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

Monthly Roundup: June 2017

June flew like the wind and it sure was one heck of a ride, and a great one too! I celebrated my 19th Birthday exactly two weeks ago and today, PlayStation, Activision & Vicarious Visions officially welcomed back the gaming legend, Crash Bandicoot, after 21 years by releasing the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy.

There were only less articles this month because I met my deadline and did my maths exam, but I also needed to recuperate and take things easy considering I pulled all-nighters ahead of the deadline, also because I went out and had a great time at a friend’s party the following day after marking my 19th Birthday.

More articles are coming next month to make up for lost time, so keep your eyes peeled for any articles I publish over the coming weeks.

Without further ado, I will take a look back at the articles that were published over the course this month.

1.6.2017 – Welcoming all of you to June on Mother Nature, I mentioned that the weather was set to get warmer and humid considering we had lovely weather in the weeks leading up to the beginning of June. I also mentioned that I was preparing to finish my final year at Croydon College as all of my Final Major Project coursework, which solely focused on Facial Expressionism, was due on Monday 5th June 2017.

6.6.2017 – I released an open statement that followed the horrific terrorist attacks that took place down London Bridge & Borough Market, and I even did make sure to lay it all down on the line how I really felt about why I felt the foreign aid budget should be cut, though I paid tribute to the victims in the open statement by letting all those who were affected know that my heart, thoughts, prayers and condolences went out to all those who were affected by these sadistic terrorist attacks.

26.6.2017 – As I was able to meet my deadline with all of my coursework backed up to some hard drives, I did a massive clear-out on my laptop. I needed to get that much-needed storage space back as my laptop was being cluttered with all of the coursework I’ve done over the course of the entire year.

30.6.2017 – After 21 years, Crash Bandicoot marked his return to PlayStation in the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy. I mentioned how it was ironic that I mentioned in an article on the 9th July 2015 that it would be nice to see the trilogy being remastered, with mine and everyone’s prayers finally being answered on the 13th June 2016, just before my 18th birthday, that the Crash Bandicoot trilogy was being remastered and would be released for the PlayStation 4. This day was perfect and it was finally a relief to see Crash Bandicoot make a remarkable comeback to PlayStation.

Thanks so much for such a fantastic month. I can only apologise for publishing fewer articles this month but I will be publishing a good amount of articles next month so I can assure you on that.

Again, thanks so much for such a fantastic month everyone and I will see you all in July!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: May 2017

May flew like the wind! The time flew so fast and this month has been so much of hard work in terms of getting coursework and revision done but I can honestly say that I am glad to have worked my socks off. I feel so pleased to have showcased my photography work here to give all of you the chance to see the Final Major Project work I have produced.

Without further ado, I will take a look back over the course of this month.

1.5.2017 – Welcoming you all to May on Mother Nature, I mentioned that May was set to be one of the busiest months for me considering I had a lot of revision and coursework to, and I also went on to mention that the next few weeks would be full of a lot of hard work and dedication.

7.5.2017 – As this day marked the end of such a fantastic weekend, considering I went out and partied the night before at my friend’s house, I seized the opportunity to photograph BOXPARK before heading home after staying at my friend’s house for the night.

11.5.2017 – I continued the Headshot photographic collection I was developing for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project by photographing my close friend, Leonardo Mouza, for Headshot #5. This headshot photography collection came after I photographed the famous actor and Mental Health Awareness Campaigner, Oli Regan.

15.5.2017 – I continued the research phase of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project by picking August Sander as the fourth photographer I would research and I included Harvard Referencing as Harvard Referencing is essential for my coursework.

16.5.2017 – Headshot #6 continued on from Headshot #5, as I photographed Leonardo Mouza for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, along with his close friend, Terrence Mathew. The photographs I produced for Headshot #6 involved photographing both Leonardo and Terrence in the walkway outside Croydon College.

18.5.2017 – For Headshot #7, I photographed my close friend, Mhamad Rauf, but just like before, I photographed Mhamad in the walkway outside Croydon College, and also did some modelling headshots whilst the etched graffiti walls were present.

20.5.2017 – My good friend, Miles Khan, launched his website, and his website contains work he has produced of his multi-coloured pills, which he has been advertising on Instagram. I also detailed the pill designs that Miles Khan has produced so that you can choose from a wide array of choices of the type of pill design you want to purchase.

Also, on this day, I drew the research stage of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project to a remarkable close, as the fifth and final photographer I chose to research for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project was David Bailey.

22.5.2017 – As part of my Final Major Project, Headshot #8 followed on from Headshot #7, which focused on the subject, Mhamad Rauf, as I photographed my close friend, Kasra Soltani, for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project. I used the walkway again outside Croydon College to create an entirely different approach to the facial expressions I wanted Kasra to make by getting him to do those facial expressions I asked him to make in the way he does those facial expressions naturally.

Also, on this day, I notified all of you in advance of the General Election on Thursday 8th June 2017 that you had until 11:59 PM on this day to register to vote so that you could vote for your choice of government, including getting the chance to get your voice heard on Thursday 8th June 2017.

24.5.2017 – I continued on from Headshot #8 by photographing my close friend, Kasra Soltani, again for Headshot #9 of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, but instead, just like with the subjects I photographed earlier on in the Final Major Project, I used a black backdrop to bring out the emphasis in the facial expressions I asked Kasra to make.

