On Friday night I thought, sod it, I don't care if it is going to rain I will go out otter watching with my camera. I've got wet weather gear for myself and my camera so a little bit of rain will not hurt. I got my gear and camera equipment ready so that I could make an early start. All night the rain and wind kept bashing at my bedroom windows but I thought that by morning the storm would have blown itself out, how wrong I was. I got up at 5.30am looked out the window and said to myself, you are not going to put me off because I know that as soon as I say I am not going the wind and rain will stop and the sun will come out. I went downstairs to have breakfast. I opened the door to let the dog out, he looked out and then gave me the “you think I’m going out in that” look, then quickly turned around and went back to his warm bed. I had breakfast and loaded the car up. As I started reversing out of our drive I heard some crunching noises. I live in the country and there are no streetlights in the area so everything is pitch black. I stopped the car and got out to see what was causing the noise. Near the bottom of our drive we have a slope rising to our paddock. Due to the amount of rain fallen through the night the water had come down the slope carrying lots of stones and debris and deposited them on our drive. Our drive backs onto a triangular road junction, actually its three tracks, and I could see debris all over the road. Due to this debris I could tell that I was not going anywhere today. Therefore I drove back up the drive and unloaded the car, another day with no photography.
So instead of going out I decided to stay in, do some image post processing and upload more photos to my website. To help me with the chore of post processing my images and speed things up I bought a medium Wacom Intuos 5 pro tablet a while ago. Being a wildlife / nature photographer I do not do a lot of post processing, in fact all I do is crop, dodge and burn, denoise and sharpen. Very rarely I do the odd bit of cloning but I never change anything within the photo, in other words I do not add trees, skies etc. The only time I do a bit of cloning is on a landscape image to take out rubbish and never clone on a wildlife image. My wildlife images stay the same as when I took the image, if they are not perfect then so be it as nature is not perfect. I will go through my post processing routine in finer detail in next week’s Blog.
A while ago I was at a photography show and examined all three Wacom Intuos 5 pro tablets, the large, the medium and the small. I picked the medium as its size suited me. The size of the medium is roughly 25cm by 38cm but the working area is roughly 14cm by 22cm. The small tablet would be great if you were using it away from home with a laptop, as I use mine at home with a desktop computer I thought the working area on the small tablet was a bit too small and the large seemed enormous for what I wanted. I did my usual thing before I bought it, I handled it and read lots of reviews on the Internet about it. There seemed to be lots of problems with the Wi-Fi but “touch wood” I have not had any. I find the tablet a joy to use especially for speed and intricate work compared to using a mouse. It has a Multi-Touch surface which means you can use your hand and fingers instead of the pen but I have turned this off to save the cursor jumping all over the place. The pen is pressure sensitive which means the harder you press then the thicker and darker the line is drawn. It also comes with a pen holder which holds 10 spare nibs. There are 5 standard nibs, 1 flex nib, 1 stroke nib and 3 hard felt nibs. I thought this was excessive but once I started using the tablet I was surprised how quickly I am wearing down the nib and I am not pressing down very hard. I expect to go through the nibs in a couple of years. If I was using the tablet every day then it could be only six months. The tablet has Customisable Expresskeys which are very handy to programme your most used functions. What I like about these keys is that they each have a different raised shape on them so that you can feel the key instead of having to keep looking to find it. It also has a Multi-Function Touch Ring and I find this extremely useful. It has 4 functions and the one I use the most is adjusting the brush size as it saves so much time. You can view all the settings on screen just by pressing a button on the tablet and they are very easy to change. The orientation can be configured for right handed or left handed people. It also comes with a usb cable for charging and for linking with your computer instead of using the wireless module which is also included. Once you have bought the tablet you can buy “extras” like different types of nib and different pens but if you are only post processing images then there is no need, until the nibs wear out. There is even an optional mouse to buy and use with the tablet but I feel this defeats the object of having a tablet.
Like I said I found working with the tablet very easy. There are several good instructional videos on the Internet which I viewed before I purchased mine. You can even use the tablet if you have two monitors and map both monitors on to the working area of the tablet although you might need the large tablet if you intend to use it like this.
I’m glad I changed my mind and stayed in as we had the “Father of all Storms” (everybody says “mother” so I thought I’ll be different). Quite a few roads in our area were turned into rivers and a lot of tarmac was deposited down in the village. Living on a hill has some advantages and apart from debris on the drive we escaped any other problems. There will be a lot of roadworks in our area for the next few months. The River Tavy rose up nearly 3 metres and there were a few houses in Tavistock Devon that were flooded, I feel for them and everybody else that has been affected by all this rain. Take care.