Charcoal Kiln

Charcoal Kiln

When we walk through our woodlands we can often see evidence of coppicing carried out in times gone by.  Through the years our coppices have been neglected and unmanaged.  Nowadays, there has been an increasing interest/enthusiasm to return these areas to something more useful.  This charcoal kiln is a demonstration of this.  At one time, I would never see one, nowadays, while not common they are not so unusual.


Leafless – not lifeless


Without life of its own, this dead tree will provide food for insects and thereby birds and animals.  It will support nests and hiding places – until it is deemed  unsafe for us poor humans, when it will be taken down and disposed of.


A New Toy


My personal circumstances mean that I am on a somewhat limited budget for my photography (zilch), but I’ve wanted a compact camera to take when I’m out on my bicycle – my dslr is just a bit too cumbersome.  My family have kindly given me vouchers for birthdays and Christmas, which I’ve diligently saved together (and saved myself from socks and vests and undergarments – when you get to my age people run out of ideas!).  I’ve now purchased myself a new toy in the form of a Pentax MX-1, a smallish compact (with a bit of style in keeping with my image, or course! ;))

This shot is a straight jpg from the camera (with re-sizing and logo added).  Limited pallet admittedly, it seems to have coped with the dynamic range quite well.

I’ve found up an old case for the camera which I can clip to my belt and have been out a couple of times with it – seems just the job to me.

I did a fair bit of web based research before I chose the MX-1 and fully appreciate there are better compacts, but a significant price reduction on the camera tipped the balance – I could get it now, rather than wait another 6 months or so.

What I like (bearing in mind the short time I’ve had it)

  • it has a tipping lcd screen
  • it is quite weighty – feels like a real camera, feels like quality
  • it has an easy to reach compensation dial
  • it has quite a wide aperture.
  • oh, it does RAW (though I wouldn’t have bought it if it didn’t)
  • I’m already a bit more inclined to go out on my bike!

What I’m not so keen on

  • the lens cap has to be off when you switch it on – ( I knew this, I can live with it)
  • the lens gives a fair bit of barrel distortion, corrected in jpg on camera, but will need specific attention when working in RAW (I use PTLens for this, tried it, it corrects for the camera).
  • not 100% about the colours it gives, but I suspect there will be a control in camera to help with this (to save time)
  • slowish write times – (I knew this, I can live with it for my type of photography)
  • no viewfinder – (I knew this, I will force myself to get used to it, part of my rationale for buying it)
  • histogram tool looks a bit ‘Mickey Mouse’ but I’ll get used to it.