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  • Paul Hurst 4:42 pm on September 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aperture, art, em5, filter, filters, jpeg, jpg, , olympus, omd, photoshop, post, processing, raw,   

    Making your pictures 'pop' with the Olympus OM-D EM5 

    Pebble by the Prom

    If you’ve got yourself an Olympus OM-D EM5, then there’s a really easy way to give your pictures a muted yet arty feel with little post processing.

    You’ll need photoshop or some other app that supports layers and you’ll need to set up your camera to save both JPEG and RAW versions of your pictures but thats just about as tricky as it gets:  Here’s my guide…

    1.  In the camera menu, make sure you are saving both a JPG and Raw files (Cam menu 1, third option down)

    2. Choose ‘Art’ mode on your top dial

    3. In the Art menu, choose effect filter number 10

    4.  You’ll notice that there’s two modes for effect 10.  One colour, One B&W.  Choose II (B&W)

    5.  Shoot away! (you’ll notice that your viewfinder shows you a harsh B&W live and playback preview, don’t worry, we tone down that effect in post processing)

    6. Import all your photos into a folder or an app

    7.  Export both the JPG and a RAW version of the photo you wish to edit.

    8. Combine the two and alter the opacity as needed.

    9. Flatten and export as required!

    I Have created a 20 min tutorial video that covers everything from the camera settings to the post-processing using Apple’s Aperture 3 and Adobe’s Photoshop CS4.

    In the meantime, if you’d like to see more from the OM-D EM5 then check out the Olympus website: here

    Finally, My OM-D EM5 flickr showcase (including example images from this tutorial), is here

     
  • Paul Hurst 2:18 pm on August 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: america, budget, church, curiosity, curious, life, mars, mission, , , pope, purpose, science, ,   

    Just Curious… 

     

    It was another huge leap for mankind today when NASA’s latest space mission to Mars touched down safely.

    The one-tonne vehicle, known as ‘Curiosity’ also managed to find time to send a tweet out to all its followers: “I’m safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!”. Its mision to look for the evidences of life greatly helped, no doubt by a strong Wi-Fi signal on the Martian surface…

    There is no doubting the technical excellence that saw the rover safely make its 154.4 million mile journey however I am slightly confused as to its purpose.

    One of NASA’s mission goals is to determine whether Mars ‘has ever had the conditions to support life’, but to me, a mere mortal, this seems a little strange. Almost like trying to prove the possibility that the Pope could visit my house for lunch. Proving a ‘possibility’ isn’t worth much, I would have thought it better to try to answer the much bigger question of ‘is there, or has there ever been life on Mars?’. I presume that Curiosity may get the best of the NASA scientists and results permitting, they may turn their attention to those questions further down the line.

    In the meantime, the two-year mission costing an estimated $2,500,000,000 ($2.5bn), certainly goes where no man has been before but even if the mission goal is successful, we may still never know if it’s gone where life itself has ever been before…

    In any case, I’d like to pass on my congratulations to everyone who’s been involved with this so far, and also wish the team every success for the rest of the mission.

    PS… For the record, although the possibility exists for His Holiness to visit my home for cucumber sandwiches, He has never done so, and I am relatively confident that he has not made any specific plans for the immediate future…

     
  • Paul Hurst 7:41 pm on March 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Christianity… Fair game for BBC Mockery? 

    The Christian Institute recently posted an article claiming that the BBC’s anti-christian agenda rolls on.  It does so, they claim, in a statement made by the Director General which sanctions the mockery of Christianity while ‘protecting’ other faiths from insult or criticism.  (You can read their article by an unnamed contributor here.)

    Once again, I find myself (a ‘committed Christian’) angered by their comments and worried by the way in which they seem to relish in public defamation of any organisations and individuals as they see fit.

    Their own article may be brief, but it doesn’t pull any punches with its claims that the BBC defends some kind of unwritten policy to make a mockery of Christian beliefs and traditions whilst on the other hand, enshrining the concepts and identity of other faiths such as Islam.

