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, 28 March 2014

THE BELLS AREN’T RINGING. (28/03/14)

Up with the lark as usual it has been a busy day. I washed and I polished then got fed up and just swept ten days of sand out of the door. The cooker is clean; so is the shower and the toilet plus it’s mirrors and wash basin. Perfect. The bed I left as it is an art form. I like easy art.

Last evening I spent a good three quarters of an hour trying to capture an amazing sight. I thought that we may be in for an aurora. I checked Aurora Watch UK. They were showing nothing unusual but a good hour before sunset it went awfully dark and an orangey colour.

_MG_3285 All I got for an hours playing were these crepuscular rays. They weren’t even that good so I converted to B&W.

The Road to the Isles is a real pain from Fort William to Arisaig. It then transforms into a proper two lane highway as it wends it’s way to Mallaig. Why is beyond me. Folk have managed to Arisaig from Fort William. I can only assume that the last seven miles was a real horror of a single track road. There is a middling CO-OP in Mallaig and a bank but the place isn’t good. It is a local hub and good at what it does. I got a new gas bottle, food, tobacco and met Mandy from the croft two south. I wish I hadn’t, I forgot the Bells. I ran out over a week ago and didn’t suffer two much. So it just goes to show that drink is in the mind and a well filled pair of jeans will save an alcoholic. Mandy could pose on my mucky bed for ‘Boudoir Snaps’. Dream on Adrian; she said why didn’t you tell me on the beach this morning you were going into town. I did not dare say I was too busy admiring you. Her husband is obviously a tosser but he is a Caber Tosser. Frightening they are. She says he wins money tossing, I shut up but did think; I wish I could.

_MG_3288   The easterly winds are here, it is cold and dry. The snow isn’t melting too much so the Cuillins on Skye still looked fine.

_MG_3290    The view from the Layby on the new road to Malliag.

_MG_3295    This probably the best view of Mallaig. It is functional rather than picturesque. The view from the car park on a clear day more than makes up for what the town lacks.

Untitled_Panorama1    I Cuckooed. I have never had a stitch in Photoshop give me a join mark for ages. I tried painting in the masks, I tried cloning with a soft brush, I even resorted to the Blur brush. All to no avail. It is frightening as the light was on my back so a front lit subject ought to be perfect. It was good to be here and see the area in good visibility.

Have fun and have a great weekend tomorrow it’s the pits of Ardnamurchan.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

ADRIAN, HIS BED. (27/03/14)

This is my bed. It is also a work of self expression and one of the best examples of fine art you will see today.

_MG_3266  I wish it were only my bed, it gets a bit cramped but they do keep me warm on chilly nights. People that have time to make beds are the sort of people that make time to get out of the shower for a tiddle. I wouldn’t usually post anything this sordid but FRANCES posted about Tracy Emins bed. The post had twenty or thirty comments the majority from envious ladies. Tracy Emin is a stunning lady, she has one of the most expressive faces I’ve seen. She could keep me happy and entertained for an hour or two.

Yesterday I took Bertha out to show her some birds. I lugged her down behind a rock, threatened the dogs with disembowelment, set up the tripod, mounted camera and lens, looked up and the birds had buggered off.  I repeated this in various locations then thought the ungrateful feathered creatures could go and moult. I took Bertha back to the van and popped some seeds on a post where I could see them. The wind blew the seeds away. I really will have to get rid of Bertha, she is a waste of time in my hands.

_MG_3260     I know some of you will have seen her before but for those that haven’t then here she is. Too big for me.

_MG_3264     Sunset yesterday. It wasn’t brilliant but it was much better than rain.

It is a grand day here. Tomorrow I have to do cleaning, laundry and shopping. Saturday we are going to have a look at the Ardnamurchan peninsular where there may or may not be internet.

