Monthly Roundup / February 2017

February sure flew by like the wind. It felt like it was yesterday that February just started and now we’re at the end of the month already. To end February, I will take a look back on the articles published over the course of this month.

1.2.2017 – As this month was set to be just as busy as January, I welcomed all of you to February on Mother Nature. I mentioned that this month would be a lot busier considering I had a Maths mock exam just around the corner, but also because I would be making sure to get out more and make use of the free time I have on my days off to photograph nature-based places for my Self-Directed Curiosity Project.

Also, in a surprise announcement, Beyoncé announced to the world that she is pregnant with twins. Her last pregnancy came in 2011 when she was pregnant with her first child, Blue Ivy Carter, who she gave birth to on the 7th January 2012.

2.2.2017 – As the hashtag, #TIMETOTALK, was officially trending on Twitter, Oli Regan asked me to write this article as this day was Time to Talk Day, in which anyone suffering from Mental Health can speak up about their Mental Health, as well as to how they feel the negative stigma affects and negatively impacts them and anyone else suffering from any kind of Mental Health condition. Oli Regan also appeared live on BBC Two at 9:30 AM and again at 10:30 AM on the Victoria Derbyshire Show. He would also go on to talk about Mental Health on BBC Newsbeat at 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM, including how suffering from Mental Health affected him over the course of his life.

3.2.2017 – Continuing on from my first set of photographs that I took previously at Kelsey Park, I headed to Dulwich Park on the 31st January 2017 to photograph the scenery and also some ducks and birds. I saw some Mallards and Parakeets whilst I was there, including some squirrels, though to tell you the truth, some of the squirrels I came across looked bigger than their usual size, so I did make sure to walk very slowly to photograph them and I am pleased with the end result that I have achieved from this photographic collection.

5.2.2017 – Following on from my visit to Dulwich Park, I decided to visit Beddington Park on the 1st February 2017 to photograph some of the scenery, and I also photographed some of the gravestones, given the names on some or most of the gravestones consisted of people who may have died a few years earlier, including those that may have died up to more than 100 years ago.

7.2.2017 – As I wanted to set the tone of this article, I recommended Madonna’s True Blue record to soothe the soul, as this article was titled as Relaxation. I mentioned that after a relaxing day, despite doing the mock exam for GCSE Maths the day before, I mentioned that I wasn’t stressed, which was a first for me in a long time considering that I’ve been so focused on the coursework lately.

17.2.2017 – Just a few months after we all witnessed the marsupial make his comeback, it was officially announced that Crash Bandicoot would be coming back to PlayStation on the 30th June. I mentioned I would be pre-ordering the Crash Bandicoot N⋅Sane Trilogy, and the release date of the trilogy comes exactly two weeks after I mark my 19th birthday.

19.2.2017 – As it has been almost a year since we lost the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, who passed away on the 21st April 2016, I wanted to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the iconic music legend by drawing for this sixth artistic interpretation. This drawing was the first Artistic Interpretation for 2017 and I wanted to make sure that Prince Rogers Nelson would be the first musician I would draw for 2017.

24.2.2017 – After months of rumours and speculation, Cheryl officially announced she is pregnant! This news came at the perfect time and it was only a few weeks before that Beyoncé announced her pregnancy with twins to the world. February was most certainly shaping up to be a fun-filled and heartwarming month.

25.2.2017 – Following hot on the heels of my previous Artistic Interpretation which was based on the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, I worked and completed my 7th Artistic Interpretation which focused on the Destiny’s Child musician and solo hit-maker, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles.

Also on this day, the world lost a face of the film world. Bill Paxton, best known for appearing in Apollo 13, Titanic & Twister, sadly passed away at the age of 61 after complications following surgery.

Thanks for a great month everyone. Of course, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Bill Paxton by saying this: “Thank you for everything Bill Paxton. You are greatly missed but you’ll always live on in our hearts forever. Thanks for being the positive change this world truly needed. Thank you for everything Bill Paxton.”

Again, thanks for a great month and I will see you all in March.

Alex Smithson

Artistic Interpretation #6 / Prince Rogers Nelson (1993)

As it has been almost a year since we lost the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, who passed away on the 21st April 2016, I wanted to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the iconic music legend by drawing for this sixth artistic interpretation.

