When I was doing my last studio session for the review of the Geckota G-01 pictures I was a bit concerned that I couldn't activate (bring them out of standby or sleep mode) my Mutliblitz flash heads with the TriggerHappy remote - time for new batteries I thought as when I switched them on manually I also couldn't get them to trigger. I was horrified when I took off the battery hatch to find that one of the 'AA' cells was leaking and there was a white sticky deposit and some liquid in the battery compartment! Now I do check installed batteries every few weeks and I have to say that I've had a few surprise leaks over the years and always from the same brand - Duracell - which was what was fitted here. Cleaning the battery compartment thoroughly didn't resolve the issues, so in the end I stripped down the trigger to look at the circuit board and found the leaked fluid had seeped through and there was some furring around some of the surface mount components. Now I don't know if this is going to be detrimental long term, but I cleaned the circuit board initially by using a brake cleaning aerosol. This dries very rapidly and seems to leave no residue, this was followed up by a liberal spray of switch cleaner and a soft brushing over the surface and everything was put to one side to dry. Finally the next day I used my fiberglass pen to remove the corrosion that had built up on the battery tags and installed a fresh set of (non-Duracell) AA's and all was back to working perfectly. Now I can't endorse this cleaning method as I've no notion of how this will workout long-term, but in this instance the unit was dead so as far as I was concerned I had nothing to loose. One thing is for certain I no longer buy Duracell batteries as I've stated above these are the only brand in the last ten years I had problems with. Over the last year I used to buy Maplins own brand ones as they seem to last the longest and have never leaked, but alas Maplins is no longer :-( so now I generally buy IKEA packs and recently decided to try Tesco own branded ones with Energizer being the only 'big' commercial brand I now use.
So, posted a new review and some other bits and bobs over the last few days and linked them to social media posts as well. Although, I'm getting people commenting on the new site entries (usually in Facebook) so they've presumably accessed the relevant pages over the last few days, but according to Insight's (Weebly's activity tracking software) I've had absolutely no one visit - see chart below! This new version of Insights is truly, awesomely and without question spectacularly rubbish - I did look on their community forum and I'm certainly not alone in this opinion.
Yesterday, 1st of October, I looked at the site traffic using the Weebly provided 'Insight' Tool as I had been adding lots of content recently and discussing the site of some forums and it showed me that in the past 30 days I'd had 2,300 unique visitors who performed 6,676 page views and on the 1st alone I'd had 49 unique visitors - OK I know these numbers aren't great but they at least mean that there was a point in putting content on here. I don't pay Weebly for the tools I use - it's their free, but quite restricted website service, so my only cost (apart from time) is the continual cost of my domain name so that's not to bad. Now today I logged in to find the I no longer had 2,300 visitors in the last 30 days but only just over 30 and this was up over a hundred percent from the last 30 day period and yesterday I didn't have 49 visitors just 1. I emailed Weebly to see why this has changed so dramatically - I've yet to get a response, but on the 'Insight' page there is now a banner which states;
If this new methodology truly is a better indication of site traffic then it would appear that there is little point in adding anything to the site and I might as well save not only the money for my domain registration but the not inconsiderable time I intended to spend adding content!
So to apparently the one or two of you who occasionally visit here thank you for your time - if you want to leave a comment about this or anything else, click on Comments below or use the Contact Me form... I wonder where the contact forms I occasionally get actually come from now?
I get a regular stream of contact forms asking if such and such bit of Multiblitz kit is a good buy at this price? Quite often I email back asking what is being bundled for their £/€/$ price as there is not hint of this in the initial contact form. The truth is I feel unless you're getting one of the relatively new units and it is bundled with quite a few modifiers it will have to be very very cheap. If you're already a Multiblitz user, then there is of course some justification for buying a lone head, but all the contacts so far have been from people who've never used Multiblitz lighting, so my advice will always be;
OK if it's cheap enough and comes with most of the accessories that will allow you to attempt the style of photography you're interested in & always check to see what new kit is available for the same price - better to own a new unit with full warranty & support than an old obsolete one!
I certainly wouldn't really recommend a beginner buy old Multiblitz equipment, then have to search out modifiers to suit, you almost have to willing to loose the money invested, as although I've always felt that Multiblitz are inherently reliable, spares and maintenance could be prohibitively expensive if not impossible depending on the age of the unit(s).
