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Saturday, 30 April 2011

Internet Silence Is Almost Over

This last week I have been unable to post due to a problem with the operating system on my PC.

I believe this is just about fixed so I'm glad to say that normal business will shortly be resumed.


Friday, 22 April 2011

Nova Scotia Bike Ride for Brigadoon Children’s Camp Society

Please read and support if you are able

Nicola McCarthy, a very good friend and colleague of mine is about to set off on an epic adventure to raise money for the Brigadoon Children's Camp Society in Nova Scotia, Canada. Although from the UK, Nicola has a great affinity with Canada and spends as much time as possible at her property there. In Nicolas own words this is what she's up to:

On 19th May I will be setting off with my husband and son to cycle 880 km across Nova Scotia to raise funds for Brigadoon Children’s Camp Society, a year-round facility for residential camps for children and youths living with a chronic illness.  We are paying all costs for flights etc. out of our own pockets, so that every penny raised goes directly to the charity.  This is the first time any of us have done anything like this, and from my point of view it’s a huge challenge as the furthest I have ever cycled in one go is 80km, and that was without being loaded up with a tent / sleeping bag etc – and last week I even managed to fall off my bike cycling through a nice quiet park!

I would be extremely grateful if you can spare anything at all for this very good cause. You can donate directly to the charity online in C$, or if you would prefer to donate in sterling please let me know by email and I will add you to my sponsorship form and collect whenever convenient for you.

Click here for the online charity donation page at

I will be posting updates on my blog anytime we can access the internet and are not busy fighting off bears and coyotes! :-)

Thursday, 21 April 2011

I get interviewed - do competitions on blogs work? Read on .....

Some readers may remember that I ran a competition a while back to see if anyone could identify which of my recent posts had an image which had recently been used in a movie poster.

Read this article from Paula White of White Social Media to find out what a competition could bring to your blog or website.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Low hanging mist in the early morning sun - my Sweet Shot Tuesday 19/04

I thought that my Close Up Catch Up post from Sunday was going to double for my Sweet Shot Tuesday image but then I remembered the shot below:

Landscape shots aren't my all time favourite, I prefer something a bit more in your face but I couldn't help stop and shoot when I saw this view.

Taken from a railway bridge looking across to the next village the mist hanging in the early morning sun light looked really attractive.This is one shot that I'm glad I made time for.

Sweet Shot Day

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Waiting to click

I drop into The Kat Eye View by Kat Saloma from time to time. She always has some great ideas for images to grab and the latest, which I've almost missed the window for, is no exception.

The current theme is 'Waiting', the idea being is that the shot you grab is one you've had to wait for rather than just taking something that's there already.

As soon as I read the topic I knew there was somewhere I might be able to grab a shot if the timing was right.
Waiting to click by KevLeighton
This main road in between the city of Cardiff, Wales and the Cardiff Bay area is usually quite busy at 9am but, on occasion, the road empties out because of the way the traffic lights are sequenced. I purposely started to walk this route on my way to work and eventually the road cleared as I was almost at one end of it, giving me a clear shot right up its entire length.

Close up catch up

From time to time there is something which seems to put blocker on having the time to be able to process image and have them uploaded and last week was one of those weeks.

Anyway, I have taken the time today to catch up with some reading and look at some shooting techniques which I hope will help me with my photography.

Yesterday I picked up a copy of Practical Photography magazine and was interested to see that they were starting a six month course to help you hone your techniques. It did appear that the magazine was slightly old as the date  for "homework" submission had just passed.

Still, I had some fun with the topic which was all about Exposure Control and the homework was to shoot against and white or black background which I had a go at today and I am posting the my two favourites below.

I'd be interested in any critique as I'm always after improving skills. Please add your comments below. See you again soon.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Have You Planned What To Do If Your SME Suffers An IT or Premises Failure?

Back in February I wrote a piece entitled "Backup Those Vital  Photos And Keep Them Safe". In this piece I wrote about different backup methods that were available to not only photographers but all users whether they used their PCs or MACs for personal or business use.

