Ycademy Seminar April 2013

Ycademy Seminar April 2013

The Ycademy Seminar April 2013 is in full swing, lasting from 20th April to 21st April 2013.  With Internet users shifting their attention more and more towards handheld mobile devices – smart phones, iphones, ipads and the like – there is an urgent need for responsive websites, meaning responsive web design.

“Responsive’ here means that our website content in form of text and media adapts automatically to the form and shape of any device.
Bianca Gubalke Design

Hence, the need for a new responsive script arose. After working for years on Semiomantics XO, this month’s Ycademy Seminar focuses on the new release of the latest, the finest and the hottest WordPress based responsive script : XR!

Ycademy Seminar April 2013

Therefore, the motto of this month’s Ycademy Seminar April 2013 is ‘responsive’. It’s more complex than one assumes as we can’t just switch to a ‘XO responsive’! The fact is that a dramatic change has taken place to keep us at the forefront of modern web developments, and the brand-new XR was born.

It’s a new era! A new start! A new challenge!

Fortunately, as Semiomantics experts we already have a good foundation as to what is needed in technical terms and skills. At this seminar we want to deepen and refine it. One needs to learn how to work easily and effortlessly within the new environment. This requires more knowledge and skills in terms of Code, i.e.html 5 and css 3. And, much more!

So here’s to today’s Ycademy Seminar on XR – Theory and Praxis: How to edit, configure, optimize and customize XR.

Based on the full XR developer version, we will go through all the features, learn how to replace our XO, and how to create Child Themes for XR.

Just look as this website here evolves on the newly integrated XR!

Bianca Gubalke Showcase 2012

Original article by © Bianca Gubalke

Golden Sunset in Noordhoek

Golden Sunset in Noordhoek

“Golden sunset in Noordhoek”, South Africa… a picture worth a thousand words!

Golden Sunset in Noordhoek photographed by Bianca Gubalke

Golden Sunset in Noordhoek

“Golden sunset in Noordhoek” – nothing more to say. . .

Perhaps one thing: I so much enjoy my Fujifilm X-E1… each day a little more :)

And this: it’s fascinating how much excellent digital photography actually is out there; an inspiration to try to get a little better each time we go out and shoot!
Original article by © Bianca Gubalke

After the Cape Autumn Storm

After the Cape Autumn Storm

The first thing to do after the Cape Autumn Storm was a round through my garden, here in Noordhoek, South Africa, to see the extent of the damage. Camera in hand, of course!
Stone Pine by Bianca Gubalke Photography


Luckily, the trees and plants were more flexible due to the heavy rains and, accordingly, we had to spend the day merely to get back some ‘order’ – as far as that is possible and desirable in a wild garden like mine! Nature in the so-called “richest floral kingdom in the world’ is diverse and astonishing enough without too much of our interference, however, regular clean-ups are a must as ‘normally’ fynbos and proteas just burn down every 15 or so years – that’s normal. And then life starts all new again, rising like phoenix from the ashes.

One fire like the one we went through is enough for a life time – so the alternative is to regularly control what’s coming down in the storms or what’s coming up in terms of alien vegetation, especially Port Jackson, rooikrans, myrtle and hakea. Pines and blue gums are also known to suck up a lot of water; hence the need to control their growth and distribution.

The massive stone pine above has already gone through the historic fires that swept through the Cape Peninsula in the year 2000, where everything you see on this picture went up in 30 m high flames! One can still see the marks on the bark. It’s a serene place to simply sit and spend some quiet time, leaning against the stem.

This is where I discovered the plane tree leaf below, all glistening in magnificent autumn colours. Ideal for some digital photography – another exercise!

Plane Leaf in Autumn by Bianca Gubalke Photography

After the Cape Autumn Storm

Here you see Holly, our border collie, assisting with the clean-up after the Cape autumn storm yesterday! She had a good time!

Holly in Noordhoek - Photo by Bianca Gubalke

Within 24 hours, our small dam filled up by about 50%! All it needs now is one more time like this one! We waited forever last year; it just didn’t happen! So finally the earth could absorb the much needed water after the scorching summer days.

Original article by © Bianca Gubalke

Autumn Storms in Noordhoek

Autumn Storms in Noordhoek

Even the first wet and extremely violent Autumn Storms in Noordhoek, South Africa, that literally turned off the lights, did not keep me from putting on my boots and taking a few low-light shots in the garden with my new photo camera, the Fuji X-E1, which has a reputation of being very good at exactly that – contrary to my good old NIKON Coolpix P90.

Autumn Storms in Noordhoek, South Africa, photographed by Bianca Gubalke


Well, although such small images are not optimal, the fact is that what was said above – and this by reputable photo camera reviewers like Ken Rockwell – is definitely the truth and the steep difference in price is deserved. In Digital Photography – as in anything in life for that matter – you get what you pay for. I had to wait for a while… but I am very happy now! While this camera is not a high-end one yet, professionally speaking, it’s perfect for my current transition where I am including more and more printed matter (for books, for instance). Besides, there’s a lot of learning and experimenting to be done before this discreet little machine has released all its power and secrets!

