Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cardiff bay evening

I've posted these shots before but not in this format.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Dalek security guards

Micro-soft-in-the-head are trying out robot Dalek like security guards. The robots are armed with camera, sensors, sirens and microphones, but no weapons... yet.
They never sleep, say the company Knightscope, well only for about 20 minutes every 24 hours while they recharge.
Now this may seem like a good idea, especially when you cost it at about half the hourly rate of a human security guard.  There are some points to be aware of though.  first the robot can't actually detain anybody, only summon help, secondly it could be fairly easily tipped over, it is heavy but I suspect someone jumping at the top would tip it over, and it can't self-right, but by far the biggest issues is one the early Daleks suffered from, it can't climb kerbs or stairs.
Of course serious criminals also might have no fear of shooting or ramming a robot, but they just might hold back from a murder charge, and a real security guard can dive for cover and return fire.
Also bare in mind if works from wi-fi, so the hackers will have a ton of fun.
Come on guys, you can't solve everything with technology, most of the clever stuff never works properly anyway, how long before your Dalek gets a virus and starts knocking old ladies over for the fun of it!

Caring parent

Well done to the caring parent I saw in Port Talbot today, walking through town with your son on your shoulders, texting!  Next time don't walk through a low doorway moron!  Hope the child is ok.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Apprentice... Who is going to win???

I watched episode 8 of the apprentice last night, and you know something.. I don't really like any of the candidates much.
Personally I liked Mark Wright at first, but he's too pushy and too selfish for my taste, Then theres Katie Bulmer-Cooke, she seems pretty sensible, but I don't know if she has what it takes.  Sanja Sood-Smith seems to take too much of a back seat role, he'd make a great employee I'm sure, but the boss, no I don't think so.
Roisin Hogan, could be a possible, she's bright and seems fairly tough, but theres a long way to go yet.
Solomn Akhtar, again another who keeps his head down, a follower maybe rather than a leader?
Felipe Alvir-Baquero, he seems like a really nice guy, he's calm, fairly efficient, but I question if he's tough enough, although he is a lawyer so he should be prepared to go in for the kill.
Time will tell.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

And in todays news

Be afraid, be very afraid... To go swimming.  Biologist Dr Mardik Leopold,  of the Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies at Wageningen in Holland Claims people are at risk of seal attack.
No seriously I'm not making this up.  It seems that the seals have been attacking porpoises around Holland and the north sea.  Dr Leopold believes they may start attacking people next.
Now apparently we have around 180.000 grey seals so that could be trouble.... and you were afraid of that harmless great white!
Personally I'm not too bothered, I hardly ever swim in the sea, and for the next six months or so it'll be bloody freezing here, so bring it on seals!  All we need now are some Canadians with those bat things.....

Mariella Frostrup is very angry, it seems her £400 a month medical insurance wont cough up for the combination of drugs she needs to get through menopause, and apparently the NHS doesn't offer her the help she wants. Well I hate to say this but stop paying £400 a month then and manage like the rest of the less privileged people, they get through menopause without elaborate cocktails of drugs.

In Shanghai China two fifteen story tower blocks built to house people moved to make way for a Disney theme park have leaned so much the tops are now touching, the building are only two years old.
Chen Tong, head of the engineering department at the Xintuan Real Estate company that maintains the properties and is responsible for them, denied there was a problem.
He added: 'Only some decorative parts on the eaves were broken and residents can live in the blocks without any worries at all.
Well you won't catch me living in one matey!

Expectation fail ?

I watched one of those fly on the wall police programs today, and there was a policeman saying "I don't get paid to get shouted and spat at and abused by the public"   Errr... yes you do actually.   What did you think a policeman's job was?  Dealing with drunks, yobs, nutters and villains, or arranging fluffy cushions in DFS?
It's like a doctor saying " I don't get paid to deal with sick people"  Frankly if you can't handle some yobs shouting at you without getting annoyed your in the wrong job...  Ok I know it's not nice but really what did you expect...  ?   
On the plus side the RSPCA are looking for people to handle kittens.....  Maybe thats more your line of work.... Maybe not, some of those kittens can be nasty!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Camera Snobbery

