Category: A photo a day

West Blean and Thornden Woods

Manuel Marques May 24, 2015 No Comments A photo a day , ,

West Blean and Thornden Woods

Even though these woods are less than 3-4 miles away from my house (perhaps even less if I take the nasty B2205) I had never been there until today! Given the episode I had a couple of days before I wanted to go out but do something low-impact on the knee. Cycling there was quite nice, it is basically flat the whole course, although quite bumpy (and having the tyres inflated to almost 6 bar does not help). The bike did quite well, all things considered – and it was nice seeing so many people cycling along these bridleways and forest tracks, even on a grey-ish day like today. And happy to report that the knee is doing fine! Soon I should be able to get back to my sculling and to my runs as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am now hating sheds and heavy commuter bikes.

Manuel Marques May 23, 2015 No Comments A photo a day , , ,

Let’s say that I was involvedย a little “incident” with a loose step in my shed whilst carrying my ย very heavy (>20-25 kg) commuter bike into the said shed. My knee didn’t like it very much…

stupid knee

But not all was lost. True, I didn’t manage to run the parkrun in the following morning but I still went down there (my driving abilities were unimpaired, much to my surprise) and helped out marshalling the course and taking some photos.

So I “planted” myself at the bottom of the hill, by the bridge over Sarre Penn, wearing a bright hi-viz vest, taking photos and yelling words of encouragement to the passing runners. Apparently it worked (the latter) as I had people later thanking me for the extra motivation boost! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sadly, I had a bit of another incident (this is getting repetitive!) , this time involving my DSLR lens – as I was taking it off a chair the strap got caught and it fell, lens-first onto carpeted floor from about 10-15 cm. The body is fine (after all, Tamia Nelson uses a similar camera in her backcountry expeditions with no issues whatsoever!) but the poor old Tamron 28-200mm got its internal mechanism dislodged and I couldn’t adjust the focal length properly after that. Still, I did manage to take those photos (yes!, this happenedย before the actual race!), but not without another silly thing happening in the process – given that I had been photographing in a dark environment the day before (see the previous post) I had set the ISO to quite an high value (1600). Obviously then all the photos I took that morning were grainy and very noisy, I only realised what had happened the moment I transferred the photos to the PC. Idiot.

Well, at least it is getting better quickly – hopefully I should be back on the water/saddle/running track over the next few days. But I have to take it easy… ๐Ÿ™‚

Career celebration – an inspiring day

Manuel Marques May 22, 2015 No Comments A photo a day , , , , , ,

Prof Jackson's career celebration group photo

This past Friday we were quite busy with celebrating the 50 years of scientific career of our own emeritus professor at the AOG, Prof David Jackson. To mark this milestone, a mini-conference was organised, bringing together all of his former students and colleagues. It was really inspiring to attend all these talks from people all over the world having successful scientific careers which have themselves started here at Kent.

It was a very hectic day, indeed, including quite a few talks, networking sessions and even a poster session (where we were invited to present posters showcasing the current research at the AOG, which has moved a bit sideways from Prof’s areas of research – from optical fibre sensors to biomedical imaging. It was also quite interesting to network with all these former students who worked towards a PhD, like me, but in the early to late 1980s. Things that we take for granted nowadays such as fibre couplers and specialist fibre splicing equipment simply didn’t exist; to grab traces from an oscilloscope screen an actual Polaroid camera (!) had to be employed with a special adapter; and obviously the dissemination of articles and the journals available to publish them were considerably different from today.

I volunteered for taking the visitors round the campus in an impromptu tour – when it came to take them by the library I actually realised that I have barely went in there during these past three years at Kent! Nowadays every single scientific article is only a couple of clicks away (provided your institution subscribes the journal in question, that is… ๐Ÿ˜› ).


