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15 Best Gaming Laptops for World of Warcraft

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If you are a WoW player, nothing is more rewarding than enjoying this game to the fullest. Not only are there several expansions for WoW but it has its own little sub-culture. However when starting out or buying a new gaming laptop you may wonder which laptop is the best for your beloved Wow Game.

What is the best gaming laptop for World of Warcraft?

The laptop market is extensive and it can feel overwhelming to choose from a laptop that offers a decent enough configuration but isn’t too expensive, all while meeting the system requirements for World of Warcraft. Before we start listing them, you might want to take a look at some of the requirements needed when playing WoW.

What Are The World Of Warcraft Laptop Requirements?

For a gaming laptop to meet the minimum system requirements for World of warcraft, it needs to have at least an Intel Core i5-760 or AMD Phenom II X4 955 processor, 6 GB of RAM and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or ATI Radeon HD 5850 graphics card.

A Wow gaming laptop must also have 80 GB free hard disk space available for game files. You should be able to run the laptop on a 15-inch to 17 inch laptop screen for a smooth performance and you’ll want a good processor for efficiency.

A Wow laptop work well on Windows 10 and above and the more RAM and compatible graphics card you have, the better laptop performance you’ll get.

World Of Warcraft Shadowland Recommended Specs

Whether your playing the classic version of World of Warcraft or world of warcraft shadowland , the laptop requirements are still pretty much the same.

The laptop specifications can vary from laptop to laptop but a few laptops which offer a great value for money and meet both laptop requirements would be the best recommendation.

What Is The Best Processor?

A processor is one of the most important laptop components as it will determine laptop performance and laptop speed.

There are many laptop processors that work well for gamers and whilst the best ones may be more expensive, they will be worth it when you want laptop performance that can handle heavy laptop games.

Although the best laptop processor will depend on personal preference, some of the most recommended laptop processors which are still affordable include

Intel Core i5-7200U Processor with 2.50 GHz clock speed – This laptop processor offers an improved performance in comparison to its Intel Core i5-6400 laptop processor alternative.

How Much RAM does it need?

Wow laptop will need at least 6 GB of RAM to run smoothly and you’ll really want 8 GB or 12 GB for the best laptop gaming experience.

Whilst laptop prices can vary, if you are looking for laptop performance that can handle high-end laptop games then you could also look to invest in a laptop with 16GB of RAM.

Which Display will be good for World Of Warcraft?

When laptop shopping, laptop display is one of the main things you should look for.

You’ll want to get a laptop with a laptop screen that offers at least 1920 x 1080 resolution which will make the laptop game graphics crisp and sharp.

How Much Storage Will The Best Gaming Laptop For World Of Warcraft Need?

Well, more laptop storage is always better than laptop not enough laptop storage.

WoW laptop will need around 80 GB free hard disk space to run smoothly and the more you have, the better laptop performance you’ll get.

If your laptop does not have a sufficient amount of laptop storage then an easy fix would be to add more storage by adding laptop hard drive storage to the computer.

What Is The Best Graphics Card?

The graphics card is another very important laptop component and it will determine laptop performance and laptop speed.

Whilst the best laptop graphics cards will be expensive, they’ll also give you a smooth laptop gaming experience.

Some of the best laptop brands for gamers include

  • Acer
  • Alienware
  • Asus

Top 15 Gaming Laptop for World of Warcraft

Now that you have the laptop requirements in mind, let’s move on to the laptop suggestions. These are our top 15 recommended laptops for getting the most out of your World of war craft gaming experience.

MSI GE62 Apache Pro-001 Laptop

This laptop is a good laptop for gamers who are looking for something that has an attractive, simple design but still has some power behind it. The laptop includes an Intel core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM, which will help with lag or slow down that occurs while playing. It has a good storage capacity and it is great for laptop gamers who like to watch movies and play games on their laptop.

Pros:

  • GPU: 1050
  • Great storage; 1 TB HDD & 128 GB SSD

Cons:

  • Processor not as powerful as the other laptop suggestions

MSI GE62 Apache Pro-001 Laptop

ASUS ROG Strix GL702VM Scar Edition Laptop

This laptop is another great laptop for laptop gamers who are looking to get something that has some power behind it but doesn’t look like a gamer laptop. It includes an Intel core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM. Also, it is great for laptop gamers who like to watch movies and play games on their laptop.

Pros:

  • GPU: 1060
  • Great storage; 1 TB HDD & 128 GB SSD

Cons:

  • Heavy laptop weighing in at 8 pounds
 ASUS ROG Strix Scar Edition

MSI GS66 Stealth Laptop

This laptop is another laptop that laptop gamers should consider when purchasing a laptop to play World of Warcraft on. Not only is it great for laptop gamers who like to watch movies and play games, but it has some really cool features for laptop gamers.

It includes an Intel Core i7 Processor and 16 GB of RAM which helps with lag or slow down that might occur while playing. Not only does it have great storage but it includes a laptop cooling system, making the laptop run more efficiently and cooler for laptop gamers who like to play on longer periods of time or play games that require a lot of processing power like World of Warcraft.

Pros:

  • GPU: 1060
  • Unique laptop cooling system
  • Great storage; 1 TB HDD & 256 GB SSD

Cons:

  • Heavy laptop weighing in at 8 pounds
msi stealth laptop

Alienware AW15R3-6161SLV Laptop

This laptop is another laptop that laptop gamers should consider when purchasing a laptop to play World of Warcraft on. laptop

The Alienware laptop includes an Intel Core i7 Processor and 16 GB of RAM helping laptop gamers play the laptop game for longer periods of time without the laptop lag or laptop slowdown.

It has great storage capacity with a 256 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD making it easier to start up your laptop as well as store all those laptop games you want to play on your Alienware.

alienware laptop

Dell Inspiron 15 Laptop

We all love Dell for their laptop quality and laptop durability. This laptop includes an Intel Core i5 Processor and 8 GB of RAM making it the perfect laptop for laptop gamers who like to play World of Warcraft.

The laptop has a great storage capacity with a 1 TB HDD allowing laptop gamers to start up games quickly. When playing WoW you want a smooth and fast experience.

This laptop is great for preventing lag which slows down the game play which could ruin the enjoyment of the game.

dell computer

MSI GF75 Thin 9SC-027 Laptop

This laptop is a laptop gamers should consider when purchasing a laptop to play World of Warcraft.

It has a great design and the laptop will play WoW on ultra settings. In addition, it is affordable and budget friendly. The slim design of laptop makes it easy to carry and transport.

Intel Core i7 8th Gen 8750H Processor (2.19 GHz up to 4.10 GHz, 9 MB Cache)

8 GB DDR4 2666 MHz DRAM

17.3″ Full HD (1920 x 1080), 120 Hz Refresh Rate, Wide-View

Acer Predator Helios 300 Laptop

The Acer Predator Helios has a great design and the laptop will play WoW on ultra settings. In addition, it is affordable and budget friendly. The thing I love the most about the Acer Predator Laptop is the functionality .

The specs for this laptop include:

Intel Core i7 8th Gen 8750H Processor (2.20 GHz up to 4.10 GHz, 9 MB Cache)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB GDDR5

16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz DRAM

15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080), IPS technology

helios

MSI GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062 Laptop

The MSI GL65 Leopard Laptop is another laptop gamers love to use when playing World of Warcraft. The laptop has a sleek black design and is very lightweight. In addition, the laptop plays WoW on ultra settings. This means the laptop will play the game most efficiently.

This computer has an Anti-ghost key and silver lining 720p HD Webcam and fantastic light up keys.

