Monthly Roundup: July 2017

This month certainly has been busier than the last, though I have been working on finding jobs in the meantime, whilst also trying to fit a few articles in. I can only apologise again for being less frequent with publishing articles, I’ve been making sure to prioritise my time more on finding a job whilst also going out and enjoying myself with friends following the end of my time in education at Croydon College.

I will be publishing some articles over the next few weeks but please keep in mind that it might be less frequent depending on how busy I have been lately considering I am searching around for jobs, so I can only apologise if I don’t publish articles as much.

Without further ado, I will take a look back at the articles I have published over the course of July.

1.7.2017 – Welcoming you all to July on Mother Nature, I described that the weather was expected to be getting much hotter and more humid, whilst also mentioning that I would be looking around for jobs considering that my time at Croydon College had almost reached the end.

14.7.2017 – This day officially marked the end. My education came to a remarkable close as I finished my final year at Croydon College. The end result from my final year of the two-year UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course was that I passed with my final grade being a Pass.

25.7.2017 – After hearing about the beautifully artistic mural that the artist, Bareface, had produced of the late music legend, Amy Winehouse, who sadly passed away at the age of 27 on the 23rd July 2011, on the Croydon Advertiser, I just could not resist seizing the opportunity to photograph the mural.

31.7.2017 – Would you find it hard to believe that it was exactly 21 years ago since Crash Bandicoot graced our screens? Remember the days where you would jump over obstacles, smash through boxes and tackle side-scrolling levels? Well, those days are finally back! As the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy is back to true form, with all three of the original Crash Bandicoot games completely remastered from scratch.

Well, those days are finally back! As the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy is back to true form, with all three of the original Crash Bandicoot games completely remastered from scratch.

Also, to kick off my own photography series, titled: “The Concept of Expression”, I photographed two close friends of mine as I mentioned I would be intending to explore the concept of expression, as well as to how a facial expression can alter or change the mood of a photograph. In this case, the two close friends I photographed for my own photography series were Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford.

Thank you so much for such a great month. It’s been quite a busy month but it sure has been a great one.

Thanks again for such a great month and I shall see you all in August!

Alex Smithson

The Concept of Expression: Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford

To kick off my own photography series, titled: “The Concept of Expression”, I have photographed two close friends of mine as I am intending to explore the concept of expression, and how a facial expression can alter or change the mood of a photograph. In this case, the two close friends I have photographed for my own photography series are Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford.

Just like when I did my Final Major Project when I was at Croydon College, when my Final Major Project was based solely on Facial Expressionism, the photography series: “The Concept of Expression” completely focuses on my own photography work post-college and post-education, and this photography series intends to explore facial expressionism in more detail, as I want to make sure I can cut to what really matters in any facial expression, whether it’s natural or not, and that’s the emotion of that specific facial expression.

After I photographed the beautifully exquisite Amy Winehouse mural which was produced by Bareface in accordance with the RISE Gallery, I decided to photograph both Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, and by getting them to do some facial expressions, this helped me to lay the foundations of the photography work I wanted to produce. Some of the expressions that Saviyon & Shaquille made were completely natural and off-guard, though they weren’t aware that I photographed them completely off-guard until I showed them the photographs I took of both of them near the mural, and away from the mural.

Below are the facial expressions that I photographed of Saviyon Thomas.

Below are the black and white versions of some of the photographs I took of Saviyon, with different captions that I felt worked really well with the selected photos.

Below are the facial expressions that I photographed of Shaquille Roachford.

Below is a black and white version of one of the photographs I took of Shaquille, with a caption that I felt had a powerful connection with Mental Health.

Overall, with the photographs I have produced that feature my close friends, Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, I am absolutely glad to have finally got the chance to use my own Nikon D3300 DSLR after some time of not being able to use it due to using the Canon DSLR’s at Croydon College.

The photos I changed to black and white, which are present on this website’s Instagram account, received quite a lot of good responses, which stunned me as I have now noticed my photography work is slowly but surely getting noticed, which is what I worked so hard for.