    These comments are made with little or no understanding or consideration for Islamic culture or the Christian ideals of freedom of choice, speech and free will.  

    It’s all too easy for intolerant fundamentalists to claim that all the world is against them and it’s this tone which peppers much of that the Christian Institute write.  Even a cursory glance of their website shows their intolerance of modern secularism and opinion.  This is understandable you may feel.  Shouldn’t it be obvious that those of ‘faith’ will completely disagree with those with none?  Not so I say!  I may believe in life after death or the existence of a soul, of a God and a Heaven but I have no quarrel with those who do not.  If an Atheist or Humanist doctor prescribes me tablets, I will still take them feeling that this person means me no harm.

    When looking more broadly at this issue, I cannot help feel that certain ‘intolerances’ (christian or otherwise) can be deceptive, devious and even dangerous.  Passing comment behind a website which makes plenty of statements without including plenty of quotes does little to tell the whole tale…

    Their first paragraph reads..

    The head of the BBC, Mark Thompson, has admitted that the broadcaster would never mock Mohammed like it mocks Jesus.

    He justified the astonishing admission of religious bias by suggesting that mocking Mohammed might have the “emotional force” of “grotesque child pornography”.

    But Jesus is fair game because, he said, Christianity has broad shoulders and fewer ties to ethnicity.

    You may notice how they quote Mark Thompson when it comes to the mockery of Mohammed however when it comes to quoting Mr Thompson’s take on Christianity, you may also notice that they prefer to offer their own ‘synopsis’ on what he said rather than quote him directly.  Need I point out the problem with this kind of approach?

    I am reminded of the Politician who demanded peace ‘at any cost’.  He was even prepared to go to war to claim it and as the Christian Institute seems to be drawing the battle lines with anyone who doesn’t share their ideology or dogma, I can’t help feeling that Christianity with all its tolerances and acceptance, once again misses out on sharing the Good News of God’s love with those who already think they know all the story. 

     
  • Paul Hurst 11:26 am on February 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cisco, communications, , google+, hurst, , , , phone, ,   

    Two ears, one mouth, one person, two mobile phones… 

    As a boy growing up, my parents often pointed out that ‘God gave us two ears and only one mouth’. We should listen twice as much as we talk and I was reminded of this when Ciso Systems today announced that 2012 will be the year where mobile phone handsets somehow outnumber people who live on this planet.

    Despite this mind boggling stat it’s strange that in a world which seems more ‘connected’ than ever, many people still feel voiceless and unheard. The irony being perhaps that as more people find their voices via social media, it becomes even harder to actually be heard over the clamour of status updates and tweets that are all around us.

    I was challenged myself by this very issue at the start of this year.

    I’m not unusual in having twitter, facebook, a blog, google+, a flickr and even a foursquare (somewhere), yet I found myself wondering what it is, exactly that I am actually contributing to those who stumble across all my social media content. As a journalist, I’m quite comfortable with the concept of creating content that connects with an ‘audience’ but how does that work out in the social media world too?

    I wonder, if we actually stop and look at what we share and comment on, are we really providing anything of value or interest, something that actually enriches the lives of our ‘audience’? Or are we merely trying to draw attention to ourselves, our own interests, opinions and in some cases egos.

    Put it to the test, Have a look at what others around you are writing and sharing, take a few moments to have a ‘listen’ before deciding what you’d like to say next.

     
  • Paul Hurst 4:51 pm on October 31, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cancer, christ, , , eulogy, faith, imac, , , , , mona, simpson, , words, wow   

    In Medias Res… 

    “Some boat builders in the Netherlands have a gorgeous stainless steel hull ready to be covered with the finishing wood. His three daughters remain unmarried, his two youngest still girls, and he’d wanted to walk them down the aisle as he’d walked me the day of my wedding.We all — in the end — die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories.”

