Cut off!

This may be the last picture of the intact Granny Fahey bridge ever taken. I stopped on the way home on Friday (when only about 60mm had fallen) and took a few photos for my Project 365, which is rapidly growing into a Project 1000.

The old Granny Fahey bridge, from the Wingham side.

In happier days…

This is what it looked like on Tuesday when I attempted to go to the shops:

The Granny Fahey bridge, on its side and underwater

“Proceed with caution.”

But Caparra Road is not a dead-end! Maybe the reports were wrong and we might be able to get out the other way?

The Goldsmith bridge on Caparra Rd, washed about 20m downstream. The flood marker is on its side in the foreground

Floods in Australia sometimes happen sideways.

Maybe not.

The SES helicopter has been over a couple of times – council staff are touring the affected areas, and people need food and medicine. Apparently we’re the priority when it comes to fixing the recent storm damage, which is nice to know, but doesn’t change the fact that it’s going to take at least a week for a temporary bridge to be installed.

Stay tuned for more thrilling details!

35-70mm macro lens

I love op shops.

In January I wandered into my local Vinnies (actually my local Vinnies is in Wingham; this was the Taree one. But close enough) and idly perused the front display cabinet, to see (among other things) a camera case. “Ooh! I need a camera case,” I thought. And this one had the enticing words “Canon EOS” and “Working”, not to mention “$10″.

So I had a look.

The EOS in question was a film camera with a 35-70mm lens on it, which looked like it would fit my beloved EOS 600D. Fortunately I carry my camera around almost everywhere with me, and the lovely Vinnies staff were quite happy for me to try out the new lens. It fit, but there was some kind of issue with the connection, so they knocked $2 off the price and said I could bring it back if it didn’t work. Did I mention I love op shops?

I cleaned the connections about 100 times (estimated) with isopropyl alcohol and an eraser, and managed to get it working at the widest aperture. I could then increase the aperture value, except for the random occasions when the camera would chuck a hissy and refuse to recognise it.

Then one day I looked through the viewfinder and everything was very dark. Unfortunately I was out in nature at the time and didn’t have another lens (I don’t have a proper camera bag and I’ve spent the past few months with only one working lens anyway, so I’m not used to carrying a lot of kit). Back at home I investigated and found the aperture blades were stuck on what I estimate to be about f/22. Judicious whacking and use of the depth of field preview didn’t help (and the camera sooked out when I tried using anything other than the widest possible aperture anyway) so I put the lens aside to be used only in very bright conditions.

Then I discovered that on some lenses you can remove the front element and get a macro lens. This was relevant to my interests. I spent many fruitless hours trying to find a tutorial or at least a set of pictures for the 35-70mm, but all I could find was “here is a detailed description on how to take your 28-80mm lens apart, and btw it works for 35-70mm also”. So I dithered. And dithered. And then there came a day when I was in a bad mood and felt like taking things apart, so I took it apart. And shamefully I forgot to take photos of the process.*

But it worked!

The focal length is about an inch, which is really fun when you’re trying to sneak up on bees, and there’s no autofocus; apparently the front element has three lenses in it, and if you remove the outer two and put back the inner one then you can get autofocus, but I haven’t tried that. For now I’m having fun (for some values of “fun”) improving my manual focusing skills.

Here’s one I prepared earlier:

A picture of a plastic ruler taken with my macro lens.

I love my macro lens <3

I still don’t know if the film camera works…

(*) There’s a grub screw on the side; I’m not sure if it’s an actual screw and mine was stripped, or if it’s just a plug, but I ended up pushing mine into the lens body. This allowed me to unscrew the front plate. Then you have to do some other stuff that I can’t remember because I was in a bad mood and didn’t document it, and the lens surround doesn’t come out of the lens but it does pivot, and you then have to undo three screws and the front element will screw out and you can ease it past the pivotty bit if you’re careful. If you put it somewhere safe you can undo the process. Hope this helps!