Down By The River Cam

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Photography
Click the image for a larger version.

This is one of the bridges over the River Cam down by the colleges in Cambridge. Shot with my phone, and the limitations of the image are clear enough. But does it matter?

Among photographers, the obsession with looking at detail is known as pixel peeping.

Another version:

Third Version

And this from my Fuji X-T2

Spring Is In The Air

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Photography

Spring is in the air, and the light is getting interesting as the late afternoons draw in.

It is not hard in Cambridge to find a scene that could be from another time. The bulbs in the streetlights are electric, but from here they could be gas.

I shot this with my phone and I can see the limitations – but then, should I be looking that hard that I miss the other qualities in the image?

If it isn’t obvious, I am thinking about getting another camera – a smaller carry-around camera than I have currently.

My carry-around camera is on the limit of ‘carry around’ and it has a fixed 35mm lens. That said, I would be lucky to find something that has its capability (see the photo at the end of this) in a small camera.

Or should upgrade my phone?

Or just make the image a bit lighter before uploading it?

The problem with the Internet (yet another problem with the Internet) is the access to forums where people discuss cameras, including cameras in phones. I know, it is my fault for looking.

If you are interested, take a look at The Online Photographer. They are currently discussing whether phones are ‘good enough’ now.

This is a view this afternoon of Kings College from the river at the ‘Backs’, as the river side of the colleges is called. The sky is another sign of spring, I guess.

And here is the shot from my current carry-around camera that I meant when I said it would be hard to beat it for what it can pull out of a scene.

Tall Trees

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Photography

Lime trees, as the Tilia species is known in Britain, are tall broadleaf trees. There are small-leaved limes and large-leaved limes, and both have the same characteristic in the leaf. The leaves are lop-sided. One side of the base of the leaf is smaller and the base is set higher than the other side. So when they are in leaf they are very easy to recognise.

In winter, with the trees being so close to where we live, I have come to recognise the upward slant of the branches and the fine tracery at the outer edges of the crown.

Limes are also sometimes called Linden trees in Britain, but that is usually in classical literature. Whichever name, they are are not related to the Citrus family of trees that produce the limes that we eat.

Google says that the tree is called lindenlime, or basswood in North America.

They can grow to be very old, more than a thousand years old. I don’t know how old these trees in this park in Cambridge are, but I pass them often and I keep noticing how very tall they are.

On the way into town from where we live, we walk down a footpath – an avenue of these trees. Sometimes I look up at the trees, and time and again I am surprised at how very tall they are.

Looking up and walking along is being in a different world, especially when the sun is shining. It is such a positive experience that I can feel my endorphins screaming with delight.

It is easy enough to walk along while looking up – people are used to stepping out of the way of people staring at their phones as they walk along.

I like the trees a lot and because they are so close to home – we can see them right in front of our house – I have got to know them, and familiarity breed affection.

The books say lime trees can reach 140 feet (40 metres) in height, and I decided to find out the height of the tallest of lime tree in the park.

I knew that calculating the height of the tree would involve angles and trigonometry, but I wanted an easy method.

I googled for how to measure height. One method suggested using a square of card folded to a triangle with a 45° angle and then moving back from the tree until, with the card held level to the ground, the top of the card matched the top of the tree.

When I could see the top of the tree when I looked along the length of that 45° angle I would be the same distance from the tree as the height of the tree. Easy.

Another suggestion used just the span of the outstretched hand with the fingers and thumb splayed open vertically. It relied on the principle of the distance from the span to the eye with the arm outstretched being three times the width of the span.

So moving backwards from the tree to a distance where the span neatly coincided with the top and bottom of the tree would be a distance three times the height of the tree. Easier still.

I measured 80 strides to the tree when my hand span encompassed the height to the tree with arm outstretched. My stride is about a metre, so that makes the tree 27 metres or 88 feet tall.

I wonder where an example of a lime tree 140 feet tall, is?

The People’s Vote and Brexit

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Politics

The People’s Vote is a movement to revoke article 50 and to stop the Brexit clock running.

It is a movement to give the people of Britain the opportunity vote in an informed way on the question of whether to leave the European Union.

I have come to dislike the word Brexit. It is a contraction of the word British and the word exit, meaning exit from the European Union. The word reminds me of a breakfast cereal. The word is onomatopoeic.

Brexit is hard and brittle and snaps easily.

Serious business at the Peoples Vote march, London, 23 March 2019

Serious business at the Peoples Vote march, London, 23 March 2019

I voted Remain in the referendum in 2016. I did so because I thought that this country needed Continental Europe to continue to widen its cultural attitudes.

I thought that being part of Europe might help to bring an end to the social stratification and class divisions that go right through the heart of Britain.

I still do.

People putting signs on the Houses of Parliament railings asking for a revocation of Article 50 and for there to be a second referendum

People putting signs on the Houses of Parliament railings asking for a revocation of Article 50 and for there to be a second referendum

We have a proud tradition in literature and music of breaking into the fortress that is the English class system.

But the class system is run with a rod of iron, and it has hung on grimly for hundreds of years. Who gets into Parliament; who forms the Government? Which school did they go to? That narrow band of brothers governs everything.

So I voted Remain as a way to continue to chip away at those class divisions and show them for what they are.

I didn’t choose Remain because of the warnings over the economy. I could have, and that would be reason enough, and I truly do not know how Britain could survive or prosper outside Europe.

Yet while the economic predictions are dire, ten years from now the situation could be reversed.

It is possible and maybe even likely, given British history. We have a proud tradition in inventiveness, resourcefulness.

But on present evidence the economic outlook outside Europe is bad. But still, it was because of the breach with culture that I voted as I did.

Since then I have been thinking. I have been wondering what those influential politicians in the Conservative party are thinking when they want us out of Europe.

We have attacked them for being out of touch and out of time – for pushing for a return to Britain as a proud colonial power, something that Britain was but cannot be any more.

Can they be so stupid? Can it be as simple as that they are deluded?

Is there something else? Is it the security issue? Do they know something about the risks of being bound within Europe? Is there a risk of Britain being dragged into something because of a Russian expansion westward?

Do they see the future as westward looking, towards the USA?

Do they want to return Britain to serfdom, with them at the head of the table?

And what of Labour under its present leader? He seems to want to be out of Europe at almost any economic cost, provided he can get his party into power.

I can see that, the plan to dismantle the banks, nationalise essential services, and divide up the windfall to create a fairer society.

But what a risk – a risk that his party will not come to power, and that all he will have done is facilitate misery.

Sign at the Peoples Vote March 23 March 2019 'Corbyn, This isn't something we could forgive'.

Sign at the Peoples Vote March 23 March 2019 ‘Corbyn, This isn’t something we could forgive’.

I don’t know the answer, but a million or more people marching to simply be there and be counted should count for something.

It should count for something and not be simply swept aside by a Prime Minister who keeps repeating that the people have spoken.

It’s like a woman drowning and dragging down the life raft and insisting it will save her.

Crowd gathering in London for the Peoples Vote march on 23rd March 2019

Crowd gathering in London for the Peoples Vote march on 23rd March 2019

Shopping In Bhaktapur

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Photography

A lot of the shops in Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley are set into the building, like here, and the shopkeepers sit back inside, relaxed on cushions.

The plank of wood at the left of the photo is to help prop up the building. A lot of buildings were damaged on destroyed in the 2015 earthquake.