Celebrating VJ Day with the Sony 135mm GM f1.8 lens

On Saturday 15th August 2020, my daughters shouted that I should look out the window as a convoy of military vehicles were passing – clearly on the way to some VJ Day celebration. I grabbed the Sony A7 III camera (with the Sony 135mm f1.8 GM lens attached) and took some photos of the vehicles … Read full article

An Exciting New Musical Theatre Adventure With Spotlight Productions

The last few months have been very frustrating for Graham and Sarah Wilkinson and all the team at Spotlight Productions. They have had to cancel their annual show – ‘Oliver!’ – and income from their costume and scenery hiring ‘business’ used to fund their annual show has been decimated. Being the positive people they are, … Read full article

Helping to Improve the UK’s Wi-Fi Speeds One Step at a Time

I cannot think of another area to Wi-Fi where performance claims exceed the reality experienced by broadband users by such an extent. With so many people connecting every device to Wi-Fi, inadequate Wi-Fi performance often masks the underlying (often excellent) performance of a broadband connection. I’ve just written a new Wi-Fi speed enhancement post on … Read full article

How to Disable Wi-Fi with Sky Q to Use Ethernet Instead

One of my bugbears is the widespread overuse of Wi-Fi. While Wi-Fi is convenient, there’s generally a price to be paid in terms of performance. Wi-Fi is responsible for a substantial proportion of broadband problems. I strongly recommend that, when you have devices that do not move (such as a set-top box or TV), connect … Read full article

Average Monthly Broadband Usage to Triple by 2025

Over the next five years, average home monthly Internet usage in the UK will triple from its 2019 level, surpassing 1 TB per month by 2025, as shown in my forecast shown above. This growth, which is in line with usage growth predicted for the USA, will be primarily driven by TV and video services … Read full article

BBC Resumes its iPlayer Ultra HD Trial

In an attempt to alleviate strain on broadband networks during the coronavirus pandemic, the BBC ceased its iPlayer Ultra HD trial. I’m delighted to report that the BBC has now recommenced the trial. The following series are currently offered: ‘His Dark Materials’, ‘Dracula’ and ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet’. Image quality looks fantastic. The images here … Read full article

Disney Plus Increases UK Bit Rates to Match the USA

The great news is that Disney has substantially improved its bit rates to match its US streaming service and Disney Plus now looks and sounds much better in the UK. The images shown are photographs taken of a Sony 77-inch OLED TV. In general, the higher the bit rate used, the better the picture and … Read full article

Best Broadband Routers and Wi-Fi Access Points for 2020

I’ve been steaming ahead producing new content for my Increase Broadband Speed site. I’ve now revised my Which Broadband Modem Router Guide, which covers the key capabilities you need to maximise broadband speed. As I’m always asked to recommend equipment to buy, I’ve also produced two new ‘best buy’ guides: – Best Routers For 2020 … Read full article

Reviewing Sky’s New Ultra HD HDR Service

It’s finally here – High Dynamic Range (HDR) on Sky’s Ultra HD (4k) service – and it looks amazing. HDR makes pictures more vivid and realistic, with more intense colours and, for many viewers, HDR makes more difference than the extra resolution provided by Ultra HD. It’s not good news for everyone though as some … Read full article

Launching the New Increase Broadband Speed Guide

Technology inevitably moves on and my current focus is performing a major update of my Increase Broadband Speed website. It’s a huge job and will take many months. Last week, a new WordPress theme was installed, with lots of technical changes behind the scenes to make the site run faster. One of the most important … Read full article

Photographing VE Day in Spaldwick

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, VE Day was a somewhat different affair to the one that may have been envisaged many months ago. However, despite the restrictions currently in place, villagers where I live made a tremendous effort decorating their homes to commemorate VE Day. On the 8th May 1945 – 75 years … Read full article

Recording ‘The Swan’ by Saint-Saëns

One of the most popular, and beautifully romantic, organ pieces is ‘The Swan’ (or Le Cygne) by the French composer Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, who composed the piece as part of his Carnival of the Animals in 1868. Apparently, The Swan was the only movement from The Carnival of the Animals that the composer allowed to be … Read full article