I recently bought a batch of 6 heads, all relatively modern, 4 had faults that rendered them only fit for spares as the cost of repairs would have far exceeded their valiue, so in the end I just salvaged the flash tubes that I could use. The 4 heads were put on eBay for spares at only a few pounds each, but in the end only one sold & the rest went to the local electronics recycling centre.
Had a few contacts asking me what I actually do when a new watch arrives? Yes, I do have a bit of a 'nerdy' process I follow, but it isn't overly onerous or very technical - I've added a description of the process to the main Watch Reviews page for those interested - though it isn't wildly exciting!
Whilst I enjoy every one of the watches I've bought, it's has become obvious that some are worn much more than others and I felt it was time to sell on the ones that I either bought a cheap homage to see if it was something I'd like to own the real thing at a later date - we're not talking fakes here, but clearly watches based on a specific style so below is the gallery of those sold or selling.
I bought a couple of large Chinese Flieger style watches, just to see if I wanted to experience the truer large pocket watch size editions as I was looking to get a more traditional quality flieger, thankfully this experience let me know that I didn't want a original size watch (these were over 50mm in diameter) but I did like the huge crowns!
When my Omega Chronograph was being restored (I use the timing function on these quite a bit) I bought a nice Citizen Eco Drive Chronograph, which whilst absolutely gorgeous looking the chronograph buttons lack and feel at all so you had to physically be looking at the watch to ensure that the hands had stopped, which is useless as far as I'm concerned, also as these don't 'fly back' to their start position, but take a leisurely sweep around the dial you can do a rapid re-start, also a bad weakness. No if you don't ever use the functions of these watches in anger as it were, but just like the looks they are great, but for me it has to do the job it was intended to do. With that in mind I bought a Seiko Meca Quartz powered chronograph and this was superb, quartz precision, but with a mechanical chronograph movement on top - it was great almost like a fully mechanical watch. Well now my Omega is back, it is the only chronograph for me so it was time to put the rather stylish rose gold Chinese one up for sale.
My gold plated Omega Seamaster Dress watch is in the pending pile, I've recently put it on a nice black leather strap from Geckota, with an 18 to 14mm taper so I can put on the original Omega buckle and it looks superb, but I have a very similar looking (shape, size & gold plated) Omega Genève which I wear more often, but the Seamaster is in really great condition, so in two minds at the moment..
It was a bit of a surprise to have a couple of contacts from people pointing out that in my pictures of this watch, in the background I had British & American planes, when really they should have been German! Well those have now gone and been replaced within the Watch Gallery...
Didn't turn out to be too much work after all and there is now just the odd element to be tidied up. I did initially go for white background with black text, but switch back to white on black as I felt this was easier on the eyes - happy for people to let me know what they think, but feel overall the site now looks a little less cluttered, albeit still quite 'formal' overall. I don't plan any other fundamental changes going forward, so this should now be the finalised look for the site.
I've had a few comments about how this site doesn't come across to well on some mobile devices and also I have felt that I should freshen up the site as its been eight years since I first put it together. I know I have some regular visitors so just to apologise in advance for any disruption in the coming few weeks as I attempt to give the site a total make-over! I'm hoping it will go well but as generally happens with all things technological, I'm sure there will be some hiccups along the way. Either way, because I only have a basic account, once the changes start to take place I don't think I'll be able to recover the original version - so here's hoping for a speedy transition, which I'll be starting work on tonight.
Watching my first ever video I've ever uploaded again and I just had to give it another go, so have done just that! Again it is just a quick and dirty one as I still don't have any dedicated software, video kit or it could be argued talent, but I've deleted the old one and redone the links to the newer version. Still not great, but it is better - then again, as they say "the bar was set very low" ;-)
Straight after posting the wrist shot of the Phoibos Wave Master I got some questions about how I was using my NATO Strap, "...where was all the excess strap on the side?" "Do I cut off the second piece of strap?" and so on. Well I have always had a problem with NATO's in that the buckle never sits under my wrist and I also don't like the excess being stuck on one side. To negate this I've adopted the "Down Under" method as I believe it's called. Here the secondary strap is put under the wrist which means all the excess strap and the buckle all go under the wrist and it so much more comfortable. Anyway, rather than try to explain this in words and loads of pictures I tried to do a quick video - which is really rather bad - the first I've ever done and uploaded it to YouTube. Well certainly a first for me and I'll have to put some work into this if I'm ever going to do another, but the video is embedded in my Watch Reviews Page or here on YouTube - once again sorry about the quality, I will try better next time :-)
Actually watching my first effort
I've had several contacts regarding this watch from people interested in buying it - well it does have a great spec at the current sale price on the WatchGecko site - but some concerns over the overall size and there are no wrist shots shown. Yes, it does have a lot of wrist presence but I think it wears very well & I've now added a 'wrist shot' so you can make up your own mind - 7 1/4 inch (18.5cm) wrist. Please remember that at 44m this would probably have been considered small for an original pilots watch!