26.5.2017 – Headshot #10 brought my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, as I photographed my close friend, Kasra Soltani, for my Final Major Project. As Headshot #10 was the final collection of photographs I had produced for my Final Major Project, I did make sure to adjust the lighting so that the lighting could accommodate for better focus on Kasra so that each expression he has made would connect to the photography work I have already produced.

30.5.2017 – As I prepared to end my Final Major Project, which I mentioned would come to a close on Monday 5th June 2017, I produced Contact Sheets for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project which I would stick into my sketchbook once they were printed. All of the Contact Sheets I produced would feature all of the photography work I have produced throughout the duration of my own Facial Expressionism Final Major Project work, which would feature my photographed subjects; Jonathan McCartney, Steven Geer, Oli Regan, Leonardo Mouza, Terrence Mathew, Mhamad Rauf & Kasra Soltani.

Also, on this day, I mentioned to all of you that after a lot of hype, anticipation and a lot of excitement, Sonic Mania would officially grace our screens on the 15th August. I also mentioned that this news couldn’t have come at a better time, as 2017 would mark 26 years since Sonic the Hedgehog graced our screens.

It’s been such a busy month but was worth being busy and I won’t lie, although there have been a few ups and downs over the past few weeks with the coursework, stress and other things personal-based, I am glad to have got through this month knowing I worked my socks off and being so dedicated to aiming high and achieving the best out of the work I have produced and all of this wouldn’t have been possible without all of you by my side, so thank you so much for everything everyone.

Thanks for such a fantastic month and I will see all of you in June!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: April 2017

Wow! This month sure flew like the wind. I’ve been so busy with coursework and revision lately that the time has flown! I am so pleased to have got so much coursework done and I’m so glad to have shown all of you the work I have produced for my Final Major Project, including the research I have done for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project.

Without further ado, I shall now take a look back at the articles I published over the course of April.

1.4.2017 – Welcoming you all to April on Mother Nature, I mentioned that this month would set to be just as relaxing and as peaceful as March, but that it would also be set to be quite the busy month for me, considering I would need to travel to places up in London that I can photograph, including heading to certain galleries in London to further my research and development for the Facial Expressionism Final Major Project that I’ve been working on.

7.4.2017 – The Blossoming Feels of Spring highlighted how wonderful this day was because it was nice and sunny, the temperature was just right. and I had ceased the opportunity to photograph some parts of my garden. I experimented with the ISO frequently to see which ISO setting suited the lighting conditions the best.

8.4.2017 – Nature is Beautiful proved that even Mother Nature herself continued to amaze us and because there was a small breeze in the air with the lovely sunny weather on this day, it was safe to say that this weather was beautiful and that Mother Nature is also beautiful.

9.4.2017 – Inspire to be Positive was my way of inspiring others and to promote positivity, equality and diversity towards everyone, and that we should all drown out negativity and inequality.

11.4.2017 – This day marked the beginning of a new chapter for Windows 10. As Windows Vista officially ended extended support on this day, the Windows 10 Creators Update was officially released. I gave a full run-down on the features I came across in the Creators Update considering that I made the jump to the Windows 10 Creators Update a week early ahead of this day’s official release and mentioned that another major Windows Update was set to be released in the coming months.

15.4.2017 – As it was four years since I last visited Battersea Park, it was safe to say that not a lot had changed since my last visit. During the course of my time that I revisited Battersea Park, I produced a large photographic collection that consisted of my journey to Battersea Park, including perspective photographs that I took throughout certain areas of Battersea Park itself, even though two dogs had caught two of the tennis balls me and my family were using when we played cricket on the large field, which were eventually knackered after a few whacks with the cricket bat.

21.4.2017 – As part of my Final Major Project, I did research on the photographers that influenced me in the photography work I wanted to produce, considering that my Final Major Project is based on Facial Expressionism. The first photographer I researched for my Final Major Project was Fazal Sheikh, as his work aimed to document and even personalise the power of portraiture whilst bringing the displaced parts of the world, including its own people, into focus.

23.4.2017 – Continuing on from the first photographer I researched for my Final Major Project, the second photographer I chose to research was Irving Penn, as he was an American photographer who was best known for his portrait, still life and fashion photography collections, and his photography career consisted of work he produced with the top fashion magazine company, VOGUE, including Clinique and Issey Miyake.

24.4.2017 – Following on from the research I did so far for my Final Major Project, I started to develop my photography skills further, and the first subject I photographed for my Final Major Project was my good friend, Jonathan McCartney. As Fazal Sheikh & Irving Penn’s photography work inspired me in the development of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, I experimented with a white backdrop on the first set of photographs I took of my friend, Jonathan and acknowledged that some of the emotions might not connect to some of the photographs depending on which way the first headshot photographs were viewed. I also experimented further with the same photographs by converting the photographs into words with the app, WordFoto.