Theres always been some camera snobbery about but it seems to be getting worse. I keep hearing people say you need this body and that lens or your pictures will be rubbish.  Total crap!
You see at the sizes most people work theres bugger all to choose between cameras, ok if your doing a hording then a full frame camera will probably be better... but how many hordings have you done this week?  Thought so, same as me then!
Somewhere theres an A3 wedding album doing the rounds, about half the pictures were taken on a top of the range Nikon camera with a £1000 lens, the other half were taken on the bottom of the range Canon beginners camera with the kit lens (total cost at the time about £300)  And you know what, I knew which pics were which, but even I couldn't tell the difference looking at full size A3 pics in the album.
It's the photographer and the processing that really counts, yes a better camera always helps but just because you have a cheap camera doesn't mean you can't take a good pic.
Some of the worst photos I've ever seen were taken on a state of the art, top of the range camera,and the truly worst ones I've ever seen were by a photographer with a degree in photography from Eton college.  I had students with less that a months teaching taking better shots honestly!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Child of God 2013 (film review)

IMDb "A dispossessed, violent man's life is a disastrous attempt to exist outside the social order. Successively deprived of parents and homes and with few other ties, Ballard descends to the level of a cave dweller as he falls deeper into crime and degradation."

Well to be honest I don't know where to start with this film.
Set in mountainous Sevier County, Tennessee it shows Lester Balllard (Scott Haze) breaking down and ending up pretty much a caveman.
The filming and locations are good, but thats about the best I can say for the film, personally I found it dire, it does have a few black comedy moments but not enough to save it.

Waynes rating  0/10  honestly save your money and stay home.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

X factor

I saw this last night (at gun point) and sadly it's got even worse than it was last series... Yes I know thats hard to believe.
The show was padded so much it was boring, I mean do we really need to see the stupid contestants going out and just dropping into Hamleys toy shop?, like that wasn't planned six months ago!
No the bit that really gets to me is the poor bloody contestants, they think they are in a proper competition to see who has the X factor.
Now every week Simon Scowl says this is a singing competition, yet every week they still have the joke act who can't sing or dance. and the really sad part is he stays and people with singing talent get sent home.
Even the panel members who have said he's rubbish in the past still kept him in when they had the chance to get rid of him.  So why we ask, well it's obvious really, the longer they keep a controversial act in the more mug punters will pay by phoning in to vote for the acts they actually want to stay.
Frankly I'm surprised that ofcom or somebody hasn't stepped in and put a stop to it.
They are building these poor people up week after week, telling then how great they are then a man with as much talent as a spoon stays while they get sent home, thats really going to hurt some of these young people.

Well done EU morons!

I was walking around in my house the other day wearing my hi-vis jacket, hard hat and steel toecap boots, and the obligatory safety harness (as required by the health and safety police), and one of the lights went out, the bulb had gone.  Now that shouldn't really be a problem... Yes, I know technically you need six fully trained tech guys from Cal-Tech to change the bloody bulb these days, but I couldn't wait for them to come so I thought I'd do it myself.
At least that was the plan!  You see I'd run out of bulbs.... and ...  Well have you tried to buy a bulb recently, £7 for a fucking light bulb!
They were taking the piss!.  Thats ridiculous for a light bulb, it's a light bulb! Not the Sydney bloody opera house!
And it gets worse, not only were the bulbs the price of a small villa in Northern Spain, the were only 11 watt bulbs.  11watt? thats only about 60watt in the cheap old fashioned bulbs we used to have, thats a bulb for a table lamp, not the middle on the ceiling in a big room.
Well I'm buggered if I'll pay that for a bulb!
So well done Euro energy saving morons!  I'm now walking around my blacked out house with a lit candle on the front of my hard hat like an 17th century miner... hoping not to fall in any holes....  How bloody safe is that then you pillocks!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Hornets Nest 2014 (film review)

IMDb "Armed only with their cameras, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning conflict Journalist Mike Boettcher, and his son, Carlos, provide unprecedented access into the longest war in U.S. history."

The film is essentially a documentary filmed with the US on the front line of Afghanistan, it shows the soldiers in combat a fair bit, and was interesting and a bit moving at the end.

