Comic Discovery: Marvel’s Ultimatum – The End of The Ultimate Universe

I knew they were rebooting The Marvel Ultimate Universe, but I never realised the comic series covering the end of the existing Universe had been released already – I need to read more comic book websites!

Anyway, I ordered Ultimatum and Ultimatum: Requiem from Amazon last week and have been reading Ultimatum. I get the feeling the story could have scanned more than the 4 comic issues they allowed for it as things seem to be moving very quickly. It also puts the graphic in graphic novel, with some pretty gory scenes of death – take Blob feasting on Wasp (Tastes like chicken), only to be followed by Hank Pym biting Blob’s head off!

Ultimatum - the end of the Ultimate Universe!

I haven’t finished it yet, but I am over half way through and the number of ‘Ultimates’ left to battle, well, I won’t tell you who the Ultimate Adversary is in case you want to read this yourself. The new Ultimate Universe is already in existance under the Ultimate Comics banner, and I’ll be keen to see how that turns out and how different it is to the old Ultimate Universe. If anyone has read any of the new Ultimate Comics titles then let me know what you think, colour me intrigued!

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Filed under Marvel, Ultimate Comics

A weekend of macro

The weather was beautiful this past weekend, perfect for taking photos – unfortunately I had a lot planned which didn’t leave much time for snapping, but I did my best! This first shot of a ladybird was taken as I was taking my son for a walk – he was feeling lazy and letting me push him round in his buggy, which allowed my eyes to wander around looking for the possibility of a photo, and that’s when I saw this guy/gal sitting ion a leaf:

Ladybird

The only problem with this photo, in my humble opinion, is that it’s more orange than I think the ladybird actually was but the sun was shining so brightly that some of the red was lost. No doubt I could make it more red in Photoshop, but time hasn’t been on my side. This next example was taken in the shade outside of Hitchin library and is much more like the natural red of a ladybird:

Ladybird #2

Great detail in both photos, as my Panasonic TZ7 continues to impress. The next two were taken in the back garden and are macro-tastic, look at the detail on that thorn!

Thorn

Spider - those eyes!

On the Sunday we visited some friends, in fact he writes a rather fabulous food blog: grubblog. After the rain had gone and the sun came out it was perfect weather for taking photos. I became almost obsessed with taking photos of a bug I found in one of the trees in the back garden. while there are lots more shots on my Flickr photostream, here are a few shots – amazing detail and what a prehistoric looking specimen! My wife christened them leaf eaters, if anyone knows their real name then please leave a comment and educate me.

Tree Bug

Tree Bug

Tree Bug, not in a tree!

Tree Bug side on

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Filed under Bugs, Ladybirds, Macro, Plants, Spiders

Another Early Morning…

No traffic meant a pre-work trip to the canal again. I wasn’t as lucky I was yesterday with the hoverfly that stayed still while I got up close and personal with my Panasonic TZ7′s, but I did manage a few shots of various flies, bees and spiders – all of which can be seen on my Flickr photostream.

Aside from the stray blade of grass on the right of the bee, I think this one came out rather nicely:

Bumble Bee

Later on at lunchtime I ventured out into the car park at work and found this armoured fellow:

Beetle

He was tiny so it’s a credit to the macro powers of my TZ7 that he came out so well. As an aside I have no idea if it’s a he, or if Beetles even have male and female counterparts! It wasn’t until I looked closely at the next photo that I realised that the antennae of the beetle were swishing back and forth while I was taking a few shots.

Beetle with swishing antennae

My next subject was a midge, which I falsely identified as a mosquito at first – hey, what do I know? If anything these photography exploits are enhancing my knowledge of the natural world and it’s many inhabitants. Let’s look at the first photo:

Midge

I took the next shot with the flash activated – I had to choose the ‘Forced Flash On’ stetting as the camera believed there to be enough natural light. As you can see the photo is clearer with the flash on, though possibly over-exposed. That’s something I’ll have to think about in future when I’m taking macro photos in indirect sunlight.

Midge with Flash

This last photo, again of a midge, shows what incredible detail this camera captures, and reinforces my decision to buy it. Not sure of the 3 green blobs of liquid were secreted by the midge, and if so whether they are natural excesses or the result of some kind of injury.

Midge up close

Remember, you can always click these photos for bigger versions or see those very same bigger versions on my Flickr photostream.

I’ve had the camera a full week now and I’m absolutely delighted with the results I’ve obtained so far, especially as they are impulsive photography expeditions and not the results of lots of preparation. Imagine how great the photos could be if a took my time and dug out my tripod!

As always, advice, criticism and possibly praise is appreciated – whatever you think, leave a comment and tell me how I’m doing or if there’s anything you’d like me to photograph with the TZ7 and publish example shots of.

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Filed under Bees, Beetles, Flies, Macro

Down By The Canal

For some reason there was no traffic today so I was able to walk down by the canal and take some photos before work. There were lots of huge bumble bees but none of them would stay still long enough to take a photo, added to me not wanting to get too close should they decide they don’t like the look of me! This first shot is of a partially dispersed dandelion:

Dandelion

Fauna out the way, here’s where I lucked out in managing to spot a hoverfly that was sat on a leaf, and stayed sat there for a few minutes, allowing me to take a few shots. This showed off the Panasonic TZ7′s macro ability beautifully and I’m really pleased with just how great these photos turned out.

