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

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

GUESS WHAT? (25/02/15)

It is a gorgeous day. There is little wind and the sun is shining. It was a fresh –4oC when we set out to get some pictures of wonderful birds and mammals._MG_2723   Guess what had been walking past the van.

_MG_2725      Loch Morlich was at it’s best and even better it was hosting……………………..

_MG_2727     Three Goldeneye. They swam away despite my creeping up and asking the dogs to sit and stay in the trees. Ungrateful ducks.

After a fruitless search for Woodpeckers and Tree Creepers I returned to the van but on the way back popped a handful of peanuts down and having tied the dogs to a bush settled down to get some definitive shots of the little footprint maker. As is the norm for me it was going well until the dogs escaped. The result of my labour is here……………………….

_MG_2733   A Red Squirrel, one of three. I was waiting for them to get closer but the dogs whizzed them into the tree tops. Not to worry it was fun watching them.

Monday, 23 February 2015

WINTER RETURNS. (23/02/15)

I have been without proper internet for a couple of days but nothing of major importance has happened. On Saturday I went macroing fungi and guess what? I saw two Treecreepers and a Dipper. I returned for breakfast and swapped lenses but couldn’t find them again._MG_2722  I woke this morning to a few millimetres of fresh snow and off we went for a walk. I’m glad I didn’t delay the wander as it is a virtual whiteout now and the wind has increased.

_MG_2721     Just the right amount of snow for a pleasant stroll.

_MG_2718

_MG_2717      The dogs would have preferred it deeper but it is forecast to keep snowing for a couple of days so with a bit of luck their wish will be fulfilled.

I have got very confused with the fungi.

_MG_2704

_MG_2708

_MG_2709     I found another crop of this on a Silver Birch stump. I am still inclined to think it is Hoof fungus; Fomes fomentarius.

_MG_2712    This has me stumped. It is growing on a Scots Pine and each individual is between 4mm and about 12mm across. It appears to be growing in layers. I’ll have to collect a bit and cut it in half to see if it has a layer of old tubes.

That’s all for today enjoy the rest of the week.

Friday, 20 February 2015

I CAN SPELL. (20/02/15)

I feel better than I’ve felt for a couple of months so good in fact that I’m going out for another walk this afternoon. I’m going to complete the traverse of the campsite and visit the Pine Marten Bar where I shall sample the falling down water and annoy Yvonne.

This morning I got lost in the forest. I went looking for the fungus and have marked the deer trail it lies off with a big stick. Tomorrow I’ll take a macro lens down and also bring a bit home._MG_2683     It is tiny as you can see from the lichen. The only fungus I know of that grows on Scots Pine is Phellinus pini or Conk Rot. That is a much bigger sort of thing, I know where there is some but it is too high up for a picture.

_MG_2688    After a quick consultation with my compass and a twenty minute scramble through heather and young pines we hit the proper path and followed it down to the burn.

_MG_2691

_MG_2686       How the dogs can consider swimming I don’t know. I wouldn’t put my or your finger in it.

_MG_2684    Here goes; this stream flows out of Corrie na Ciste and is called Abhainn Ruigh-eunachan. Easy for a spiller of my ekspeeriance.

Have a great weekend.

 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

I’M STAYING. (18/02/15)

I was supposed to be moving on today but have decided to stay put. I have booked for another ten days so hopefully will get some decent pictures. It’s very warm and windy but it is forecast to turn back to winter by the weekend.

We had a grand walk this morning and the river is in spate as the snow is melting. I wandered up the burn as I was sure the Dippers would be concentrated in the wide bits where the water is shallow and flowing more slowly. I never saw so much as a feather. The Woodpeckers were being annoying. There are plenty around tapping away but as usual I never got a shot of one.

_MG_2632    Dawn.

I also tried to find the strange fungus I saw last week growing on a Scots Pine. It must be somewhere else as I couldn’t find it.

_MG_2638

_MG_2640    Plenty more Fomes fomentarius or Hoof Fungus the coin is 20mm in diameter and the picture shows a young specimen.

_MG_2639 This is Piptoporus betulinus. Birch polypore or Razor strop fungus. It starts as a small round ball and can get to 300mm across very quickly.

_MG_2643      Molly…….. I tend to forget about the dogs but they are never far away. I don’t know where she has been but both she and Alf are filthy.

_MG_2646      This Blackbird has become a regular visitor to the feeders. I thought he was eating mealworms but I watched him for ages this morning and he is sorting out bits of dried banana. I didn’t realise they liked banana. He also has a poorly foot. I have seen this disease on finches before but not on anything else.

That’s all for today.

Monday, 16 February 2015

HOOVES. (16/02/15)

Yesterday was a write off with storm force winds and heavy rain in the evening. Today there is the slightest of zephyrs and it’s a balmy 4oC. Most of the snow has melted and the Woodpeckers are tapping away. I can find them but as usual I can’t get a picture.

I did find the largest and most prolific crop of Hoof fungus I’ve ever seen.

_MG_2634   Hoof or Tinder fungus, Fomes fomentarius. The coin is a 5p and is roughly  3/4“  in diameter.