MSI GL65 Leopard

Aorus 15G Performance Laptop

The Aorus Laptop is a laptop gamers love to use when playing World of Warcraft. This is one of my favourite gaming laptops and it’s sleek black look is a laptop I definitely want!

Here are the specs for the Aorus 15 performance laptop:

Intel Core i7 7700HQ Processor (2.8 GHz up to 3.8 GHz, 6 MB Cache)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8 GB GDDR5

32 GB DDR4 2400 MHz DRAM

15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080), Wide View Angle Display

Aorus Laptop

Lenovo Legion Y540 Laptop

The Lenovo Legion laptop is a laptop gamers love to use when playing World of Warcraft. The laptop has a sleek design and the silver lining with red accents gives it a unique look that laptop gamers adore. In addition, the laptop plays WoW on ultra settings with no lag issues.

GPU: 1060

Slim laptop weighing in

Lenovo Legion laptop

HP Omen X Laptop

The HP Omen Laptop has a sleek design and laptop gamers love the four different backlight options for the laptop keyboard. It also includes an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8 GB GDDR5 giving laptop gamers a high-end laptop for a laptop.

The laptop will play WoW on ultra settings giving you an amazing laptop gaming experience. Here are the laptop specs:

Intel Core i7-8750H Processor (2.2 GHz, up to 4.1 GHz, 9 MB cache)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8 GB GDDR5

MSI GS66 Stealth Laptop

ASUS TUF FX505DT Laptop

The laptop is very fast laptop gamers can’t complain. It has a fantastic cooling system and laptop gamers love the laptop specs for this laptop:

GPU: 1050 Ti

Intel Core i7-8750H Processor (2.20 GHz up to 4.10 GHz, 9 MB Cache)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB GDDR5

1TB HDD+16GB SSD

MSI GV62 8RD laptop

tuf

Razer Blade 15 (Advanced Edition)

The Razer laptop is a laptop gamers love to use when playing World of Warcraft. Although laptop gamers enjoy the laptop, I would like to mention it does not have a USB-C port.

The laptop specs include:

Intel Core i7 8750H Processor (2.20 GHz up to 4.10 GHz 9 MB Cache)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB GDDR5

16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz

This amazing laptop will not disappoint!

Razer Blade 15

Acer Nitro 5 2021 laptop

If you want a fantastic user experience then why not try out the Acer Nitro 5 laptop. Recently released, this gaming laptop has some fantastic specs.

The laptop specs include:

Intel Core i5-9300H Processor (2.40 GHz up to 4.10 GHz, 9 MB Cache)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4 GB GDDR5

8GB DDR4 Memory 3600MHz (Onboard)

Acer Nitro 5 2021 laptop

HP Omen 15 2020

The last gaming laptop we would like to recommend for WoW is the HP Omen 15. This laptop has a faster SSD that gamers can appreciate. This laptop has an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5 giving laptop gamers all the power they need to play this game on ultra settings.

HP Omen 15 2020

How To Pick the Best Gaming Laptop for World of Warcraft

With so many fantastic options it may seem tricky to know which gaming laptop is right for you. Just remember to consider the following factors:

  • Style and weight of your laptop
  • The Ram, processor and Storage
  • How much money you have to spend on the laptop
  • The laptop’s display
  • Laptop cooling system
  • Accessories included with laptop laptop
  • The laptop’s keyboard style laptop

These are the criteria I consider when buying a laptop for World of Warcraft. Hopefully, by looking at these factors, you will find it easier to buy a laptop that suits you.

What Gaming Laptop Do you have?

Darth Vader Quotes: The Dark Lord In His Own Words

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Darth Vader, the villanous cyborg from the iconic “Star Wars” movie series, has become one of the most popular characters in cinema history. As Anakin Skywalker , he was a promising Jedi Knight until the young Darth Vader was seduced by the dark side of The Force. Today we are sharing some interesting facts about Darth Vader along with some popular sayings and famous Darth Vader quotes.

darth vader quotes

Who Is Darth Vader

Darth Vader , also known as Anakin Skywalker, was a Force-sensitive Human male who served the Galactic Republic as a Jedi Knight and later served the Galactic Empire as the Sith Lord Darth Vader. Born on the planet Tatooine to Shmi Skywalker, by 41 BBY he had joined the Jedi Order and became apprenticed to Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The Clone Wars broke out later that year, pitting the Republic against the secessionist Trade Federation. After fighting in numerous battles in the conflict, Anakin Skywalker was put on leave by his master so he could secretly marry Padmé Amidala behind Jedi Order’s back. That

same night, Skywalker’s mother died after she was brutally tortured by the vile Zabo, a Nightsister clan leader and servant of Separatist leader Count Dooku.

Following the first battle of the Clone Wars Anakin Skywalker would kill for the first time on Jabiim during a battle against Munificient. Later he would start the slippery slope towards the dark side eventually becoming Darth Vader.

Who Played Darth Vader?

David Prowse played Darth Vader in the original trilogy. When Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, his suit was originally designed for David Prowse’s body. But when he displayed poor movement inside of it, they had to make a smaller lighter suit for James Earl Jones’ body, which you can tell because David Prowse has a much deeper voice than Jones does when in character.

Who Voiced Darth Vader?

Darth Vader’s voice was created by James Earl Jones, who also voiced characters including Mufasa from “The Lion King,” for which he won a Grammy. An article reports that the role of Darth Vader is believed to be one of the top five best motion-capture performances in film history.

What is Darth Vader’s Real Name?

Darth Vader is one of the most popular villains of all time. The villain who owes his name to a synthetic breathing apparatus, was once known as Anakin Skywalker.

However, fans have always looked for more information about this mysterious character. One of the most common questions is: “What is Darth Vader’s real name?”

It has never been revealed in the movies. It was, however, revealed in other officially licensed Star Wars products.

Here are three things you should know about Darth Vader’s real name!

Darth Vader was not always known as Darth Vader. He used to be named Anakin Skywalker.

Darth Vader’s real name is revealed in the prequel trilogy, when Padmé Amidala introduces him as “my son, Anakin.” George Lucas has confirmed that it is the same person, despite his new Sith appearance.

To make things more complicated, there are hints that Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader are two different people. This is implied by the fact that Obi-Wan Kenobi claims that Anakin has been killed, and he does not recognize Anakin as Vader when they meet again in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.

How Old Was Anakin When He Became Darth Vader?

Anakin Skywalker’s real name is, as many Star Wars fans know, was actually a boy named “Anakin.” This famous Jedi Knight later changed his name to “Darth Vader” after he fell to the dark side of the force. But when did this actually happen?

Anakin Skywalker’s real age is extremely difficult to calculate, given that he started his Jedi training at the young age of 9-10 years old. We can assume that Anakin was 18 -19 years of age when he fell to the dark side, as Palpatine tells him that together they can “restore order to the galaxy.” However, Anakin was around 22-23 years of age when Padmé gave birth to Luke and Leia.

darth vader quotes

Best Darth Vader Quotes Darth Vader Said To Luke Skywalker

Darth Vader is a great character. Throughout Return of the Jedi he’s constantly saying brilliant and often evil things that make your hairs stand on end and jaws drop to the floor. For this reason I thought it would be fun to compile a list of my favorite quotes Darth Vader said in The Empire Strikes Back.

So without further ado here they are, my favorite quotes Darth Vader said in The Empire Strikes Back.

“Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.”

“He told me enough! He told me you killed him!”

“No, I am your father.”

Darth Vader I Am Your Father Quote

One of the most famous quotes in the Star Wars series is, “I am your father.” This famous line was first uttered by Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker during their confrontation scene in cloud city. This quote has been repeated in popular culture for decades now and is well known by children and adults alike.

