Masterful story-telling in the first trailer for Star Trek: The Force Awakens

Like most people who have a love for sci-fi, I eagerly watched the first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens yesterday. [1]

After watching the trailer for the fifth or sixth time I started to really notice the masterful story-telling – exemplified in the words and tone; and the vision and music.

Words and Tone

In the entire 60 second clip there are only 15 words spoken:

There has been an awakening; have you felt it?

The dark side… And the light

In those words we can see a couple clues:

  1. he dark and light sides of the force have been dormant since the timeline of The Return of the Jedi
  2. Both have awakened

What was equally telling was the tone used – clearly the tone used was spoken from the darkside, with the voice over having a distinct Emperor Palpatine feel about it.

Vision and Music

The trailer starts with what appears to be the planet Tatooine [2] with some level of chaos as people and droids run from something. We then cut to an organised force of Stormtroopers amassing.

Ultimately we then see vision of what seems to be Han Solo’s spaceship, Millenium Falcon as the classic Star Wars score kicks in.

I am looking forward to the new movie[3], and I am excited by what appears to be a strong foundation of masterful story-telling at the hands of JJ Abrams and crew.


  1. OK, actually I probably watched it ten or more times.  ↩

  2. The same planet which featured at the commencement of the original Star Wars (aka Episode IV or A New Hope).  ↩

  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is due to be released on 18 December 2015.  ↩

LensBaby announces a new 5.8mm fisheye lens for M43

Accessory lens maker LensBaby has announced a circular 5.8mm for micro 4/3 cameras, among others

The Circular Fisheye is great for capturing the scale of endless landscapes and big events, fun self-portraits, quirky shots of pets or friends, creating extreme perspective, and experimenting with unique lens flare.

I am gradually moving over to m43 type cameras, and a good Fisheye is in planned list of future lens aquisitions.

This lens could certainly have good applications for underwater work, so I am going to look further into this as a contender.

Rays of Light in Cairns

Cairns in Far North Queensland is quite a magical place, being a jump off point to the northern parts of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as access to the Atherton Tablelands. The natural beauty of the city and its immediate surrounds is something that should not be overlooked.

I was up in Cairns for a training course in November 2014 and enjoyed a run or walk each day along the Esplanade, and also enjoyed taking my camera each time I could.

This morning I was a little after sunrise, but the weather actually made up for it, with a bit of rain then the intense light rays coming through the clouds, over the droplets of water.

I often tell people that the greatest epiphany I’ve had with my photography is that we don’t take pictures of things, but we take pictures of light – the light reflected off subjects and negative space.

With that in mind, I like to keep an eye out for interesting light, so this morning in Cairns provided beautiful light.

View this image on 500px or Flickr

Ello to the future of social media?

Thomas Hawk on his movement from Facebook to ello.

I’ve been increasingly disappointed with my experience on Facebook. I find that fewer and fewer of my friends are seeing what I post and engagement is increasingly going down.

I’m seeing more and more “sponsored” posts and advertising crowding out organic content, which probably plays a part in this…

I have danced with completely deleting my Facebook account for quite some time. There are a few reasons why I haven’t done so yet, but I view content there occasionally and post content there rarely. When I do post to Facebook its generally reposting from a blog post, or cross posting from my Instagram feed.

Again, Thomas Hawk nails it:

I feel respect for my content on Ello, which is shown large in full high res glory. This is why I put more of myself into my art and photography on Ello than any other site. The respect feels greater.

I am playing with ello too (find me at ello.co/desparoz and will certainly try out posting some images and words there to see what feedback I can get.

For me, for now, DesParoz.com remains my main venue to posting content (images and words), but some social media will continue to play part of communicating that – and will be an increasingly important part of the conversation that continues after the post. [1]

I have lots of questions about the future of Ello, but at this time Ello is seriously interesting.


  1. While comments are currently still enabled on DesParoz.com, I prefer the conversation to happen elsewhere – such as on the commenters own site, linked back, or perhaps now on Ello. I like John Gruber’s approach of keeping the site clean, an approach that sites like Re/code are now following.  ↩

Narrabeen Pool

Sydney has a lot of wonderful ocean pools, most of which are photogenic, particularly at sunrise and sunset.

The pool at Narrabeen on the Northern Beaches is perhaps one of the most interesting photographically, and is an extremely worthwhile destination for pre-sunrise photography.

The beautiful light in the morning twilight, coupled with still waters yet to be disturbed by keen swimmers makes this an excellent location.

This image, of course, use HDR techniques to capture the beautiful range of colours visible to the eye, but invisible to most cameras.

This image was created with a Panasonic Lumix GX–7 micro four-thirds camera and an Olympus 9–18mm lens, at the widest range.

View this image on 500px or Flickr.

IT ‘experts’ and Mac Biases

David Sparks discusses anti-Mac prejudices he has experienced when presenting at various functions.

Many (but hardly all) of the IT professionals serving these industries have been far too busy earning Microsoft certifications to pay any attention to Apple and they are not only unhelpful, they can actively lob hand grenades at your attempts to get any work done with your Mac.

I have a number of friends and colleagues who work as IT professionals who, seemingly, have similar anti-Mac biases.

Macsparky is on the money with the idea that Microsoft Certifications, at least in part, at the core of the problem. Microsoft has done a good job convincing employers that they should hire people with these skills, and thus lots of IT specialists chase those certifications.

In my own pre-Mac days I undoubtedly had similar biases. But it is certainly my own experience in the past six years of Mac usage that plug and play functionality is stronger in Macs than in Windows machines.

I personally try not to present if I am forced to use a Windows machine.

Putting the recipient last… With Let.ter

Email is one of the most important ways people communicate in the contemporary world, yet it is one that is often frought with problems, most of which seem to stem from a lack of attention to detail before hitting the send button.

Over at MacDrifter, Gabe Weatherhead discusses a simple concept:

The last thing you write is the recipient address

Gabe discusses writing using non-email apps like Drafts on iOS and nvAlt on OSX.

I also use Drafts to prepare up new emails on iOS (both iPhone and iPad), but have found what I think is an ideal for preparing new emails on the Mac – the wonderful Let.ter app.

Let.ter starts with a simple blank screen, with four easy steps.

  1. Enter a subject
  2. Write the body in plain text / Markdown
  3. Enter the recipient(s) email address(es)
  4. Preview and then send

In both Let.ter and Drafts I extensively use TextExpander so they are both powerful yet simple apps for sending email.

I think that the utility behind Let.ter is that it is truly minimalist, and that it allows the use of Markdown. But since reading Gabe’s post, I am also thinking that leaving the recipient address until last before previewing is part of what makes the app useful.

The Middle Ground

Over the past few months I have started drafting a number of posts that I have yet to complete.

I setup the Around the Web link blog on Pinboard as a place to track links of interest, with the idea being that I could have short comments. These, in theory, get rolled up into regular Around the Web posts. For several reasons – some technical, some personal – this process has been a little broken.

The idea was that these would fill a gap between Twitter posts and longer form posts, which would become the focus of writing here. I think this gap is too great.

Apparently I am not the only one, with people like Andy Baio, Gina Trapani and Jason Snell deciding that their blogs will be for anything longer than a tweet, even if it is only a paragraph or two. Of course people like John Gruber have taken that approach all along.

So, this blog will probably have more regular, short form comment. Some posts might be quick thoughts while others might be expanded links. Of course, the occasional long form post and semi-regular Photos of the Week will continue.

Themes will continue to focus on workflows in productivity, photo and presentations, and the technology that empowers them. But I will continue to post other things that interest me.

I hope this will become a better middle ground of posting for me.