My only real criticism  is the long cuts to black every time something happened.  People don't want to watch a black screen, they can do that by turning the telly off at home for bugger all.

Waynes rating 6/10   Watch if your interested is seeing an on the ground account of the war in Afghanistan from a soldiers viewpoint.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bad news fatties the government is hunting us down.

The government is worried about obesity, having worried about global warming, foxes, 4x4's badgers, bird flu and ebola (among other things) the latest target is obese people.
Sitting in Boodles in St James street munching Dover sole and new potatoes paid for by us it's easy to be critical of other peoples diets, sadly the only sole I can afford is the one coming off my shoe.
 Thats the trouble, eating properly and healthy isn't cheap, a lot of people simply can't afford to eat the 7 a day the idiots in subsidised restaurants or gentleman's clubs paid for by us eat.  How many places do you know that serves tomato soup at 85p? a bowl.
 Or perhaps grilled garlic and basil chicken served on couscous for £3.55...  all we can get for that is a bloody burger and fries.
 In real terms the price of food has gone up a lot in the last year or so, and with normal peoples wages staying pretty much the same it's hard going to buy what people really need and pay the bills. Remember even the poorest back bench MP is on £67k plus expenses (and that includes cleaning the moat!) So with cheap food and the mortgage on his/her second castle paid for by us they have the cheek to tell us to eat better!
 Well heres a suggestion, get Bellamy's to open up a load of restaurants all over the country selling the same food at the same prices you pay, then we'll see if people can eat better.... and remember even with that you still had Cyril Smith... and he wasn't exactly svelte.

Bambi Burgers!

Some of you may remember the Walt Disney animation Bambi, released in 1942 (Based on the book Bambi a life in the woods by Felix Salten)
 Well good news and bad news, the good news is you can still buy the film on dvd.....  The bad news is I've eaten Bambi... or at least one of his relatives.  You see Tesco were selling venison burgers on special offer, and being the sort of bloke who'll eat pretty much anything, that and I'm of a tight wallet persuasion the price was too good to miss.  The result was me eating Bambi burgers!  And bloody good it was as well.
And while I'm at anyone remember Watership down?....... Yes you've got the idea....
Now what was the film with the elephants called?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

So whats in the news today ?

Well the children's Paddington bear movie is given a PG certificate after the joking excuse for film classification "The British Board of Film Classification" decided that Paddington skate boarding was too dangerous.  It's bloody CGI you idiots, it's not a real teddy bear.

Bob "mad hair" Geldof is asking if the people in Africa know it's Christmas.... Err well actually it's not bloody Christmas yet you prat, and beside the people your trying to help live in mostly Muslim countries (where most of the Ebola is) and they don't bloody celebrate Christmas at the same time of year as us, so how stupid are you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Apprentice high point (so far for me)

Well I am a bit behind watching the series the Apprentice but the highpoint for me came in episode 5 with the teams having to organise a coach trip.  Watching Karren Brady looking at the emergency escape sign on the coach while the team sing a "coach song" was hilarious!  Well done Karen, I'd have been trying to open the escape hatch never mind looking at it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Guy Martins Speed

Motor cycle racer Guy Martins series Speed has been a fascinating watch, in each episode Guy tries to break a world record.
The show is easy to watch, Guy brings an enthusiasm to the program and is willing to put his neck on the line to get the job done, and he's come close to getting hurt a few times, I haven't seen all the programs but I've seen him have two bad accidents, luckily he's been unhurt so far.  Fortunately Guys got enough sense to know when to stop... well just about.  He did stop after his hovercraft went 30 foot up in the air but he was lucky not to have been killed.
The second series has finished but I'm hoping there will be a third.

Time to look after your own first!

The UK is sending 11 billion pounds to India and China for overseas aid and flood prevention, while the water levels in Somerset rise!.
Last year the Somerset levels and thousands of houses were badly flooded, partly because we couldn't afford to dredge the rivers.
So let me see if I have this right.  We give our money away to Johnny foreigner whilst letting our own people (the ones who gave the government the money in the first place) get flooded because we gave our money away and can't afford to fix things?  How monumentally stupid is that!  Isn't there a politician left with more than 2 brain cells? Bloody silly question really.

