Friday, October 15, 2010

Ratho Lecture 27th November

Really looking forward to this one, a special lecture as part of the final of the Scottish dry tooling competition series. Should be fun to see some of the future stars of Scottish mixed strut their stuff at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho and try and link that madness to some of the games I've been getting up to with tools. Starts 6.30 I think and admission is £5 for competitors and £10 for non-competitors. Here's a link for more info
As a contribution to the growing psyche for the upcoming winter here's a few pics. First pitch 1 of Scotch on the Rocks in the Alps.
Pitch 3 of Scotch on the RocksPitch one of Migrant Direct in this case, it can also be used for the Vicar and Nocando CrackAnd a couple from The Secret on the Ben

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lumix LX5 camera first thoughts

A few weeks ago I bought the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera. I've been using the Canon G10 as my compact camera but it's not very compact, so much so that I couldn't fit it with a case in my jacket pocket. Partly as a result I managed to scratch the lens. So it was toss up between the predecessor the LX3, the LX5 and the Canon S95. I've not used the LX3 but supposedly the LX5 has a touch more telephoto zoom (not important for me), better video (quite important) and better low light quality with an improved sensor (very important). The following shots are all at 400iso, hand held at 1/15 and 1/13th sec at F2 (very nice to have such as fast lens). I had been disappointed with the low light abilities of the G10, the LX5 seems less noisy. I've adjusted levels but not re-saturated which I would normally do, or sharpened.
Detail of the above is pretty good considering the hand held slow shutter speed fast aperture.Levels adjusted again, no sharpeningReasonable detail again.

So my initial thoughts are decent low light performance, love the 24mm wide angle, nice handling although I have twice knocked the top mode dial and it's a proper compact. It will be interesting to see how it fairs this winter.

Having said all the above I was looking through a bunch of shots taken on a variety of cameras, and it was very obvious which ones were taken on my DSLR with top quality lenses. It does feel that compact cameras is one area that digital hasn't really delivered in compared with film.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Finding the positives

As you can probably guess, by the fact that my blog posts have slowed to an intermittent crawl over the last few months and that when I do post it tends to be all doom and gloom, I've been struggling a bit this summer. Struggling with what it means to be a climber who doesn't climb. I've had lots of welcome distractions particularly domestically but also with my new job helping edit Climb Magazine (by the way our second issue, Number 69, is now at the printers and it's another notch forward) but selfishly these aren't enough. In past I'd always assumed I'd be climbing for ever; puntering away into my dottage probably still climbing E1s as grade creep keeps up with my ever declining abilities (I imagined celebrating my E1 lead aged 80 due to the 2050 guidebook by future-fax upgrading Stanage's Crack and Corner up to Extreme!). But this summer has seen me begin to doubt that. I could see how many climbers reach my middle-ish age and just let it all go. Constant injuries, declining horizons and abilities and most of all the stress of balancing all the over-flowing plates of life. I almost envisioned myself turning to running or cycling.

Well those thoughts lasted about a week, and then I woke up! Partly because seeing me fat and forty in garish lycra isn't good for anyone's health - but mainly it's just that the mountains are just such compelling places I just can't leave them alone. In every cloud there is ... a new plan! And so for this next season I will mainly be doing...

You rarely have to pull hard, in fact you don't really have to use both arms, you get to see a lot of mountain. And also in recent manic winters I've missed out on pretty much every classic ridge in Scotland. Obviously the reasons for climbing these majestic features is about much more than sheer technical difficulties. But even so there are some pretty tempting challenges beginning to form deep in my psyche. I'm finally getting excited about winter again.