A visit to 'Go Outdoors' in Norwich provided Linda & me with new cold weather gear: I went for a 'Jack Pyke' oak woods camo jacket. It's absolutely incredible, being warm, lighter than it looks, breathable and waterproof! Thoroughly recommended and on offer at the moment. (Of course, it reinforces the public apprehension of birders / photographers as a paramilitary group! This is honestly true: I opened the crossing gate at Strumpshaw for an elderly couple recently and the lady asked if all RSPB reserves had armed security! I realised she thought my monopod was a weapon of some sort!)
If anyone is a regular viewer of this little blog, you may have noticed the occasional hint of disappointment at some of the images I have managed since I bought my Sigma 150 - 500. I have tried everything to reproduce the online claimed results for my Pentax/Sigma combo, but remained frustrated at the lack of sharp focus at more than around 30m. A couple of weeks ago I was glancing through a Pentax forum and came across a thread on exactly this topic. The suggested solution was breath-takingly simple: remove the UV filter! Like most people, I have always used a filter to protect the objectives of my lenses, but - unless you spend decent money - it seems the extra glass can reduce sharpness. I've been really happy with results since I took mine off!