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, 30 January 2013

THE CAMEL’S BACK. (30/01/13)

Maybe not the camel’s back but mine. This morning was dull and overcast. Eventually the sun shone and it was a grand morning. I carried Bertha for a mile or two round a great nature reserve. The ducks were too numerous to count. They were also too far away for any sensible shots so I’m sitting here typing this with a bad back and aching shoulders. I wish I'd left Bertha at home. These unsuccessful trips are never wasted in the long run, the more I keep trying the better things will get eventually!

_V0G4518_edited-1    Lapwing at Summer Lees. There was a chilly wind and I was thankful for their sheds. Sheds for bird watchers are called Hides so Trevor and Keith kindly informed me.

_V0G4556_edited-1      Male Bullfinch….not a duck but a beauty all the same.

_V0G4523_edited-1    Here are a small selection of the ducks. Gadwall and Tufted for the most part. There is probably the odd Widgeon in the mix as well. A pity they were so far away.

Keith kindly drove the dogs and I back to Milton Keynes. I bunged the dogs in the van and we went for lunch at The Grand Union.

_V0G4576_edited-1    The Grand Union. Canal and Pub both are the Grand Union.

_V0G4571_edited-2   Keith in the inside with his beer on the outside. He had earned it. A busy morning and he did all the driving, half the bird ID’ing, Trevor did the other half. I am getting better if it has feathers it’s a bird if it doesn’t it’s something else.……We also have birds without feathers in the UK…..I’m doing that sort of birding tomorrow. It involves having a shower and buying flowers and posh food and drinking moderately. I know it sounds boring but it is fun every now and again.

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_V0G4572_edited-1     It’s a good pub, reasonably priced. They serve draft beer and posh pub food. The place is dog friendly but I didn’t expect it to be and in any case Alf has a poorly tummy.

JoLynne will be pleased to hear that we managed to finish our meal without getting ejected for blaspheming. We were lucky…..we swore quietly and they didn’t hear us!

Tomorrow I’m heading back north to Chatsworth. I’ve had a wonderful couple of days all due to the kindness of Keith and Trevor. Thank you both.

I’m going for a siesta now…….I’m tired.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

GETTING ON FINE. (29/01/13)

Yesterday I headed south to Milton Keynes. I got parked up, I gave KEITH a ring and he came round. An animal is Keith….He parked on Rosemary’s grass. Not an auspicious start to my venture into a foreign culture. Keith took me out for lunch…the job was looking up….it got better… he paid!

This morning he collected me and off we went to Caldecotte Lake. TREVOR met us there. Good to meet a master of wit and repartee. I was distracted by an angel running. A great place for bird watching is Caldecotte Lake. I would have needed a net to catch the runneress.

_V0G4406_edited-1    The pub where we had lunch yesterday.

_V0G4408_09_10_tonemapped_edited-1I was the only one of our trio to wear wellies. There is a lot of water round here both in the lake and outside it.

_V0G4431_edited-2     Keith visits this lake almost daily and I can see why……..lots and lots of ducks….don’t know what sort of ducks…..Posh southern ducks they are.

_V0G4435_edited-1     Here is another one…..stunning for admirers of ducks is Milton Keynes.

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I have no idea what these birds are called, e-mail KEITH……The right hand one is a Mandarin and gorgeous. These are ducks owned by Rosemary and live not fifty yards from the camper. A great place. Superb lady she is…nice bum as well. She lent me the key to the duck pond and all three of us decimated our shutter counts.

_V0G4487_edited-1            Great ducks.

_V0G4448_edited-1   This a Reeves Pheasant….He is called ASBO. He left us alone…..I did say I like eating Pheasants he is brighter than your average Pheasant..

I’m glad I had played with big Bertha. I think these images are okay. Only two in the bin out of one hundred and seventy two. I think I may have almost sussed Canon systems.

Tomorrow we are off somewhere else locally with local guides. I’ll pop a 50mm lens on and get you some pictures of two really handsome men. Thinking ladies crumpet they are.

I’m glad I travelled down this way.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

MOSES. (27/01/13)

We all got a bit damp on our walk this morning. The snow has all but thawed and been washed away.

I came back had a shower and decided to have another go with the MP-E 65mm lens. I can report a definite improvement. I hope you agree.

IMG_0004_edited-1      Cushion Moss at 1x

IMG_0005_edited-1    At 2x.

IMG_0006_edited-1      At 3x.

IMG_0007_edited-1      At 4x.

IMG_0008_edited-1    At 5x.

I am a bit confused this morning. The post should have been titled Mosses. Not being a Bryologist I went on the internet to determine what sort of cushion moss this is. I’m non the wiser as I got embroiled with photographs of Kate Moss. She polishes up very nicely. Wouldn’t mind popping her on the table and taking her picture.

Depth of field is much better today I used the old ring light, not the ring flash. I focussed using live view. All these are shot at f16. They are over lit A bit but that is just fine tuning. Non are cropped but they are sharpened a bit. I turned in camera sharpening off.