25.4.2017 – Following on from the first set of headshot photographs I took of my good friend, Jonathan McCartney, I presented to you the second headshot photographs I took of my friend, Jonathan, but this time, with a black backdrop, which I must say actually worked much better compared to a white backdrop, and the black backdrop was an idea a close friend of mine suggested to me after he critiqued the Headshot #1 photographs I took of Jonathan. These headshot photographs not only improved my photography skills, but it made a lot of sense to use a black backdrop in these photographs, including any other photographs that I would produce. I made sure to experiment carefully with these photographs by editing them in WordFoto and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) so that they could retain the facial expressions I asked Jonathan to make, as these headshot photographs would tie in with my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, including the research I did so far on the Facial Expressionism photographers, Fazal Sheikh and Irving Penn.

28.4.2017 – Continuing on from the first and second photographer I researched for my Final Major Project, the third photographer I chose to research was Thomas Ruff. Thomas Ruff is a German photographer who lives and also works in Düsseldorf in Germany. As he shares a photography studio with other German photographers, such as Andreas Gursky, Axel Hütte and Laurenz Berges on Düsseldorf’s Hansaalee, the photography studio itself formerly comprised of a municipal electricity station, which was converted between the course of 1998 and 2000 by the architects, Herzog & de Meuron, who are part of Tate Modern fame, with an updated basement gallery that was completed in 2011.

29.4.2017 – Following on from the research I did so far on the photographers, Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn and Thomas Ruff, the second subject I chose to photograph for my Final Major Project was Steven Geer. For the Headshot #3 photographs, just like I did with the Headshot #2 photographs I took of my friend, Jonathan McCartney, I had made sure to use the black backdrop again, so that the facial expressions I would get Steven to do wouldn’t just have a real sense of depth, but that the expressions that Steven would make would capture a real sense of emotion. I experimented very carefully with the photographs as these photographs would build on the research I did so far on the 3 facial expressionist photographers; Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn & Thomas Ruff.

30.4.2017 – Following on from the research I did so far on the photographers, Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn and Thomas Ruff, the third subject I am honoured to have photographed for my Final Major Project was the famous actor and Mental Health Awareness Campaigner, Oli Regan. For the headshot photographs I took of Oli, I experimented with a black backdrop so that the facial expressions I asked Oli to make would give the emotion from the facial expressions he made more emphasis and more depth. After I photographed Oli with the black backdrop, I then opted to try out a red backdrop, so that I could capture some of the facial expressions again, but this time, I wanted to try and photograph Oli like as if I photographed him for a magazine cover photoshoot.

Thanks so much to all of you for such a fantastic, fun-filled, exciting and fun-filled month. I am so honoured to have shared my photography work and the research I’ve done with all of you. I have noticed I’ve been a whole lot more productive with the work I’ve produced, as well as the research I’ve done and I am so determined to succeed with a much higher grade this time around that I am making sure to work my socks off to get the best grades I want to get before I finish my final year of college at the beginning of July. I will make sure to work hard to succeed and to make sure I end my education on a high note and to also go out with a bang!

Again, thanks so much to all of you for such a fantastic, fun-filled, exciting and fun-filled month and I will see you all in May.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: March 2017

This month flew like the wind, and it only felt like yesterday we just kicked off 2017! Time has flown so fast lately that it’s impossible to keep up with the speed of time.

I will make sure to take a look back at the articles published over the course of this month, and of course, I will be making sure to remember the victims and the police officer that died on Wednesday 22nd March 2017 down Westminster Bridge, London, as a result of the horrific terrorist attack.

1.3.2017 – Welcoming all of you to March on Mother Nature, I mentioned that I decided to go retro with the article image and did it up in the inspired style of Sonic Mania, considering that Sonic Mania and Project Sonic 2017 (now officially titled ‘Sonic Forces’) would be released over the next few months. I also mentioned that the next few weeks would be much busier considering my Summative Assessment deadline for the Self-Directed Curiosity Project was just around the corner.

3.3.2017 –  After a three-year break from music, and after his hotly anticipated second studio album became the most streamed album on Spotify and other music services, Ed Sheeran is back with his third studio album, ÷. Shape of You really sets the tone of his latest album, because it has a unique vibe that really sets the mood you want to experience when listening to this album. I mentioned that ÷ is the first ever vinyl record I have owned and that I felt so honoured to go retro for the first time and it was an absolute honour to review Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Deluxe) album.

8.3.2017 – As this day marked International Women’s Day, I wanted to make sure all women across the world get to celebrate being the women they are and to always be themselves. I also mentioned that all women deserve equality, diversity, respect, compassion, care and love regardless of skin colour, sexuality, gender, culture, religion and place of origin and that it’s right for all of us, including myself to celebrate all women as part of International Women’s Day.

15.3.2017 –  Let’s face it. We’ve all seen for ourselves the negative stigma that has become attached to Mental Health. The negative stigma has all too often put a strain on all governments and organisations, with Mental Health sufferers having to experience the harsh reality that they may end up not being allowed to access the help, support and treatment they need. Writing this article gave me the chance to be open about my anxiety, and although I am not officially diagnosed, I do suffer from Anxiety, and writing this article gave me the chance to be open about my Anxiety, as well as to how I have been able to manage and keep my Anxiety under control.

20.3.2017 – It was an absolute honour for me to share with you, my review of Oli Regan’s recently released début album, My Diary of Pain. I talked about how the rawness of Oli’s voice on this album really stands out, as he spoke from the heart, the mind and the soul about how he really feels. If you get a chance, please do listen to his album, My Diary of Pain, it is so good!

