A visit to St Mary's Bute Street this morning to celebrate Mass for half a dozen people, my final interregnum duty there. Fr Dean Atkins is to be licensed as priest in charge there the day after we leave for Nerja. I met him on my way out afterwards, and was able to deliver my good wishes in person, having remembered him during the service. Fr Barry Thomas was in the congregation at Mass. He was the chaplain who preceded me in Monaco, and despite him settling in Llandaff diocese in the time since I retired, the only time we've met before was on one of my visits to North Wales with USPG thirty years ago, when he was an Archdeacon in the diocese of Bangor. He has done locum duty in the diocese in Europe since retirement, in Switzerland, where I worked. Funny how we tend to notice co-incidences in connections between people from disparate backgrounds, or similar backgrounds in utterly different situations. But, less evident are those coincident connections which don't materialise, even when mutual acquaintances feel certain they should.
In the afternoon, I took my DSLR for a walk down to Blackweir bridge, photographing groups of people playing baseball on the way, and then photographing youngsters jumping off the bridge into the Taff, to find out what my camera could do. Two middle aged men were sitting drinking beer from cans on a nearby bench and watching. They got up and began walking to the bridge arguing arguing animatedly. The next thing I knew, one of them stripped off his tee shirt, pushed through the group of kids thinking about their next exploit, and somersaulted down into the water. I was too far away to follow the exchange with the kids, but after a few minutes climbing out of the water, he was ready for another. This time he executed a half decent back somersault into the water, thereby claiming bragging rights over the bemused adolescents. The kids stayed in a gaggle on the bridge, few of them jumped again after this.
For the first time this year, I saw a cormorant on a rock in the river below the weir, spreading its wings in display and shaking itself, although I couldn't see another one anywhere around. I got some worthwhile pictures. The bird shots were best. Others at full length lens extension were not as good as I'd like. I played around with burst shots and obtained a few interesting sequences, but they weren't that sharp, and suffered slightly from motion blur. It was overcast, and bright sunlight on the scene might have improved matters a little. I'd like to try a repeat of this exercise with my new HX300, with triple the length of zoom and greater pixel density to work with. Its processing power is also greater, so a comparison of similar long range motion shots would be helpful, to know how best to optimse the camera set-up. For the most part I use cameras on auto, and maybe could do better if I worked out how best to adjust for specific and quite exacting conditions. As ever with me it's a matter of learning by doing.
Owain came over in the evening, and the three of us went out for a meal at Stefanos Restaurant in Wyndham Crescent. Clare heard that it's closing and up for sale, and wanted one last outing there. I had to rush home afterwards, not to miss the start of the second pair of episodes of the French crime drama on BBC Four 'La Disparucion'. This keenly observes an extended family thrown into crisis by a daughter going missing and each finding their own secrets exposed. So nice to have something in French and easy to follow.