Archive for January, 2011

Telephoto webcam

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Whilst playing with my webcam tonight to try to get the mike to work – which I can’t, because I screwed up the audio settings somewhere, and it’s a real slog to get them back to normal – I noticed it was manually focused, and some quick experimentation confirmed that it could focus down to a point very close to the lens.

Sitting on the other side of the room is an old 260mm f/4 lens mounted on a tripod – it’s heavy enough that it needs the tripod mount on the lens rather than the camera body, and when I was done with it the other night I just left it there.

The webcam is just the right size to poke its lens inside the back of the larger one, so it was the work of a minute to fiddle the two focus rings and produce this:

2011-01-23-010004

…which is all very nice, and makes me feel I’ve sort of achieved something, but, well. It’s a camera lens, it has a real mount, I could wire up a real camera and get a photo which is about fifty times the size and without the lens barrel in it. From a practical standpoint, this is not the greatest of achievements.

I’m sure it must be useful for something, but right now I have no idea what. Perhaps I could tape them together and point it at the bird-feeder in the garden…

Railcards

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Iona, who is as surprised as I am by it, informs me that:

  • there is a railcard valid for one-third discount on all off-peak travel in the London area;
  • which is defined so broadly as to encompass Exeter, Oxford, Cambridge and Dover;
  • and, most critically, isn’t restricted to students or those under 25.

The Network Railcard; £25 per year, valid for a third discount on all off-peak trains, pays for itself with five day returns to London. One card is valid for the holder and three other adults travelling with them.

It is, to put it mildly, very underadvertised. Even knowing what I was looking for it took me a while to find out how to register…