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

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

THE YOUNG PRETENDER. (29/04/14)

Today we drove the forty miles or so from Onich to Foyers on the shore of Loch Ness. It was a murky evening yesterday but I met a proper birder from Chesterfield. We had a good chat. I gave him the benefit of my ignorance and he put me right. Nice bloke but even with a camouflaged hat he couldn’t tempt the Loon within range. He did see a lifer or killer. It was a Hooded Crow. He says there is no such thing, I said Keith says there is and his hat isn’t as daft as yours. Who the bloody hell is this Keith. I explained that between them the three birders I know within striking distance of Milton Keynes have taught me all I know. He went to get his book and said well fuck me it is a Hooded Crow. I didn’t he wasn’t my shape. Chesterfield folk are not noted for their couthicity; despite Chesterfield being a town.

He was still sitting out there in the gloom when I went to make supper but was now sporting a camo poncho. He is on his way to Skye to get some snaps of White Tailed Eagles. I’ll get some as well next month. I’m going to Skye so it will be easy. _MG_5768           I’m daft but not daft enough to attempt bird shots in this light. I’ll get a new hat.

This morning I ventured into Morrisons in Fort William for some fresh meat, fruit and veg. I selected a 500gm or 1lb in old measure cardboard box of strawberries, they were only £3.00p and they let me taste one, It tasted like strawberry so in the trolley they went. I was at the checkout when I realised that every time I eat strawberries the rheumatism (that’s a hard word) in my fingers and toes gets worse. The check out girl says It's Gout you have. I was impressed, I have just Googled Gout and sure enough strawberries don’t help. I ask you. Doctors having to moonlight on supermarket checkouts? Glad they are doing, it saves making an appointment for days away at their proper place of work; excellent  system. I forgot to ask her to have a look at my little toe which has a corn on. I know corns and had she diagnosed that as Gout I’d have put her on par with my GP. I suspect they just guess when baffled.

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_V0G8695    The Commando war memorial just north of Spean Bridge. I usually stop here. It’s both sad and uplifting. They have built a Garden Of Remembrance; I have some pictures but find it tacky. This is a grand memorial. It makes me sad and peaceful at the same time. A bit like the song ‘Old Shep.’ I feel better for having been here and indulged in a bit of a weep.

I arrived at my destination, got in a row for being ten minutes early.

I lent them my card reader, as a visiting Muppet couldn’t get his snaps off his camera and mistakenly thought he was in Jessops. I sorted the site computer. I eventually got the van set up with mains water, electricity and plumbed in drainage. I have to get it cleaned for the summer.

Donald the owner had sent me some pictures of Otters and I have seen them here though I suspect his Otter was a bit of tree. He also mentioned that the Wild Goats were back after a two year absence. I also like the folk here.

I took the dogs a walk.

_MG_5771     Moll is better, what is thems……………………………….

_MG_5772     Alf didn’t know. I’ve never seen owt like thems Moll. I said they is Wild Goats dogs and they are carnivorous and close relatives of Koreans. They were good while I adopted a recumbent posture. Okay I fell over.

_MG_5777     For once the dogs sat and stayed. I couldn’t get close but will have another go. We sat down and they resumed grazing and playing. Tomorrow Otters…..The pigs are fed and promise to fly!

_MG_5776     The Young Pretender.

Have fun.

Monday, 28 April 2014

PEBBLE WARS. (28/04/14)

It is another warm spring day. It was a bit gloomy first thing but had brightened up after breakfast. Moll is much better but I'll give her another quiet day. Yesterday afternoon it was warm enough to sit out with a book. Today there is a cool breeze so I’ll sit inside with a book. Moll gets a rest so we all get a rest.

bunreepan1

bunreepan2 Loch Linnhe from my chair; this is the wider view, this morning I went for the narrower view.

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Oystercatchers are trying to protect their pebbles, unfortunately so are the Ringed Plover. There is a Hooded Crow adding his twopenneth so all in all the pebble spit is busy.

Tomorrow I’m going back up to Loch Ness for a week then I’ll head for the west coast and head slowly northwards from Skye.

Third time lucky with this post.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

SOME BIRDS. (27/04/14)

Molly is happy again but hopping along on three legs. I decided that three miles of walk was probably not a good idea. I’ll take the camera to the narrows tomorrow when she will be better with a bit of luck. I found some birds this morning and having tied the dogs up managed to creep quite close. I also slithered through some sheep shit so have a pullover to wash.

_MG_5692Ringed Plover. It’s a beautiful morning but they are the very devil to spot. When they move I can see them but I lose them when they stand still. The big bird is a Herring Gull having a doze in the sunshine.

_MG_5707   They are quite brave and beautiful little things.

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_MG_5712  Pipet…..I’ll guess at Rock Pipet as it was by the sea and on rocks. The nearest meadow is miles away. They do that funny hover about six feet off the ground whilst dangling their legs so they could be Meadow Pipets.

