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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rest In Peace Gary Speed

DISCLAIMER: The information and/or photos found in this article are not mine, but instead, gathered from independant foreign news sources. I'm just spreading awareness. Word.

8th September 1969 – 27th November 2011

Gary Speed was a Welsh football player and manager. He was captain of the Wales national football team until he retired from international football in 2004 and he remains the most capped outfield player for Wales and the second overall, having appeared 85 times at senior level between 1990 and 2004.

Speed played professionally for Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United. Rarely troubled by injury or suspension, he held the record for the most appearances in the FA Premier League at 535, until it was surpassed by David James. Including his appearances in The Football League and cup competitions he made 840 domestic appearances, in addition to 85 full caps at international level.

Speed was appointed manager of Sheffield United in 2010, but he left the club after a few months in December 2010 to manage the Wales national team.

Speed's death was announced by the Football Association of Wales on 27th November 2011, leading to tributes from fellow footballers and public figures.

Speed was a versatile player who could play in left midfield, central midfield, and also at left-back. He possessed great tactical awareness, and could both create and score goals. Regularly a captain, he was said by his teammates to to have been an 'inspirational figure' who led by example and demanded the best from those around him.

He was well known as a 'consummate professional' both on and off the field. He was not blessed with exceptional talent at a young age, but instead developed his technique through many hours of hard work on the training field. He had a reputation as an extremely fit footballer who looked after his body. He had a modern approach to diet and fitness, a rare quality amongst players of his generation. His level of fitness allowed him to avoid injury and to continue playing until the age of 39; he rarely missed a game.

He also had a reputation as a friendly and supportive person, who cared for and took an interest in the lives of the people around him; his 'nice guy' persona made him a popular and well respected figure amongst his peers.

~Article borrowed with the utmost respect from Wikipedia~

Hugo Viana (translated):
"I was shocked, as were all who knew him. It was another great professional I worked with in Newcastle and a great person. It's a sad outcome."
Alan Shearer:
"Gary was a magnificent person, bright, fun and a wonderful family man - he lit up every room he walked into. I am proud to have been his friend and will miss him dreadfully."

Steve Harper:
"I am shocked and devastated at the news. Gary was a great friend, the ultimate professional and will be sorely missed by everyone. Our thoughts are with his family."

Robert Lee:
“He wasn’t just a great player, he was a great person too. He was always great to be around, the life and soul of the party, and a good friend - it's a sad, sad day." 

John Carver:
"Gary was a very close friend and colleague of mine and I am absolutely shattered by the news, it is totally devastating.

"When I was coaching at Newcastle with Sir Bobby, Gary was as perfect a professional as you could ever wish to work with - 100 per cent committed, dedicated to his profession and, above all, a wonderful colleague and friend.

"I worked with him at Sheffield United too and of course was delighted to see the fantastic job he was doing with Wales.

"I am devastated by the news and I can only offer his family the most sincere of condolences at this tragic time. Gary was an exceptional person and a very dear friend. Football has lost a truly great man."

Kevin Gallacher:
"It’s just a massive shock. I don’t think anyone saw it coming, certainly I didn’t, and people who worked with him on Football Focus said he was in good spirits.

“I played against Gary many times and I played with him for a couple of years at Newcastle.  He was the sort of guy who would make you very welcome and help you out. He taught me how to play the guitar when I was there.

“I spoke to him a couple of months ago and whenever I saw him I would always ask him about his family. Obviously my thoughts go out to them now.

“He was just the ultimate professional and no-one ever had a bad word to say about him. As someone who was younger than me the news is a huge shock. I’m just trying to soak it in.

“He was a good friend who I’ll sadly miss.”

Andy Griffin:
"When people talk about him today, they are all saying what a good guy he was. He was obviously a great player, you don't achieve what he did without the exceptional professionalism he had. But more so, as a man he carried modesty around with him, he was very successful in his business.

"He was just a top bloke, it's as simple as that, and it's very, very, very sad. He's someone I always had the utmost respect for as a man, as a football player. Everyone had nothing but positive things to say about him, and rightly so."

"The board, manager, staff and players of Newcastle United FC are today deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Gary Speed.