Tomorrow we head to the woolly wilds of Milton Keynes.

Have a good week.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

WADING THROUGH IT. (26/01/13)

It snowed a few inches last night. About two this morning The tree overhanging the van decided to shake off what sounded like a few hundred weight of snow. The dogs were barking and I sat up so fast I banged my head. I couldn’t get back to sleep.

It was heavy going on our walk but it was worth going out. The sky was wonderful. A woodpecker was tapping away and a dozen mallard were begging for food. I got back to the van and provided them with seed and a couple of wheetabix.

_V0G4386_7_8_tonemapped_edited-1    Tree and Dawn sky.

_V0G4377_8_9_tonemapped_edited-1    Hope Cement Works. I remember this being built……So much water has flowed under the bridge since 1969.

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_V0G4392_edited-1    The ducks enjoying their breakfast.

_V0G4399_edited-1   This female has a damaged foot…..it doesn’t appear to worry her unduly.

It is sleeting again now. A pretty miserable day. I’m going out for lunch again.

Have a good day.

Friday, 25 January 2013

BUTTONS. (25/01/13)

My brain hurts, I’m tired, bemused and snowed in.

Yesterday I drove down from Moffat to Castleton in Derbyshire. I called at Harrison Cameras. I came out of the shop with things with lots of buttons……Expensive buttons.

_V0G4344_edited-1  The view from the van this morning, more snow is on it’s way.

_V0G4335_6_7_tonemapped_edited-1  This happened by accident…….it’s a snowy mess.

_V0G4363_edited-1 This is the MP-E 65mm macro lens all set up and ready to go.

_V0G4361_edited-1 Brain baffling buttons. I have included a selection of images produced by this lens. It is a challenge, amazingly it can be hand held. I have included all the shots I took. None are cropped and non went in the bin.

IMG_0001_edited-1  My mobile phone……(Hand held).

IMG_0003_edited-2    The end of my pencil…..(tripod).

IMG_0004_edited-1   A prickle on a holly leaf. (Tripod).

IMG_0005_edited-1   Another bit of Holly leaf……(hand held) and replete with ice and bird muck.

IMG_0006_edited-1  This is not as sharp as it should be.. it’s a bit of my thumb.

This is a lens with some exciting possibilities. DOF is minimal and focussing is a challenge. Focus stacking will solve many of the problems. I used an angle finder to focus. I’ll try live view later. So many things to try.

Have a great weekend.

 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

WELL!! (22/01/13)

IMG_0013_4_5_tonemapped_edited-1     This morning I waited for the light for our second walk. We went slip sliding about. Slip sliding up Well Street, slip sliding up Old Well Street. Could I find the sulphur well? Could I heckers like! We ended up in a wood I lost the dogs, I fell in a concealed hole. I said ‘Bless my Soul’ and having located the little darlings set off back to town. This is a bit of town….HDR processed and contre jour. A magical morning.

Back in the metropolis………..

IMG_0007_8_9_tonemapped_edited-1The Moffat Ram.  It is fenced and photographed . It is a deaf Ram it has no ears.

IMG_0010_1_2_tonemapped_edited-1  The Town Hall…..this used to be the spa where the waters from the well I couldn’t find were imbibed.

IMG_0004_5_6_tonemapped_edited-1We went to have a look inside St Andrews but once again folk were singing inside…..must be devout people here. It is a wonderful church. I’ll try and get inside tomorrow.

Thursday I have to head back south for a week.

Great weather here. I hope you are enjoying winter. School teachers are, bet the scallywags are all off skiing and sledging having shut the schools on Elf and Safety grounds. Break a Leg as the thespians say.

Monday, 21 January 2013

FLASHING IN THE SNOW. (21/01/13)

It has been a dismal day. It’s snowed non stop but has not produced anything worth shouting about.

After an early walk down by the river we headed into town to investigate the toffee business. The dogs met a mastiff who poor thing has bone cancer. No sign that it was troubling her as she chased my two for a good ten minutes barking to keep them on the move.

Toffee sorted and posted we headed back for a late breakfast.

I then set about modifying the harness I got for Bertha. It is not perfect yet so I will have another go tomorrow. I’m on the right track though. The lens weighs about ten pounds which isn’t much but it is too much on a single strap for an elderly snapper. I got a harness from Think Tank….called The Belly Dancer, it doesn’t do much dancing but does rest quite comfortably on my belly. It also has lots of room for little bags to put things in. Could be useful if the wee bags are cheap.

When I used to go macroing it always amazed me how much stuff I lug about. Lights, reflectors, tripod and any amount of junk. I also have to take a giant corkscrew thinghy. I now have two. They screw into the ground. I tether the dogs to one and if necessary I place the tripod over the other and lash it down… makes for a bomb proof mount. Cheap too they are a fiver or less in pet shops.

