Category Archives: Photos

Hudl 2 camera walk.

I’m very lucky to have a lovely walk just outside of my door which allows me to test out the tablet and phone cameras in a picturesque and leafy setting.

The Hudl 1, let’s be honest, had a pretty dismal camera. I’ve read in a number of reviews that the camera on the Hudl 2 is a step up, but not necessarily a huge one… It’s not a deal breaker for me but I thought I’d pop out and give it a test drive anyhow.

First off.. The Android operating system has never been speedy for me when it comes to picture taking so I was a bit surprised when the pictures came out quite snappily (ho ho). The pictures are all at a pretty high resolution and pixel depth and, for the most part, I found very few mis-fires and blurred pictures (which has more often than not been the case for me with Android devices in the past).

The negative is that the images taken do seem to have a number of filters applied at source which I can’t seem to turn off or get rid of. Less good, that aspect is. I’ll keep looking for some toggle switches.

However the panorama and pano sphere settings are fab. I like them loads…

(as aways click on the image for a larger version. This one exported at a not small 6400 x 1000 pixel count).

…and then, at the end of the walk, there was a nice sit down so I could go through the pictures and chat with friends…

All in all? Far more impressed with the camera on the Hudl 2 than I had anticipated at all. It’s not a full on camera replacement of course (nor is it as good as some of the phone/cameras which boast far higher specs for far higher prices) but the best camera is the one ย you have one you and, in this case, it’s not bad at all…

(Some of these pictures had a smidge of auto colour adjust applied in Snapseed. That said it was all still in tablet and, for the most part, was one or two simple filters applied… Nothing huge in terms of image editing).

The Three MuskArteers.


Without wanting to sound ridiculously immodest I think I’m fairly OK at my day job (which is as a ย College Graphics and Creative Media teacher).

I’m not your average teacher and I don’t teach in an average way. Which is good, just don’t tell the Government because it’s not about being good any more it’s about standards and compliance. You’re not good unless you’re outstanding and you’re not outstanding unless you toe the party line.

I don’t. But all the students stay and they all pass with grades they weren’t expecting and, along the way, we tend to do huge trade shows and events as we go.

And now I’m ridiculously lucky to be joined by a Photography and Fine Art teacher who are equally good and equally mad. It made EGX an absolute joy and when we all decided to be Muskarteers on the final day, well that’s a perfectly rational decision for us, really. It’s going to be a fab year in the School of Art. Unless they make us comply too often in which case it was be an above average, semi-soulless, standardised sort of year.

We even took over the Cosplay stage for the final hour of the day, dressed as Muskarteers and with anyone with a sword joining us. It was as excellent as that sounds.


As was drawing on tablets dressed in Cosplay ๐Ÿ™‚ As was EGX as a whole in fact…

…but, true to form, I was finishing off the Cosplay on the train up to day four of the show. While I lauded the two newish teachers at the College – and it is excellent to be part of an A-Team – I’m always supported by my excellent wife who made the tabard and boots and so on. She left a space on the front for me to draw the crest which I did on the train.

…and which she, being the long suffering and excellent wife that she is, filmed for me…

First Cosplay. Definitely (hopefully) not the last.

Odd views of the world. A bit more on phone photography.


The iPhone is more than a phone for me… In fact I rarely use it as such. Instead it has, for a long while, been my primary method of creating images, initially drawn and now photographed.

The iPad (and a range of tablets including the Hudl, Surface, Galaxy Tab, a variety of Dell, Lenovo and Asus tablets and so on) is currently my go-to painting and drawing device because of the increased screen real estate – something that I remember not being convinced about when I imported my very first iPad. But then, somehow, the larger screens became the ones I picked up most to do a painting and the Phone… well, it didn’t languish, but the drawn images became fewer and further between. I still draw on the small screen but those pictures are rarer.


Stylus T says Ribbet, for example, was drawn on my phone a couple of days after I’d come back from a lovely holiday while I was going through my pics.

And therein lies the rub: what I love about the iPhone is the camera. The Lumia‘s might have better glass but the iPhone, currently, has the better apps and the quicker pedal to metal. The Galaxy S4 was awful in this respect and I took far more blurry photo than I would have liked with that phone which, apart from that one pitfall, I liked loads. All of the pics in this blog and this blog were taken with the iPhone… Its my go to photography device 99% of the time and with the addition of an Olloclip it becomes even more fun:

Pink Marshmallow.

