Sunday, 23 October 2016

RPS East Anglia Exhibition 2016

I spent yesterday at Wingfield Barns, near Diss in Suffolk, stewarding this year's RPS East Anglia Region exhibition.  Very good it looked too, demonstrating the huge amount of work put in by Moira Ellice and her team of expert "framers" and "hangers".

As with last year, The Dumb Blonde was in position waiting for the next person to open the biscuit box...

Hughes have very kindly lent us a large screen TV for the duration of the exhibition, and this was used to display the accepted Projected Images.

We have some superb Natural History photographers in the Region, and Moira was also able to fill the foyer with a selection of stunning nature shots.

It's always a pleasure stewarding at photograpic exhibitions, and yesterday was no exception.  Although the number of visitors wasn't high, this gave plenty of opportunity to chat to everyone who came.  Roll on the opening of next year's exhibition at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Toft Animation Festival

Yesterday saw a workshop run as part of the world famous (and cutting edge) Toft Animation Festival.  I went along ostensibly to help participants to set up their cameras, but it soon became clear that I was also expected to be creative.  After a small amount of thought - and sellotape - I made a short sequence about two Land Rovers entitled Road Rage.

Stop-motion photography is time consuming and frustrating, but very satisfying.  More taxing was trying to remember how to drive Photoshop to turn the image sequence into a movie; but, like riding a bicycle, it all came back to me once I had started.  The masterpiece, now available on YouTube (and in all good cinemas), took about 90 minutes to shoot and another hour to download and edit.  All this when I should really have been doing something useful...

I know: don't call us, we'll call you; but it was a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Meet Leonard

Leonard is a lungfish (naturally) and belongs to the geology department of the University of Bristol where my elder daughter, Frances, is a PhD student.  Apparently he was acquired by someone who was studying the palaeontology of lungfish, with the intention of dissecting him for comparison purposes.  When the time came - and quite understandably - the student concerned couldn't bring himself to "do the deed", so Leonard has lived at the department ever since.

In geological circles, Leonard is actually quite famous.  He even has his own web and Facebook pages...

Leonard is fed once a week on Fridays, and I was lucky enough to turn up at the right time to witness this rare event.  Step one is to remove some prawns from the freezer and thaw them in the microwave (emulating what happens in the wild, presumably).

Stage two is to attach the prawns, one by one, to the end of a long stick and dangle them directly in front of Leonard's nose.  His eyesight is pretty poor, it seems, but his sense of smell is rather better.  His appetite wasn't much to write home about, though, as he only took one of the prawns on offer; and, even then, spent the next half an hour or so spitting it out and then re-swallowing it.

Frances and one of her fellow students demonstrating the tools of the trade needed to look after Leonard.  The baton/magic wand is the feeding stick, and the rather clever cleaning contraption uses a strong magnet to allow the inside of the tank to be scraped while being controlled from the outside.  Sneaky.

The final picture shows Leonard being "tickled" (which, apparently, he likes).  I always wondered what all those thousands of washing up brushes from IKEA were used for.

It was a real privilege to meet Leonard - even if the department isn't quite sure of his/her gender.  Maybe I met Leonardina, after all?