Friday, September 28, 2012

Painting in Montefalco

Having not done any watercolour painting for 14 months, it was time to go and give it another crack. So myself and another 11 like minded souls met up for the first time at Perugia airport. We met the tour organiser and our painting tutor for the week and were soon travelling to our hotel in the hilltop town of Montefalco.
Here are some of my photos from that week, together with my efforts of producing watercolour paintings from the inspirational scenes that abound in Umbria.

 Early morning at Stansted
In transit
On finals with Assisi in the distance
Montefalco houses
A classic Fiat 500
Every Italian door is different (no uPVC in sight)
Our tutor helps a budding artist capture the view
Perugia is full of character
Pink Vespa
Sagrantino grapes
The local vineyard in Montefalco
A typical hilltop scene
I must try painting this
Approaching sunset in Assisi
The Basilica di San Fransesco
Montefalco olive groves
Local transport
Glad I was sending postcards from Montefalco and not the B.... place
The hotel pool
Time to return home
Montefalco street
 Piazza Dante door
Fiat 500
On the hotel terrace
My first ever sketch
Montefalco landscape
I enjoyed my week in Italy and the weather, food, wine, views, and company were all good.

In other news, I see that Lewis Hamilton is leaving the McLaren F1 team at the end of the year, and will be joining the Mercedes team for 2013. So my suspicions mentioned in my post on the 8th of this month were correct.

The World T20 (WT20) cricket match tournament is underway in Sri Lanka. The England women won their first match yesterday when playing Pakistan. They are due to play India tomorrow and Australia on Monday.
I'll be keeping an eye on how it goes.

All the best


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England women win T20 series

On Monday I watched on tv, part of the second T20 game between England Women and West Indies women from Old Trafford. The rain stayed away and England won the match having lost the toss again. This time the West Indies team were better opponents but still lost by 28 runs.

Today the teams were playing again at the Northampton ground. There was no tv coverage but I did manage to find some audio ball by ball coverage on the Internet. It was rather odd as the commentators had never seen the England women play before. In the commentary there were lots of long pauses before players names were given. Even then they were often wrong. It was good to hear that Charlotte Church is now playing cricket even though her score was lower than expected from the England captain. The match was much closer but England did still pull off a win by 10 runs after some excellent work by the bowlers and in the field. So England have now won the series 3-0 with the two remaining matches coming from Hove, and then Arundel over the coming weekend.

I was hoping to go and watch the Arundel match but instead I am travelling to Montefalco in Italy for a week of watercolour painting. I am sure there will also been some good food and wine and a fair amount of site seeing.
Anyway well done to the England team.


Sunday, September 09, 2012

Lewis Hamilton wins at Monza

I did not watch today's Formula 1 race live. As it was on Sky, I watched the Tour of Britain cycling on ITV4. I should have been outside as it was a sunny and warm day.
Later on I did watch the BBC programme that provided the highlights of the race from Monza. It was certainly not what I expected with Button's car retiring due to a fuel problem and neither Red Bull car getting into the points. Lewis Hamilton won the race and Alonso having finished third, retains the overall lead in the driver's championship. See that latest charts here.

Tomorrow afternoon I will be watching the tv again. This time it is the England Women's cricket team taking on the West Indies at a T20 match from Manchester. England had a convincing win in the first match of the series from Durham. It might be a bit harder for this match and of course being in Manchester it could rain.


Saturday, September 08, 2012

Pork pie weekend

It is another Grand Prix weekend.

On each weekend where there is a Formula One Grand Prix I buy myself a pack of these as it is a special occasion.
These treats seem to be coming thick and fast at the moment. I suppose that is one of the benefits of having 20 F1 races this year. With the messing around with the tv coverage this year, I watched the BBC coverage of the qualifying session a bit ealier. This was not live but about fours hours behind the actual event. The BBC engineers seemed to cobble up the sound balance so although I could see the video, the commentary was almost completely drowned out by the wail of F1 engines. Lewis Hamilton is on pole for tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix from Monza. If you want see the trends taking place in F1 this year you could always take a look at my website
I will post the up to date charts soon after the end of the race tomorrow. The chart of Team car reliability for this year clearly shows that Mercedes have consistently led the field in terms of broken cars that fail to finish. I hope that they can improve on this if Lewis is going to join them.

Meanwhile my attempt at creating panoramic photos as easily as possible continues. You can see my latest attempt here. It is the newly revamped Woking Town Square.


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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

More panoramic stuff

As mentioned previously I have been looking at the way in which to produce a panoramic image. I recently visited Guildford and took along my entry level DSLR (a Canon 1000D that I bought in Sydney a couple of years ago) and my new Samyang 8mm lens. I took five photos from the same spot in the High Street and produced this panorama with the aid of some pc software.

I also used the same five photos to make this youtube video.

So just taking five photos in under 60 seconds is all you need. However my plan is to also make some gigapixel panoramas when I am back in Sydney. The idea of these is that you can zoom in and get a lot of detail. I will use a standard lens but you do need to take about 54 photos. So to achieve this I have made up a special bracket to hold the camera while I rotate it between shots. The bracket is mounted on a tripod with "click stop" panoramic head on it. You can buy a fully robotic head to do all this automatically but I want to save the money and do the job the harder but more rewarding way. Only time will tell if I get decent results.