 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

TWO OUT OF THREE. (26/03/14)

For once there is just a gentle breeze and it’s warm and almost dry. Yesterday I was without internet but the weather was damp and dismal. I decided to get stuck into Twelve Years a Slave. It is hard work reading it but without doubt much easier than being a slave.

This morning dawned much the same and it wasn’t until I’d got two spoonfuls into a bowl of porridge that I noticed a wonderful rainbow.

_MG_3245         I decided it was time for a panorama but didn’t dare risk wasting time with a tripod.

KEPPOCHPAN6 Six shots hand held……It’s better than nothing.

Back in the van to finish a lukewarm breakfast then out for a wander. I took a macro lens as I fancied having a look at some Sea Urchins. I only found one and it was too dark to get an image of it. I settled for Lichen.

_MG_3258 This I think is one of the Caloplaca. Which one I haven’t a clue.

_MG_3257 I thought this was Crabeye but it is Verrucaria maura and grows just above the Barnacles on rocks.

_MG_3256 This is Sea Ivory. Ramalina siliquosa. It grows a bit higher up but must be very tolerant of salt. I ought to get some and stack it. Any corrections or help with ID will be appreciated but I think I got two out of three.

It has the makings of a beautiful day now so I’ll take Bertha for a wander.

Monday, 24 March 2014

SUNDAY AND MONDAY. (24/03/14)

It has been a superb couple of days, sunny, little wind, I can see the Cuillins of Skye and all is well with the world. Yesterday lunch time an old chap and his wife pulled up with a caravan. They couldn’t get the hitch to release. I’d got Bertha set up for some semi-serious birding but spent a couple of hours dismantling his tow hitch and reassembling it with dry lubricant. Then his jockey wheel fell off. Nowt to do with me. I went to the croft and fortunately they had a trolley jack so that was sorted in minutes. His van is about forty years old and has had a modernish hitch fitted. Daft old beggar had been greasing it and anything fitted with plastic bearings should not be greased. They expand and jam the job solid.

I looked up the cost of a new hitch and told him I’d order him one. He couldn’t understand how I knew how much they cost and when it would be delivered so he came and squinted at my laptop, twisting his head this way and that then went and fetched Moira his wife. She was on the ball and had all her marbles. She says it’s easy you gives him £300.78p and he tells the man behind the screen to send it here. Then the man here fits it for us. It’s arriving early afternoon tomorrow, I’m £300.00p down and still have to fit a tow hitch. I went to bed wondering who between us was the daftest.

_V0G8386  The sum total of my birding. A Herring Gull or a gull.

_V0G8381 The dogs helping to bird……”What are we looking out for?”

_MG_3231_2_3_tonemapped

_MG_3238 Sunset on Sunday over the Small Isles. They were both shot minutes apart. The first is HDR Tone mapped from three images the second is A two stop under exposure for all but the sky and then the foreground was pushed two stops with the selection brush. I much prefer the latter but there is little to choose.

_V0G8356 Dawn on Monday. I silhouetted the foreground as it shows lots of rather seedy timber frame houses and static caravans. They are a feature of the Scottish Highlands. Today I’m reflecting the positive side of life.

_V0G8354The Cuillins of Skye and a Gull.

We came back and I fed the dogs, I had my breakfast early. Then I thought it’s a grand day we will walk into Arisaig. It’s only a couple of miles by road and I fancied a Telegraph and needed fresh milk. I wish I hadn’t bothered with the Telegraph. Sam Cam the spouse of Dithery Dave was out for a wee jog. It was something to do with Sports Relief. She would be better employed running in her red layette for Comic relief. Dithery would have trouble penetrating that socialist red outfit. I would but would request she removed it or pour me another drink. Perhaps she has a sense of humour. Dithery and his mates have but theirs is crueller than mine. I help the rare number of people that I find who are less competent than I. Dithery and his mates think it is acceptable to just help themselves.

_MG_3241       This is a war memorial. I find it fitting. I’m ducking the job. I don’t understand it. It does point east. Towards mainland Europe. It was erected in 2009 to commemorate all the Czech SOE folk that died fighting Nazi Germany.