22.3.2017 – 24.3.2017 – No articles were published as I released an open statement on Wednesday 22nd March 2017 in light of the horrific terrorist attack that took place down Westminster Bridge, London, in which 3 victims died, including the police officer, PC Keith Palmer.

25.3.2017 –  After months of rumours and speculation that she was pregnant, Cheryl & Liam officially announced a few weeks before that they were expecting their first child together. It became official that Cheryl & Liam officially welcomed their first ever child together!

Also, on this day, I asked you all if you were ready for the clocks to go forward, considering that the time went quicker than expected and that it had only felt like it was yesterday we had just put the clocks back one hour, which proves and rings true even to this day that time sure does fly.

26.3.2017 – As this day marked Mother’s Day, I wished all mothers around the world a Happy Mother’s Day and hoped that all mothers had their Mother’s Day filled with love, happiness, joy, respect, compassion and care.

28.3.2017 – As part of my Final Major Project for the last year of my UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course at Croydon College, I was asked to produce a 6 minute and 40 second presentation on a time-keeping tool called Pecha Kucha, which is the Japanese term for Chit-Chat.

Pecha Kucha, which is Japanese for Chit-Chat, is where you produce 20 slides that have to be exactly 20 seconds each. For every slide, you would need to explain in 20 seconds for each slide a brief run-down of the kind of work you are going to produce, regardless of whether it is project-based or not. The 20 slides would have to consist of one or more short sentences you can talk about within 20 seconds, including any work you have currently produced to date.

As my Pecha Kucha presentation focused solely on Facial Expressionism, I mentioned that I would research certain photographers, such as Cecil Beaton, Walker Evans, August Sander, Thomas Ruff and any other photographer that specialises in Facial Expressionism; the field of work I want to produce.

29.3.2017 –  In the last few years, the police numbers have gone down due to cuts that have been made to save our government money, our money of which is supposed to be used to keep our police officers on the streets. On Wednesday 22nd March 2017, exactly one year to the day of the devastating attacks that took place in Brussels, which saw 35 people killed (32 victims, 3 perpetrators), with more than 300 people injured, a terrorist attack took place down Westminster Bridge, where 5 people were killed as a result, one of which was the terrorist, while the other was a police officer who was stabbed and sadly died as a result of his injuries.

31.3.2017 – I published two photographic articles that focused on Croydon, considering that I ceased the opportunity to photograph Croydon while the lovely weather lasts. The weather has been absolutely peaceful lately and it was good to see that the weather was finally looking up and that it was most certainly shaping up to make the two-week holiday as relaxing and as peaceful as ever!

Thanks so much for a great month everyone, and although it was a great month, it was also quite devastating as a result of the terrorist attack that took place down Westminster Bridge, London and I shall take this opportunity to pay my full respects and condolences to the families of the victims who lost their loved ones on Wednesday 22nd March 2017, including paying my full respects and condolences to the family of the police officer, PC Keith Palmer.

Again, thanks so much for a good month everyone, and I will see you all in April!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup / January 2017

What a busy month! January sure did come and go like the wind and we only started 2017 a few weeks ago. It does feel completely surreal considering the time has flown. Over the first few weeks of 2017, I have been extremely busy with coursework to tell you the truth and I haven’t published as much, which is a good thing in certain aspects as I have been working very closely on my self-directed film and photography project, as the Self-Directed Curiosity Project I am working on is based around Nature. As you’ve seen just recently, I published a photography collection of Kelsey Park as part of my coursework, as I have been using the film and photography skills I have learned or built on and improved them over the course of time.

Without further ado, here is the full Monthly Roundup for January.

1.1.2017 – Kicking off 2017 with a bang, I welcomed you all to January on Mother Nature. As 2017 officially opened its doors and began with high spirits, I mentioned that 2017 will be a year of looking forward to the future and not back. As I finally decided to break the tradition with Spotify, I decided to do away with “The Mix of…” playlist and replace it with “Alex’s Mix” as I was getting bored of constantly replacing playlists every year, and I mentioned that “Alex’s Mix” would remain a permanent fixture on this website from this day onwards.

10.1.2017 – As it was exactly one year to the day since the Thin White Duke, David Bowie, passed away at the age of 69 from liver cancer, I had made sure to pay my full respects to the Starman by drawing David Bowie, also because the 8th January 2017 would have marked his 70th birthday. Blackstar, which was David Bowie’s 25th and last ever studio album, which was released on his 69th birthday, was classed as “…a parting gift,” to his fans.

18.1.2017 – As I wanted to kick 2017 off with a bang, I decided to revisit the photographic collection I took on the 15th December 2016 by publishing a more up-to-date collection titled: “CROYDON / REVISITED”, which would revisit Croydon with more of a positive approach, given that there was some lovely weather in my first few weeks back at Croydon College.

On the same day I published this photography article that revisited Croydon, I published another photography collection, titled: “NIGHTLIFE IN BECKENHAM”, which followed my close friend’s birthday party the week before. I mentioned that Nightlife in Beckenham was absolutely tranquil and so peaceful, and the quietness of Beckenham gave me goosebumps as it was pin-drop silent, even though it is usually busy during the daylight hours. I kept in mind there were some blind spots in and around Beckenham so I did make sure to keep myself aware of everything around me so that I could make sure that I was safe.