_MG_5704 This pair had me baffled, they also had me swearing as every time I went click they dived. Naughty birds. I am going to guess they are Redbreasted merganser. Very posh they are and it’s a pity they didn’t come closer. All images will enlarge with a left click.

_MG_5674 Herring Gull.

I did try using the 2x teleconverter on Little Bertha but I have to focus manually and the focus ring is a bit quick for me. I’ll get used to it and you get what you pay for. I am very pleased with the lens. I can go out for a walk and not think of the effort entailed.

A belated Happy Birthday to KEITH and Happy Birthday to TREVOR.

The rest of you just have a great week unless you too have anything to celebrate in which case raise a glass to me.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

MADE UP. (26/04/14)

It’s a glouwering, louwering, windoury and rain blasted morning. I was going to walk to the Corran Narrows and set up for another time lapse. I know if I do I’ll get washed back to the van so I’ll do that tomorrow when it looks as if it will be a better day.

_V0G8664_5_6_tonemapped A made up picture to go with made up words.

I’ll clean the truck and try and find out what is the matter with Molly’s leg. She can’t put weight on it this morning, with a bit of luck she maybe just slept a bit cockeyed on it.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

DARK TO LIGHT. (24/04/14)

I have man flu. I'm dosing it with a good dollop of campanology. The bell ringing is not helping my mastering of time lapse. There are always six ways to achieve something in Photoshop but today I decided on the complicated one……..I’ll not go into detail as many visitors find it boring. Even I found this boring I had to wait while I batched processed 1270 Raw images shot at 3s intervals and then wait while Photoshop synchronised my one slightly surreal image to all the rest and converted them to JPEGs at YouTube size. I am far from mastering this business as you will see. If anyone would like the workflow and the grief then ask. I have a fast laptop but it ran out of hard drive #1 and It couldn’t find hard drive #2. It is showing but I have yet to find a way of letting the computer access it….Help please! I also ran out of Scratch memory… Help would once again be more than welcome…..Mark I do have half a tin of Moffat Toffee. I’m not suggesting you are open to bribery…….BUT.

The surreal is me being Arty Farty I pushed and shoved in camera RAW then forgot to sharpen. I’ll always have Piss in front of artist before my name and never RA after. Sad when I think because I am trying. This is six hours editing and forty minutes shooting. I still managed to do it the same day though. I also forgot to use align frames and Mersad told me to do that before. I forget…silly me, a dumb cluck I am; I wrote down every step I had to follow for this workflow and the wind makes it look silly by shaking the very rigid tripod.

Clouds over Carnbo
   

I took Little Bertha out this morning. Wonderful she is, a veritable pleasure for an old man to walk with. We saw a………………._MG_4394 Mr Sparrow.

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_MG_4387 A Goose….my sister says it comes from China. It is the big boss man here. It is a handsome goose and after a week, only hisses at me a bit. It hisses and runs at the dogs and they are frightened. So was the lens delivery man.

_MG_4396  These two ducks were not inclined to share the pond with the dogs. TREVOR says they are Shellduck. I agree with him. I first thought they were Goosander but they didn’t look quite right. If you click on the image you will see the male is in front as he has a knob……….On his bill…that’s at the front end. Amazing that they roosted on a water splash on a cross country course.

Considering I don’t feel well it’s no such a bad day. 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

LITTLE BERTHA. (23/04/14)

It’s another dull day but much better than yesterday.

Big Bertha was collected and Little Bertha arrived. She looks and feels as good as new so I am happy. She is almost weightless by comparison.

_V0G8663       Little Bertha.

I took her out for a quick play and was happy enough.

_MG_4385    Swallow.

_MG_4386 Female Sparrow.

I also got a 64GB Compact Flash card. This should give me about 90s of time lapse video at 30fps using shooting small RAW files, the smallest RAW file I can shoot is 5.2MB; I hope the maths works out right. Microsoft GBs seem smaller than other peoples has anyone else noticed this? The write speed is an amazing 120MB/s which is about twice as fast as the Canon 5D II. Overkill but it was on offer and is a Lexar. They seem to last for ever with a format every now and again. If I shot in JPEG then I would have the capacity to bore folk witless. A minute or so of my video is more than enough for man or beast.

It’s not looking good for tomorrow. I’m hoping to get out early for some time lapse macro of Celandine opening. I will see.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

I’LL BE BACK. (22/04/14)

Today my brother-in-law let me sit in a big posh Beemer and conveyed me to from Kinross to Falkirk. I didn’t get to have a drive as tyres are expensive and so is the little SUV…….Much better than wrestling with the camper it was; I could live with one of these and a caravan. It felt better even on big wheels and little tyres than the van does. Impressed; you bet I was.