Top 10 Darth Vader Quotes

So here are my Top Ten Darth Vader quotes from the Star wars movies. I’m sure these are Darth Vader sayings you will never forget.

I will not be using the quotes from any of the books or comics. Here are some of the best Darth Vader quotes.

darth vader quotes

Darth Vader Quote One

1) “You do know that you’re doomed, don’t you?” – Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope

Darth Vader is talking to Obi-Wan Kenobi in an attempt to convince him that both he and his friends are destined for failure . This quote is the first time we see Darth Vader using his famous ominous tone.

Darth Vader Quote Two

2) “Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed” – Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope    

This quote was said by Darth Vader the conference on the death star.

Darth Vader Quote Three

3) “I have you now.” – Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back    

This quote was said by Darth Vader to Han Solo during the battle of Yabin.

Darth Vader Quote Four

4) “The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” – Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope    

Darth says this quote while explaining his plan for galactic domination to Grand Moff Tarkin.

Darth Vader Quote Five

5) “Obi-wan never told you what happened to your father.” – Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back    

This quote was said by Darth Vader during his battle with Luke Skywalker.

Darth Vader Quote Six

6) “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” – Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope    

Darth says this quote while attempting to force choke a member of the death star high command.

Darth Vader Quote Seven

7) “The Force is strong with you, young Skywalker. But you are not a Jedi yet.” – Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back    

Darth says this quote to Luke Skywalker while they are dueling each other on Cloud City.

Darth Vader Quote Eight

8) “The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.” – Star Wars Episode VI Return of the Jedi    

Darth says this quote when he lands on the second death star to convince the crew to work more efficiently.

Darth Vader Quote Nine

9) “I’ve been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you , I was but the learner; now *I* am the master.” – Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope    

Darth says this quote to Obi-Wan Kenobi after he kills his former mentor and leaves him.

Darth Vader Quote Ten

10) “If you will not be turned, you will be destroyed!” – Star Wars Episode III Revenge

Darth Vader says this to Luke Skywalker when he refuses to join the dark side of the force.

Famous Darth Vader Quotes Which Star Wars Fans Love

As you can see, Darth Vader is well known for a number of famous saying and quotes. As a star wars fan, it is fun to learn and re-learn some of his more famous lines. If you are interested in learning more about Darth Vader, I recommend the “Darth Vader” Wiki article or checking out the star wars movies.

Fun Ideas for a Surprise Birthday Hamper for a Gamer

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When thinking of a birthday present for someone who games, it is often difficult to rack your brain for good ideas. Sometimes, the person you are buying for already has quite a lot of different things, or they don’t give you a clear answer when you ask what they want, which can leave you in the dark. This may leave you reluctant to spend money on things that you don’t actually know if they’ll like, and there is nothing worse than money being wasted or receiving a present you don’t have much use for. This year, instead of getting them a big and expensive present, why not get a few smaller things and put them into a hamper? This way, there is less pressure on one main present. It also makes it more fun when they’re opening the various gifts – here are a couple of ideas on what to get for a gamer friend.

Gadgets for Gamers

A Funny Pair of Socks

If you’re buying multiple presents, why not make some of them serious and some a bit more sarcastic and fun? This way, you will have a good mix and they never will know what they’re going to open next. In some of the more fun presents, consider getting them some socks that say funny things to make them laugh and add a bit of lighthearted humor into the gift-giving. Socks are an inexpensive gift but this is something that they can keep for years to come and look back on fondly. They are also something they can wear when gaming to keep their feet warm! 

A Customized Gaming Pillow

To get something with the theme of gaming for them, why not try a customized gaming pillow? This could be used when they are actually gaming to support their neck or back, and they can be customized with pictures of them or their favorite games. You could make this funny and edit their head onto the body of one of the characters in their games. If their room is decorated in this way, this will add something funny and fitting to it. 

A New Mug

Gamers often need a cup of coffee or tea to stay up during the intensity of the game they are playing. Why not get them a new mug that they can use while gaming? It can be nice to have your own special mug too, rather than having to share one with the house. This way, it won’t matter if your gamer friend ends up keeping the mug in their room – as it’ll be specially assigned to them. This will also encourage them to take breaks and not game an unhealthy amount – socializing with friends or family is always a great use of a break. 

Birthday hampers are really fun to create and it is likely that you will get a great response. Why not put the items in a box or a basket with shredded tissue paper and confetti inside, so they have to hunt for their presents? 

Star Wars Chewbacca and Leia Themed Cupcakes

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These are some awesome Star Wars Chewbacca and Leia Themed Cupcakes any Star Wars Fan to enjoy. Not just the little ones either, but the adults too. So here are my quick Chewbacca and Leia cupcake recipe. Also, it may be easier to pre-purchase your plain or chocolate cupcakes from the local market prior to starting this recipe.

Star Wars Cupcakes Sample

Star Wars day (aka May the 4th), will so be upon us and many birthday parties to enjoy between now and May the 4th. Who are your favourite characters from the Star Wars Saga? Princess Leia or Chewbacca?

*I use affiliate links in this post. If you buy anything from my links I will earn a small commission*

Chewbacca Cupcakes

These Chewbacca Cupcakes are gorgeous and I am sure they go down well. They may be a Han Solo or a Luke Skywalker, however, I am sure they will be just what your little one(s) will enjoy.

Chewbacca Cupcakes

Star Wars Cupcakes Sample

These cupcakes are a great idea for your child's Star Wars Themed Birthday party, or any other Star Wars themed party for that matter. You don't need a be a child to enjoy these gorgeous cupcakes. These cupcakes can take up to 20 mins depending on how many you are making.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 cups chocolate frosting
  • Candy eyeballs
  • Black fondant
  • White nonpareil sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Place chocolate frosting in a piping bag fitted with an open star tip. Ice the cupcakes with the frosting creating stars. Allow frosting to dry slightly and gently press down any pointed peaks.
  2. Press two candy eyeballs onto each dipped cookie.
  3. Roll out black fondant and cut into strips (approximately ¾ inch by 2 inches.) Press white nonpareils into fondant. Lift fondant strips using an offset spatula and place at a diagonal over cupcake edge.
  4. With remaining black fondant, pinch a small piece and shape into a tiny ball for the nose. Place one nose under the eyes on each cupcake.

Notes

Either Pre-purchase cupcakes from the store or make at home. If you are doing these as a family activity, then you can make your own cupcakes from scratch. We pre-purchased our cupcakes from the local store.

Nutrition Information:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168 Total Fat: 6ggCarbohydrates: 26ggProtein: 2gg

Chewbacca Process Photos

To make the Chewbacca decorations, these cupcakes are far more easier than the Princess Leia cupcakes.

Princess Leia Cupcakes

Princess Leia, what more needs to be said. A powerful force to deal with and she always was more than Han Solo could handle. So, if your Star Wars Girl wants some Star Wars Cupcakes for her Birthday. These will be just she ordered.

Princess Leia Cupcakes

Star Wars Cupcakes Sample

If you are a fan of the original 1977 Star Wars, then you will love these Star Wars Princess Leia Cupcakes for any Star Wars themed party. You don't need a be a child to enjoy these gorgeous cupcakes. These cupcakes can take up to 20 mins depending on how many you are making.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 cups vanilla frosting in white
  • 2 to 3 cups of chocolate frosting.
  • Candy eyeballs.
  • Heart sprinkles.
  • Chocolate coated doughnuts (2 for each cupcake).
  • Toothpicks

Instructions

    1. Ice cupcakes with vanilla frosting, creating a flat surface.
    2. Place chocolate frosting in a piping bag fitted with an open star tip. Create a hairline with the chocolate frosting.
    3. Press two candy eyeballs onto each dipped cookie and a heart sprinkle, placing each to form Leia’s face.
    4. Attach a doughnut to each side of the cupcakes using toothpicks.

