Trafalgar Square. By Night! And Now Its 2019.

And Now It’s 2019

Where did 2018 go? Now it’s 2019, and a belated Happy New Year to all.

Our 2018 is probably best described as tumultuous. An unusual mix of highs and lows and general family chaos, though that is quite normal. The year was largely filled with great times spent with family and friends and some unexpected events. Between kids (adult) getting married, having babies (we became grandparents for the first time) and visiting friends and family the year got busy!

The Christmas period marked the first time in some years that the whole family was together. As we started to prepare for that, around the end of November I decided to take a blogging holiday until the new year.

I stopped doing anything on this blog and on most social media. Trying to find the time amidst work changes and all of that family activity was simply becoming very stressful, and there was a need to review the blog and ask some serious questions.

Should I just shut it down? Should I change track and blog about something else? Or do I need to simply improve what I am writing about?

Actually I put a lot of time into looking at the technology. That’s my overlap with blogging, of course. I run IT for a manufacturing group. In that position I have become very involved with various aspects of cloud computing, including, and especially, the classic “access any time from anywhere” idea. With the right apps and a smartphone the Gutenberg editor and a bluetooth keyboard make an interesting blogging platform (when Gutenberg actually works), among other things! Of course I am also a long time Linux fan.

In short, One of my hurdles in blogging was not making best use of the tech in order to best use my spare time.

So the plan going forward is to focus more on the “people like us”, i.e. getting older, still in the 9 to 5, limited travel (and tech) budget (and time), but a wish to travel, take photos and enjoy good food.

Add in some technology, maybe in a sister blog and hopefully you will read and enjoy.

New Content

My Trello boards and photo albums are full of content. Now it’s a matter of getting it out there. Here’s a little sample, starting with a bit of madness: we went to Trafalgar Square. At night. Who does that 🙂 !

Green Leaves

Just leafing through some old photos (couldn’t resist that!) I came across these two photos of green leaves, taken at different times and places.

The top one was a hand held macro (Canon EOS 450D, 100mm macro, 1/200s f/4.5) taken on a spring day. I liked the way the bud is unfurling in front of the single leaf.

The one below is one of my favourites. Also from the 450D, but using a “nifty fifty” 50 mm lens. The shape of the leaf, in a background of soft green light caught my eye. The water drop was just a bonus! It’s been re-edited here, but I have used it before in a “Green Things” post.

One thought – you don’t need a state of the art camera to take reasonable photos!

This post is one for Bren Ryan’s “Photo for the Week – 19 – Leaves” challenge.

 

 

 

 

One to Remember (on Pinterest?)

A close up shot of a green leaf in spring time
Green Things Photo For Sale

 

 

 

A pretty swan on the local lake.

Swan on the Lake – with a Photo Tip

Digging through some older photographs, I came across this one of a swan on the lake.

Spring and summer can often bring swans to the lake. They always make pretty sight, somehow very calming as they elegantly swim along.

Swan on the Lake – Photo Tip

Capturing the image can, however, be tricky. The reflection of the swan in the rippling water is great. in full colour it is very “busy” with all of the reflections in green water. Rather than take it to a full black and white image I like to desaturate the image until there is just a hint of the stronger colours left. Look at the swan’s beak.

Photography Prints

One to Pin to your boards

Swan on the Lake. Pin this to your boards.
Boats in the Brighton Marina

Quick Stop Brighton

After another day trip to Robertsbridge, we decided not to waste the afternoon and drive back via the coastline. A bit of “interesting” driving through some country roads took us to Eastbourne. From there we took a drive along the south coast towards Brighton.

That was a pleasant drive, and we will definitely explore the area a bit more. next summer maybe?

Having only eaten a small lunch, food was calling. We spotted the Brighton Marina and decided to Explore.

Here are a couple of photos. It’s a marina, so plenty of boats in evidence.

Brighton Marina - plenty of food choices.
Many places to eat at the Brighton Marina.