White Marshmallow

Chin Chin and Green Grass.

As you can probably guess I’m extremely fond of Autostitch, Boinx’ You Gotta See This app (which, while brilliant, is VERY MUCH in need of an update) and Olloclip’s in general. I’ve mentioned it before but I was utterly heartbroken when one of my two Ollo’s bit the dust ๐Ÿ™

’nuff said.

I’ve written about Phoneography before, and no doubt will again ((although you’d be far better served by checking out the work of the very wonderful Nettie ‘Lumilyon’ Edwards who takes mobile phone photography very much to a higher level)). My mind is already moving towards the likely September 6th announcement of a new iPhone (although I will have an eye very firmly pointed to the keynote at IFA for the Samsung Note 4 – which is a fabulous phone. I love the S-Pen integration very much) but, with both announcements, it’ll be the camera that I’ll be most interested in seeing the evolution to come…

Back at the Labs, again :)


Last night was a very lovely meet up in London with a brain trust of tech cleverness over a curry with a mate called Nick who’s building something brilliant. How’s that for an intro sentence ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m not overly sure whether it was an unannounced public shenanigan day but Nick and I didn’t have a single part of our journey (well, one train was OK) that wasn’t spoiled by a drunken mess of noise and confusion. Odd. I’ve done London trips a good few times on a Friday/Saturday night but don’t remember one as messy (and vaguely unsettling) as this one. Actually it started with a couple of nitwits shouting and V signing us as we walked into town and stayed at that level of intelligence until we reached out destination. An odd Saturday night all told.

(Raspberry sun spot).

Regardless: London means one thing and the one thing is Chin Chin Labs in Camden Market. We were there to pick up something but you can’t not have the special while in the shop ๐Ÿ™‚ Nick had a Brownwich (two chocolate coookies with vanilla ice cream that looked ultra yum) and I had one of the two specials (Cream Cheese, Red Velvet and Grilled White Chocolate the other being Cherry Fizz which I was also sorely tempted by). Possibly the best one I’ve had from there, although I tend to say that a lot. Mmmm mmm Mmmm.

(the happy moment when the ice cream is there).

I’ve done a number of Chin Chin Labs inspired pics in the past (and these are just the ones that’re tagged, must get in there and fix some more sometime when I have free time (hahaha). It’s very much one of my favourite zone places on the planet to work. Such a shame they don’t have a shop in Guildford… But at least Camden’s not toooo far away.

Pics taken on iPhone 5S using my trusty Olloclip.

Relaxed friday at the ‘Leccy.

Blimey was that only two days ago? Had loads of stuff happen since then.

Twice a year the Electric Theatre holds a very lovely Family Festival – a chance for younger kids to get involved in holiday activities they might normally not be a part of, like art classes, discos, theatrical workshops and so on.

During the latter half of last year, can’t remember when, I was asked if I could help them collaborate on a relaxed Friday within the week where special needs children of all types would feel welcome and catered for. Not that they’ve ever been unwelcome at anything the ‘Leccy has put on and I’ve always had a good ratio of ASC* kids in my art classes… but to put on an event where they would be the principle audience? Exciting and terrifying all in one go, for the people who’d not done them before (and for me too, way back when before my journey with Autism began).

In the end I was needed far less than was expected (turning up for a few meetings, suggesting changes in signage etc) and was on hand during the day to talk to parents and children but did so less often than the Electric Theatre staff who seem amazingly qualified in stepping in and talking to people at the drop of a hat. All of the training and talks and ‘what ifs’ disappeared in a melee of 100 kids and parents, all happily chatting and helping each other and providing very positive feedback at the end. I’m fairly sure this is just the beginning of this provision from the venue.

Personal highlight? More than a few. One young boy wanted to be on the stage, so the actors let him and he became an unassuming star of the show, a few kids with severe motor impairments came along and ended up smiling and laughing in a circular dance with others around the actors. It was a hugely, wonderfully, completely joyous time and, speaking as a parent of an Autistic child, I could completely relate to the nervous looks on the faces of the parents as they walked in and relieved and happy faces at the end, they and their children having been a part of something that seemed always aimed only at neurotypical children and families.

