Portrait of Stephen

I was fiddling around with a photo I took of Stephen at the restaurant Monday night, and finally found a ‘look’ I was happy with.

Portrait of Stephen

We had a very windy night last night, with gusts that were almost scary given that we are quite high here and it was slamming against the windows. Today is partly cloudy, but sunny enough to make the house quite warm. I’ve switched off the heating and opened a couple of windows. Mind you, I’ve just done some housework, partly getting ready for Stephen’s cousin Ron, but partly just because it needed to be done. No wonder I feel warm!

We had a ‘heads up’ from Melanie on Monday that Ron has a cold and feeling pretty poorly, so we don’t know for sure that he will come and stay, but want to be ready, just in case.

Stephen is having a bit of a headache and nausea today, similar to what I felt on Monday. He has had a morning in bed – taking breakfast to him going up and down stairs was a bit challenging – but hopefully, like me, the fresh air will help him to recover. On the weather report it said that Saturday is to be the first really cold day here, with 8 degrees for the daytime maximum temperature. We shall see… So, far the temperatures have been mostly quite mild and our cold weather gear is not really had any sort of real test.

I’m very relieved that Lightroom has just been updated back to it’s normal importing setup, the one they introduced with the last update was slow and difficult to manage. Of course, I still don’t use it for importing from the SD card, I either use Adobe Bridge or the Sony app, so that I can put them into folders for use in any program. Then I import into Lightroom for light editing, then to Photoshop if I want to do something a bit more creative.

The photography site DPreview has finally done a comprehensive review of the Sony A7R II. They have done a few short articles on different features, and that has been incorporated into the final review. I felt it was a fair review because although it brought up some negatives, it also discussed some of the many innovative and photographer centric stuff that interests me as a landscape and travel photographer. In the end they gave it a Gold Award and 90%. One of the obvious comparisons was with the Canon 5DR, which is a 50 mp camera. For my purpose, as a stills camera, having more dynamic range is important. But in the video comparisons I liked the Canon ‘look’ very much. I can see why people still want to use Canon cameras for video. It is probably possible to replicate that look with grading, but that would take some experimenting and trialling LUTs.

I still have lots of photos that haven’t been edited and posted to Flickr. For this blog I am not choosing necessarily the best photos, but those that help to tell the story of what we are doing.

British Museum, Sacred Harp Music and U3A China Group

Stephen in his normal research on things to do found out about a Sacred Harp Music singing group which meets in Bloomsbury at St George’s once a month on Monday night. Because we were going into the city anyway, he decided to visit the British Museum again during the afternoon.

Travelling to the British Museum by bus 38. We had our picnic lunch during the ride. There was some sunshine - sunny spells.
Travelling to the British Museum by bus 38. We had our picnic lunch during the ride. There was some sunshine – sunny spells.

We enjoyed seeing a couple of things together, then I went off to amuse myself and he did some more areas of the Museum. In the course of that, he met up with an English couple, and they treated us to afternoon tea. We found we appeared to have much in common and really enjoyed their company.

Outside the BM in sunshine


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A mask from Sutton Hoo, British Museum. The finished one is a reconstruction based on the damaged one from the site.
A mask from Sutton Hoo, British Museum. The finished one is a reconstruction based on the damaged one from the site.

I showed Stephen how to photograph the exhibits by putting the iPhone camera lens against the glass casing, which eliminates reflections.

We had a small meal at a Chinese restaurant, then went along to the church. The Sacred Harp music session was enjoyable, but it did not really appeal as something we would like to do in future. It’s easy to find out more about it using Google.

This morning, Tuesday, we went to a U3A meeting on China. It was led by someone who has a lifetime of working in China (Taiwan). His wife is from Taiwan and he says he has one English daughter and one Chinese daughter and both speak Mandarin. We were very interested in his knowledge of China and we have bought his latest book, which was available as a Kindle e-book. It is looking at the future of China  2018 – China Goes Critical by Barnaby Powell and Alex Mackinnon.

The conversation on China took part in Barnaby’s house, with pumpkin cake and Chinese tea to follow. People were interested in what he had to say about the bilateral relationship between Britain and China and Chinese investment here. The Chinese investors want to be able to build high rise apartment blocks as they do in China. It makes sense by having the greatest number of people possible living on the one plot of land and avoids the issue of possible shrinking of the green belts. However, it is not something that the English people will necessarily embrace easily.

I was asked to speak a bit about Australia’s relationship with China. Stephen said that he asked for a pass because he couldn’t think of anything to say. I did say that our views are probably not representative because of our experiences of being in China a lot in the past few years. Still, it sparked more conversation with the group.

We walked home with a few of the other participants in the group. It was raining heavily by the time we got home and I was very glad to be using an umbrella that I found here in the house, rather than the cheap and flimsy one that I bought a couple of weeks ago.