Back from holiday, thoughts and photographs

My holiday was nice. I stayed around the western boarder of England, just next to Wales. It’s allowed me to chill out and think about what I’m going to do this year and next–the last few months have been stressful to say the least. I’ve had time to think about my travel plans for next year some more, and I’m slightly over the disappointment of my US Visa being declined, although I’ll never come to terms with how unfair it is but it doesn’t have to prevent me from going to a nice, more accepting country i.e. Canada :).

Here’s a few photographs I took. I haven’t edited many; I have hundreds to go through. The chicken shot is composed really poorly, I know, I know, haha. However, I thought he looked cute in that position, and I only had half a second to get the shot :D.

I used a Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2.0 lens and a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens for these shots. I have been thinking I would like something wider and something longer, but I’m not 100% sure what I’ll get yet. a Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 FE lens and a Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens would be really nice, albeit out of budget.

I’ll probably start writing more about my travels on the travel section of my site, so I’ll keep this post short for now. I just wanted to share a few pictures.

My Samsung Galaxy Note 8 should arrive this monday. I would have liked it on holiday, so I could edit photographs and post in the evenings (I had good internet there, haha) but I’ll try it out soon enough and report my findings.

UK Holiday and some thoughts about lenses

I’m going to be gone for a week or so, as I’m going on holiday. I’ll mostly be staying in England but I will briefly visit Wales as well. I’ll be doing a bit of hiking despite what the dumbfounded dipshits at the US Embassy think, I do actually like to walk places lol and photography.

When I return home, I should have my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and I’ll work on doing a review for that. I’ll be reviewing it as a portable backup solution and a device to benefit travel photographers, rather than the stereotypical type of review (there’s plenty like that that’re far better than anything I could create; I suggest you check out Krystal Key on YouTube and Flossy Carter.)

A telephoto lens for Canada

I’ve also been looking at more photographs of Canada and it’s really pretty! I need to give lens consideration some serious thought. For my planned Pacific Crest Trail 2018 hike, I thought taking a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and a Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 or a Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2.8 lens would be enough. Weight’s a serious problem for a hike like that.

However, as I’ll be going to Canada and will likely not have to stress about hiking speed quite as much, I definitely feel I should concentrate a bit more on photography and I’m considering all options really.

The Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens is overpriced (in my opinion), it’s relatively lightweight and it’s a fairly good focal length. If it was a macro lens as well, this lens would be a no-brainer for me.

The Sony 70-200 f/2.8 GM lens is beautiful by all accounts, but it’s big and expensive.

The Sony 100-400 f/4.6 to f/5.6 GM lens is lightweight for its focal length but it’s still a heavy lens in its own right. This lens could be incredibly useful for wildlife photography, including bears and wolves.

The Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens is a great standard zoom, it will allow me to take flower shots, landscape shots and various things. Combine this with my Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and I’d have myself a decent kit, with the exception of being able to take wildlife shots (I mean, you can, but it’s not an ideal focal length.) It’s expensive and heavy but I think it’s priced about where it should be.

I’m considering bringing a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens, a Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 lens and a Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens, but perhaps 135mm isn’t long enough. It’s a really hard judgement to make. I really want a telephoto zoom, but the weight of one might prove to be too much. At about 600 grams, the Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens is considerably lighter than all the other longer focal length lenses, and 21mm is incredibly versatile for landscape shots. Plus I’ll be able to use my phone’s cameras a bit; its quality isn’t as good obviously but it will still have its place in my bag.

In truth, the prices of all these lenses stretch my budget beyond what I’m comfortable with, but I really don’t think 21mm to 50mm is long enough. I manually approve all comments, so if something doesn’t appear, please wait a week until I’m back.

Canada, US Visa, Zeiss Batis and stuff

I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing my posts about the Pacific Crest Trail and my US Visa denial, so I’ve decided to make a page dedicated towards it and then limit my blog posts to happier content. Hopefully it will be helpful to someone at least.

I’m going to give Canada some serious thought. Banff looks really pretty. I think I’d like to buy a longer lens, if I do go to Canada. A Sony 70-200 f/2.8 GM lens will be a bit heavy, but the Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens might just be manageable. It’s a lens I initially laughed at, and the price is extortionate, but it’s really quite lightweight for its focal length. The price is a bit of a problem though.

I’m going on holiday Saturday, for a week, and hopefully I’ll be able to take a few photographs :). When I return home, I will receive my Samsung Galaxy Note 8. I will do a full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, I also want to update my Garmin Fenix 5x watch review, and write about how well it functions with a phone.