Notes

Either Pre-purchase cupcakes from the store or make at home. If you are doing these as a family activity, then you can make your own cupcakes from scratch. We pre-purchased our cupcakes from the local store.

Nutrition Information:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168 Total Fat: 6ggCarbohydrates: 26ggProtein: 2gg

Princess Leia Cupcake Process Stages

The process for creating your Leia cupcakes are very straight forward. First you cover your base layer in white chocolate frosting.

Star Wars Cupcakes Process-1

You will need some of the brown frosting from your Chewbacca for decorating your Leia cupcakes todo the hair.

Star Wars Cupcakes Process-3

After the chocolate frosting hair, you will need some edible eyes and heart shapes as the mouth.

Star Wars Cupcakes Process-4

For the last stage you will need some chocolate coated mini donuts for Princess Leia famous side hair pieces.

Star Wars Cupcakes Process-6

Your Princess Leia Cupcakes are now complete.

Baking Equipment or Food Ideas

With a wide variety of cake, chocolate and jello moulds. You can make an assortment of party foods. A Darth Vadar pancake mould or a Stormtrooper chocolate for your deserts tray. Either there are plenty of ideas to go around.

Thank you for reading and taking your time to look at these Star Wars Chewbacca and Leia Themed Cupcakes. If you’re a fan of cooking and STAR WARS, you may be interested in reading about the new range of Star Wars Instant Pots. They are so awesome. Check them out today!

John M

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How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube

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Throughout my childhood, when I ever I saw a Rubik’s cube, I would always hand it off to my mother to solve. Not too long ago, my daughter was a sent a Rubik’s Cube and sure enough, she handed it off to be to solve. Now, it would seem history has come back to bite me for me handing off a Rubik’s cube to my mother for her to Solve.

When I was given the cube to solve, I was like, erm. There have to be a few tutorials on How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube. Sure enough, there were LOADS of them all over the internet, but I needed a simple and direct guide and I found one. After using the step by step process, I now know how to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

A Small History of the Rubik’s Cube

Ernõ Rubik, a University Professor from Budapest In Hungary, wanted to help his students understand three-dimensional problems. The Original Magic Cube as made out of wood and Erno Bubik admitted that he could not even solve his own invention. He then spent a whole month trying to figure out the

Rubiks Cubes in Packaging | How to Solve a Rubik's Cube

The Rubik’s Cube was originally marketed and sold as the “Magic Cube” before a toy marker spotted the puzzle at a Toy fayre in Nuremberg, Germany. Tom Kremer immediately saw the power and potential of the Cube and helped rebrand the Magic Cube into the Rubik’s Cube which we now know it as today.

How to Solve A Rubiks Cube Video

If you ever ask a child these days about how to solve a Rubik’s cube, you will most likely give you the answer that is too difficult. Most people can solve one side of Rubik’s Cube. Some may be able to solve two colours connected to each other. Yet, a lot of people will admit that it takes time and patience, to completely solve a Rubik’s Cube.

The first time I solved a Rubik’s cube using these algorithms and methods, it took me about 2 hours. I got that down to 45 mins and now I can solve a Rubik’s Cube between 5-6 minutes. So yes, it does help by practising and learning these Algorithms. Memorizing the Algorithms is my next step.

Which Side to You Solve First?

So, you have taken The Cube out of its packaging and started to jumble up the puzzle. All the square are not so neat anymore. So, ‘Which Side do You Solve First?‘ The side you complete first is the white face. But before you start to solve the white face, there are some things you need to learn. Like, cube ergonomics. Rather than thinking of the Rubik’s Cube with 6 sides like a Dice. Think of the Cube with 3 layers. Top, Middle and Bottom.

The first stage of solving a starting to solve the Rubik’s Cube is to start moving the white sides to the top where the middle yellow square. This will make the yellow face look like a Daisy. White petals with a yellow centre.

White Side Completed with Middle Row Completed | How to Solve a Rubik's Cube

Okay, the next step is more straight forward. On the side of each middle piece, there is a non-white colour. Which will be either, Red, Green, Blue or Orange. Align the non-white piece with the middle of the matching colour. So if you have a ‘White’ and ‘Red’ piece. Twist the top so Red piece matches the middle of the same colour.

This being the Red piece and then twist matching White/Red to Red centre 180 degrees in any direction. You need to do this for the other white/orange, white/blue and white/green edge pieces. Align them to the middle piece and twist those faces 180 degrees. Once you are done. You should have your white ‘Cross’. The remainder of the solve, the white face is going to be at the bottom the entire time.

Time to Solve the Second Line

Okay, you have moved the edge pieces and aligned them to the corresponding middle piece. And by doing so, you have now completed the white face with all the correctly aligned corner pieces. The white face and side edges should be completed properly. Now it is time to complete the second row. Always remember that the white face is still facing down for the entire time of the solve.

White and Red Middle Row Complete | How to Solve a Rubik's Cube

Now, here is the tricky part but if you hold with me, it is very straight forward. In the image above, you can see there is a blue middle edge piece, That edge piece needs to be in the middle of its own colour, which is blue in this case. If the colour on the other side of that blue edge piece is orange or red, then you have to turn that edge piece

How to Hold and The Cube

Now, there is one thing we have not really spoken about, which How to Hold the Cube. I did mention about Cube ergonomics. On the video, I have linked above. Go to 06:32; (How to Hold the Cube). This explains what the ‘Left or Right Trigger’ is. This helps you learn to move each face and solve the cube faster. Don’t worry if this takes a while to master, but I assure you, but by the time you have mastered the left and right trigger. Your times for Solving the Rubik’s cube will come down dramatically.

Now that you have completed the Whiteface and the middle row, it is time to work on the Yellowface. Just like we did with the white cross, we need to do the same thing and create a Yellow cross using the two coloured edge pieces. Don’t worry if you have only one 1, 2 or 3 edge piece, we still have to get them all lined up so we have the yellow cross.

Rubiks Cube Notations and Algorithms

It is now time to talk about Cube Notations and algorithms. There are many types of algorithms you can find on the internet and I did find LOTS. However, these are the ones which worked for me. Rather than give them all at once, let’s work through each separate algorithm for each stage.

What each letter of the Algorithm means as follows:

  • F stands for Front relative to you.
  • U stands for Up
  • R stands for Right
  • L stands for Left
  • B stands for Back
  • D stands for Down

If you see a letter, it means to turn the corresponding face 90-degree Clock-Wise (CW) relative to the perspective of somebody looking at that face head-on.

White Side Completed with Middle Row Completed | How to Solve a Rubik's Cube

Where the is a number after a Letter like U2. You have to rotate that face 180 degrees, or two 90 degree turns to complete that move of the algorithm.

Where there is an apostrophe like R’, this is called “R Prime” and you have to rotate that face Counter-Clock Wise (CCW). So L’ is L Prime and you turn the left face in your left hand, 90 degree’s Counter Clockwise. Are you still following me? YES – NO? Good. We are getting there.

Algorithms which you will be using to complete the cube are as follows:

  • F U R U’ R’ F’ – You use this algorithm to complete the Yellow cross

No matter what happens, even after the first attempt, you keep going until you have the yellow cross using the F U R U’ R’ F’ algorithm.

  • R U R’ U R U2 R’ – This algorithm is complete the entire Yellow-face after you have made the Yellow Cross.