(the quiet corner, which was so lovely as a space I could happily have curled up in there to chill out myself…)

*Autistic Spectrum Condition seems to be taking over from Autistic Spectrum Disorder which I’m glad about. The latter description has always felt very negative to me.

Talking ’bout the Macro’lution…

I count myself very lucky to be in this strange, lovely world of artwork being made on portable screens. It’s fabulous to be involved in the growth of a medium that changes and evolves so rapidly.

On that subject I was with a clutch of the family earlier and, in the room we sat and chatted happily in, there was a vase of roses that Granpa had bought for Granma.ย  So I took a ‘few’ macro and fisheye shots (see >>here<<) with a couple of my macro lenses – which then prompted a discussion on which was best, which cost more and so on.

So, here are the three that I’m most fond of:


The Olloclip is a wonderful piece of kit – a serious, machine tooled 3 in 1 lens that perfectly encapsulates the phone it sits on, even going so far as to rotate happily away from the power button that it could so easily hide. The above one is the 4/4S Oclip photographed by the 5/5S clip ๐Ÿ™‚

You can buy the Olloclip from a range of shops, Amazon for example, which tells me there’s an updated version which has 2 Macro settings. Nuts, I know what I’d have asked for my birthday!

((slight edit: in the end I met up with and said hallo to Team Olloclip at the Gadget Show Live and bought a 3 setting Macro lens and case. Very happy with it and looking forward to more macros coming up ๐Ÿ™‚ ))


The Astro-Media clip – a fabulous cardboard cut out and stick together macro lens that (sadly) is only for iPhone 4/4S at the moment (although it does for the most part fit the 5/5S just a little less snugly than it does the 4). It’s cheap as chips though and the sense of accomplishment from taking photos with a lens you constructed is very cool indeed.

You can buy it >>here<<


This is a rubber, almost lego brick sized lens which has suckers that you attach to the phone. It fitted the Galaxy S4 more snugly but, just about, fits on the iPhone. I like it a lot, primarily because my wife and daughter bought me one each for Christmas, unaware that the other was buying one, and both bought me a different type of lens (wife bought me a fisheye lens and daught a macro). Again fairly cheap – a ยฃ3 stocking filler at the time – and works very well for the money (although it’s harder to find online. Here’s one though).

Why attach a lens to a camera phone? Well, it adds to the options and allows for experimentation of image making. Which is part of the fun of the game…

Monday fruit faces.

Mondays haven’t been great for a while. Four classes back to back with no discernible break is a bit wearing, especially after a weekend.


Compounding the issue I generally get up so dopily I pack fruit rather than make a packed lunch. This morning I packed this to keep me going through the day and it made me smile when placed on the kitchen table ready to be transferred to my bag. Which meant I had to photograph it.

Once snapped, between all of the classes, off and on, I moved the photograph into ArtRage (iPhone version) and threw a few of the now painty pixels around.

Which gave me this:


And once classes and so on were finished I ended up with this:

Said it before, will say it again. Love ArtRage app.

Which reminds me…

Wrote this on my Flickr (I may have become verbally carried away) and intended to blog it up so here it am:I decided to have a therapeutic draw in my local PC World (and, in fact, they’re so used to me coming in that staff tell me when new machines are in, what I should draw on next etc) and, unusually, I thought I’d have a go on an iPad mini (retina).

[Unusually because I have an iPad (although not a mini) and I’m happy enough with my Hudl for that screen size. ]

The thing which inspired me to have a try was the fact that a friend had bought an iPad mini retina and wanted to try out my collection of styli to find the right one (which is the right way of doing it, rather than the way I do it which is to buy them all). We found that many just didn’t connect to the screen at all, or with such a poor connection that they were taken off the list of possibles very quickly.

This machine was different – although similar in ways. A few styli didn’t connect (but that’s not 100% unusual, the Jot Pro doesn’t connect to a few machines especially the Lenovo’s for example). And of course each machine does have one styli out of the bunch that works better than most (more often than not the Stylus Sock but I’ve had a lot of luck with the Jot Script too recently).

This time each stylus registered for a brief split second, then paused, then worked. Which I’d be less surprised by if I’d only been using a bluetooth stylus but in this case I wasn’t.

Odd. And in many ways it puts me off a Mini, but does make me want to test out more MIni R’s to see if this is a replicated thing and, if so, which thing (non-connection or paused connection) is the replicated instance.

To the science mobile! When time allows…