This is the first Artistic Interpretation for 2017 and I wanted to make sure that Prince Rogers Nelson would be the first musician I would draw this year.

This drawing I’ve produced is inspired on the Greatest Hits album: “The Hits / The B-Sides” that Prince Rogers Nelson released back in 1993, as this Greatest Hits collection spans much of the music he released over the course of his career, given that he was the powerhouse and driving force that defined many generations and helped to inspire so many musicians, also because he was known for releasing so many albums that his back catalogue would be filled to maximum capacity.

Prince’s music defined himself as the iconic music legend he is, and even in death, his music will never grow old, will never become dated but will always remain timeless, as his music is eccentric and changes every time but changes so quickly that you cannot help but appreciate the iconic music legend himself for always being different and not making music that sounds the same.

Below is the completed artistic interpretation I have produced of Prince Rogers Nelson.

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Prince Rogers Nelson

I’m really pleased with the end result of this artistic interpretation, because I wanted to make sure that this drawing would keep true to the iconic music legend himself. Prince left his mark not just on the music world, but on the entire world, as his music is the reason why so many of the musicians we hear of today are still not just releasing music, but are making the best difference and being the positive changes in this world.

His music has also given so many people around the world, including myself so much to be thankful for and his music, from my perspective, is a message of hope, and that hope can mean you can be yourself and be the positive change you want to see in this world and I feel that by drawing him, he has not only been a positive influence on me, but on all of us.

I want to say this as a way of paying tribute to Prince Rogers Nelson:

“Prince. Your music has been the Sign ‘O’ the Times, Purple Rain came down on us and delighted us and When Doves Cry, you were there to give us all hope and to make sure we were the positive changes this world needs. Your Little Red Corvette sits briskly in heaven and heaven gained an angel. Sometimes it Snows in April, then there is Purple Rain, but you gave us all hope and made us all feel okay to be ourselves, so thank you for everything, Prince Rogers Nelson.”

If you want to pay your respects to Prince Rogers Nelson almost a year after the iconic music legend departed from Planet Earth, then please leave a comment below in his memory.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: April 2016

As I’ve been extremely productive and have been a very busy bee as usual, I will make sure to take a look back on the articles that have been published over the course of this month.

1.4.2016 – As March ended on a productive note, I had made sure to welcome you all to April on Mother Nature, as this month would be set to get a little warmer considering the wintry spells had finally passed.

Also on this day, I published a tribute article which paid tribute to the nation’s most loved Agony Aunt, Denise Robertson, who sadly passed away at the age of 83 from pancreatic cancer on the 31st March 2016, with the news of her passing being announced just 24 hours after the news broke of Ronnie Corbett passing away.

2.4.2016 – After a lot of widespread anticipation, following its historical début on mobile, which saw 1 million users in Japan getting their hands on this app within 3 days of its release in Japan (17th March),Nintendo finally released their first mobile application, Miitomo, to the world. The release of Miitomo came exactly two weeks after it was released in Japan, and within less than 24 hours after its release worldwide, Nintendo’s first ever mobile application on the iTunes App Store and Google Play débuted at Number 1.

Also on this day, I published an article that was based on finally setting your creativity free, as it was based around how we all have ideas of being creative, but would leave us wondering how we would all set that creativity free.

3.4.2016 – On this day, I published an article based on the truth that I had about abstract art, which was me answering that it was interesting and innovative. This article was based around an abstract art piece I created using a pen and a piece of paper, which took less than 24 hours to produce. I also made sure to create different colours of the same abstract art piece that I had finished, and I had made sure to do some significant editing, using the editing skills I currently have to make it look exactly as to how I saw it on paper, so that I could reproduce the same appearance I saw in drawing form, but in the form of a digital version as well.

Also on this day, I published my first Quote of the Day, which would be useful as I wanted to make sure to inspire you all and to put some light in your day.

4.4.2016 – On this day, I published an article that I wanted to make sure would be short, but would be inspiring as well, as the article I published was based on doing something for the first time in this world, which was for you to do you and to be happy. It was my way of saying that you should be you, be happy, but most of all to be yourself.

Also on this day, I published another article which was based around three key factors of life, which were Strength, Courage & Willpower, and it was based around just how powerful they can be in all walks of life.

Ending Day 4 of the month on a high note, I had made sure to publish Quote of the Day #2, which was based on redefining ourselves for the better in this world.

