Selasa, 24 Maret 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies DVD/Blu-ray review – RELEASE DATE MARCH 24

DurhamSKywriter - The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies DVD/Blu-ray review – RELEASE DATE MARCH 24, the last in Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies will be available for you to take home. (It’s been available in digital version in many countries since March 3rd; but from Tuesday you can get your hands on a ‘hard’ copy.)
Many fans, of course, like to wait for the Extended Edition release before purchasing a copy; but speaking personally, my collection isn’t complete unless I have the theatrical cut as well. I was thrilled to get my hands on a review copy of the Blu-ray Combo pack, which includes copies of the movie on Blu-ray, on DVD and a Digital HD copy – as well as various extras.

Let’s talk first about the picture quality of the film. I watched the Blu-ray version, and marvelled again at the beauty of home video these days. Every detail of that stunning Lake-town set, and that incredible, terrifying dragon, was clear to see. (Even some of the details we perhaps don’t want to see – such as the too obviously repeated figures in the various armies – stood out!) Moments in the extras, where clips from The Lord of the Rings trilogy are juxtaposed with parts of The Hobbit films, showed just how very far home video release has come in a decade. This is a beautiful film, and well worth seeing in such gorgeous definition.

By now, though, you’ve seen the movie, and you know what parts you do or don’t like! (I’m still baffled by ‘Japanese horror movie’ Galadriel, and can’t help wondering if she’s just there by way of a ‘nose-thumbing’ to all the fans who hated ‘nuclear Galadriel’….!) Suffice to say, the film looks stunning and has all the ups and downs it had on the big screen. Let’s move on to talk about the EXTRAS in this Combo pack.

The included special features are not extensive – there is nothing of the length and depth which we find on the Extended Edition home video releases – but they are interesting, charming and insightful; worthy ‘gems’ to be enjoyed by fans.

The disk with the movie also includes ‘New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth, Part 3′. This is an attractive vignette which stands (as Martin Freeman points out!) as a wonderful advertisement for New Zealand tourism, highlighting that amazing scenery we’ve all come to know and love.

Senin, 23 Maret 2015

Mono Magic: Photography, Breaking Bad style

durhamskywriter.blogspot.comFeature Digital cameras are cheap and convenient. But some people feel they also lack soul, or encourage us all to often to experience life through an LCD screen, firing off hundreds of shots we'll probably never look at, rather than absorbing our surroundings.

Film, on the other hand, according to some, can lend itself to a more considered approach. Knowing you only have 36 exposures at a time can impose discipline. It's not just trendy techno-luddism either, and is an absorbing way to practice the art and craft of photography, especially with the holidays coming up. Amateur Photography

It's possible to pick up some great cameras at bargain prices these days, assuming you don't have an old film camera sitting in the back of a cupboard.

There are apps that can help you with developing your own films, and even some that will give you control of your SLR from a mobile phone or tablet.

So, we thought we'd take a look at the world of film, and share some of our tips and experiences.
Camera! Action!

Many of us probably have an old film camera lying around somewhere. For me, it started with a Nikon FG20 that I received as an 18th birthday present. But even if you don't have one, picking up a good camera can be surprisingly cheap. My main camera now is a Nikon F90x, which is a very capable camera that cost me just £60, leaving plenty left over for decent lenses.

If you’re shopping for second-hand Nikon in particular, it's worth a look at Ken Rockwell's site where you'll find plenty of info about which lenses perform best, and the relative strengths of different camera models. The site does have some Canon info, but not in quite as much depth.

One thing to bear in mind is that, of course, a film SLR is full frame, and lenses aren't necessarily always compatible if you switch to digital later. Some Nikon DSLRs, for example, lack the motor to focus older lenses, or won't meter them them correctly (though newer models like the D610, 750 or 810 will work with just about any Nikon lens).

Film SLRs may not have all the bells and whistles of some of the newest digital models, but you can often pair them with modern accessories. For example, Nikon models from the F90 onwards have the same 10 pin connector as some of the company's first DSLRs.

So, they're compatible with a release cable like the one from Triggertrap. That means, as well as the built-in timer, you can do time lapses, scheduled photos of sunsets, and lots of other neat tricks, even controlling the shutter via Wi-Fi from another device.

If you have an even older camera, a light meter might be a handy addition; neither my 1930s Pocket Kodak nor my Ilford Sportsman has a meter, but there are plenty of apps that will do the trick. For example, the photos of the garden here were taken with the Pocket Kodak using the Light Meter Tools app. Set the film speed and the shutter speed you want to use, and it'll work out the correct aperture for you. Compared with just estimating, it's a great improvement.

Grasping movement patterns key to core anatomy - Abdominal strength is sometimes confused with core strength, and vice versa. While the abdominal group is one part, the core includes many more muscle groups.

To comprehensively develop the entire region, it's important to include all relevant muscles in one's training program.

This week, I'll discuss some ways to ensure your core routine covers the territory. And I'll introduce an exercise that tackles these muscles in a new and exciting way.

The easiest way to understand core anatomy is to sort the various muscle groups of the torso into three general categories: trunk and hip flexors (abdominals), trunk and hip extensors (lower back muscles) and trunk rotators (obliques). Each of these areas encompasses several muscles, some larger and some smaller, but you don't have to memorize a bunch of muscles: The key is to understand movement patterns.

Let's start with trunk and hip flexion because these are easily the most-performed core activities of daily life. Crunches, situps and leg raises are just a few of the many exercises that challenge this portion of the core musculature. Usually, exercisers understand this and regularly include such movements in their routines.

Trunk and hip extension are far less popular. Hip extension is largely handled by the gluteal group, which is notorious among trainers for its absence from many people's strength-training programs. The lower back muscles face a similar -- but deeper and more frequent -- neglect.

The easiest way to incorporate trunk and hip extension into one's workout program routines is to perform one simple exercise. The basic bridge is a simple isometric position. You can jazz things up by doing it while lying on your back on a Swiss ball. The ball should support your head and shoulders while your hips are held parallel to the floor in "bridge" position. This forces the lower back and gluteal muscles to fire constantly, which will improve their strength and endurance over time.

Trunk rotation is another frequently skipped movement pattern, but this is another movement that's easy to add to a routine. Medicine ball twists and cable twists are two simple exercises that meet the requirement for trunk rotation by challenging the oblique muscles directly.

This week I bring you a fantastic core exercise that addresses trunk flexion and hip flexion with one simple movement. Assuming you also do the aforementioned exercises targeting the gluteals/low back as well as the oblique twists, this one will complete your core training.

1. Select a light stretch band and anchor it to a low point on the floor. Lie face up on the floor with your head near the anchor point and the soles of your feet facing away from it.

2. Grasp the handles of the stretch band and extend your arms down by your hips. The stretch band should be taut.

3. Activate your abdominal muscles by pressing your lower back into the floor. As you do this, slowly lift the right leg off the floor until your right hip is at 90 degrees and the sole of your foot faces the ceiling.

4. Lower your leg, relax your core.

5. Reactivate your core and lift and lower the opposite leg.

6. Repeat for two or three sets of 12 repetitions.

I think you'll notice a nice contraction in the lower portion of the abdominals during the leg raise. Try to move very slowly through the range of motion and lower your leg in a controlled fashion. This will force the abdominals to support the weight of your leg.

Matt Parrott has a doctorate in education (sport studies) and a master's in kinesiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.