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Master of Photography on Sky Arts

Master of Photography on Sky Arts

For the past two years on Sky Arts the Master of Photography series has run in association Leica cameras. Last year there was an Irish interest in the series with Molly Keane involved. It is a very good show if you are interested in photography.

I decided to apply for Master of Photography again this year. Last year I applied but I felt my shots lacked any punch – as they were all landscapes. One of the questions a judge on the show posed was, “so what?”. Therefore, when you take a photo you should ask “so what?”. Does it engage the viewer and does it tell a story.I am hoping my submission this year is a bit more effective.

As I watched series 2 of the program I had ideas of my own of what could be shot etc. I felt that watching series three of Master of Photography without even trying to enter would be very “sure, what’s the point”. There is a good saying “you miss every shot you don’t take” – similar to “if you’re not in, you can’t win”.

So who knows, if the judges like my submissions they may decide to include in in series three of Master of Photography. Only time will tell….

 

Update – Jan 2018

Unfortunately, I got a the “Thanks but no thanks” email back. Maybe next year! I know for a fact that my shot selection was my main issue and I have lots of lovely pictures but few of the style they look for, So perhaps I need to push myself further in this regard, and do more street and studio work!

Disposable coffee cups, should they be banned or taxed ?

Disposable coffee cups, should they be banned or taxed ?

Over the past few weeks there has been increased conversation on disposable coffee cups. Every day around the world, millions of disposable coffee cups are thrown into landfill. This is not sustainable.

The Irish government has started a bill to address this controversial issue. The final result will either be an outright ban on disposable coffee cups or a tax or levy. So when you get your coffee, you would have an added charge if you use a disposable coffee cup. I know for a fact that I could easily use about 10 of these per week. Therefore how many are being used in Ireland Every day? Now expand that… How many disposable coffee cups are being used in the world every day.

This is a similar concept to the tax on plastic bags which was introduced a few years ago. At the time we all thought it was something which would not persist. However, today it is normal practice for people to bring their own shopping bags to the shops.

It could be the case that people will now bring their own cups to the café to avoid the cup tax. The only problem is that how will people use their own cups if they have already used them that day. Cafés may have to provide a service or area for cleaning personal coffee cups.

It is a tricky issue to solve but certainly one which has an environmental impact.
Feel free to vote in the poll below or leave a comment on this issue.

What do you think? Should disposable coffee cups be banned or taxed ?

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Thor Ragnarok – Movie Review of Thor Ragnarok

Thor Ragnarok – Movie Review of Thor Ragnarok

Having seen the last Thor movie I wasn’t sure what to expect from Thor Ragnarok. The reviews were all positive and I went in hoping that Thor Ragnarok would be as good as the hype.

Starring Chris Hemsworth as Thor, this instance is much more humourous and has a very tongue in cheek attitude. It’s almost like the quirky, cheeky comic books we grew up reading.

Thor Ragnarok is directed by Taika Waititi who also directed Hunt for the Wilderpeople (which is a great movie in itself)

The movie has a very funny sequence near the start with Thor and a devil type character called Surtur. After an encounter with Surtur, Thor has a shock to the system…His hammer is destroyed by his banished sister Hela who returns to rise and destroy those who oppose her. Hela played by Cate Blanchett’s looks down her nose of her weak father who once ruled the universe but then became a peaceful ruler.

Thor also has other major losses (no spoilers) and this almost becomes a crisis of confidence for Thor.

Thor Ragnarok gives lots of cameos and subtle nods to other films. After landing on another planet he and his semi-evil brother Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) plus the Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and a hilarious but effective hero with a drink problem Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) try to save Thor’s home Asgard from destruction.

Before they can do that, Thor and Hulk must escape from a Hunger Games style contest. It is within this ‘gameshow style’ event that they are pitched against each other. This is all under the watchful eye of game keeper “Grandmaster” played by the amazing Jeff Goldblum.

