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

Saturday, 30 April 2011

A WALK THROUGH PARADISE (30/04/11)

This morning we were out a sixish for a quick look round. Back for breakfast and then out again to look at what remains of Low Slit Mine. The wander took us alongside Middlehope Burn, along both sides actually as a pair of rather decrepit bridges switch the path between banks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       A calf enjoying his breakfast.

_4303649_50_51_52_53_tonemapped_edited-1     I’m hoping this derelict barn is at the delightfully named hamlet of Weed, just a few hundred yards from Westgate.  Round the back of this and into Middlehope valley.

_4303654_5_6_7_8_tonemapped_edited-1The early morning light catching a delightful cottage………bet it’s a dank dull place in winter………it looked really bonny this morning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWaterfalls Middlehope Burn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      We could really do with some rain. The problem being that once it starts it doesn’t know when to stop.

_4303676_77_78_79_80_tonemapped_edited-1       This culvert at Low Slit mine is most unusual, how it supports itself is a mystery. The remains of this mine are being stabilised………..restored is overstating things. I’ll give it a proper go tomorrow. The mines shut over a hundred years ago. This mine is over six hundred feet deep and by the looks of things also processed lead ore from another mine higher up the valley. According to a chap I met on the way back down it was so hot  down there miners were working in their knickers. Them thats could afford knickers!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA style made from railway line….it is still possible to make out the track bed running down the valley. This is bull nosed rail. I noticed an old ore tub axle down the valley which was equipped with the much wider wheels designed to run on a wooden way.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is not a mine adit but a sough. Dug to drain a mine higher up the hill.

_4303705_6_7_8_9_tonemapped_edited-1 This is a mine tunnel or adit and is home to a pair of Swallows.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      Here is one of them. If you would like to see the job done properly then have a look here CABINET OF CURIOSITIES. Thank you Phil it is a great place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      Finally a tree and a rock that caught my fancy.

I’m going back tomorrow with all the gubbins. A macro lens for the wonderful display of wild flowers. A tripod and a long lens for the Swallows. Knowing they have to fly in and out of the mine gives me a fighting chance of a picture. There are also Meadow Pipit and Oystercatchers. It looks as if it’s a flask and sandwich morning.

I’m sorry for the quality of todays pictures……….I thought I was doing okay. I’ll try harder tomorrow. I’ll also stink of garlic as the wild garlic is just out and is wonderful in salad.

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, 29 April 2011

STRAWBERRY FIELDS (29/04/11)

We were out at six this morning looking for the Goosander ducklings. never found them. It’s a holiday in the UK as we have a royal wedding. The fishermen were out , doing what they do best……….seems to consist of chucking hooks, line and weights all over the river bank to the detriment of pets and wildlife. I was under the impression that barbed hooks and lead weights had been banned. It appears not as I had to remove a hook from the dogs leg a month or so back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    This is a crossbreed duck, she looks a little like an Eider from her head shape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   This Mallard seems happy enough with her. I was going to title this post ‘THE ODD COUPLE’ but decided, bearing in mind the day, it might have appeared churlish and opinionated. I would have been devastated had you gone away with that impression………All sweetness, light and tolerance am I!… I would have taken the camper down to London and parked on the Mall for a good view………I’m sure none would have objected but the dogs bark at horses and carts………..wee devils, bark at everything! I didn’t want to spoil their day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   My little gift to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge……..not a Strawberry field……..it’s Dandelions really, me, just messing about….. I quite like it………..see I missed a dock leaf. Sorry! As Muslims say ‘Only the Lord is perfect.’

We are in Westgate, I have internet but very slow so no map. It’s halfway up Weardale. We have been here before but Phil Gates at CABINET OF CURIOSITIES has posted from here at least twice and recommended I visit the old lead workings………that’s tomorrows job. Today, a quick wander round the village, very quick as Alfie has a bad foot. So bad he is limited to right hand tiddling. He caught a claw in the cage at the Doggy Salon tried to get out when he heard my voice………..Daft Dog!………….He’ll survive.

