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Mark Hooper
Attended St Paul's School, Portsmouth
Lives in Portsmouth
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Deal Pier

On a recent trip to Kent we spent a couple of hours in Deal as we knew it had a castle there and we do like a good castle.

But we also like piers and we saw that Deal had one of those too. This necessitated a walk down it and led my wife to remark that Deal Pier was "without a doubt the ugliest pier I've ever seen."

Well, ugliness is in the eye of the beholder and it just so happens I didn't share my wife's opinion. Deal Pier is a wonderful example of a simple, brutalist structure; raw concrete and rusting iron creating great lines and shapes everywhere you look. What sort of beast couldn't possibly like that?

Please don't tell my wife I just called her a beast.

#brutalism #brutalist #blackandwhitephotography #monochromeworld #pier #Kent #clouds #architecture #sea #shadow  
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I used to have a not-quite-phobia, not-quite-fear of trains. Let's call it an apprehension of them.

I could watch them on television - not that I ever would; they're trains, not entertainment - and I could travel on them with no real problem other than the standard sort that accompanies any form of rail travel in this country (South West Trains, I'm looking at you). But my general unease would manifest itself if I happened to walk near a track or cross a pedestrian bridge over tracks while a train was approaching.

There's this noise, you see. It's metallic and quite high-pitched, and it builds. It's the vibration of the metal rails and the air being pushed ahead of the approaching train. It's something eerie and threatening and, being industrial, it's unnatural which makes it worse. It doesn't help that I'm plagued with an active imagination (I'm picturing you completely naked right now) and half-thoughts of a derailed locomotive lurching and leaping from the rails and directly at me were commonplace.

I don't know when this apprehension faded exactly. At some point the rational part of my brain took control, gave me a mental slap across the chops, and told me to pull myself together. It's nice to not feel that mild terror when near trains now. The accompanying trauma of travel (South West Trains again) and other imaginative processes in my cranium (has anyone told you you look good naked?) remain in place.

#monochrome #blackandwhitephotography #blackandwhite #travel #train #railway  
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It happened +Mark Hooper horror you've been through, I am not imagining you naked, no !
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Super Bowl Sunday

I'm one of those people. I'm a non-American who loves American Football. And today is the big day of the year for us fans of the sport closest to chess in padded armour there is (excluding actual chess in padded armour (which isn't half as exciting as it sounds)): it's Super Bowl Sunday!

I took the time to introduce my wife to the sport when we first started dating and I'm pleased to say that she's a massive fan of the game now too. Subsequently, we've entered into a little tradition in our home where the pair of us book the Monday following the game off and spend the entire day subjecting our bodies to the best and worst that America can offer from the food and drink aisles of the local supermarket. Note: there are some non-American drinks in there too; we're not completely crazy.

As for tonight's game, after some careful thought we have decided we dislike both teams and really don't mind who loses. But if we were pressed to support a team we might ever-so-slightly lean in the direction of Denver. As a Patriots fan I have no love for Peyton Manning but I do respect him and regard him as the greatest quarterback in the NFL. My wife is a Minnesota Vikings fan and so would quite like Seattle not to win so that they both remain in that select crowd of franchises who've never picked up the greatest prize in the sport. But so long as it's a good game we don't really mind who is ultimately victorious.

#NFL #superbowl2014 #Nokia #nokialumia #lumia1020 #fhotoroom
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you did not eat this, Mark dear +Mark Hooper 
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The Mirror

A mirror can add a lot to a photograph. It can add depth or light or the presence of something you wouldn't normally be able to see. It can double the appearance of something key to the composition. It can change the angle of some object. It can flip part of the image and force you to look at it in a different way. For me, though, probably the best thing a mirror brings to a photograph is evidence that you're not a few feet from a vampire. This guy in this photo: he's not a vampire. Good work mirror.
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Pro tip: use live view when shooting vampires...
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The Terror

They are terrifying things. Powerful things with arms that swing and, yes, destroy if you should venture too close. And the noise, the noise; dull, incessant, so frightening. We are wary of them. We try to keep them at a distance. Perhaps if we gather together for safety, perhaps if we amass out at sea then it will go away.

Yes! Yes! It runs! Look how it heads back to its parents!

We are safe. For now, we are safe. But we must be ever vigilant.
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great photo :))))))))
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Mark Hooper

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On The White Cliffs Of Dover

We took a short break recently, spending a few days exploring the county of Kent which describes itself as "the garden of England." I don't know that I'd describe it that way myself but I suppose my first choice description of "far better than Norfolk" - whilst wholly accurate - might be a tad contentious.

We explored castles, we visited stately homes, we wandered down piers (and up them too as failure to do so leads to death from exposure or seagull abduction), and a good time was had.

We also decided to take a walk along part of the famous white cliffs of Dover (spoiler: no bluebirds were spotted) in order to reach the South Foreland Lighthouse. This, incidentally, is something you too should do should you ever find yourself in the area; there's a rather lovely teahouse there but the personal tour of the lighthouse itself which (pun alert) illuminates the history of the world's first electric-powered building of this type is the (further pun alert) highlight of the visit. I think I'm out of lighthouse-related puns now.

