YteneWeb The Weirder Side Of Life…

March 31, 2013

Weyhill 2013, Take One

Filed under: Travel,UK,Wallpaper,Wildlife — admin @ 6:00 pm

A year ago we had Easter temperatures nudging mid-twenties centigrade and higher, and [quite a few] people in the sea. Today apparently the best we could hope for was 5 or 6 degrees centigrade, which would be about freezing in the open air. Which of course meant that it was time to dust off the 7D and go point it at some raptors at Weyhill.

A few changes to this year’s flying display, with some welcome additions, though unfortunately I found my experimentation with the camera probably wasted more shots than I would have liked. The best of the bunch seemed to come out at 800 ISO, which is why this selection looks a little grainy, but the fault was the user, not the kit [as always].

I had a couple of objectives for this visit… First, I wanted to experiment with centre-spot focus control with the aim of persuading the camera not to resolve distant foliage with precise detail, but to stay with the subject. That was more successful than I would have hoped for. Second, I wante to see if I could balance the “trinity” – the “ISO” sensitivity of the sensor, the shutter speed and the aperture, to get clear effect. In these examples I reckon that I over-played the ISO sensitivity – shutter releases were all in the range of 1/2000th to 1/2500th of a second, aperture was dialled in at around f8.0 or so, and the ISO, at 800, was probably too far. I reckon that I could have dropped the ISO to say 640, trimmed the shutter speed down towards 1/1250th or so and still got good results.

Still, I don’t go expecting perfect, I go expecting to learn – and I think today was an OK day in that regard.

March 20, 2013

Back To Reality, Part One

Filed under: Gaming — admin @ 11:10 am

One of my friends is in the process of reading Reamde, a novel by Neal Stephenson, which is based around a company that has produced a large and complex on-line game. As he told me how much he was enjoying this story, I was reminded of my own recent experiences in the world of computer gaming, and, perhaps more importantly, just how far they have come in the last few years.

Exhibit One: Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

This is the fifth installment in a series of “swords and sorcery” games from Bethesda Softworks, and it is set in a land [Skyrim] that borders the locations of other games in the pantheon. The premise of Skyrim is that, through your in-game avatar, you step out and explore a vast, sprawling landscape, take on challenges, face assorted dangers, and emerge as [hopefully] a hero and savior to the peoples of the land. Not unlike other games, then? Well, almost, but not quite. For the world of Skyrim is so vast and complex as to be completely beguiling. The landscape was hand-crafted by a team of more than 30 artists. It’s filled with a broad assortment of people from holy priests to cunning assassins, bards, merchants, warriors, lords and peasants. and monsters. Especially monsters. From snowy mountain peaks to boggy lowlands, from arid tundra to gloomy caves and dungeons, Skyrim is teeming with life. But perhaps where it stands out from other games is the subtle sophistication it displays. If you  are nice to a computer-generated character from the game, they will be nice in return – they may loan you artifacts or help you with advice. Trade well with merchants and your prices will improve, and so on. Believe it or not, you can also find and marry a partner in the game… It’s a complete world in a microcosm, and it all runs in the PC on your desk. Truly, it’s amazing what can be simulated in just one PC running on your desktop, or how accurate the simulation can be.


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