(What is it about Germans? Why did I qualify the noun Germany with the noun Nazi? I met several climbing and they were fine, there is something amiss because they don’t play rugby. They do sail boats but only in the Baltic and not singlehanded across oceans. After years of trying to forgive them I have come to the conclusion that they are just a pain in the ass that should have been defeated and not re-united. They are dangerous en mass. Merkel thinks she can rule the world thinking like a Saxon. A charming fool she is.)

They were trained here but looking at the number of names of the dead on the side panel they were trained in a hurry. I have never experienced proper war but I used to play rugby and squash and ski hard and training time was limited for my hobbies. I like this as an edifice but dislike Czech and Scottish politicians sticking their names on it. Self aggrandisement is what it is. Matters nothing to those that died but it detracts from a thank you stone.  

_MG_3244   I had just taken this picture of the boneyard at Arisaig when John and Moira of the knackered caravan drove past, tooted and waved. I thought miserable sods. A Fiat 500 pulled up ten minutes later and a vision of drop dead gorgeous and veritable clouds of curly black hair; asked if I’d like a lift back to the van. I said how do you know I have a van. Suspicious I am. My mum always said don’t take jelly babies from strangers. She said Grandad has asked me to pick you up. I thanked her and said we’re enjoying the walk. I didn't want her thinking I was old. Silly really, just as I know she is young, beautiful and possibly annoying, she can see straight away that I’m old. At least as old as her parents and I bet she found them a trial. Nice to look at though, a fillum star she was and without so much as an eyebrow plucked. Things worked out fine, when we eventually made it up hill and down and got home and before the kettle boiled she was round and gave me £350.00p in cash. She is sending her husband to help me fit the new hitch. I hope he is young and strong and an artisan. I hope he is busy. Dream on, dream on. It is not nice getting old and having to look at nubile ladies. It would be a whole lot worse if there were none to look at.

Have a great week. It’s a long post but it is my diary and not yours. Have fun.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

ADRIAN WARDHOL. (22/03/14)

There is little change in the weather. The weather is a photographers friend. Believe that and you should be disappearing up your own arse or editing a snappers comic.  The day to noon yesterday saw 2” of precipitation. Noon today saw only a quarter of an inch. That quarter of an inch has made for snow capped anything higher than six hundred feet. The wind is away a steady twelve miles per hour so I got a good nights sleep. I needed it, yesterday evening I was cleaning salt and rain residue from two cameras and three lenses. I am thinking of going back to UV filters. I find it a pain sitting and lifting salt crystals from primary lens elements with a damp cotton bud. I have a magnifying glass and one of those things that jewellers stick in their orbit before sucking their teeth and denouncing your prized jewel as a bit of glass.

The coatings on good lenses are sophisticated and not meant to be polished with toothpaste or so I’ve been told.

I’ve been told they are multilayer works of un-understandable micro layers applied to a perfect lens. I thought perfect meant perfect. I suspect they use the layers of applied molecular film to disguise the CAD incompetence.

_MG_3220    My first view of the world this morning. I duck out and back fast this is the next squall heading my way lit by the early morning sun. The dogs seem to be intent on winding me up. They took their time. Rolling in wet sand and trying to grab snow flakes. Young and silly they are.

_V0G8344 Whilst waiting, with five layers on, a rainbow appeared. I’ve had to dig my thermal skin layer out, it is bloody freezing wandering about up here. I did think earlier in the week that it was rainbow weather.

_V0G8353 The Cuillins of Rum, covered in a sprinkle of snow and looking almost perfect. Landscape photography here is like bird photography, one has to be there and one has to be quick. If you are getting fed up with the same scene but different light then here is a change.

_MG_3223orig This unfiltered, cold pressed olive oil was on offer at £4.00p a couple of weeks ago. I was making salad dressing last night and thought I’d use it. I couldn’t it had set solid. I have warmed it up now and it looks good to go tonight. I took it’s picture and did an Adrian Wardhol.

