things i'm pleased with

"The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique" .. Walt Disney

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Pump Street Bakery Ecuador 75%

Pump Street Bakery Ecuador 75%

October 6, 2014

    The packaging for this chocolate looked different, and on opening the envelope I noticed it had a plastic interior which could be resealed, which was a nice touch.  So when I broke off a piece (with a reassuring snap) I was anticipating something special. The first taste I noticed was bread – freshly […]

NGC281 Pacman Nebula

NGC281 Pacman Nebula

September 27, 2014

Named after the popular video game character, this nebula sits in Cassiopeia (the big W shaped constellation that is visible all year round from the UK).  The “mouth” is a dark nebula made up of mainly hydrogen and dust in which new solar systems are forming.  Once the whole of NGC281 would have been dark, […]

Lucky find

Lucky find

September 27, 2014

I was able to make a brief visit to Fortnum and Mason’s chocolate department earlier this week. Always a wallet lightening experience I was relieved to find a discrete table at the back right of the ground floor with some reduced quality chocolate, including a superb Marou product at half price.

M45 Pleiades

M45 Pleiades

September 27, 2014

When I first got my telescope, two years ago this month, this quickly became one of my favourite objects to observe.  Last night I had the chance to try to get a picture of it and this was the result.  Unfortunately I am slightly out of focus but I am happy with the result for […]

Apple – 20 hours and counting

September 8, 2014

18.00 UK time tomorrow … Apple’s big announcement.  After reading speculation and rumour for weeks i’m going to make a prediction of what will be shown just for fun.  I think it will be a watch (not exactly departing from what everyone thinks there!) in numerous designs or even customisable (mix/match fronts and straps) with […]

Craters

September 7, 2014

Nearly a full moon now – but often better pictures are gained on the “terminator” line – where the moon goes dark – as the resulting shadows emphasise features.  Unfortunately it kept clouding over last night but I managed to get this image which I have annotated.

 FAQ

What equipment do I use to write music on?

Over the years the equipment has changed often, but basically for electronic music you always need some sound sources, effects, monitoring, and a digital audio workstation.  I always try to use only the basic equipment necessary to get reasonable results – it’s too easy to get involved in an endless cycle of buying and selling equipment instead of actually sitting down and doing some composition.  Years ago everyone used hardware and some of my favourite synthesisers I owned included the Roland JV1080, Novation Supernova II, and Access Virus B; effects included the Lexicon MPX500, Boss VF1, and the Smallstone Phaser.  I always used a PC running Cubase since version 3.5 for sequencing, recording and mixing.

Now however hardware is not required (although some still prefer it for its tactility) and everything I have is contained within my Mac running Logic Pro X.  My favourite sound sources include the Spectrasonics and Native Instruments software plugins and my effects are SSL and Lexicon software plugins.  I master using IK Multimedia T-Racks.

What equipment do I use for astrophotography?

As with my music equipment I try to buy the most basic equipment possible to allow me to get reasonable results.  My imaging telescope is a Skywatcher Explorer 150PDS reflector attached to a Skywatcher EQ5 Pro mount.  I then use an Opticstar AR80S Guidescope with Opticstar PL131M camera to guide the mount using PHD guiding software so as to compensate for the earth’s rotation.  My camera is a Canon 1100D with the factory fitted infra-red filter removed, and I usually use an Opticstar two inch Ultra High Contrast filter to reduce light pollution.  I use StarTools to help process the images along with Apple Aperture.