By Stuart Herbert

Welcome to my blog.

I write about software development, especially in PHP, T'ai Chi Ch'uan / Taijiquan, and my photography.

You can learn more about me by reading my bio.

You can reach me at stuart@stuartherbert.com.

Latest Photos

Bridge Over The Falls
Avebury by Moonlight
Avebury by Moonlight
The North Face Of Corn Ddu
Corn Ddu and Llyn Cwm Llwch
Corn Ddu
Easter Cross
The North Route Up Pen-y-Fan
Cribyn
Remove Tape Before Firing

Goodbye, Phix

Posted in Stuart on PHP on March 2nd, 2015.

Back in 2009, I spoke at the PHP UK Conference about the pain of living with PHP’s fledgling frameworks, and I returned in 2011 to promote component-driven applications:



Back then, PEAR was the only tool available for distributing components. It was built in a time when hosting and sharing code was hard, and although PEAR made it possible to create components in PHP, PEAR never made it easy to do so.

Phix was an open-source tool that I wrote to sit on top of PEAR and make things easier. It gave you an easy-to-use build.xml file for Phing to automate all of the common tasks, a standardised file layout so that you could just drop in your code, and integration with Pirum so that you could build and publish.

Today, we don’t need any of these tools. PEAR has been replaced by Composer, and it’s so easy to use that there’s no need for Phing or a build.xml file. The PHP FIG standards have given us our file layouts, and as for publishing … today, all you need to do is push to GitHub and publishing happens automatically.

We no longer need Phix, and that’s a good thing.

Bridge Over The Falls

It’s been an incredibly busy summer for me, but I did manage to get a little bit of photography in during September. I finally managed to dig through the photos last night, and this one immediately jumped out at me. I hope you like it as much as I do :)

Be Careful Where You Walk

As a belated birthday celebration at the end of January, Mrs H and I spent a day at the Royal Navy Fleet Air Museum at Yeovilton. We’d had a lot of fun with our cameras at Scotland’s National Museum of Flight, and ever since we’ve been looking to get to more air museums.

My first shot this week is the first shot I took in the museum – a close-up of the wing of a Supermarine Walrus. I just love the texture of this wing, and the unusual footprint painted on really caught my eye as we descended the ramp down to the floor of Hall 1. I’m assuming that the footprint is there to show maintenance crews where it is safe to step without putting their foot through the wing.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Photography: Merthyr Road | Daily Desktop Wallpaper | 25×9 | Twitter.

Llyn Cwm Llwch

Last weekend was our warm-up day for the 3 Peaks Challenge. We walked up to the summit of Pen-y-fan and back twice in just over 5 hours. I was expecting my knee to be a major doubt for the walk, but it turned out that I’m so unfit that the knee was the least of my worries :(

I did take the camera with me for the first ascent, and snagged this shot on our first trip down. I hope you enjoy it.

On a technical note, despite good conditions, this ended up being the only shot I took that was worth publishing here. Shooting exclusively at f/2.8 on a full-frame camera body isn’t a good decision for landscape shots, especially if there’s no foreground subject to focus on. Lesson (hopefully) learned.

I’ll be back on Monday with the first of my shots from the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton, from a shoot I did for my birthday this year. If you enjoyed my photos from Scotland’s Museum of Flight, then hopefully you’ll enjoy these too :)

Here are all of the photos that I took last week for my ‘London: After The Summit’ shoot, including a couple that didn’t make it into this week’s wallpaper posts. Click on each photo to go through to Flickr to read more about the image.

Smithfield Market

Capturing Your Attention

Passing By

St Pauls Cathedral

City of London Information Centre

Beware Oncoming Cyclists

St Pauls Cathedral and Blackfriars

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Photography: Merthyr Road | Daily Desktop Wallpaper | 25×9 | Twitter.

St Pauls Cathedral and Blackfriars

From St Paul’s, I wandered south through the lanes (which you’ll see tomorrow) and down onto Waterloo Bridge for my last shot of the evening. You’ve got St Paul’s Cathedral, with the brightly lit Blackfriars Station immediately in front of it, and the lush purple lighting of Blackfriars Bridge just peeking in on the right.

