Tuesday, 28 July 2015

A Treat

So, since I am in this for at least 3 more weeks....

Long story... short version is that I lost a battle with a box :-)

I decided to treat myself, but which to have first!?

Laphroaig is my normal go to, but the Select sounded interesting, so that has me curious.

Hakushu is one I have had before. Every now and I again I like to get my hands on a Suntory whisky... especially since I effectively work for them. No staff discounts though :-(

Dalwhinnie was a bit of a splurge. I think I've had it before at a pool night that I'm part off  and it was pretty good.

Maybe I'll actually post some tasting notes this time... :-)

Slainte. Here's tae ye.

Monday, 27 July 2015

AAR: Germany vs. Russia

It's been a little while since I last gamed, so it was good that most of us were able to make it to games yesterday.

Phil had conned Mark into a demo game of Dropzone Commander, so Rob and I played a game of Bolt Action.

We had initially thought we would sign-up to the Warlord campaign and enter the result there, but since the campaign is only in the early war stages and we were very hazy on the rules.... we decided not too.

I would field my standard late war German list:

Reg. Second Lt. + 1 team mate
Reg. 8 man squad (1x smg, 1x lmg)
Reg. 8 man squad (1x smg, 1x lmg)
Reg. 8 man squad (1x smg, 1x lmg)
Vet. 7 man squad (5x smg, 2x panzerfaust)
Reg. medium mortar + spotter
Reg. light howitzer
Reg. medium machine gun
Reg. sniper team
Reg. Puma
Reg. StuH 42

Rob fielded loads of Russian's.... :-) I think it went something like this:

Reg. Lt.
Reg. 12 man squad (2 lmg)
Reg. 12 man squad (12 smg)
Reg. 12 man squad
Reg. 12 man squad
Inexp. 12 man squad (free unit)
Reg. Medium MG
Reg. 2x AT rifle teams
Reg. Sniper team
Reg. ISU-122

We were using the Bolt Action dot Net season 2 format rules for this game (i.e. cheaper lmg's).

For the mission... we rolled up Maximum Attrition.

Let the carnage begin! Everything rolled on in as first wave...

Not a lot happens in the first turn or so, but then one of the Russian ATR teams gets a little cheeky...

.... by rushing forward and having a crack at my Puma. I contemplated disengaging, but figured since Rob needed a 6 to hit and a 6 to scratch the paint, then it was worth taking my chances. Should have disengaged....

Still, I get my revenge with one of the German infantry squads advancing through the forest. They needed better than 6's to hit, but I figured it was worth a crack. Box cars! I've rolled 2 6's. I just need to do that again.... bingo! 6's again. So that's 2 hits. I roll to wound..... you guessed it.... 6's again :-) First blood to me.

The Russian advance continues. Both sides snipers are generally proving ineffective until the Russian sniper takes out my MG team which leaves a bit of a gap in the line. My sniper takes out the Russian MG team and I think that is all that either of them do.

The ISU-122 hunts my StuH which I keep advancing to try and stay out of its arc of fire... Rob happily obliges and rotates his ISU... right in front of my Veteran unit. Panzerfausts to the fore!

I fire both and get 1 hit. I need a 3 or better to dent the armour. And I roll a 2. Pretty typical of the game so far. I'm getting hits all over the place, but just cannot convert them into casualties. Rob on the other hand is constantly rolling a couple of 6's to hit with each squad and turning them into casualties. My small squads can't handle casualties. Maybe I should have checked Rob's dice.... there were a lot of 6's coming up.... :-)

The table after the first 3 turns...

The inevitable result of the cat & mouse game with the ISU vs. the StuH,,,,

My Puma finally activates and gets some revenge...

And my Veteran's die under a hail of SMG fire in close assault... (after Rob managed to pass an order to check with the unit which had 5 pin markers on it!)