Time to Complete The Final Side

You have completed the white and middle rows and now its time to start on the yellow side. There is an algorithm that can help with this. We want to create the yellow cross and the only algorithm which will help achieve this is the F U R U’ R’ F’ Algorithm.

Yellow Cross | How to Solve a Rubik's Cube

Once you have completed the Yellow cross, we use the next algorithm to fully complete the Yellowface. The algorithm you use for this next stage is R U R’ U R U2 R’. No matter how long it takes, you continue you use this algorithm to finish the Yellowface. When you have one yellow corner piece in any corner, turn the top face so it looks like an upside-down fish. Then repeat the R U R’ U R U2 R’ algorithm again until you have finished the Yellow-face.

Just as used the R U R’ U R U2 R’ algorithm to fully complete the Yellow Face. We use a new algorithm to start the next step.

  • L’ U R U’ L U R’ R U R’ U R U2 R’ – This algorithm is tricky and one wrong move and completely undo EVERYTHING and it took me a few times to get it right.

Notice at the point where we get to R’ and R. We are doing and undoing the same move but it is all apart of the algorithm and removing it will NOT make the algorithm work. Trust me, I have tried it. Also, if you go back to the algorithm above, it is the same as the second half of this algorithm.

The Final Stages of Completing the Puzzle

The Last and Final Phase for pieces that need the one last movement. These pieces may be just miss-aligned to the left or right or completely opposite one another. So these last two Algorithms will correct these pieces to complete the puzzle.

  • F2 U R’ L F2 L’ R U F2 (Clockwise Algorithm) – If any of the middle squares are out of place and need to be turned in a clockwise rotation of the top face, then this is the Algorithm to move these pieces in the clockwise rotation.
  • F2 U’ R’ L F2 L’ R U’ F2 (Counter Clockwise Algorithm) – If any of the middle squares are out of place and need to be turned anti-clockwise, this if the Algorithm to correct these middle top pieces.

If any point you have completed one extra side, while the three remaining sides have the middle squares still needs to be solved. We have the extra completed side at the back for the remainder of the solve. Then perform any one of the above two Algorithms.

Why Does Solving a Rubiks Cube Help You Solve Problems

Learning to solve a Rubik’s cube is good for muscle memory and hand and eye coordination. In team sports or any type of sports, it can help you to plan fitness routines and help improve situational awareness of problems which arise. At work, it could help you figure out solutions to problems which you have never thought of.

By demonstrating you can solve a Rubik’s cube, it shows your work colleagues that you are willing to problem solve or as it is known in the business world, be a Fire Fighter. Someone who is willing to step up and find and work out business solutions to improve productivity.

Solving a Rubik’s Cube can be very beneficial for the way your brain works for problem-solving and approaching tasks which for some may cause great difficulty or anxiety.

By Completing a Rubik’s Cube on your own, it gives you a feeling of accomplishment, that you can overcome any issues or problems. It also helps you to plan out the issues that you may find, then plan a way to resolve them logically. Now, not all problems can be solved logically, but it is a start at least.

What is the Fastest Time To Complete a Rubiks

Feliks Zemdegs has taken back his World Record which originally stood just over 5.45 seconds. A South Korean beat down that time to 4.59 seconds. Feliks’ new Record now stands at 4.22 seconds in the quickest time to completely solve a Rubik’s Cube. Here is the World Record-Breaking achievement.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please bookmark it and come back it if you get stuck.

John M

Datacolor SpyderX Elite Review

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For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted properly calibrate my iMac monitor. I follow quite a few photographers on YouTube and I have seen how they manage to get their photos looking like they want them to. When I came across a video by FSTOPPERS, I set myself a goal of aiming for one to review through the blog or to purchase one, whichever came first.

Datacolor-SypderX-Elite

When you Purchase the SpyderX Pro/Elite. You receive a code to active the Elite version of the SypderUtility Monitor Software. Or at least that is what I was sent for this review. I was given the SpyderX Pro device and the SypderX Elite software activation code.

Datacolor-SpyderX-Pro-Elite-Unboxing

*This post contains affiliate links. I will make a small commission if you purchase from them*

Which SpyderX Is Best For Me

Which SpyderX option is best for me? Well, I had a look at the options for the Datacolor SypderX software and went from there. If you have used other Datacolor Sypder devices in the past, this will be an easier choice to make for new versions as they are released. For me, I knew that I needed more options as my office and editing equipment increases, so I required more adaptable options and the SpyderX Elite version suited those needs.

When it comes to comparing my photos for in-studio side by side and being able to do soft proofing with print output previews for my clients, which I would not be able to do on the SpyderX Pro version.

Why The SpyderX Elite is the Better Option?

Why did I choose the SpyderX Elite Edition over the Pro option? Quite simply, I have more than one monitor and computer for doing my editing and I need to be able to calibrate all of my monitor’s side by side. I also need to see and compare my monitor colours, before and after calibration and see the differences that matter most in my photo editing work.

Datacolor-SpyderX-Pro-Elite-Closeup

With the SpyderX Elite edition, I get to see what my images will look different when I print or view them on other devices such as tablets. With the Softproof function, I also get to see what my images are like through a simulated (only available with the Elite version) view and how these changes are affected across all of my devices. I can see these changes on my calibrated screen(s). When it comes to printing my work, I can see how my prints will look for a specific printer model, paper and ink type.

Why Do I need to Calibrate My Computer Monitor?

When I edit my photographs, I am always mindful of two things. Are my photographs too bright or the right colour? This can be a constant battle from the moment you take a photograph, to transferring your images off your memory card to the computer.

Are the images you see on your camera matching in colour, brightness and contrast all aligned and matching equally when it comes to the final print. If your monitor is not calibrated properly, you will begin to see how different your images are when they are printed or appear on your client’s monitor(s). So calibrating your monitor, is just as important as making sure you have the correct exposure for your photographs.

Datacolor-SpyderX-Pro-Elite-Opened

Can I Calibrate My Projector Too?

The short answer to this question is Yes you can. You may have to look up your projector manual on how to calibrate your projector. The SpyderX device does have a 1/4 inch screw thread so you can mount the device on a tripod. You will need to then connect the SpyderX device to the projector and run the software on your computer. The software will do the rest.

Datacolor SpyderX Pro Options

Feature Description for the Pro Version

  • Single Click & Wizard Calibration Capability – YES
  • Multiple Monitor Support – YES
  • Ambient Light Monitoring & Profile Switching – YES
  • Before and After Calibration Review – YES
  • Display Mapping & Analysis Tools – Basic Option
  • Calibration Setting Choices – 12 for the Pro Option
Pro-vs-Elite-Versions

Datacolor SpyderX Elite Options

Feature Description for the Elite Version

  • Single Click & Wizard Calibration Capability – YES
  • Multiple Monitor Support – YES
  • Ambient Light Monitoring & Profile Switching – YES
  • Before and After Calibration Review – YES
  • Display Mapping & Analysis Tools – Advanced Option
  • Calibration Setting Choices – Unlimited the Elite Option
  • Expert Console Calibration – YES
  • Video & Cinema Calibration Targets – YES
  • Soft Proof of Print Results – YES
  • Projector Calibration – YES
  • Display Matching in Studio – YES
  • Visual Fine-Tuning for Side-by-side Display Match – YES

How Easy Is It To Calibrate My Monitors?

How easy is it to calibrate my monitors? The answer is very simple. It is VERY easy and with each update of the Spyder software and the Sypder device(s). Each calibration time is reduced, making each calibration just that little bit shorter. If you are calibrating your monitor for the first time, it could take longer than normal. You can set a 30-day reminder for when you need to calibrate your monitor again.