Manuel Marques May 19, 2015 No Comments A photo a day , , , ,

2015-05-18 20.22.47

Yesterday as I was heading home I came across this scene – the sun was quite low in the horizon (~8:30 PM) and the last rays of sunlight of the day were streaming through the branches and hitting the tombstones in this churchyard (which I have covered extensively in the past). I slammed on the brakes of the bike and hurried to take a quick shot with the cameraphone (a shame I didn’t have the DSLR with me at the time, but that is quite an heavy beast to carry around! ๐Ÿ˜› ).

I will definitely miss this commute whenever I move out of Canterbury! (even in wintertime when it is dark and eerie, cycling by the churchyard with the tombstones illuminated by the blueish moonlight, it still has some appeal…)


Manuel Marques May 18, 2015 No Comments A photo a day , , , ,


This is the view I’m currently having outside my lab. Not the kind of thing you’ll want when you have delicate and very motion-susceptible interferometers right on the other side of the wall!

Thankfully this will not last long – they are just sorting out the access road which will be widened slightly and brought closer to our building. Although having cars passing by closer than before will also not be very good for us… oh well!

And another parkrun!

Manuel Marques May 16, 2015 No Comments A photo a day , , ,

CPR 16 May 2015

Already integrated in my Saturday morning routine, that’s for sure! Having a bit of fun and trying hard to get to that sub-20′ time (this week I’ve beat my previous best time, with 20:17. Still 17 seconds to shave out, but I’m hoping by the end of the Summer I’ve managed to do it!). Those last two hills are terrible… looking at my laps one can definitely see a big decrease in the split times for km 3 and 4!

Many thanks to all the volunteers who painstakingly show up every Saturday morning to help out in this event, marshalling the course and taking lots of lovely pictures with which I can fill up my Facebook albums! (I think people by now are quite tired of seeing photos of me running with varying degrees of brightly coloured running gear). I really need to give back, but at the same time I don’t want to give up a potentially great training session, it is a bit of a dilemma! ๐Ÿ™‚

And in this event I’ve met a few more familiar faces – one of my co-workers came to run the full course with his two under-10-year-old children. Slowly but steadily the “running-mania” is arriving in Canterbury and, more particularly, at our own Applied Optics Group. Beware… ๐Ÿ˜€

No way…

Manuel Marques May 15, 2015 No Comments A photo a day , , ,


How was this possible?? I mean, I can understand how they fire all their “ammunition” over an unsuspecting car’s windscreen, but this window is perfectly vertical. They had to make a fly-by and aim properly at my office’s window. I feel like I’m being targeted… the kitchen window at home also had a few droppings.

Don’t know what I’ve done to you, birds! I even left some grass seed out for you to feast on! (the original intention was to make the garden look a bit greener, but anyway…)

Early bright mornings…

Manuel Marques May 13, 2015 No Comments A photo a day , , , , ,

This morning I was in for a treat – a bright mildish (not too warm, not too cold) morning with absolutely zero wind! Obviously I had to head out to the boathouse under these circumstances ๐Ÿ™‚ . By the time I got there (at about 06:30 AM) it was already very, very bright – it makes the dark days we have in Winter around here a bit more bearable when you know that by this time of the year it gets this nice! ๐Ÿ˜‰ .


Look at the lack of rippling from the water – it is a perfect mirror! If it wasn’t for the frequent logs and bits of garden waste that are quite frequently present in the river it would have been an absolutely perfect training session this morning.


(and yes, the HDR feature on my phone works really well, I have to say! No way I could ever get these images on a single frame acquisition…)

Farz breton!

Manuel Marques May 12, 2015 No Comments A photo a day , , , , ,

Farz breton!

Got this recipe from a work colleague for this typical dessert from Bretagne. Unfortunately it did not turn out the way I wanted as I used the wrong butter to line the tray (note to self: spreadable butter is NOT a good idea as it has oil in addition to the butter itself!) . Also, the tray I used was too thick – ended up leaving the thing to cook for twice as long as described in the recipe!

But it tasted all right in the end, and the ultimate test was to take it into the office and see how quickly it vanished – well, let’s say it passed with flying colours! ๐Ÿ™‚

Page 1 of 3