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How I do my black edge

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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world peace

You are at fault as well…

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 Hopkins

Katie Price, David Cameron and Disability…

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?

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Reworking a yellow rose… yet again.

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

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

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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Derelict

Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

Taken on our way to Cooling today…. of course it was on the side of a country road, and when hubby pulled up, you guessed it, he pulled up next to a bloody big puddle.

Taken by Bren Ryan Taken by Bren Ryan

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St James’ Church – Cooling

Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

We haven’t been out for ages taking photographs… what with Christmas, New Year and one thing and another, so today I decided, that it was time to wrap up warm, put on those boots and grab those cameras.

Naturally we didn’t want to go too far and we didn’t want to spend ages sitting in some traffic jam, so we picked somewhere local.  And there is nothing more local, than Cooling, which is near Rochester in Kent.

And then I remembered, when we were looking at dog kennels, we passed a quaint English church… near Cooling.  And true to fashion my Tom Tom navigational skills, were true to form.  I thought the church was just past the second lot of kennels we looked at but it wasn’t it was further on… Oh well a quick turn around and we were back on the road, heading in the right direction.

St…

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freedom of speech

Freedom of Speech

freedom of speechVersus the Freedom to Live? In light of what has happened in Paris with the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices and now the threats of death due to the magazine using another satirical image of the Prophet Mohammed in defiance of the attacks…  I think I value my Freedom to Live more than my Freedom of Speech.  Because we don’t live in a safe world any more.  We don’t feel safe when we visit cities and use public transport.

To cave in to terrorists, I agree is the worst thing we can do, and we shouldn’t keep off of our streets or be holed up in some bunker praying that some extremist doesn’t enter our private world and kill us. BUT…. is Freedom of Speech really worth someone’s life.

What I write on the internet, I have the courage to say to a person’s face.  If any comments I make are deemed to be offensive well deal with it… but if that offensive remark is criminal or breaks a law… then I should be held accountable.

So people are screaming up and down, that the Snooper’s Charter that Governments want to bring in will invade our Freedom of Speech… but seriously how I look on it… if someone is making plans to harm another person and those plans are being are orchestrated on the internet…. then I am all for GCHQ stepping in and thwarting those plans.

Well if you want to keep things private, in the real world the only way you will keep things that private is not to tell a soul… and the same applies on the internet…  I don’t often agree with ‘Dishface’ Cameron, but on this occasion I wholeheartedly agree, with him saying that Security Agencies need to have access to encrypted data in order to stop any future terrorist attack.

Cameron said:

We shouldn’t leave a safe space in which terrorists can communicate with each other.

“There is a broad agreement that we need to have powers, in extremis, to intercept communications between terrorists. That is what America does today. It is what Britain does today.

“We face the same challenge in Britain and in America.

“We are free countries, free societies where we don’t want to interfere with the privacy and civil liberties of our citizens but, in extremis, it has always been necessary, after going through the proper processes, to make sure that if terrorists are talking to each other or communicating with each other and are about to commit an outrage, it’s always been necessary to try and intercept that and try to stop those bombs, those attacks, those murders taking place.”

Of course we want our banking details to remain safe, if we do on-line banking and we want our card details kept secure on shopping sites, and that means we need encryption. But seriously, do we need encryption on social media sites… surely if online purchases are made on social media sites that would not warrant encrypted data,  in order to keep card details secured, the site could refer you directly to your bank or card verification service to enter your card details for you to enter your card details.

I am sick of hearing that it is a violation of our democracy to stop social media sites from having encrypted data…. I can live with GCHQ reading every Twitter and Facebook message I make… in fact they would be bloody bored stiff reading my private messages on Facebook and DM’s on Twitter.

Last night in Belgium the Police intercepted a terrorist cell that were prepared to cause death and carnage on the streets of Belgium.  They had planned to kill Police Officers and their plans have been thwarted this time… how many more cells are there just like that one?  How close are they to our own shores?  Sorry but to me a small sacrifice of Freedom of Speech, by knowing full well that every thing I do on-line could be intercepted by security services, is a small price I am willing to pay, in order to keep me and my family safe.

And please don’t try to tell me it is scaremongering by our Governments to make us fear terrorists, because it is not… it is the scenes on the streets of Paris and Belgium, the barbaric acts of ISIS, the murder of hostages, the cold blooded murder of Lee Rigby by Islamic extremists… that brings the true facts of terrorism to our minds and to our doors.

No we can’t run scared but we can do all we can to prevent another person losing their life to some moron running amok on our streets with a machete or AK47 saying it is being done in the name of ‘Allah’ and this is part of a Jihad war to destroy the infidels who do not believe in the Islamic faith.

david_cameron_452622t

Tory Plan To Make Public Strikes More Difficult

david_cameron_452622tThe Conservatives have promised to legislate to make striking more difficult in some core public services if they win this year’s general election.

Under the manifesto commitment, industrial action in areas such as health, transport, the fire services and schools would require at least 40% support of those eligible to vote – as well as a majority of those who have actually voted.

via Tory Plan To Make Public Strikes More Difficult.

So Dishface and his government wants to make it more difficult for public sector workers to strike? Well fair enough some might say… after all we can’t have our doctors, nurses, firemen, tube-workers, teachers etc striking because they are so appalled at the cut-backs and the way they are being treated.  We can’t have them strike because the Government decides to renege on it’s election promises of pay increases, can we?