I'll go back over the reviews and add a wrist shot of each watch over the next few weeks.
Just posted the first review for the Geckota K-01 44mm Pilots watch from WatchGecko but also created the pages for the other forthcoming reviews so you can see what will be up and coming over the next few weeks. In case you're wondering, all the watches reviewed will have been those that I've bought myself, so don't expect this section to be continuously added to after the initial flurry of activity though I do have a couple more on my shopping list from Watchgecko/Geckota ;-)
Decided to start a new section specifically for watch reviews - mostly for Micro Brands as I generally find these more interesting than mainstream brands. These will be started in the coming few days and can be found in the section entitled (obviously enough perhaps) Watch Reviews! Offerings from Geckota & Zelos will be on published in the next few days with more to follow.
Ever since Multiblitz stopped trading I've had a fairly regular request for spare parts, especially modelling lamps and flash tubes, which I only have personal spares, but have occasionally put my surplus on eBay. However, although I don't know of any UK suppliers, I thought I'd add a link to Studioflash in Germany who seem to have most variants available. I've not personally used this company, so can't say from experience how they perform, but the website is professional and well laid out and this will be my first port of call should I need to look for replacement flash tubes.
As I stated a few weeks ago, I've always wanted a bronze cased watch - thought it would be interesting to see how it changes over time with the case slowly gaining a layer of oxidisation.
The case on the left is how the finish has changed after only a few weeks and I really like the character (if that's the right word) it seems to have gained - certainly looking older. A few more images can be found within the Watches Gallery page. Will perhaps add a few more in six months!
Confirming my thoughts about Zelos providing great service - not only did they provide a return courier label for the faulty watch, but refunded the second duty and admin fees. Will definitely buy from them again!
As for the watch, after only a week it has changed appearance considerably as surface patination begins to show on the case - I'll be posting an "out of the box" & how it looks now picture in a few weeks. Then perhaps after 6 & 12 months to show how its character has developed over time.
I've always fancied a Bronzed cased watch - these are usually always dive watches, but very few have a 'no date' option. So when I saw the Zelos Swordfish it was just perfect, especially with its vibrant teal blue sunburst dial, so an order was placed and the watch delivered from Singapore. Unfortunately it was faulty, so I sent an email to Zelos and in less than a week I was wearing a replacement - such great service. Only downside was I got charged another set of import fees and courier admin/handling charge :-( Just spent the afternoon on the www.gov.uk site looking at how to claim back the charge for the first item I'll be returning, hmmm, this looks way too complicated to be worth the effort and of course I won't be able to get the courier admin fees back anyway!
Look forward to see how the bronze case ages and patinates over the coming months. Some more pictures in the watch gallery, along with the newly arrived AVI-8, P-51 Mustang limited edition watch, which is so different from most other pilot style watches I've seen!
Below is a before and after picture of the watch, so a big thankyou to Roberto Facchini of C & F Dial Restoration in Norfolk for all their work, I'm so pleased with the result and hope to get many years of use out of my restored 48 year old watch.
I'll be adding a few more pictures to the Watches gallery from differing angles as the case has also been sensitively 'freshened up' but without I hope making it look to polished.
I ordered a watch from Aragon in Florida and on Wednesday (5th) I got an email to say it had been dispatched and was due for delivery on Friday (7th)! Well I thought that was a bit of a joke, but come Friday morning I was wearing this rather superb Aragon Divers watch.
Now not a watch I'd normally go for, very big and chunky, but it was flagged up to me as superb value and from a micro-brand that had been in business since 1991, so obviously doing something right - yes, I chose the orange version which looks superb, is beautifully made and was extremely well packaged/presented. Will add more pictures in due course to the Product/Watches Gallery, but I really am pleased with both the watch and service from Aragon.
