Don's Pages

Friday, 26 August 2011

Ham House - Photography

A visit to Ham House
Kingston-Upon-Thames. England.
We had a wonderful little outing on Monday to Ham House and Gardens. Owned and run by the National Trust. Which is great because they allow you to take photos everywhere. I'm so glad about that as there is nothing worse for a photographer than to be forbidden, like the English Heritage owned properties.

You'll adore this little gem of England if you visit. Relax in the amazing gardens, play croquet on the lawns, stroll through ancient bedrooms and living chambers, visit an antiquated kitchen, learn about life in the 15th and 16th century, be guided into the past by wonderful volunteers, get involved with the National Trust and help to maintain this awesome property.

Viewing Large Images: If you'd like to see the images larger then just click them. These are all low resolution, if you'd like to view and purchase click the links to my other websites - Don's RedBubble or Don's FineArtAmerica. Here you can order and purchase the ones that have been uploaded. Let me know if you'd like any of the others.

History of Ham House: For more information on Ham House and it's History visit WikiPedia.

Here are some of my images captured on Monday 22nd Aug 2011.
The front elevation which faces the River Thames. Access to the house was only possible by boat for many years.

Don's Slideshow from Fine Art America

Art Prints

Ham House Gardens

Apple's Steve Jobs

Update: Steve Jobs.

I was not surprised when I heard that Steve has died because he'd been battling sickness for such a long time. I know he'll be sadly missed by many people who knew him. He was a good friend to so many and such a kind, generous and friendly man. He was like a living legend and hopefully the influence of this amazing man will continue in the people he inspired to better things. I'm certain that Apple will continue as a company, but where will the innovation come from next?

AGE: Only 56 years old and all his Billions couldn't extend his precious life.
LIFE: Live one day at a time. We only get one chance at life and then we face the Judgement of God. Live every day as if it were your last day on earth. Life is like a tear-drop in the ocean of TIME and then we face eternity.
Birth: When we are born, the nurse smacked our bottoms and we cried and everyone else was happy and smiling. Live your life in such a way that when you die, you'll be happy and everyone else will be crying.

It's the end of an era. Steve Jobs Resigns.
Steve Jobs was such an inspiration to so many.
He'll be remembered for generations for the innovations he brought to market. I'm sure we'll have many more talented people, however people like Steve come along probably once or twice in our lifetimes; Albert Einstine, Thomas Edison,  James Watt, Charles MacIntosh, John Dunlop, Alexander Graham Bell, Alexander Fleming, John Logie Baird - to name but a few.

His inventions: The Point and Click Mouse, iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad ... were all game changers for the way we do things.

I'm sure we'll not see anyone like Steve Jobs for a while. Someone that can change the way most people do things; Like electric light, Television, Radio, Electrical Power Distribution, Computing etc...

Who's going to be the next Genius?
What will they invent?
I wonder what creative genius is waiting in the wings?
Could it be;
  • Transportation? A new way of getting around the world perhaps?
  • Communication?
  • Medicine? A real cure for Cancer.
  • Free Food for Everyone in the World?
  • An end to all wars? That would be a real miracle.
  • The Ability to live as long as you want? Only Jesus Christ offers that at the moment, but it means we all have to repent and believe in HIM.

God bless you Steve Jobs and I'd just like to say a great big thanks for all your hard work, dedication and determination. You've managed to enhance the electronic experience of ordinary people, which I'm sure will be the case for many years to come.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Review of onOne Perfect Layers 1.

Review of onOne Perfect Layers 1.
I've given the newest software from onOne a good trial with a few different pictures to try out all the effects and modes. I've found it to be far short of "Perfect", in fact I would go as far as to say it's terrible. The main draw back is that it's soooooo slow.

too SLOW for me.

Don't take my word for it though, go and try it yourself. It might just be my computers and laptop, although they are only about six months old running the latest Windows 7 software, so I wouldn't think it's that. It's got to be the Perfect Layers software because PS5 runs perfectly and renders quickly, as does PSE.

