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History Live 2013

Story location: Home / Blog /

We regularly go to the English Heritage Festival of History. It was cancelled last year due to the weather but it was back this year, renamed History Live.

In addition to the battle re-enactments, there were old fashioned side-shows such as the fire eaters and a return of the Victorian Gymkhana.


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Butlins, Minehead

Story location: Home / Blog / holiday /

We decided to go on a short Christmassy bread to Butlins. We were there for 3 days and there really wasn't any need to leave the site. We had a brief walk along the seafront towards town but the rest of the time was spent playing the arcades (mainly the 2p waterfall games), watching shows, going swimming or going on the fairground rides.


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Near Shurdington

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While Emma was at the Shurdington hamster show, I did my usual thing of going for a drive to nearby places for a bit of a walk and to take some photos. I went to the Great Witcombe roman villa (where I took some more Infra-red photos) and then to Prinknash Abbey where I had a look around the chapel then stopped at the coffee shop for some coffee and rather nice home-made cake.


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Experimenting with Infra-Red photography.

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Many years ago I experimented with Infra-red photography using black and white film which was made by Konica and was sensitive to the longer wavelengths. The film was relatively insensitive to some visible wavelengths and I worked out that I could use an orange filter to get a decent Infra-red effect where foliage came out bright and the sky was dark. A couple of the photos are shown here.

Last week I decided to have another go but this time using my digital camera so I ordered a set of filters. These block visible light and only let through longer wavelengths. The sensors used in digital cameras are all sensitive to infra-red light but the cameras also include infra-red blocking filters, otherwise normal daytime photos will have a various amounts of IR light potentially bleeding through into the picture.

A bit of research on the web suggested that older cameras work better than newer ones since newer cameras have thicker or more effective filters. My Nikon D40 should work but will require fairly long exposures to compensate for the IR blocking filter.

This morning I took my camera, filters and tripod for a walk. The filters start at 720nm, which is deep red, right at the end of visible light. Looking through this filter, you can just about see bright light sources. The other filters are 760nm, 850nm and 950nm. These block all visible light and only let through progressively longer wavelengths.

Photos taken with the 720nm filter show a moderate IR effect, similar to photos taken with the Konica film I had previously used. Blue skies are darkened, a bit like a normal red filter with standard black and white film, and Foliage appears bright. With the longer wavelength filters, the sky gets darker which increases the contrast between it and any IR reflecting objects in the scene, such as leaves or stone.

I was surprised to find that the autofocus still worked using the 720nm filter. I focused at the start of each test then locked the focus on the lens (by setting the camera to manual focus but leaving the lens in autofocus) so I didn't check whether focus worked with the other filters. The camera's metering worked with all the filters but I had to add an extra stop or two of exposure compensation.

A tripod is essential when using these filters, since the exposure went from 1/200s with no filter, to around 1s with the 720nm filter, up to 15-20s with the 950nm filter. If I only carried one filter around with me, it would be the 760nm. The IR effect is stronger than the 720nm filter but the exposure is only slightly longer, at around 2-4 seconds.


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Heritage Open Days 2012

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

For this years Heritage Open Days, we visited a few places in Coventry and Kenilworth, choosing places we hadn't been to before. We went to a few places in Coventry on saturday. Although we had been to Kenilworth quite a few times, we had never actually been to Abbey Fields, so we went there on the sunday.


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Trip to Skegness

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We took a short break to Skegness at the weekend, stopping off at a few places on the way there and also on the way back. Since we live in Coventry, which is almost as far from the sea as it's possible to be in England, it was nice to spend some time at the seaside and have a paddle.


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Some photos from May

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Some photos taken in and around Warwickshire this month. The Kenilworth Castle photos were taken on a day when they were doing some medieval displays and re-enactments.


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Charterhouse Open Day

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

The Charterhouse, the remains of a 14th century priory just outside Coventry city centre, was open to the public today. The Charterhouse Preservation Trust is trying to find a use for the building which keeps it available for the public. City College had tried to sell the building but when it was bequeathed to the city it was supposed to be used for public education. There is more info on the BBC News website from last year with an update from earlier this week.


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Pizza Express

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Our semi-regular trip to Pizza Express for St. Valentine's Day.


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More photos of George

Story location: Home / Blog / animals /

We occasionally buy seed based treat sticks for George the Dormouse. He hangs from them to eat and can demolish one in a few days.


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National Poultry Show

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The National Poultry Show was held at Stoneleigh Park. There were lots of different types of chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese on show, as well as some for sale.

It's probably wrong but after a few minutes of looking at lots of different chickens I started to feel hungry and thought "I could really eat a roast chicken".


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Clevedon Hamster Show

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

The Clevedon Hamster Show took place today at St Andrews church hall. While the AGM took place, I took the camera and went for a walk. Apart from the photo of the Ground Squirrel, the photos below were all taken in the town.


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Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

Some photos from my trip into Cardiff today. We were at the Hamster Show which was held in neaby Radyr (congratulations to our Winter White hamsters who won the Dwarf Hamster categories apart from Best In Show).

This was my first time in the city and I was impressed by the place. Cardiff Bay seemed to be one continuous collection of cafes, bars and restaurants. The city centre itself was ok but I didn't have time for a thorough explore. It rained quite a lot while I was there so I had to be a bit selective with my photos and avoid too much washed out sky.


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Heritage Open Day 2011

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

We went to nearby Baginton for this years Heritage Open Day. Within a short distance there were several sites, including the Electric Train Museum and Bagot's Castle, neither of which are normally open to the public. We also visited Airbase, where they had a selection of vintage aircraft on display.


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Black Country Living Museum

Story location: Home / Blog / birmingham /

We continued yesterday's theme of visiting somewhere new, this time we drove west to the Black Country Living Museum. This is similar to Blists Hill at Ironbridge with a similar range of displays and shops.


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