Today's been a good day and I haven't fired a single shot. It started with a rare visit to Manchester for the Nikon Professional Services Roadshow where I had the sensors on both my two Nikon DLSR bodies as well as my 300mm f/2.8 lens, my 18-105mm lens and my three teleconverters all cleaned by a Nikon technician for nothing. All it cost me was the petrol for the 10 mile trip to the Lowry Hotel in Manchester and £3 all day parking at a disused pub car park. Well, I wasn't going to pay the £10 that the Lowry was charging for parking.
Whilst I was there I also got my hands on the brand new Nikon 180-400mm lens of which this is said to be the only one in the country. Needless to say, we weren't allowed to take any shots with it using a memory card, but it looked very nice and has a built in teleconverter. I also had an assortment of other goodies to try including the Nikon D5 (want one), the latest 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR zoom (also want one) and the 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR wide-angle zoom (want one of those too).
I chatted to various very helpful people from Nikon about having my camera gear checked and calibrated and finally decided that I'd send it in using the Nikon Professional Services three day turnaround service soon. This was decided as soon as I found out that the baloney mount ring in my 300mm lens was slightly bent and could be the source of sharpness problems, especially when using the 2x teleconverter.
So I left the Lowry Hotel quite pleased, but even more so when I got outside and discovered on my phone that the Snow Bunting photo which I took last week at Crosby had been awarded 'Photo of the Week' on BirdGuides today, just like L.O.S. Chairman David Shallcross said it would!
This is the second POTW award I've had from BirdGuides in the last two months, as well as one 'notable' award. Needless to say I'm well pleased!
I then set off for Calumet in Piccadilly to sort out a problem I've had with a broken Manfrotto carbon fibre tripod which I bought from one of their open days last year. No need for any details here but the manager will contact me shortly to see how I take this issue forward and it may result in me upgrading my tripod to a Gitzo model.
But then I got talking to the salesman about camera rucksacks for 500mm and 600mm lenses and if they had any I could see. They didn't have any on show, so he went in the back storeroom and returned with a used rucksack which he couldn't be sold and that I could have it for nothing. Bingo! It was just what I was looking for and has saved me over £130 in buying a new one.
Like I said at the start of this post, today's been a good day!