The clifftop walk was wonderful, if a little tiring. The windy conditions made the excursion especially exhilirating. Fellow walkers could be seen standing horrifically close to the edge. Sheer faces of chalk stood out marvellously against the blue sky and brownish water. France could be seen on the horizon. France was so close, in fact, that our phones switched to a French network. Many curse words were uttered as we turned off data roaming to avoid excessive charges even though we were on home soil. All-in-all, fun.

This photo is from the walk along the white cliffs. Mark, I said to myself. Mark, what composition says iconic White Cliffs of Dover image to you? The answer, of course, was Dame Vera Lynn leading lemmings over the edge to land on and repel Norman invaders because that's how my brain works. So here's a spiky, bushy tree-type thing and some grass.
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sounds lovely - even without lemmings!
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Against The Wall

You had one job to do. You had one little job to do. And you failed. Worse than that, you failed on purpose. Your comrades bravely suffered the abhorrence of the enemy as it crawled past them, but not you. You abandoned your posts in a time of great conflict. You allowed... Ugh! I can barely bring myself to say it! You allowed cars to drive freely. You failed to maintain the contraflow. You have been found guilty of desertion by a court of your peers.

Firing squad, take aim.
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That cone is a maverick. We will never forget you.
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The Bear Tree

Bears grow well in temperate climates but it's when you get greater than average rainfall - such as that currently otherwise blighting the south of England - that the crops really thrive. Over the past few months one of the largest sectors for employment growth has been for bear pickers as it's vitally important to make sure every last one is plucked from the bear tree branches at just the right time; the only drawback to bumper bear growths is that those that ripen and fall to the ground naturally often go on to terrorise neighbourhoods, savage locals, and - worst of all - steal pic-a-nic baskets.
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Haaah :))))))))))))) got me by s urprise :)
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Miles and miles of smiles, all thanks to the Coca-Cola truck paying a visit to Chichester yesterday ( to spread joy in the form of tiny cans of coke, photos in front of the aforementioned truck, and Christmas songs from a group of enthusiastic singers.

#StreetPics #StreetPhotography +StreetPics +StreetPhotography 
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Canned joy... 
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50 Doctor Who facts for Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary.


Don't mind me; just testing to see whether things are more discoverable if they're linked on G+.
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Developer (paid). Photographer (unpaid).
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Developer. Photographer. Skeptic.
I'd love to be a globetrotting photographer, specialising in street photography. But I'm not that good and I'm certainly not that rich.

What I am is a developer who can work with most of the usual suspects in the web developing world. I'm pretty good at it. My current employment sees me working as a floating developer among project teams due to my versatility with programming languages and environments. Most of the time I develop in Drupal or a custom PHP framework for a global glasses brandsite, but I flit between working for a wholesale B2B client and a well-known DVD rental company in ASP.NET too when the need arises.

As a sports fan I support Portsmouth Football Club and the New England Patriots, but I like pretty much any sport going. Except basketball. Never basketball.

Any spare money not snatched up and spent by my wife on shoes (she does like her Jimmy Choo collection) or books for her Kindle fuels my photography habit. I love my cameras and their lenses. I'm a Canon person and have moved from the 350D to the 5D Mark II. I take photos every day partly to try to improve my skills, partly to try to encourage a more assertive attitude (because I like street photography but suffer from shyness), and partly to justify the spiralling cost of the hobby.

Outside photography I do have one other extracurricular activity of note and that is helping to run the Portsmouth Skeptics in the Pub (#SITP) group which meets once a month in a pub (amazing!) and discusses topics of skepticism, science, nerdiness, and the ilk, most often with a guest speaker. Look for our group on the web; come along; say hello; experience my suspicious look because I'm worried you're stalking me in person.

Okay... so, apparently, Google+ makes you more discoverable if you tag your profile with things people might search for. With that in mind here's how I'd tag me if I were me (which I am): c#,, php, drupal, developer, web, internet, software, portsmouth, pompey, photographer, photos, camera, canon, atheist, skeptic, sceptic, style, fashion, england, hampshire, uk, european, british, amateur, astronomy, real ale, wine, science, physics, friendfeed, flickr, neonbubble, mystery science theater 3000, mst3k, scifi, science fiction, sci-fi, sitp.

Finally: a little note about people I follow on Google+. I'd love to follow everyone who follows me and I do try to check out most of the new followers but that's not always possible. It's also not always desirable: no avatar, sharing diarrhoea, animated GIF mania, no profile information, adult content. I'm more likely to follow back people who are engaging rather than those who simply add a public shared circle in which I'm present.
Bragging rights
Shook hands with Prince Andrew. He'll claim he doesn't remember but he's a liar. They're all liars.
  • St Paul's School, Portsmouth
  • Corpus Christi School, Portsmouth
  • St John's College, Portsmouth
  • The South Downs College, Hampshire
    Pure Maths & Statistics, Physics, Computer Science
  • University of Liverpool
    Computer Science
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Mark Hooper's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.

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