After leading a revolt now the race is on to save Asgard. Can Thor win the battle without his trusty hammer?

Overall this was a highly entertaining film with lots of humour and a decent enough story. Chris Hemsworth was brilliant and had some great lines as was Jeff Goldblum. (Someone did say that Jeff Goldblum was just asked to do his Best Jeff Goldblum impression.). Another standout, was Tessa Thompson who played Valkerie. I had not seen her in anything before but she has starred in over 45 other productions. Maybe we have not yet seen the last of Valkerie.

Conclusion, if you want a film where you will leave smiling and with a sense of money well spent them Thor Ragnarok is the one to see. The soundtrack is also excellent – some of the music in the movie is very 1980 synth, one was very reminiscent of the Street Hawk theme by Le Park. Thor Ragnarok is not a classic or an Oscar nominee but certainly a highly entertaining movie. Enjoy!

Thor Ragnarok is the last Marvel film of 2017 and next on the list is Avengers: Infinity War.

Looking for a good hotel in Niagara Falls? Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls – Hotel Review

Looking for a good hotel in Niagara Falls? Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls – Hotel Review

Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls, Hotel Review

If you are planning a trip to Niagara Falls then you are probably searching the web looking for independent review of hotels, to help make your mind up. You are probably searching for Good Hotels in Niagara Falls or Recommended Hotels near Niagara Falls. When I visited Niagara falls I had no such luxury, my hotel was arranged by my travel agent. I was told it was a great hotel so I took their word. They were right.

Staying in Niagara Falls is something you just have to do once in your life. If you do visit the area, then get a good hotel, one with a good view of the world famous Niagara Falls. The Sheraton on the Falls is one of these great hotels. The view is something which you will probably have to pay a bit more for but I can guarantee that it is worth it, especially if you only have 1 or 2 nights at Niagara Falls. You get to see the Niagara falls from your room at sunrise and also when the falls change colours, illuminated with lights in the evening.

 

Sheraton on the Falls

The Sheraton at Niagara falls is obviously a Sheraton hotel; a brand of hotels everyone knows. This Sheraton has a clean and fresh appeal about it. The Sheraton on the Falls Hotel has 669 first class rooms, varying from traditional guest-rooms to the beautiful Falls View suites. These falls-view suits feature floor-to ceiling windows providing guests with the best hotel view of Niagara Falls. All guestrooms are non-smoking which is ideal as I don’t smoke and I can smell if rooms have been smoked in.

 

The Rooms at Sheraton on the Falls

After a courteous and detailed check-in, you get a chance to see the view for yourself from the room. Note, the checkin area is one of the busiest I have ever seen but they processed the guests very quickly. I would recommend getting a superior room (or better) on the higher floors, which will afford you a better view of the falls. The noise of the falls when you open your balconette door (not really a balcony but you can open a door protected by a guard rail), is amazing.

Rooms at the Sheraton on the Falls - Rooms at the Sheraton on the falls have great views of Niagara Falls

You can hear the roar of Niagara falls if you leave that door open.  The recommended room to stay in is the Fallsview King Jacuzzi Room. This room offers a King size Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed, floor to ceiling windows, and a fireplace with sitting area, and a 37″ LCD Television. Also included are phone, desk, in room tea/coffee, wireless internet access (charged), and pay per view movies. The pay for WiFi is something I hate but hopefully in 2017 this policy might be different (check on booking).

Anyway, the rooms in the Sheraton on the Falls are very nice, well laid out, clean and bright. Good size bathrooms, ideal for a luxury break away. A sound nights sleep is guaranteed!

View from Sheraton on the Falls from the Rooms on the 16th Floor

 

The Food

Options for food are plentiful. There are restaurants nearby and in the hotel. The best place for casual and fun dining is the Hard Rock Café within the same complex. Buffet Breakfast is available in The Sheraton on the Falls and this is a very large buffet with everything from pancakes, cereals and fried foods to fruit, yoghurts and omlettes / eggs cooked to order. You won’t be hungry! Even though it was a buffet we were still asked to tip the server, a person who came once to us offering coffee – I found that strange as we served our own breakfast. Tipping is strange to me as we don’t really have it in Ireland.

