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Reviews, Opinions and Geekery.

Oh this was such a good episode. Doctor Who is a juggling act and th best episodes manage to give you humor, fear, action and a big idea all in a single package. It’s not easy, but when it works it’s great. This worked.

Writer Jamie Mathieson came through with a script that was actually even stronger than Mummy On The Orient Express, which is no small achievement. The thing that Flatlinehad that…

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In the last couple of decades the tone of science fiction has been overwhelmingly pessimistic. There’s a cultural notion of late that it’s more realistic to portray everything as going wrong and being bad. Because that’s what life is.

Except it isn’t.

When looked at statistically life is over-all better than it was 40 or 50 years ago. We live longer and have a better standard of living. Less…

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10 British SciFi Shows You Need To Watch

So you’ve seen Doctor Who. You know about Torchwood and  perhaps Blakes Seven or Space 1999. These are the cornerstones of British telefantasy. But there’s a lot more out there and it’s worth watching.

Now keep in mind that list list spans from the 70s onwards so the video quality varies a lot. As do the special Effects. These shows are all definitely worth watching however. Also I’m using scifi…

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The Wolves Of West Virginia Part 3 – Like A Thief In The Night

The route to Shepherdstown is very dark at night. I mention it because all those twists and turns I talked about earlier are particularly fun when you can’t see them coming.  So my second trip to the town took significantly longer than the first.

Not that I was really in that much of a hurry. I mean, I was about to break into an apartment (for the second time that day) and hunt for a book about…

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TV Review – Supernatural S10E02 – Reichenbach

After a lackluster start to the new season, Supernatural comes roaring back with a much more impressive episode that actually has a bit of bite to it.

It’s pretty much a direct continuation from Black, but Reichenbach  has a very different feel to the Supernatural season premiere. There’s an edge here that was sadly lacking in episode one.

What’s In A Name?

It’s an interesting choice of name…

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Book Review: Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton

Peter F. Hamilton is a writer of epic galaxy spanning space opera science fiction. And all of that is right here on show in Great North Road. But the novel manages the clever trick of also being very down to earth and character focussed.

In AD 2142, where portal technology allows instantaneous travel to other planets, Newcastle police detective Sidney Hurst heads a high-tech investigation of the…

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This is the second year in a row that I’ve participated in Scott Kelby‘s Worldwide Photo Walk. Last year I joined a walk at Gettysburg, this year I stayed closer to home and participated in a walk at Harpers Ferry.

Originally I planned on doing a different walk since I take photos at Harpers Ferry on a semi-regular basis, but I thought it would be interesting to view the place from other people’s eyes and see what that brought to light.

One of the reasons I like these photo walks is that they force me to slow my pace down a bit. I have a tendency to walk fast and snap photos. Going at someone elses speed makes me look around and think a bit more.

You Can Always Rely On The Weather

The forecast for the day was rain. And sure enough when I got up the sky was grey, the ground was wet and there were little drops of water falling from the sky. I considered not going on the trip. Because while I have gone out to take photos in the rain before, it’s not necessarily a fun experience

But the rain was pretty light and this was a special event so I really wanted to go. I was a bit worried about my equipment go. By photographic standards what I have is pretty cheap, but by my standards it cost a lot.

So I quickly whipped up a rain sleeve.

rain sleeveThe idea of a  rain sleeve is very simple. It’s a plastic cover for your camera to protect it from the rain with a hole at the end so your lens gets a clear shot of whatever you are pointing at. If you go on Amazon you can buy them for $10 or so.

But I didn’t have one and Amazon certainly wasn’t going to get me one in time.  So I applied a bit of ingenuity to the situation as well as a large ziplock bag and some duct tape. Voila! One home made rain sleeve for my camera. Okay it doesn’t look as nice as the commercial ones but it actually does work just as well.

As it happens the weather may actually have been a good thing for the walk. While it did threaten to rain a lot very little water actually landed on us, but the resulting low clouds and the wet foliage made for some really attractive and moody scenery.

On With The Walk

The group itself were a mixed and friendly bunch and the walk proceeded at a relaxed pace.  There’s always something rather amusing about watching a group of photographers swarm around a place.

This walk was hosted by the folks at Efcubed Photography who were both welcoming and helpful to all. They also set up a Flickr group of participants to post photos to. Even for less sociable people like me there is a certain comfort in doing photography en masse. If for no other reason than you and your camera are not the center of attention. There’s far too many other cameras distracting people.

P1030407there’s always plenty of things to photograph in Harpers Ferry. We were particularly lucky on the timing in this case because there were some reenactments happening which mean the opportunity to shoot people wearing civil war uniforms and clothing.

While a route had been plotted for the walk, people were encouraged to take detours or go their own way if they saw something of interest.

For me, one of the interesting things about this sort of event is looking to see what other photographers focus on when looking for pictures to take. Yes, everyone does the obvious shots. But once they’ve taken those ones, what do they do next.


So for this walk I decided to try a couple of things. First of all I went with Aperture mode with the intention of spending less time fiddling with settings and more time worrying about the actual shot I was getting.

For the same reason I also chose to bracket my shots a third of a stop in each direction. Not to get HDR, but to increase the chance of getting the right exposure (or at least something close enough I could get a good result out of Photoshop). While it’s certainly wasteful of SD card space this turned out to be pretty effective.  Particularly since the cloud skies meant I generally couldn’t go as low on ISO as I’d have prefered and still get a steady shot.

Beyond that I mainly just took my normal approach of taking shots of anything that caught my attention. As I had hoped though the slower pace (it turns out that most people don’t actually march up hills the way I do) did have the hoped for benefit of making me look around and consider what other shots I could perhaps get from this particular location.  Which is always a good thing.

After The Walk

Immediately after the walk there was a gathering for lunch but since I had a family event to attend I skipped that though I’m sure it was enjoyable.

All in all though it was a good couple of hours and I took 300+ photos, though keep in mind because of bracketing that number comes down to more like 100+.

I haven’t been able to go through all of them yet, nor have I picked the one I will submit into the completion. Not that I have the slightest expectations of winning anything. But I have included a few of the images I’ve already processed with this post.

If you are at all interested in photography, even as the most amateur of amateurs then a photowalk is definitely something to explore and the scale of the Worldwide Photowalk does make it particularly interesting to participate in. I fully intend to participate again next year, although I will probably pick another location just for variety.

World Wide Photo Walk 2014 – Harpers Ferry This is the second year in a row that I’ve participated in Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk…

For the last few years Doctor Who has been fixated on high concept episodes. Big, bold ideas of the sort you could imagine people mashing together and throwing out on twitter.

There’s not a lot of room for subtlety in these ideas though. In fact subtlety is something we aren’t seeing very much of in Doctor Who currently. Even the latest title sequence is an exercise in hitting the viewers over…

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Season 3 of Arrow starts with things in a good place for Team Arrow, showing us everyone working together happily and effectively like… well an actual team. This is not normal for this show.

And speaking of not normally Oliver seems almost, happy, for once. Which is completely contrary to the normally sulky individual we are used to. It’s all quite refreshing really.

The opening action sequence…

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Alistair stared out of the window at the gargantuan structure and scowled. He should know better than to assign feelings to a building but it felt like it was taunting him. Looming over his tiny flat blocking out any other view. Making it hard to sleep at night with the constant humming and the flashes of light.

They were omnipresent. Towering over everything. Visible from anywhere at any time.…

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