Hoverfly on a leaf

Hoverfly close up

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Filed under Flowers, Macro, Wasps and Hoverflies

First Weekend With My Panasonic TZ7

It’s strange, and I can’t quite explain it, but the camera felt different to when I had one back in August of last year. It felt better and easier to use – maybe it’s just because I’ve finally made the right camera choice for me and my feeling of comfort with the camera gave me a feeling of having a superior piece of equipment. The Intelligent Auto mode is superb and chooses the right scene option very quickly, as well as focusing almost instantly.

The first thing I did was head out into the garden to test the macro mode, something I had been looking forward to doing ever since I’d ordered the camera. Luckily my Class 6 Integral 8GB SDHC memory card arrived on Saturday morning so I knew I’d be able to snap away without any worries of running out of room. These are the first two photos which I thought were good enough to publish on this blog:

Yellow Tulip

Daisy

I’m really happy with these photos – both have been cropped down in Photoshop and the Daisy has had the ‘Auto Levels’ function applied to it, the Tulip as as it came out the camera – the Auto levels left it unchanged, must have been such a good photo!

Next was a scenery shot, taken in Hitchin opposite the Millstream Pub:

Field in Hitchin

Again, very happy with the results. On the Sunday we went for a walk around Hitchin and then to St.Albans where I took a variety of photos, the ones I am happiest with can be seen on my Flickr Photostream, but here a few I liked for a variety of reasons.

Spider


This one was taken in our back garden and although the focus isn’t the best I was really happy to get such a good shot as it was hard to get to and the spider in real life is tiny – this shows the macro mode off really well, I can only begin to imagine how good the photo could have been had I had better access and used a tripod.

Ladybird


This is another shot which was pretty hard to get to but came out really well. Thanks to more auto level applying in Photoshop the colours look a lot more natural, especially the red of the shell which was a bit orangey straight out of the camera.

Canada Goose Teeth


This one isn’t here because of image quality but because of the image quality while zooming in from a long way. This photo is at maximum resolution. Look at the teeth on the goose’s bill and then look at the next photo which is the uncropped original – this camera has pretty spectacular zoom capabilities.

Canada Goose

All in all I’m very happy with the camera and think I have made the right choice. I am keen to get out and take more photos, and to use more of the different features and shooting modes that the Panasonic TZ7 has to offer. I will of course report back here with findings and photos. As always, comments and advice are welcomed.

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Filed under Birds, Macro, Spiders, Zoom

My Panasonic TZ7 Has Arrived!

A little history…

I bought a Panasonic TZ7 last August, but then I thought I wanted to get more into photography and sold it in favour of a Sony A200 DSLR. I hardly used the A200 so sold that and was on the verge of buying a TZ7 again but instead went for the much cheaper Fujifilm F72EXR. I once again had yearnings to get into the world of DSLR photography so sold the F72EXR and bought another Sony A200. I was happy with the A200 for a few days but then thought of our upcoming trip to North Devon and a visit to the zoo. With a 2 year old boy in tow was I really going to have time time to use a DSLR, and without extra lenses was I going to get as close as I wanted to? The answe was no, and so the A200, the second one, was sold. It was then a decision between the Sony DSCHX5VB and the Panasonic TZ7 – the TZ7 won on better zoom and reported better image quality, plus the HX5 has no dedicated macro mode. The £100 cheaper price tag also helped. So there you have it – the story of how I have ended up with my second TZ7, some 8 months after having my first one. The Panasonic TZ10 maybe the upgrade to the TZ7 but I’m not bothered about GPS wizardry  - I don’t go anywhere places varied and exotic enough to warrant a £100+ price augmentation.

At this very moment the battery is charging, which is for the best as I’m at work and have more than enough to get on with. Hopefully I can get out this weekend and give it a good road test, something I never did with the first TZ7, such was my eagerness to sell it and buy a Sony A200. Being Spring there are plenty of flowers in the garden which will be handy to test the macro mode, and I’m hoping for some visitors from the insect world to pose as subjects for my fickle minded photography hobby.

I’ll leave you with a fascinating photo of the newly arrived box and the camera from inside – both taken on my long time superseded Panasonic TZ1. I’d love to hear from other Panasonic TZ7 owners – point in the direction of some photos you’ve taken and lavish me with expert tips.

Panasonic TZ7 In The Box

Panasonic TZ7 Out Of The Box

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First Outdoor Shots with Fujifilm Finepix F72EXR – in the Snow!

As I write this blog it has started to snow again, a weather condition that forced me work from home today. The one advantage of that is I was able to take 10 minutes to have a play with my new Fujifilm Finepix F72EXR (the same as the Fujifilm FinePix F70EXR) in natural light for the first time. I haven’t read up on how to actually use the camera properly or set any of the manual settings – this was a brief photographic endeavour to say the least! You can see all six, yes six – told you it was brief, of the photos on my flickr photostream, and here a few to whet the appetite.

One of our solar lights, capped with a nice thick layer of fluffy snow.

Snowy Light

Some snow coated twigs in the garden.

Snowy Twig

I gave this the black and white effect – works well I think.

Snow Covered Trees

I’m pretty pleased with the results – for such a small and reasonably priced camera I think the photos have come out pretty well. More to come in the future as and when I get the chance, and the results are good enough!

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Filed under Cameras, Photography