Experiments in macrophotography

Recently I’ve been having fun experimenting with exploring the world at the macro level and seeing what I can capture.  After much research and consideration I decided that I probably didn’t want to invest in any specific macro lenses for now as I already have quite a collection of lenses and you can only carry so much around.

So, for this first foray I’ve settled on a fairly simple setup – Canon 7D with a 12mm Kenko Extension Tube and the EF 50mm f1/8 II.  For the second two shots I also brought my trusty 580EX II into the mix because there wasn’t enough light in the kitchen to get any good shots otherwise. The shallow depth of field and narrow distance window at which the lens will focus in this setup make taking these photos a challenge.

I really love how the shallow depth of field in the first image really draws you into the Kingfishers eye while the background just blurs away.

Kingfisher ornament

Kingfisher ornament


The other two photos that I want to share from this experiment come from a recent days baking.  These rocky piles of sugar have a magical sparkle, maybe they can be mined for diamonds ;).

Sugar mountains

Sugar mountains


This close up of the brownies came out really well. I love the bokeh and shallow depth of field.

Brownie Landscape

Brownie Landscape

Proudly Automatic Updates for WordPress

Sometimes I’m glad I don’t make rash bets, it saves me from losing them as much as I lose out from not winning them.  The recent release of WordPress 3.7 with its built-in auto-update functionality is one of those things I nearly offered a bet on not happening many years ago :).

Back in the summer 2009 at the second UK WordCamp in Cardiff I remember chatting with Matt and one of the things we talked about the potential for auto-upgrades to happen one day. I was pretty sceptical, at the time we hadn’t even had the manual upgrade feature for a year yet, 2.7 was released in December 2008, and getting that working across all the different hosting platforms had been a fun experience.

I’m pretty sure I might have used the word “impossible” that day.

I’m immensely proud of the improvements we have made in manual update process over the past few years and very happy to have been proved wrong.

Major props go out to Dion, Nacin and everyone else who has contributed to this release.

Stand up against the #censorwall

Censorship is a hot topic at the moment after David Cameron announced plans to introduce default adult Internet filters for everyone. It is also a topic that is close to my heart every day as I support the fine people who work on the WordPress.com Terms of Service team as they work to protect everyone’s rights.

If we push internet censorship forwards as David Cameron has announced then we are going to be joining a small “club” of countries with pervasive censorship of our internet access and people are going to start searching for ways to work around the censorship which is likely to put them at more risk than they would have been before they had their access restricted. People will start searching out open proxies to use to bypass the censorship. Often these proxies are run by people with a vested interest in collecting usernames and passwords which is going to put people’s online accounts at risk.

If you can do one thing as a result of reading this then please sign the ORG Petition and if you can do two please also join the Open Rights Group and support them as they campaign to protect your rights.

It’s time to stand up against this attempt at censorship and be counted.

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A decade gone, more to come

Ten years ago today the very first release of WordPress was released by Matt and Mike.  My WordPress story starts almost a year later with me searching for something to use for my first personal blog, finding WordPress and I falling in love straight away. The simplicity of the 5 minute install and the freedom to do what I wanted had me hooked.

Over the past ~9 years I have grown with WordPress contributing back in a number of different ways. My addiction to contribution started with the codex which soon led me to trac and sharing patches which fixed bug I found or other people reported. A while later I had the privilege of being invited to join the core team as a lead developer. A few years later this addiction even helped land me my dream job.

Around 1300 commits in, today I’m still contributing and looking forward to the next ten years and what surprises and adventures will be in store for us.

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