Sunday, 27 October 2013

Epic rap battles of history

This year I've been really into epic rap battles of history.

The stuff is often pretty crude but it's so random it makes me and my housemates chuckle.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Using an exercise ball as a chair

I've been trying out using an exercise ball as a chair. Originally I was going to do this at work where I spend the most time sitting in a chair but it turned out my manager wasn't too keen and I'd already brought the ball so I'm doing it at home.

These are my early observations, I'll probably come back later fix a load of grammar issues and add a picture or two and do an update.

  • you need a high desk
  • It's difficult to get into a good position
  • You have to wear something that covers the bottom of your legs - a dressing gown just isn't going to cut it.
  • it's fun to bounce on
  • make space for your arms
Over all I think I'm going to stick with it for now but keep my normal chair close in case it gets too tiring. It's forced me to clear a lot of clutter which is good.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Taking photos on the coast at Filey

Taking photos is something I've really gotten into this last year. Now Doug and I are quite good at setting shots up and making most things look right in a few attempts sometimes even first time in the case of this wire wool orb I did yesterday.
We have been more adventurous with our locations for taking photos, and gained an extra guy who joins us two weekends ago I was traipsing around at the bottom of a waterfall collecting bottles filled with glow sticks this weekend we went to the coast. It was nice a warm and the only thing we had to worry about two things:
seals (they were actually really relaxed about us being so close)
waves (That's Frantz and I)
So by the time we got out on the rocks at low tide it was already starting to get dark so again I did not have to use my ND filter. I took some long exposures of the water going over the rocks.


Then we did some some light painting.

this was a strange building right buy the water

that's Filey in the background
One other thing to note is the walkie talkies were so helpful as with the waterfall the sea makes a lot of noise. Today we were out for about 3 hours but the water was not cold and we didn't have to walk to far to get to our spot unlike with the waterfall last time, so although I was really tired at about 1am when we finished it was no where near a tiring. It did take a long time to get home and after a end of holiday Mc Donald's and putting my photos on dropbox it was about 4am when I finally got to sleep. I now have to break my sleep cycle and go to work tomorrow, it will be nice to see everyone.

Ingleton waterfall photos

I was recently inspired by some photos I saw online here of someone doing long exposure light painting (my favorite style currently) using a waterfall and floating glow sticks down it. I thought I'd have a go myself and arranged a camping trip to a land filled with waterfalls (Ingleton) in the hope we would find somewhere suitable. We went on the waterfall walk during the day with some friends and decided when it was getting dark we would drive as close as we could and walk for an hour to get back to the best waterfall we had seen that day and try the shot.

On the way we stopped off at a small village with some cute stepping stones, which was fun.
that's me at the back
Then we did the waterfall walk for the afternoon, it was a bit too busy to take photos so even though I took everything tripod and all I didn't bother. Doug's housemate did take a cool shot of us under the waterfall (we swam to it) 
Doug and I doing a Hi 5

In the evening we went back and took some long exposures in what must have been close to the golden hour. I got one really nice shot which I'm very please with.
I remember hating these blurry shots as a kid "It does not look like that I thought", now I see it as art
Then it got dark, that's when things got difficult. It was really, really difficult to get enough light and it was too loud to hear each other, I had to go in the water to get the glow sticks and it was cold and slippery and Doug had to keep running up and down a big hill. So for next time I got some walkie talkies which are already proving useful and some LED wands to use instead of glow sticks. So I'm not very impressed with the results as they are too blurry and noisy but I'm posting them so in future you can see how much I improved my shots.

look how much brighter the one LED wand is in compassion!
I accidentally shone my torch chasing a glow stick before the exposure finished and spoil this a bit, so it took a lot of editing to stop the rock to the right looking really bright.

It was a really good learning experience and it was fun trying to work out how to do the shot. When Doug was up at the top he shone a laser on the rock face above the water fall to do a count down so we released our shutters on time. It was a bit of a mission but I will get a better version of this shot in the future.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The last day of WOL

I finally made it to diamond on the last day of this game. Woooo! With the help of Nick, Tim and day[9]. Go team.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Why I like StarCraft 2

I want to explain /share some of the reasons why I think playing SC2 is a hobby for me. I'm writing this blog to try and show or teach people who know me buy don't understand about the depth of SC and why it's not just a 'game' and secondly to defend something I really enjoy. I find when you explain that you like starcraft as soon as you say it's a computer game some people will instantly make a unfair judgement without really having any idea about why it's special to me. If your not sure what StarCraft is read my previous post here.

