Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Motorcycle Gangs

Of late there has been much hullabaloo over new laws that the State of Queensland here in Australia are trying to introduce to curb the criminal activity of "Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs".

There is a huge amount of speculation over the introduction of laws that will give Police the power to stop and question groups of riders where there are three or more in the group and this seems to be the main cause for a call to all motorcyclists to rally against the introduction of these new law's. The argument that is being used is that politicians and Police intend to harass and victimise anyone who rides a motorcycle.

I've no intention of listing and or debating any of these new laws here but rather to declare my astonishment at the lack of intelligence and common sense displayed by the general public and particularly the motorcycling enthusiasts sector. I really find it hard to believe that this sector is as ignorant as it professes.

Lets put things in perspective first, the new law's are being introduced with a specific purpose, target and objective;

Reduce blatant criminal activity by organised crime and take back control of the community.

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs who are taking their feuding over criminal territorial rights into the public with zero regard for 'collateral damage' as a result of drive by shootings and the like. Not to mention their normal criminal activity.

Provide a safer community for all.

I can't put it any simpler than this and if people can't see the need to achieve the objective by the means being introduced then something is seriously wrong with our society. Yes there may be some inconvenience to the motorcycling public but I don't see this as any more inconvenient than our RBT's and I can assure you that every moron who believes that it is their right to drink and drive would love to have those law's revoked.

If we the public got behind our politicians and Police offering our support with as much enthusiasm as we give unwittingly or otherwise to the "Criminal Motorcycle Gangs" there would be a lot less crime and our communities would be significantly safer.

You want to stir up the public, hold a rally etc. by all means and you will have my 100% support as long as it is for the right reasons - to provide a safer community for my children and grandchildren.  How about a rally to support the Police in their push to stamp out organised crime...... no takers?

Till next time - God Bless.

PS. I am an avid Motorcyclist!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I can't help but draw parallels between the "Marriage Equality" push and the Hans Christian Andersen's story The Emperor's New Clothes

Not sure what I'm getting at? Well lets just look at the terminology that is used today and start with the word "Gay". When I was a child this meant jolly, happy, joyful etc. and had nothing at all to do with homosexuality. Now initially the term "Gay" was used by homosexuals to avoid the use of the word's homosexual and lesbian ("Lesbian" - another term for homosexual but gender specific to females). One can't help but wonder at the discrimination of the genders and the use of these labels.

Now I understand that homosexuals don't wish to be discriminated against and it is my view that their sexual preferences are a matter for themselves just as mine are for myself but by expressing this view I will be labelled "Homophobic". I have no problem with this as it is simply a label applied like any other label (The thought process is sort of - not sure which box it belongs in but it differs from me so I'll put it in the "Homophobic" box and colour it red or black - why "red" or "black" more labels but these are colours associated with anger, meanness, evil, unpleasant etc.)

Now the Pollies are looking for votes and neither the Labor nor Liberal parties are in favour of homosexuals marrying for no other reason than they want to please the majority of voters. A recent reported statistic that quotes the majority of constituents are in favour of "Same sex marriage" has Labor promising to introduce a bill in parliament within days of being elected.

This then is where the 'Marriage Equality Group' are my parallel to the fable;

Time passed merrily in the large town which was his capital; strangers arrived every day at the court. One day, two rogues, calling themselves weavers, made their appearance. They gave out that they knew how to weave stuffs of the most beautiful colours and elaborate patterns, the clothes manufactured from which should have the wonderful property of remaining invisible to everyone who was unfit for the office he held, or who was extraordinarily simple in character.

    "These must, indeed, be splendid clothes!" thought the Emperor. "Had I such a suit, I might at once find out what men in my realms are unfit for their office, and also be able to distinguish the wise from the foolish! This stuff must be woven for me immediately." And he caused large sums of money to be given to both the weavers in order that they might begin their work directly.

I realise that this view will upset the weavers but lets face it, what is "Marriage" and it's purpose?

Isn't it interesting that regardless of the culture, religion or geographic location that the institution of "Marriage" has always been to cleave two opposites to be become one with the purpose of propagating the species. Now I know that propagation is possible without the formality of Marriage be it "Holy" or otherwise but there is still the requirement for opposites to cleave and become one - this therefore is the natural order.