We can’t have nurses feel that they can’t afford to work any longer in the National Health Service and decide to work abroad or in private hospitals strike can we?  We can’t put people in a position where all their concerns are not being being listened to and they feel that the only alternative left to them is to go on strike, can we?

And we can’t have our Police go on strike because of added pressure placed upon them due to cut-backs, can we?  Or them being forced to work for nothing because that force can’t meet that year’s budget?

How dare they strike?  How dare they demand that the terms they were promised be honoured?  How dare they strike because government has decided to take away their final salary pensions and replaced it with a pittance of a pension.

So the Government to deter these people have said that unless public sector workers get a majority turnout to vote of 40% and no less, then the vote will only be valid if they reach this magic figure and that 40%+ voters AND have over 50% of those that did vote, electing for strike action.

It seems fair really doesn’t it? Or does it?

Take a look at, say the European Elections, and the the percentage turnout of voters in those elections in this report.

European turnouts -european elections

Oh look, the percentage of electorate to turnout for the European Elections in all those years for UK population has NEVER been above 40%.

And if you think that is bad take a look at this report for Local Elections just back in 2012… well there are not many counties that got above the magic 40% is there.

elections turnout 2012

elections turnout 2012 (1)Well, well, looks like Liverpool Central only had 12.6% of its constituents turnout for the 2012 local elections.

So if you used the same criteria, of what Government wants unions to abide by for strike action, to local elections and the European Elections, well none of those votes would have made the criteria so those that were duly elected from constituencies with under 40% turnout would not be allowed to take their seats.

After all as the Conservatives keep telling us ‘We’re all in this together’, how about making voting a level playing field… and saying only constituencies that have a majority of 40% public turnout will have newly elected councillors or European MP’s.  Oh bugger we wouldn’t have anybody representing us in Europe :D :D Oh well, we might as well leave then.. :D :D

sela-frontpage

Time for change…

As they say, change is as good as a rest… but I didn’t realise it was so flaming time-consuming.  What with the new year and WordPress offering us new themes on a regular basis, I thought it was time that I had a change of theme for this blog.

sela-frontpageThat is the first thing… it takes ages deciding what theme you like, because there are so many good themes to choose from… By after previewing themes for a few hours, I decided to plump for the Sela Theme, which is a one of their latest theme releases. And boy am I glad they released this theme.  From the demo of Sela you can see what a versatile theme it is.

Anwyway, after a hiccup of my custom design upgrade not working when I transferred it from another blog to this one.. things went well from then on… Of course I have to thank the very helpful Rachel (a WordPress Happiness Engineer) for sorting me out so swiftly and getting my customizer working as it should.

A change of colours, and a few CSS edits as I don’t like the featured images appearing on single blog posts… and by using one of the background pictures as the basis for my header… (which I added text to with Photoshop).. things were slowly becoming together.

I have never been one to use the Front Page feature of theme before… but as Sela is such a versatile theme … hey why not give it a go!!!

I hope you like the new layout of On My Front Porch…. and yes a change is as good as a rest.

Ched Evans

Should he shouldn’t he?

Ched Evans

“I am grateful for the support of the PFA in helping me try to return to football and continue my career.

Upon legal advice, I was told not to discuss the events in question. This silence has been misinterpreted as arrogance and I would like to state that this could not be further from the truth.

I do remain limited at present by what I can say due to the ongoing referral to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and whilst I continue to maintain my innocence, I wish to make it clear that I wholeheartedly apologise for the effects that night in Rhyl has had on many people, not least the woman concerned.

Finally, it has been claimed that those using social media in an abusive and vindictive way towards this woman are supporters of mine. I wish to make it clear that these people are not my supporters and I condemn their actions entirely and will continue to do so.”

via PFA Statement: Ched Evans – News – The PFA.

Should he be given a second chance? Or should he be sent to exile for forever and a day and never grace a football field again?

Sitting on the fence on this one as I can see both sides of this one… firstly and foremost yes he is a convicted rapist and yes and is on the sex offender’s register but according to an article on the BBC News Website, legally speaking he can return to football.. providing a club is brave enough to hire him.

The legal position in England and Wales regarding Evans’s return to professional football is clear.

He is prevented from doing particular jobs known as “regulated activity” and typically jobs such as teaching, social work or health care that would involve working with children or vulnerable adults.

Other employment opportunities, such as professional football, are available to him – as long as he can find someone to hire him.

But morally should he return to football.. especially if he progresses in his career once again starts playing for a Premier division club?  Yes he could become a role model and no I wouldn’t fancy my child having a poster of Ched Evans on their wall, but neither would I be impressed if they had a poster of Luke McCormick who has been convicted of two counts of death by reckless driving, or Lee Hughes who was convicted of death by dangerous driving.

Society says we must give people a second chance… the law says we are not allowed to harass a person who has been convicted and all prisoners must be given the chance to rehabilitate back into society. I am not trying to defend Ched Evans but the statement he made today SHOULD have been made the day he was released from prison.

Whoever gave him the PR advice and legal advice of not apologising for what happened in Rhyl that night has caused more distress not just to the victim but to Ched Evans himself. Many people have taken his silence, by not apologising, as a sign of him not showing any remorse.

And all those that are abusing both the victim and Ched Evans really do need to realise that mob rule is not how our society works and the likes of ‘Dishface’ Cameron should keep his nose out and not voice his opinion.

So should Ched Evans be given a second chance to build his career or not?