That pretty much ends the game. Rob had been killing 1 or 2 from each squad with every round of shooting. Luckily I seemed to have an uncanny ability to roll double 1's to pass morale checks. I think it's the only time I've been happy to see snake eyes. Although my Sniper team fubar'ed half way through the game and legged it behind a hill where they pretty much refused to do anything else.

The end tally was 6 VP's to 4, so the Russian's took the victory. A good game and well played by Rob.

My plan had been to use my infantry squads to anchor sections of the board and use the various support weapons to wear down the Russian's. My Veteran squad were to be used aggressively to hunt the ISU or take out units in assault. It would have worked well.... if I could have rolled a few more 4+'s!

In hindsight, my small squads are fragile, so I think I would have been better off refusing a flank to concentrate my units for mutual support.  Oh and take out the enemy sniper quickly! Loosing my MG early on cut out some serious firepower (ROF 7 under the dot Net rules), but I also suspect I deployed it poorly.

I blame the last beer I had on Saturday night for clouding my thinking on Sunday :-)

All good fun. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

A City At Night

We were lucky enough to have a clear, cold and still night last night.

Perfect conditions for trying out some photography of the CBD at night.

So, Lee and I popped out for mission around Devonport and Westhaven (until Lee got told off by security.... apparently big brother had been watching us).

After trying a few settings, f11 seemed to be giving me the best results. Focusing was a struggle for a while, but once I remembered to use AF to focus on a bright spot and then switch to manual, things got much easier.

Other settings.. ISO 100, exposure times of 20 - 30s. Some are with my 18-55mm lens, others with my 55-250mm.

Unfortunately, our locations for these photos must remain secret :-), but here are the results:

 During the night I also tried out the inbuilt HDR function, again with some nice results...

Trying to catch light trials along the harbour bridge (not HDR)...

Finally one just before Lee got busted...

Overall, I'm happy with these few. Many were out of focus, but not bad for a first time and with a broken tripod (very annoying!).

For the next time we do this... I need to figure out the multiple exposures option on the camera and then spend some time on Photoshop to play around with layers. You'll see the why (and the difference) it makes here..

Thanks for looking.

EDIT: Photos were tweaked a little differently after some advice from Lee

Sunday, 5 July 2015


So, this month, Lee set a little challenge for us all in regards to photography.

The challenge is to get out and about to take some photos that capture a certain theme. For July, the themes are:

  1. Fast & Furious
  2. Reflections
  3. Warm
  4. Retired
The only rules are that the photos must be taken in the month of July and only basic post-processing is allowed.

Today Lee and I headed into the Auckland CBD for a go at some reflection themed photos. Here is a selection of what I took:

For these first two, I like how the reflection is broken up across the windows. Especially the second one. It looks quite confusing.

I was trying to capture some sun flare over the ferry building in this one, but it didn't work. What I didn't realise is that the sun was reflecting onto it from one of the buildings across the road. I suspect I may have overcooked the post-processing a little.... :-)

I quite like this one of the Customs building with the clouds reflected in the Tower building next to it.

And a few goes capturing a reflection of the Sky Tower. I waited for a bit more cloud to come across on the last one and it's my pick of the Sky Tower ones.

I was trying to think about warmth and reflections in this last one. The row of lights giving warmth with the red bricks of the reflected building, but not really sure it works.

Whilst out and about, we were also keeping an eye out for "retired" looking buildings. There were a couple of examples...

I was just having a play with these two, but again, not quite sure they have worked with trying to use the chain linked fence/#loveakl sign.

This one is off an abandoned building we found. I've used the 7D mk2's inbuilt HDR option to produce this photo. Looks interesting and a function I need to play with a little more.

A couple of "warm" options also popped up....

The first are candles in one of the local Cathedrals and the second is the back of the coffee machine at the cafe we stopped in for a coffee (well spotted Lee :-) ).

Finally, a couple of random CBD shots that caught my interest...

All in all a good day out. I've a few ideas for Fast & Furious if I'm allowed to do them, so stay tuned.

You'll be able to check how the other guys get on by checking out their blogs...