I don't think it's fair to do that with computer games in general, but I'm not really wanting to write about 'gaming' in general. I personally don't like committing hours to single player games, but I digress.

So the key points I want to talk about are:
  • Difficulty:
  • SC2 as an eSport:
  • The Community:

It's a hard game, in life in general challenges are satisfying when you complete them. If it takes considerable effort to succeed it often feels much more satisfying. It's the whole the more you put in the more you will get out of it cliché. I've only ever played the multi player mode (in two years) and it actually took months to win my first game. Months of playing regularly! - I really didn't understand the game at first and that is what makes it so satisfying, to feel like I've earned every win is an amazing feeling that makes me want to play more.

Because the game is difficult you can get better at it with practice and focus. You can train to get better and when you do you reap the rewards with success this is another great quality of the game, recently I spent a morning practicing hard and when I played with my friends later in the week my friend nick said it was the best he had ever seen me play, this felt good.

There is a very high skill ceiling meaning there is little to limit how good you can get. You must incredible at the game to make the very most of your resources and army. It's impossible to play a perfect game. There are so many thing happening that it's easy to make mistakes - you may not even know you've made them (certainly when you are new to the game this is the case) each mistake you make can put you behind you opponent so while trying to manage your own play you have to do things that distract your opposition, leading to them making the mistakes of their own (this is called harassment).

The game is good a picking people who are of a similar level to you so you have a fair and even game most of the time in 1v1 I rank a lowly silver, most of the time I play against silver or gold league players and if you perform well consistently you will be promoted to a higher level. In team games I'm ranked platinum (and have on occasion beaten masters level players) but this is widely considered to be much easier to achieve than success in 1v1.
You can see there are 4 leagues above silver. So there is plenty of room to improve. Above this their grand master league for the top 200 players in each region (i.e. Europe) it is not unlikely you will find professional players at this level. Yes you read that correctly some people are so good at the game they can make a living from playing it which leads me onto my next point.

SC2 as an eSport:

Professional players complete against each other in front of live crowds and thousands at home.
This is for real prize money generated from advertising sponsorship and fees to view the games. These are streamed live online - often for free.
I enjoy watching good players play SC2 more than other conventional live sports for the following reasons:

  • There is more going on
  • It's a much faster pace
  • Game can end at almost any moment often suddenly something will change
  • It's difficult to know who will win, nobody has a better team or unfair starting advantage
  • The commentary is much better
  • You can apply what you see/ learn to your own play.
  • No cheating or general scumbaggery often seen in mainstream sports 


The last thing I love about SC2 is the community of people who are involved in the game. There are the pro players and the commentators who make the game fun to watch when you are not playing and of course make it so can learn to play better yourself.

There are many of these people who are all wonderful but I have to make a special mention for Day[9] a commentator/ or caster who does regular shows explaining in great detail how to get better at the game. If it was not for him I would not have gotten into SC2 as much. The guy is awesome funny and got me through some tough times when I was unemployed and lonely. One of my favorite stories of his Seriously watch this amazing date story wonderfully told by Day[9] he does swear quite a lot, forgive him. I think this guy is the person I would most like to meet in real life, he is a hero to me.

People who you play online are often really nice and friendly, they give you tips type funny stuff or offer to practice with you (this is much better in 1v1) in team games people can be pretty silly and annoying but that's often very amusing when you beat them.

One last honorable mention is Reddit - (I'm not going to give it justice because this post is already long!)

Where people post amazing replays and links to cute stuff like this and this.

Thanks for reading, I hope now you understand my love of SC2 a bit better now and don't think it's so lame.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Getting out in the dark with my camera

I've really been enjoying using my camera a lot more recently, I brought a 35mm prime lens (nifty 50 equivalent) which is great for portraits. what I've really been focusing on has been long exposure shorts in the dark and light painting/ graffiti.

To see some of my recent work is below, visit to see more.

I've got some new equipment on the way,plus lots of ideas. There will more to come...

Monday, 18 February 2013

What is StarCraft 2?

It's a computer game, "lame" some of you may automatically assume. Read why I like it and think it's not lame in my other blog here. This is just to explain what SC2 is to people who are unsure.

You are the commander of a base from which you build an army. You then use your army to kill your opponents army and base, if you do that you win. You start with a base: (there are 3 races/ types to choose from)

You have to collect minerals and gas to build more things.
You then build an army to win the game with.

There is an awful lot of flexibility in what tactics you can use to try and win, You have to chose a balance between getting more bases /money, or a big enough army. You also have the choice to developing better technology to have a more advanced and therefore powerful army.