These photographs will be in my E-Folio, so please make sure to visit my E-Folio as I will be updating it more and more over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more, as I will be photographing a certain someone again very soon who I photographed for my Final Major Project when I was at Croydon College, so I can guarantee you won’t want to miss the next person I am photographing very soon.

Please feel free to submit your response on the photographs I have produced featuring Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford. I am open to criticism as this will most certainly help me to outline the necessary areas for improvement.

Alex Smithson

Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy / Review / Woah!

Would you find it hard to believe that it was exactly 21 years ago since Crash Bandicoot graced our screens? Remember the days where you would jump over obstacles, smash through boxes and tackle side-scrolling levels?

Well, those days are finally back! As the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy is back to true form, with all three of the original Crash Bandicoot games completely remastered from scratch.

With the source code more or less completely lost, along with the music files that made up the original trilogy, as well as the level designs, Activision Blizzard had to literally rebuild all three of the original Crash Bandicoot games from scratch.

Luckily, as the 3D Mesh Models for all three games were on hard drives provided to Activision Blizzard by Naughty Dog, this gave Activision Blizzard & Vicarious Visions the chance to rebuild and enhance all three games from the ground up, whilst keeping the remastered trilogy as true to the original.

It’s amazing how 21 years have flown because it makes you realise and appreciate the nostalgia of the past two decades, and I wasn’t even born when the first two games in the trilogy were released but I was around when the third game came out.

The one obvious thing to note about the remastered trilogy. It is much harder than the original trilogy, as you now have to time your jumps a lot more precisely as you progress throughout all three of the games. The same also applies if you skid and then jump, you have to make sure you time them both correctly, otherwise there is more of a chance you’ll fall before you try to reach the other side.

After a lot of anticipation and a lot of hype, the unfinished and unreleased level that never made it to the final release of Crash Bandicoot, Stormy Ascent, was finally released.

Of course, Stormy Ascent proved to be just as much of a popular level but was a major headache for everyone including myself to complete, but it was worth it for Activision Blizzard to release this level as the trilogy is officially finished. Signed, Sealed & Delivered.

Stormy Ascent is worth downloading from the PlayStation Store, because if you think Slippery Climb is a hard level, then try Stormy Ascent, and you’ll quickly underestimate just how hard it is to play.

To be fair, the level is absolutely hard, but it’s worth playing, and I am glad I finally got my hands on the level as I have played it and also completed it.

Below are the screenshots I have created whilst playing the groundbreaking Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, so if you have never played Crash Bandicoot, or if you have played Crash Bandicoot, then these screenshots will help you to remember and reminisce the nostalgia of the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy, originally produced by Naughty Dog.

Since Friday 30th June, I have been uploading gameplay footage from all three of the games in the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy; Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back & Crash Bandicoot: Warped.

Below are the video playlists I have created separately for the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy. Please feel free to watch the gameplay footage I have uploaded to my YouTube Channel, and if you have a YouTube Channel and want to see gameplay footage from the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, please make sure to like, comment and subscribe.

The trilogy has not only proved to be popular but because it has done so well in just the first month of its release, Activision Blizzard and Vicarious Visions did the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy justice as their attention to detail really did hone in on the original trilogy’s music, including the visual detail of every single level.

Concluding this review, I can honestly say that the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, produced by Activision Blizzard & Vicarious Visions, is absolutely perfect, and this remastered trilogy stays completely true to the original trilogy produced by Naughty Dog.

What are you waiting for? If you haven’t purchased your copy of the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, go out to your local store or to an online retailer and purchase your copy now. I am absolutely sure this is a trilogy you will want to play alongside the original trilogy produced by Naughty Dog.

Also, if you want to celebrate the marsupial’s comeback in style, download the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy theme packs that are available on the PlayStation Store.

Activision Blizzard & Vicarious Vision, you are awesome! Naughty Dog, you’re awesome too, in fact, all of you are awesome! Thanks for bringing back all of the happy memories of playing Crash Bandicoot!