24.1.2017 Mental Health is not a laughing matter, especially considering that the negative stigma is attached to anyone who suffers from Mental Health, but when social media gets involved, it does everything to exploit mental health in such a negative way that you can’t help but feel disgusted at the level of negativity that makes your blood boil. I worked with the famous actor, Oli Regan, on this article as I wanted to raise awareness and join forces with him to end the negative stigma against Mental Health, and I also mentioned in this article that I had set up a page on Mother Nature called: “Mental Health Organisations“, given that I wanted to do my bit to help end the stigma against Mental Health, even though I don’t suffer from Mental Health myself. I published this article as a way of highlighting the negative stigma against Mental Health and that I wanted to help end the stigma, given that I previously worked with Oli Regan on the article: “Are Autism & Mental Health Overlooked? (Parental Guidance is Advised)”.

27.1.2017 – As part of my Self-Directed Project, I travelled to Kelsey Park to snap a collection of photographs given that my Self-Directed Project focuses around Nature. For this Self-Directed Project, I researched 5 different nature photographers; Ansel Adams, David Muench, John Shaw, Art Wolfe & Joel Sartore. As it was three years since I last visited Kelsey Park, I wanted to make sure to showcase how much my photography skills had improved over the course of time. This photography collection was created on the 24th January 2017 and published on this day (to reduce confusion).

29.1.2017 – As I joined forces with more than a million people who signed the petition to block Donald Trump’s State Visit to the United Kingdom, I published a small article with the link to the petition. I also published this article as I highlighted that I am entitled to a freedom of speech and also my own human rights, given that Equality & Diversity always matter in this world, and that all women are entitled to the same type of freedom as men and that they shouldn’t be controlled, shouldn’t be forced and shouldn’t be objectified just for being themselves. I also mentioned that if all of us men can have freedom, then all women can have the same freedom as all of us men.

Thank you for a fantastic start to 2017 everyone and I shall see you all in February.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: December 2016

Marking the end of 2016, here is the final monthly roundup of 2016. It’s hard to think it only felt like yesterday we started 2016 but now that 2016 is ready to close its doors for the last time, I will take a look back on the articles published over the course of December.

1.12.2016 – As December is the last month of the year, I welcomed all of you to Mother Nature. I mentioned that it was hard to believe that it was the last month of the year, given that the time has gone so fast, which made it unbelievable considering just how quick the time flies nowadays.

3.12.2016 – A short while ago, I wrote an article that followed my excitement of the first three Crash Bandicoot games being remastered after years of rumours and speculation, and on this day, Activision, while they were at the PlayStation Experience event, unveiled the first ever look of Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy. I saw the comeback trailer and it’s so good! It reminisces the nostalgic fever of the original levels from the PS1 Classic Crash Bandicoot and Sony & Activision couldn’t have picked a better time to show off the new Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy.

6.12.2016 – As it was a few weeks since I had published my photo collection of the recently opened BOXPARK, I used the opportunity after I finished college to photograph a photo collection of BOXPARK inside, in which I would feature the Meat Liquor Store that is a part of BOXPARK Croydon.

16.12.2016 – As I will be starting a self-directed photography project in 2017, I decided to share with all of you a small photographic collection that I took of Croydon before I fell sick the day before to a sore throat and a cold. I kept this in mind considering that my coursework from the past few projects were all submitted on Monday 12th December 2016.

23.12.2016 – As Sonic Generations marked the 20th Anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog, it was clear that this game had everything to offer, because for the first time, and with Stereoscopic 3D, you would get to see Classic Sonic & Modern Sonic in an entirely nostalgic form that would shift between the past and the present. I will not deny this, but I have played the game myself and I absolutely love it, because it delivers and creates not just a nostalgic feeling that makes you think of the good old days of Classic Sonic, but it gives you the approach that Sonic is back and Retro is back too.

I wrote this review because as I have a copy of the game, I wanted to be nice and write an honest review on SEGA’s 2011 game, Sonic Generations, also given the fact that it’s such a good game to play.

25.12.2016 – I wanted to wish you all a Happy Christmas by publishing a small article, in which I said: “May your Christmas be full of joy, happiness, care, compassion and love.”

29.12.2016 – As I decided to treat myself to the new PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB console after a tough year, it’s safe to say I was not disappointed, as I was able to get in on a deal with PC World as they were selling three games bundled with the PlayStation 4 Slim; those games were DRIVECLUB, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End & The Last of Us Remastered. Thankfully, I was able to get in on the deal when I did because Sony never disappoints where consoles and gaming are involved, as the console itself is much quieter than the original PS4, given that I know a friend of mine who has the original PS4 whose PS4 actually makes a noise even if the console is standing upright or horizontally when gameplay is in progress or when a film is being played on the PlayStation 4.

I wrote this review considering that I purchased the PlayStation 4 Slim a few weeks before, given that the PlayStation 4 Slim, just like the original PlayStation 4, features the Share button on the DualShock 4 controller, which makes sharing gameplay to YouTube and other websites, such as DailyMotion, Facebook and even Twitch possible, also because Share Play allows you to invite your friends to a game they may not have or may already own, including the ability to play games that you may not own or may have never played before.