    These moving words were spoken by Mona Simpson as part of her Eulogy for her Brother, Steve Jobs.  Steve Jobs designed, pioneered and invented many products that people use all around the world, the iPad, iPhone and iMac all products from his company, Apple.

    Steve found out that he had Cancer in 2003 and although his health obviously deteriorated, to his credit, he still died ‘In the middle of something’.  Some reports say that before his death, he worked hard to help create a product ‘roadmap’ for Apple that will see out the next five years.  No matter what his legacy, it’s still easy to see the tragedy in his passing at the age of 56, a life with much more to give, cut short.

    Mona Simpson’s words are very true.  None of us live for the purpose of dying although we all will.  Death may be inevitable, but it isn’t the benchmark or defining moment of our lives.  We don’t see it as our finest hour and even for those who are unwell, it is seldom welcome.

    There is an exception to the this though.  In Jesus Christ, we find a man who’s entire purpose was to die. Christianity teaches that the victory of Christ’s death and Resurrection brings hope to all mankind, a hope that while we may pass ‘in medias res’, we only pass on to something new. Something we can’t claim as our own but that is given to anyone who will receive.

    Steve Jobs once said that he was 50/50 on whether there was an afterlife or not.  He couldn’t be sure but he wanted to acknowledge that there could be something else.  He pointed out that many of his products don’t have ‘off switches’, they are always ready for us, they go on and on.  He went on to say that his instincts similarly told him that life itself doesn’t have an ‘off switch’ either.

    The teachings of Jesus before his death on the cross also point out that although we may be destined to die ‘in medias res’, we are still only partway through a journey which stretches on into eternity.  Steve Jobs died on October 5th, 2011.  According to Mona, his last words as he looked into the distance were “Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow!”.

     
  • Paul Hurst 9:47 am on October 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ceo, , died, email, illness, , , , , obituary, , praise, stanford, statement, , steven, , thought   

    The technology world is remembering the life of one of it’s giants today.  Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple Inc. has died at the age of fifty-six.

    Renowned for his ruthless and unwavering determination, Jobs had been battling through ill health since 2003 but in true typical fashion, he worked on, only stepping down as boss on the 24th August this year.

    I only dealt with Steve Jobs once.  Soon after the launch of the iPad,  I emailed him to say how happy I was with the product and how useful it was with my day to day work.  Steve Jobs was well known for replying (albeit briefly) to emails that were sent to his work address.  On this occasion, I didn’t expect a reply given that no question had been asked or suggestion made.  As it turned out, I did receive a very public reply as a few weeks later, Steve quoted some sections of my email during his TV interview at the ‘All Thing Digital’ event.

    Steve’s comments reminded me that it’s often important to give positive feedback, we’re quite used to complaining but it’s equally important to make sure we don’t let moments of thanks or praise pass by too.  Often a little ‘thank-you’ or ‘well done’ give us all a better perspective on both successful and unsuccessful endeavours that we find ourselves dealing with day by day.  The Bible says ‘Don’t grow weary of doing good’ (Gal 6:9), and no matter how successful or confident we are, we can all lose sight of what we may be achieving from time to time, thats where some simple reassurances can make a big difference.

    Steve Jobs also had quite a shrewd and philosophical view of life, and death.  In 2005, during his Stanford Commencement Speech, Jobs addressed his own mortality.

    “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

    Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

    Steve clearly lived by this principle, today he gains a degree of immortality with what he leaves behind. We all do well to remember that his life is one lived and used to the fullest.

     
  • Paul Hurst 9:53 am on September 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: danger, difficulties, hobby, landscape, landscapes, law, , police, privacy, ,   

    What costs would you go to for your photography? 

    TSS 'The Duke of Lancaster'

    Last night I risked life, limb, camera equipment and arrest in order to snap some photos of an old rusty ship which is moored up along the North Wales coast but what risks should hobbyist photographers like myself be prepared to take?  And why do casual snappers such as myself find that its becoming increasingly difficult to take pictures like these at all?

