Centre Court – Saturday 14th July 2018

Play started an hour earlier than usual with the continuation of last night’s epic Djokovic versus Nadal semi-final. Suspended at 11pm with the score Djokovic leading 2 sets to 1, since the match had started with the roof closed it continued under the roof, despite the hot sunshine. The closed roof added to the intensity of the match, and while the air conditioning kept the temperature pleasant, it created a very dry atmosphere—I was glad the roof was open for the subsequent matches.

Nadal came out of the chair firing on all cylinders and raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set played today. It was a weird pattern but every set where I was away from my seat for the first 3 games featured a break of serve! In all but one case this was subsequently wiped out so I didn’t feel I had missed the crucial part of the set. Despite being broken back by Djokovic, Nadal conjured up another break and served out the set to take us to a decider. The crowd was ecstatic—never could they have imagined when they purchased their ticket for the Ladies Final that there would be an hors d’oeuvre of this quality.

The tennis in that final set was sublime. Big power shots that would normally be winners repeatedly returned, break points denied by ace after ace, and sliced backhands sliding low over the net—a masterclass in shot making and retrieving from both players. After the score passed six games-all the tension ratcheted up to 11. After two hours of sitting the body starts to yearn to stretch, but the crowd remained packed, no one wanting to leave and potentially miss the decisive game. Nadal went 15-40 down, but recovered. Then it was Djokovic’s turn to overturn break points. But you felt Djokovic had the upper hand serving first and Nadal might just be running out of steam quicker than his opponent. And then suddenly it was 0-40 to Djokovic, three match points, and a forehand into the net from Nadal brought this exquisite contest to a conclusion after five hours and fourteen minutes on court.

Serena Williams versus Angelique Kerber promised to be a very different affair. An early break of Serena’s serve was wiped out to love in the fourth game. But Serena never looked comfortable on court—measured and almost a little weary between points—in contrast to her opponent who chased every ball with a spritely energy that produced winners off well placed balls that would ordinarily been good enough to force an error. When Serena tried counteract that by upping the aggression of her shots, she pushed the ball long and Kerber’s decisive steady play made her a deserving champion.

The Men’s Doubles offered an enjoyable dessert to the day. Bryan and Sock clinching the first and third sets with a single break, and their opponents Klaasen and Venus being worthy winners of a tight second set tie break. The fourth set looked to be heading to another tie break, Bryan saving break point at 5-6 with a big serve, but then on the next break point a careless foot fault (his second of the game) lost them the set! It was 9pm so the roof was closed and we were presented another fifth set shoot out under the lights.

The fifth set followed the pattern of the previous ones with few chances for either side—this was another masterclass display of high quality doubles tennis from two evenly matched teams. Balls rifled low and at the body of the net player returned by swift and dexterous reflexes. And then, in the 11th game, at 30-30 on their serve, the fine balance of play dipped slightly against Venus and Klaasen to give the tiniest of openings for their opponents to break serve, which they took. Now, Mike Bryan–villain of the 12th game in the previous set–was presented the chance to serve for the Championship. There was no repeat of the self-inflicted errors, and the title was won!

The Championships, Wimbledon

Fortune smiled on me in the tennis club ballot this year and despite life being quite busy around the beginning of July, I was able to spend a very enjoyable day at The All-England Club watching some tremendous tennis.

Too Busy To… available on Apple News

Subscribing to a blog via RSS remains a niche and decidedly geeky activity. Having said that, Apple devices now come with a built-in News.app which, for all the usual Apple gloss, does use RSS. To view this blog in Apple News, visit this link on your iPhone or iPad and tap the + sign in the top right hand corner to subscribe.

If you do not use News.app, Safari’s shared links feature (the @ tab in the bookmarks pane) also allows you to subscribe to this and many other blogs.

Off-camera flash photography

Since the Autumn I have been taking more photographs of people than places. Through a Facebook advert I had seen that 36exp run bite-size evening workshops and I signed up for one on off-camera flash since the dark evenings had also resulted in me using my flashgun quite extensively.

Leake St, SE1

The course was really fun and also my first experience of shooting with a professional model. This was quite intimidating at first, but Julie was very professional and it was a lot less stressful than when trying to get the perfect photo that family demand, but have little patience to achieve!

Leake St, SE1
Leake St, SE1

The first three photographs were all shot with a single light on to the camera’s right. I do not remember if the light was modified with a soft box or umbrella. One immediate thing I observed was that light stands need to be very high—we are used to seeing light shine down from a very high angle from both the sun and ceiling lights, so to achieve a natural look the light needs to be positioned above the model and angled down.

Leake St, SE1
Leake St, SE1

This shot introduced a second light onto the back of the model’s head to highlight her hair. I really like the effect of the hair light, but I am not sure it works well in this context.

Leake St, SE1

These last two used a single light on the model and a second light to illuminate the background. While editing this collection I realised that filters and effects make a lot more sense for photographs where the subject is the main focus. With my travel photography I am aiming to capture the atmosphere I experienced, whereas here the entire scene is constructed at the direction of the photographer, and so it is very logical to continue the creative process into the darkroom.