"Gary was an inspirational and much-loved player at Newcastle United during his time with the club from 1998 to 2004, making 285 appearances and scoring 40 goals. He was an excellent servant to the club, the ultimate professional, and an exceptional role-model for younger players.

"Gary will be deeply missed by everyone at Newcastle United. Our condolences go out to his family at this very sad time."

Shola Ameobi:
"Gary was a really great guy who joined the club the year before I made my debut. I looked up to likes of Gary and Alan Shearer, and he was always there for me and the rest of the young lads, taking time to talk to us at training and pass on little tips that helped you improve as a player. Not everyone would do that so it just goes to show what a class act he was.

"He taught me so much, not just on the field, but how to handle yourself off the pitch too. I wish his family all the very best at this terribly sad time."

Alan Pardew:
"This is one of the saddest days in football, when we hear a colleague as respected as Gary is tragically no longer with us.

"A top class international player whose seamless move into national team management tells us everything you need to know about him. He had great class on and off the pitch, he was a man of true character that so many people looked up to.

"It is so sad and tonight my thoughts are of course with his family."

Nolberto Solano ("Nobby"):
"He was a special guy, I was very close to him. He was a pretty strong character in the dressing room, especially when you had a bad game – he would give you a lift.

“He was a second captain after Alan Shearer. He was a great professional, giving everything in training day by day. He was an excellent leader and an excellent team-mate. It’s a sad day for football and especially for people who knew him.

“I remember when he was 34, 35, he was always training normally like a young lad - he always looked after himself.”

Steve Howey:
"He’s a man that will be hugely missed. I can’t believe he’s gone but I will never forget him. About two or three weeks ago I was with him and his son watching a game. He seemed fine and he was just cracking on.”

Lee Clark:
"Whatever people's opinions are on how good he was as a footballer, he was an even better person. He was one of the best footballers I played against - a man that did everything to the best of his ability and would do anything to be the best.

"It is hard to put into words what he was like as a person - you couldn't compare him. He was the best."

Terry McDermott:
"He was one of the nice guys of football and as I don't know anyone who had a bad word to say about him. He was a gem person and a very, very good footballer. Away from football he was a wonderful family man - to lose him is unbelievable.

Steve Watson:
"I heard the tragic news on the coach down to Charlton yesterday and I felt completely numb. I immediately phoned my wife as we are very close to his family and have spent time away from the football field together.

"It is devastating news, Gary was an unbelievable football man whether he was playing, coaching or managing. He was completely dedicated and loved the game.

"Away from the field he was a great person and very much a family man. My thoughts, as are those of my family, are with his wife and his two children."

Michael Chopra:
“He was a brilliant professional and when I was at Newcastle he would always be available to help you out and offer you some advice if you needed it.

"You remember the little things and I knew that if I ever needed to speak to someone, Gary was always there for you. It was a really sad day to find out what had happened to him. He had a bright future as a manager. “

Lee Bowyer:
“He was such a professional and so many people looked up to him. For the time that I knew him, and I've met up with him since leaving Newcastle, he was always so kind and just a really nice person.

“You couldn't say a bad word against the guy, he was a true gentleman on and off the field and he's definitely going to be missed.”

Carl Serrant:
"It was just a shock, a total shock. It is difficult to come to terms with. It seems so out-of-character for someone like that to do something like that. He was such a strong character, fun-loving and a leader.

"As a man and as a professional, he had every quality that you would want to be a top-level player and that is why he was the success that he was. He had a hell of a lot of talent, and he maximised it through his professionalism.

"He was the type of guy that you would want to be. He was full of stories, a funny guy and a leader of men. If you went out for a drink or were in a group, he would be the one leading the banter. He was a really intelligent guy, hard-working and always looking to improve himself.

"No-one ever spoke badly of Speedo - you couldn't. He was a strong-minded character, but spoke with a real level-headedness.... it is so sad, it's unbelievable."

Peter Ramage:
"I came up through the ranks at Newcastle and Speedo was a big character there. The young lads like me used to train with the senior pros quite often and Speedo was always the life and soul of the Club.

"He was a great bloke - one of a kind - and especially good with the younger lads like me at the time. He was always very supportive to us all. He would always encourage us. He was an absolute gentleman - on and off the park - and I still can't quite believe it.