    Photographers are admittedly a strange breed.  Often not content with the mere click of an instamatic, we can be seen in all weather gear, at all times of the day trying to set up camera tripods and capture a wonderful view which is often completely missed by the masses who walk past or observe with amusement or suspicion.

    Of course we need to be vigilant in this age of ‘terror’ but we also need to use common sense too.  Certain views, buildings and locations may warrant extra security but unfortunately the palaces and parliaments may also be high up on the tourist trail or photographers list of iconic images to be captured. Why should private security firms be so surprised if photographers want to take photographs of moody country mansions at dusk?

    In light of the general over sensitivity towards photographers, I have found it increasingly difficult to take simple photographs pretty much anywhere.  My photos aren’t of ‘sensitive’ locations and my camera poses no ‘risk’ to anyone other than myself but still, the hobbyist photographer is often singled out by the authorities or over zealous members of the public who somehow feel that they are doing a great service by trying at any length to stop people photographing landscapes.  Of course, we are all allowed the right of privacy and photographers should not invade peoples privacy or take photographs of strangers without permission, but when it comes to landscapes???

    I am a vigilant person.  I keep an eye open (obviously) while I’m out and about taking my photographs so maybe some of these ‘do gooders’ would do well to consider that if there are lots of photographers like me snapping away with their telephoto lenses, it makes it harder for the real criminals to act unnoticed.  Maybe photographers can be the extra set of eyes that the security services say we so badly need.  I’m convinced that the vast majority of landscape photographers such as myself don’t compromise security, we enhance it.

     
  • Paul Hurst 8:41 pm on August 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Read my novel, as I’m writing it! 

    It’s been a while, I’ve been very busy with work and other things but my latest blog post may give you a glimpse into one of my current pet projects.

    For about a year, I’ve been looking at writing my own novel.  I’ve done some research and written a few chapters and although its a lot harder than cobbling a few thoughts together for a blog page, I am looking forward to completing it at some point in the future.

    As part of my book writing, I have also decided to write a smaller, easier book which will help me get used to the format and style that I will need to use for my blockbuster ‘tome’.

    I’ve also decided that I should share my writings in near realtime with anyone who should care to read along and rather than wait until its completed, I thought it may be helpful for myself to think that people may actually be reading it as I’m writing.  I know this cavalier attitude wouldn’t go down well with Hodder and Stoughton or Penguin, but they’re not returning my calls so there we go…

    Hopefully, you can read my first novel (well the first one that I’m actually publishing for now) by clicking below.  Its completely free and all I ask is that you would maybe consider leaving some feedback as this may help me actually write something, someday, worthy of publication.

     
  • Paul Hurst 3:57 pm on May 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , os, os4,   

    …sent from my iPad. 

    It had to happen.

    Yesterday I queued for 3 hours to pick up Apple’s new tablet computer which has the ubiquitous honour of being both loved and loathed by techie geeks and reviewers all around the world.

    Of course one of the first things I did was to copy as many useful apps from my iPhone over to it’s new oversized twin and this post is living proof that some of my money has been spent wisely on both some of the apps and (I’d like to think) the device itself.

    Yes it hasn’t got a keyboard and yes it just about sucks that I can’t really choose where files go both on or off the device but I can confirm that it is much more that just an ‘oversized ipod’.

    The extra screen real estate means I can type accurately and quickly on here which means my blog posts and tweets make slightly more sense than the ones cobbled together on my iPhone in the back of a moving taxi. However I can’t help thinking that for the iPad, the best is yet to come…

    Within a few weeks of writing this, we’ll all be getting ready to welcome the band new iPhone HD and also a new OS which will alter the way that both the iPhone and iPad work. Admittedly such an update won’t install a camera onto the iPad which it is definitely missing but it may add some measure of multitasking which has been near the top of ‘most wanted features’ ever since the Cupertino boys came to their senses and added ‘copy and paste’ into the OS last year.

