When I was a kid I had hundreds of small toy cars. I had everything from family saloons to exotic supercars. Most of them didn't survive the regular chases, crashes and attempts at death defying jumps.
A few did.
And while there will be those who say "you should've kept them in the box, they'd be worth more", nothing can replace the hours of fun I had with them then; nor the joy of turning one over in my hands today.
A toy is to be played with. Leaving it in its box is torture.
Experiments with nature and a mobile phone
For quite a while I've thought the camera on Samsung's Galaxy S5 to be rather good. It produces quite clear shots in high resolution and across a variety of conditions. It was so good in fact that when I visited Japan most of the time I was using my phone
, not the Fujifilm camera I took with me.
Now summer has arrived in the UK (sort of) I've been experimenting. I've a few plants, herbs and shrubs in the back garden, so they've become models for my attempts at shooting in close up. While the detail that my camera picks out is nowhere near as good as any of my cameras with zoom lenses, it's not that bad either.
So what have I learnt?
First, HDR mode is a must. The clarity of these close up images is far better than what came out of the camera when the mode was disabled.
The minimum focal length on the Samsung Galaxy S5 appears to be about 20-25 centimetres. Any closer and it either doesn't focus, or it tried to focus at some point in the distance.
Finally, patience is required. The camera takes its time to focus and sort itself out, so don't expect to be able to just whip it out and snap the next cover photo for Nature Magazine
. The Bee took several attempts to capture, mostly because it was hopping from plant to plant. The Ladybird photo is one of 7 because of the camera focusing on different parts of the leaf or deciding at the last minute to lose focus entirely.
I don't think my mobile is going to replace my cameras anytime soon for my serious photography. But as a means to capture moments in nature that I happen to experience, well that's a different matter. With the right setting, a little patience and understanding the limitations the camera has I'm pretty confident I'll be able to take nature photographs at a consistent standard now.
Musician and life model Rosamund escapes down a path in Mayfield.
A Peacock in the heart of London
Holland Park has an amazing selection of ornamental gardens and features. Amongst them: this stunning Peacock eager to find a mate.
First night photos: 3PO and the Stormtroopers
The first night gig for new boy band 3PO and the Stormtroopers was a smash. After ninety minutes of high energy action they appeared to have won a huge following on Endor. Glad I was there to see this new power in modern music rise and if I were One Direction or 5SOS I'd be ready to lose some fans.
(Click the images for a larger version and behind the scenes commentary).
The Consequence of Probabilities: a science fiction short story
Sometimes we all think the universe revolves around us. But what if it did? What if our existence determined whether the universe continues to exist?
That's something John Stock has to face up to in this Science Fiction short story.
Tourists gather round their guide to hear about another of London's heroes.
The insanity of Shibuya
The Shibuya "scramble crossing"
pits thousands of people against each other in a mad dash across the street while advertising blares from the surrounding buildings. It's an icon of Japan, a must-see for anyone who visits Tokyo and sheer tourist theatre.
After half an hour in the district I was finding it pretty hard going. The constant noise and brilliant lights from the advertising hoardings were getting too much for me. My senses were overloaded and I was finding it hard to concentrate. I was becoming irritable.
When I looked up I discovered the cause of my discomfort. City streets, particularly those that thrive on tourism, are always noisy and crowded and bright. Only the noise is indistinguishable: snippets of conversation that pass by and are lost as the next person comes past. In Shibuya a constant voice was being streamed into the streets that was demanding attention. It was always there and subconsciously I was searching for its source. Being tired didn't help and recognising the few words of Japanese I knew probably only added to the problem.
Our cities are becoming nosier places, stretching our filters to the limits. I wonder how unbearable they will become if more follow Shibuya's example.
Hiroshima from the top of the castle
This view is from the top of Hiroshima castle
, reconstructed in the 1950s after the original was incinerated in the nuclear blast of 1945.
It's incredible to think that none of the city is more than 70 years old as the devastation was almost complete. Indeed, if you are planning a trip to Japan I strongly recommend a visit to the Peace Park and the accompanying museum.
I challenge you not
to be moved.
Roseanne: a return to portrait photography
It's been a couple of years since I've done any portrait photography. I needed to get some shots to use as headers for my business blog
and so a model was hired, a set constructed and away I went.
Only rather than just take photographs of hands on keyboards and what-not I decided to test myself on portrait photography again. It was something I enjoyed doing, but I've now more or less given up on. So I thought "why not" and stepped back into that mindset.
This one is natural light, shot on a tripod with a timer and a bit longer exposure than normal. The only treatment is cropping and taking it down into black and white (I prefer black and white for some reason).
A little pruning is taking place
Every couple of years I look through the content on this site and wonder what should stay and what should go. A recent change to the site design means images can now display in a "full screen" mode, something my originally uploaded images were not designed to do.
So I'm going through what's here and removing some, uploading new versions of others and adding new images too. I want to be a bit more prolific in what I post on this site, more creative, more thoughtful. Maybe more selective too.
Apologies if this means you lose track of an image you particularly liked, or a piece of writing that you enjoyed. I'll try and keep the disruption to a minimum, but sometimes these things can't be helped...
ROSS A HALL
By day I take companies into new channels and markets. At night I write science-fiction, contemplate the future of society and capture the world in images. Feel free to get in touch
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