What did I find wrong with "Perfect Layers 1" ?
It certainly can do all the things it says on the tin, but why would anyone want to get it if they have already got PSE or Photoshop? These progs are already perfect for Layer work. The most important thing for any working photographer is speed, second is useability.

You wouldn't put a Dartmoor Pony in the Grand National would you? So why would anyone want to put a clunky piece of kit alongside a racehorse like PS5 or PSE? It just doesn't make any sense!!!

Perfect Layers is a plug-in, so don't expect to be able to get to it instantly from Lightroom or as part of Lightroom. It takes a good while to load, just like full blown PS or PSE. Perfect layers is a separate software programme.

But Here's what onOne claim about Perfect Layers:
  • Combine multiple images directly from Lightroom, Aperture or from your desktop, into a single Photoshop-compatible layered file.

  • Use layer masks and masking tools to blend multiple layers together. 

  • Add color fill layers for photographic effects and adjust size, position and blending mode. 

  • Inspired by and designed in conjunction with Scott Kelby

  • Now when you see a name like Scott Kelby alongside a product, you'd expect it to be brilliant. However, onOne's Perfect Layers just doesn't cut it.

    Scott Kelby says about it "The impact Perfect Layers is going to have on photographers using Lightroom makes it a game changer! This is the must have plug-in for Lightroom"

    Well, I've tried it Scott and it's just NOT going to change the way I work, I'll continue to use PS5 or Elements because these progs just get the work done so much quicker. There's nothing more frustrating than waiting for ages and the software to catch up and render what you'd like to see instantly as it does with PS5 and Elements. Perhaps onOne will one day perfect "Perfect Layers" but not quite yet.

    For all of you who'd like to try it for yourself here's the download link for onOne Perfect Layers. Let me know how you get on, I'd like to know what others think. Don't part with any cash before you try it though. And never take an endorser's word for it, they probably get paid a handsome fee.

    Final Verdict on onOne's Perfect Layers: Slow, Clunky, frustrating. If I had a star rating system out of Ten Stars I'd give it a one or two.

    So it's a THUMBS DOWN from Don. Shame, I love all the other onOne Plug-in Software and was looking forward to a great piece of kit. Perhaps one day it will be, but not yet.

    Saturday, 13 August 2011

    Review of Zoner Photo Studio 13 PRO Edition

    Don's Review of Zoner Photo Studio 13 PRO Edition.

    Firstly let me say that I found this piece of software even better than CyberLink's PhotoDirector 2011 piece of kit. Though CyberLink PhotoDirector is good, fast, reliable and cool, Zoner is even better in my humble opinion.
    Check out my review of CyberLink PhotoDirector Here

    So much so that I've now removed CyberLink PhotoDirector from my computer.

    Watch out Adobe Lightroom: There is a NEW kid on the block. Zoner Studio Pro software is better, cheaper and faster.

    Trial: You can download Zoner Photo Studio 13 Pro Edition for a Free Trial. You'll love this wonderful software and what it can do with your photos. So go ahead and download it for a free trial. Click Here for Zoner Photo Studio 13

    It's designed by Photographers for Photographers: Therefore as a Photographer myself, I was intrigued to give it a go. Boy was I in for some amazing surprises. It's FAST. I've not had any glitches with it. It reads my Nikon NEFF files immediately.

    Has all the adjustments you like to see in Lightroom and more.

    What is Zoner Photo Studio 13?
    If you are a keen Photographer or even a Pro, the likelihood is that you'll have thousands of images scattered over lots of hard drives, like me:-) And organising them can be a bit of a pain can't it? Well Zoner Studio takes all the pain out of organization and makes simple photo editing a breeze.

    Here are some of the bit of blurb from the Zoner Studio Website.

    Zoner Photo Studio helps you acquire, organize and browse through your photos while enhancing the pictures with a variety of additional useful information. You can also convert and edit images and apply a broad range of photo effects using the photo editor.

    With Zoner Studio 13: You can shoot, edit and share in a mater of minutes.