.Teachers, bar two, never taught me anything.  Well reeding……okay… riting and the biggest skill of all… Sinicism……somehow, I just knewed to ignore them. The two that torts me everything. They were tolerant and taught me the biggest thing I ever learnt. Keep your mind open but always question what an expert says………..I question why children who are not working on farms or up chimneys need forty weeks holiday a year!

I could also have called this post Desolation Row but that would have been equally unfair. It is a grand spot. Would be superb if the schools were open……a vain hope

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo money nowadays to maintain the Methodist Chapel the lead is all gone. Probably from the roof as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe privy at the back of the Chapel. It may have been a stable but it looks like a posh privy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA bricked up door in a ruin…………….Get a grip lad………….I’m trying, very, very, trying I am.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Still Trying…………….what's left of the filling station………….now pull myself together. Remember it’s a day for celebration.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe English cottage garden…………..now that’s better……………As Her Majesty would say. ‘One is getting there.’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   The Allotment………….We Brits know our place……..this is a superb example of what Joes Averages can do with a small piece of rented land. I can assure you this is tidy and given another month will be superb.

I hope you all have a magical weekend. It’s May Day Monday…..I will not be joining in with the broadcast rendition of ‘The Red Flag’!!!!. The Queen has two birthdays. She is born again,  radio plays her song. It’s a dirge compared to ‘Flower of Scotland’. All these holidays…………..enough to drive one who is on permanent holiday insane.

I’ve read and edited this and realize…….I am just a republican. Good job I live in a tolerant society…………not that tolerant, infanticide is strongly disapproved of.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

QUACKERS (28/04/11)

Nothing much to show for today……shopping, a haircut for me and one each for the dogs. A couple of trips down to the river Tees. I make it sound like an expedition, it is! A hundred yard expedition!

Now I know ducks can be daft but even a Goosander cannot possibly loose nine ducklings in less than twenty four hours…….the mortality rate is high but they usually manage to rear a third to a half of their brood. Herons, rats, Pike all take a toll.

Digressing………..last year the Crossbred Indian ducks at Tan Hill insisted on laying a clutch of eggs in the middle of the road and then proceeded to sit on them. Unfortunately they failed to repeat the exercise for my camera last weekend.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA What posh dogs! They should be, twenty five ponuds a go for their trim. Mine…………four ponuds including the beard. I don’t have my trim at the dog clipping parlour…..too expensive. Mind you cutting what’s left of my hair is not a long job.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   This is either another female Goosander or she’s hidden her brood somewhere. I do hope they are fine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      She is………….fishing away happily. She did catch one but turned her back and I missed it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       These are a few hundred yards away and at first I hoped they were Goldeneye…………no such luck, though they do have golden eyes they are Tufted Duck………..They can’t fool me……well, not all the time!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      This image is cropped as they moved further away.

That’s about it for today. I’m going up to a small village called Westgate in Weardale ……..no internet, no phone, no television………….I bet they have a blasted Street Party! Pound to a Penny they bought the plates, bunting, paper table cloths and serviettes from the brides father.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA        Croft Bridge looking upstream…..about the only angle you haven’t seen it from this week.

Have a wonderful weekend whatever you are up to. See you again with three or four posts next week. I’ll post back to front so they appear in chronological order. Otherwise folk get confused. I get confused……almost a permanent state is confusion.

As it’s a holiday weekend I’ll leave you with a Tommy Cooper joke I heard on the radio this afternoon.

Tommy. “HANDS UP…….HANDS UP!”      He said. Pointing a banana at his victim.

Victim. “Why are you pointing a banana at me?”

Tommy. “ Christ I must have eaten my gun, Eaten My Gun!”