Adverts (again!)

Whats happened to the TV adverts. I mean companies pay huge sums of money to advertising agencies to come up with clever adverts based on the demographics of their audience.  Then we end up with totally shite adverts!
Take the Leisure Warner hotel advert.... The one with the woman with big teeth, bulging eyes and a nodding head who says "come on Colin" all the time.  I mean for heavens sake it's an advert for a hotel chain, you never see the bloody hotels, only the scary woman, and who wants to go on holiday with a hotel full of people like that? Not me that's for sure.
Then theres the car insurance adverts, ok meerkats are cute to look at, but I don't want one sorting out my car insurance, call me old fashioned but I'd like a normal human being to do the job.  And why don't the insurance companies tell us properly how long it'll take to sort out our cars after an accident rather than having stupid adverts with meerkats and bull dogs aimed at five year olds, after all not many five year olds buy car insurance.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Whats in the camera bag besides cameras?

I've been asked a few times about what else do I have in my camera bag (as well as the camera kit) well the answers a bit complicated, it varies a lot  If I'm off up the mountains I'll tend to Carry more survival based goodies, but then say a wedding would require different bits and pieces.
All of these bits have been carried at some point, and some live in the bag all the time.

A microfiber towel.  This is a small camping towel, and weighs nothing, it soaks up a colossal amount of water, at one time it went over the camera in the rain, by soaking up the water it stops it running into the camera working, obviously this only works for so long before the towel gets soaked through.
The towel also has other uses, you can dry your gear if it gets wet, you can also dry yourself off, and when it's dry stuffed down your shirt it'll help keep you warm.  It also dries very quickly.

A jewelers screwdriver set, I've got a decent one, had it for years, it's rolled up in a bit of thick plastic with a rubber band around, takes up little space and doesn't weigh much, handy for tightening loose camera screws or more often fixing my glasses.

Gorilla tape. I used to carry duct or gaffer tape, but I found a small roll of gorilla tape, it's super strong and tough, handy for repairing things, I've even fixed a broken hem on a wedding dress with duct tape.... and my trousers....

USB cable.  This is to connect your camera to a computer, handy if you need to download photos while your out and about and the card reader dies.

Knife.  I've got a tiny sort of Stanley knife thing, a small razor sharp blade and spare blades, handy for all sorts of things.  I usually carry a multi tool as well on jobs, a Gerber, great quality but not cheap.

Paracord, this is the stuff that fastens a parachute to the harness, I try and carry about 20 foot of the stuff, again handy for repairing or making a strap for something, or more often used for lowering the camera bag down tricky climbs.  The stuff has a breaking strain of 550 lbs (static load) so it's pretty strong stuff.

First aid kit. This is just the basics, a few plasters and some antiseptic wipes, and a pair of disposable gloves.  I usually have a pair of earplugs too, bloody handy if your somewhere noisy. I carry a proper first aid kit in the car as well, and if I'm off in the mountains then theres a serious kit with airways etc.

A Bin bag. or rubbish sack, usually black, buy the biggest strongest you can find. Handy to sit on or keep your kit off wet ground, you can make a sort of poncho to keep the worst of the rain off you, you can bung your camera bag in if it's really hammering down with rain, and as a last resort you can blow it up and use it as a buoyancy aid when the flood comes.

Filters.  I have a 9 piece set of neutral density filters for cutting down the light, my set has 5 full filters and 4 gradient ones, this was a cheap ebay set as I don't use them too often, actually they are very very good..

Flash filter set. this is a holder and a set of gel colour filters for my flash gun, used for changing the colour of the flash.

Camera Rain cape. This is a plastic sleeve thing that goes over your camera and keeps the worst of the rain off, cheap and light.

Safety pins. A few large-ish ones will do, great for repairs to clothes.  And you can make fish hooks out of them too if Armageddon comes. Although I suspect you'll be using them to fix your trousers or dress to be honest, I've repaired my trousers a few times!.