    What can you do with Zoner Studio Pro?
    Zoner Photo Studio 13 gets the most power out of today’s powerful computers, with new64-bit support, better multi-core support than ever, and unique 10-bit display support. It makes web sharing easier for everyone witheasy FacebookFlickr, and Picasa uploaders. It also makes the impossible possible: multi-exposures let you remove moving objects from a scene or get incredible noise reduction, and the healing brush makes the toughest touch-ups a breeze. And all this is just the beginning...

    Zoner Studio 13 Pro Website

    Go on give it a go, you've got nothing to Loose.

    Thursday, 11 August 2011

    Discover London - Morden Hall Park

    Morden Hall Park: Walk and Photoshoot.

    What wonderful surprises London's got up it's sleeves. Last Saturday my wife and I decided to have a day in a park and we selected Morden Hall Park after a search on Google... We'd never been before and it was not too far away. After setting the Post Code in the SAT NAV and packing my camera we were off...

    One thing that was not promising was the sky, it was wram but there were quite a few dark clouds in the sky and intermittant glimpses of the sunshine.

     It's so good to have a companion that understands my passion for photography and though it's unbearable for her at times my wife is even beginning to suggest possible shots. Thank God for patient people.

    The Walk: Morden Hall Park is full of wonderful bridges, old houses, an extensive rose garden, a water-wheel, mill, and streams, rivers and canals, wonderful wildlife, and plants. You are sure to find something great to photograph.

    As we walked we noticed quite a lot of other photographers and one told us that there was a Photography Instruction Course running that day. They were out and about putting into practice what they had learned. Marvellous...

    My Galleries: Take a look at the pictures below, and if you like them you can even purchase them at my Fine Art America website or Redbubble portfolio. In Redbubble you'll fine my most extensive galleries and series. Let me know if you want to know anything more about any particular image.

    The Snuff Mill
    It great to see places like this with so much history preserved for generations to come.
    The Snuff Mill Water Wheel
    I wish this didn't have the scaffolding, but still it makes an interesting picture. Also I wish I'd taken the tripod out of the car, but I took one look at my wife's face and knew that would be pushing my luck. LOL.

    Morden Hall Park Scenes: (To see the History of Morden Hall Park scroll past the pictures).

    Morden Hall Park History: From Wikipedia.
    Morden Hall Park is a National Trust park located on the banks of the river Wandle in Morden, south London. It covers over 50ha (125 acres) of parkland with the River Wandle meandering through it spanned by numerous foot bridges. The estate contains Morden Hall itself, Morden Cottage, an old Snuff Mill, and many old farm buildings, some of which are now a garden centre and a city farm. The rose garden has over 2000 roses.

    The estate land was originally owned by Westminster Abbey. There is evidence of an earlier manor-house, but the Hall dates back to the 1770s and contains a variety of natural landscapes including the parkland of the "Deer Park", meadow and marshland. A number of historic buildings are located in the park including the Hall itself and preserved watermills where tobacco was once ground into snuff.
    The Hall was owned and occupied by the Garth family for generations. It was occupied as a school for young gentlmen about 1840 until it was sold by Sir Richard Garth to a tobacco merchant Gilliat Hatfeild (1827–1906) in the 1870s.
    The Hall was a military hospital during the First World War.
    Gilliat Hatfeild's son, Gilliat Edward Hatfeild (1864–9 February 1941), left the core of the estate (including the house) to the National Trust when he died. The Hall is now empty after Whitbread PLC. decided that the building/location did not fit in with the business plan they had for their Beefeater chain. They still own the lease and continue to pay rent according to the original lease contract. At least two attempts to sub-lease the property have failed after limited success.

    Morden Hall Park House
    Gilliat Edward Hatfeild lived at the nearby Morden Cottage which he considered better suited to his life as a bachelor. The formal garden of the cottage is surrounded by an unusual collection of ornamental trees, including one of the oldest yews in England.
    Outside of the main park, the remainder of the estate has been swallowed up in housing developments stretching between MordenSouth Wimbledon andCollier's Wood and an industrial estate at Deer Park Road.

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