Flying the flag

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st-georges-flag-largeNow we have been back in the UK for just over 10 days and I do miss being in the United States.  I just love the scenery, the warmth and the friendliness of the people.

Wherever you went, you were made to feel welcome and my god do they serve big portions.  Never in my life have I had pancakes for breakfast, but I just couldn’t resist them whilst over there.  And as for the Welch’s Grape Jelly, I would murder for that right now… I just loved the taste.

Where we stayed in San Francisco, the local Cafe owner introduced me to sourdough bread, which is a speciality of San Francisco and I loved it.  No more white bread for me whilst there,  I was happy munching away on the sourdough bread.

One thing I did notice over in the states the number of homes that had the Stars and Stripes Flag hanging from flagpoles in the ground or from flagpoles that are attached to the sides of the houses.

stars and stripes

Well that gave me an idea…. well him mainly after I mentioned how I thought it was very patriotic…. the St George’s cross will be hung from our house.

Whilst in Monterey we visited the local Home Depot and found an aluminium bracket that is placed on your wall all ready to hold a flagpole.  Well as soon as he touched down, he was on Amazon ordering the flag (which has arrived) and we are now awaiting delivery of the flagpole itself.

So when the delivery driver delivers that pole, come rain or shine, the following weekend we will be raising our flag…. and then probably taking it down the following week where the bloody council might object to the St. George Cross just in case it offends someone, just like they did in Radstock back in 2013.

All I hope he doesn’t go around singing Flying the Flag….

Palace of Fine Arts

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Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

Taken by Bren Ryan Taken by Bren Ryan

I have been back from my holidays for just over 10 days now and after mounds of washing and ironing and catching up on those mundane chores, I’ve just got around to putting our photographs of our trip into Lightroom.

We had a wonderful two weeks, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in America… which I will tell you more about in future posts, but the first image that I have processed in one taken in San Francisco of the the Palace of Fine Arts.

We spent three nights and two days in San Francisco (wish it was more) and on a coach tour we visited the Palace of Fine Arts and after seeing such a beautiful place we had to return on our spare day to visit this spectacular place.  I just loved it there, and I do have to thank Laura Macky for her suggestion of…

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Palace of Fine Arts

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Originally posted on Monochrome Magic:

IMG_0571-HDR-Edit

Photographer: Bren Ryan
Location: Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco
Date: 2nd May 2015
Camera: Canon EOS 600D
Lens: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Aperture: f/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 18 mm

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Daffodils

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Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

Taken by Bren Ryan Taken by Bren Ryan

I am just loving this photo manipulation phase I am going through… I don’t know what it is that I find so appealing but something is drawing me to it.  Maybe it is the creativity aspect… plus the learning of a software like Photoshop, that I am still not au fait with but learning on a daily basis.

Spring is finally here and the daffodils at Marle Place were blooming.. I just love how those three daffodils, in the above picture, were clustered together and how the light caught them.

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Feeling neglected….

neglected blog

neglected blogNow this poor little blog of mine must be feeling all neglected by now where I haven’t posted in what seems like years… I have been so busy working on our Photography sites and processing photos that I have neglected this blog.

So this morning, I woke up did the mundane chores and said ‘Hey blog, how ya doin?’  Well the reply isn’t something you can print…

So what has been happening… well not a lot really.  Life is the same old, same old thing.  The dogs are still running around like headless chickens and causing mayhem, and the weather is improving but up until recently it had been, to put it bluntly, absolute shit.  Damp, rain, cold and miserable, and the only sunshine has been on week days and the weather has been a total washout at weekends.

But one thing I can say with certainty… I am fed up with the General Election.  There I was sitting down, watching a film, cup of coffee and then ‘ding dong’ goes the doorbell.  Yes you guessed it some wannabe canvassing for votes for their political candidate.

Honestly the end of this video is how I am feeling about the general election… totally fed up and pissed off with it.  The amount of letters I have received from David ‘Dishface’ Cameron is no man’s business.  The twat has never written to me in all my life.. yet when he wants something from me, he makes out he is my new best friend.  Well twat, I’ve news for you…. YOU ARE NOT!