Datacolor-SpyderX-Pro-Elite-Full-Device

After my first monitor calibration, I had to get used to having the screen brightness lower than I was otherwise used to. It can take a bit of getting used to, but it to be honest, if it meant having my photos correctly exposed on the camera and not having them adjusted too much via lightroom, I guess it was a huge compromise for screen-brightness. Where I am only limited to 12 calibration choices on the Pro option. I get unlimited calibration options for the Elite version.

Photography Studio Calibration Kits

There many other calibration options from Datacolor. So once you have calibrated your monitor. You can also calibrate your camera, by making sure your camera is capturing the colour shades, white balance (WB) and your lenses are focusing correctly.

SpyderX Capture Pro Kit

Why not go for the whole thing, as in calibrating your computer monitor, your camera and your printer. This Datacolor SypderX Studio package allows you to ensure that everything you see from your screen to the image printed in front of you, matches in brightness, colour and white balance scale.

SypderX-Studio

Datacolor SypderX Elite Pro and Cons

The SypderX Pro is £136.21 on Amazon.co.uk and the Elite version is £172.00. Although the prices have come down considerably, you are still paying quite a lot for side by side studio fine tunning, unlimited calibration options plus a heck of a lot more than the Pro version offers.

Datacolor-SpyderX-Pro-Elite-Full-Device

If you are not wanting all of what the Elite version offers, then the SpyderX Pro version will be more than necessary for your home office equipment. So the Pros and Cons are what you are looking for from your SpyderX purchase and weighing up your available budget.

*Disclosure: We were sent this item in exchange for an honest review. All the words in this post are my own.

Star Wars Heir to the Jedi Review

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I was recently lucky enough to review a new book about the adventures of Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars saga. Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi is the latest Star Wars novel under the new Star Canon series. The book was sent as a gift, so I could read then write a constructive review of the book.

This was my first book review and I am looking forward to being able to do more book reviews in the coming weeks and months. What drew me to this book, was the fact that Luke had not yet mastered his Jedi powers. I was interested to see how Luke was coping without a suitable Jedi Master to train him. The evil Empire had hunted down and killed the remaining remnants of the Jedi.

Star Wars Heir to the Jedi By Kevin Hearne

Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne (Arrow Books & Lucsfilm 2015: ISBN 9780099594277)

Star Wars Book Review Heir to the Jedi
Star Wars Book Review Heir to the Jedi

Kevin Hearne, the author of the Iron Druid Chronicles, writes his first book of the Star Wars franchise. His book, ‘Heir to the Jedi’ explores Luke Skywalker’s life in the aftermath of destroying the Empires dreaded ‘Death Star’. The book covers the time period between Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi Book Review

As Luke has not yet fully mastered his Jedi powers, Luke struggles to come to terms with the loss of Obi Wan-Kenobi (aka Ben Kenobi), his trusted friend and mentor. Luke never had a chance to get to know Ben, before Ben met his demise at the hands of Darth Vader while aboard the Death Star. Luke has to find his own path without a usual Jedi Master to guide and to train him in the ‘Ways of the Force’.

All Luke knows is, Luke thought he heard Ben’s voice, just before Luke managed to destroy the Death Star in the Battle Yavin. This is explained by Luke himself mid-way through the book.

Luke Skywalkers Adventures

The opening sentence says it all as far as Luke is concerned: “There’s no one around to answer all questions now that Ben’s gone”.  Luke knows it is his destiny to one day become a Jedi, but who, when and where is he going to his training.  Luke has a connection to his Father through his Lightsaber but is where the connection ends.

Luke knows the Force is real even if Han doesn’t yet believe in it. The story is narrated through Luke’s experiences and his exchanges with the characters of the book. Luke does not have many exchanges between Han and Chewbacca as they are off on their own adventures. That is after losing all the money they got through gambling, which was a reward for returning Princess Leia to the Rebellion on Yavin 4.

Luke’s Second Lightsaber

Luke manages to acquire a second Lightsaber to study how they are constructed. It highlights that Luke is still new to the Force and his inability to fully control or master his new abilities.

Luke even tries the same Jedi mind trick as Ben did back on Tatooine, by waving his hand and bending his will upon others. Luke fails miserably to the amusement of his sidekick in this current adventure known as Nakari.

A wealthy female pilot and well-trained sniper. After completing his opening mission, a debrief with Admiral Ackbar and Princess Leia; Leia asks a question where C3PO gives a comical response. Leia asks, “3PO….What’s more likely, reliable cash flow for the Alliance or Han behaving rationally?”.  3PO responds, “While both have very little chance of occurring, Princess, reliable cash flow is far more likely.” This is typical of some of the Whitt you can expect from Star Wars characters, it is very good to see some of this humour being used.

The story does hold little comical gems and exchanges which keep the reader engaged.  However, if you are wanting the same type of pace in the story for the first original movie, Episode IV: A New Hope, then you are in for a disappointment. The Story is slow but does have excitement spread throughout the Book.

Luke Skywalker’s Love Interest

Luke has clearly inherited his father’s piloting skills and his reflexes, mainly because this is how Luke is clearly defying all the odds with sheer luck and skill as a pilot. Nakari promises Luke that when they have completed their mission, she will help Luke in finding someone who can teach Luke in being able to properly study the ‘Force’. Heir to the Jedi tries to fill in some the missing holes left behind, where ‘A New Hope’ ends and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ begins.

The book could have done with a little more action sequences. However, as Luke is narrating the adventures himself; it makes the book more interesting to read and thoroughly enjoyable. I would give this book 4 out 5 stars and a ‘Must have Read’ book for Star Wars fan.

Heir to the Jedi Honest Review

I enjoyed this book and seeing things from Lukes eyes and experiences. Luke’s female companion on his mission and adventures, Nakari is wealthy but she is not one those spoilt children. Nakari is able to manipulate her father, or so she thinks. Luke is a terrible flirt and Nakari knows it.

Nakari meets a grisly end and Luke is able to feel and sense her death. By this time, Luke has at least mastered some of these new powers, but he can’t fully control them. The book is well written and gives a different perspective of Luke Skywalker, of his life and character and how they seem to differ from the person we see in the movies.

For Star Wars Fans, this book is a must-read.

John M

Other Star Wars Related Content:

  1. 39 Memorable Star Wars Quotes for Geeks
  2. The Star Wars R2D2 Bop It
  3. Star Wars Merchandise Gift Guide
  4. 10 Printable Star Wars Valentine Card Ideas
  5. Rogue One A Star Wars Story
  6. Kylo Ren Bath Salts Activity

How To Edit Selective Colour Images

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Today I’m going to share how I edit photographs and create selective colour images. Whenever I have completed a photography shoot, I always download my images from the memory card to the computer. After I’ve completed the transfer to the computer, I also transfer my pictures to my backup storage device. That’s always a good habit to get into.

Selective-Colour-Bus-Pin

Photo Editing Software

The next stage I follow is to filter out under or overexposed photos. The software of choice for editing my photographs in Adobe Lightroom. If I need to do more sophisticated editing, then I will use Photoshop.

Adobe Lightroom allows me to see all of the photographs I have taken and make subtle changes where necessary.

One project I love doing from time to time is a selective colour photos. On a recent trip to London, Sylvia and I were in Covent Gardens, London. There were lots of tourists taking photos of the Red Phone booths. When doing a Selective colour photo, photographs with strong colours like Red and Yellows are great photographs to manipulate.