Wimbledon 2015, Day 13 Court 1

Our name came out of the tennis club ballot for Wimbledon this year—Court 1 tickets on the final day. With the Centre Court roof protecting the schedule from rain delays, it is no longer likely to see any main draw matches on Court 1 on the final Sunday but the atmosphere in the ground was fantastic and we saw potential future stars in the boys’ singles and doubles finals, plus some very entertaining invitation doubles.

The eventual winner of the boys’ singles was a tall American named Reilly Opelka with a giant serve. I had some fun capturing it using the “Slow-Mo” video mode on my camera.

I also recorded an entire point of the doubles, here it is at 6x speed.

Some action from the Boys Doubles final (made with Hyperlapse)

A post shared by Nathan Dimmock (@ned21) on

London 2012 Olympics

Leading up to the event, mention of the Olympics in conversation led to pessimistic discussions of two weeks enforced working from home or even “escaping” London before the city gridlocked. While road users moaned about lanes being reserved for IOC bureaucrats, official websites indicated that there would be a 30 minute wait to board trains at key underground stations.

A week into the event and everything has changed. The transport and general chaos that everyone thought inevitable has not materialised. The transport has been no busier than usual, the attendees’ tube etiquette no worse than the standard tourists, and at times it has seemed that the only delay was due to officious one way systems that continued to be enforced despite deserted passageways.

I, for one, am really glad that I did not leave town for the duration. The clutch of gold medals won by Team GB have undoubtedly helped kindle interest in the games, but there is also a great atmosphere in the city. Sports rarely heard of in Britain, such as beach volleyball, have won new converts with their party atmosphere and many nations are hosting a “hospitality house” with exhibitions, concerts and parties. You can even spot medal winners on the bus!

And what about that much vaunted legacy of the games? With so much success by both sexes in boats and on bikes, surely it is time to end the illusion that men’s football is our national game?

Day 5 of the Olympic Tennis

Photographs from day five of the Olympic tennis tournament at the All England Club in Wimbledon. We saw Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko on the practice courts in the morning. Then Roger Federer v Denis Istomin, Azarenka v Petrova, and Sabine Lisicki against Maria Sharapova from some great seats on the Number 1 court.

In defence of necessary complexity in language

A letter to The Independent recently quoted the following sentence from an article about the Big Society as an example of obscure writing.

Public sector mutualisation and budgetary takeover by citizens of the state is a crucial initial phase in endowing ordinary citizens with the power to ensure that the services they run are operated in a way which combines public interest with economic efficiency and localised employee ownership building in all the gains that this model delivers.

I would not disagree that the final clause (“building in all the gains that this model delivers.”) is unnecessary and should have been pruned by a good editor, but a complex concept cannot be explain in simple terms.

Mutualisation refers to idea of collectives/co-operatives, for example, building societies. “Public sector mutualisation” is therefore makes people co-owners of the public sector changing the model from one where they are customers or consumers.

budgetary takeover by citizens is a (too) concise term for having spending allocations and priorities determined by citizens and not civil servants.

services they run refers to public sector services now co-owned by the ordinary citizen where said citizen has high level input into budgets and policy but implementation remains with the public sector.

combines public interest with economic efficiency—money is spent in line with public expectations with minimal administration costs. I think it interesting that “public interest” was chosen here instead of “public good”, but this is a post about language not politics so I will not examine that further.

Contemporary mediums with low character limits such as text messages and twitter encourage dense, terse and economic phrasing so I find it surprising that someone would complain about a sentence which is all of these things. However perhaps at 348 characters (requiring three tweets) it was the length that offended the letter-writer?

[Mostly typed one-handed due to a broken collar bone; enforced R&R at home has given me too much time to read and consider such things!]

A Short Survey of Music Retail

On Wednesday I went to a fantastic gig by KT Tunstall. I had already listened to (and mostly liked) her new album via Spotify but the concert confirmed that this was music worth owning (such an outmoded concept!). Here is a short survey of a consumer’s music purchasing options as of this week:

  • The cheapest price for a physical CD was £8.49 at Amazon. Spotify means I have no requirement for the instant gratification afforded by downloads and a CD also provides the highest fidelity with no worry about digital loss, but there is a lifetime storage cost of such low density physical media.
  • Amazon will also sell me the same album in 256kbps MP3 format for £7.49.
  • 7digital are a competing digital download service and the price was £7.99. I was impressed with their “digital locker” feature which allows repeat downloads of your purchases, automatically providing an offsite backup. The files were also encoded at the higher rate of 320kbps and can be downloaded as a zipfile in your web browser, unlike Amazon which requires you to use a separate application.
  • For an iTunes user the iTunes store is arguably the most convenient method of buying music, and the price matches 7digital, £7.99. Like Amazon there is no option to re-download and the bitrate is the lower-but-probably-not-noticeable, 256kbps. The store is so popular I am assuming that in the long term there should be no significance attached to the files being in the AAC format instead of MP3.

Having enjoyed KT providing some context for the songs on the new album I also looked to see if any store would provide me with electronic sleeve notes. iTunes offers a digital version of the DVD (for the same price as Amazon charges for physical media) but no store offered any non-music extras.

Conclusion? I decided 7digital offered the best combination of convenience, durability, quality and price because physical storage space is at a premium in a flat, and good off-site backup is a significant cost.