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Never rains but pours

I had a nice surprise this morning in my inbox, not one, but two requests for using my images. DorsetLife Magazine and the Natural History Museum of Bordeaux! Always happy when my images are used for educational purposes.

Live music night at Thetford

On Saturday I attended Thetfords first Live Music event, at the Charles Burrell centre. It was a great show, and hopefully the first of many. A great opportunity for some gig photography too!

Purbeck coastal path through the ranges

After our trip to Marwell Zoo on Good Friday, we felt that we should try to pre-emptively burn some of the calories we would be consuming on Easter Sunday.

The plan was to walk from Lulworth Cove in Dorset, to the ghost village of Tyneham. This should have been about a 10 mile round trip, up and down the undulating and often quite steep Purbeck cliffs. The weather had other plans, being quite unpredictable (see the photos below to see the clouds!). We made it to Worbarrow bay, and then turned inland to head up to Lulworth Castle. Sadly the castle was closed for a private function, so instead we headed to the pub for a quick drink, before heading back to Lulworth for some Fish and Chips, undoing completely all the calorie-burning we had accomplished today!

A trip to the Zoo

On Good Friday my partner and I braved the Easter weekend traffic to visit a local zoo. Just managing to get in before the carpark was officially “Full”, the zoo was full of small children running about. We were lucky to have some good weather, as it is currently pouring down as I type this on Easter Sunday!

Below are a small selection of photos from the day at Marwell Zoo.

New ROV video

Took the ROV out for the first time in a few months yesterday. Next task will be to address weight issues with the tether. Click the link below to view the video!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vLGsRHy8P4

 

Update on current equipment

I recently updated my camera equipment to more suit my needs. Current equipment includes:

Bodies

  • Canon 5D MkIII
  • Canon 7D

Lenses

  • 50mm f1.4
  • 100mm f2.8 Macro
  • 100-400mm L f4-5.6
  • 24-105mm L f4-5.6
  • MP-E 65mm 1-5x Macro
  • MR-14EX ringflash

Software

  • Helicon Remote and Helicon Focus
  • Zerene Stacker
  • Photoshop CS5.1

Bournemouth Natural Science Society (BNSS)

I’ve now started to (slowly) photograph some of the BNSS specimens in my spare time. I’m limited to about 2 hours a week, which is slow progress (I can get maybe 15-20 images in 2 hours in a good day), but given how old, and interesting the specimens are, it’s worth it! I am extremely grateful to the society for granting me permission.

Please check out the current photographs on flickr, here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zpyder/sets/72157640844680034/

For further information on the society please see their website here: http://www.bnss.org.uk/

Note:
The BNSS images are currently fully copyrighted. They are not available for use without prior consent.

Isolated black backgrounds

I’ve now built a small, portable studio set-up and method, allowing me to photograph small objects (such as scientific specimens), with more even lighting on a black background.

I can offer this photographic service, priced based upon the needs of each project.

Right clicking now enabled on the site

I’ve now enabled right clicking on the site. I hadn’t realised it was disabled by default!

Guide: How to un-jam a Manfrotto tripod head brass pin

I recently spent some time on Brownsea island. To get there you need to use a small ferry that can carry a dozen people at a time. The weather was a little rough, and I guess a little salt spray got on my tripod on the trip…a few days after returning home I found the brass catch-pin on my Manfrotto ball head had jammed, presumably from some salt crystallisation.

Manfrotto 496rc2 Ball Head with the brass pin jammed. (The grey locking lever has been removed in this photo)

Manfrotto 496rc2 Ball Head with the brass pin jammed. (The grey locking lever has been removed in this photo)

I tried letting some WD40 seep into the gap between the base plate and pin, which didn’t work. I tried adding some vinegar to try and dissolve the salt crystals, this also didn’t work. I also tried pouring hot/boiling water on the pin/area to try and expand and loosen the area, to no avail.

 

 

 

As a final attempt at freeing the pin, and saving myself £50 to replace the whole Ball head, I decided to drill a small hole through the top of the pin, and hook it out, which worked quite well. The guide below details this process, in case anyone else should find themselves in a similar situation.

EQUIPMENT LIST

  • Lubricant
  • Paper clip
  • Dremmel/drill with small drill head or similar
  • Suitable hex screwdriver bit
  • Cotton buds for cleaning

GUIDE

Note
I originally thought that the brass pin was solid. It’s actually hollow, which makes drilling a small hole into it much easier. The hole shouldn’t effect the pins function. The only caveat is that the hole could allow other residues and crud to get in and cause future jams. This could be solved by blocking the hole if you want. I’ve left mine as is, as it’ll make maintenance easier in the future!

I used a leatherman with the correct bit, to remove the locking lever assembly.

I used a leatherman with the correct bit, to remove the locking lever assembly.

The first thing that you need to do is remove the locking lever assembly. This is done by using the appropriate sized hex screw on the back of the lever assembly.

 

 

 

 

lever and bits

Keep these parts safe for now.

The brass pin should now be much more accessible.

I actually used a small deburring bit to drill the hole.

I actually used a small deburring bit to drill the hole.

Using a dremmel with a small drill bit (slightly bigger than the paperclip gauge), drill down the centre of the pin. The material is only 1-2mm thick, so be prepared to punch through quicker than expected. Wear suitable eye protection etc.

 

 

With the hole drilled, bend the paperclip to form a small hook at the end.

Paperclip bent into hooked shape.

Paperclip bent into hooked shape.

Insert the hook into the hole, and (using pliers if it’s really stuck) pull on the wire. With any luck the pin should come out. Keep an eye out for the spring, you don’t want to lose this!

 

 

Paperclip hooked into the hole

 

 

 

 

 

Here the pin has been hooked out of the base plate

Here the pin has been hooked out of the base plate

The inside of the hollow-pin. Note how thin the material is.

The inside of the hollow-pin. Note how thin the material is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At this point I used some vinegar followed by WD40 lubricant to clean out the pin-chamber.

Cleaning the pin chamber

Cleaning the pin chamber, pretty filthy in there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also used a polishing attachment on the dremmel to clean the crud off of the brass pin itself.

Here I've cleaned half of the pin

Here I’ve cleaned half of the pin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before reassembling the ball head, I checked to make sure that the pin moved freely in and out of the chamber. Don’t forget to put the pin-spring back in too!

Checking to make sure the pin doesn't jam any more.

Checking to make sure the pin doesn’t jam any more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most fiddly part of the whole process (for me at least) was getting the spring for the locking lever back in place. One end of the spring fits into a hole in the lever. The other fits into a groove in the back of the base plate.

The locking lever spring in place

The locking lever spring in place

As it only really fits one way, this helps in getting the alignment of the locking lever correct. I found it easiest to hold the base plate and slot the locking lever+spring in from underneath. Doing it any other way resulted in the spring popping out.

 

 

Once this is done, Put the washer on next, and then screw in the hex-screw, and you should be done.

Add the washer next

Add the washer next

And then add the screw!

And then add the screw!

All Done!

All finished and back to normal!

All finished and back to normal!