Monthly Archives: July 2011

What to do now post-Harry Potter?

What to do now post-Harry Potter?

At the time of writing this the final part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has just come out in the cinema. This brings to an end an amazing Harry Potter journey that started in 1997 with the publication of the first book of Harry and his adventure concerning the Philosopher’s Stone.

However my discovery of the world of Potter started at Christmas 2000 with a radio broadcast of the first book. (This was at a time when books 1 to 4 had been published.) This means for me Potter’s been around 11 years, or for those who got in at the start, 14 years.

Let’s look at it another way, as an adult it represents an 11 year chunk of my life, but it’s still just a chunk out of middle age. For someone who started at book 1 and at age 9, 10, 11 sort of area, then for them it’s been a 14 year period which now brings them up into their mid 20s, so their whole ‘growing up’ part of their life has involved Harry Potter (whether with book publication or film release). That’s puberty and adolescence, that’s teenage years and growing up, discovering girlfriends and boyfriends, that’s leaving school, college, university, finding work and becoming an adult. All with Harry Potter there growing up with them.

So I was not surprised to see some emotional people leaving the cinema after the midnight showing ended. It’s finished. Something that’s always been there for them now is not there. Emptiness.
I’ve uploaded a YouTube video commenting more on things:-

One thing about the books, they need re-reading. I don’t know how many times I’ve read them, but each time I see things I missed before. Until fairly recently I’d thought of book 2 as being one of the weaker ones, however a friend suggested I read it not for the story-line, but specifically to look to comments and references that have some significance in the future, and doing so totally changed the way I saw the book.
A few examples of things to look out for. Fairly early on in the book Harry hides in a cabinet – one end of a pair of vanishing cabinets, and later Peeves drops a cabinet (the other one) when Harry is in Filch’s office. (Is this how the link between them got damaged which then leads to Malfoy wanting Borgin & Burkes to repair the link.)

We meet Dobby and learn of house elves special magic, there’s a couple of light-hearted comments about Percy potentially being rather ambitious. We see our first Horcrux (though we don’t know it) and that Harry has the impression that Professor Snape can read minds. There are hints about Ginny and her future relationship to Harry… and so the list goes on. All the earlier books refer to future events, but book 2 has something on almost every other page!

Anyway, the books are done, the films finished, but then as they say, all good things must come to an end sometime. However it does leave me thinking, what to do now post-Harry Potter?

Camera Thoughts

Some camera thoughts.

It was a while ago when I started looking around for a nice but basic camera. I wanted something a bit better than point & shoot, but did not have the money for a digital SLR, so was looking at one or two of the cross-over type cameras.

I was in the city centre about to go into a camera shop (possibly to actually buy) when by chance I ended up talking  to someone I knew a little bit from internet / social networking but had never met in real life till now. In conversation he said he has a Canon 400D dSLR, two years old but hardly used which he was willing to sell. We came to a mutually agreeable price, and so began my love affair with Canon cameras. That was about 3 years ago.

Moving forward a bit, it was about this time last year I started seriously thinking about replacing / upgrading this 400D; the Canon range had progressed from the 400 to the 450 to the 500 and now everybody was raving on about the 550D. My old, second hand 400 was starting to show its age, technology had moved on, especially with the ability of these newer dSLRs to be able to do good quality video too. A 550D was quite tempting.

Then last summer the 60D came out, which though expensive, seriously got my attention. Then earlier on this year, the 600D.

So decisions and arguments with myself last autumn over wanting but not really having the money for a 60D. Then when the 600D came out do I go with it as a cheaper but similar specification alternative to the 60D. More arguments, more procrastination, and an eventual decision to go for the 60D. Physically more robust, a faster focusing system, faster frames per second, better viewfinder and a few other things tipped the scales in its favour. The one thing that made me hang back was its bulk. These digital SLRs are getting bigger and bigger. Compare a current high spec. dSLR to its equivalent spec. old style 35mm film SLR and the size (and weight) difference is considerable.

Then by chance I was looking at the Digitalrev.com site where they were comparing the micro four-thirds Panasonic GH2 to the Canon 60D. Both had their pros and cons, both produced great pictures (and video). The 60D had a slightly larger sensor, but the GH2 had more advanced electronics for processing the sensor data. However the GH2 may be digital but it is NOT an SLR, it does not rely on a mirror to reflect the light up to a viewfinder which then has to be flipped out of the way to let the light get to the sensor. Its viewfinder is electronic,  this image being fed directly from the sensor. Eliminating this mirror system really reduces the size and weight of the camera (and lenses) considerably.

This changed everything for me. More research done, more reviews read, more camera shops visited and now I am a happy Panasonic owner.

So a few camera thoughts for you. If someone wants to go the route of a dSLR, then get whichever of those Canon cameras you can afford and you won’t be disappointed. However just remember that there’s more out there than just dSLRs.