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Posted on 13th February, 2013

Adobe Camera Raw, Asahi Pentax Takumar 55mm lens,

Trent and Mersey Canal, and Chinese New Year.


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A narrowboat owner, on the Trent and Mersey Canal at Kidsgrove, on 9th February 2013. This is the raw image as it came out of the camera.

A narrowboat owner, on the Trent and Mersey Canal at Kidsgrove, on 9th February 2013. This is the result after rescuing with Adobe Camera Raw.

I get away from Milton Keynes as often as I can, but when London Midland Trains do their promotions, it's the perfect opportunity to get even further away than normal. On the weekend of 9th / 10th February, it was a combination of a Saturday 'Great Escape' to Kidsgrove, and, a Sunday 25% off deal to London.


The plan for Saturday was to look around Kidsgrove for an hour or so, then get the bus to Tunstall and Burslem to spend an hour or so at each trying to get people pics. As it turned out, the Trent & Mersey, and, Macclesfield canals at Kidsgrove kept me interested for longer than I expected. Not only interested mind you, but pretty wet also, at least in part. That part was my right leg, which took a dip upto the knee when I slipped into the orange-coloured water between a narrowboat and the towpath.


This attempted drowning was the result of my stupidity of course, whilst taking a piccy of a boatman. It all boiled down to me trying out an ancient 55mm f1.8 M42 Asahi Pentax Takumar lens on my Canon 400D. Having been using my Tokina 12-24 AT-X zoom lens for so long, I'd forgotten just how small an area a 55mm lens covers. Therefore, when trying to get all of my subject into the frame, I had to move backwards a couple of times. And, when you've got one foot on the slippery ledge of the narrowboat, it's not very clever to lift your other foot off terra firma, especially at the moment that the barge moves away from the towpath. So, down I went. Luckily though, not too far, as the gap between the boat and water's edge was relatively small. And even though I despise the freezing cold, it was my saviour on this occasion, as my heavily padded clothing meant I suffered negligible damage. Most fortunate also was the fact that I kept hold of the camera, and was able to keep it away from hitting anything.


Anyway, the main reason for recounting this act of folly is to introduce the image I took immediately after getting up onto the towpath again. Keeping in mind that I was using an old Takumar lens, aperture and shutter speed have to be set manually. Unfortunately though, having been spoilt by use of automatic lenses, I'd forgotten to adjust these settings before taking the pic. Not only that mistake though, as I also forgot to check the image on the rear screen until later, only to find then that it was grossly over-exposed.


Back home however, I decided to see what, if anything, Adobe Camera Raw could salvage of the image. I was astounded, and so impressed, that I'm presenting both versions as part of this blog. If you're not impressed, you're obviously a die-hard user of that archaic medium called film I suspect. Long live digital I say!


Moving on to the Chinese New Year celebrations, the less said the better I think. It was a foul day weatherwise, and with one exception, not much better attraction-wise either. If anything, it confirmed my opinion that the CNY is a disaster waiting to happen, with gross over-crowding in the Chinatown streets as the lion moves from shop to shop. Thankfully, salvation arrived later that afternoon on stage in Trafalgar Square, as Emmy The Great, a new name to me, delivered a set with the purity of sound of a recording-studio. Very enlightening, and a band to watch in my opinion.


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