Monday, January 25, 2016

Captain America versus Captain Australia

Captain America
A weak man empowered to the peak of human performance by an experimental serum.

Captain Australia
Overweight man empowered to the peak of human obnoxiousness by cheap alcohol.

Captain America
Was trapped in ice at the end of World War II and survived in a state of suspended animation until revived.

Captain Australia
Is trapped in a repetitive office job or trade throughout the year only to resurface every Australia Day long weekend.

Captain America
Wears a body suit emblazoned with an American flag motif.

Captain Australia
Wears a towel emblazoned with the Australian flag as a cape.

Captain America
Wears a uniform that is fire retardant and bulletproof.

Captain Australia
Wears shorts which reveal a bit of arse crack, bonds singlet and thongs(flip flops) he bought at Target.

Captain America
Has a nearly indestructible shield that he throws at his enemies.

Captain Australia
Has the lid of an esky that he uses as a cricket bat or wickets or as a frisbee that he throws at his friends.

Captain America
Can bench press 545kg and run 1.6km (one mile) in 73seconds.

Captain Australia
Went to the gym, once.

Captain America
Is highly resistant to gases that could limit his focus.

Captain Australia
After an afternoon of BBQ sausages, onions, white bread and beer creates gases that limit other people’s ability to focus.

Captain America
Has extensive battle experience and training making him an expert tactician and excellent field commander.

Captain Australia
Encourages his mates to participate in increasingly embarrassing and dangerous stunts simply by stating “Carn mate, it’ll be hilarious”.

Captain America
Has amazing reflexes.

Captain Australia
Can trip and fall, twisting his ankle so severely that he will require emergency medical treatment, all without spilling a drop of beer.

Captain America
Rides a weaponised motorcycle.

Captain Australia drives a second hand commodore that he and his mate fitted out to make “fully sick”.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Force Awakens

So I have kept quiet as long as I can, because I know this will not be a popular view but Star Wars VII The Force Awakens is OKish. Visually it was entertaining even when some of the CGI still had the space craft, in some scenes looking like children’s toys hanging from strings Thunderbirds style.

The nods to the original Star Wars trilogy , Episodes 4-6, were great, including re purposing dialogue and recreating replica scenes. The final movie was clearly edited with the reaction of the large crowds expected in the opening week in mind. The true die hard Star Wars fans were sure to be in attendance and most likely clap and cheer at key moments. Many of these moments is seemed as the movie paused for allow for this reaction. The most obvious scene being the first appearance of Han Solo and Chewbacca when they entered the Millennium Falcon.

Harrison Ford’s reprisal of Han Solo was superb bringing back the swagger and irreverent humour – the definite highlight of the movie. I am however somewhat concerned for Mr Ford, whose trademark lopsided smile is increasing in its lopsidedness. It will not be long before his smile is vertical. Perhaps that is why they had to kill him.

As much as the Star Wars universe is VERY closely related and a little incestuous it is all for gender equality. The captains of both the Resistance and the Stormtroopers are female. Rey was also undoubtedly a hero of the story.

Race equality is still to be achieved. Finn, possibly the only black person in the galaxy does become a hero by leaving the First Order, helping the rescue key characters and providing critical intelligence – the type only a janitor could have – about the First Order’s military objectives, tactics and defenses. The franchise is caught in a now outdated notion that good (The Republic) is white and bad (The First Order) is black. It does get confusing when the black man dressed in a white Stormtropper uniform leaves the dark side by stripping off the uniform to reveal black undergarments as he joins the white side.

The movie will also prove to be a merchandising gold mine with the invention of new space craft – my favourite being Rey’s flying USB stick, and the return of old craft and new characters including a new bleep boop droid that has much more emotional responses and is surprisingly difficult to capture there are plenty of costumes and figurines to be sold.

One of my favourite new characters is Maz Kanta who is helping the resistance and yet hides Luke Skywalker’s light saber from them. Voiced by Lupita Nyongo, this character appears to a Jim Henson style recreation of Miss Schlowski, the principal from Kindergarten Cop.

