Thursday, 20 March 2008

Beware The Eyes of March

And upon that bad pun, we were working on photographing and manipulating eyes.


This image was based around the smudge stick in Photoshop.

New Camera pt2

Another couple of shots with the Canon Ixus 950 IS. After nipping up to Tescos to get a bigger SD card (ooh, doing large giggage for low poundage), I stopped at the Beach Boulevard for some low light shots.


Tower blocks. F/2.8, ISO 250, 1/8seconds, hand-held.


The Beach Boulevard (maplink) - I had to wait a few minutes until I could get an 'empty' shot. F/2.8, ISO 250, 1/8seconds, hand-held.

The only image manipulation that I've done with the images has been the cropping. Everything else is straight from the camera. I've using the rule-of-thirds grid on the LCD monitor. Photos set to 'superfine' JPG quality, and 3264x2448 pixels. Image size varies from 1mb to 4mb, depending on content.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

New Camera

I won a competition at work for my use of the VLE and got a digital camera as a prize. It was presented by the Principal, and wasn't just "a digital camera", but a top of the range Canon Ixus 950 IS. Woo hoo. At the end of the day I took a few shots from the top of the Tower Block and then went home to read the manual.


View of the car park above John Lewis' [f/2.8, ISO 80, 6mm], and the same shot with the full zoom on, cropped to show detail [f/5.5, ISO 200, 23mm].


View westward toward North Anderson Drive. I set the scene to beach to play around with the sunlight. I like the softening effect.


Back at base, I checked my outstanding filing. Some of the students may recognise the bees from their "bee story" project with Susan.

Expect more shots during the Easter break. Possibly pushing the image stabilisation to extremes dealing with windy days on hills and low light shots indoors and outdoors.

Wendy Sutherland

Strange coincidence. I was at Dyce airport last Friday, waiting to fly to the Outdoors Show. They had some art on display. I was drawn to the work of one artist. I recognised the work when I  caught up with last week's "Landward" BBC programme. Her name is Wendy Sutherland. Her site is here, and there's a link to the other artists on display at the airport, and here's the link to the BBC page about the outdoor artists featured in the series.

Having walked in rain, mist and low cloud, there is always something to see, hear and feel.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

RIP Anthony Minghella

News of the release of the "Nr 1 Ladies Detective Agency" has been hit by the sudden death of director Anthony Minghella today. (news)

I am sure that his final work, due to screen this Easter, will be a tribute to him.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

School Report Day

The BBC is at the college using our Multimedia Centre to produce some newsfeeds as past of their School Report Day. Over 40 Aberdeen pupils are here to create news broadcasts that will be shown live across the UK - in this day and age, it's probably available worldwide.


Great advice from the BBC on their website, for example audio recording tips. The main site is here.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

SXSW Interactive Festival

The South by Southwest festivals end today. Along with the music and film festival, there is the festival of interactivity. The blurb on the website is enticing, and it's the sort of event that I'd love to get to just to soak up the atmosphere and see what I could take back to work:

Attracting digital creatives as well as visionary technology entrepreneurs, the event celebrates the best minds and the brightest personalities of emerging technology. Whether you are a hard-core geek, a dedicated content creator, a new media entrepreneur, or just someone who likes being around an extremely creative community, SXSW Interactive is for you!

But it isn't in Dumfries, so I'll have to make do with the media from the Texas event. At least there should be lots of interactive media to interact with.

As a fan of spider-diagrams, I loved the idea of a graphic artist interpreting Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg's keynote speech.

Another Attack

What a waste of skin! Another attack on blogs, this time via a comment left with just a link to a tinyurl - no way I'm clicking on that in case it is an exe file. Not sure if that's possible, but life's too short. Deleted and reported to Blogger.

I'll just switch to pre-approval of comments.

I know people who have left their blogs and wikis because of this sort of nonsense. Such a waste, but what the heck. There's more to life.

Monday, 10 March 2008

But I've Done This Before

As the cry of "I've done this before" goes up over the land on a Monday morning, the answer comes from Aristotle:

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

A colleague noted that no-one would pass a driving test after just changing gear once. We get better, faster, use it as a basis for new skills, type letters and manipulate graphics without having to think of how we do something. Repetition is, however, seen as boring. And boredom is the enemy of education these days. Was it always thus? I don't know. I find the world a place of infinite variety, infinite challenges, and the chance to make infinite mistakes. Sometimes I learn from them, sometimes I don't. Life is like that. Varied. Challenging. And only boring if you let it. I like the idea of strengthening the neural pathways by using games. The issue becomes taking skills from the virtual word, and bringing them back into the real world. Typing tutors are easy to transfer from the virtual to the real, but what about other skills?

In a world which relies heavily on computers, does dealing with avatars in a virtual world help you deal with a customer in the real world? Do they react the same? They don't, but are your reactions the same? Do they allow people to achieve excellence by repeating encounters in a controlled manner and allowing the learner to try out different strategies? Or will people just get more frustrated that the real world isn't the same as the virtual one?

What if the word processor made a "quack quack" noise with every spelling mistake? Turn the real world into the virtual. As much of our work is done on computers anyway, isn't it all virtual anyway?

BBC New-look Website

I normally go to the BBC News front page, in fact, my browser starts up to that page. So I didn't take much notice of the new BBC front page, But, this link jumped out at me, so it seems quite user-specific. Of course, it isn't, but sometimes random seems link that.

How To Take Good Photos: Tom Ang presents top tips on how to get the most out of your digital camera.

A series that I'm waiting to come to BBC2 is "The Genius of Photography", which was shown on BBC4. I do not receive BBC4. The website has some information. And a link to the BBC photography homepage. And so, the cycle is complete.

Friday, 7 March 2008

RIP: E. Gary Gygax

Gary Gygax passed away on Tuesday morning at home in Wisconsin. He was 69 years old and had had health problems for several years.

There are 133 articles about him on Google News

guess that without D&D (especially AD&D), the world would be a different place for many folk. No Lord of the Rings movies (Tolkien was just another academic author), no Discworld books, no Harry Potter, no Babylon 5 (much seemed based on the Traveller universe). Without people freeing their imaginations, the computer games industry would be different, the technology industry would be different. I would be different.

Not a bad achievement for the son of an immigrant to the USA who spent most of his life in the same town. The BBC have a more modest list.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

World Book Day - Blogs

Some students have photographs relating to World Book Day. Some were taken in the library. It has books. And people trying to read the books. Some students went and bought books in the charity shops to photograph.

Others will be posting to their blogs later, but these folk have photos accessible now. Well done.

Sadly, Amanda has some photos loaded but I just can't access them except through Google Reader.

World Book Day

It is World Book Day today. Books are great. They contain knowledge, experience, humour, scary moments, and get your brain to work. The more media that is provided for you, the less your brain has to process. Books give you words. Your brain has to provide the rest. Television gives you sights and sounds, words and pacing, your brain just has to provide ... well, hardly anything.

Lots of fun stuff on the official site:

Free books, and free audio books at:

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Outside Looking In

Most of the photos taken looking out are taken from the 6th floor. So here's a photo of the 6th floor. That's the penultimate floor. That's the second from the top. We have basements and lower ground floors, so don't try and count from the ground.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

In like a lion

March. Lion. Zion. Marley.