Alex Smithson

© Activision Blizzard, Vicarious Visions, Naughty Dog & Origin Studios, 2017

© All of the Crash Bandicoot logos; Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Crash Bandicoot: Warped and the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, including all the screenshots, all of the gameplay videos, thumbnails and official art, are all copyright of Activision Blizzard, Vicarious Visions, Naughty Dog & Origin Studios. Full copyright goes to the respective owners.

© The N⋅SANE THEN…N⋅SANER NOW!!! punchline is copyright to Activision Blizzard & Vicarious Visions. Full copyright goes to the respective owners.

Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy / Rating: 10/10

Performance: 10/10

Visual Details: 10/10

Gameplay: 10/10

Controls: 10/10

Stormy Ascent: 10/10

For the Love of Amy

After hearing about the beautifully artistic mural that the artist, Bareface, had produced of the late music legend, Amy Winehouse, who sadly passed away at the age of 27 on the 23rd July 2011, on the Croydon Advertiser, I just could not resist seizing the opportunity to photograph the mural.

Artistically and eloquently visual as it is, Bareface made sure that his mural spoke volumes. This mural he has produced sure did speak volumes as it is not just powerful, is not just colourful, but is very musical considering that the mural is inspired on Amy Winehouse’s record, Tears Dry On Their Own, taken from her second and last album before her death on the 23rd July 2011, Back to Black, with the third and final posthumous album that was released shortly after Amy Winehouse passed away, titled Lioness: Hidden Treasures.

You have to admire Bareface’s hard work, effort and time as he has stuck to Croydon’s roots and produced such a fantastic piece of art work that connects to the BRIT School & Sylvia Young Theatre School, both schools of which Amy Winehouse was alumni for.

It’s such a beautiful and wonderful tribute to the late musician and I can honestly say that this mural is worth preserving for anyone who wants to visit and see this beautiful mural.

To see the mural in full, I have provided below three photographs of Bareface’s own take on the late music legend, Amy Winehouse.

 

Scratch that, it’s not just beautiful, it’s exquisite as Bareface’s take on the late music legend stands out from the crowd.

If you live in Croydon or you are looking to visit Croydon to see this mural, please seize the opportunity to see this artistic and eloquently beautiful mural of Amy Winehouse, produced by Bareface in accordance with the RISE Gallery.

Alex Smithson

If you want to follow and be kept up to date on Bareface’s exquisite and powerful art work, please follow him on these Social Media Accounts shown below.

Instagram: @bareface_art
Twitter: @BarefaceTee

© Amy Winehouse Art Work Mural Copyright of Bareface, commissioned by the RISE Gallery. Full Copyright goes to the respective owners.

The End of the Road! I’ve Passed!

It’s officially the end. My education comes to a remarkable close as I have finished my final year at Croydon College.

Who would have thought that this time three years ago I would be starting my first day at Croydon College, only for the time to fly so much quicker than school? Even I am shocked myself by how far I’ve come since I started at Croydon College.

This time, three years ago, I had just marked the end of secondary school for good as I finished Year 11, and I can even remember starting my first day at Croydon College. I introduced myself to everyone and within the first day, I had made a lot of friends, as we instantly clicked with one another. Three years later, I have so many friends who I keep in contact with and even now, the support I’ve received from my family and my friends has made me realise that I can talk to anyone if I ever feel down about anything.

Croydon College, despite the ups and downs I went through over the course of the three years I studied, gave me the chance to realise my potential and now as I am at the stage of applying for a full-time job, I have officially decided to take a gap year to apply for jobs as I am considering possibly doing a degree in photography next year, which, for me, will really help me in many years to come.

I have enjoyed this year better than the last, but it’s safe to say I will miss Croydon College and everyone in that respect. On the plus side, I have left with my head held high knowing that I have done so well and I cannot wait to take on the best opportunities that become available to me.

Although my work is sufficient enough for a Pass instead of a Merit, I will settle for a Pass instead as I have managed to pass my final year of the UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course. That’s good because I have passed my final year. Result!