Then there is the others, well I haven’t seen sight or sound of a Liberal Democrat in my area.. and as for Labour well, the burning question is ‘Do you trust Ed or not?’  Personally again … NO I DON’T.  And then there is UKIP, our local MP who is now UKIP, has done a lot for our area.. and yes for what he does and achieves, I would like to vote for him, on his past performance, but you get UKIP.  And Farage is nothing to write home about, is he?  Better when you had the better looking chap… Kilroy Silk at least he was pleasing on the eye.

They all promise to do this and that.. and then stab you in the back…. and yes I do want an EU Referendum, it was our fathers and grandfathers that signed us up for the Common Market to trade, what they didn’t sign us up for was for Brussels to dictate who we can have in our country, which laws we can and can’t have and all this human right’s crap that allows prisoners the vote, an immigrant to stay because of his cat and whole-life sentences are wrong and illegal.  And not forgetting, the ruling about the shape of our banana’s.

And if people think if we leave the EU, they won’t trade with us… wrong again… they will.  What the EU doesn’t want to lose is our money and the bail-outs we hand out.

So you see… you couldn’t make a decent one up if you could magically mix all the contenders up and come out with a RoboMP.   Mind you for a giggle, I would vote for Boris… at least he has you chuckling at his buffoon speeches and antics.  Yes let us all vote BORIS… With a Prime Ministerial salary he might be able to afford an on-call hair stylist.  Well if they tame his blond locks, he wouldn’t be Boris then..

Yes let us all vote for the Mickey Mouse party… at least we might have a laugh along the way… But truthfully, joking apart, whoever gets in… will blame the other guy with they renege on everything they have said in their manifesto.

Anyway I hope life is treating every one OK and see blog I haven’t forgotten about you… so stop complaining about being NEGLECTED… You are NOT.

Fairy Tale ….

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Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

Taken by Ashley Ryan Taken by Ashley Ryan

Today I wanted to try something new… I wanted to add art to a photograph I was processing which was taken at Marle Place on Easter Monday.  I loved the rich golden tones but I have seen many artistic photographs on Facebook by a photographer called Karen Burke. It was this particular Facebook post she created that inspired me.

I just loved how she made it so magical looking. And on Deviantart Karen has a sparkly overlay you can use free of charge … Many thanks Karen for posting this overlay and allowing us to use it.  Now to find the fairy I wanted to use… so off to Google and I found a clip-art image that was ideal for my image.

With a bit of masking, changing the contrast and brightness I managed to finally do my first artistic image…. I do hope you like…

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How I do my black edge

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Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

As many of you may have gathered, lately I have been doing a lot of photographs of flowers we have taken and added a black background to them.  Yes you could use Photoshop, create a black background and then mask out the flower… But what if you don’t have Photoshop of Photoshop Elements and only have Lightroom, how do you do it?

Well here is a quick tutorial of how I have created my photographs.

I don’t do any adjustments to the flower/subject until I have got the black background surrounding the flowers/subject  This is simply because when you change the background and you have already done your adjustments your flower/subject just may not look how you envisaged.  So I do my black background first.

Black  Edge Preset Black Edge Preset

I have a Local Adjustment preset that I use constantly, using the settings in this photograph on the right. You can create your own…

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You are at fault as well…

world peace

No it is not just down to schools, the government and every one else to control your child. It is down to you the parent as well. In fact I will go as far as saying it is down to all of us to stamp out radicalisation. So before getting spokesmen and lawyers shouting their mouths off, look at yourself. It is your child and you should take responsibility for not knowing what you child is up to, who they are talking to and associated with and what they are doing.

