19 December, 2013

Last day in the office!

Free Christmas Dinner!
Loving the *free* Christmas (either Pork or Turkey) dinner with all the trimmings...if you had the time you could eat it in the canteen on a proper plate with drinks and crackers etc. but I took it back to my desk in a takeaway box (still fantastic) as it's my last day in the office this year (bar a tiny bit of working from home) so I had a few things to finish off... ;)

I feel a bit guilty talking about the *huge* giveaway in reception happening at the same time that I stumbled into...it was like a free black-friday scrum for staff...*astonishing*...Not sure how I'm going to get everything home!

In summary - *This* is how you do the week before Christmas - I've never seen anything even remotely like it anywhere else I have worked in all my long years!  So God Bless you current employer...and here's to many, many more years to come! <:0

The Tower and the Shard



...Ancient and modern... ;)

Update - Urm...guess I'll have to investigate what's going on with these stupid flickr watermarks later on... :(

18 December, 2013

Ho Ho Ho...Christmas Party Aftermath...

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So, while all those who attended the Christmas party last night are creeping around their homes as quiet as mice (not having made it into the office as yet, if at all) - all those of us who didn't are here enjoying the *huge* free breakfast laid out (I'm guessing) *primarily* to soak up their (sadly absent) woes - a multitude of sticky cakes, croissants and pastries, a legion of bagels (largely salmon/egg/cream cheese related but some ham and cheese affairs) and a horde of *hot* muffins (sausage and egg, egg and mushroom or bacon and egg from the looks of things, but there were so many I gave up going through the piles)...yeah, I took a proper tummy-full...mountains left for the casualties (although they will probably all be congealed and cold by then - he says, licking the liquid egg yolk from his fingers)... ;)
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Update - Can this be true?  A *mountain* of McDonalds has just arrived in the office also...I'm not going to need to eat for the rest of the year at this rate!!

16 December, 2013

Southwark Cathedral Carol Concert

On the way to the Christmas Carols
Southwark Cathedral Southwark Cathedral Roof News UK Order of Service
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Okay, it's Christmas now!

Picked up the Christmas TV guide for Flyingpops (in my bag ready for the trip home)...
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...and if you didn't already see on Flickr, I wore a completely over the top Christmas jumper (etc.) for charity on Friday (which went down extremely well) -
Christmas Jumper
- and then *today* the work is picking us all up from the offices in Wapping, loading us all on to coaches (at 11am-ish) to go to our big Carol Concert in Southwark Cathedral (next to the new offices) and then super secret Santa on Thursday (which is my last working day before Christmas day)!  There is absolutely no doubt about it...It's CHRISTMAS! ;)

Will post some pics from the office Carol Concert later on if I get a chance...!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

13 December, 2013

How does this work...

ZOE_0243
...as a reliable delivery method to kitchens in central London?  *Surely* - someone or something is going to want to take advantage, even if it's just a cheeky urban fox or a gang of unruly pigeons?  I'm only talking about Southwark here (it may, or may not, happen elsewhere)...but it's a rather tempting proposition that everyone blindly parades past every single morning...is it just some sort of a moral test of one's self? Certainly, there would be a fairly easy answer if one were down on one's luck...then it would just be the tiny matter of finding some way of cooking up 3 pounds of bacon, asparagus and mushrooms on the South Bank in the rain...

12 December, 2013

The Thames this morning...

Sunrise over the Thames
...shot from the middle of Tower Bridge...sometimes it's nice when you miss the shuttle bus... ;)

No Legolas! To your bed!

NO Legolas - To your bed!
You are *not* in the Hobbit and you blooming well know it...! Bad Elf of the Woodland Realm! I'm *very* cross with you...! >:(

11 December, 2013

London in the Fog

More London Place in the Fog
Quite amazing views today (trying to get into the office early, best option being to walk again - oh well) - First up - More London Place to the North East...
More London Place in the Fog
More London Place to the South West (you can normally see the Shard in the gap in the middle - no chance today)...!
London City Hall in the fog
London City Hall (and the fountains full of frolicking children - in more merciful weather)...
Tower Bridge in the Fog
Approach to Tower Bridge (heading towards Dunwall Shad Thames)...
Tower Bridge in the Fog
Tower Bridge in the Fog
Tower Bridge in the Fog
Tower Bridge in the Fog
St Katherine Docks in the Fog
...and some of the boats in St Katherine Docks...Just need a Ripper Murder now...hehe... ;)

Update - a few of these pics made it onto The Times Facebook feed... ;)

Tower Bridge Closed to Traffic...