Penlight torch. A very small penlight torch is handy especially if your out shooting after dark, it's handy to see what your setting on the camera, and also as an aid to focusing.  I carry a proper torch anyway so this tends to get left out, mine is a nurses penlight.

A Small Market clamp. This works for taking in the slack in someones clothes if your doing a fashion type shoot, it'll also help fasten things out of the way.

An Umbrella flash holder.  This is a a small bracket to go on a tripod or lighting stand with a cold shoe on the top for your flash and a hole thing for the flash umbrella, this gives you a mini studio if your out and about. As I have off camera flash built into my camera and a separate off camera flash system it makes life easier if I want soft lighting.

Plastic knife fork and spoon. Now the ones I have and bloody good strong ones, I haven't the faintest idea where they came from but I've had them for years.  These may sound an odd thing to carry, and indeed they aren't always in the bag, but if you've ever gone somewhere and got food and you haven't got a spoon to stir your tea, or worse you've been given one of those hopeless flimsy spoony-forky things to eat your jacket potato you be glad you brought your own.  I also usually have a few salt and pepper sachets stashed as well. The salts handy if your sweating a lot in the hot weather as well.

Paper and Pencil. Just for leaving notes or taking addresses or phone numbers, pencils don't leak and work in the rain, and you can sharpen it with your knife! (they also work in space but don't tell the Americans, they spent a ton of money developing the "space pen")

Now thats all I can think of off the top of my head, but I'm sure theres more bits and bobs I've forgotten.

This years movies

Well it's been a bit of a poor year movie wise, really good films have been a bit thin on the ground.
For some reason 2014 has been the year of the rom-com with dozens of romantic/comedy films, it seems once one studio brings out a movie all the others gasp out loud and rush out similar films, all made in someones garden for fourpence and a cornetto.
Take tank movies for example, we've had four or five now, pretty much all awful and low budget, or look that way, and worse most get all the military stuff wrong.  As someone who has been a soldier it really annoys me to see stuff like that wrong.  It's history you idiots!  You can look it up, or better still theres plenty of WW2 vetrans around to ask.
Getting even the simple stuff like the guns wrong is terrible, it shows the movie company couldn't care less, as long as they can bang out a movie in seven minutes for the price of a garden gnome!
I watched a bit of one movie this morning, the "hero" was a soldier my age for Gods sake, how many sixty year old soldiers fought on the front line in the invasion of France/Germany, the answer is bugger all, most of the generals were younger than me, and they didn't spend any time firing machine guns at the Germans in the middle of the combat zone.  Why do they do it, I mean come on there must be actors under sixty, remember the average age of WW2 soldiers was nineteen and a half.
So whats next. Well theres supposed to be a new version of Swallows and Amazons in the making, although it seems to be hitting problems and has been delayed.  Theres an Avatar sequal in the making, DC are planning a load of movies, with superman, flash ect, someone said theres eleven films planned.  Time Warner are talking about more Harry Potter films.

The sun is out again

The sun is out again, don't be scared.... we are supposed to see it occasionally!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Some of todays news.

Nearly 100.000 people have signed a petition to stop Julien Blanc coming to the UK.  Julian a self styles dating guru encourages men to treat women as servants, and to choke them and threaten suicide to get their way.
He says that those who adopt his techniques will acquire 'panty-dropping masculinity' and learn to destroy the female 'b****-shield'.
Now I don't know too much about American women, but I do know those techniques may not be a good plan with Welsh women.  Try choking the women I know and you'll end up on the floor curled up in a ball calling for your mother.... Probably in a high pitched voice!
He's been chucked out of Australia, and hopefully he won't be allowed in the UK.

Prince Harry showed how men should treat a lady today when he interrupted his speech at RAF Honington to return a ladies hat that had blown off, he did so with a smile.  Now that's how a gentleman does things!

Yet another stupid experiment was carried out in Sweden STHLM Panda staged a fake domestic situation to see if people would intervene, only one in fifty three people did try to stop the row.  Sooner or later one of the actors doing these stupid "experiments" is going to get battered or killed by an over zealous member of the public.  The other problem is people will see these fake situations and just ignore the real ones thinking it's an experiment.  Besides whats it proved?  That people won't intervene between an arguing couple?  I could have told them that for bugger all.