_MG_2636     Here is another one. There are a good dozen of them all growing close together, I have only seen solitary ones in the past. I met a chap who asked what I’d found and he thought they were Formitopsis pinicola. They could be but the only way to tell is to chemically test them so I’m sticking with Hoof Fungus.

_MG_2637     No snow and a little sunshine. It’s clouded over again now and snow showers are forecast to start again around lunchtime.

Enjoy the week, I’ve not decided whether to stay here or move back to Foyers.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY. (14/02/15)

  Happy Valentine’s Day.

I was playing in Blender the other day when I selected the Cast Modifier by mistake. I then had a look on the internet and found this tutorial by SARDI PAX. He does explain things very fast but I got there in the end. I wasn’t sure what to do with this at the time but it was good practise and I key framed it for animation using the graph editor. They are supposed to be balloons.

14-02-2015 08-52-51  This looks complicated but I like using it now. This is set to a linear graph but there are lots of choices. If you look at the top left you will see the coloured graphs refer to different axes.

14-02-2015 10-40-27 This is the Node editor and I’m still far from at home with this but it is easier to adjust materials for both the Object and the World as Blender calls the Background. The GIFF file looks a bit grainy but it is only twenty render cycles over 250 frames. That takes long enough. The reason the SEED box is purple is because I typed in #FRAME. This stops fireflies during rendering. I learnt that this morning. It has to be typed in upper case without out spaces.

I hope the background didn’t make you ill. Have a good day.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

THE STATUS QUO. (11/02/15)

I read a couple of posts this morning both were critical of government. I passed on addressing their problems seriously. They both had serious concerns but different problems. Neither poster would accept a radical solution, like me they are too old to want to change the status quo.

It was cool last night at – 7oC much as it has been for the last glorious week. Clear skies, daytime temperatures hitting 7o C.

I think the government are against me. I feel as rough as a Badgers bum. The sinusitis is back but only one sinus is blocked’ the one under my left eyebrow. I can’t get out for long to enjoy the weather and as Dithery seems to think he is in charge of everything then he must be to blame. It’s similar to how I think about religion. If you accept the good that a god has created then you also have to acknowledge that it is responsible for the bad, like insects biting African kids and blinding them.  Like the Queen honouring Jimmy Saville. It’s easier to accept that like her, her children grandsons and great grandsons are a bit weird. It’s a different matter to ask me to feel subservient to the barmy royal nursery which seems to be expanding in an exponential fashion or a god._MG_2621  A frozen Loch Morlich at dawn.

I was honoured to have been let loose with a sixty grand ENG camera last year. They are hard to work as like any movie camera you can’t control capture speed once you have started. You dial in aperture and when the histogram is not peaking at the edges.  They say Okay. I say near enough. I then have to manually focus and zoom. The zoom bit they can work from the van as I am connected by wires; l love the geared focus knob. All I hear is the produceress saying push, pan and pull focus, they are silky smooth are the controls. Esoteric or erotic, I don’t know words but I did know the camera was a beauty. It’s a young persons game. It weighed a ton or tonne in metric.

Canon have brought out a better lens than their ENG* series it is for old men.It weighs 2kg It’s called the CN7x17 KAS.  It’s a snip at £27K. Next month I can have a go with it and sinusitis or not I can’t resist. Why? Just because it is new. I haven’t the computer power to edit an F1 or cricket stump lipstick camera, let alone 6K video. Nor could I if I had. Things are moving so fast in movies. I bet both gods and Dithery feel the same…..Hopefully they will be in the wilderness this time next year. Unfortunately the queen will still be here.

Have fun.

*ENG…..don’t ask me why it’s what they called half a ton of camera and cable It stands for Electronic News gathering.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

MOON. (08/02/15)

It’s another glorious day.

Yesterday we went for an extended liquid lunch with Kyra, Kyra is a Rhodesian Ridge Back and a friend of Moll and Alf. She hadn’t come on her own her mum and dad were there, Ronny and Blodwyn. I’m not sure what her name is so just call her love or pronounce the ‘BL’ and mumble the rest. She is Scottish despite her Welsh name so is a fine lady. Riverman Rod Webster was playing and Nigel the ski instructor was accompanying him on the Bodrum. It’s like a tambourine without the tinkely bits round the edge, it’s more grown up. They are very hard to play and Nigel must have been sore round the shins when he finished his first lesson. I’ll ask Rod for a CD or memory stick of quick demo tracks as he is one of the best acoustic instrumentalists I’ve heard and he has a good voice. I can use them on my time lapse movies. He can hardly charge as I spent ages taking photos of him. The photos don’t take a fraction of a second but catching him looking happy is almost impossible. You can listen to demo tracks here. RIVERMAN ROD.

_MG_2607   Moon in the Woods. Don’t enlarge this as I hadn’t taken a tripod, it’s a bit blurry.

_MG_2609    Dawn over Loch Morlich.