Now my view is in my opinion, completely unbiased for the simple fact that I will support "Same sex marriage" when the participants can cleave to become one and propagate our species thereby fulfilling the actual purpose. 

I guess that all I expect as a "Homophobic" is the same tolerance as that of a "Gay". As for the Emperor, I wish him well with his new clothing and hope he doesn't catch a chill.

Till next time, God Bless.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Blog/Web Pages Update

I am in the process of updating a number of our web pages once again. Having a little fun as I learn and try a few new things.

All of our photography and other artistic interests will now be blogged on Art Journal only. Today I posted a little blog about my own post processing technique for obtaining Clarity in a picture if you are interested.

We will continue to post almost all of our work in a web friendly format on our FB page.

Our Lombard Design web page is going to take a back seat for a while as we continue to have a little fun with our photography in between my study.

The web page that I'm going to play with the most is my own.

I'm a little behind on posting work which is for sale so I'll probably bring this up to speed tomorrow - car is in for repair so I may as well get caught up on some tasks.

Till next time - God Bless.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Social Media Scams and Hacks

We see a lot of warnings on social media about scam's, hacking and identity theft and whilst a lot of the messages although well intentioned actually started as merely mischievous scaremongering, don't become complacent. It's the old tale of the boy who cried wolf. A lot of us have no idea how to protect ourselves in this digital age, who is for real and who is the con or perhaps more aptly 'clone'.

A lot of people (including me) love the fact that we can catch up with our loved ones, family and friends worldwide so easily, efficiently and affordably. Having grown up in an era that started well before the digital age I can assure you that the baby boomers certainly appreciate what social media has to offer. Just as we have secured our privacy, family and possessions throughout our 50+ years we need to take those same steps with social media.

Just as we formed and joined Neighbourhood watch, Crime Stoppers and the like to aid in the protection of our physical well being we need to know where to look for our ongoing digital well being and that's what I'm about to share with you now. I will link each of the sites (in 'CAPITALS') that I have found to be useful and suggest that you bookmark them for easy access. I would also appreciate feedback and additional links that I can share.

In order to separate the wheat from the chaff, we first need to identify which is nuisance scaremongering and which needs to be taken seriously. I have found 'SNOPES' (Scams) and 'FACEBOOK' (Common Myths about Facebook) to be great sites for quickly checking the validity of claims such as the "Cancer baby Facebook appeal" and "See who has been looking at your  timeline?"

It is also wise to stay abreast of current digital developments and sources for this information can be very varied so I would recommend Google search but use common sense when discerning which link may be appropriate and never connect to a site that displays a warning no matter what! I personally find 'TECHNEWS' to be very informative when researching all things digital.

An example of some current research that I am undertaking is regarding the claim's of "Facebook cloning" and some of the information I have uncovered makes for interesting reading but I must stress that I have not concluded this research at this time and the linked article should not be taken at face value.

There is no need for me to reinvent the wheel when advising you how to protect yourself, so I will simply say if it looks suspicious don't touch it, if it looks too good to be true, it usually isn't true so don't go there. Remember you can't win the lottery if you have not bought a ticket so please allow common sense to prevail. In the meantime here are "6 social networking steps" to help you.

"2 step verification" is on the horizon for all social media and friends, this is a very good thing so please keep the complaining about change to a minimum "Change is inevitable, resisting is like holding your breath, if you succeed - you are dead!" - Winston Churchill.

This blog is about social media and the ways to help yourself stay safe in our digital world but I'm just going to throw in a bit on Credit Cards and online shopping. Before entering your details, nay! even before shopping online, make sure that you have every bit of browsing protection available turned on and yes it will probably come with an ongoing cost as does home and contents insurance etc. get used to it or be prepared for the worst case scenario - as Aleksandr would say "Simples!"

Seriously though whilst the world is awesome, it has a very sick and dangerous side to it make no mistake. If you don't believe me, try turning off all controls on Google search and type your worst nightmare - shocked? should be!