30.12.2016 – With it being just 4 years since Unorthodox Jukebox, which spanned the smash hit songs, Locked Out of Heaven & Treasure, Bruno Mars is Back! As 24K Magic marked Bruno Mars’ comeback to the music scene, two years after the smash hit record, Uptown Funk, which he released alongside Mark Ronson just weeks after Fleur East (The X Factor 2014 Runner-Up, 2nd Place to our Croydon lad, Ben Haenow, the winner of the X Factor 2014) performed the record on the X Factor, it was safe to say that it was like Bruno Mars had never been away from the music scene.

I wrote this music review considering I have listened to and own a copy of the album, which is so good, which is why I recommend you buy Bruno Mars’ album, 24K Magic.

Also on this day, I published a massive photo collection and footage of So Solid Crew, who performed at BOXPARK CROYDON on Thursday 8th December 2016 and honestly, they smashed it when I went to see them perform. I was also lucky to get some photos with Double Dee from So Solid Crew and again, he is such a down-to-earth and genuine guy and it was an absolute honour to meet him and also an absolute honour to see So Solid Crew at BOXPARK Croydon. Seeing So Solid Crew perform at BOXPARK Croydon on Thursday 8th December 2016 marked that night as the best night of my life.

31.12.2016 – As the legendary 1970s music group, MADNESS, recently released their album, Can’t Touch Us Now, it was safe to say a tour wasn’t far behind, as they would perform live at the O2 in London. I went to see them perform live at the O2 with my family on Saturday 10th December 2016 and I loved every second of the tour. I published a large photo collection and also included the footage I recorded whilst I was there in the article and it was also one of the best nights of my life.

Also, after almost 6 months, Life From My Own Perspective was officially released! This came after such a long while, considering the third book, My Journey Through a Lens, was released on the 4th July 2015 (Independence Day). I was initially supposed to start working on this book at the beginning of 2016, but because of coursework and personal problems in mind, that’s why I stopped working on the book until after I finished the first year of my two-year film and photography course.

This final Monthly Roundup draws to a close. Check back very soon for the Year in Review.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: September 2016

To end September on an extremely busy and productive note, I will take a look back on the articles that I published over the course of this month. I acknowledge that not many articles were published this month but the valid reason behind the amount of articles published is because I mentioned recently that writing and publishing articles are taking a backseat as I am focusing on my GCSE English, GCSE Maths and UAL Level 3 Diploma Film & Photography Courses. This will also apply for the entire year.

1.9.2016 – As it was set to be quite an interesting month, I welcomed you all to September on Mother Nature considering that I was to progress on to the final year of my two-year UAL Level 3 Diploma Film & Photography Course. I also mentioned that anything that’s not college-related would take a backseat as I am ultimately keen on wanting to succeed in the GCSE English & Maths subjects.

9.9.2016 – After three years, Lady Gaga, best known for her albums, The Fame, The Fame Monster, Born This Way and ARTPOP, is back! Perfect Illusion, which was released on the 9th September 2016, went straight to Number 1 on iTunes and before Perfect Illusion was even released, it was already topping the charts, which was obviously a good sign because it was Lady Gaga’s return to the music scene three years after ARTPOP.

18.9.2016 – With it being 18 years since Spyro the Dragon landed on PlayStation, I thought it would be nice to do a review of the game considering I have owned and completed the game. As the game contains 36 breathtaking levels split over 6 worlds in the game, with 12 eggs to collect, 15,000 gems to collect and 80 dragons to save, Spyro the Dragon’s journey to defeat Gnasty Gnorc would be the biggest challenge yet for the Purple Dragon.

20.9.2016 – Early Monday morning and sometime during the afternoon when I was on my hour-long lunch break (Monday 19th September 2016), I ceased the opportunity to snap a small set of photographs in and around Croydon as I arrived over an hour early before my 9:30 AM lesson time. I must admit, I used the Camera+ app again after a while, and I must say I have noticed a dramatic improvement in my photography skills, but at the same time, I’ve also noticed I can take better photographs than before. This photo set that I published would then go on to be a part of my coursework for the last year of my two-year UAL Level 3 Diploma Film & Photography Course.

I want to say to all of you this. Thank you for sticking by me following the events over the last few months, I don’t know what I would do without all of you by my side. I can only apologise for not publishing frequently, but now is the time to put priorities first before anything else, but most of all, now is the time to stay strong and to stand up and get your voice heard.

Again…from the bottom of my heart, thank you for sticking by me over the last few months, I don’t know what I would do without all of you by my side, and I will see you all in October.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: June 2016

After a busy and productive month, I will be taking a look back at the articles I have published over the course of June.

1.6.2016 – With the weather being expected to get warmer considering that Summer was almost here, I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for June. I mentioned that it was great to know that the Summer Olympics in Rio are almost here, considering just how amazing and how quick the time has flown since the London 2012 Summer Olympic & Paralympic Games concluded.

6.6.2016 – 3 years ago to this day, Mother Nature started up as PhotographyNature: To bring the vibrancy back into your life. What started as a nature blog turned into a website, as I expanded my interests beyond nature into technology, college-related studies, music, games and also topics, some of which would focus on certain things that have gone on throughout the course of everyday life.

