Easter Saturday

No excursions today, just taking some photos locally in Taunton with the GRD4.

I’ve been tinkering with the focus settings and I think I might give the “auto snap” focus mode a go. This mode is a sort of “hybrid” autofocus mode as it has a phase detect AF window which gives a rough AF distance and then the conventional contrast detect AF will fine tune the AF.

This shot was done with manual focus but it would be interesting to see how well the hybrid AF works.

This is a good example of a type of shot where BW seems to work better. There are a lot of distracting background colours – shop signs etc, so mono seems to work better. I have use the “BW1” preset in RawTherapee.


This shot was processed using the “default” preset in RawTherapee



West Somerset Railway

Surprisingly for a bank holiday weekend the weather was not too bad


The good thing about the West Somerset Railway is that it does not involve more than a few minutes driving each way


They always have a good selection of real ales in the buffet car


At Williton there is normally another train going the other way which passes – this is about the half way point along the line.   The first half tracks the course of the Quantock Hills and the second half is nearer the coast, with views across the Bristol Channel.


I think I might need to get a spare battery for the GRD4 as it seemed to run out of power just as the return journey was starting, but that was was after a good 4 hours of almost constant use.

The battery is the Ricoh DB-65 which costs about £37, but I have to keep reminding myself of all the film processing costs I am saving.


Minehead is not somewhere that you would normally go for gourmet dining, and the staple fare seems to be takeaway fish and chips and hotdogs, but the Quay Inn seemed to serve up a good dish of battered Cod & Chips, complete with mushy peas, and they do a range of Exmoor Ales.


It was pretty chilly – about 4 degrees, but a “feels like” temperature of minus 1


I have streamlined the processing of photos in RawTherapee now and rather than exporting photos one by one, I have used the star grading system to filter shots I want to export, and then select “add of queue” and exported them all in one go as 1024×768 jpegs.   I then added them as a batch to wordpress with adding text as the final step.




I’m trying to decide if flash or no flash works best for this type of shot, and manual flash at 1/64 power seems to work best.

Other settings are ISO154, 1/30s, f/1.9


I have discovered a new trick with the GRD IV if you need to view photos without fully powering up the camera. Pressing the “play” and “disp” buttons at the same time allows this. If you actually need to take a shot you need a full powerup which extends the lens, but this “view only” mode is handy.

A thing I have noticed with WordPress is that everytime I upload a photo it saves FOUR versions, full size, 625×467, 300×224 & 150×112. I never use the smallest two versions, so in order to avoid creating them I have set the “medium” and “thumbnail” sizes to “0” pixels wide, so it no longer creates these two sizes.


Still testing out different focus setting on the GRD4 , yesterday I was testing the setting just below the 3m mark, and today the setting just above the 3m mark.    As the GRD4 has a small sensor it has a large DOF so one focus setting will cover many situations, which is good in many ways, unless you want narrow DOF.

I have noticed that this garage in Staplegrove road is derelict – not sure how long it has been like this.


This also shows the quick response of the GRD4 shutter when used in manual focus mode.  My aim was to get the cyclist in front of the white garage door which required split second timing.   Had I used autofocus then he probably would have passed the garage before the picture was taken.

I have been checking my wordpress sql database with phpmyadmin and have noticed the huge number of revisions in the database.   I have installed a handy plugin that has cleaned out all these now redundant revisions and it has reduced the size of my database from about 1.4mb to 0.8mb which is useful as I like to take regular backups.    “Better Delete Revision” is a handy plugin I now use to keep my database free of no longer required revisions  http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/better-delete-revision/


This bridge appears to have limited time left to stand as there are plans to replace it soon.

It provides a pedestrian link between Leslie Avenue and Chip lane in Taunton, and crosses the main London to Penzance rail line.

It looks like the new design will have ramps for cyclists and wheelchairs which should be an improvement over the steps only access now in place.

A new road will shortly be built providing a direct link between Chip Lane and the station which will be a lot better than having to go via Staplegrove Road and Station Road (about 3 times the distance) and it will hopefully take a lot of traffic away from Staplegrove Road and Greenway Road which are primarily residential roads.


I’m trying out different manual focus settings for the GRD4 and this setting is either 3m or 2.5m – it’s the notch just very slightly below the “3m” mark on the focus scale.

Still Cloudy

It seems to have been pretty cloudy the whole weekend, so shooting with the GRD4 has meant low levels of light generally.

I’m definitely converted to using manual focus, but I think I will set a longer focus distance.       I’ve been looking at the focus scale on the GRD4 and in the “normal” range (non macro) there are 5 marked distances:

  1. Infinity
  2. 5 metres
  3. 3 metres
  4. 1 metre
  5. 0.5 metres


BUT the actual focus “stop” positions on the sliding scale appear to be:

  1. Infinity
  2. 10 metres
  3. 5 metres
  4. 3.5 metres
  5. 3 metres
  6. 2.5 metres
  7. 2 metres
  8. 1.5 metres
  9. 1.25 metres
  10. 1 metre

There are definitely 10 positions between 1 metre and infinity, and I think I was set on 2 metres today, but possibly 2.5 metres or 3 metres might have been a better bet.

The first picture seems to be focussed on the pink rucksack, so a bit too close.   This camera is so discreet that it would easily be possible to get closer without being noticed.


Definitely now getting used to the Rawtherapee software, it’s good that they have such good photo editing software for Ubuntu.


I have noticed that with using manual (or snap) focus there is absolutely NO shutter lag, and the picture will be taken as soon as you press the shutter.    This shot of the cyclist would not have been easy with AF as I would have had to anticipate and press the shutter in advance, but I only noticed the cyclist a fraction of a second before I took the shot.