Take a moment or two to review your settings on Facebook and the other social networks, protect yourself and those you love and enjoy this wonderful age of communication, my generation knows what I'm talking about because we have all lost at least one of our nearest and dearest without communicating enough and once they are gone it's simply too late. Protect this digital freedom!

Till next time - Take Care.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Well what an interesting and hectic day I've had. Long conversations with creditors, liquidators and of all people - Investigators from the Office of Fair Trade ('OFT').

Had a call this morning from good friend Paul advising that my old friend Gordon from the office of fair trade is looking for me in order to move forward with a prosecution against me. Apparently the OFT wants to issue a fine of $2,500.00 for failing to hand in a cancelled Security Firm Licence.

I contacted Gordon as requested and confirmed that Paul had been threatened with a subpoena for my details which he had withheld. As the owner of a security firm, Paul has an obligation to maintain client confidentiality so he was being placed in a difficult position unnecessarily since the OFT had my new details anyway. I have received Security Licence renewal forms and business trading name renewal forms so I was a bit perplexed and offered all my details for Gordon to put on the licensing division's records.

The Security Firm Licence was in the name of a company which ceased trading at the end of the last financial year and placed in the hands of liquidators a couple of months ago. 

A requirement under law in Australia is that any security provider earning revenue from a security service must hold a licence for that particular service (there are several categories under each of two classes) to ensure maximum revenue for the OFT and any firm paying someone to provide one or more of these licensed services must hold a security firm licence for that particular category and class also. There are of course exceptions and exemptions - all government employees. Additional requirements under legislation are that each individual licence holder have their finger prints taken and processed which they will pay for and a police background scan which they will pay for also - for each category at the time of application (they will later be reimbursed for each additional category's police check). Each individual must belong to an approved security association prior to application, membership is at the discretion of the association as are their membership fees. The same applies to the Security Firm Licence - except that the fees are much, MUCH higher - of course.

Don't you just love how the OFT gives carte blanch discretion to associations to discriminate however they choose either by criteria or fees to keep the old boy's club healthy - Don't you just wish everything was this fair and equitable. It gets better - the association have the added responsibility of policing the industry, handy if new blood were to slip past the old school tie selectors.

Now that you have a bit of a working knowledge of our ultra FAIR system (stop laughing, it's been legislated so of course its fair) back to my particular breach of the system. Apparently I had been sent a show cause notice by OFT as to why the company's Security Firm Licence should not be cancelled since I had not furnished evidence of association membership in March 2013 as requested. Since I had not received the notice which had been posted to the old company address (it's probably with the request for confirmation of association membership) The Security Firm Licence was therefore cancelled and a notice to advise of this and demand return of the licence was sent to the same old address. I failed to comply within the 14 days allowed thus leaving the company and its 'prior director' (their term) liable to prosecution.

Now the interesting part - the company's association membership expired June 30 2012, the Security Firm Licence expired in August/September 2012 while my personal security licences all expired in October 2012. My question to OFT was "How does one cancel an expired licence, held by a company no longer trading?" Even if the OFT had been generous enough to renew the licences without application and ultra high fees - do they not check their own department records to see if the old boys club might have got it wrong. 

BTW for the record - I worked in the security industry in Australia for 31 years and was never asked to produce my licence by anyone - if I had never registered, none of this would apply! Wonderful system hey. Please don't get me wrong there is some policing but only of "Crowd Controllers" at licensed premises 'Bouncers' was the term of old and some bright spark decided that they were providing security services.... 'Bouncing' has far more to do with safety and marketing (reputation of clubs) than anything else but Security it is NOT - I don't care how much it's legislated, it will never be seen as security by true security providers. 

Well I've had my grumble, the ball is in the OFT court (no pun intended). I actually quite enjoyed the day :)

Till Next Time, God Bless.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


For me 'Depression' is like cancer an insidious disease that must be thwarted but there are days such as this where I find it difficult to beat it down. My usual waking prayer, the beautiful sound of the local birds going about their early morning ablutions in the tree tops as I meditate on all the good in this wonderful world. Finally after 30-60 minutes of preparation I spring out of bed with a purposeful heart full of thanksgiving..... only today my spring was more of a stumble.

