Photography websites

A couple of weeks ago I bought a Canon EOS 400D digital SLR to further my photography and turn it from a casual hobby into something to fill my spare time a bit more (and experience the majesty of God’s creation in the process). Before and after buying it, I found some excellent sites relating to photography, and I thought I’d share a couple of them with you:

Digital Photography Review is a well known site that specialises in very detailed camera reviews, tips, timelines showing when different cameras were released, and a discussion forum. Whenever a person asks a question such as “what camera should I buy?” on most forums that I’m a member of, one of the common sites referred to is this one, and for good reason. For every camera I’ve ever owned or bought as a gift, I’ve come to this site to read about it before I buy, because the reviews are detailed, balanced, and very objective in nature.

I found a link to the site of photographer Ken Rockwell through a blog comment on Engadget this evening, and it is one very impressive personal website. Lots of reviews of cameras, photography tips, and great pictures from Rockwell’s many years of taking pictures. He spends 12-14 hours per day researching and adding to the ste and in my opinion it shows in the quality of his writing. Even though I don’t know the guy and am 99.9999% sure that I’ll never meet him, I’d trust what he says.

What other good camera/photography sites are out there that you know of?

Golf Course Review: Colonial Golf Course

The Colonial at Werrington has a fair reputation for being a bit of a dog paddock with a few fairways and greens. According to my brother, when the deluge of rain happened back in April, the whole course was flooded for a couple of weeks. It’s by no means a visual stunner (with power lines running across the course and potentially in play off the 1st tee), but looks better than what it once was, and whilst it’d make a seasoned golfer scoff and laugh, it’s not that crap.

It’s essentially a par 3 course with 2 short par 4s of around 230m length (the 6th and 7th) which can be easily reched off the tee. The par 3s range from 100m to 180m, and are largely bereft of bunkers or other challenges, ensuring that the only way that you could possibly not par the hole is hook or slice your tee shot. There is a small creek (which, depending on the recent weather, can either be full of water or bone dry) that runs across the 7th fairway and is generally never in play for a player with reasonable length off the tee. A good drive means that an eagle opportunity is there at these par 4s.

The clubhouse is a demountable, and there is a small BBQ area. Fees are probably on the pricey side when you consider the quality of course, with 9 holes costing $15. There are better courses in the area offering 9 holes for the same price or less, so the pricing may be something that the owners want to evaluate (or invest in making what’s there a bit more challenging with some more bunkers and water hazards, maybe).

Rating: 2 stars

Golf Course Review: Rum Corps Barracks Golf Course

Last week, my dad and I had a round of golf at the 9 hole Rum Corps Barracks course at Windsor. It’s located next door to the Sebel Resort on Macquarie Rd, just before the Richmond RAAF Base if you’re travelling west, and is a good little option if you only have time to play 9 holes instead of 18 on any given day.

There are 6 par 4s and 3 par 3s, with the par 4s generally a medium length. Of particular challenge are the 3rd and 4th, which have sharp right doglegs where good placement off the tee is essential to avoid going out of bounds to the right. The green for the 120ish metre par 3 9th is 3 tiered sloping towards the front, and depending on the pin position on any given day, it can be difficult to 2 putt from off the green (last Saturday it was a couple of paces from the left and on the second tier).

Otherwise, for a reasonable golfer there’s not too much of a challenge presented, with not much undulation as you walk the course. The driver can come out on the straighter par 4s, whilst on the 3rd, I took a 3 wood off the tee but skewed it a bit right and ended up out of bounds, and on the 4th I think I was able to take a 3 iron and still have a clear shot to the green. The par 3 7th is around 145m, but plays at least a club less due to the 10 or so metre elevation drop from tee to pin.

The pro shop is surprisingly well stocked for a little course, and there’s a driving range adjacent. At $15 for 9 holes, it’s par for the course when it comes to what you pay compared to other 9 holers, but it’s worth the effort. Weekday players can save $4.50 with the 2008 Golf Course Guide, and pay just $12 for 18 holes. Contach the club on (02) 4577 6600 – bookings generally are not required for small groups, but it’s best to check before you head out.

Overall it’s certainly a very decent little course – not as picturesque as Grose River or Kurrajong Hills, but definitely more pleasurable to play than the Colonial at Werrington (which I’ll have a bit of a discussion about in the next entry).

Rating: 3 stars

Waratahs lead Crusaders 12-3

About 13 or so minutes in the first half remaining. Regardless of whether the Tahs win or lose, I have a feeling that Ewen McKenzie may still stick around for next year despite his “sacking” earlier in the season.

Live scores courtesy of Rugby Heaven.

Has your GPS taken you off the beaten track?

Police have advised that the traditional road map or street directory is more effective at taking a motorist from Point A to Point B after revealing instances of having to rescue drivers who’d found themselves lost. Read News Limited’s story here.

I don’t have one myself, nor do I really see the cost effectiveness of one in favour of a street directory if I’m travelling around Sydney and its surrounds. I simply look it up, plot my path and if I forget where I need to go, I just pull over and check where I am. It’s not that much of an inconvenience, and at $25 to $30, it’s at least a tenth of the cost of a GPS unit. In my opinion it’s a no brainer – I’d pick a UBD, Sydway or Gregory’s every time.

If you use a GPS unit regularly, have you found yourself getting lost on the odd occasion, thus finding that to get to Point B you have to go on an epic adventure?

IPL’s most valuable players

As the Indian Premier League approaches semi final time, Cricinfo has brought forward the best value players for the tournament. Unsurprisingly, Western Australia’s Shaun Marsh is up the top of the batsmen, and it’s no surprise, since he’s been firing on all cylinders during the time he’s been playing. He came in during the 5th game for Kings XI Punjab, and despite his late start, he’s the highest run scorer, with 593 runs from 10 games played. He has six 50-plus scores in his ten innings, and only once he’s scored less than 39 – a fabulous statistic which means he must surely come into the Australian one day side in place of the injured Matthew Hayden, and most likely in my opinion be a permanent batting replacement for Adam Gilchrist.

Even though I must admit that at times I’ve not been a fan of Shane Watson, it’s pleasing to see that he’s performed well with both bat and ball in the Rajasthan Royals team and contributed sizeably to the success of SHhane Warne’s team.

The Sale Blog

Regular listeners to Chris Smith’s afternoon show on 2GB will know of the Bargain Shoppers’ Guide on Thursday afternoons with Jebby Phillips. She mentions at the end of her segment that there is a blog that sums up the bargains from the broadcast, plus more that there isn’t enough time to talk about. Check out the blog here, and thanks to the show this afternoon, I know where I’m going on Saturday morning (that is, if the products being sold aren’t already gone by the time I get there around 11am).

ONE DAY CHOCOLATE SALE: Does the name Lindt mean anything? Of course, great chocolates. On Saturday they are having a warehouse sale that will save you 50-70% off rrp on all sorts of tasty treats. Personal shoppers only, no bulk sales and a $250 limit per customer. But everything is while stocks last. The warehouse is in the old Wonderland theme park.

CCL (Lindt) Warehouse, 2 Alspec Pl, Eastern Creek. Sat May 31, 8-4.