_MG_3223 Andy Warhol with a twist. Sorry about the one in the top right quadrant. I didn’t notice till I’d flattened the image too late and not the will power or dedication to start again.

Have fun.

Friday, 21 March 2014

MUCH THE SAME. (21/03/14)

If the wind would die down life would be superb. There are still the showers to contend with but the light is good in between them. We managed a walk this morning without getting wet. EiggRumpan  Eigg and Rum with it’s head in the clouds. The mountain on the left of Eigg is an Sgurr it is the largest pitchstone ridge in Europe.

_V0G8332  The land on the horizon is the Isle of Skye and the tiny bit to the left is Soay Island where the sheep come from.

_V0G8334

_V0G8337 Highland Cattle. These are generally very gentle and sociable beasts. Which reminds me I have beef for tea this evening.

That’s all for today, have a great weekend.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

HAPPY TODAY. (20/03/14)

This site is much better than I thought it was on first acquaintance. I’ve decided to stop for at least ten nights. The weather was atrocious last night and this morning with storm force winds and heavy rain. It is brightening up now. Heavy showers and thirty five mile per hour winds are a vast improvement.

_MG_3199_200_201_tonemapped  Blue sky and on the left is the island of Rum.

_MG_3205_6_7_tonemapped Eigg to the left and Rum to the right.

_MG_3208_09_10_tonemapped The view looking inland. Tomorrow I’ll have a wander into Mallaig for a map. It is much cooler than it has been lately and it looks as if there is more snow on the way. It shouldn’t snow where I am as we are at sea level and the sea is warm here. Not warm enough for me to don my knitted cozy but warm by Artic standards.

It looks as if the weather will settle down from Sunday on. As and when the wind drops I’ll go and hide in the rocks with Bertha. It’s about time she earned her keep with a bit of birding. There are lots of birds here, mostly gulls of one sort or another but there are smaller jobs which I’ll try and identify.

image   Low tide and a 50mm view from the van. Life doesn’t get much better.

I’ll try for some snaps of Mallaig tomorrow.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

CLASSIC. (19/03/14)

I had to move today as I needed diesel, gas, food, whisky and tobacco. Why the rush? It’s budget day and ‘The Boy George’ is bound to hike duty on most of these things. I know I shouldn't judge a man by his looks but he has that I'm holier than thou look. He looks smugger than Dithery Dave and that is something of an achievement.

image We are a mile just north of Arisaig. It’s just a small croft and I’m parked overlooking the Small Isles. Not that I can see them in the driving rain. The van is rocking away in a thirty mile an hour gale it looks a good place for a sunset if the weather perks up. You can see three of the Small Isles left of my star. From south to north they are Muck, Eigg and Rum. There is a forth one called Canna but I won’t be able to see it as it hides behind Rum.

image

I have never been here before and it is well worth the drive from Fort William on the A830. It’s a pity it is such a miserable day or there would have been some wonderful opportunities for photographs.

_MG_3195   The beach is not twenty yards from the van. The dogs are very impressed. I wish I was; I’m getting wind and weather weary.

_MG_3196

_MG_3197  I am hoping for a good sunset. I’ve gone off the nuclear or pavement pizza ones. We will see. I should be feeling happy here but for some reason I’m not. Last year at this time I was in Ravenglass which can’t hold a candle to this place for views but I find it a nicer place. I’ve not paid yet and am dreading the row if they try for twenty pounds a night with water from a tap with no screw fitting and a shower block with no windows in it. You can see what you are doing but the glazing has blown out. The young lad said they are waiting for a joiner. It looks as if they have been waiting for a couple of years.