I need a filling system!

I spent an hour earlier looking for a program I have backed up... somewhere!  I know the bloody things here, yes really it is! Honest!   But can I find it? not a chance!

Years ago when I used to shoot film (still have all my kit) I used to shoot a hell of a lot of pictures, often eight or tens rolls of film a day wasn't unusual, I still have all the negs, hundreds of thousands of the things, and somewhere is the filling system I used, a simple card index.  It worked a treat, I could find any job in a few seconds.  If I wanted my photos of a policeman swiming in full uniform, no problem, or my pics of the lorry on the railway lines, again no problems.  But with all the high tech stuff I can't find bugger all!

Now take Adobe Lightroom for example, as well as being photo editing software it's also a DAM, or digital assert managment system.  The idea is all your pics go through it and you can keyword them and search for them when you want.  Yes it does work... up to a point. Trouble is a lot of the photos I edit don't need to stay on my system.  I often edit pics for other people, and I don't want or need to keep all their pics on my hard drive forever (they are backed up mind you) so Lightrooms clever system isn't ideal for me, even my own pics don't stay on the main editing pc for long, once I'm done with them they go off to external hard drives and dvd.

A hard drive is only so big, now it's easy to shoot ten or twelve GB of pics at say a wedding if you shoot raw, and I tend to use raw pretty much all the time (although I have cut down for playing stuff) so it's pretty easy to fill up a drive if you take a lot of pics, and keep in mind you want your pics on at least two drives,. they can and do fail.  After a while this starts to get expensive, and you end up with a tons of bloody hard drives.... which is why I can't find the bloody software I'm looking for, after wading through about a dozen hard dives I gave up, I may not live long enough to find the sodding thing!

One World Trade Centre (the freedom tower)

The new world trade centre opened on November 3rd... and already things have gone wrong, two window cleaners had to be rescued by the fire service after the gondola failed and left them dangling at a terrifying angle, the men were safe enough with harnesses but it must still have felt frightening.
The 1792 foot tall building is actually on the site of the old six world trade centre (close to where the twin towers were located) which were destroyed on 9 11 2001.
Personally I think it was a risky strategy building it at all. They are sending out a challenge to every terrorist in the world. Your the man in the pub saying " come on if you think your hard enough!"   Trouble is theres plenty of nutters and terrorists around who do think they are hard enough, or don't care what you do after. Remember it's hard to threaten a suicide bomber or a man who going to die in a plane crash, he hasn't got a lot to loose, especially when he thinks he's going to be a martyr and get his virgins. By the way latest translations suggest virgins is wrong and it's raisins they are going to get....  thats going to come as something of a shock then!
Now I don't know what sort of secret security stuff they have or how tough the tower is, or where the anti aircraft missiles are, but I'm not going up the tower, not for a pension, I'm too unlucky!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Blackadder goes fourth at Neath Little Theatre (review)

Blackadder goes fourth at the Neath little theatre. 
The set was very good, and the show consisted of three episodes of the the 1989 tv series. Captain Cook, Major Star, and Goodbyeee.
It's always difficult to put on a play based on a tv series, everybody knows the stars and the jokes and the stage show is always compared to the original, and inevitably there will be shortcomings.
The Neath little theatres show followed the episodes very closely, there were a few minor changes to accommodate the stage setting, but it didn't affect the story at all. 
The cast did a good job, and from personal experience I know how hard Blackadder is on the cast, most of the lines are not normal conversation like other plays, it's more short monologues, so much harder to learn and remember, there were one or two small "fluffs" but again nothing major and the actors recovered well, and to be fair considering it's three episodes of hard going dialogue it was pretty damn good effort.
All in all a good evenings entertainment.

Waynes rating, it's impossible to rate fairly as I'm a fan of the original series and anything else no matter how well done will always be a poor companion.  That said I enjoyed the evening and it was well done.
So well worth the £7 entrance fee.

It's all in the name!

It's all in the name... or is it?  
Swiss rolls wern't invented by the Swiss (and neither was the cockoo clock, thats German) 

Great Danes come from Germany originally not Denmark.