12.6.2016 – After a few weeks of working on the drawing, I finally completed my third artistic interpretation of Madonna. This drawing was based on a photo that was taken back in 1994 for a song called: “I’ll Remember“, which Madonna produced for an Original Motion Picture film called: “With Honors“, which would see her undergoing a radical change in her image and style for this particular song.

13.6.2016 – In light of the recent events in which 50 victims lost their lives as a result of the deadly massacre that occurred in Orlando, I published an article announcing the news that I wouldn’t be publishing any articles for Tuesday 14th & Wednesday 15th June as I wanted to pay my full respects to all the victims and families who are grieving at this time. I also mentioned that Mother Nature would resume operation on Tuesday 16th June. I created a Pray for Orlando badge that could be used on any blog/website, in which I asked all of you to show your support by placing the Pray for Orlando Badge I created on your blog/website.

16.6.2016 – Almost two weeks before, I took the opportunity when we had the lovely sunny weather to take some photos out in my garden, and for the first time with my Nikon D3300 DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex), I used the Aperture Priority (Av) on all of the photos, which delivered spectacular results that I didn’t achieve as much as I used to before. The Natural Roots of June consisted of all 31 colour photographs, including 5 black and white photographs of some of the colour photographs I hand-picked at random from the photo collection.

21.6.2016 – We all experience certain moments of tranquility and euphoria at certain stages in our lives, but what is so good about tranquility and euphoria is that they both connect and merge together very well, as tranquility can be recognised from certain angles; peaceful, tranquil, quiet. Euphoria, on the other hand, can be recognised from other certain angles; happiness, excitement, and paradise. Having a mixture of both create a sense of joy and happiness which can be found to be overwhelming at the best of times. The article, Tranquility & Euphoria, was all about finding out different perspectives of tranquility and euphoria and how they both work well together.

Also, on the same day, I published another article, titled: “It’s a Beautiful Day.”, as we had such lovely weather on this day, and I ceased the opportunity to publish a photograph I took in its edited and original form so that you would get a choice of the same two, depending on which one took your interest the most.

23.6.2016 – Five years on since her untimely death on the 23rd July 2011, Amy Winehouse, the iconic music legend that made her mark with her unique musical sound, released two of her most iconic albums, which were Frank, and also Back to Black. Her posthumous third studio album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, consisted of some new songs which were previously unreleased, including different versions of certain tracks that we listened to and grew to love, given that the iconic look for Back to Black and Lioness: Hidden Treasures saw Amy Winehouse with the iconic beehive hairstyle, which has since become the biggest trendsetter for all independent women in fashion.

I took the opportunity to draw Amy Winehouse, as I wanted to pay my full respects and pay homage to the iconic music legend as it has been five years since her passing. She was a talented young musician who was gone too soon. I’ve put her age, 27, in brackets, in the article title, as that number is the age she was when she passed away on the 23rd July 2011.

I wanted to make sure to pay tribute to Amy Winehouse by drawing just her face, and nothing else, as I wanted to make sure the most important features of her face stood out, which were her eyes, her nose, her piercing and her mouth and teeth.

Also, on this day, I published an article about the EU Referendum being the most talked about event of the year, considering the controversy and history behind it. I chose to vote Leave and was pleased that the Leave side of the campaign won, and I gave my reasons for why I chose to Leave the European Union in the article: “The EU Referendum. The Historical & Most Controversial Voting Event in History.”

26.6.2016 – Since I voted to Leave the EU on the 23rd June, which I don’t regret in doing so, I have noticed the large amount of Facebook statuses on my News Feed, not to mention the large amount of tweets that have appeared on Twitter that are xenophobic, racist and even disgraceful, especially certain statuses that have come up on my News Feed from those who feel I should have to delete them off of my Facebook because I chose to Leave. I wrote this article in which I vented my frustrations loud and clear, and not for a split second did I even hold back.

I was sick and tired of the way everyone was reacting to the result on social media, and I felt by writing and publishing this note, I could get all of my frustration off of my chest, and it actually felt good to use this note as my opportunity to shut the kind of people down that kept complaining that they didn’t get the result that they wanted by giving those my full outlook on what I thought about the whole thing.

30.6.2016 – Recently, I mentioned to all of you I had some stuff personal-wise going on with college work, well these past few weeks haven’t been easy for me, as there has been so much stress and upset given something far more serious which I can’t discuss for certain reasons in mind, but the work has been stressful lately and with learning the news about something as horrible and grim, it just sent me over the edge.

I wrote this article explaining why I wasn’t as productive and I also apologised for not being as productive recently, but I also used this article I published as my own way of letting go of it all. Writing this article was my way of letting go and releasing it all, so that I could, in other words, never look back, but most of all, look forward.

Thanks so much to all of you for a really good month, and again, I am sincerely sorry for not being as productive lately, but as I am finally on the long Summer break, I will be concentrating more on getting more articles published on Mother Nature.

Until then, thank you all for a really good month and I’ll see you all in July.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: May 2016

With this month being the least productive since the start of 2016, I will be making sure to take a look back at the articles that were published over the course of this month.