I had tucked knowledge of its existence away in my mental archives until today when I came across this article talking about "Business Continuity for SMBs" which is extends of my article and talks about how to plan what to do in the event of an issue with the technology or premises you use for your business.

I agree with the author that for most SMBs the plan would be quite but plan you should 'just in case' and keep in mind what I said about those backups.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Is Social Media Marketing a fishing trip or a proven approach?

It appears that using Social Media for trying to elicit a two way dialogue is a bit like using sonar on a submarine. You ping out a lot and occasionally you might get a response back. Once you receive the response you have to evaluate it to see if it's meaningful and then do something useful with the information received.

In recent days I have experimented with sending Tweets which should have elicited some kind of response. Some were to specific individuals or organisations who are active in their own channels and regularly push information by Twitter and some were general requests for information to the greater Twitterverse.

My return rate was very poor, not surprisingly perhaps for the general broadcast Tweets but the targeted Tweets asking for information or help remained mostly unanswered. One response was very non-committal and after a second exchange was phrased in such a way as to encourage me to go away.

Social Media Marketing is becoming the latest buzz word (or is it phrase?) and there are a lot of people about who can help you to manage this. I would be very interested to know of cases where management service can both improve a potential customers experience and an organisations return on investment in Social Media Marketing.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Tweroid - Twitter stats to make your life easier

Sometimes I gaze somewhat disconcertedly over the array of stats available for my blog and hope that something will jump out at me which is actually a useful piece of information.

I would sometimes just like to find some information that I'm sure is quite simple, but appears to be buried somewhere in a mass of numbers.

Imagine then, how I sat up and paid attention when seeing an article about Tweroid. The purpose of Tweroid is to inform you when the majority of your Twitter contacts will be on-line during different days of the week.

Why is this useful? Because I schedule some tweets around the time the bulk I think will be on-line, but I might be wrong. With Tweroid I can see by looking at a set of simple line graphs when I should be targeting my Tweets for. I'm going to give it go watch out to see if I see a change in hits, for better or for worse.

Monday, 4 April 2011

The Pentax' First Outing - My Tuesday shots 05/04

Having recently taken delivery of a new Pentax camera last weekend was my first chance to take it out for some test shots. There are two lenses in play here, an 18-55 and a 50-200.

ISO: 400
Exposure: 1/100 sec
Aperture: 5.6
Focal Length: 47.5mm

Macro shots have always been amongst my favourites so I started with the 18-55  lens, cranked the aperture to f5.6 took some close-up shots.

ISO: 400
Exposure: 1/180 sec
Aperture: 4.5
Focal Length: 21.2mm
Flash Used: Yes

This shot is of a footpath under a railway, taken in bright sunlight through the contrasting tunnel was very dark. I used the flash to lighten the tunnel and I'm somewhat pleased with the result.

ISO: 400
Exposure: 1/320 sec
Aperture: 7.1
Focal Length: 62.5mm

Finally I took this at range using the 50-200 lens. I wanted the horse as the main subject as well as the hills in the background. May be next time I'd use a different aperture but overall I was very happy with the results, and I hope you enjoy the images.

life with my 3 boybarians

Thoughts on Peter Rowell

Most of you won't know the name Peter Rowell. Peter is a West of England 'local' TV & Radio broadcast personality who has been on my regions TV's and Radios probably for longer than the 25 plus years I've lived here. I wouldn't say he's a big star, he's not glitzy, but he's always been there. A bit like a friend of your parents who's always popping in and out.

Imagine then the shock when it was announced that he was missing, his car has been found in a supermarket car park and the CCTV showed him walking off. He later failed to turn up for work at BBC Radio Bristol.

News reports, suitably low key, spoke of a strange atmosphere in newsrooms as police looked for him. So many of cases like this don't have a good outcome so I was pleased when it was reported that Peter had been found alive a couple of days later though though reportedly distressed due to the recent death of a close relative.

Regrettably a report yesterday stated that he is being detained under the Mental Heath Act for his own safety and that he is being investigated for 'historical offences'.

Whatever the outcome of this it seems that Peter must be in a very dark place right now and I can't even begin to imagine how that feels.

I hope that Peter comes through this time and that he is able to successfully return to our screens or radios at some point in the future.