Tower Bridge closed to motor traffic
A very rare occurrence, unfortunately caused by a road traffic accident on the south bank (which no-one would wish for), but an unusual opportunity presented as a result, to walk across Tower Bridge, in the middle of the road, in the middle of rush hour (at the start of my commute home last night)...
Tower Bridge closed to motor traffic
The only real way to get to London Bridge (with any sense of urgency) was to walk, everywhere else was gridlock or chock-a-block...I'm pleased I took the walking option...quite beautiful... ;)
Tower Bridge closed to motor traffic

8,9,10,11,12,13

http://i.imgur.com/l4ujT3P.png (Well - 08:09:10 11/12/13 anyway)... ;)

Salfords School Nativity Play!

Salfords School Nativity Play
By Order - No pictures of the kids on Social Media (of course)...!  But no harm in putting up a picture of the incredible hard work that obviously went into making the stage - and of course Thomas in his amazing star costume - The "star" of the show (geddit?)... ;)
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He even had a speaking part - delivering it perfectly (and nice and loudly too)...quite how the staff managed to teach the kids all those songs and dances I will never know!  Amazing! :)

10 December, 2013

Reigate Christmas Fayre 2013


Quick Video highlight reel from the weekend (mostly Santa arriving in Priory Park via helicopter)! ;) Oh and we can't miss this one - Thomas coming down the Helter Skelter all on his own - He actually held up his hand to stop me at the steps at the bottom and said "NO DADDY - JUST ME - I CAN DO IT" (at this rate, Poppy is going to be skiing down Everest by the time she is four - the amount she is boiling with will to push past him at every turn!) -

Loads more pictures in the (growing) Christmas 2013 set over here... ;)

Christmas Tree is up!

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Kids were *so* excited when they came down this morning to find it (they had no idea) all lit up and in the corner of the living room! ;)

Quick reminder to self to re-hook up the curtain tonight, looks like I must have trod on it last night bringing the tree inside! ;)

05 December, 2013

So cold today!

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...and the train was delayed by a points issue at Gatwick...Brrr!  Still, I got to watch the sun come up over Royal Earlswood Park (which was nice)... ;)

02 December, 2013

Going to see Santa...!

Okay, bear in mind I'm still getting used to this new way of shooting...but here are a couple of Zoe highlight reels from the weekend...!
First up Reigate Garden centre -

- then Chessington Garden centre -

- (I need a few more dedicated stills in the middle of the "zoe"'s I think...we shall get there!  Now to tidy up my telephone (it's basically full!) using my free new 23Gb storage on my dropbox account (phew)!

Update - Wow, typed in my password on the phone and it did it all automatically...!  HTC One = amazing... ;)

Zoe, zoe, zoe...

...yeah, so I'm still trying to work out how best to use Zoe...you can do this sort of thing...(it's an automatic process, but from the looks of things they only stay on the server for 700 days)...I really wish you could upload the excellent slideshow (there may yet be a way I haven't discovered), but when I had a look at the files on my storage card this morning --over the weekend-- I took 5.1Gb of Zoe "pictures"...this is just *way* too much to use for routine purposes, finding space for all the Canon shots is bad enough, no way I can cope with that sort of volume of files...!  So I'm going to have to prune very carefully and Flickr I think...

There was also a rumour of a load more dropbox space for getting this telephone, so I'll have to look into that also...humph... :S

Update - Ah, what I am after is actually called a Zoe "Video Highlight", I'll have a play and get back to you... ;)

28 November, 2013

HTC One HDR Mode

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(With HDR above, without HDR below)
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Okay, so I've played around with the HDR mode on the HTC One a bit now (and eaten a nice Zizzi Pizza), and to be honest?  It isn't HDR as one would expect, it does indeed spend a bit longer taking the pictures and the results are *slightly* more colourful, but they don't look a huge amount different to me...slightly more vibrant colours, and almost all over/under exposed areas are filled in with more detail (admittedly), true blacks are certainly *slightly* blacker, but I'm sometimes hard pushed to remember which was which when I'm flicking through the images (true for the pizza shot (bar this illustration), but the combined exposure on the landscape below image basically saved it) for a well lit, semi-macro shot the exchange you are going to be most worried about is potential for fixed detail traded for very slightly worse focus/some blurring (making it hard to pick between them - as both have their own flaws) -
HTC One - HDR mode - London Skyline
(above is with HDR on, below is HDR off)-
HTC One - Normal mode - London Skyline
Landscape - Without HDR it's more moody, and truer to "reality", but the extra detail more than makes up for that (it's *clearly* a subjective thing though)...I think I'm going to put it on as my default shooting mode (as the final images are a bit richer - without looking silly) and see how I get on with the focus (as it could all fall to bits when I'm shooting something that moves around - unlike pizza and buildings)... ;)