OK so this Chinese watch arrived this morning (7th), which is brilliant considering it was only ordered on the 1st of the month all the way from China. Now based on the recent reviews both on here and on YouTube I was expecting a Miyota movement with a Hardlex crystal, but it is actually the Seiko movement and whilst I would have been more than happy with the Miyota, I do like the second hand 'hacking' facility of the Seiko. As to the crystal, I've no definitive way of testing other than the 'waterdrop' test, but to be honest I'm not too sure that's really a good guide, but I'm really not that fussed, but I suspect this is indeed a sapphire glass. The faceted bezel adds a nice distinctive touch to the watch as it catches the light beautifully, as indeed does that wonderful sunburst dial. The watch has a classic and classy look on the wrist and would suit a variety of dress situations. Physically it sits well on my rather skinny wrist and looks rather classy and understated at the same. Any issues, well the day, doesn't quite line-up in the centre of the display window, but it's perfectly visible, the strap is pretty much what I expected but the butterfly clasp is much better - mine is the press button type and really secure, but it is new and only time will tell. On the GearBest site it states it is fitted with an 18mm strap, but it's 20, so given the variations; in movements, crystals, strap clasps, you are taking a bit of a punt, regarding what you'll actually get, but I have to say that I would find any of the various iterations perfectly acceptable given the price - oh I didn't mention the price, well they go up and down like the proverbial yoyo, but this was £33 delivered, which is utterly astonishing. Comes with all the usual returns and warranties, but lets be honest about this, if this dies it will probably end up in the bin! Up until this point I only own two brands of watch, Omega and Citizen, but I'm going to be more than happy to add this to my collection. Just be interesting to see how well it fares over time, my oldest watch is 48 years old and is still going strong and keeps great time! I'll take some 'proper' photographs later, but here are a few phone snaps.
More watch pictures can be found in My Watch Gallery.
For over thirty years I've had an old Seamaster Chronograph sitting forlornly & forgotten in a draw and whilst doing a tidy-up it re-surfaced so I decided I ought to get it serviced and in use once again. The only trouble was that it had suffered a case of dial fade (and not in a good way) with the wonderful vibrant blue main section of the dial going grey around the sub-dials. Also I never did treat it very well and the glass (or crystal as they call it) was very scratched & the case was a bit battered, all of which was the reason it got put away in the first place! So I started looking at restoration as well as servicing - now for the avid watch collectors, they insist that everything should be as original as possible, so both dial restoration and case refinishing are absolute no, no's - but I want to wear it again so decided to go ahead and send it away to be 'done'! Couple of before images below and as you can see it's a bit of a state, so will be interested to see how it looks after some TLC.
While I was researching the what, how & who to get the restoration done by, it also re-kindled my interest in wrist watches, now I've always been a fan of Omega's, certainly in preference to like likes of Rolex and some of the more ostentatious marques so during this 'research process' I must confess that I ended up with two new (well 40 & 46 year old) Omega's which I just really liked the look of. Just had the 46 year old one serviced and it keeps time as accurately, as my new quartz watches, indeed as does the 40 year old un-serviced one, not too bad at all for vintage wind-up watches - we're talking about a few seconds a month! Some pictures of these can be seen in the Product Gallery, but here's a taster.
The first is an Omega Genève MD 136.0049 with a Caliber 613 manual wind movement dated 1972 and the second is a Seamaster MD 166.0203 with a Caliber 1010 automatic movement from 1978.
A couple of X5's turned up second hand & after a quick test I decided to buy them. My Variolite 900 is now gone and I've just put my Profilite 500 up for sale, so now all my Multiblitz heads will have TriggerHappy remote function control available. For more see the update at the bottom of the Multiblitz Studio Flash page.
But this time rather that the trigger, its the MIOPS Water Drop Splash Kit, which as the name suggests is an electronically controlled (Smart Phone or Tablet) water dropper. As with the MIOPS Smart Trigger this can produce some remarkable pictures, but I did find it quite complex to get repeatable quality images!
But I'm getting there - more images from this can be found in the MIOPS Gallery page which hopefully will grow as time goes on with better results & of course as with the smoke and water trails, I can't pass up the opportunity for a bit of image manipulation !
Born in 1956 (so getting on a bit now) I'm married and have two wonderful children we all live in Devon in the South West of England - on the Cornish border.