US Visa, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Pre-ordered and Raspberry Pi

Last night, I couldn’t sleep very well. I was really anxious about getting a Visa; travelling is extremely important to me, and it would mean so much to me if my Visa application is approved. My Visa interview is next week and I really hope it goes well :).

Excuse me for changing topic a lot in this post, but I have a somewhat eventful month coming up and a few fun things to talk about.

Raspberry Pi

Recently, I bought a raspberry pi 3 b as I wanted to extend the WiFi range in my bedroom and create an access point without breaking the bank. I’m quite familiar with Linux, especially Debian, so setting up Raspbian was extremely simple. I’ve set it up such that my new phone will connect to the built in WiFi of the raspberry pi 3 b and this data will travel through the ethernet port into a network switch. The available guides online do not show you how to do this properly; the best guide I found allows you to set up an access point but it doesn’t allow you to connect to other computers on the same network (in the guide, the raspberry pi 3 b acts as its own DHCP server which is part of the problem.)

I didn’t want to spend much on this project and dedicated access points can be really expensive. If anyone else is interested in this, let me know… I have saved all of the commands and when I’m less busy, I’ll write a guide and post some photographs.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

I am now prepared to own the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Speaking of which, it was announced today and I have made a pre-order. It looks like a great phone, but for the price it would have been nice to see 256gb storage instead of 64gb, and I’d have liked it to be a bit cheaper and a bit lighter (it’s 195 grams.) I’m really looking forward to getting it :). It’ll be the first time I’ll get to try out my Garmin Fenix 5x with a phone! I’ll complete my review of the Garmin Fenix 5x when I get the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

It must seem like I’m only interested in electronic devices, haha. I am actually obsessed with hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, I am just holding back a bit because if my Visa is declined I’ll be pretty sad to say the least. If it is declined, I’ll still be travelling somewhere but it won’t be the same.

I probably won’t be posting for about a week. I want to prepare myself for the interview and whatnot.

Gaining weight for the Pacific Crest Trail 2018

I’d like to gain about 30 pounds before I set foot on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018. I’m fairly tall (6ft3) and I’ve always been slim. In my opinion it’s difficult to gain weight, and I’m sure many would disagree! haha.

I’ve taken protein supplements in the past, but the ones I tried did not contain any carbohydrates to speak of. I’ve spent the last few days thinking about how I could drink my calories and I’ve tried a new recipe today:

  • Oats (blend these first)
  • Two bananas
  • Ice cream
  • Peanut butter
  • Milk
  • Two scoops of protein powder

I was surprised at how well oats blend, and the taste is also surprisingly nice. I love chocolate, to the point I’m a chocoholic, but in my opinion the vanilla flavoured soy protein powder tastes nicer than the chocolate soy protein powder; however, the chocolate whey protein powder is nice! I used vanilla ice-cream as well, but chocolate protein powder and chocolate ice-cream might be nice.

You can add olive oil (I haven’t tried that yet) to boost the calories even more. I have a sweet tooth, but I’m going to try add a more citric fruit next time (in addition to the bananas) as it was perhaps too sweet.

I’ve looked around online and there’s a few different “serious mass” drinks you can get, I’m not sure how good they are in actuality and they’re awfully expensive. I’ll see how I get on with this idea first! A lot of ice-creams are fairly low in calories, so make sure you check the ice-cream you buy.

From my perspective, it’s really disappointing how all the foods these days are designed around helping over-weight people. There’s literally aisles upon aisles of low-calorie food in supermarkets, but there are no aisles dedicated towards high calorie foods. I mean, you’re effectively paying more for your “petrol” to do less mileage…

There’s millions of articles about how you should eat healthily and whatnot. I’m no dietitian, but the simple fact is that if you burn more calories than you eat you’ll lose weight, regardless of what you eat. Conversely, I just have to consume more calories :).

Recommend me some books for the Pacific Crest Trail 2018

I’m currently looking to buy a book or two for the Pacific Crest Trail 2018; please suggest some books for me. I’ll take one of the books to the US Embassy in London when I apply for my Visa, hopefully in September, to help show I am serious about the hike :).

Also, they have to be books that’re actually useful as opposed to a story like Wild (I’ve seen the film however, and I’m not knocking the story! I just need something that’s useful to me for the actual hike.)

I’ve looked for Yogi’s handbook but it’s not available in the UK it would seem. Anything that’s on Amazon UK is ideal :).