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_MG_4343_4_5_tonemapped This is the Falkirk wheel. It is stunning. It replaced eleven locks from the Clyde canal to the Union canal. It can lift hundreds of Elephants, dozens of London buses, and takes them as high as a short football pitch stood on end. Wiki it yourselves. It can hold lots of narrow boats and only uses 1.5KW/h per cycle. About the same amount of electricity as very clean or very large people expend on a couple of showers.

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_MG_4334_5_6_tonemapped I had a ride on it. It is a long time since I’ve had so much excitement on a canal. I can remember a carnal holiday on a canal that was better but that was many moons ago. Spot on it is and I’ll be back on my own to take some pictures when the light is good. I’ve lifted these images as far as I dared. Heavy rain today.

We then drove across Falkirk towards Grangemouth to see the new Kelpies.

_V0G8651   Mythical horses with webbed feet that exist in deep oceans and fresh water lochs. The artist is Andy Scott. These are impressive and beautiful but his Clydesdale horse on the M9 is also stunning.

I could have spent a day or two in this area. I’ll try and get back this winter.

Tomorrow a new lens arrives and Bertha goes. It will be a sad day but I look forward to having a lens I can carry.

Have fun.

 

Monday, 21 April 2014

SWALLOW. (21/04/14)

This morning I’ve been flashing in the barn. It never fails to amaze me that birds don’t object to being flashed at.

I have dozens of pictures of swallows but will post just four. _MG_4275

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_MG_4303 It goes without saying that I have none of a whole one flying. I have a few blurry ones and a few sharp ones of bits of Swallow. They are fast.

That’s all for today. It’s giving rain for tomorrow so it looks like a wet visit to the Kelpies.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

SHEEP. (20/04/14)

We are enjoying our third consecutive day of dawn till dusk sunshine. Brilliant it is and my sister is wandering around her garden muttering about needing rain. Daft bat.

Yesterdays supper was spot on and worth the effort._MG_3410 Shredded lamb with mint, pomegranate, feta cheese and olives all served warm on a bed of wild rocket. I had enough lamb left over for a couple of small shepherd’s pies and a Lancashire Hotpot.

_MG_3408  Lancashire Hotpot. This one is lamb, black pudding, lamb’s kidneys and in this case a couple of carrots I had lying around. The top is sliced potato with a bit of butter dotted on it.

Today I’ve been time lapsing. I was trying for one of the Swallows nest building. Those that know me will have already guessed that it was a total failure. The Swallows ignore the strobe but the horses don’t. I assumed the horses were out for the day but Carole brings one back and takes another out, then brings it back. It’s bloody Sunday hasn’t she heard of a day of rest? Apparently not. She is walking one with a swollen fetlock and another with a bruised inlock.

She still has to do Horse box loading with Brav. Horses that don’t like a drive out are a real pain. They have to be learned to walk into a truck and turn sideways. It’s a mind puzzling exercise for a horse. It’s good for a laugh. He takes really dainty steps up the ramp and then when his front feet hit the flat of the truck he backs off at a hundred miles an hour. The dogs think it is highly entertaining. Carole is good she does get airbourne but lands on her feet and goes back for another round. I then turned my attention to the lambs or as I prefer to think of them; next Easters dinner.

I made this from about 270 frames taken at 2s intervals. I think at last it’s about right for sheep. I went to get a thousand frames as I’ve sorted the workflow now. The sheep are all lying down sunbathing. Idle wee woolly beasts.

I’m currently shooting small Raw files but to get a minutes video I’m going to have to shoot JPEG, have a longer interval or tether the camera to the laptop. I only have a 16GB card. I do have a spare laptop with some letters missing where Alf jumped on it, he said: “It woz an aksidently.” Alf is prone to accidents with expensive things. I’ll try and sort it for the job as then I could bore folk to death and big time.

I like shooting RAW as it it easy to batch process and save to a folder on my desktop where I have an evens chance of finding it again when I need it for Photoshop. If anyone can help I’d be interested to know what dimensions work best. I’m using 720 pixels but could go much bigger I could go to 2784x1856 but then wouldn’t be able to pan and zoom which is the next thing I want to learn, swear at and muddle through.

Tomorrow I’ll have another go. Tuesday I’m having a day trip to Falkirk to see the Wheel and the hundred foot high Horses Heads. They are called The Kelties and look great in the pictures I’ve seen. Little Bertha should arrive on Wednesday. I haven’t planned further ahead than that. Big bertha is all packed away and ready for collection on Tuesday. I had a bit of a sniffle. She is a beauty of a lens but I told her she was just too big for me to handle.

Enjoy your holiday Monday.

Friday, 18 April 2014

THE LAST STRAW. (18/04/14)

The Swallows have arrived or half a dozen of them have. This morning was dry and clear but by hell it was chilly.