Goodyear tyres, Charles Goodyear the man who invented the vulcanization process died penniless 30 years before Goodyears tyres (started by Frank A. Seiberling) took over the name.

Buffalo Bill, or William Fredrick Cody never shot any buffalos, there wern't any in the USA, he shot Bison (Bison bison) which isn't even related to the Buffalo, or at least not for the last 6 million years.

Billy the kid, really named Henry McCarty (not Willian Bonney, that was an alias) and he wasn't called Billy either, just the Kid.

Monday, November 10, 2014

It must be Christmas... It's November!

Yes it must be Christmas, it's November and the bloody crap Christmas adverts have been on for days.
Why it's thought to be a good idea to ram really terrible boring Christmas adverts down our throats for two months baffles me.  I mean do they really think we don't know Christmas is coming?   Curiously it's turned up on the 25th December for as long as I can remember, and I'm pretty sure for a good while before I can remember.
The Christmas adverts always have huge tables groaning under the weight of tons of food (wonder if Ethiopian Christmas adverts have as much food?) theres always people with those ghastly Christmas jumpers, and theres always the same bloody awful Christmas songs playing.  The same hideous songs they'll play in the supermarket for two months as well.
You can get a five bird roast in some supermarkets, (why does that make me think of premier league football players?) I'm going to ask my supermarket if the have one with swan, penguin, eagle, robin and albatross, bloody hell a breast anyone? I'd definitely need a bigger oven for that bugger!
Then theres the really rubbish overpriced crackers... Yes we all need a tiny one inch comb, or a plastic thimble, I don't think anyone has used a thimble in decades?, and how could we live without a 1p flimsy paper fire trap hat that'll tear as you try to put it on and make the bloody awful jumper look even worse.
The trouble is it actually puts people off Christmas, by the time December come we're all totally pissed off with the whole Christmas thing. 
Still by December the 26th you be able to buy an Easter egg, cheaper than a turkey but it's crap if you stuff and cook it!

Photography related Christmas presents, some ideas.

If your into photography or your other half is here's a few present ideas for some things if they don't already have them

A tripod.  The trick here is to get the balance right, you want it light enough to be carried around but sturdy enough not to wobble about in a slight breeze, remember there might be a few grands worth of camera on the top, you don't want it falling over or collapsing. Put the tripod all the way up in the shop and tap the top sideways, if it wobbles look for something stronger.

A  "standard" lens.  This is considered to be a 50mm lens for film and full frame cameras and a 30mm or 35mm lens for crop sensor cameras.  These lenses are usually high quality and cheap, they are also usually "fast" lens like f1.8 or similar, so handy in low light.  The 50mm 1.8 makes a good portrait lens on a crop sensor camera too. Usually around the £60-100 price range

A rain cape, these range in price from about £2 upwards, these are pretty much a nylon or plastic sleeve that goes over the camera and keeps the worst of the rain off.  Note these are not fully waterproof, so use with care.

A waterproof compact camera, these start around the £40 mark and go up from there. These give the photographer the chance to take pics in places he/she would never risk their proper camera, is the sea or under a waterfall perhaps, or more lightly out in the pouring rain.

A flashgun, if your buying for a partner you'll need to check here what sort of flashgun is needed, theres lots of different makes and options.  Sadly these are not cheap, your looking at about £50-60 as a starting price, but if your looking at a top of the range model your going to be paying a few hundred quid easily.

Spare batteries and memory cards, these can be fairly cheap and make good stocking fillers if you shop around online, but do check which type of card and battery is needed, they're all different, Canon is famously awkward with different batteries in different models for example.

Special lenses, if the photographer likes taking pics of certain things he/she might need a special lens, a long telephoto for sports or wildlife, a macro lens for close up's of bug and flowers (note a proper macro lens, many telephoto lens have the word macro in the title, a true macro lens will focus at half life size or closer)  A perspective shift lens if the like architectural photography.  You will need to check these as some photographers have preference for make and model, and the photographer will usually have a better idea of he/she actually needs.
Note the above lens ideas are not cheap, the start at a few hundred quid and go way way up from there, you can pay thousands for one lens.