Selective Colour Editing

To start any selective colour project, you first need to launch Lightroom and find the photograph you are interested in manipulating. The next step is to press the ‘Brush button’ at the Top Right-hand side of Lightroom. It will then open the Brush Slider dialogue as shown below

Brush-Pallet - Selective Colour Editing

If you have used the Brush before, it will remember the last settings you used. You will need to change the effect from the drop-down menu. My last used setting was exposure, so as soon as I change something, it then becomes a custom setting.

Selective Colour and Saturation

For a Selective colour project, you will need to move the Saturation slider all the way down to -100.

100-Saturation - Selective Colour Editing

Now you have your slider settings as near perfect as possible. The last stage is the brush size.

Brush-Size - Selective Colour Editing

Feather size and Density: If like me you use a Mac and touch mouse, you can alter the size of the brush very easily by using the mouse.

Selective Colour Editing and Brush Techniques

The other things you really need to pay attention to is the Feather and Density. The Feather size is a personal preference and I usually set this slider to around 50% and my density coverage all the way up to 100%.

With Density, you need to make sure everything you brush gives the maximum effect and nothing is wasted when you start the brush. The Feather means you can get as close to the object you wish, without erasing any of the colours you want to keep.

Show-Selective-Mask-Overlay-On - Selective Colour

There are two methods to make sure you cover all of the background colours with your brush.

Selective Mask Overlay

1. Press ‘O’ and it will activate the ‘Show Selective Mask Overlay’. This will allow you to see just how much of your brush has covered and which areas you wish to keep. (shown in the image above).

2. Press ‘O’ again to turn off the ‘Show Selective Mask Overlay’ and you see the actual effect the brush has already created.

Show-Selective-Mask-Overlay-Off

The other reason for turning off the ‘Show Selective Mask Overlay’ is to see if you have missed any areas with the brush. You can then go back over any areas which may need an extra touch up.

duplicate-Brush-Areas

Once you are certain you have covered all the background you wish to turn Black and White, there is one final process which will give a more refined image.

Selective Colour and Refined Images

I like to ‘Duplicate’ the bottom layer by right-clicking on the black and white dot. This gives me this dialogue: Duplicate’, ‘Delete’ or ‘Reset Brushing’ as shown in the image above.

Mouse over the Duplicate and it will copy and paste a new layer exactly the same as the one you have just created.

Here is the finished version and as you can see, the background is totally black and white while the phone boxes have retained their original colour.

Finished Selective Image

The time for this type of project is roughly around 30 to 45 minutes and the level of expertise is around a ‘3’ or ‘4’ out of 5. It all depends on the type of photo and the level of detail you wish to keep.

Selective Colour on Other Images

Another photo I took from the same day is the Battlebus which was used in the EU Referendum and recoated with the words ‘Time For Truth’. Both of these projects were very easy to do and took around 30 minutes each. I am was very pleased with the outcome of both projects.

Selective-Colour-Bus

Please feel free to like and comment.

John M

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Photography and Long Exposure Tips

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Over the last few years, I have gained a large amount of feedback by those who have commented. I am putting all the best advice I know and can find on my best Photography Tips and Long Exposure Tips.

Photography has been a passion of mine for many years and in the last few years, I have put a lot of work into my landscape and long exposure photography.

Here are the best set of tips that I can give and put before you, along with a large section of my best landscape photos from over the last 4-5 years. 

Fantastic Photographic Trip Around London - Fantastic Photographic Trip Around London - 5 Kids Activities in London -

If there any photography tips you wish me to cover, I can always try to accommodate those requests. For this subject, I am going to talking about ‘Long Exposure’.

Believe it or not, long exposure photography is very easy with a bit of practice, time and knowledge of your camera settings, and finally a sturdy tripod.

Photography Tips and Long Exposure

Location, location, location; when it comes to setting up your camera for a long exposure photograph, it always pays to plan and think about your subject.

For the photograph below, I didn’t have to walk too far to get the ideal photograph.

Thames Long Exposure Photos

Fig. 1.  The Settings for this photograph were: Manual Mode | Aperture ƒ/9 | Shutter speed: 13 seconds | ISO100

Long Exposure Essentials

When holding your camera off a tripod, there will always be a chance of camera shake (blurry images) so a sturdy tripod is essential for this type of photography.

The results of using a tripod and using a slow shutter speed can produce stunning results.

The tide of the Thames was still out and although the current was a bit choppy, the slow shutter speed will make the water appear smooth.

The only downfall of using a slow shutter speed will blur any movement in front of your lens.

Boats Long Exposure

Fig 2 Aperture ƒ/11 | Shutter Speed: 10 seconds.

While I was stood looking for another photograph, two pleasure craft moved in to view. Rather than looking directly at the blurry light of the London Eye, the blurry images of the pleasure craft draw your focus.

Although distracting, they make you look closer to try and figure out what they are.

Manual Mode for Long Exposures

Using manual mode for taking long exposures and many people don’t like using Manual and may even find it daunting. I find using Manual Mode gives me more control of my camera and what I see through the viewfinder.

Whether you are a Canon, Nikon or Sony user, using manual mode is very easy to find. It is represented by capital ‘M’ on the dial on top of the camera.

Nikon D850

When using manual mode, there is a small horizontal thumb dial below the main settings dial. This horizontal thumb dial will mainly increase the shutter speed or lower it to your required speed.

Getting to Know Your Settings

To change the aperture, there is a dial or +/- button near the main shutter release button depending on your camera make and model. On this camera, I would need to toggle the rear dial until you have the correct shutter speed button or the toggle the front dial to change the aperture size.

The small the size (higher the aperture number) more sharp your photographs will be. The ideal aperture size for night photography is between ƒ/9 to ƒ/16.

Higher the ‘F’ number, the slower the shutter speed will need to be I.e Between 10 to 30 seconds (If you want to read more about Aperture and Shutter speeds, please read my old post on my old blog on Depth of Field).

Long Exposure Portrait Photo

Fig 4. Aperture ƒ/16 | Shutter Speed 10 seconds | ISO100.

Keep Your ISO Low

ISO stands for International Standards Organisation. On a camera, the ISO is the cameras way of maintaining higher shutter speeds in a bad light.

However, there is something which comes in to play when increasing the ISO. The best way to describe this is thinking of small grains of sand making their way on to your photographs. This is known in the photographic industry as digital noise.

For all of the night photographs, which you will see on my post on Friday. My ISO was set very low, an ISO of 100.

This ISO level is usually used during sunny days or daylight hours, but it also makes sure there is little or no noise at all on my photographs. Some of the higher professional model camera’s can lower their ISO’s down to 60 or 50.

Tripod Fuctions

Practice, practice and practice: You may have heard of the phrases, “Practice makes perfect” or “Try, Try and Try again”. Well, these says are true when it comes to long exposure photography.

Ideal Location and Long Exposure

Find a building or landscape location you want to photograph. You will need lots of time and patience. Don’t be afraid to look for tutorial websites either, that is how I learned about taking photographs at night.

As I mentioned above, scouting your location is key, but so also is the weather. You need to look up the local weather reports and take a tripod best suited to your situation. 

London Eye Long Exposure two

Using Neutral Density Filters

The next photograph, I used a set of lens filters to help with my long exposure. There are different types of filters on the market.

Ones which can be screwed on the end of the lens, depending on the size and diameter of your lens. I used what is called a Neutral Density filter or ND filter for short.

Using ND filters are a great way to keep your aperture at your favourite ƒ/stop and take awesome photos during the daylight hours. The only confusing part is what each number means in terms of stops your ND Filters have, while also trying to work out what the new shutter speed will be after you have connected the ND filter to your camera. You can also go for variable ND filters, which change in intensity as you twist the filter.

Giving you even more on control of your camera settings, without having to make the calculations or touch the camera, which will also depend on the mode you have put your camera in to. 

