ABOUT ME

I live in a camper van with a couple of West Highland Terriers for company.
My passion is photography but it is a work in progress.
I am always willing to share what knowledge I have and can be contacted through the comments on this post or e-mail ADRIAN
ALL IMAGES WILL ENLARGE WITH A LEFT CLICK

Friday, 30 July 2010

HDR AND ALL THAT BALONEY (30/07/10)

There seems to be a misconception lurking out there in cyber space. HDR doesn’t have to be anything other than reflecting the truth. Cameras don’t reflect the world as our eyes see it. I swap a lens, put on a filter, or digitally process. At the end of the day what is on the wall is what counts. Relax it is not real life anymore than a flag flapping on the moon was. Yes I do believe they went but our ex colonial brethren do have a tendency to ‘Gild the Lilly’. Quite right too………Most of the time.

Here are a series of shots taken today in Deepdale Wood.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Off camera.

P7305468_7_6_5_4_tonemapped_edited-1    HDR a natural look.

P7305468_7_6_5_4_tonemapped3_edited-1   Less natural.

P7305468_7_6_5_4_tonemapped2_edited-1   Surreal… Horses for courses. You can if you want play with colour channels in Photoshop to boost contrast even higher. Relax they are images.

First thing this morning the roles were reversed the sheep took us for a walk………………..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sheep dogs are sheep dogs and Terriers are……………..Well. Ratters. Horses for courses yet again.

You can probably see where this is leading…….Blowed if I can!…..We are next door to an Equestrian centre. Posh word. didn’t have to look it up as I sussed it has something to do with horses…………………

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Fields full of them gave me a clue……………………..Now, even though we walked for a couple of hours, I have nothing to share. I’ll finish on an Arrgh! picture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Mother and child. Love the mum. She has the look of complete fulfilment.

See you tomorrow. Every success with whatever takes your fancy.

 

Thursday, 29 July 2010

THE DEFINITION OF CHAOS (29/07/10)

I’m not talking philosophical mathematics…..Butterflies flapping wings in the Amazon jungle causing tempest and destruction in Asia……….No this is chaos in reality or rather in Barney as the locals refer to Barnard Castle, suits me, saves wear and tear on the fingers. Bragging again…………Finger!

Today started much as any other up with the sparrows, fired up the coffee pot, took the dogs for a quick pee this time remembering that anything is fair game for a dog, tents, BBQ’s, water buckets absolutely anything that stands more than an inch proud of the terrain. Caffeined and cerealed we went for a walk.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Plenty of cloud around but it threatened no more than a quick shower.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    This mini flock followed us for five minutes…..They obviously thought Alfie was one of them being abducted on a lead.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Alfie met his first horse, or the first he has encountered in my company, thought it was a magnificent beast till in exhaled loudly down it’s nose at him. Had he been younger and taller he would have leapt into my arms. Induced the desired result in him. Never equated horses with laxative properties. Back to the van to collect gear for a wander round town.

Now had I one iota of perspicuity I could have foreseen the consequences of combining two West Highland Terriers on extending leads, a camera, a tripod and a cable release in a busy tourist town in the high season. I haven’t so here is Barney shot handheld in HDR under extremely difficult circumstances.

I never thought war photographers had it easy but they should try this.

P7295407_6_5_4_3_tonemapped_edited-1

P7295412_11_10_09_08_tonemapped_edited-1    The market hall or whatever. I will get back and shoot from inside looking out. The Parish Church looked good so without further ado off we scrambled. Tied the dogs to a railing and went inside. I usually take Molly in with me but knowing pee is alkaline and oak is acid decided that Alfie should remain outside. Seemed a pity to ruin centuries of patina! It’s not a particularly interesting church, just as well I hadn’t been in five minutes when synchronized yipping had me out. Some daft bugger had switched on the lawn sprinklers and every twenty seconds the dogs were getting a wash.

   P7295422_21_20_19_18_tonemapped_edited-1 I include this to show that even I make mistakes. 1 for content……..0 for artistic achievement and the same for star quality. it does however prove I went into the church.

P7295447_6_5_4_3_tonemapped_edited-1The Bridge over the Tees a magnificent structure which demands further attention. It has a weight limit of seven point five tons or maybe tonnes, near enough for me and the truck. Didn’t fall down yesterday so we must be all right.

P7295457_6_5_4_3_tonemapped_edited-1 Finally a picture of Barnard Castle or a small corner of the remains of it. I did promise a proper post and I am well aware quantity does in no way equate to quality. What you get, as always, is what I get.

This is a really exciting if chaotic town to be in, too busy at this time of the year but a bad workman will always blame………..Anything!…Absolutely anything! Be kind to me.

All the best have fun.

 

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

GOT SPLICED TODAY (28/07/10)

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We are a half hours walk outside Barnard Castle and a very photogenic town it appeared when we drove through. Many thanks to Phil at CABINET OF CURIOSITIES who has kindly given me enough suggestions to keep me amused for a month.