I am so chuffed to have worked so hard because despite spending a countless amount of hours getting work done, even whilst having to pull all-nighters that would last up until 8:35 AM or 9:00 AM in the morning, I am glad to have passed because now I can officially bring my time at Croydon College to a remarkable close.

Thank you, Croydon College, for all that you have done to get me to where I need to be and I shall continue to go the extra mile to really get the best out of the work I produce in the foreseeable, and thanks for giving me the chance to realise my potential to become a photographer. None of this would have been possible without your help and guidance, so thank you, Croydon College, I’ll miss being at Croydon College but my time at Croydon College has now officially come to an end. Thanks for everything.

Alex Smithson

Welcome to July!

Welcome to July! As the weather is expected to be much hotter and more humid over the course of the next few weeks, it’s safe to say that everyone, including myself, will need to be prepared in the event of sunburn, given the scorching hot weather we had at the beginning at June made us all feel like parts of our houses were saunas even after letting some fresh air in.

As I am looking around for jobs considering my time at Croydon College has almost reached the end, it’s safe to say I am going to miss Croydon College so much, given that this college gave me so much and helped me to realise my potential, and the fact that this college got me through difficult times that I went through in the past year, I am so glad that Croydon College was my first choice of college as this college changed my life for the better. Fingers crossed I can get myself a job as I don’t want to be sitting at home doing nothing when I could be going out and earning money for myself, whilst also contributing to my family.

Fingers crossed I can get myself a job as I don’t want to be sitting at home doing nothing when I could be going out and earning money for myself, whilst also contributing to my family.

I will be making sure to publish more articles this month considering June was an extremely busy month for me, even though it was a fantastic month for me in the process given that I celebrated my 19th Birthday on the 16th June, whilst also celebrating the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy which only came out exactly two weeks after my 19th Birthday. On the 8th July, I will be heading around to my friend’s house as she is holding a party at hers, so it’s me and quite a few people who’ll be going next Saturday, so if there’s no sign of an article or signs of any articles on that day, it’s because I’ll be partying and making sure to make the most of the free time considering I won’t be able to do this as often once I’ve secured myself a full-time job.

The holiday is almost here so that’s a good sign but for now, welcome to July!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: July 2016

To mark the end of a very productive month, I will now take a look back on the articles that were published over the course of this month.

1.7.2016 – As this day would kick off a long Summer holiday for me and everyone else, I welcomed you all to July on Mother Nature. I mentioned that despite two months of less productivity, I was pleased to announce I would return to publishing articles on a frequent basis considering I would have the huge bag of free time available. I also mentioned the news of the fourth book’s name being changed as I wanted to make sure that the fourth book wouldn’t be based around photography, but around the topics I have covered over the course of this year, as well as other things I have talked about on Mother Nature.

3.7.2016 –  On the 1st July, I took the opportunity to get some photos of the raindrops after a downpour of rain, as the calm before the storm came and went, and then the calm after the storm came after the storm passed. This photo set: “A Splash of Vividness” was quite well received and attracted a lot of good attention after I shared this photo article I published with some Facebook groups.

On the same day, I thought it would be a good idea to inspire you all by talking about being unique, as well as it being who we are and being unique, including taking control of how we choose to present ourselves to others.

I also published 5 of my Weekly Logs from the Stop-Frame Animation Project on this day, which would document the kind of skills I would develop, including the research, practical tasks and Critical Analysis I had done over the course of this project.

5.7.2016 – 6.7.2016 – Over the course of these two days, I published the final set of weekly logs which came from the most recent Final Major Project which I finished and passed, which helped me to pass the first year of my two-year UAL Level 3 Diploma Film & Photography Course, but my second year at Croydon College.

10.7.2016 – It was a long time coming, but on this day, I finally did away with the Motif theme altogether by switching to the Karuna theme, with a warm welcome to you all on the all-new look for Mother Nature.

I also published a large photo set on this day, which were of the photographs I took on Wednesday 6th July 2016, in which this photo set was titled: “The Truth About Summer? It’s Sweet, Serene, Stunning & Gorgeous!“.