 

Conclusion

I was very happy with the Sheraton on the Falls, a great base for exploring the area as it is within walking distance of all the main attractions. I would certainly return to this hotel and have no problem in recommending it.

 

Sheraton on the Falls Location

Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls

Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls, Canada
Fairmont Hotel Singapore, Hotel Review

Fairmont Hotel Singapore, Hotel Review

Where is the Fairmont Hotel Singapore located?

Fairmont Hotel Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Rd

The Fairmont Hotel Singapore is ideally located in a central part of town, only 15 minutes walk from the bustling Clarke Quay. It’s central location means that it is situated very close to all major entertainment and shopping districts, plus, there is even a multi-storey shopping mall within the Fairmont Hotel complex.

The Fairmont Hotel Singapore offers 769 luxurious guestrooms and suites, a collection of 16 distinctive restaurants and bars.

Check In

On check-in we got a complimentary mango juice, which was very welcome after the 11 hour flight from London. Your bags are brought to the room 5 minutes after check-in, with the porters calling me ‘Sir Shane’ (which was nice).

The heat and humidity in Singapore can make you feel quite uncomfortable, but the Fairmont Hotel is very well air conditioned and you feel very comfortable indeed. At no point in the hotel did we feel that the humidity or heat was getting to us.

Our Room

The guest rooms are luxurious with a comfortable bed, luxury bathroom and aromatherapy bath products. Our room came with a balcony and the views are stunning from the tower we were in. From the 22nd floor you have a view of Singapore which looked over Singapore Bay, with stunning views of the Singapore Flyer, the amazing Marina Sands Hotel and views towards the city centre. The featured photo above shows the view by night with the lights of Singapore.

Breakfast

Breakfasts are served in three different restaurants but we found that the Asian Market Café was the best, as it had a large selection of foods from typical continental breakfast fare to Chinese / Asian steamed dumplings (which I had a good few of as they were very tasty).

The breakfasts are an experience to be savoured. You can if you wish go for the normal breakfast, croissants, bagels, breads, cereal but the asian breakfast is very special. It was the first time I tried steamed buns, and I have been hooked ever since.

Other Facilities at the Fairmont Singapore Hotel

In addition, guests of Fairmont Singapore have access to the Willow Stream Spa, one of the largest spa facilities in Asia, offering the best in Spa and Fitness services. The Spa Treatments at the Willow Stream are very reasonable and the facilities and therapists are excellent. I tried the massage, and as you overlook the city from 10 or 20 storeys up, you soon forget your troubles. The massage was excellent and any knots I had were soon eased.

The concierge staff at the hotel were also excellent and most friendly – they helped us book a city tour of Singapore as well as organising for our luggage to be held while we awaited out trip back to the airport. The staff were friendly and very helpful at all times.

Fairmont Hotel Singapore, Contact Information

If you intend coming to stay here during a visit to Singapore, the relevant details on contacting the hotel are provided below.

Address: Fairmont Hotel Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Rd, Singapore 189560
Phone: +65 6339 7777
Website: http://www.fairmont.com/singapore/

Verdict of the Fairmont Hotel Singapore

I loved my stay at the Fairmont Hotel Singapore, it was comfortable, upmarket, luxurious with great views and great staff. There was nothing about this hotel which I didn’t like. The Fairmont Hotel Singapore is an amazing hotel and would certainly return here on any return to the wonderful city of Singapore.

 

This is my honest opinion of the Fairmont Hotel Singapore and this post was not paid or solicited. The content here is simply my recollection and opinion of a stay at this hotel during a multi-stop personal holiday.
  • Comfort 95%
  • Service 100%
  • Food 98%
  • Spa 94%
  • Pool 90%
  • Would Repeat? 100%