I will reserve judgement as this site was recommended by another Old Age Traveller. He is usually right so I’ll give it a go till the weekend at least. The teenage lad in the bungalow said pick any pitch you like but not twelve. I pulled onto thirteen. Whilst writing this a chap knocked on the van and said you are on my pitch. I offered to move as he had left his shore power lead by the electric post. He was a nice chap and said no bother. He has a Classic HYMER. It must be twice as old as mine. I wonder will I see the day when my van is a classic and not old. Better still the day when I become a Classic.

Have fun. I’ll catch up with your posts tomorrow as I still have some editing to do on some pictures for Caravans and Motorhomes Cause Chaos Monthly. I thought I was a bit backward but the picture editor there is a complete Muppet. PNG files he wants. I prefer TIFF is it me? It may be, I might be becoming a classic.

 

Monday, 17 March 2014

RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS. (17/03/14)

I think that I’m going to have to forget a video of the Falls of Foyers. We have been out twice today and got a good soaking for our trouble. At least the 5D II keeps the water out better since I gave the card door a smear with olive oil. I used to panic when I found water droplets in the card slot. It is a much better camera than the Olympus but the build of the case is nothing like as water tight.

_MG_3180    Loch Ness. This is about as good as it got.

I took some video, I’ve got used to hearing my voice but still need electrocution lessons. The video was uploading fast but I watched the Grand Prix on I-Player, I-Player is heavy on usage. A bit like Suzy Perry. She is an air head but has a lovely tummy. Like a Kelly Doll she is; knock her over and she bounces straight back up; I’m starting to have a sneaking regard for her. I ran out of data and Hutchinson won’t give me anymore. They are aware of the problem and say they are sweating blood and guts to fix it. I’m now on Highland WI-FI. It is like waiting for paint to dry but better than nothing…..Mondays?…I ask you? It’s been a right royal pain today. One perhaps should be on contract but if one is how does one keep track of usage. I go all winter on £15.00p per month and then in summer with F1 and MotoGP it costs a tenner more. No chance of any motorbikes this year, that’s a pity.

It’s been a trying day.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A DAY OF REST. (16/03/14)

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. I was up with the Oystercatchers this morning. That is early for they never seem to sleep. I then watched the F1 qualifying on I-Player had a bowl of porridge and took the dogs a walk. It was still only seven thirty.

I then spent an hour or so wandering round the campsite snapping pictures for the ‘Old Age Travellers Fortnightly’ or some such publication. It was decided that an aerial  shot would be good so I hiked my body up the hill. It wasn’t good for me.

_MG_3173   I came back and dropped the pictures on to a memory stick, popped that into the office with instructions for the picture editor and decided I couldn’t face the walk up the gorge to the falls. One hill a day is enough.

There was just time for a quick siesta and then the Grand Prix highlights were on. I was pleasantly surprised. I think it went much better than anyone expected.

It is warm but very windy under heavy clouds. I took the dogs out for the last of the light.

_MG_3175  Foyers basking in sunshine. I took the first shot from the white building on the right. There is a road to it as it’s the pub. It is miles round by the road I went straight up the hill, I’m not sure it was any easier or quicker.

_MG_3176   There was a brief shower but it soon passed. Visibility is excellent and has been all day.

_MG_3178      The last of the sun until tomorrow. Sorry about the rain drop or bit of muck on the lens. It would clone out but would take longer than the image is worth.

Tomorrow I’ll go to the falls. Have a wonderful week.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

AT LAST. IS THIS THE MONSTER? (15/03/14)

I got a couple of papers this week and not only can I not finish the crosswords but they made my blood boil. I find it soul destroying that our non-elected government can award themselves an 11% pay rise yet give Health Service workers 1%. We are governed by immoral crooks. It is time to start throwing rotten eggs whenever they appear in public. I stopped going to meetings when a Scot informed me that meetings were for alcoholics and drunkards don’t go to meetings. 