I had just got back to the van and saw a buzzard circling low and getting lower. By the time I got Bertha out four rooks had arrived and started harassing the poor mite; it shot off low and to somewhere miles away. I thought I’d have a go at a Swallow. There I was swinging Bertha this way and that and I’ve not only put my back out again but dislodged a bit of rib.

The sum total of my efforts………………

_V0G8634     A Jackdaw watching my antics with amusement.

Bertha is away to pastures new and I am getting the Canon 100-400mm IS USM lens. It is guaranteed not to rust, bust, pick up dust, buckle or bend for a year. I realised that my lack of strength and fitness were making the 400mm f2.8 at 4kg a trial and not a pleasure to use. I’ll never make a birder anyway so she was wasted in my hands.

It is sad that I have to admit to infirmity, sadder still that I accept incompetence. I'll look on the bright side on a bright and sunny day. Her replacement is a third of her weight.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

GOOD THURSDAY. (17/04/14)

It’s been a busy couple of days for me. I arrived in Kinross yesterday and had a relaxing evening over food and a few lagers. I needed the relaxing as I had to fill the camper water tank from the outside tap. The inside tap for the outside tap is inside the stables next to Bravoir’s loose box. I was rooting about in the gloom when he did that blowing thing horses do right on the back of my neck. I was damn close to crapping myself. I did remonstrate, I told him he was a silly ‘orse. I then got knocked this way and that while he checked my pockets for anything of interest.

Today was hair cut day for the dogs. I could do with one as well but I’ve decided to grow mine. Not on the top as it hasn’t grown there since my early twenties. I suspect the comb over will come back into fashion or at least I’m hoping it will. My hair is long enough for a blow over. The blow over looks more natural. It also looks a little Einsteinish.

I also got a full shoulder of lamb for Easter Sunday Eve. Scottish butchers don’t piss about I have an eighth of a sheep. I’ll set to tomorrow and make a Big Lancashire Hotpot from the neck and it’s front leg. The rest I’ll slow roast for hours on a bed of Garlic, shallots, parsnip and carrot. When it’s done I’ll shred it onto a bed of Rocket leaves and sprinkle it. With Pomegranate seeds and juice, fresh mint chopped and soaked in dilute lemon juice, a few big green olives quartered and a handful of that really posh, wet, Feta cheese. It will be much better than eating an Easter Bunny. To accompany the sheep I think a simple side plate of green salad and little crispy roast potatoes. I’ll do the potatoes in good Yorkshire Rape seed oil. Healthy eating is what I'm known for

Easter Sunday is busy here. If it’s vaulting I’ll take some snaps, if it’s dressage I’ll take a couple of strobes. ‘orses react beautifully to flash guns. I have this little fetish, I quite like posh totty in their best ‘bib and tucker’ covered in sand, ‘orse muck, bits of rubber tyre; they look very nice dishevelled. I’m not allowed to flash at them. If it’s dressage I’ll watch the boxed set of this years party political conferences. Even I can make ‘orses take big steps and little ones and turn around. Not in the order judges expect I'll be the hundredth to admit._MG_3378       The dogs yesterday snuffling for shell fish. They only have to find a cockle or better still a mussel. It keeps them amused for ten minutes chomping the shell and licking out the middle.

Today.

_MG_3396        Alf….so smart but sleepy. He missed his morning nap.

_MG_3398      Moll sparkling bright. She is older and associates the camera with a walk.

I was going to save this for tomorrow but what the hell.

_V0G8586  Happy Easter to everyone of you.

Have a great holiday and remember you are celebrating the resurrection and not the crucifixion. Not nice at all are those Italians in their bad moments.

If I don’t get any snaps tomorrow have a great weekend.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

COSTA DEL LINNHE. (15/04/14)

It is perfect weather. A bit hazy maybe but that is just nit picking. _V0G8577 Abhainn Righ. It’s a little river twenty yards from the van.

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_V0G8588 Loch Linnhe looking towards Oban.

_V0G8592 Ardgour. What a change in the weather. I decided to celebrate by taking Bertha out to look for some birds. I saw plenty. Herring Gulls, Oystercatchers, a Cormorant, a Rock Pipet and a Blackthroated Diver. I took some pictures but they are awful even by my standards. This summer I am going to make a determined effort to improve.

Tomorrow I’m heading down to Kinross, this afternoon I’m lens and camera cleaning and then I hope for another play with the Red Camera.

_V0G8620   I nearly forgot the birds. I should have done.

_V0G8608   I hope this is a Black Throated Diver. I think they only get their grey heads in summer. It is getting towards summer though so this could be something else. Hey Ho! It is something else it’s a Great Northern Diver. Like a dog with three tails I am. Pity the little bastard wouldn’t come closer. I think this is a killer or lifer or whatever. I’ve never seen one before. I could do with a pint to celebrate.

That’s all for today.