I have a 100mm Macro lens. Unless we get really cold weather it will stay in the van till summer. I also have the creme de la creme of macro lenses wandering my way. A Canon MP-E 65mm. It has no focus adjustment but popped on my macro plate it will adjust. 1x to 5x. I can see it providing endless expletives and entertainment. Possibly a good image or three. The only certainty is that it will not suffer a fool. I have a ring light but will most likely need ring flash. Anyone know if flash damages insects eyes?

IMG_0005-1_edited-1 Not the best of vistas. The snow is nothing more than a sprinkle.

IMG_0003_edited-1I set the camera up on a tripod and used second curtain flash to record these snowflake trails. Took me ages to learn how to (a) use the camera on manual and (b) use the Speedlight…..what Canon call a flash gun. Ten images to get this far then the snow stopped. It could be a fun technique in competent hands.

Not a bad day I’m slowly sussing the Canon system. Very slowly I’ve had it a month.

Tomorrow we are going to investigate the Sulphur Well and maybe the Ferrous Well the waters of which gave rise to the towns Victorian prosperity.

Have fun.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

INCLOACATED*. (20/01/13)

I was a little late going out this morning. Last night I found a rack of baby ribs in the freezer. Sell by date was the fourth of this month. They were vacuum packed and the pack hadn’t expanded so I thought in for a penny in for a pound. Popped them in the microwave boiled some potatoes, sliced a tomato and dressed it with balsamic vinegar and enjoyed my evening meal. I think the vinegar must have gone off for this morning I was stuck in the Karzy, I was incloacated. I was in for a tuppence and not a penny or pound.

I had a wander into town. I have seen the forecast and snow is on it’s way. I’m here till Thursday now so thought I’d best pop my positive head on and look on the bright side.

IMG_0003_edited-1   There are no shortage of pubs. This one being the oldest. It was first established in 1664….the coffee came later and No Mark…. I'm not posting a cup.

IMG_0008_edited-1I am sending Mark a tin of toffee tomorrow. I’m sorry about the picture quality. Canon do not have sensor stabilizers like wot Olympus does and I forget to check shutter speed on my non stabilized lenses. Looks like six tins left. Four as Mark has one booked and a friend has decided she would like one. She hesitated, saying. “ Toffee breaks teeth and pulls fillings.” I told her to treat it with respect, suck gently and not chomp on it. She has agreed to give it a whirl….I am having trouble waiting!  That leaves four tins for UK readers. The first four to e-mail an address get a tin. You don’t have to tell me anything about yourselves. I hate having to tell people twelve lies to get a Blog award. If it comes to a tie break then cuddly ladies will get the sweeties. No photo required. Thin, fat….makes no odds to me cuddly is what matters. However ladies if you own a Lotus or Aston then you can forget the cuddle and give me a loan of the car….You can have two tins. I have the right to discriminate with such a valuable prize.

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Two views of the old prison….The sweet shop is just to the left. Behind the road works.

IMG_0031_2_3_tonemapped_edited-1    Another row of cottages for our colonial cousins…..It’s a consolation prize. Your food and nut inspectors would never let quality sweeties in. They would incinerate them to spare you from incloacation. There is always a wheelie bin or two in my snaps.

IMG_0016_7_8_tonemapped_edited-1   This hotel looks warm and welcoming but even though they are offering a Sunday Carvery I will give my delicate tummy a rest today.

Enjoy the week to come.

* INCLOACATED……A great word gleaned once again from the Horologicon. Whilst thinking of books ‘Two Pints’ by Roddy Doyle is a great read for the broad minded.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

BELLY UP. (19/01/13)

I left Edinburgh for a town in the borders. Biggar caravan site was shut. I like Biggar, I spent a few years there about twenty years ago and enjoyed my life within it’s community. I was due to meet an old friend and fellow sailor. It has cost us both a small fortune in mobile phone charges organising this reunion. Perhaps it’s fate. People change in twenty years and had we had anything seriously in common then we would have kept in touch. If I recall our alcohol consumption accurately then the change of fortune will have done my liver a favour.

I carried on south and ended up in Moffat. According to the tourist board it is the jewel in the Borders crown. I have no fond memories of it. I have had a quick wander round and will retrace my steps tomorrow. I don’t want to give the impression the place is a dump but like all communities that rely on tourism. The locals are bandits and rely on the fact that folk will get ripped off today and different people will get robbed tomorrow.

The van exhaust is perfectly bodged. I have twice tried to start the engine whilst it was running, the van is running like a watch….a digital watch no less!

I am ashamed of my bigotry so will have a wander tomorrow and try and do the town and it’s road works justice.

It’s snowing a bit but nothing to write about.

IMG_0004_5_6_tonemapped_edited-1 St Andrew’s Church Moffat. There were folk inside so I left them to their rituals. Tomorrow is Sunday. Can’t see me getting inside then!

IMG_0007_8_9_tonemapped_edited-1  It’s not a bad place.

IMG_0001_2_3_tonemapped_edited-1Al Fresco dining is available here three hundred and sixty five days a year, I  couldn’t decide whether they are idle or optimists. I’ll investigate further tomorrow.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.