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Sunday March 6th 2011 ~ Camera Shy

Yes camera shy. Not the X1 buses, but me I mean. Whilst in Carlisle on Wednesday I managed to drop my Kodak camera and render it unusable. This might sound like a disaster, but when I told Cheryl she cheered ! This was because she's had months of me moaning about its limited capabilities and was foremost in persuading me to call it a day and buy a new one. In the month that I've had a £870 dentist bill, the timing could have been better though.
My new camera arrived yesterday. It is a Canon Powershot S95. I did have a Canon before, but managed to lose that one on a stag weekend in York. May be I should just leave my camera at home when I travel north ? Today I decided to test it out in the local vicinity and see if it was up to the task of freezing moving buses. The experts seem to think only a SLR will do this successfully, but paying another grand on top of the £300 didn't appeal to me with my record of writing off cameras. Here are the results (with apologies for the large number of pictures).

As with all the blog pictures, you can click them to enlarge. At this size, this doesn't look too bad, but when enlarging it becomes apparent that the detail - things like the registration plate etc - is far from clear. I had half expected this, as this was taken in the 'kids and pets' auto mode at F5.6 and 1/250 second with an ISO speed of 125. Clearly this wasn't going to be adequate as 37573 was hardly rushing along on the 10.10 from Peterborough, athough the shot was taken from behind the car windscreen.

My next effort involved 37579 and was a bit more encouraging. At least the exposure was clearer taken at F8, 1/400,  iso 320. Still not crisp enough for me though. Of course weather conditions have a direct impact on the amount of light available and at this point it was quite dull.

Oh Dear ! Going the other way at this time was 37569 on the 11.10 from Peterborough. The clarity - or lack of it - here, could be due to camera shake. It was certainly not due to it surprising me, as you could hear 569 coming from quite a distance. This was taken at the same settings as the picture of 579 above, so I guess we'll call it operator error ! Confused. com ?

Now you've probably guessed by now that I don't know much about photography and this shot proves it. I was asking rather a lot of the camera here as the sun was behind 37579. I also took the picture far too early, so ended up cropping it which has increased the noise to an unacceptable level. It was taken at F8, 1/600 at iso 1000. The time was 14.10 and 579 was on the 13.10 ex Peterborough. It had spent last night at Yarmouth where it received a new ad for the Little Big Planet 2 computer game. Rather disappointingly the destination display did not capture as often happens.

Continuing the experimenting, this picture of 37572 was taken at F8, 1/1000 and an iso of 800. Annoyingly the destination screen didn't come out again and otherwise it appears too grainy to be classed as a good picture. I think I'm learning something here - no honestly !

So ten past three, four hours on from my first photo and I actually think I am getting somewhere ! 37564 on the 14.10 from Peterborough is about to cross the A47 flyover and even though the sun is at a bad angle, I can say it is the first shot I am happy with. The settings were identical to the previous picture, but the brighter sun seems to have improved the result. I do like the narrow font display don't you ?

I'm getting a bit more confident now and fortunately for me, I have chance to reposition the car for 37574 which is six minutes late, all other services having been on time. I've dropped the F stop to 5.6 but kept at 1/1000 and ISO 800. Again it's pretty decent I reckon.
and now we have 37572 returning East at 16.10. This bus has done very well so far this year - it's been out every day since 4th January, but at the end of this week it should be stopped for MOT. The advertising men have missed this one too and it is the only X1 vehicle retaining the ad for the film 'Paul'. Anyway, the main thing is, the picture is in focus so I must be doing something right. F7.1 1/1000 ISO  800.

The last of my daytime efforts and were it not for some unfortunate shadows, I reckon this is the sort of quality I'm after. 37571 which had done K17 every day since Monday once again came out to play today. F5.6 1/1000 ISO 800.
Now I'm sure some of you photography experts will be wanting to put me right on a few things, so please feel free using the comments feature.
Finally, I must add that the results for night photography are excellent. The picture below was taken with permission and under very low lighting conditions, without flash. F2 1/40 ISO 3200

37577 is being fitted with new adverts whilst waiting a manifold gasket.

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