5.4.2016 – On this day, I published an article which was based on how, over the years, we had all seen some disaster films, but the question was whether they were feasible in terms of real-life situations.

Also on this day, I published an article which was based on whether protective headgear should be worn at all times in boxing, following the news of the boxer, Nick Blackwell, who collapsed shortly after a boxing match between him and Chris Eubank Jr., the son of Chris Eubank Snr.

To end this day, I published Quote of the Day #3, which was based on helping you all to believe in yourselves, including being yourselves.

6.4.2016 – On this day, I published an article that was based around expanding your horizons with all-new ideas. This article was also a 5-Step Guide that I created which was my way of being able to show you how you could broaden your horizons with all-new ideas.

Also on this day, I published an article that was based around the April showers, considering that the name of the article, which was called: “April Showers Bring Blossoming Flowers” was based around the small showers we were getting, which brought along with it some gusty winds.

To end this day on a high note, I published Quote of the Day #4, which was based on aspiration and inspiration, as well as inspiring anyone to do better.

7.4.2016 – On this day, I published an article that expressed my excitement for the Summer Break, given that the time has been flying like clockwork and that the long holiday break was not far behind. I mentioned that although I may not be partial to the spells of hot weather, I did mention that I do love the thought of lovely Summer days where it’s nice and sunny and where it is also absolutely peaceful.

Also on this day, I published an article that was based on music, as well as wondering how we’re able to relate our lives to songs. I talked about how it was the first thing we would make sure to listen to everyday, as well as how there would be something about music that would make us feel connected.

Hailstones Bring Showering Flows was based around the unexpected flow of hailstones that we had where I live and it came down so fast that it had felt like a torrential downpour during a thunderstorm.

To end the day on a good note, I published Quote of the Day #5, which was based around not the kind of people we become, but the kind of people who we choose to become in life that would really matter.

8.4.2016 – On this day, I published an article based on the two-week holiday, in which I asked you how yours went, given that I had two very productive weeks, which I had absolutely loved.

I also talked about success, as well as asking you all how good it felt to achieve something, given the joys and excitement of being able to succeed at something that we may have worked so hard for.

As the two-week holiday was quickly drawing to a close, I asked you all if you were ready to head back to school or college, considering that I felt more than ready to go back to college after a productive and relaxing break, given that I was able to recuperate fully considering I had a huge amount of energy that I still had on hand despite the productive and relaxing holiday break that I had.

To end this day on a high note, I published Quote of the Day #6, which was based on determination, success, as well as working hard for something, not to forget to mention the chances of being able to follow your dreams.

9.4.2016 – On this day, I published three Weekly Logs, the first two of which were based around the Light Play Project that I completed and passed, which was based around darkroom experimentation work, while the third one was based around the first week of the Ghost Stories Project, which would be based around the Uncanny, as well as a mixture of different backgrounds, such as supernaturalism, ghouls, as well as mysterious things, not to mention tension, including strange and horrid backgrounds.

To end this day on a high note, I published Quote of the Day #7, which was based on excelling in life, as well as working hard and producing something new, including being stronger than you think, not to mention believing in yourself, including being yourself.

10.4.2016 – On this day, I published three more Weekly Logs, two of which were based around the Ghost Stories Project, including the third, which was based around the first week of the Stop-Frame Animation Project.

Also on this day, I published an article that was based on an upcoming newspaper called: “The Word: Telling it As it Is.”, which would be launching on Friday 27th May 2016. As The Word is currently being funded on the crowdfunding site, crowdfunder.co.uk, I thought it would be nice to contribute and spread the word of this new community-based newspaper, as I wanted to make sure I could do my bit to help out. After a friend of mine sent me a logo of the name of the newspaper, I offered to help out by giving the logo a complete design overhaul, so that it would be bold and professional, but also create an in-your-face approach, so that it would be the community-based newspaper that people will read and enjoy.

To end this day on a high note, I published Quote of the Day #8, which was based on being yourself, including always being confident and to always to do you, which is what matters.

17.4.2016 – As I was requested by one of my friends about drawing them, I thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and draw them. I published the final version of this drawing on Mother Nature as this was the first drawing I had done that didn’t require a single photo reference, but was all from memory. I loved the final result of the drawing as it was how I wanted it to be.