    As is often the case with mobile devices, the software really can make a huge difference to how practically useful these devices are and as Steve Jobs warms up for the next big announcements in June, it’s only a matter of time before more people are wowed by apple’s elegant and simple (if not slightly overpriced) way of doing things and just like on Friday when I was quaffing free food and drink at Apple’s expense, I can hardly wait!

     
    • Mr. Tablets PC 5:07 pm on June 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hi !, you have a great blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you! Thank you for your info.And this is Tablets Computers site/blog. It pretty much covers Tablets Computers related stuff.

  • Paul Hurst 8:02 pm on April 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ben, butterworth, , , heckle, heckled, lesbian, , news, politicians, politics, prime   

    What makes a good ‘Heckle’? 

    It had to happen.  It wasn’t a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’. The General Election campaign was barely 24 hours old before @benbutterworth accosted Gordon Brown en-route from ‘keeping in touch with the electorate’ and getting into his no-doubt bulletproof Jag, but what makes a good heckle?

    Mr Butterworth’s beef was with the fact that he has been unable to get his eldest child into the state school of their choosing and as this footage shows, he didn’t shy away from giving the PM a piece of his mind. “Gordon! I thought you wanted to talk to the public” was the statement that could of easily doubled as a question and as the Prime-Minister made his hasty getaway the security bods made it quite clear that it’s the PM who gets close to the electorate rather than the other way around.  So now the dust has settled, what should we make of the Heckler and the Heckled?

    The Heckler

    Mr Butterworth’s tone was forceful, clear and passionate but importantly he didn’t ‘over-egg the pudding’.  Some hecklers get lost in the emotion of the moment and throw their tempers (and shoes) at their targets. Usually resulting in an arrest, this rarely benefits their cause, instead making a speedy exit look sensible rather than seedy.  Todays heckle was well delivered and it hit home hard.  Less successful political heckles included ‘over-egging’ John Prescott,  the protester didn’t really have that much to say and as it turns out, nor did the Deputy Prime-Minister.

    Some hecklers also fall at the first hurdle which is ‘make sure your target hears what you’ve got to say’.  Other hecklers achieve much more with one incident in particular not only making the news headlines but was made ‘during’ the news headlines.  Who could ever forget the Lesbian invasion of the BBC News studios? (No-one thanks to this clip on youtube).

    Hecklers may only be exercising their democratic right to free speech but they have more to lose than they think.  A poorly executed heckle can do more harm than good although Mr Butterworth’s example from today could easily go down in political history as ‘textbook’.

    The Heckled

    The second party caught up in the moment immediately starts at a disadvantage.  The element of surprise is a vital strategy, straight from the heckler’s handbook.  Like an assassination attempt, the heckle can go relatively unchallenged for a few seconds before anyone gets chance to react.  Mr Brown found himself caught in the classic dichotomy of what to do.  Should he try to rescue the situation with a smile and a handshake? (Unlikely at the best of times) or should he just get out of there as quickly as possible?

    The Prime-Minister plumped for option two which sometimes can work well while other times can be quite damaging in itself.  When hecklers don’t appear too ‘rabid’ as in the case of Mr Butterworth, it can look quite ignorant when impassioned pleas for justice or answers fall on deaf ears.  In reality, Mr Brown probably didn’t have much option in the situation as security concerns can take precedence over PR however wherever possible, it can be helpful if the Heckled can muster some kind of response to what is put before them.

    One of many?

    As I mentioned earlier, we are barely twenty-four hours into this election campaign and it would be very surprising indeed if this heckle turned out to be an isolated incident.  With most heckles its probably healthy for us to remember that to see the real heckle and harangue pros at work, don’t need to look far beyond our illustrious politicians themselves.  They are all experts at it. In fact the irony of all of this is that you only need to watch them in Parliament to see how it really should be done.

     
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