"The way he conducted himself in any circumstance was unbelievable. He was a credit to himself, his family and the game in general. The world of football has lost one of the really good guys."

Kenny Dalglish:
"He was a smashing lad and was really well respected. We don’t know the circumstances and there’ll be a lot of people who are saddened at what’s happened, but I think the most important people at this particular moment in time is his wife and kids – they must be absolutely devastated.

"It’s a times like this that the football becomes a wee bit irrelevant. He was a very respected man in and around football."

Graeme Souness:
"You can call someone a great player if they've played for so long and won things. Some people are called great players after one season, but for me if you play for such a long time, it shows your character."

Sam Allardyce:
"I was fortunate to take Gary to Bolton. At that stage he was a young 34 and most people were saying he was getting past it, but in actual fact his stats were absolutely outstanding.

"As soon as he walked into the club he had an aura. He did everything to detail. When generally an old professional might moan and groan and say 'I don't want to do this' he just took it on board.

"I was also fortunate to get to know him as a person. He was an outstanding individual and this is what's devastating.

"His life was about standards, he had a high standard for everything that he did. To sum it up, if you had a daughter and she brought Gary Speed home you'd be delighted."

Mick Wadsworth:
"What can you say about Gary that hasn't already been said? I was fortunate to have worked with him. At that time, Sir Bobby gave me free licence to train the side when we were working to turn the club around.

"It was a difficult period for the club, but players like Gary Speed, Robert Lee, Alan Shearer, Shay Given, Steve Harper and Warren Barton, they were really important people in getting the club going again and Gary was a key member of that group.

"He was totally dependable, totally - his attitude to training, playing and learning and he also had a great will to win. He was the absolute model professional."

Steven Taylor:
"It is a sad, sad day. I played with him when I came through the ranks. He helped me through, he was an absolute machine - the best professional in football. He had that aura about him. He always had time for the young lads and helped them feel good about themselves.”

For those of you who like statistics:
Vital Stats for November: 8 posts 585 pics
Vital Stats So Far: 124 posts 5,180 pics

Disclaimer: The views published in the above photoblog are the author's and the author's alone. If readers are not agreeable with the above views, well, you can bugger-off. All rights are reserved for the photos and the article itself. This article may be reproduced with permission of the author for private or public usage, or other forms of general mayhem. Any unauthorized usage of the images or articles contained therein is expressly prohibited and violators will be prosecuted with the full force of Malaysian law applicable. Thank you for reading this disclaimer.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Photography for Dummies, By Dummies: Episode 10

Ever had a question about photography you wanted to ask, but felt it was too stupid? Now you can feel stupid in private instead!

Bad Habits of Photography

Bad habits can be found in everything we do. Moreso with photographers, many of us start developing terrible photography habits early in our 'career', and often, these are most difficult to change. But change we must! Let's start with a healthy dose of awareness. These bad habits usually include….

1.         Not checking the completeness of the equipment

It’s no doubt that usually photography equipment is stored in a single all-in-one camera bag. However, it never hurt to make sure and double-check the contents of your bag at least a day before a shoot. You probably won’t forget your camera (if you did, perhaps there is another forum for you other than photography!) but there is a strong possibility that you might forget your vital accessories – such spare batteries/memory cards tripod/ monopod/ diffusers/flash trigger/etc. Forgetting these may not break a shoot, but it sure as hell makes it more difficult.

Usually stuff like this happens when you back-up your memory card and leave it on the table, or you’re charging your batteries and you leave your batteries in the charger. Shit happens. Don’t let it happen to you.

2.         Not double-checking the camera settings

This can be a fatal mistake. In the fast paced world of event photography, any failure to check settings could mean the difference between getting the money shot, or getting a crappy shot. Imagine your camera was set to the settings you used the night before (high ISO, off White Balance, low-image quality settings) and unknown to you, you proceed to shoot an afternoon shoot on the same settings. Epic fail.

3.         Overly dependant on Photoshop

I am not against digital photo-editing. In fact, as long as I’ve been shooting, Adobe Lightroom has been my best friend, with Photoshop a close second. I’ve lost count of the number of key shots that were saved because of these amazing editing programs.

