Wednesday, 26 March 2008

My Grandad

I"ve only got one photograph of my grandad. He died at Gallipoli in the first world war when my dad was two. The photo is a bit the worse for wear. I got it about 25 or 26 years ago and it hasn't got any worse since the day I got it.

It isn't a great photo, but then it dates back about 95 years.

My Grandad

As you can see, it's a bit knackered - the sellotape has been there as long as I have known this photograph. So, I thought I'd have a go at doing some work on it. I didn't use a tutorial or a book, I just tried various things that I already know and took my time doing it.

This is the result:

My Grandad

I've got to say that I'm quite chuffed with it. I know, I have no way of knowing that his eyes were blue - I use my son's eye colour, and my dad's were the same colour as well. I guess a purist may say that I shouldn't have coloured it. I haven't, the original is still here with me. I like what I've done and I think my son will like it when he sees it as well.

Friday, 21 March 2008


So having finished working for the day I decided it was time for a g&t. On the way to making it I happened to pass the television which was happily talking away to itself, broadcasting SkyNews to nobody in particular. Yes, I know, wasting energy, it should have been turned off; mea culpa.

Anyway, I just happened to catch the story of the moment. David Cameron, the leader of the British Conservative Party has been caught on camera cycling the wrong way along a one-way street. This little gem had a large, white letters on red background, banner headline reading Cameron Controversy.

It must be a slow news day, but SkyNews, thank you, you have just made my day.

A Few More Pix

OK, one last play with Photoshop and then I'm off to do some work.

Aaron put me onto tilt-shift photography. I'd never heard of it before but it is a fun little technique. I'm not sure what it's applications would be, I just like what it does. Basically you take a photograph and blur parts of it so that one little part stands out in sharp focus. This gives the effect of a macro photograph. So you are actually creating an optical illusion. Having fooled the viewer into thinking they are looking at a macro then they believe that the object they are looking at is very small, so it must be a model in model scenery!

Tilt-Shift Photography

Now, of course I can't put this up without saying where I got the tutorial from, so I would like to thank the guys at Tilt-Shift Photography for their tutorial. It does seem to me, however that there is room for some improvement in this technique which I will keep quiet about for now, at least until I have the time to try it out!

Now I did say that PS Hero has a great tutorial for improving photographs and I said I'd show you a before and after shot:


More intense reds, brighter greens (but not unrealistically so), whiter whites, I know which one I prefer. In case you are wondering the photoshopped one is the one on the right. By the way, it is the Skopelos Town Clock Tower.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

A Certain Circularity

So, Aaron, aka An Englishman In Dubai, inspired by my efforts at tarting up my photo's with Photoshop has decided to have a look at PS Hero's website for more tips.

The question is, where did I find Hero?

Well, I'll tell you ... I was on Aaron's blog a few days ago and was reading a post called The Long Haul about how he passes the time on long haul flights, in the first line or two there is a link to Life Hacker which Aaron claimed to be his favourite techie blog. I followed the link and, lo and behold, there was an article about creating reflections with Photoshop by... yep, you guessed it, PS Hero.

Nice bit of circularity there I think. And I will be trying a new technique called Tilt-shift photography very soon - thanks for the tip on that one Aaron.

A bit more playing with Photoshop

OK, another tutorial and I got this as a result:

Kodak Film

The tutorial covered the film effect and the drop shadow was part of the tutorial that resulted in the orchid. It took quite a while to do this one, I wouldn't describe it as an easy tutorial, but although it was technically difficult, PS Hero really does have the knack of simplifying things. So thanks again mate, I really do enjoy learning new tricks.

I was looking at his site earlier and he has a great tutorial for improving photo's - I might do one over the weekend and post a 'before and after' so that you can see the difference.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Photoshop Hero

A few days ago I discovered a new blog - well, new to me at any rate and I've gotta say I'm dead impressed with it. PS Hero puts Photoshop tutorials on line - free, gratis and for nothing. Seems like a nice man to me. Anyway, within seconds of finding the site I had added a link to to it on my links list (it's the one that says Great Photoshop Tutotials - my spelling mistake, I just haven't got around to correcting it yet). If you use a digital camera it is worth taking a look - especially if you have only bought Photoshop recently (4 years ago in my case).

