Back on it... / by Neil Alexander

Neil Alexander's Best of 2009 - October - Sunset over Lymm Dam

Crikey, its been so long since I've posted that you guys were probably thinking that I'd given up or disappeared or something. No such like I'm afraid. The frightful delay was a result of my deciding that a new blog system and host was required. Previously I've been using the dotNet Blog Engine which has served me very well over the years. Unfortunately (or fortunately - depends on your point of view) the readership of this blog has reached such a level that the hosting I had in place was no longer sufficient - it was running over a broadband connection, albeit a fast one, on a server in the office cellar. The downside to the .Net engine was that it required a SQL server to power it, and a hosted SQL installation doesn't come cheap. So to cut a long story short, the past 4 weeks have found me immersed in php and trying to comprehend the behemoth that is WordPress. I finally have a system that I'm pretty happy with, though moving 200 odd posts from one system to the other was a tad trying at times. I just hope that I don't have to move again in the near future! I've used a templated design from which I've hacked around with a little, and a host of assorted plugins which take care of everything from the Lightbox to the related posts and from SEO to performance caching. So I'd be interested to know your thoughts. I still have a few smaller issues to resolve, and tweak, but if you spot anything which looks broken or out of place, I'd be keen to hear from you.

Anyways, back to the photography.....

I grabbed myself a copy of David Hobby's Strobist Lighting Seminar DVD set from the Flash Centre along with a bunch of gels, and some other bits and bobs. (A+ to the Flash Centre - ordered Wed eve, arrived on doorstep Fri am!) If you've never heard of David Hobby and you're into your off-camera flash set ups, then you are seriously missing out. The guy is a genius and if there's anything he doesn't know about strobes, then it's not worth knowing. He's also created quite a little community over at his blog, and the wealth of knowledge there is stunning. In the DVD set, the first DVD consists of a comprehensive guide to the kind of gear you'd need, and how to cut costs to a minimum. In the next 4 discs David is recorded giving a seminar where he goes into great depth on everything to do with OCF, and then the final 3 discs are a series of location shoots where he explains his various set ups and how to get the best out of your gear on location. All in all a very worthwhile purchase. I've learnt a gamut of new information and am flooded with ideas to try.

As for shooting myself, well what with the new blog and Mr Hobby sidetracking me, its been a little quiet lately. I've been experimenting quite a bit, but nothing worth showing. Apart from the above that is - it's the last chance that I think I'm going to get an Autumn shot of Lymm dam this year. It's a 5 frame HDR shot with the Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 at F11 processed in Photomatix, and cropped a little.