Reviewing the Sony ‘Holy Trinity’ of Prime Lenses

Back in the days that I used a Canon full-frame DSLR camera, many fellow photography enthusiasts who used prime lenses had (or wanted) the so-called ‘Holy Trinity’ of lenses. These were much-sought-after prime lenses that, between them, covered the vast majority of typical photography assignments, including weddings. Most considered that a combination of fast 35mm, 85mm … Read full article

Recording ‘Nimrod’ from ‘Enigma Variations’ by Edward Elgar

‘Enigma Variations’ is one of Edward Elgar’s most famous orchestral works and ‘Nimrod’ is its most recognised melody. On its website, Classic FM describes Elgar’s Enigma Variations as “one of the greatest pieces of the 19th century”, and I certainly do not disagree with that. Below I recorded myself playing a version for church organ. … Read full article

Learning to Play the Hauptwerk Virtual Pipe Organ

What a strange period we are experiencing with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the world. It is having dramatic social and economic impacts, and causing people to be on ‘lockdown’ in their homes. While the pandemic is having an adverse financial impact on friends, I am loving the lockdown period for other reasons. It’s delightful … Read full article

Photographing Spaldwick in Spring and the Effects of Coronavirus

Working from home in a rural Cambridgeshire village, I have noticed the massive effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The majority of villagers have been on lockdown in their homes. Schools and key local businesses (such as the village pub) have closed, and there has been a dramatic reduction in road traffic. During this time (as … Read full article

Reviewing the Disney Plus Streamed TV Service

As an AV enthusiast and broadband advocate, I’ve been very excited by the rapid roll-out and take-up of TV streaming services. These have increased consumer choice and introduced Ultra HD 4k content and Dolby Atmos sound. Disney has just launched its Disney Plus service in the UK and at the great price of £5.99 per … Read full article

Photographing and Videoing the Transformation of Manor Farm in Spaldwick

How amazing Manor Farm is looking currently. After speaking to Richard Johnson, Manor Farm is being prepared for being sold, although the Coronavirus pandemic is causing a great deal of uncertainty. Richard’s face was full of pride. I’ve agreed with Richard to take some internal photographs shortly. Here are some external photos from my latest … Read full article

Videoing Angie Collins Singing ‘Broken’ in 4k

Local songwriter Angie Collins came in so I could video her performing a song she wrote, called ‘Broken’. While I have recorded several songs (sound only), it was nice to capture visuals as well. While sound recordings allow you to use large-condenser microphones, room treatment and portable isolation booths for better sound quality, video can … Read full article

Photographing for Posterity

I am currently building up an online library of old photographs of the village where I live so that these amazing images can be shared as widely as possible. Thank you to the people and local museums that have provided these. These images have proved immensely popular, being viewed about 50,000 times in the last … Read full article

Recording Angie Collins Playing Piano

Known to many people in the local area, Angie is the regular pianist at our village Christmas carol singing event and teaches music at the local school. Angie also composes her own songs, being influenced by Carole King, Amy Winehouse and Nina Simone. I recorded two pieces on a Yamaha P-515 piano (replicating the Yamaha … Read full article

Hitting the Milestone of One Million Views of Spotlight Photographs

I really enjoy working with Graham and Sarah Wilkinson (below) at Spotlight Productions – which is a youth musical theatre group based in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. I’ve now taken photos of several productions. Graham and Sarah are an inspiration and have made such a difference to young people in the area. To date, they have put … Read full article

Photographing Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire

The National Trust describes Anglesey Abbey as a Jacobean-style house with gardens and a working watermill. Over 100 acres of grounds contain a range of gardens and walks, which were laid out by Baron Fairhaven in the 1930s. This includes popular rose and dahlia gardens that house a large number of varieties. The Lode Water … Read full article

Reaching the Milestone of Ten Years of ‘Serious’ Photography

Time has flown so quickly. While it does not seem that long since I bought my first Digital SLR camera, it’s now ten years since I became ‘serious’ about photography. I purchased my first digital SLR camera back in 2006 (the Canon 350D), and I had just one lens – the Canon 50mm f1.4 – … Read full article