A pro tip for any photographer who wants to join the crowds on Waterloo Bridge to capture this scene after dark: take a tripod. I shot this handheld at 200mm, but I’m shooting with crazy gear and I’ve had a lot of practice at stillness – and it was still the only usable image that I got from the bridge that night! If you’re using prosumer or entry-level gear, physics is against you, sorry. Take a tripod down to the bridge to avoid disappointment.

Or alternatively, do what I’m planning on doing in the summer and head down there at dusk to capture this scene towards sunset. I imagine it’ll make for spectacular photos – if you remember to take a tripod.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s photos. Tomorrow, I’ll publish a round-up post with all the images that I took for ‘London: After The Summit’. And tomorrow, I’m supposed to be spending the day climbing Pen-y-Fan in the Brecons as part of the training for the 3 Peaks Challenge. If weather permits, I hope to bag a few shots for a future set of wallpapers :)

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Photography: Merthyr Road | Daily Desktop Wallpaper | 25×9 | Twitter.

St Pauls Cathedral

From the Museum of London, I headed due south to the back of St Paul’s Cathedral. One of the great buildings of the world, like many iconic structures in the UK it has been so hemmed in by other buildings that it’s very difficult to photograph well from street level. Many photographers head over the river to the South Bank and shoot St Paul’s and the Millennium Bridge together. It’s become a terribly cliched shot, and it wasn’t one that I wanted to repeat, as frankly I’m fed up of seeing it regularly on Twitter. I want to seek out the photos that you hopefully haven’t yet seen.

I’d originally planned to shoot this from the north-east corner, but I couldn’t find a position where the shot wasn’t suffering from light pollution from everything else around. In the end, I ended up shooting through the trees down at the south-east corner. I think it makes for a strong image and a good wallpaper.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Photography: Merthyr Road | Daily Desktop Wallpaper | 25×9 | Twitter.

Desktop Wallpaper: Passing By

Posted in Stuart's Photography on March 26th, 2014.

Passing By

Directly opposite the bright lobby display in the gym are the circular walls of the Museum of London, and attached to those walls is are a couple of multi-segmented art deco lizards. You can’t see them from the skywalk entrances to the museum above – you have to come down to street level to be able to enjoy them.

Whilst I was trying to find the photograph in the lizards, I spotted this strong reflection of one of the shops opposite, and more by luck than by judgement I managed to bag this shot of someone walking by the shop. I think it’s a great photo, and probably my favourite of the whole evening.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Photography: Merthyr Road | Daily Desktop Wallpaper | 25×9 | Twitter.

Capturing Your Attention

This week’s theme is ‘London: After The Summit’ – photos from an evening shoot in London last week.

From Smithfield Market, I wandered south to the Museum of London. In true British fashion, it’s built on a roundabout, and is connected to the surrounding streets by several elevated walkways. Down at street level, I spotted this bright lobby display beneath the local gym, and thought that it would make for something a little different. The display changes colour over time. I preferred the warm colours of the reds and oranges myself.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Photography: Merthyr Road | Daily Desktop Wallpaper | 25×9 | Twitter.

Smithfield Market

Last week, I was in London for this year’s Scale Summit, and afterwards I went for a wander through the City of London to try my hand at some night photography. I’d been in the City exactly a month earlier, speaking at the PHP UK Conference, and had spotted all of these interesting sights – but hadn’t had my camera with me at the time. Friday’s trip gave me the perfect opportunity to go back with my camera and see what I could capture for you.

My first photo this week is the magnificent roof and hanging clock of Smithfield Market. Originally built some 140 years ago, it’s got that Age of Progress vibe that you’ll find in old railway stations like London Waterloo and London Paddington – only much much cleaner and much better lit.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Photography: Merthyr Road | Daily Desktop Wallpaper | 25×9 | Twitter.