The site about two miles outside the town is fine, we are parked under a spreading Chestnut tree……………

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Alright the Chestnut is an Oak but it should still suck up enough water to allow us out without resort to the tow rope.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Molly and Alfie seem content with their new environment. Now look at this, having inherited a dog I have had to find a means of tethering him……………………Here is the result……………

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A shock absorbed dog tether………………………And……………………

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       It’s anchor. The hardware very kindly supplied by Alfie’s mum. The rope and the splicing by me. One good splice, one bad but not to worry the dog won’t notice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Here he is supervising his new constraints construction…………Lord of all he surveys!

Tomorrow I promise a proper outing and hopefully some good pictures. Today I feel inordinately tired but I am getting back to normal.

All the best.

*To get spliced in the UK is slang for marriage. Not a mistake I intend to make again……..Don’t know though, spotted a nubile lass this morning…….If that’s what it takes!!!…………. To quote Rod Stewart.

‘Next time I’ll find a girl I really hate and give her a house’.

 

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

HERON TODAY GONE TOMORROW (27/07/10)

I’m sorry about the title, a truly awful pun, more Mail than Telegraph. After a week here I have only just noticed a Heronry. Not generally a bird that is easy to miss…. An achievement that I'm, perversely, quite proud of. Tomorrow we leave here for Barnard Castle. It’s just as well as I photographed two roosting Rooks whilst under the impression they were Cormorants. New specs, more falling down water or less ‘E’ numbers in my diet. Barring the problem being dementia I promise to solve this small hiccup in service.

It may be more complex than at first I thought…………………………..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of my Cormorants is not a Rook but a Carrion Crow and the other is………………………………….

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  A Wood Pigeon. Ah well!….. Suggestions? Only on a postcard. Please!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA At last a semblance of normality……………A Grey Heron one of four.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Two of four.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Three of four, I suspect this is a juvenile as though it can fly it tends to sit waiting for the others to return. I did hang around but failed to see them feeding it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Four of four…….OK I cheated this is the same bird as number three and for that matter two but I did count four individual birds.

Non of the above are cropped, hardly worth it. All are shot with a 500mm lens on a monopod at 800 ISO. This gives a crop factor of 2x, so equivalent to 1000mm on full frame. Yes they are a hell of a long way off.

It is not the worlds best designed nature reserve from a birders perspective. Digi-Scoping is the answer here as I suspect when the migratory and over wintering birds arrive then some serious entertainment could be had.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   This was an enforced stop the MOT station is virtually next door and the farm I’ve been storing the van at is only a few miles. Thanks for the storage, very much appreciated. I have enjoyed myself.

It is time to move on, not far but move on. We are lucky enough to live in such a varied and diverse country that one doesn’t have to move more than a mile or so for a complete change in both scenery and ambience…. Just as well the price of fuel!

This is a good place to visit, so if you are around have a look at Portrack Marsh. it occupies a bend in the Tees river which was straightened by Navvies so it is, if not a natural ox bow, it appears to be so.

That’s all from Stockton on Tees. See you tomorrow. Hopefully in Barnard Castle but who knows after today's senior moments.

 

Monday, 26 July 2010

MACRO MONDAY (26/07?10)

I am back in Stockton on Tees after having enjoyed a wonderful weekend with my youngest brother in Derbyshire. Not much photography was achieved which considering I wiped a memory card is just as well.

This morning we went for a wander round the adjacent nature reserve, nothing much about with the exception of two or three different types of Bumble Bee. After a laundry session off we set again with tripod cable release and macro lens. They were far too fast for me so it is with some relief that I got one shot I like.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Hoverfly this is the best known of the Hoverflies Episyrphus balteatus. Feasting on nectar from a thistle flower. The tiny black things are………………………………………

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPollen Beetles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese tiny flowers are about the same size as the Pollen Beetle just a few millimetres across and belong to The Greater Burnet-Saxifrage……………..Or at least I hope they do. I’ll no doubt be hearing shortly if, as is often the case, I’ve misidentified them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the entire flower head.

We are here tomorrow and the I’m moving on to Barnard Castle for a week. After that who knows but a few days at the Tan Hill Inn is something that looks as if it could be fun.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

HEY! HO! AWAY WE GO (22/07/10)

Today was MOT day for the truck I drove it down to the test station. I sat for a while, I smoked for a while, I listened to them running the engine onto it’s governor for a while( six times, that’s the law), had palpitations for a while, went to the loo and then thought beggar it. I’ll go to ASDA next door. Bought new bedding and a pair of trousers……………Think positive when stressed, though retail therapy is not my favourite escape it did the job this time.

For those interested the total cost was £100.00p for yesterdays service and £45.00p for the test.

SHE PASSED!!

The tester said never in the history of Christendom had he tested a truck in better condition or more ‘Sparkling Bright’…………..Slight exaggeration maybe……But we are on the road and legal for another year.