I spent a couple of hours sitting in a cool gale this morning. I know it is silly but I noticed a couple of Otters yesterday. Unfortunately the dogs noticed them before I did. I lugged the 400mm lens and tripod down to the confluence of the river and loch. I got settled in behind a fallen Alder, tied the dogs up and sat and sat and drank some coffee and sat some more. All I saw for my trouble were a couple of Oyster Catchers and a pair of Mallard.

I have good internet here so watched the England/Italy game. Italy got thrashed but never gave up. I have seen hundreds of Rugby matches and never have I been disappointed. The fans mix together and applaud good play no matter which side they support. It’s in complete contrast to the tribalism that is football. Last week some ignoramus head butted a player. He was a football team manager. Says it all really. I used to play rugby and I have to admit it was rather pedestrian. These days it is fast and furious. The work rate is great. Ladies Rugby is on the up with BBC coverage now. I saw a few clips but it didn’t have the appeal of Beach Volleyball.

Is this the Loch Ness Monster?

_V0G8328 This Lichen is a monster. The frond bit is about four inches long. It’s growing on a Norwegian Spruce I think. I have trawled my books. I’m guessing it’s Lobaria pulmonaria. It is one hell of a size for a lichen.

Tomorrow looks good for some waterfall video so batteries are charged, tripod polished and we are ready to go. I have a commission first for some high resolution pictures of happy campers and the campsite. I don’t get many calls for my snapping ability but this is a biggy. Free camping for a year. And the loan of a big 4x4 to get me to the waterfalls. With a bit of luck it will get me to the meeting in the pub.

Have fun.

Friday, 14 March 2014

A MONSTER. (14/03/14)

All the photographs I’ve seen of the Loch Ness Monster…Nessy….have been of such poor quality that I refused to believe the beast exists. On Wednesday the fish van came round and I bought a small monster._MG_3150 It’s tail fell off in the back of the fishmongers van, thank heaven. They sell these by weight and nobody I know eats fish tails. It isn’t a monster at all but is an Arbroath Smokey. I find them the finest of hot smoked fish. The Haddock is gutted, salted overnight, dried for a day then hot smoked for about an hour. They tie them in pairs by their tails, hang them on a stick in big tubs with smouldering wood chips underneath then seal the lid with wet sacks. You can enjoy them cold with bread and butter. I like them hot with basmati rice flavoured with lime juice.

Today I’m going to make Cullen Skink. Boil some potatoes in milk and a bit of water, chop an onion in, then as the potatoes start to dissolve into the cooking liquid add a few more cut into lumps. When these are half cooked about ten minutes later, the liquid and potatoes should be like thinish porridge or very thick soup, add cream, I don’t, I add crème frais or Greek Yoghurt. If you live in Spain the Creme Cocina is brilliant, you can boil it without it seperating. Flake the fish in being careful you don’t get the skin or bones and the result is a meal fit for a king.

Kings and Queens are a stupid lot. Hereditary power and inbreeding must be the daftest way of ensuring success in anything. Don’t blame me if yours tastes disappointing. My brother was a superb chef, it’s not my fault if it isn’t in the genes.

I woke this morning to the sad news that Tony Benn died in the early hours. In the seventies he was part of an era of entertaining politicians. I miss conviction politicians.

The weather here is warm, windy and wet. Even the night temperature last night was 9oC it’s got to eleven today. The wind is gusting 40mph and the rain is being blown along with it….Not nice.

_V0G8327

_V0G8326 I wish I knew what causes this steam to rise from Pine forests in rainy weather. I used to think it was mist caused by inversion. This morning it looked more like low cloud being caught in the tops of the trees.

_V0G8318 This is in colour. I see there isn’t any, ‘By Gum’ it’s ‘ard up ‘ere.

_V0G8317    I think this is Hard Fern. The brown bits under the leaves are sorris, spill chucker couldn’t help, they may be soris; they send out seeds for new ferns. It’s far too complicated for me.

_V0G8319    Gorse, my first flower of the year. It is invasive but it grows almost anywhere that other plants don’t like.

Have a wonderful weekend.