As we also had lovely weather on this day, I ceased the perfect opportunity to get a photo of the lovely silhouette sunset shift just before nightfall was due to commence.

20.4.2016 – The week before, I ceased the opportunity to take a collection of photographs around Croydon whilst I was on my way home from college via my 367 Bromley North bus. I used the Camera+ app (Recommended) to snap up to almost 40 photographs and I was absolutely pleased with the collection of photographs that I created and published on Mother Nature.

21.4.2016 – As I had photographed one of my friends at college the day before, I ceased the opportunity to take a few photos with the Canon EOS 1200D (provided by Croydon College), including my iPhone 5 and because of the lovely Spring weather, this meant I was able to set the aperture correctly to produce them. I also listed below in the article: “A Bright & Peaceful Spring!” the details of the photograph, which showed what the focal length was, including the exposure time and the F number, which was 5.6.

In light of the sudden death of the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, who died at the age of the 57 on this day, I had made sure to pay my full respects to him by publishing a tribute article that would give me and all of us the chance to remember him forever in our hearts as the iconic music legend he truly is.

22.4.2016 – On this day, I published an article that was based on my own views of my generation, as well as how my generation has changed how we live. I won’t deny that I didn’t hold back, but I wasn’t afraid to make my feelings known to those who treated others like dirt. I must admit, having a go at some of the secondary school students from a high school that’s near to where I live was a forced to be reckoned with, but after I lost my temper at the secondary school students, they never did anything to me, nor did they even say anything to my face as a result of how angry I was, but I did, however, receive an apology from some of the high school students for the way they were treating each other, but even though that apology was aimed at me, it was more or less aimed at everyone else on my bus, which just goes to show that if you cannot be considerate of the passengers who are on board the same bus as you, then the simplest thing is to not board the bus.

26.4.2016 – As the Croydon-born talented musician, also the winner of The X Factor 2014, Ben Haenow, kicked off his One Night Tour on the 15th April 2016, which ran until the 23rd April 2016, everyone was full of excitement, including myself, as he came back to his hometown, Croydon, on the 19th April 2016, to perform his One Night Tour at Fairfield Halls / The Ashcroft Theatre, which promoted his self-titled debut album, Ben Haenow, which was released on Friday 13th November 2015. This Special Tour Review was my way of saying a massive, massive thank you to Ben Haenow, Alex Haenow and James Plimmer, as this was my first ever time going to see a musician perform on tour and for Ben Haenow, Alex Haenow and James Plimmer to put on such a perfect night, I absolutely loved it. Thanks guys!!! Also again, thanks so much to Ben Haenow, Alex Haenow and to James Plimmer for getting photos with me on the night, it means so much :-).

29.4.2016 – A few weeks before, it was reported and confirmed that David Gest, who had recently made an appearance in the Celebrity Big Brother house, had passed away at the age of 62 at a London Hotel on the 12th April 2016, just before 10:20 AM. The news of his death seriously shocked me and I was absolutely gutted, as this news came nearly two weeks after we lost Ronnie Corbett and Denise Robertson, but when I heard the news of David Gest’s death on the 12th April, I was absolutely shocked and upset. I paid tribute to him by publishing this article as I wanted to make sure he was remembered in our hearts forever and also for the footprints he left on our hearts.

30.4.2016 – On Thursday 28th April 2016, whilst I was around Croydon during my lesson taking photographs as part of a concept I will be producing for my final piece towards the end of the first year of the two-year UAL Level 3 Diploma Film & Photography Course, I took just a few photos around some parts of Croydon that I hadn’t photographed properly before, and as I took these photos, these would help me to develop my ideas further for the concept I will be aiming to produce. I published this photography article as I wanted to give you all an in-depth look at the kind of concept I have in mind, as well as using the photos I took as ideas for how I could produce that concept for my final piece, but in a completely realistic setting.

This Monthly Roundup has officially drawn April to a remarkable close. Although we lost quite a few notable icons over the course of this month, they will never be forgotten in our hearts and will always be remembered forever in our hearts.

Thanks to all of you for making this month an extremely productive month for me and I’ll see you all in May.

Alex Smithson

Remembering David Gest (1953 – 2016)

A couple of weeks ago it was reported and confirmed that David Gest, who had recently made an appearance in the Celebrity Big Brother house, had passed away at the age of 62 at a London hotel on the 12th April 2016, just before 10:20 AM.