If my child decided to take drugs, do I blame the government for not jailing every crack dealer going and taking drugs off of our streets?  Of course not.  It is not their responsibility to bring up my child it is mine.  If my child is old enough then they are responsible for their actions… as a parent I can only advise them, teach them right from wrong and try to teach them the skills needed to be a law-abiding citizen.  If they decide to take drugs that is down to them… and when I know deep down I have tried my hardest to stop them going into that downfall in life, then I can honestly say, ‘I tried to do my best but maybe my best just wasn’t good enough.’ But what I can’t do is blame other authorities for the actions that my child has taken or for my failings.

Three young girls have run away to join ISIS fighters… and the lawyer of one of the families has said this to reporters.

British authorities are not doing enough to alert parents when their children are at risk of being radicalised online, a lawyer for the family of a young woman who joined Islamic State has said.

Aamer Anwar told Sky News security authorities are not passing on intelligence which could allow families to prevent their children from travelling to Syria or Iraq.

These failings, he said, mean the UK is “exporting terror” abroad.
Sky News

We could easily substitute the word radicalised for groomed.. and blame the government should our children gets abused due to that child’s online activity.  But it is not down to the Government to make sure your child is safe online, it is down to you as a parent… you can’t blame the Government, they have repeatedly informed parents through educational programmes and online sites telling parents how to keep their children safe online.

Teenagers are very, very clever at keeping things from parents… but parents have to be devious to find out what their child is up to…

Do you know what?  The government can’t win can they?  If they turned up on your doorstep and said your child is doing this and that, because we have intelligence to prove it… the first cry would be about invasion of privacy and how that right has been breached by government snooping.

And another thing, I don’t care how much the government snoops on me, if it protects me, and no that is not people scaremongering that has made me think like that… It is reality.  The reality that the world we live in is not safe, the reality that there are certain groups of people that want to cause carnage on our streets, the reality that even walking the street is not safe, if you decide to join the armed forces and protect your country.  The reality that policemen and women now live in fear that they too are classed as prime targets for extremists.  So me giving up a little bit of privacy in order to protect others is the price I am willing to pay.  If the government want to read my emails so be it… they won’t find anything interesting, in fact GCHQ will be bloody bored shitless… to be honest.  If having to give my real ID to Facebook, Google, and maybe Twitter in the future is a thing I have to do, then so be it.  Being anonymous online can and sometimes does breed an online persona that is threatening and harmful to others. Some people react like keyboard warriors when they type their vitriolic comments behind an anonymous username like ‘TwitterTwat’.  Simply because they are anonymous and hiding behind a keyboard and monitor.

FFS… It is not down to government alone to stamp out radicalisation and keep us all safe, each of us have a part to play… especially those from the Muslim community.  If radicalisation is going on in their community it should be down to their community leaders and Imams to work together and stamp out the radicalisation of their youngsters.  Yes the government can help with giving them the resources needed but until Imams are prepared to work with authorities and give information about who they think is radicalising youngsters in their community and which families need to be watch… then nothing will change.  It will only change if the Muslim community are prepared to take drastic action in order to stop their youngsters running off to fight for ISIS.

Yes we can have tighter border controls but honestly if someone is hell bent on joining ISIS then they will leave Britain on the pretext of a package holiday and travel to Syria via Europe.  Having armed guards escorting every person around when they are abroad is the only way to stop people joining ISIS and that is not feasible, is it?

But our media can play their part… when you show these ISIS training films on your news channels and speak about what ISIS want and how barbaric they are.. you are NOT deterring radicalisation, you are encouraging it.

You and I know that ISIS fighters are barbaric and they are brutal and they have only one agenda and that is to create a nation purely based on fear and treachery.  So why do you keep showing us these clips?   In a young mind that has already been radicalised, you are not proving how wrong ISIS are, you are showing that mind how right ISIS is..  SO STOP.

And by stopping, it doesn’t mean we are putting our heads in the sand, it means we are not doing ISIS’s propaganda for them.  If you want something to die, then you cut off their oxygen supply…. well how about cutting the oxygen supply of ISIS and not report what they are up to.