All the very best!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

DANDELIONS AND DAISIES (27/04/11)

It is another glorious day. We were out at six thirty this morning on a Goosander hunt. We saw a Buzzard trying to raid a rookery. By the time this blogger got the camera up it had gone behind the trees. I assume the buzzard has young to feed, though it seems a little early. They are not usually so brave.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  A little mist rising from the Tees.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Goosander was nesting in the bushes on the left. I didn’t get too close but could see no sign of her………..or him. So it was back to the van for breakfast.

Out again an hour later……..well nine o’clock. It takes me an age to eat soggy Wheetabix and a yoghurt. Oh! and half a banana. The other half was rotten. Never mind, it’s shopping and dog haircut tomorrow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Dandelions and daisies…………..I know it’s silly but spring is magical to me. I laid down and………got up again! That was not magical it was a miracle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I know they are common but I have to get at least one Dandelion seed head a year. It’s why they are common they have got reproduction down to a fine art.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A beautiful carpet of these in the shade under the trees………….I’ve mislaid my flower book so haven’t a clue what they are……………..I know what this is or at least I hope I do………….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s Giant Hogweed. Invasive but a superb plant. I was hoping they would be bigger. They grow to six or nine feet tall. They are worse than STD. Your naughty bits fall off…………you go blind…………your body becomes a suppurating mass of puss……and they can achieve all that if you get within three feet.  Beware the Giant Hogweed!! Having said that it’s little cousin Angelica is crystallised cut up and used on sticky buns.

Now to the Nerdy bit…………..click out now…….or be bored .Silly me; you’ve nodded off already…….I had elevenses and went out again. You HDR folk if you were just being polite then be bored and stick with this…………..it took me a couple of hours. Worse still I learnt… S.D all!….or next to nothing! All the following are small but compressed to a thousand pixels wide and will enlarge with a click. This is for folk that wear anoraks with a bit of fur trim and ride a Vespa Scooter. Health and Sanity warning over. Here they are.

Before I start I found the Goosander. Not one! I found  ten including mum. I had a 60mm lens on so it is not the best of pictures………..it’s also cropped.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  My first Goosanderlings ever………….I’m well pleased.

Right back to Nerdy.

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The Bridge at Croft just taken………………………..Second with a two stop Grad filter.

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Photomatix HDR default five images with two stop increment………and pushed to within a gnats whisker of haloing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProcessed in Photoshop Elements 9. Full Photoshop may be better. Don’t know…………I haven’t got it ……..YET!

John at MIDMARSH JOTTINGS Sent me an e-mail yesterday. It got deleted. Sorry John. I read it and used layers and masking to produce this, with no great expertise and less skill.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA it’s okay but for my taste needs a good push and shove. If you would like the words and music then e-mail John. He’s not as daft as me and can no doubt give you the link.

Finally Saint Peters Church Croft. It was locked but it still got HDR’d

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That’s all for today………Thank God I hear you cry. Have fun. Like a full time job is this being retired.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

IAN ANDERSON (26/04/11)

Ian Anderson though  under pressure is a superb entertainer, he is brilliant. The landlady at the Tan Hill Inn is a pain in the bottom. Halfway through my artistic endeavours she switched from electric light to candles so half of the twenty five minutes of video I took is black……………with candles. I really detest editing video. You can hear me singing away, no not too much amber falling down water, I just like Bruce Springsteen and am not used to video. What have I admitted to……………never live this down.

Sober as a newt…….it’s ‘and ‘eld. beat that you pro video mens and womens!

The first song is. ‘The First Cut Is the Deepest’…….best covered by Rod Stewart, he would be challenged writing Rod Satwert but written by a brilliant bloke called Cat Stevens. his real name? I think not but if he can write a song like this then he can call himself Yuseff bin el Writin for all I care. Ian Im bin Singin Anderson is good at this one.

Ian Anderson

Now I think I may have missed the odd naughty word. I’m no away back to look for it. It’s difficult for us Evangelical Christmasses to tell bullock from bollock. Sorry about that. Enjoy my awful video and have a good week.

