Saturday, May 05, 2007

Althorp Team and Family Barbeque at Rutland Waters

Part 1: Rutland Waters
It all started on a "journal club" at work one fine spring day at the beginning of this week. The weather was forecasted to be fine for the whole week (which later turned out to be not true) and we realised that we were going to have an extended weekend for bank holiday. Dawn, our House Officer, suggested a barbeque on the weekend - and the rest of the team all agreed to join in. I remember being so surprised - that my friends at work enjoy the outdoors as much as I do and at how quickly the decision for the barbeque was made.

We assigned different roles for each member of the team - for example, it was my duty to bring meat, vegetables, the marinade and ... music. Suboohi (our Foundation Year 2) to bring fruits, games, disposable barbeques and ... bricks. Abishek had to bring the snacks and drinks. Dawn "just" had to bring EVERYTHING else.

Dawn suggested Rutland Waters for our barbeque destination. There could not have been a better place - Rutland Waters is a 25 mile man-made water reservoir and nature-reserve located in Oakham. The place was right on perfect: with dedicated barbeque spots, various flora and fauna, and the water reservoir made for a beautiful background.

Part 2: The Barbeque, Glorious Food
"Diet? What diet?!" was what everyone had to say as the food was transcendent - kudos partly to Puan Mama Sarah who marinated the chicken and lamb. Dawn brought fresh salmon and we also had sausages, burgers, peppers, mushrooms, corn, courgettes, and mixed salad. Abishek brought a large variety of (diet!!!!!) drinks and juice. For desserts we had Abishek's Thornton's chocolate and toffee cake as well as Suboohi's fruit medley - strawberries, apples, grapes, plums and galia mellon.

We all pretended calories didn't exist and ate to our heart's content. Kudos to Suboohi who expertly handled the barbequeing:
Suboohi showing the barbeque who's boss.

Part 3: Amy Belle
Amy is Dawn and Richard's 10 months old daughter and undoubtedly the star of the day. At 10 months, she's already as tall as our 2 year old Amar! She's extremely cute in pink, very well behaved and so friendly. It's obvious she's the pride and joy of both Richard and Dawn. Sarah was so curious of the baby and towards the end of the day just could not keep herself away from baby Amy.

Part 4: Rutland Belle, The Boat Tour
Amy was not the only Belle yesterday, there was also the Rutland Belle - our tour boat around the reservoir. The boat could sit around 50 people, complete with an on board cafe (e.g for tea). The tour took 40 minutes cruising from the north shore to the south shore of the reservoir and to those paying attention I'm sure it was interested. We were unfortunately too busy attending to Amar and Sarah who at that time were desperate for sleep. If I could change two things on the cruise there were only two things: (I) I wished we all had had tea on the boat (II) It would have been great if we had time to explore the beautiful south shore of the reservoir.

Richard, Amy and Dawn
You guys know our family right?
Bilal and Suboohi
Adhi, Abhishek and Mohita
Part 5: It was a family day

Part 6: It was a sports day

Part 7: Althorp Team and Family, Group Picture

I am going to non-linearly edit this entry as time allows. So you guys will see more and more text as I add to the post.

More finely-edited and thus better versions of some of these pictures could be found on my Fotopages:

For those interested in photography only:

  1. For this occasion I bought a new 4GB Sandisk Extreme III CompactFlash Card. There were so many occasions before this where my current 2GB card just limits the number of pictures I wanted to take.
  2. With the new 4GB card I can now take around 1200 pictures at 10 megapixels. In total, now I can take close to 2000 pictures with the two memory cards combined.
  3. I took more than a thousand pictures yesterday at the BBQ.
  4. I wanted to take more, especially since towards the end of the BBQ the lighting improved significantly. Unfortunately, the camera's batteries failed me.
  5. Now that I have Image Stabilisation and I prefer to shoot with the motor drive (at 3 frames per second) AND with AI focus (for the camera to track movement and focus accordingly) the camera's battery is depleted at a much more significant rate.
  6. So my next purchase will have to be a new battery pack for the camera, I think.
  7. All the pictures above were taken with the following settings: AI focus, daylight flash where appropriate, HighSync flash mode, contrast setting -3 and with a circular polariser attached. The pictures were taken with the relatively new 24-105mm F4L IS lens.
  8. I learnt two new things today: One is using HighSync flash. With highsync flash one could use flash AND small apertures in broad-daylight. Otherwise the shutter would be limited to 1/200 on my 400D. Sorry, it's quite technical. What highsync flash means in the pictures above though is: despite being in broad daylight AND using flash, I am still able to use small apertures e.g. F4 to blur the background.
  9. Read about highsync flash here if you're interested. That's where I read it from. It's a must read for you Rosli.
  10. The second thing I learnt is using AI focus. Basically, on my camera there are three different focus modes. One Shot focus is for stationary objects - the auto-focus is better. AI Servo focus detects and maintains focus on a moving object - however, I had found that the automatic focusing would fail to focus on stationary objects at times especially when the subject is off centre. Which brings me to AI Focus which focuses on a stationary object but switches automatically to AI servo when the camera detects movement of the subject. Clever stuff.
  11. I kept the focus on AI focus yesterday and found only minimal occasions where the focus is wrong - excellent. I'll be sticking with this mode from now on.


hiyoshi said...

Puan Mama Sarah! Kenapa racket tidak bergerak? Hehe....

I am extremely attracted to the picture with people sitting by the lake(?) in part 5. Is that a case of deliberate overexposure, or simply a case of photoshop?

Or something else which I am unaware of? Pardon my ignorance. Saya budak baru belajar - kalau salah, tolong tunjukkan

mynn said...

that part 5 picture you spoke of, i used Picasa2 to add a not-so-subtle "glow" effect. I didn't have time to edit each picture in Photoshop so my usual shortcut is to use Picasa2 <- not excellent for editing, but adequate.

dyanna said...

Like I said in ur previous entry that I wrongly commented on. Liked the reflection of the boat on water.

Wah, gaya.. macam The Matrix.

mynn said...

whenever taking pictures of subjects on water, i always take special care to take their reflections as well - if the reflections are good that is. photography tip of the day :)

what do you mean macam matrix...? *puzzled*

oh by the way dyanna, apart from spider 3 another movie i saw recently is Bridge to Therabithia. at the moment i'm speechless to describe it but it's excellent. one of the more profound films i've seen recently.

dyanna said...

matrix: I was referring to the 3rd last picture.

That was last week, looking at it today, not so matrix-y at all la pulak.. but the pose is really familiar... mcm pernah ku lihat gaya ini, tapi di mana yaaa?

I hadn't much time to catch that movie, but it is on my 'To watch' list. Argh.. there's too many things to do!

anne said...

it's nice to see another beautiful bald baby! hehe

lovely pics

mynn said...

oh, i see what you mean re: matrix. pictures of PMS and me together are quite rare on the internets it's good i had my tripod that day.

please give us a review once you have seen that movie.

it's ok for Ame (that's the correct spelling for the baby) to be bald - she's only 10!

Anonymous said...

i am hobby illustrator, is there a chance you'd like to publish some of my pics? i guess it would be cool for your site :-)
totally enjoy your page! send me a mail please in case you want to colaborate