Well I never….

So, this is getting real. It’s less than a week until my next photography exhibition. The prints are done and ready and there’s no going back… I can’t wait (Ok, ok, I know, it’s just me showing off but hey, photography still rocks!)


And here’s a thought I’m going to leave you with, the small cluster of stars in the top of this image are The Seven Sisters, Pleiades (and not Ursa Minor as I’ve thought over the last 45 years… That’s embarrassing) and they’re 444.2 light years away which means that the photons I’ve captured in this image left the source 120 years before Stourhead was even imagined… that’s mindblowing!

The print should be in situ within the next few days and I’ll post here and on my Instagram account to keep you up to date @focalthingy if you’re not already there.





A finicky god, converting (Hydrogen into Helium) 24 hours a day but constant, in solar terms. It demands no worship and will not hold anything against you. I like Ra, or  Helios or Sol or whatever the hell you want to call it, it’s made me who I am today! ;o)

Shh! You’ll Wake The Neighbours…


“In a spiral galaxy, the ratio of dark-to-light matter is about a factor of ten. That’s probably a good number for the ratio of our ignorance-to-knowledge. We’re out of kindergarten, but only in about third grade.” – Vera Rubin 1928 – 2016

The night is clear, the stars a bright and this is just a sliver of the Milky Way but just in the top right of the frame there is another Galaxy, maybe 100 billion stars maybe more. but this humble photo is at best only 4% of what’s out there and here’s the good bit… It’s here too, this little pebble we call home is spinning through the universe at mindblowing speeds and every moment of every day the dark matter that Vera has predicted surrounds us. And here’s the really good bit, somebody alive today will observe it, measure it and prove its existence. That is a day I look forward to.

32 million miles away from yesterday Peeps!

Manual 365/237.5 It Takes A Kind Special Kind Of Unicorn…

To make a red-shifted rainbow…DSC_0841.jpgThis was 20 minutes after sunset, which I time lapsed btw, you can see it here I actually stopped the time lapse to capture this, so after the end of the video I turned 180 degrees and got this… Oh how I suffer for this blog…


Manual 365/222 Oh, Just Somebody’s Bogey…

Slightly rushed blog last night due to the sudden lack of electrons. So I made the best of the dark time to head up onto the hill to get some long exposures of a gloriously clear, star filled sky…DSC_8193.jpgWhich, this evening, has lead to a conversation with the kids about Universal Expansion, heat death of the said universe (It’s coming folks and there’s nothing we can do about it!)  Huge photons and the possibility that our universe resides within a discarded bogey within a much larger universe. Now, that would have been a strange ending to Men In Black!DSC_8189-2.jpgTomorrow we’re going to talk about Quasars, Worm holes and the infinite depth of the barrel Dad’s got to scrape for the funny titles for his blog! (It’s so red-shifted it’s only visible to Mick Hucknalls hair)

That’s Entropy Peeps! XXX

Manual 365/209 The Schrödinger / Heisenberg Breakdown

There is a universal rule. It applies anywhere in the known universe (there is a distinct lack of cats and boxes in the rest of the Universe but hey…) If there is a box and a live cat within a specific but unknown area of the universe the the cat will be, with certainty, in the box. so it’s position (in the box) and speed (stopped in the box) can be known, therefore breaking the Uncertainty Principle DSC_7387.jpgAnd judging by the sharpish grumpy look of the bugger I would hazard a guess that he is very much alive too… Sorry Erwin!

This is not science, this is Drizzle maintaining the universe!

Peace Peeps! x


Manual 365/156 The Universe Sucks… Vortex!

DSC_1021-EditIt’s not hard to influence the world, it just takes a turn of a handle in the right direction and a few flags.

I would guess there was about 2 tonnes of water in the tube but, with a bit of effort from Reece and me we managed to create a tornado, to move every single molecule within the tube and let the universe do it’s thing and it was beautiful!

If you’re passing pop into Winchester Science Center  and have a ganders!

DSC_1006-Edit.jpgSee, Vortex!

Peace Peeps! x

Manual 365/144 Got That?… Nope!