I am not seeing the birds but thought for our second walk I’d cut my nose off to spite my face and leave the camera in the van. I did see a female Greater Spotted Woodpecker and a flock of Siskin. No sign of the Snow Bunting by the Hay Field, not a sound of a Ptarmigan or Crested Tit I’m going to relax and let them come to me like these do.

_MG_2612     The Chaffinch, eating me out of van and home they are.

Have a good week.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

HAPPY. (07/02/15)

It’s a wonderful day.

LMpan151         Loch Morlich. This is big and will enlarge with a click.

I’ll see if the birds will cooperate in the sunshine.

Have a good day.

Friday, 6 February 2015

NOT HAPPY. (06/02/15)

The weather is warming up but not freezing hard enough at night for interesting ice. I have spent ages plodding thorough snow which varies in depth from a few inches to a few feet. It’s very tiring and to make it feel worse I’m surrounded by inversion fog. It’s worse for the dogs but it does mean they sleep a lot.

Yesterday I walked about three miles whilst hunting for Crossbills and never saw anything other than a Wood Pigeon and a few Chaffinch. Kath was sure we would see them so we kept going. After a couple of hours her husband phoned to say he’d just seen a pair of Ptarmigan at low level just off the old logging track so we detoured to try and find them. No luck and I went again at first light this morning and still saw no sign of them or anything else.

The Crested Tits haven’t been back to the feeders whilst I’ve been watching and the Mallard are very noisy as they spend half their time wrestling.

_MG_2596       Drip, drip it is thawing fast during the day.

_MG_2591       There is a bit of colour as the trees have shed most of their snow blanket. I think a fair proportion of it has landed on me. Fortunately there are few folk about to hear or disapprove of my language. Kath got knocked double and just after she had folded her hood away as she was too hot, it is amazing how heavy it is and though I didn’t learn any new words I did hear them repeated for half an hour as the crystals melted and found new bits of her to chill. It’s funny when someone else gets blathered in wet snow.

_MG_2589    Loch Morlich is starting to thaw.

_MG_2597      A dead Scots Pine and Loch Morlich in the murk.

_MG_2598     This is where I thought Stuart saw the Ptarmigan but it must be the wrong place as they eat heather and burrow and the snow is undisturbed.

_MG_2599       A view down the logging  track; it’s not much of a view but it’s one of the better ones.

_MG_2581     At least the Mallard are colourful. I just wish they could rip bits out of each other quietly.

Have a great weekend. I think the snow will continue to melt but who can tell in this climate.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

FLAT LIGHT. (04/02/15)

Flat light, almost no light today. It’s a few degrees warmer and the cloud level is way down. I did find a perch and tie wrapped it to the feeder. The Crested Tits have been back but I didn’t manage a picture and anyway the little blighters didn’t like my new stick. I’ve loaded the medium format camera with B&W film as tomorrow could be the day for some reasonable light and if I’m lucky some nice ice formations. It’s just above freezing now so fingers crossed._MG_2537      The female Chaffinch likes the perch.

_MG_2552       As does the Robin.

_MG_2561       The Coal Tits will stop for a rest.

_MG_2566      As will the male Chaffinch.

_MG_2570  The Blue Tit was good.

_MG_2574      The Long Tailed Tits weren’t.

I’ll see what tomorrow brings….hopefully a Crossbill and some landscapes.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

A RARE BIRD. (03/02/15)

Winter is well and truly here. We had a wonderful walk first thing through a winter wonderland. No wind, it didn’t feel cold though it is snowing hard.

_MG_2530       The dogs love this weather but they don’t like me brushing the snow out of their coats. It was cold enough not to stick too badly today.

_MG_2531      Loch Morlich is frozen over.

_MG_2532       The place is just perfect.

I got back and had a bowl of porridge then set about erecting the bird feeder. I have a big steel spike and a lump hammer but was making little impression until I boiled a kettle of water and that sorted the job. The new bird seed is a big hit, it has all sorts of goodies in it and it does have millet though not very much.

_MG_2536I have all the usual suspects with Coal Tits in large numbers, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinch and Mallard sweeping up. The Jackdaw is back and I hope it isn’t the little devil that ripped all the rubber from my wiper blade last year. I’ll have to try and find a perch for them as I don’t like to see the feeders in the shot. That will be easier said than done as all the sticks are buried under a foot or more of snow. This bird food seems excellent value at £15.45p a sack though it’s difficult to tell as the birds would probably eat anything in this weather.

I didn’t see anything on our walk but within ten minutes of getting the feeders sorted this little beauty flew in.

_MG_2534       A rare bird, a Crested Tit. I know it isn’t the best shot in the world but it is snowing hard and damn near dark. I was talking to Kath in the shop and she said she’d seen a Crossbill……Yet another challenge. We are going to look for it on Thursday as she has seen it in the same place twice. She hasn’t seen a Pine Marten but a Crossbill would be a nice bird to see. I can see me turning into one of those twitchers…….God forbid. Does twitching have a detrimental effect on ones eyesight? The ones I’ve met have been, without exception, a right shower of bankers.

There are two Crested Tits now, they have decided fat balls are the thing.

Have a good day.