Also on this day, I celebrated publishing 400 articles on Mother Nature by publishing my fifth artistic interpretation, but this time, on the famous Hello musician, Adele.

11.7.2016 – Exactly one year ago to this day, the gaming world lost an iconic gaming legend. Satoru Iwata, who was best known for being the man behind the iconic gaming consoles, such as the Game Boy Series, the Nintendo DS Series, the Nintendo Wii Series, the Nintendo 3DS Series and the Nintendo Wii U Series, sadly passed away on the 11th July 2015 following a bile duct growth, which Nintendo officially announced in a statement they published on the same day the news of his death was announced.

13.7.2016 – It is painfully distressing when we all hear the news about a certain event or events that are always talked about around the world. Just recently, and even now, the news of the shootings in Minnesota, Dallas & Louisiana have caused a mass fruition which has sparked protests in America, as well as in other places around the world. This article I did was based on whether everyone’s lives really mattered regardless of who we are.

15.7.2016 – Given the most recent and devastating events that occurred in Nice in France, in which over 80+ victims lost their lives as a result of the deadly massacre, with 100+ that were also injured, I announced that I wouldn’t publish any articles until the following Monday, as I would pay tribute to all those that were killed during the Bastille Day Celebrations.

20.7.2016 – On this day, I published an article which was based on looking at life through a lens, and what would make each photo tell a story.

23.7.2016 – It’s hard to think it was exactly five years ago on this day that we lost the iconic music legend, Amy Winehouse. The time has flown but it doesn’t really feel like it has when you consider the news of Amy’s death was announced on this day five years ago, it just feels unreal. I was actually heartbroken when I found out she died because it’s like the musician we all came to know and love over the years had gone within a flash. I paid tribute to Amy Winehouse by publishing a tribute article which would reflect on her music career, as well as the iconic songs that I felt really got to the bottom of what life can be like from anyone’s perspective as well as her own.

28.7.2016 – On this day, I published an article based on life after Mother Nature, and it was based on whether I would be able to live without the use of a computer, to which I gave certain reasons as to what life would be like for me without a computer.

29.7.2016 – On this day, I published an article based on Mother Nature and why I started up this website, and how it gave me the chance to come up with all-new ideas, all-inclusive and exquisite ideas that would help me to develop and even improve on certain things that I wasn’t so good at before.

Also on this day, I published an article regarding how political correctness affected modern society, as I wanted to talk about how it’s affected us, including certain words that we could say before that we can no longer say now.

Thanks so much to all of you for a fantastic and productive month and I’ll see you all in August.

Alex Smithson

How Has Political Correctness Affected Modern Society?

Political correctness has affected the way almost all societies are nowadays. For instance, there is a lot of discrimination in this world and a lack of equality, and certain words that you could say before that weren’t racist, sexist and misogynistic are now considered to be racist, sexist and misogynistic.

For example, you could say to a woman: “I like that dress you’re wearing, it really suits you” in an entirely honest, polite, appropriate and respectful manner, and it would be considered misogynistic or sexist depending on how that person reacts to it.

I hate the fact that political correctness has affected us all as people, because it’s like the words we could say before that were entirely appropriate, polite and respectful are not being allowed to be said anymore.

I also hate the fact that political correctness has affected the world and the way we communicate and interact with others, because it’s like the freedom of speech you are granted is somehow taken away from you from that certain aspect of the freedom of being able to speak, even if what you say is entirely appropriate.

Whenever I talk about a certain subject, I like to approach it carefully and be as honest as possible without offending anyone, because I worry that anything I may say that is entirely honest and polite could be seen from anyone else’s perspective as being offensive.

I always like to make sure that whatever I talk about I approach very carefully and I also like to make sure that what I say is entirely appropriate, respectful and polite, so that I can get any points across about a certain topic or subject without that particular subject or topic being rude.

Political correctness has indeed affected modern society, because it’s like the type of words you could say before that were appropriate you can no longer say due to political correctness.