Thursday I had decided to increase my fitness regime since I was feeling quite normal, a lot like the old me... hmmm too much confidence is not a good thing. I went for a jog 300 metres, at an even pace followed by a double dose of my cardio vascular workout, most of you will laugh at these figures as they appear ridiculously low however 2 years ago I couldn't walk 5 metres unaided after my 15th heart attack so I was feeling especially pleased with myself.... again anything in excess is not a good thing.

Yesterday I was a little stiff, sore and sorry for myself but is was all physical whereas today I'm fighting my state of mind, emotions and the physical aches and pains. Why am I writing this down, because I often do to get it out of my system then I simply delete it and write about something positive. But today I think I'll share this. Why? I'm asking myself, ... don't know but I feel I should.

The last 7 years have been exceptionally stressful for a variety of reasons and whilst every one of them has been out of my control, the decision to fight our way back thus prolonging this agony, has been mine and mine alone. Finally I have capitulated and allowed our company and trust 'Rhodesia Holdings Pty Ltd ATF Rhodesia Holdings Trust' to be placed in liquidation and wound up. This was decided last June and we had worked to eliminate all debt especially those small businesses that could be effected by our demise to ensure that our departure would be no more than a ripple to any creditor. Immediately we made that known to our creditors every man and his dog appeared to become carrion, all looking to see what they could strip away and get away with. Leased and Chattel Mortgaged equipment was returned to the respective creditors for auction or sale and that was an eye opener when 12 month old $80K equipment was sold for $500 and I was presented with a bill for the balance. Funny how no matter how hard I looked I could never find second hand equipment for under 80% of it's RRP. For the most part I have been able to remain fairly positive by concentrating on the things in life that have real value such as family, friends and art, my main passion. What I love most about art, I don't have to be good at it to enjoy it.... I can be free. This thought usually helps lift my spirit to dizzying heights.

Each Friday for the last 3 weeks however I have received a letter from my accountant advising that solicitors appointed by the ATO to wind up the company and trust have sought a High Court continuance for another week. Liquidators were appointed 4 weeks ago so I don't understand the delay. No I don't want to follow up with anyone as this would mean I have to get into it again and if I do that I will want to fight for it again and that I know that I know I will not survive!

So today I am pretty depressed but I will continue to look at everything with gratitude for the privilege of being here. My God is an awesome God and he has a plan for me, I have no idea what it is but I do know that it is a good plan.

Now I must go and help someone, tis the only way to beat this depression down today.

Till next time, Take care and God Bless.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Soul - Self Portrait

Still playing with some of the composition techniques available in photoshop as I explore the possibilities with this application. I decided to have a play with the texture wrapped around an object technique and so after emulating a number of the exercises that various tutors have put forward I decided to step out on my own a little with this self portrait entitled; Soul

In order to convey my story which is my love of this country I attempted to show the land from within me and I used the object wrap technique (which is usually a geometric object wrapped by a texture) to capture this mood. 

I recently spent time with my daughter and son in law on a small holding just outside of a country town here in Queensland and the waterhole or rather, dam is on their property. The fence is old and rusted, it has some recent repair additions which stand out as new in contrast. With posts that have been weathered by insect, storm and cacti. To the left is a beautiful (relatively) young  gum tree which has almost completed shedding it's old bark. Laying on the ground beneath the tree is an old branch that the gum no longer has use for and so has shed it too. The sky is a little overcast with some sunlight filtering through the clouds of white with shades of grey. The clouds display evidence of moisture building, they would later become heavily pregnant, dark and ominous before giving birth to the storm. At the time of the photo, the water in the dam is still and calm making for a very tranquil setting.

I'm blessed with looks that are conducive to a grunge effect and believe that I have made good use of this strength. I took a recent self portrait in strong light, clipped the face, desaturated it, adjusted the levels to remove as much of the mid tone as I could before creating a gaussian blurred distortion map. I then wrapped my original desaturated image in the landscape using the distortion map, applied another (slight) gaussian blur to the image before placing it onto a duplicate of the original landscape. Finally I adjusted the opacity of each element to achieve the finished product.

I repeated the above process with a recent portrait of my beautiful daughter, however her appearance is definitely not conducive to any grunge effect so I thought about her childhood and recalled her love of having her face painted so with this thought I used a free Shutterstock image from EVA105 to achieve the following effect.

