praise by the critics but which, in my opinion, is unmitigated garbage - a cross between Dallas, Top Gun and Star Warts. There is not a single intelligent exchange in the whole film. It is aimed at imbeciles. I would have thought that any self respecting Trekkie would be disgusted at this travesty of a film (I am delighted later to discover that the Trekkies are up in arms and are as shocked as I am).

How dare they do this to such an intelligent and original series - it is like seeing the Queen with blond hair and a chest like Jordan's - an affront to human dignity. Indeed, the film is so bad that only Americans could have made it. Shame on you, uncle Sam.

Tuesday 19th May 2009

Quite why we have a pheasant in our garden I am not sure but there it is.

Wednesday 20th May 2009

In the evening we go to Knutsford for a bite to eat. They have very cleverly linked the bottom street with the top street and the whole lot now ties together - why didn't I think of that?

From there we drive to the Cornerhouse Cinema as I insist that it time that we go to see an intelligent film. We duly buy tickets to Cheri - assuming it will be French with sub-titles so that we do not miss any of the dialogue. Unfortunately it is actually all in English and I fall asleep anyway. Still, no car chases, shoot um ups or beatings - what a relief after the mindless pap of Star Trek. I liked this exchange:

Man: "You don't like my mother?"
Woman: "The slam of a door can be alarming but it is the snake under the door that is truly dangerous"
Man: "Oh, your mother then"

Thursday 21st May 2009

We have bought a new lens for the Canon EOS1000, namely a Sigma 50 - 500mm It is enormous and weighs a ton. It seems to take good shots of airplanes but is so heavy that it is difficult to hold it still. It needs to be on a tripod.

Friday 22nd May 2009

We lug the Canon with it's enormous and obscene lens to Gibraltar and as soon as we arrive set to work taking time exposures across the bay.

Quite what people think when they see such a set-up I have no idea and dread to think. In future it will be safely hidden away inside the flat on a tripod.

Saturday 23rd May 2009


Click on the part that interests you for bigger images

Now it is time for a comparitive test! I am a little (OK, a lot) disappointed to discover that the expensive lens I have just bought is measurably worse than using the TeleVue-85 as a "digiscope". On the other hand, using the TeleVue-85 is very slow as you have to use manual focus and exposure and it is fixed - there is no zoom.

Still, the Sigma 50-500mm is in turn measurably better than the Panasonic FZ28 (and damn well should be as it costs ten times as much) and is easy to use. It was bought to take photos of ships off my balcony using a tripod and it will fulfill that function.

Actually, on reflection, the TeleVue-85 is a very high quality piece of kit (it costs more than the Sigma lens) and in general a fixed lens is always going to be better than a zoom because it is optimised at just one focal point rather than having to perform over a large range of values. So, the TeleVue ought to be better and it is!

So, knowing what I know now would I still have bought the Sigma? On balance, yes. A fixed lens never really works with large objects like ships (birds, maybe) unless thay are several miles away (otherwise you get half a ship) in which case haze is a bigger factor than lens quality. So, Sigma 50-500 zoom it is ...


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