And we did enjoy an excellent seafood meal at the Barracuda Brasserie chosen as it didn’t look “fast food” and we are not fast food fans. It was a beautiful afternoon / evening so we could sit and eat outside.

Four type of fish on a plate at Barracuda Brasserie, Brighton Marina
A fish dish of four different types of fish, enjoyed, shared between two of us

It’s easy to focus on overseas travel, but there are many local places to visit and explore, just a few hours drive away. We’ll definitely back this way in the not too distant future.

Here’s One for Pinterest

A quick stop at Brighton Marina with a great seafood meal at the Barracuda Brasserie.

Lighthouse Fort de Brescu

I spotted Bren Ryan’s “Photo for the Week – 4 – Lighthouse” challenge, and was certain that I had a lighthouse picture.

I found these two, from our little trip to France last year. We took a day trip to Cap d’Agde, which actually gave us just a few hours there. We chose to take a boat trip from the harbour, up the Herault River through part of the town of Agde, then back around the fort. A great to spend the day!

Cap d’Agde

Cap d’Agde is a seaside resort in the historic town of Agde in France, on the Herault River, which, in turn, connects to the Canal du Midi.  Cap d’Agde is better known for its naturist village (which we didn’t visit).

Cap d’Agde is accessible via the TGV SNCF train services from Paris or Lille, or by air through Beziers or Montpellier.

Fort de Brescu

Fort de Brescu is located off Cap d’Agde in France. Originally intended, by Cardinal de Richelieu, to be the entrance to a port, it was built in 1586, but destroyed in 1632. Rebuilt for defence in 1680, it was used as a prison in the 18th century.  I’m guessing that the lighthouse was added much later.

Photography

This trip to France was a good test of that great little travel camera, the Panasonic Lumix TZ100. I deliberately left my DSLR at home. I have to say I am pleased with the results.

A touch of cropping and processing in Snapseed finished the shots off and ease the bright white highlight on the lighthouse.

Fort de Brescu, off Capd' Agde, France
Fort de Brescu, near cap d’Agde, France.

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Lighthouse - Fort de Brescu at Capd'Agde in France

Caught My Eye: Coffee and Black Ops

Caught My Eye: Coffee and Black Ops

Coffee seems to have been in my life a lot recently. Testing coffee in a new business – Brett’s Own Brews (good for a post at a later date), acquiring a new coffee machine and doing some experiments. I’m not talking instant here. And I’m also not talking high street coffee. No, it’s been all about great coffee from various suppliers for different purposes.

Personal Coffee Machine

Like many people I do enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning. Producing a really good cup of coffee can be a real hassle, especially when it comes to the clean up afterwards. Back in my student days I had a great little single cup filter machine. That’s useful – fill it up in the evening and load the filter with some good quality ground. In the morning, just switch it on and a few minutes later there’s a tasty, steaming cup of coffee ready to get you going for the day. Afterwards, just wash the cup and clean the filter and it’s ready for the next cup.

Morphy Richards SAingle cup coffee filter machine.

I haven’t had one of those for years, but I was given one recently and I’ve really been enjoying it. I’m currently enjoying a Rocko Mountain coffee from Monsoon Estates Coffee Company in Stratford upon Avon. In my view it certainly beats the Nespresso hands down.

Contact Coffee Company

I have also been given a bag of “Black Ops” from the Contact Coffee Company. Tried this one this morning, and it is everything it promises. Kick start your day with a mug of this and you will not be dozing off any time soon.

There’s not much “about” the company, but to quote from a search “Contact Coffee is an idea from two military men derived from our passion for Fitness, Military and most importantly, Coffee!”. Good coffee guys!

Coffee Blogger Italy

Taking a trip to Rome? I also found this interesting post about coffee in Italy, from a Northamptonshire (that’s nearby!) blogger, Nicole. Now this looks good – I think I need a getaway soon!

Coffee Cups

And before you go, do have a look at the selection of coffee mugs on my site, featuring some of my photos from various places. One of these is my morning coffee favourite. A good solid, interesting mug which is dishwasher proof!

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