I, for one, don’t need to see 21 Coptic Christians lined up in orange jumpsuits to know their fate.  Social media need to cut off ISIS’s supply as well.  Facebook, Google+ and Youtube need to take down pages and videos of their brutality immediately. Each and everyone of us should play a part in stopping ISIS propaganda immediately.  Like we should play our part in reporting crime and informing authorities of behaviour on the internet that could cause harm to another person.

Pages to promote ISIS are not doing the world any favours, so pull the plug on them. And we as human beings should report things to site owners, like Facebook, Google and Twitter immediately we find something that is promoting ISIS and let the authorities and site owners do their part in stamping out radicalisation.

As for these three young girls who have run off to be with ISIS, yes I hope they are found and brought home before they come to any harm, but they should face the consequences of their actions.  If as a nation we find that young men who run off to join ISIS are guilty of a crime than the same should apply to all that run off… whether they are man, woman or child.  That is what growing up in our society means, learning right from wrong… and facing the consequences of your actions.  When a person is taken against their will that in its self is a crime but to freely go to join a terror organisation is a crime in our country… and as they say, ‘If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.’

And may one day we have world peace.

world peace

Katie Price, David Cameron and Disability…

Katie Hopkins

Katie HopkinsNow rentagob, Katie Hopkins, has apparently rocked the boat again in Big Brother, by her comments over Katie Price being worth £45 million and claiming disability allowance for her son Harvey.

The argument for Katie Price claiming is that she pays her taxes and is entitled to… and the counter argument is that Government should step in and means test this benefit… but how can they when our Prime Minister openly admitted to filling in the forms himself.

Tough one isn’t it?  Where do you draw the line about disability benefits? Should they be means tested?  Should all welfare benefits be means tested?

We know that Child Benefit is now means tested.

Take two families, with three children each, living next door to each other… both paying the same mortgage rate and council tax rate, with one family having the main earner with an income of £60,000 and the other partner with an income of £40,000 well according to Money Advice Service Website, you would not qualify for child benefit.

However if the family next door, had both earners earning £50,000, they would qualify for child benefit.

It doesn’t seem fair does it, one family getting benefit and the other not when they are both earning the same between them?  It is the most unjust means testing known to mankind.  The government, should they want to cap child benefit should do it on a joint income… not on an individual income.

So should benefits be means tested and earners over a certain amount unable to claim?  Should Katie Price be allowed to claim disability benefits for Harvey?  Can we really afford as a nation to allow multi-millionaires to claim benefits?

I don’t know the answer to this, but logic tells me that we don’t have an open pot of money and the country doesn’t have a money tree growing in the back of number 11 Downing Street… so perhaps people who earn a whole lot more than the everyday man should be prepared to pay their way, who knows?

But one thing I do know, if any of us was moaning and whining about David Cameron claiming disability allowances for his now deceased son Ivan, are we not being hypocrites if we don’t complain about Katie Price getting benefits?  Surely one can’t see it morally wrong for a Prime Minister to claim benefits, and yet see it morally right for a celebrity to claim, can they?

Reworking a yellow rose… yet again.

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Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

One thing I love about photography software, especially Lightroom, is that you can rework a photograph to give it a whole new meaning.  I first added this photo to this blog back in September 2014 and then decided to rework it using the features of Perfect Effects 9.

Today I wanted to restyle the photograph based on the same effects of a flower I posted yesterday…  I wanted the flower to appear less vibrant and I wanted it to be surround with a black background…  Here is the final result.. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Taken by Bren Ryan Taken by Bren Ryan

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Sunset serenade

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Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

For the past couple of days I have been going through our photographs that we took when we visited the New Forest back in July 2014, and one of my treasured memories of that visit, was us sitting on the hillside watching a golden sunset.

It was warm, it was cosy and by God did it make you feel glad to be alive.

Taken by Bren Ryan Taken by Bren Ryan

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Beyond the trees

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Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

Taken by Bren Ryan Taken by Bren Ryan

As you walk back from Cooling Castle, beyond the trees and the stone wall lies St James’ Church…

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