Fig 7. Aperture ƒ/36 | Shutter speed: 2.5 seconds | ISO100

Using ND Filters During Daylight

Because I was using an ND filter, I had to compensate with my shutter speed and brought it down to 2.5 seconds. Just as the Aperture controls the amount of the light coming into your camera, so does the shutter speed and the ISO. It is part of the Exposure Triangle.

If you wish to keep your ISO low for less digital noise, you will need to use a higher aperture number, which in turn will lower your shutter speed as a result. 

London Eye Favourite Photo

For this shot, I also kept my aperture as small as possible to ensure that everything in front of my lens was as sharp and crisp as possible.

The result of having a lens filter during the daylight hours proves that a long exposure photograph can be done during the daylight hours.

The Right Lens for your Landscape Photography

Choosing the right lens for Landscape photography is just as important as setting your camera for the right composition. Having a wide-angle lens, like a 14-24mm or 11mm lens are wide enough to capture more of your scenery.

Irix-11mm-Wide-Angle-Lens
Image courtesy of irixlens.com

The disadvantages of wide angles are the distortion effects from the lenses. You can use this distortion to your advantage. It is best to experiment with a half land/half sky composition (instead of the general rule of thirds) when the sky asks for it and the colours from the Sun hitting the Clouds. 

There is an argument as to which is the best aperture setting(s) for landscape photography. Choosing the correct aperture is a personal issue and I personally have used ƒ/11-13. There has been a time that I have used ƒ/22. It does all depend on what you are taking photographs of. 

Knowing The Best Times to Take Landscape Photographs

Knowing the best time to take landscape photographs is always a tricky one and does depend on your assignment or what your end goal is.

If you are wanting the colours of Sunset, then the evening golden hour (1 hour before the sun sets) is the best time to set up and take the photos you are looking for.

Long Exposure Big Ben

Try NOT to get the sun directly into your lens either. This can cause incorrect exposure settings unless you are using an ND or variable ND filter. 

There also many discussions on which are the best times to take landscape photographs.

Settings and Times for Landscape Photography

Since different settings require different timings, you have to take note of these following tips:

  • When taking photos of the mountains, the best time to take the photo is sunrise on the east side and sunset on the west side.
  • For taking photos of the hot springs, the best time is 10 am to 2 pm so that the sky would reflect perfectly.
  • The best times for taking photos of the trees and forests, the best time is one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset.
  • As for taking photos of the cityscape, the best time is one hour after sunset and just as the sun is setting.
  • For taking photos of the waterfalls and waterfalls with rainbows, the best time is before sunrise and after sunset and make sure that the sun is behind you.
  • When taking photos of the northern light, the best time is the months of September and March.
  • When taking photos of the sunrise or sunset, the best time is half an hour before sunrise and half an hour before sunset.
Bagg-End - Who Owns Hobbiton

Whether you agree or not, I have followed these rules or not, I have used them as a baseline and to guide me in my landscape photography.

Please Like and Comment Below.

John M

Hobbiton New Zealand Review

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For as long as I can remember, I have always been a fan of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. I have always wanted to visit ‘Hobbiton Movie Set‘ aka ‘The Shire‘ from the Lord of the Rings Movies. This is my Hobbiton New Zealand Review.

When we started saving for our New Zealand vacation, I wanted to make our vacation a more than just a New Zealand tour, but a Hobbiton Tour and review.

Hobbiton-Holes

Where is Hobbiton?

If you were to ask: Where is Hobbiton? or Where the Hobbiton Movie set? It is located about 10.6 miles or 17km south West of a town called Matamata in the Waikato region of New Zealand. If you are familiar with The Lord of the Rings books.

The entrance to the is 501 Buckland Road. Buckland is a reference to the lands to the north bordering of the shire and located near to Brandywine Bridge. 

Hobbit-Holes-2 - Where is Hobbiton

The Hobbiton Movie set is co-owned between Peter Jacksons Weta Studios and the farm where Hobbiton is Located

Who Own’s Hobbiton?

Because the Hobbiton Movie set is in the middle of size of 1200 acres. The Hobbiton set takes up 14 acres of the Alexander farm.

The Hobbiton Movie set is co-owned between both the Alexander farm and Weta studios. As you are driven up to the Hobbiton set by the Hobbiton Movie Set Staff, you will pass many sheep which belong to the Alexander farm.

Bagg-End - Who Owns Hobbiton

The Alexander farm was once sceptical building a movie set on the back yard for which they had never even heard of.

Craig Alexander took a little convincing to let Peter Jackson to him build the initial backdrop for The Shire. At Peter Jackson first try, he was told to go away, as the NPC Rugby Final was being interrupted.

Hobbit-Holes-8

Peter Jackson was undeterred and went back for another try. Eventually, Mr Alexander relented after one his son had read Lord of The Rings books at school.

One of Craig Alexander’s sons managed to convince his dad to let Peter Jackson use part of his farm for the movie which would define New Zealand for years to come.

Hobbit Holes

Scattered throughout the Shire are different size Hobbit holes. Each of the Hobbit holes represents the true size of a Hobbit is two to four feet tall.

Hobbit-Holes-6

The average size of a hobbit is roughly three feet six inches tall. As a result, there are Hobbit holes for the average-sized hobbit, as depicted in the Hobbit and Lord of The Rings novels.

Another reason for the two sizes of Hobbit holes is for what is called ‘Forced Perspective’. As the actors who played the original Bilbo Baggins and Frodo are both over 5 feet tall. They need some hobbit holes to be smaller and some human-sized Hobbit holes to be able to reproduce how tall humans were to hobbits.

Hobbit Holes and Studio Filming

You would have thought that most of the principal photography which was done at Hobbiton, there would be plenty of furniture and would look like it did in the LoTR and Hobbit Movies. This could not be further from the truth.

Samwise_gamgee-Home

Everything you see at Hobbiton is for face value and there is nothing inside any of the Hobbit holes. Even Bagg End has nothing inside. Just a front door and some interiors for the front door only! All the filming for the inside of Bagg End was done at Weta Studios in Wellington NZ.

The Green Dragon Inn

At the end of each tour, all visitors are lead back to the Green Dragon Inn. The Green Dragon Inn is the ONLY building which has been built for visitors to have a hot drink, tea, coffee and a slice of cake should you want one. As you can imagine, it can be fairly busy during peak times of the tourist season (NZ Spring and Summer months of October to March).

Green-Dragon-Inn

Depending on your tour package, you have a meal before you venture out into the Shire aka Hobbiton. Next, to the Green Dragon building, there is a markee where all the guests can participate in their Southfarthing adventure and fill your bellies in true Hobbit fashion.

Other Hobbit and Studio Tours and Gift Shops

At the entrance to the Hobbiton movie is located on a road which people who love the movies will recognise, Buckland Road. There is also the Shire’s Rest Cafe and a gift shop, so you take home memorabilia of your hobbit adventure.

Prices for Hobbiton Tour Set tour and Meal Combo (or the Green Dragon Buffett) can vary from $120 New Zealand Dollars (£61.56) for persons over 17 years old or a child from the ages of 9-16, it will cost $78 NZD (£40.02). The Evening Banquet Green Dragon tour starts at $100 (£51.30) to $190 NZD (£97.48) per person depending on age and number of people in your group.

LOTR Location Filming Guide

For this type of experience and visiting one of the most iconic movie sets, this is well worth the money and time in making your Hobbit Adventure the best experience you ever have.

I hope you liked my Hobbit Adventure just as much as my family did. This is one experience I will treasure for years and years to come. Even pour through my Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Filming Location guide books.

John M

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