I must admit, I too was seriously gutted and shocked to have heard of the news, because it was nearly two weeks before that we lost Ronnie Corbett and Denise Robertson, but to hear of the news on the 12th April of David Gest’s passing, that really did shock me.

To be honest, it did feel extremely unreal learning of the news of his passing, but what was even more shocking was that Ronnie Corbett & Denise Robertson had died at the end of March and this month, we’ve lost David Gest, Barry Howard of the BBC sitcom Hi-De-Hi and Prince Rogers Nelson, famously known for his collection of music, including the iconic love symbol.

It’s awfully scary and upsetting for the fact we’ve lost so many famous icons since the start of 2016 and I cannot deny that it’s actually frightening that we’ve lost so many famous icons in just a short time. When I was on Twitter most recently, someone actually said that we might as well write off 2016 considering the amount of famous people we’ve already lost this year and to be honest, in certain aspects they are right, but I would rather not think that now considering we’ve still got the rest of the year to think about, also because in a certain aspect, to say that we might as well write off 2016 is a little bit morbid. I don’t mean no disrespect, but we can’t write off 2016, but it’s time to move on and to keep being strong for those who are no longer with us, but to make sure that we can continue the good work they did.

David Gest’s funeral took place today, and a number of famous faces made an appearance at his funeral, such as Nicola Stapleton, who played Mandy Salter in EastEnders, Dean Gaffney, who played Robbie Jackson, also in EastEnders, including Danniella Westbrook, Kristina Rihanoff, Denise Welch, Vanessa Feltz, Christopher Maloney, Kerry Katona, Kym Marsh and Cleo Rocos.

His death indeed did shock me and every single one of us, but even though he is gone, he will never be forgotten. We will miss you David Gest, but you shall always be remembered in our hearts and also for the footprints you left on our hearts. We will always remember you in our hearts forever David Gest.

Alex Smithson

Remembering Prince Rogers Nelson: An Iconic Music Legend (1958 – 2016)

It is with such sadness to report that the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at the age of 57.

The news of his death came just before 6:00 PM this afternoon, and with such shock, the news knocked me for six. I literally can’t get my head around this news, even now, and it’s just absolutely sad that an iconic musical legend like him has passed away less than a week after being taken ill following a recent flight.

Although I haven’t followed his entire career, I did love some of the iconic songs he produced, such as 1999, Raspberry Beret, Sign O’ The Times and even When Doves Cry.

Those songs to me are the most memorable records of my time, as they were the songs that were frequently played on the radio almost every week, and even now I can listen to them and feel nostalgic all over again.

Prince Rogers Nelson to me and to every single person on this Earth was and always will be remembered, not just for being the iconic music legend that he is, but he will be remembered for changing this world and making it into a better place.

We will miss you dearly Prince Rogers Nelson, but you will never be forgotten. You will always live on forever in our hearts, in our minds, but also in our lives. We’ll miss you, but we will always see you as the iconic music legend that you truly are.

Alex Smithson

A Bright & Peaceful Spring!

As I photographed one of my friends at college yesterday, I ceased the opportunity to take a few photos with the Canon EOS 1200D (provided by Croydon College), including my iPhone 5 and because of the lovely Spring weather, I was able to set the aperture correctly to produce them.

Below are the details of the photograph, which show what the focal length was, as well as the exposure time including the F number, which was 5.6:

Dimensions: 5184 x 3456
Device Make: Canon
Device Model: Canon EOS 1200D
Colour Space: RGB
Colour Profile: sRGB IEC61966-2.1
Focal Length: 45
Alpha Channel: No
Red Eye: No
F Number: 5.6
Exposure Program: 3
Exposure Time: 1/500

Date of Photograph Taken: Wednesday 20th April 2016

Below is the photograph that I took yesterday whilst at college.

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Below are some of the photos I also took yesterday, but with my iPhone.

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Overall, I loved yesterday’s warm and relaxing weather, and I hope to produce more photos like this again soon.

If you liked this article, including the photographs, then please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated.

Also, before I conclude, it is with such sadness to announce that the Iconic Music Legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, has passed away at the age of 57. Very soon, I will be publishing a tribute article in which I will pay my respects to him and everyone he knows at such a sad time.

Alex Smithson