-1 x -1= 1 but the square root of one is one the square root of minus one is 1i and that that mucks with my mind and apparently it’s an Imaginary Number… I can grasp that in certain conditions x hitting y at really ridiculously high energy results in x+y-z and that we have no idea where z’s gone but there are people looking and they’re looking hard (there’s going to be a Noble prize waiting in the 11th dimension for them when they find it)  I love the fact that these people exist… My son loves the fact they exist too and he also loves the fact that when he starts getting excited about complicated math and Imaginary Numbers his Dads knuckles start to drag the floor and his brow thickens while a slightly perplexed look settles across his face…
So, based on the conversation we have just had I’m dedicating this blog to all of the hard working, relentless, frustrated, amazing Scientists around the world making it a better place and bringing us the Universe. Thank you!
Just a couple of things though…
1. These Photons are mine (They’re not I know but indulge me!)DSC_0245DSC_0236

2. The Boy’s on his way so you better move over!

Peace Peeps!



Manual 365/134 Pennsylvanian Trophy…

I was going to go on about poachers and how Roald Dahl gave me the impression that they were all rather good folks with smiling eyes; trying to make a living with paper hats, sleeping tablets, plump raisins and horse hairs but the discussion at home turned from that to red shift versus blue shift into the local universe versus The Universe, the shape and size of Stargates’ (Tiny, wrapped up in a number of dimensions and spherical with no room for Kurt Russell was my resolute opinion!) And the Doppler Effect… Cheers for that Reece! ;o)

But, now that’s died down and I’m back to my blog, it transpires that poachers are complete arseholes, well the ones who left this handsome fellows head on the side of the A46  in Pennsylvania, Bath And North East Somerset (real place) are anyway.

Grim I know but he caught my eye as I drove by yesterday and I passed him again today and was surprised he was still there so had to take the shot. I would have preferred to catch him in a field in November though, but alsa, that’s never going to happen! Like I said, Arseholes!

Peeps! x

Manual 365/24 What Happens When Hydrogen Atoms Collide And Sheepdog Talks About Infinity..

The Hydrogen question was asked by my daughter on our trip up to Sussex for the party yesterday. Now, I am most definitely no scientist but  I adore science and all that it does for us and I have a very basic understanding of how certain things work and I also know that false information is caustic to fact, so rather than taking an educated guess I filed it for later thought and research (Google), said I wasn’t sure and turned up the radio. Playing at the time was a great little indie podcast (They’ll tell you they’re The Number One Independent Gaming Podcast) called The Mature Gamer Podcast, hosted by Kev and Sheepdog (Steve but his names not really Steve, it’s Richard) Anna and Pav and they were chatting about a game called No Mans Sky, the developers of this game claim that the universe it’s set in is infinite and that caused me to prick up my ears somewhat.

Surely, if it’s infinite somewhere within the game is now and here and just then and you and tomorrow… And the brain started to hurt and continues to do so but, thanks to the internet I now have a little more information and a video hoisted by a guy asking the questions I would have…

(I did try to embed it here but it didn’t work so click the link and ignore my technical ignorance)

It’s an amazing concept and I really hope it works out right and if you think about it, if they’re using this kind of thinking in games, what’s going on in the “real” world?

(Just for the record, I’m not a simulated universe believer but it’s always good to think and also, have a look at the properties of Pi)

Oh, and when Hydrogen atoms bump into each other it all depends on the pressures, they could just transfer energy and go off in another direction, fuse together to become Helium or they could become a solar inferno (That’s lots of them though with quite high pressures)

Now, back to the photography (Shepherding Photons) and still keeping with the science,

Oxygen; Corrosive but essential. There is no life in iron and steel.JPG

I know that todays blog is light on the photography side but I’ve had a flash of inspiration and am now starting another long term project, I’m not going to disclose at the moment what it is but, if everything goes to plan and it works it should be quite impressive.

I Tweet in this augmented reality -> @focalthingy

Proof of alien life is -> Not evident in any of my pictures

And it’s Steve Hawkins not Stephen Hawking (he’s the better looking one)

And I’ve resurrected my Instagram account, you should be able to find me if you search for focal_thingy, there’s some old pictures on there from back in the day.

And if you really want to chat, email me at focalthingy@gmail.com