Overall HDR mode seems (at this stage) to be slightly superior to "normal" shooting (imho), bracketing HDR and Normal each time seems a bit...well...*silly* though (or maybe that's just me)... ;)

Ethereal Shard

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It just doesn't look quite *real*, it looks like a sympathetic digital rendering of London...very interesting light indeed... ;)

27 November, 2013

London Bridge Tube sign...

London Bridge Tube sign
Yeah, so the sign at the entrance to the tube at London Bridge could do with a *bit* of a wipe...it sort of looks like it's derelict!

26 November, 2013

HTC One Camera

So I had a bit of a chance to play with the camera on my new telephone this morning (after picking it up yesterday)...you can click them to zoom in...
Through the woods...
This one I took (and to the naked eye it was practically pitch black - if you need proof, just look below the street light and you can clearly see the pool of orange light it was shedding on the ground - *invisible* in daylight) very early in the morning on the walk up through the woods over the hill...it's a bit spotty and blurry, but frankly I'm blown away...this is the sort of picture I would have expected from my Canon 600D in these extreme low light conditions - not a telephone.
Earlswood - Platform 1
Again, still *really* dark to the naked eye (just a hint of the sunrise to come in the clouds on the horizon) the HTC one manages to find every single spot of light (and an incredible amount of detail) - this would have been a blurry mess on the Galaxy...
The Shard from London Bridge
London Bridge platform
In bright sunlight now, at serious risk of over exposure (especially with the light in the background), it seems to have managed to get *everything* in focus...really impressive and absolutely pin sharp.

Now, the "Zoe" feature...this is an interesting one, it takes a bit longer to take a picture (you watch a red thermometer bar for what feels like about 3 seconds) but the effect on the telephone is like something out of Harry Potter...suddenly browsing through the gallery, the pictures come alive!  Each one contains a few magical extra seconds of video on either side of the shutter (it's clearly pre-caching the "before" footage)...the effect (especially in the slideshow where it tinkles in some appropriate music) is like -well- magic!  Check out a demo video here to get a better idea, but here are a few where I managed to pull the video out and into flickr (not quite the same) -
London Bridge Barriers
- so this sort of shot would just magically jump into life like this -

- you'll have to manually do it here on the web, but I hope you get the idea, if not watch the demo, keep in mind that these are regular photos - just with about six seconds of video context around them to "bring them to life"...a completely new thing and astonishing to see in action...another example -
London Bridge concourse
Static pic in the middle...and surrounding HD video -

Now imagine these examples as romantic "Perfect Family Day Out" shots, where the kids spring to life being charming (no nose-picking, hitting each other, loud shouts of "NO DADDY!" or falling over), Mummy laughing and swishing her hair (minus "POPPY - DON'T EAT THAT - ITS POISON!" and "THOMAS THAT'S A MAIN ROAD - STOP RIGHT NOW!!!") and my goodness...you may have something like the marketing piece! ;)

Overall, it's got to be one of the best cameras I've ever had the pleasure of using, combine that with the 1080p display on the handset and...just - WOW!  Not even touched on the proper video mode, or the HDR capability!  More on that later! ;)

21 November, 2013

Wapping Graffiti...

Wapping street art
...well, what can one say?  This is about the best the area seems to have been able to manage (and I've walked around the place quite a bit)...it can't be that the local council are just good at cleaning up, because -this- has been here for *months*...

Summary - Could do better...

...(would love to be proven wrong, of course)... ;)

Funny Office Sign

Speed lane closed!
OMG! The "Speed lane" is out of order! How will I cope with the catastrophic delay of...urm....using the barrier right next door to it? ;)

Almost, but not quite, as bad as this one...(WOAH - that was almost 7 years ago)!