However, digital editing should never, never, never, ever cause us to stray from the path of developing photography technique. To give the excuse of  Nevermind, I can photoshop it later…” is just what it is – a lousy excuse.

Instead, we should be focusing on strengthening our basic technique on photography to make sure the focusing is spot-on, the exposure is correct, etc. After all, not EVERYTHING can be fixed in Photoshop. Trust me on this. If it’s out of focus, then it’s out of focus. Photoshop cannot help you with this.

4.         Easily mesmerized by new camera models

I want new stuff too. But don’t let this want, pull the shade over your eyes. As we all know, digital technology is evolving every 12 hours on average. That means you could well have new models of your favorite brand out months away from each other. Besides having spanking new tech, what’s the problem with this? You’re going to be straining your budget incredibly, plus there is certainly no guarantee that your photography skills will improve with more expensive stuff. Personally I think not, but perhaps that’s just me.

Alternatively, if you’ve got money to burn, I’d suggest you expand your equipment instead of upgrading your camera body constantly. After all, lenses have a higher resale value rather than camera bodies. Plus, higher quality lens often yield better quality pictures!

5.         Blaming equipment, photo objects and conditions

When photos don’t turn out the way we want them to, its usually easier to blame the equipment, object or conditions. Common gripes include, “My camera isn’t good enough”, “My model does not know how to pose” and “The sky is too dark for the picture”. Get a grip, man! Learn how to use your equipment better, learn how to artistically direct your models better and learn to be better aware of surrounding conditions, instead of merely complaining about what is in fact, your lacking!

There are probably many, many more bad habits, too much to list them all down. However, if we start with these 5 short ones, I'm sure we will be taking great strides towards being a better photography!

To view other post in the Photography For Dummies Series, please click on the hyperlinks below

Episode 7: Lighting technique and methods

Episode 8: Photography myths

Thanks for viewing!

For those of you who like statistics:
Vital Stats for November: 7 posts 585 pics
Vital Stats So Far: 123 posts 5,180 pics

Disclaimer: The views published in the above photoblog are the author's and the author's alone. If readers are not agreeable with the above views, well, you can bugger-off. All rights are reserved for the photos and the article itself. This article may be reproduced with permission of the author for private or public usage, or other forms of general mayhem. Any unauthorized usage of the images or articles contained therein is expressly prohibited and violators will be prosecuted with the full force of Malaysian law applicable. Thank you for reading this disclaimer.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bangkok Salsa Fiesta 2011 - Part 3 (2/2)

Continued from Bangkok Salsa Fiesta 2011 Part Tres!

Parting is such a sweet sorrow

I was actually getting used to Bangkok by this time. The sobering realization that after tonight, I’ll be waking up to leave for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia the next day was a blow to me, as Bangkok did leave its mark on me over that crazy weekend.

After dancing, a huge contingent of salseros returned yet again to Foodland on Soy 16. I must admit, leaving that evening felt funny but I’m sure I’d see at least some of them again soon enough. After all, ‘A’ did attend the Malaysian Salsa Congress 2009, Malaysian Salsa Festival 2010, Singapore International Salsa Festival 2009 & 2010, and a separate trip to KL in 2010 before I finally visited her in Bangkok in November 2011.

Here are some photos of the motley crew.

(64 total)
For a quick link to other postings on the Bangkok Salsa Fiesta 2011, please click on the link below
Bangkok Salsa Fiesta 2011 - Part I
Bangkok Salsa Fiesta 2011 - Part II
Bangkok Salsa Fiesta 2011 - Part III (1/2)

Thanks for viewing!

For those of you who like statistics:
Vital Stats for November: 6 posts 585 pics
Vital Stats So Far: 122 posts 5,180 pics

Disclaimer: The views published in the above photoblog are the author's and the author's alone. If readers are not agreeable with the above views, well, you can bugger-off. All rights are reserved for the photos and the article itself. This article may be reproduced with permission of the author for private or public usage, or other forms of general mayhem. Any unauthorized usage of the images or articles contained therein is expressly prohibited and violators will be prosecuted with the full force of Malaysian law applicable. Thank you for reading this disclaimer.