1.5.2016 – As the next couple of weeks were set to get warmer considering that Summer would be just a few weeks away, I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for May. I also mentioned that I would be very busy with my college studies, which meant I would be publishing articles less frequently than the month before, considering that April was extremely productive. I did mention that I would be travelling up to London on Tuesday 10th May to the Barbican Gallery where Madonna was a few weeks before as I would be going to see an exhibition that would comprise of over 250 intuitive works produced by Martin Parr.

5.5.2016 – On the 20th April 2016, I ceased the opportunity to take some photographs for my Final Major Project, and I headed to the 96 George Street Building opposite Croydon College to snap a photograph from the viewpoint space that was free for use. I used the photograph for the featured image of this article, including showing it below in full colour, along with the details of the photograph. For instance, the dimensions of the photograph, including the make of the camera, not to forget to mention the F Number, Aperture Priority, including the ISO Speed etc.

6.5.2016 – As the weather on this day was absolutely peaceful, I was able to cease the opportunity to take some photographs of some of the blooming flowers that were in my garden. I did attempt for the first time with my Nikon D3300 with Aperture Priority, which delivered some fantastic results considering I never experimented with Aperture Priority on my own camera before.

15.5.2016 – On Tuesday 10th May 2016, I travelled with my Film & Photography class up to London on a trip to the Barbican Gallery. As it was the first time I had ever visited the Barbican Gallery, I was shocked to find just how massive it was inside the Gallery. There was so much information available at hand and whilst I was there, I was able to take photographs around certain parts of the Barbican Gallery where I was allowed, and I must say I was surprised. The damp and dismal weather that day didn’t stop me from getting a collection of photos together.

17.5.2016 – Over the years, I’ve known some people who can be thoughtless and heartless, no matter how hard you try to put yourselves out there for them, especially where your respect to them concerns. I’ve had my fair share of that experience and I’m not ashamed to say this, but I will not put myself out there for those who feel it’s okay to take others for granted, have a go at those who are trying to respect and help them and I will most certainly not put my neck on the line for some people who think it’s okay to treat me like I’m something they’ve trodden in.

I wrote this article based on how I felt not just over the few stressful and eventful weeks I had with my work, but also because I felt I needed to get everything off my chest about what I really thought about those who take others, including myself for granted, including the lack of equality, diversity and respect that goes amiss nowadays.

23.5.2016 – A hilarious Facebook Live video broke the internet within a few days after Candace Payne, who purchased a Chewbacca Star Wars mask for her birthday left herself in stitches due to the mask making a funny noise, which also left the internet amused and in stitches of laughter.

I thought it would be nice to write an article on Candace Payne’s hilariously infectious video because it made me smile and laugh for all the right reasons, given that the video put a smile on my face despite the amount of stressful and eventful weeks I had with my coursework. I also thought it would be nice to share this funny moment with all of you as Candace Payne brought me and everyone around the whole world 4 minutes and 4 seconds of happiness, joy and humour. Again to Candace Payne, thank you :-).

26.5.2016 – I published a note of sincere apology for all of you to see, as I wanted to apologise for not being as productive over the course of this month, considering I had a lot of personal things going on, including not being able to have the energy to publish as many articles as I hoped. I mentioned that the past few weeks hadn’t been easy for me as I had so much going on personal-based, but also a lot going on with my Final Major Project, which I’m ready to start wrapping up and finalising before the public show goes on at Croydon College from the 13th – 17th June.

28.5.2016 – Let’s face it. We’ve all been there. We have all worried that we might not be able to succeed in life and we have the dreaded existential crisis that may affect what we want to do in the future. We often worry about certain things that we shouldn’t worry ourselves over. For example, we may feel petrified of the thought of dying, including what happens to all of us when we are no longer here.

I wrote this article because I did, at certain stages, feel like that, where I wanted to give up, but I also thought at those stages in my life that my future was at stake and I couldn’t afford to give up now. I also know it’s not an easy ride where an existential crisis concerned, given that I have been there, but this article was about asking you whether an existential crisis had affected you, despite my experiences of going through an existential crisis of my own at certain stages of my own life.

31.5.2016 – As Apple released their first ever Apple Watch last year, I thought it would be nice to review the Apple Watch Sport considering I brought it a short time ago. With Apple’s first iteration becoming a part of the watch industry, the Apple Watch has been able to help those who own the Apple Watch Sport, the standard Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Edition and the Hermés version of the Apple Watch have the ability to track the person’s Activity in terms of exercise, steps taken, not to forget the amount of calories it tracks that you burn off over the course of 24 hours.

I decided to publish my review of the Apple Watch Sport 38MM 7000 Series Edition considering that I’ve loved and enjoyed using the Apple Watch Sport ever since I brought it, but I also wanted to publish my review of the Apple Watch Sport in case you are someone who has been looking to purchase an Apple Watch for a while. I wholeheartedly recommend the Apple Watch to every single one of you, as it’s absolutely useful for productivity and it has most certainly helped me to be more productive at what I do.

Thank you all for a good month. I sincerely apologise for not being as productive as much as I hoped but I will try my best to make sure I can get more articles published over the course of next month. Again, thank you all for a very good month and I’ll see you all in June.

Alex Smithson