Whoever knows our place will certainly immediately recognize the unique atmosphere; be it in the vast serene lines and the diversity within a multitude of little shapes and details. It’s real, it’s authentic – that I like.

Autumn Storms in Noordhoek

Here’s another shot for today’s picture series called “Autumn Storms in Noordhoek”, this time towards the mountain range in the east (Silvermine Nature Reserve), where the sun normally arrives in the morning. Sun? No more sun today – just storms, rains and a gloomy darkness. But Nature needs it and so we are grateful!

Autumn Storms in Noordhoek, South Africa, photographed by Bianca Gubalke

As to the X-E1: the finesse in terms of details and the lack of noise are simply amazing …this is a real photo camera!

That’s for today from the Cape of Storms, South Africa!

This original article was written by © Bianca Gubalke

Zimbabwe Creeper

Zimbabwe Creeper

If this tiny- completely untouched but reduced (yes!) – detail of an original digital photo of a Zimbabwe Creeper in my garden in Noordhoek, South Africa, looks different from other pictures taken before, guess why!


Zimbabwe Creeper

See the original, untouched (but obviously reduced) image of the Zimbabwe Creeper straight from my brand-new Fujifim X-E1 camera that fell as ‘holy smoke’ into my lap on 13th March 2013! The finesse in the tiny detail – marked on the original here as you see – is simply amazing! And when I took this first picture I had not really studied the vast array of settings yet – and I am still looking forward to go through each and every step with more time!


Fujifilm X E-1 camera

My brand-new Fujifilm X-E1 camera surprised me by being slightly bigger and a bit heavier than my NIKON Coolpix P90! I wouldn’t have thought so, probably based on the elegant, discreet and very minimalistic design, not unlike a Leica. But it’s an incredible machine, that needs careful study and lots of exercise! One thing is clear: with this camera I will return back to the past of good old ‘normal’ cameras – it’s that kind of approach this camera deserves. Of course, having interchangeable lenses makes a big difference in the whole feeling. Here I am using the 18 – 55 mm lens that comes with the kit, however, I am waiting for the 200 mm lens set to come onto the market sometime this year! By then I should even know how to use it LOL

Zimbabwe Creeper - Podranea ricasoliana - Image by Bianca Gubalke

Of course, I experimented already a little with Photoshop, especially as the fine design and transparencies of this photo both dazzled and inspired me! It has to be seen enlarged at 1:1 – but the design of detail is terrific!

Of course, there’s been more in the meantime, and I will come back with it… but currently it’s ‘cleaning up the garden after storms (and before next storms) time’ – so I won’t go into that kind of loud and noisy chaos with my new baby!

See the original of this article @ BiancaGubalke.com

When Memories are stolen

When Memories are stolen

Nothing can be more painful than when memories are stolen! Just imagine… This sadly came true at the end of 2012, when a series of heavy armed burglaries were carried out even here, in our romantic Noordhoek Valley! It hit even some of my dearest friends – and with the highly organized and professional gang focusing on money, jewellery and electronics – here went the brand-new digital camera and laptop. Gone! And with it, all the stored photos and memories…

Barbara Wilson on Daisy, 2010

When Memories are stolen

We so easily forget that in our age of digital photography, photos may still be printed now and then, however, most of them sit on our computers, laptops, ipads, on social networks genre Facebook, Flickr and Picasa or – ideally – on our own websites where we are in control – but meaning in the virtual world. If these costly electronic items disappear for one or another reason, we can still replace them. However, when memories are stolen it really hurts.

Suzie at Friuli

Sometimes, the dear ones on the photos are no longer around. Today, most people do not have the typical photo albums with ‘real’ pictures to show around in the family, so theft of our storage items can be a tragedy, as was in this particular case.

Luckily, we are a closely knit bunch of friends and I had regularly taken some photos with my good old NIKON Coolpix P90. Even some of my very first photos on a digital camera!

I pushed it and pushed it – but today was the day that I dug into my oooooooooold computer… In fact, I hardly got it up and running again! But finally I found many precious pictures to help over the loss. In such a dramatic situation one realizes how fast time flies and how many of our two- and four-legged friends have left us far too early. Therefore, if we can at least look at them again, it’s like they’re still around!

While my own private website is my personal choice – and I can only recommend it to all – the fact is that even a website can go down, get hacked or disappear (…so never save on good hosting and support to bail you out then!). But at least we can keep our images on the server, where they should be pretty safe. Although even servers get hacked and go down and even disappear. We’ve seen it all over the years. Funny world we’re living in!

So the lesson here is to ensure we keep our pictures in a safe place – offline and online. Backups are the motto!

Here’s to a happy Sunday!