Birthday Present Arrives

This birthday, I’m sorry to amit was a landmark birthday, and I’ve spent the last month or so trying to work out what to put my gift money towards.

I’ve wanted an astronomical telescope for a while, and after several discussions with a work colleague I decided to opt for a dobsonian telescope for the following reasons:

  1. Ridiculously simple Dobsonian mount requiring no set up
  2. Dobsonians offer more aperture for your money
  3. I decided to heed the warnings on the forums and steer clear of Astrophotography

I did a lot of research on various forums, and decided that I could afford a 8″ (200mm) diameter Dobsonian telescope, whereas I could only afford a 6″ (150mm) diameter telescope on an equatorial mount.  Given that I wanted a scope that I could literally unload and start observing with, I discovered that Dobsonians could not be beaten.

After several weeks of deliberation, I’d narrowed my choices to a Skywatcher Skyliner 200P or a Revelation 8″ F6/M-CRF.

From the reviews that I read, I gathered that the Revelation scope was slightly better specified including:

  1. A Micro 10:1 Crayford style focuser;
  2. Mirror cell with cooling fan;
  3. Roller bearing heavy duty wood base with handles; and,
  4. Slightly better eyepieces.

But the scope was out of stock at and the scope was more expensive than the Skywatcher Skyliner 200P.  I was going to wait for a while, but then this deal appeared at Jessops and so I decided to take advantage and take the plunge there and then.

Anyway, the scope was delivered this morning, and I took about an hour to assemble it during my lunch break, and here is the fully assembled item.

I have to confess that its a lot bigger than I thought, but I’m lookg forward to taking it out for a test drive later this evening or possibly tomorrow.


The Golden Circle, Iceland.

Today, we took an organised trip around the well trodden path of The Golden Circle, which included a stop at Geysir, Gulfoss Falls and finally, and most interestingly to me a stop at Þingvellir National Park, which is one of the few places on the planet where you can see the Mid Atlantic Ridge above sea level.



The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

As this birthday was a landmark one, Manda and I treated ourselves to a trip to Iceland for my birthday with the hope of seeing the Northern Lights.  The holiday didn’t start well, with the flight from Gatwick of Keflavik being delayed by 5 hours due to high winds in Iceland.  This essentially wiped out our first day in Reykjavik, which was a bit of a bugger to say the least.

Today, the weather wasn’t great, but as we were booked in for a trip to the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa, this wasn’t a deal breaker.  The trip to the Blue Lagoon had a late pickup at 12:00, so we had a bit of a wander around Reykjavik in the morning and found a number of large murals painted by Guido Van Helten on the ‘Loftkastalinn’ building.

I have to confess that a day at a spa is not my normal thing, but being a geologist, the fact that it was a geothermal spa meant that I did find it a bit more interesting.

Here are the best of the photos from today.

New Year Walk to Golden Cap

After going to the LeROC Axminster NYE party, Manda had to work on the 2nd Jan, so I took the opportunity to get out and about and decided to walk up Golden Cap.

I have to confess to carrying quite a few extra pounds after Christmas, and so I opted for the Cheats Route.  If you want to climb Golden Cap and don’t have the time or stamina to walk from Seatown, then you should park at the Langdon Hill Car Park, which I think costs 40p per hour, and walk south along the Gravel Track.  The footpath to Golden Cap is obvious and is much less strenuous than climbing up from further along the coast.

From Golden Cap, I’d recommend that you head west towards the ruined church in the secluded valley of Stanton St Gabriel. This secluded little contains a large thatched farmhouse called St Gabriel’s House, now split into a number of holiday cottages named after trees and called Ash, Beech, Elm and Oak Cottage and can be booked through National Trust Cottages., and the pretty whitewashed and thatched St Gabriel’s Cottage.

From Stanton St Gabriel you can walk back towards Langdon Hill without having to climb Golden Cap again and take a leisurely stroll around Langdon Wood and back to the car park.

From Langdon Wood, I headed to Charmouth for lunch, then back to West Bay via Whitchurch Canonicorum.

Visit to Arne

After a few days of enforced Christmas Cabin Fever, I managed to persuade Manda to come outside, and we took an afternoon trip to the RSPB Arne Nature Reserve near Wareham.

I decided to go armed just with the EOS-M, three lenses and the EF to EF-M lens adaptor.

I took the EF-M 22mm, the EF-M 18-55 and the EF 28-105 lens with the EF to EF-M adaptor.

I have to day that apart from the less than adequate battery life, I’m really growing to love this little camera. Here are the best of the photos from today.

Now that I’ve processed the images, I am very impressed with the quality that this little camera kicks out.

Fixed 50mm Lens Results

A couple of weeks ago, I first dropped my Canon 50mm f/1.8 II and broke it into two pieces, then followed an online guide to fix it.

Well, I have to confess, I wasn’t sure that it would be as sharp as it was, but I’ve done a few test shots, and it appears to still be nice and sharp, so I’m very happy indeed.

The test shots, taken at Titchfield Abbey are shown below so you can decide for yourself.