 

HAVE I GOT TOO SOFT (26/04/11)

I have moved from Tan Hill to the relative sanity of Croft just outside Darlington. The primary reason for stopping here is that the dogs have a haircut on Thursday. The weather is much colder and overcast. I was getting to enjoy wandering around in a T-Shirt. Never mind, it’s still dry.

Had a wander down to the river Tees and took a couple of pictures of the bridge at Croft Spa. About twenty five truth be told. Here are three………heavily processed HDR then given the Michael Orton look. I didn’t want to short change you with just three images. I’ll bet you are glad there are only three after you have seen these.

_4263535_6_7_8_9_tonemapped_edited-1   The Tees looking upstream from the bridge.

_4263540_1_2_3_4_tonemapped_edited-1     Croft Bridge…………..There are a pair of Goosander nesting on the shingle bank so this afternoon I’ll see if I can get a shot or two.

_4263550_1_2_3_4_tonemapped_edited-1     The bridge, a bit bigger………….the bridge is actually just the same size it was me trying to trick you……I moved a bit closer.

I got a paper this morning but it is full of royal wedding………….I also got them a card. It as a touching message inside……………” Marriage is like a hand of cards, it starts with a diamond and two hearts but it’s not long before one is wishing for a club and a spade.”

Perhaps I won’t send it.

Have a good week, tomorrow I’ll check how big the Giant Hogweed has grown, look for the Heron and should it rain I’ll have another look round the church.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

MY OWN WORST ENEMY (24/04/11)

Today is far from over but after yesterday!………..I really liked yesterdays beer and beer and beer. The photos were alright as well. Up before the Skylark this morning……….proper fog.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Not stunning but shot looking north from Tan Hill…………..click it. It looks better large. A touch subdued for my taste but okay. This is a four image stitch. Should have HDR’d it but serious birders like me don’t use tripods. I’m a wee touch slow they don’t use wide angle lenses either. Be patient I’ll get there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Back to the van and swapped to Telephoto………….I liked these trees. Trees in fog.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    A wee brown job………..I’m hoping it’s a Meadow Pipit………’Cos it was out with the poncho. Doesn’t smell too good today as I changed the oil and filters on the gen set yesterday and used it to lie on. Fair reeks of petrol and old engine oil. It’s getting character! Soon be one of the family.

After breakfast, yogurt and porridge today, off we went. Alfie is on an Easter break. Even a dog deserves a holiday. Stuffed Moll in the shade and settled down.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     I can hear her thoughts……………not that poncho again. She settles and goes to sleep. she’s a good dog she isn’t tied up but thinks she is if I clip the lead on.

Meadow Pipets coming up. These are like a Sparrow, I’m hoping they aren’t Sparrows. Little blighters are faster than an Exocet. Feel free to click out now if you aren’t turned on by wee brown birds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     My left eye……………………………

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     My right eye……………….”Think I’m Boring! Shame on you look what I can do. I can fly six feet up and dangle my legs to attract a mate……..I also sing …………….badly…….Them Skylarks can really sing and fly higher but they are bigger and have a punk hairdo. No point in going that high. Women are fickle you’ve either scored or you haven’t, so I'll stick at a foot or so”.

“Go on then is your camera ready?………….are you ready? Cos I’m like greased lightening at this job”.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Brilliant…………..this was the fourth time he did it……..none of the pictures are cropped but just click and you can see him large. Daft bird…………….have to be, he’s at Tan Hill.

We saw the Merlin this morning………..A kestrel sized thing but with a face that resembles a Bottle nosed Dolphin. It doesn’t hover………..out for him and Curlew tomorrow. At Least that’s another done. I’m an expert now so whatever you birders think it is……..Forget it!  I’m like Charles Darwin……..I sees it and calls it what I want. The spotted Tan Hill Sparrer!

Have fun and a good bank holiday Monday.