Sunday, August 31, 2014

Last day of August 2014

This is the last day of August 2014. It seems weird somehow to think of the end of the month like that. As the last of something special when it was just another month. I managed to watch the second of the new Dr Who programmes tonight on BBC 3 and I thought it was a good one. There's still a little too much 'do you like me?' or 'don't you like me?' between the doctor and Clara for my liking, I wished all that was over by the second show in the series. However, I can see it being a bit of a running theme until Clara leaves - which has already been announced I think.
August has not proved to be a good month for West Brom, they have drawn twice and lost once so far. Quite a poor start to the season, lets hope for a run when we win some matches soon.
I have a couple of days off this week, not sure yet how I'm going to spend the time. It is just a couple of days though, nothing to get too excited over.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dr Who played by Peter Capaldi

I watched the first episode of the new Dr Who on Saturday and I enjoyed the new doctor's character more than previous ones. I often watch actors who play the doctor with some minor annoyances but I felt quite relaxed watching this episode. I believe the doctor is in safe hands with Peter Capaldi. The plot of the episode was the usual fodder but probably a bit more coherent than some of the other recent episodes, Matt's Smith's reign came to end with a final storyline that was, frankly, beyond comprehension. I like the new doctor, I've heard some say he is too scary for children, well good. It's about time that Dr Who made young children hide behind their sofas again.

RIP Richard Attenborough

Sad news that yesterday Richard Attenborough died at the age of 90. This great man made such an enormous contribution to the international entertainment industry, you could say he was a giant. Everybody knows him for his work on such great classic films such as Ghandi, A Bridge Too Far, Jurassic Park, Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, Miracle On 34th Street, I'm Alright Jack and Whistle Down The Wind amongst many others. My own personal favourite is possibly one of the lesser known titles in his back catalogue, it was a grim horror tale of a serial killer operating in working class London. The subject of the film is very bleak and the film stars Richard Attenborough with John Hurt as Co-Star (who was Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actor). The film was called 10 Rillington Place after the apartment building where the murders were all committed. The acting is superb even if the subject nature of the film is, as I said, very grim indeed. I like the great man's other films too, especially the war ones but Jurassic Park is probably my second favourite, the first film in that series is a personal favourite of mine.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

It's weird how some things go viral on the Internet. The latest I've seen is the ice bucket challenge, so many people have posted up videos of themselves doing this, including famous stars and celebrities. I didn't know what ALS was before so it must have driven up donations and traffic to the charity's website vastly. ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and I may be over-simplifying but it is what we in the UK know as Motor Neurone Disease. I think people post their videos because there is something fun about seeing other people's reaction to the shock of cold water and there is something of showmanship about it. I think some videos exist just because people want to jump on the bandwagon and be part of the phenomenon. That's why personally, I won't be taking the challenge.

New series of Dr Who starts today

Today is the day lots of Dr Who fans have been waiting for. The first episode of Dr Who starring Peter Capaldi as the new doctor is screened for the first time. It does feel like an event worth celebrating. I'm not a massive Dr Who fan but I do like the show and I have an affection for it. My favourite doctor was Jon Pertwee, I found him slightly scary as a child and this is what I feel makes the doctor such an interesting character. I like the idea of a doctor who has an edge to the character. This is why I'm looking forward to watching this TV event of the year.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

High Contrast graphics - based on Elinor Stecker

I bought a copy of a book today by Elinor Stecker titled "how to create and use high contrast images", it was published in 1982 by Fisher Publishing in the US. The book was written when Lithofilm was used and I'm not sure if this film is made these days, Kodak was one of the main suppliers and I don't even know if they still sell film for consumers anymore in the digital age. Lithofilm was high contrast black and white film where no grey was rendered, so the contrast factor was incredibly high. We've all seen lots of images using this kind of technique. The way the images are produced today is digitally and this makes the range of options for creating images much greater today than it was with film and chemicals. But it's a tribute to the photographers, graphic artists and technicians who worked with this film that high contrast images are still everywhere we look today. I wonder whether Elinor Stecker ever wrote an update to her book for the digital photographic medium?

In an attempt to use some of the ideas presented in the book, I've used Gimp on a couple of my photographs. Hope you like the results below. Hopefully I'll get better at this, I was just playing around this time and having some fun.

Football season starts again

The football season has started again today. It must be a day full of excitement and anticipation for UK footie fans. I'm usually excited to a degree about football and this year I am again but not as much as I thought I'd be. My team didn't end last season very well, however they survived and are in the Premier League yet again this season, so that's something to hold on to. Today's game was one they should have won because of the team they played and they were in the lead at 2-1 but eventually the visiting team scored again and it ended a 2-2 draw. Draws are not very satisfying, at least it's not a loss though. My team has a new strip this season, much more white than in previous seasons and thinner blue stripes. I think it looks pretty good though, better than recent strips in my memory.

Monday, August 11, 2014


I managed to get a shot of the "supermoon" tonight from my son's roof-window. I balanced the camera on a mini tripod, the legs didn't properly fit the window ledge so I had to handhold one of the legs. I used Aperture priority mode and spot metering on the camera to get the exposure of the moon's surface correct against the dark space. I also used the digital zoom capability, which explains some of the noise in the quality of the photo. For my first shot of the moon with my new camera I don't think this is a bad attempt. Clouds obscured the moon just after I took this shot.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Kendal Mint Cake

I've been staying in Kendal in The Lake District for 4 nights and I don't recall buying Kendal Mint Cake before for myself. I might have tried some in the past because when I tried some today it tasted quite familiar. It was a translucent white minty bar that was brittle enough to break but biting it revealed it to be soft enough to easily chew and break down because it is made mostly of sugar. The mint flavour wasn't overwhelming, just pleasant sort of similar strength to an After Eight mint if you know what that is. I was trying the white bar but there is also a brown bar and a chocolate covered bar. I can say that I have eaten Kendal Mint Cake in Kendal now.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Holiday time

This week I've spent quite a bit of time on my own exploring photography techniques with my new camera and also shooting some video. I've visited Ivinghoe Beacon and Dunstable Downs for the first time ever. And now into the second half of the week I'm in The Lake District. I'm hoping to see more scenery this afternoon but a quick stroll around Kendal yesterday revealed a lovely town.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Holiday breakfast

My morning got started a little stressfully. Had to take my wife and kids to the rail station but they were running a little late and that sent everything into a bit of a mad panic at the end. However, I managed to drop them off in time for them to pick up the tickets. Then I went to Tesco and picked up some food, including my breakfast. I have always enjoyed sausage rolls. My preferred way of eating a sausage roll is hot, the only time I eat one cold really is when I just have one in a picnic hamper or something like that. Here is my breakfast, two lovely hot sausage rolls with a streak of HP sauce down the middle - this was an artistic surge!

The photo was shot on my iPhone 4 using the Hipstamatic app: using the Jane lens and the Blanko film with Standard quality.

Saturday, August 02, 2014


I finished work yesterday for two weeks, yay! I shall be blogging regularly I think. The weather has been very hot recently, which has been great. But as soon as my holiday begins here comes the rain! This is a picture of the rain falling outside my window right now.

We were going out for a bike ride this afternoon as a family but I don't think that will happen now. Day one of my holiday is a bit of a wash out because of this really. Shame. But not completely unexpected.