It’s grey overcast and ‘orrid here so will treat you to some archive pictures……………..From Whitby Museum.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA             This is a Hand of Glory…………In the sixteenth century they were prepared from the hand of a hung miscreant. Candles were prepared from his fat. The complete kit was then sold to his fellow malefactors who upon entering a property would place the hand on a window ledge stick in a candle between it’s fingers and light it. They believed that whilst the candle was lit it kept the house’s occupants asleep and them free from detection. Some hope!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a model of a French Man’O’War. it was made out of bone left over from the rations of prisoners taken during the Napoleonic wars. they built these to an extraordinary standard and then sold them to supplement their, presumably, subsistence diet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA               Not easy taking pictures on the sly through glass but I really like this. A chess board made of bone, Ammonites and Jet. subtle but fantastic.

I’ll leave you today with an image of a kindred spirit. No two people could be more different but we rubbed along.

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A happy chappy was my brother Richard and generous to a fault.

Tomorrow we are off back to Derbyshire, my home, more exactly my youngest brothers home, for the weekend, enjoy yours, I will.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A NEW TOY (21/07/10)

Today the van went for a full service, it didn’t get one as it is too big for the lift but hopefully got most of it’s bits sorted, new lubricant and the various other fluids replaced and replenished. Tomorrow is MOT day, good job I’m not prone to panic.

Whilst it was at the garage we went for a walk along the river Tees a good fifteen miles upstream from our present location. A grand walk it was celebrated by an ice cream and coffee. Not my first choice of refreshment but it could become so, t’was excellent. I recall an old joke.

What's that lovely shiny stainless steel container?  

Shopkeeper  ‘It’s a vacuum flask’

What’s it do?

Shopkeeper. ‘It keeps things either hot or cold.’

Great! I’ll have one.

Next day as I’m leaving home the wife says.’what’s that?’

It’s a vacuum flask it keeps things either hot or cold.

‘What have you put in it?’

A choc ice and a cup of coffee!!!                                                                         

There are a dearth of pictures today as little wild life about and having left the tripod and filters behind at home couldn’t take advantage of a fast flowing river Tees.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     A field of Linseed just starting to flower, would be worth returning in a week when it ought to be at it’s best.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The River Tees in spate, we had torrential rain of tropical proportions yesterday afternoon followed by several heavy thunder storms during the night. We need the water but as always weather comes in lumps.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is the best of today but the piece de resistance has to be this…………………………………………………

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       No not some deviant sexual toy…………………..Looking again…It may have possibilities.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       I think the box lid fully describes it’s attributes in that regard without further elaboration.

It’s a Dyson hand held vacuum cleaner. I saw one a year ago in Tesco for a hundred pounds, thought. ‘They must think I came with the first fall of snow.’ Having bought a cheap one that wouldn’t suck the skin off a rice pudding, today I threw caution to the winds and bought the proper job. Now the cost is one hundred and twenty pounds. Guaranteed for two years not to rust, bust, pick up dust, buckle or bend. Though I hope it does the third or I’m back to Comet quick sticks.

Tomorrow we’ll get out properly as the MOT only takes an hour, looking at my certificate it ought to have taken an hour a couple of days ago……What’s two days to our friendly constabulary…..Hope I don’t find out!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

TERNED AWAY (20/07/10)

This morning I decided to walk up to the Tees Barrier, hopefully to get some pictures of Salmon or Sea Trout using the fish ladder. It was not to be we were denied access due to major construction work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   This is as close as we got…………….This image is exposure blended using Photomatix then the sky dodged and burned.

On the way back I spent a happy half hour watching the antics of Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns. Some of these images leave much to be desired but considering the light as good as I could manage.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I’m not sure what this is. A juvenile Black-headed Gull I’ll settle for…………………………………………………

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Here are two more…………….Oh! And a fish.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    Blackheaded Gull………….These were all behaving themselves today so not as entertaining as they can be.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  A Common Tern………………………………………………..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd another…………………………………

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA That’s all for today, heavy rain is forecast so I will do what I should have done yesterday and give the van a good clean. Also do what I promised to do and get into some catching up with your goings on.

Monday, 19 July 2010

HERE I GO AGAIN (19/07/10)

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image      We are back in blog land and parked just outside Middlesbrough whilst I get the van serviced and MOT’d. There are now three of us as Molly has been joined by her cousin Alfie until Jen gets her house sorted.

This is at first glance, second and third glances actually, not the most prepossessing of locations. It has one saving grace, a nature reserve right next door. We spent a pleasant hour or so wandering around and although there was little to see it was a very nice morning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The scenery could be better but it’s not too bad. The nature reserve is in the foreground.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA As is usually the case there are more pictures on the board than actual  specimens in evidence. Could be worth a look in winter.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It comprises three separate ponds non of which are easily accessible, good for the birds, not so good for the watcher. Today I saw a few dragonflies and Reed Buntings. As I failed to get a decent picture I can’t, for once, be corrected.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      I don’t know what these tiny bugs are………….Suggestions welcome.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       A Moorhen with chicks but they are hiding in the rushes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    The Tees Barrage. Tomorrow I’ll have a wander up for a better look.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   The dogs enjoyed the river, it made a change from the sea.

Hard work this blogging when one gets out of the habit so I will call it a day and hopefully do some catching up with you all this evening.