The story is riddled with plot holes and leaps in logic some even bigger than the corridors of the Finalizer and which were large enough for a dog fight involving multiple star fighters and tie fighters. What happened to Poe after crashing the Tie Fighter? How come Kylo Ren, Head of the Knights of Ren so bad with a light saber and not much better with his use of The Force? How did the Millennium Falcon fly so easily having been considered junk and therefore unused for decades? Is Rey actually a savant, having learned to speak Wookie , control The Force and fight with  a light saber all without any training?

For me the must frustrating issue was the inconsistency of the power of a light saber. In previous episodes just one touch could completely sever a limb. In the battle between Finn and Kylo Ren and then Rey and Kylo Ren they felled trees in one moment and barely singed clothing the next. Finn’s head should have been severed when struck on the face instead he survived with only a burn mark that did not even blister.

Over all it was a 135min, $200million teaser for Episode VIII. Good light entertainment for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Photography - Lens Hoods

Nikon lens hoods source
I suspect that many people use a lens hood to make the lens look bigger. And size does not always matter. The lens hood does actually have a purpose. The primary use of the lens hood is to shade the lens, preventing light from hitting the front lens element from the side. This side lighting can reduce the contrast and create flares in the image.

For more information about choosing and using lens hoods correctly and other free photography lessons visit

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Photographing Fireworks

Fireworks make for spectacular photographs but can take some practice to master.  Fireworks create a lot of smoke that will continuously build throughout the display. Photographs taken early in the display will be cleaner, particularly close ups.

In taking photos of the large colour bursts, when using a slow shutter speed time in relation to the opening of the shutter with sound of the firework being shot into the sky. This will mean that the shutter is open as the firework explodes into colour and will capture the arcs of light. If you wait until you can see the bursts it might be too late!

This article discusses camera settings, equipment and composition for taking pleasing photographs of fireworks. To read more visit

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sexist or Not Sexist?

It has been a confusing time recently if you are trying to define sexist behaviour

Chris Gayle telling a female reporter she has beautiful eyes and asking her out for a drink is inappropriate and sexist. The behaviour was criticised immediately by the male Channel Ten commentators who also apologised on behalf of the network, During a recent Big Bash League game

Not Sexist
The exact same commentator who had only minutes before had made a lewd comment suggesting the Chris Gayle was running awkwardly because his groin must be sore from over use. No-one seems to have noticed the double standard, perhaps because it was hidden by the double entendre.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton sent a text message to political editor Samantha Maiden a “mad F*cking witch”. This was sexist. An apology was issued.

Not Sexist[1]
Mr Dutton apologised stating that the text was not meant for her but rather about her. He was meant to send the text to Mr Jamie Briggs, who stood down from his position as Minister for Cities and the Built Environment after an incident involving a female public servant in Hong Kong. An incident on which Ms Maiden reported. Prime Minister Turnball has admonished Mr Dutton about his text but dished out no real consequences. The Same PM who in September 2015 declared it “unAustralian to disrespect women”

Reverse Sexist
A junior female MMA official at a recent weigh-in ogled the male fighters as they stripped off to their obviously sponsored underwear. The female attendant who does not appear to have any real purpose during the process was standing right next to the athletes and copped a real eyeful. The video show she really appreciated the athleticism of the men and her eyes bulged out of her head, almost cartoon like.

Reverse Not Sexist
Nuala Hafner who was on location at Balmoral Beach to report the weather for Sunrise in December 2014. Hafner approached a fit male clad only in speedo as he completed his morning exercises, introduced herself and then asked if he was single. This was considered hilariously funny by the in studio hosts. It must be said that breakfast television hosts will laugh incessantly at even the slightest hint of humour – it might have something to do with them starting work at 3 in the morning.

Women getting paid on average 24% less than men in Australia for performing the same job (

Not Sexist
Women getting paid equal money as men in world tennis whilst performing 40% less work. Men’s tennis is best of 5 sets, women’s tennis is best of 3.

This is all too confusing for me  to work out what is and is not sexist. Perhaps when The Footy Show returns to television in a next couple of months they can clear up this whole cafuffle.

[1] Not sure why female to male is called reverse sexist, surely the reverse of sexism is respectful interaction.