Political correctness has gone mad and it’s like some of the appropriate words we could say before are no longer allowed to be said, so to some extent, even if we have our full rights to a freedom of speech, we’re in effect losing certain rights to a freedom of speech because we can no longer say certain words that were allowed to be said before but not allowed to be said now.

Overall, it’s pretty sad to see the way things have gone over the years, and it’s also pretty sad to see that political correctness has taken over all of our lives and prevented us from saying certain things that we could say before that we can no longer say now.

Do you think Political Correctness has affected Modern Society? Please let me know by submitting feedback below.

All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Mother Nature: Why Did I Start Up This Website?

I started this website up because I wanted to be able to do something that I could set my mind to, something that would keep me occupied, but most of all, something that I would be able to build my skills on and develop further on as well.

Starting this website up gave me the chance to come up with all-new ideas, all-inclusive and exquisite ideas that would help me to develop and even improve on certain things I wasn’t so good at before.

I always aim to try something new almost every day, and although I may feel at times that Mother Nature has gone I’m a different direction than I had planned, I’m pleased I can still work and develop on what I love the most, photography, whilst working on other core areas that aren’t necessarily connected to photography, including core areas where photography is not involved at all and vice versa.

I made sure to start this website up and to keep working at writing and publishing articles as I wanted to make sure that I could keep as active as possible at what I do, as well as what I do when I’m not writing articles.

Setting up this website gave me the chance to be creative with my ideas, and I made this website my sole purpose to work hard and to make sure that I could pursue my career as a photographer.

It’s hard work setting up a website and making it into something you want to make it into but it’s absolutely worth it. If you keep working hard on your blog or website and you keep to a daily publishing schedule, you’ll find that your blog or website will pick up and people will start to notice you.

It takes a lot of time to get everyone to view your blog or website, but it’s all about standing the test of time and making the effort to keep your blog or website looking relevant and also with fresh new content.

If you want an article or a hobby that you like or love, or even hate to peak someone’s interest, you’ve got to make sure it’s something that will get people talking.

When I published the photo article: “A Bright & Breezy Spring!” sometime last year, I wanted it to peak everyone’s interests and sure enough, it was actually good that it got people talking, as I ended up with over 80 people liking the article as a result, which was an achievement for me, as it was a set based primarily and secondarily on my own photography skills at that time.

I always aim to make sure to create an article that will get everyone talking, but at the same time, I aim to make sure that the article I publish is something that can not only get everyone talking but also give people the chance to look at the points I may have covered in that article, as well as the article’s sole purpose for viewing.

Overall, I love writing and publishing articles, as I can keep myself motivated at what I do and can also keep myself as productive as possible.

I will and shall aim to pursue my dream career in professional photography and also possibly in filmography.

What made you want to start-up your blog or website? Please let me know by submitting feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Life after Mother Nature.

What would life be like for me without a computer?

It would be quite a tough challenge for me, as it would mean I would have to go the extra mile and work harder, even if it means I have to rely on my iPhone, including having to take notes quicker than before, as well as having to complete any work that requires a computer on a notepad or on my iPhone, or possibly on my iPad mini.

Of course, there would come times when I wouldn’t be able to rely on technology, but instead rely on the use of a notepad, a pen, a pencil and all the usual stationery pieces of equipment, but at the same time, I would need to use any resources that wouldn’t involve technology at all to get through each day, meaning I would have to take each day as it comes and face the music.

Life after Mother Nature would be hard for me, because it would mean that I would have to focus on something that would be able to keep me occupied for long periods of time.

It would also mean I would have to make sacrifices for a few weeks whilst working on something in order to get somewhere, as I would have to, in other words, make choices that could ultimately define whether I have a good future or not, even if things become difficult along the way.

Overall, life after Mother Nature without a computer would be difficult for me, because using a computer, as well as writing articles for Mother Nature would always keep me productive.

Without a computer altogether, I would have to work extra hard to keep myself as productive as possible like I would if I did or didn’t have a computer to use.

What would life be like for you after your blog/website without a computer?

Please feel free to submit feedback below.

All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson