Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

New camera test

One thing that I’ve found on returning from my last couple of holidays, or from events, was feeling let down by the quality of the photographs I’d taken. As you can see from the picture above (taken with a Samsung HMX-U10) I was lucky enough to visit beautiful Tallinn in Estonia last year but, if you believe my pictures, the whole place has a been built extra curvy.

I have some great memories from that trip but I don’t have many pictures to back them up and, sadly, this isn’t the first time

In Japan we visited Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, the most amazing aquarium I have been to. Set over 8 floors, you start at the top and work you way down around a giant central tank. At night, outside the aquarium, there are some beautiful light displays in the shape of stingrays, a droplet of water and a pair of whale sharks. I relied on my Samsung Jet S8000 camera phone for the most part while in Japan and, while it managed well during the day, it struggled at night and I found that a lot of my pictures were blurred

The english language website for Osaka Aquarium: http://www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng/index.htm

More recently, I attended a preview event at BFI Southbank where they showed the first episode of Miracle Day, from the new series of Torchwood ahead of its BBC1 premier. Following the episode there was a Q&A with cast members John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Bill Pullman and creator Russell T Davies. Again, I relied on my camera phone, this time a HTC Desire HD, and despite being in the third row my pictures were blurred almost beyond recognition

If you’d like to see the video of the Q&A (blur free), it can be viewed at the BFI website: http://www.bfi.org.uk/live/video/669

As you can probably tell I really don’t know the first thing about photography but after a one too many disappointments I decided it was time to try something new and, after some frankly brain bending research into different camera types, I decided to go for a bridge camera and settled upon the Fuji Finepix 2750HD and am going to use the next few weeks to test it out in different environments

My first test was a trip to Kew Gardens with some of my family last weekend and below are just a couple of pictures from the day out. unfortunately the weather was pretty awful and it rained heavily all day, so we didn’t get to see half as much as we had hoped to, but I’m quite pleased with my first attempt

At the moment I’m like a child with a new toy. Previously, if I’d wanted to get a close up of something, I would’ve had to walk up to it. These first couple of pictures were taken in the Waterlily House while I practiced with the zoom

These last two pictures were taken in a rare break from the rain as I wanted to try some more panoramic pictures, but I don’t think I had the camera set up very well so the colours in the picture look a little washed out.

Above is the waterfall behind Davies Alpine House and below is the Palm House viewed from the north

I’ll be uploading some more picture as I continue to practice over the next few weeks. Does anyone have any tips for a novice like me?

The website address for Kew Gardens: http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/

Blog Envy

A post about ‘Blog Envy’

While looking through my favourite footballing forum on Sunday evening, I happened upon a thread entitled ‘Kelly Brook in the buff (full frontal NWS)’

Of course, knowing this particular site as well I as do and also Ms Brook’s apparent stubborn refusal to bare any thing more than her breasts (much to the recent chagrin of Hugh Heffners bank manager and to the heartbreak of thousands of teenage boys and older-and-should-know-better men) I, of course, expected to be ‘Barlow’ed

On this particular forum a ‘Barlow’ is the equivalent of being ‘Rick Rolled’ but instead of the musical stylings of Rick Astley and his ubiquitous 1987 number 1 hit, you will most likely see a picture or gif of Coronation Street’s legendary love lothario actor William Roach as ‘Ken Barlow’. Often, a thread will promise any number of wonders within, from naked celebrities to the exact location of the Arc of the Covenant but 99% of the time – Barlow – doh!, caught again, Classic Ken!

But no. Just this once, it was real. There on the page before my eyes, for the first time, a fully naked Kelly Brook.

Like Patrick Stewart in Extras, I could see everything

 

 

 

 

But hold on, Kelly Brook wasn’t the most interesting thing on this page. I noted that this was a WordPress blog just like mine (only much better looking) and then over on the right hand side of the page it carried the legend ‘Blog Visitors since November 27th 2010’…….

2,795,081

TWO – MILLION – SEVEN HUNDRED AND NINETY FIVE THOUSAND – AND EIGHTY ONE

Jesus H Christ on a very large bicycle. 2,795,081 visitors! Initially, I’ll admit it, I was a little upset – I mean, in my own scrappy way on my little blog I’m trying to write a few things that may inform, interest or (in a more unlikely scenario) even entertain whatever lost souls wander past my page and yet I can barely drag in a few hundred visitors. Meanwhile, the merest sniff of celebrity lady flesh brings in more viewers than Channel 5 could ever dream of – am I wasting my time?

Is the (virtual) pen no longer mightier than the (pork) sword?

So, feeling a little disheartened, I started to examine why I don’t get more hits

Is it the blog itself? Are the topics too random? (Games, Films and the occasional bit of Japanese). Is it the crude layout that I haven’t taken the time to improve? Is is the spelling and grammatical errors? Or worse, is the content that poor that no one is interested? (Yes, yes, yes and yes)

Is it me? I don’t really promote myself. Essentially, I’m kind of a private person. I rarely use Facebook and even then, my profile isnt public so only a few friends can see my rambling and, the frankly bloody hilarious, funny cat gifs

I much prefer Twitter and really enjoy reading the conversations, thoughts and ramblings of the 180ish people I follow; from family to friends, actors, musician, sportsmen, gamers, fellow ‘one a day’ers and other assorted randoms but I’m not outgoing enough to jump in and say ‘hi’ to people I don’t really know, so I don’t really generate many followers of my own (I believe 54 at the time of writing – although if you weed out the various fake accounts, maybe 40?)

Hmmmm

So like any mature thirty something, I did the only decent thing available to me. I sulked. I sulked for a good 24 hours in fact

And then yesterday, while starting a new post, I realised – hits didn’t matter. I remember why I started this blog in the first place. I did it for me. I did it because over the past few years life had caught up with me and the inevitabilities of work commitments and family had meant that I hadn’t had the time to do some of the things I used to enjoy doing – like writing

Up until last year I had spent most of my life working in the NHS. I was never really happy there and, let’s be honest, they don’t really promote creativity in their office drones. Last year I started working within the British film industry and am happier than I have ever been at work (just don’t tell my boss that) and being exposed to so many creative and passionate people has reignited something that for the longest time I had forgotten about and this blog was supposed to be about me taking my first baby steps to finding my creative side again

I never expected my tiny little blog to set the world alight. I’m just enjoying writing it. If anyone reads it, that’s a bonus. If anyone likes it, well, I’d be over the moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Ken!

Man Flu

Flu season you dirty, dirty bastard – thanks to you It’s been more than a week since my last blog

Temperature – check
Headache – check
Achey joints – check
Tiredness – check
Spontaneous napping syndrome* – check

So far you owe me:

1 weekend
2 Japanese lessons
1 viewing of ‘The Social Network’ with Q&A with Aaron Sorkin

Feeling sorry for myself – check

So….here I go

I’ve wanted to put my own blog together for a very long time but have never really had the confidence  – after all, who would be interested in my inane ramblings?

…but I’m going to do it anyway! so this is what to expect….

My intention, like most I’m sure, is to write about the things that I am most interested in, that being Gaming and Film/TV as well as my obsession with Japan (and in some cases where these three interests come together)

Gaming wise, I’ve been playing since the mid 80s, starting on the Spectrum 48k and I’m still going strong 20 odd years, several generations, and many, many busted joysticks and joypads later

I have always loved films since seeing Star Wars on the big screen as a 6-year-old and that passion never dwindled and now I work within the film industry and have opened my cinematic horizons wider than ever

My main passion, though, is Japan. Last year after many years I finally i fulfilled a dream to visit Japan and it confirmed my love of the country as a full on obsession. I am currently in the early stages of  learning the Japanese language, and although I’m finding it very hard (as the odd blog title shows – but I am only about 12 lessons in) I’m loving every minute of it – even the homework! I hope to return next year and in the meantime I am immersing myself in as much of the culture as I can

so thats it for post number 1..