Now you all know I like to play with Photoshop, but this guy is seriously good - he takes good photo's and really improves them, sometimes with difficult stuff sometimes with easy stuff. Anyway, I thought I'd give one of his tutorials a go and share the results, so, what do you think of this:


I've gotta say, I think it looks good. Don't get me wrong, I won't do this to all my posts, but I will be interested to see what this looks like when i've printed at 75cm x 75cm. I'm not entirely convinced the double matte effect will work quite as well, but if it does the I will be well chuffed - whichever way it will be worth the few hundred dirhams to find out - I'll let you know when I've done it - just got to find the exact right photo for it first.

Meanwhile, I shall carry on visiting PS Hero or a regular basis.


Friday, 14 March 2008

Tea in Bed

So, normally the alarm rings at 6 am, I get up (I am one of these annoying gits that gets up and is working at full speed instantly), put the kettle on, go and clean my teeth, go back to the kettle and make tea for myself and Mrs Dubaibilly. Usually I get a very sleepy "thank you" and I go off to finish getting ready for work.

This morning, being a weekend, no alarm. I woke up naturally at about 8:25 or so and was unable to spend any longer in bed by 8:30. So I got up, made tea for myself and Mrs Dubaibilly and came in to our spare bedroom and did a bit of blogging - having not done any for a while. When I took Mrs DB her tea there were no mumbled words of thanks, just gentle breathing noises so I quietly put the tea on her bedside cabinet and left.

I've just made a second cup - I was suprised to find that she hadn't even touched the first one - Mrs DB has a built in radar for tea. Ah well, I disposed of the first and made her a second - dunno whether she will drink that one or not. Poor lass, she must be exhausted, it's 9:15 now and she very rarely sleeps this late.

Well, that's my blogging done - I've got a shed load of work to do - I'm preparing the timetable for my school for next year and, although I have a computer programme to do the hard work, somebody has to do all the data entry and, given the principals of gigo that person has to be me.

See ya later

Poppy Seeds

I do like having bread rolls with poppy seeds on them, but poppy seeds are a banned substance here in the UAE. On March 10th 2008, Gulf News published this article which includes the line

Poppy seeds, a common ingredient in dishes in some countries, are illegal her.

(my bold, my italics, their spelling mistake).

So, will somebody please explain to me why Spinneys are allowed to sell bagels covered in poppy seeds? Especially given that I can be put in prison for bringing the things into the country.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Long time no blog Everything OK

was a text message that I received today from a number that I didn't recognise. my phone gave it as +34 and a load of numbers, so i googled it and found that it came from Spain. I am guessing, then, that is is from Keefieboy who, apart from his much better half, mama duck, is the only person I know in Spain.

So mate, I know, it has been a while - 3 March, and to tell the truth, the reason is I'm bloody knackered. At the moment I am working 11 hour days and I'm working 7 days a week, Mrs Dubaibilly is somewhat in the same boat and she is every bit as knackered as me. We both get home sometime between 6 and 7 (and remember I get up at 6 in the morning to go to work), have a couple of glasses of wine and something and go to bed. Having a life doesn't come into it!

Anyway, that's why I haven't blogged for a while - basically, at the moment I've got bugger all to say, and even if I had I'd probably fall asleep while I was saying it.

By the way, mama duck hasn't blogged for a while either - is she as knackered as me?

Monday, 3 March 2008

Why don't things resize automatically?

On computers, I mean. I got an email from Kat (she really has got an amazing blog, if you haven't been you should go take a look) - anyway, she had told me that my slide show was blocking part of my posts and the email contained a screen shot to show me what was wrong.

Now, I can't reproduce the problem, but it would seem that on her computer (which apparently has quite a small screen {I think}) the slide show window doesn't resize. Instead it blocks off part of my posts.

I mean, what is the matter with these people who do this web thingy stuff, surely somebody can find a way to make these things resize to fit whatever screen you want them to.

Anyway, I've moved the slide show to the bottom of the stuff on the left side so that Kat and anyone else who wants to can see the top post without interference, and anyone who wants to look at the slide show thing just has to scroll down a bit.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Let Them Eat Cake! 3

Mrs Dubaibilly is baking banana bread again this morning - I wonder what she is going to put in it this time?

If you aren't sure what this is about you can find out here and here.

Bring on the banana bread!

Quelle Surprise!

So, what I had done was gone onto expatriate and I was looking through some of the blogs on the UAE - Dubai page, when I came across An Englishman in Dubai. And there, on the top blog entry on this blog I had never even seen before, I've been tagged with this literary meme thing! And he never told me!

Well, I nearly fell off my chair, this is the first time I have been (fairly) randomly blog trolling and seen a reference to my own blog! I'm dead chuffed, if feels like getting an unexpected Christmas pressie!

Ah well, small things...