I believe that I have conveyed the story I see in my daughters soul and so I have not touched the (windows) eye's or lips. She is my little girl, delicate and fragile to me but she is woman to the world, strong and self assured. What you see is what you get, and for me that will always be that innocent, fragile, delicate, "Tickle me Daddy" little girl.

Till next time, take care and God Bless!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Photo Composition's

I'm now fairly comfortable with my Mac and I'm slowly but surely starting to get my head around photoshop. I'm still not too happy with my masking. Deke makes it look so easy and I must admit I tend to agree with his comment that feathering is a great technique to hide a poorly masked image, better to perfect the mask.

Now there are a lot of awesome professional photographers out there who will use Lightroom to bring out the best in their photo's as do I but they are against photoshop because it can be used to enhance the original photo to a ridiculous degree. These people are the purists among us and they do have great talent but there are a great many of us who are Artists first and Photographers second and we want to use photography and photoshop to express ourselves.

David Hockney (renowned english photographer) believes that chemical processing of photographs has been replaced by photoshop and I tend to agree. Digital photography is evolving very quickly, mind you so did chemical photography a hundred years ago - for it's time.  A lot of the processing has been taken up with advances in technology even back when SLR camera's started employing different modes and filters. The latest DSLR and DSLT Camera's even go so far as to offer three stop photo merging in camera and of course the filters in camera are mind blowing. There is still however the need for processing to make good photo's great, hence applications such as Lightroom and Photoshop RAW.

Personally I am enjoying the use of various filters both on camera and in photoshop. I really love the fact that one can exercise one's creative curiosity and explore different compositions of light, colour and various subject elements. Can you just imagine what Picasso, Leanardo da Vinci or Michelangelo could have done with the tools at our disposal today, the mind boggles.

I've included a few of my compositions here and you won't have to look too closely to find my mistakes. These samples are not available in high resolution unless of course someone specifically asks for them.

My first attempt, I have a few photo's of Bonnie Ronnie and I on our 1600 Kwaka Nomad (No the bike is not a Harley or a Harley look-alike since it is an Indian look-alike but shaft driven with a radiator to prevent heat seizures) 

I was getting a little more adventurous here and wanted to somehow incorporate a technique provided by Gavin Hoey, the 'Magazine Page'. I am well pleased with the magazine page look and the mistakes with my masking are not as visible due to the perspective distortion that I have used. I did however really struggle with the masking of the Motorcycle windshield.

In this photo I was able to crate a great mask of the Truck (I've posted this Truck once before in the original photo). I struggled with the Moon's mask for some reason and the more I tried to correct the problem, the worse it became. The look is not too bad in soft photo above but I was after some serious contrast and detail which I did achieve in the photo below but the masking mistakes are pretty obvious.

To get the golden effect I switched to Black and White, except the Moon, flattened the image then removed Blue from an added RGB layer and tinkered with the detail and blur to enhance the contrast whilst keeping the photo dark.

Till next time, take care.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Automotive Art

I have been wanting to try my hand at Automotive photography, mainly classic cars and motorcycles but not limited to these two forms of automation.

I'm not sure if anyone else experiences this but it seems to always be one thing or another that encroaches on my plans, almost like a conspiracy to prevent me from doing what I like. Of course this is just nonsense but the idea still plays it's games inside my head. Sound like a fruit loop now! Don't have to be crazy but it helps get the creative juices flowing... or something like that.

As I was saying I have had the desire to photograph some classic automobiles and I managed to finally get there this last week. I'll include a couple here but if you are interested in the photographs, the really good quality pictures can be found in the shop where they are for sale or the lesser quality ones are in my photo library's in my Facebook art page.

I live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, Queensland Australia where we have a saying; "Beautiful one day and perfect the next" this is usually right on the money but for every rule there are exceptions and December 2012 and January 2013 certainly saw to that. We have had a heat wave, drought, bush fires, cyclones, tornadoes and floods. In January 2011 we had a once in 100 year flood which devastated Queensland and saw 75% of the state effected and that's a heck of a lot of water considering that the state is larger than most country's. It's only been 2 years not 100, someone's math is a bit off methinks.

We are a rather resilient bunch and will bounce back to once again boast of weather that is beautiful one day and perfect the next. I mean the Great Barrier Reef just off perfect pristine beaches not to mention my little neck of the woods with the Sunshine Coast 30 minutes up the road and Gold Coast 90 min down the road, seriously what more could one want.

Now of course my technique is not everyone's cup of tea and if I was to try and please everyone I really would lose my marble's so I simply try to tell a story my way with my photographs. When I saw the green Rat Rod I thought of the Rat's of Tobruk a tough outfit of WWII so I processed the photograph with that toughness in mind but hanging onto the classic auto design and style. The lower photograph reminded me of that classic movie 'American Graffiti' and I wanted to capture a little of the sky and the colour's surrounding the subject to enhance that Rockabilly mood. 

I would greatly appreciate some comments and feedback with a few suggestions on subject matter photographic style. What would you the reader like to see me write about or share with you? Do you have a favourite photographic topic you would like me to explore? Let me know, after all life is a two way street.

Till next time, take care.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tilt-shift Bokeh

I thought I would find out a little more about this bokeh photography, I just love the effects. I started doing a little research over Christmas and found that there photoshop actually has filters designed for this purpose. Of course the effect is a lot more than just applying a 'tilt-shift' filter and my research indicated that there are actual Tilt-Shift lenses so I went looking.

I quite like the offhanded way that deliver reviews so I started there and found out a little more about the lens and I do like the way perspective can be corrected in camera. The research did however highlight a flaw or two with Sony, my preferred camera supplier. Sony are leaders in digital technology and that includes camera's however they lag behind in lens development and their customer service skills leave a lot to be desired, sadly.

Anyway this blog is not a review or a comparison but rather an expression of my interest into 'Bokeh'. I watched a number of tutorials and I have got to say that Gavin Hoey is one of the best tutors that I have come across for quick short, to the point tutorials and tips.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself playing with some of the photo's from my world trip and I have used a couple of great shots of Edinburgh, Scotland from the walls of Edinburgh Castle for this miniaturisation or model effect called 'bokeh'.

(As with all the photographs on my fan page the resolution has been reduced and a watermark added if the photograph is for sale in my page shop)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Resolutions

My first blog of the year, pretty slack hey! I have just posted the following to my Sanford Blog and thought it worthy of posting here;

As usual I have made my new year resolutions for 2013. I listen to some of my friends say that they won't even attempt to set resolutions as they invariably fail. I used to be the same but I have found that there are a number of things that I can do to actually succeed in fulfilling these resolutions.

The first thing to remember when setting yourself up to achieve new goals is to keep them realistic. Unreal expectations are doomed to failure and you will be setting yourself up for a depressive and counter productive outcome. This will impact negatively on your self esteem and future growth.

Second is to break down the goal into smaller, more manageable portions. A set of relatively easy goals will almost guarantee success and this will lift your spirits, self esteem and grow confidence.

Thirdly, set a timetable for your primary goals by all means but more importantly set timelines for your smaller portions and stick to them. Don't be wishy washy with theses timelines like 3rd week of x month, be very specific - for example 1:30 pm June 12 is the launch date and time for my new product.... etc.

The holiday break was of course fantastic especially since my Bonnie Ronnie's Foster Sister Penelope and her daughter Desirie came out from the UK to spend time with Penelope's niece and her family. We found Penny online only a few months ago and the holiday had already been planed so it was extremely fortuitous and the timing was perfect. It turns out that Penny's niece and family are only 10 minutes from where we live. We had not seen Penny since 1979 and lost touch when she moved to South Africa. We didn't even know of the daughter Des and niece Yvonne.... small world hey!

Penny and Des spent a few days with us and we took them up to Melany and Montville just inland from the Sunshine Coast. I had been hanging out to visit these towns since the beginning of the holidays as they are well known Artist Retreats. There are a multitude of boutique shops to cater to every taste and the artwork is simply fantastic. Unfortunately most of the galleries don't allow photographs so I can't show you any of the work  but for me it is, inspiration heaven!

I've included a few snap shots of the town's and some boutique's and gallery's here.