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, 1 July 2014

PUFFIN HELL. (01/07/14)

It’s a beautiful day. I drove eighty miles east to Dunnet Head to look for Puffins. I sat watching Fulmars but of the puffin there wasn't a sign. I think they must have gone back to sea. Not to worry it was a good day for a drive and the road is about 50/50 two lane and single track so it was about a two and a half hour run.

_MG_2645      Traigh Allt Chailgeag and the off lying island is Eilean Hoan.

_MG_2646      Loch Eriboll the island is Ard Neakie and looks to have the remains of some lime kilns on it. I’ll see if I can find somewhere to stop on the way back and have a good look.

_MG_2647                      Ben Hope and Loch Maovally.

_MG_2648       A view from the A838. I have run out of map so can’t tell you what it’s a view of. It’s a good view all the same.

_MG_2650                        Dunnet Head Lighthouse. We arrived safe and sound. There was not a sign of any Puffin. One lady said she thought she’d seen one. My bird knowledge is appalling but there is no way I’d not know whether I’d seen a Puffin. It’s like seeing a giraffe, you have either seen it or you haven’t.

_MG_2651      This is the view from the observation place. It’s a wonderful view but not very good for seeing birds from. It’s not much of an RSPB venue. The information centre is a garden shed and it wasn’t manned or ladied so I couldn’t check what was about and what had been and gone.

_V0G5455

_V0G5458     Lots of Fulmars gliding about and they weren’t sick on me. They kept me amused for about an hour. I had to lend my lens to an American chap has he couldn’t see anything through his 70mm kit lens. I thought it was the decent thing to do as he had come a lot further than I had. He was scanning the cliff and he too thought he had seen a Puffin. He was a bit put out when I explained they nest in rabbit holes and not on ledges. He then banged the lens on the wall whilst trying for panning shots. No harm done as the lens hood was on. That’s got a nasty scrape but no worries. I took the lens off his camera. I thought it safer. He was a nice chap but after ten minutes of apologising  he was starting to get on my tits.

redcamp      I had taken the 5D with me along with a macro lens and ring flash. I was hoping to find a Scottish Primrose. All I found was this but almost wet myself. I was kneeling down and just about to take it’s picture when a voice boomed out. You use flash in sunshine? I turned round and Pete was back. I said; I do sunshine. It evens the light out it’s called fill flash, I showed him that I could either amplify natural light or switch flash power to the dark side to negate it. A pound to a penny he goes home and tells everyone he met a barking mad Englishman who even names his strobes. I bet he doesn’t know why I chose to christen it Phil.

I’m stopping down at Dunnet Bay. If the light looks anything like tomorrow when I wake up I’ll have another run up there. It’s about six miles away. There are Twites about but they do look very similar to the sparrow. They do to me. The Fulmar looks very similar to the Albatross and the Guilliemot I could mistake for a Penguin.

It’s been a good day. I hope your’s has.

38 comments:

  1. A cracking set of images Adrian, the third one especially...it's a beauty.

    It's a shame that you missed out on the Puffins, the numbers are down this year...the 'great storm' did for a lot of them. You made up for it though by getting some excellent shots of the Fulmars. You're becoming a real bird photographer!

    Your new found American friend didn't offer to pay for a new lens hood then?

    Good luck for tomorrow...[;o)

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  2. Trevor, it's a good job there is only one car every ten minutes up here. It didn't look good in landscape but looked fine to me when I tipped it through ninety degrees.
    I think they were here but I was just too late. I'll look into the matter.
    Pete was a bit of a dickhead but had managed to find the lighthouse. He was okay but a touch fat, loud and clumsy.

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  3. Ah, it is a shame you have not seen the Puffin, maybe the next time. But, you'll have to be quick, 'cause soon the end of the breeding season, and they will be off.

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    1. Bob, I think they were early this year. They like swimming in big waves so get back to sea as soon as they can.

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  4. Some excellent images there Adrian. Looks a great place to be.
    I'm sure the Puffins will be around somewhere; or maybe they head off earlier up there.
    The first Fulmar is a cracker. Lovely birds, and very obliging the way they glide past.

    Not much on the RSPB website for Dunnet either.

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    1. Keith, on good days it is fine. Even in summer there is only a one in five chance of a good day.
      I'm pretty sure I have missed them. No worries I'll come earlier next year and sit and wait for them.
      No there isn't. I suspect it it too far away for the RSPB to be arsed. Better that way really as it's free and dog friendly.

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  5. That's a beautiful region. I love rough coastlines and lighthouses, so I really did enjoy these.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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    1. Mersad, it is wonderful. I want to stay here for ever. It is a bit cold and wet but not today.

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  6. Adriaan what a great area and beautiful pictures, s in my waiting puffins around the corner until you are away.

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    1. Bas, a great area but the Puffin have gone away to sea.

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  7. I really like fulmar it's the the tube nose that they have I also had one pooh on me at Bempton cliffs it made me wrench.
    I would be tempted to look for puffins on cliff egdges just to me safe.

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    1. Douglas, I'll take the dogs and instruct them to look for rabbit. A pity the RSPB take control of a cliff and do F'All. I'll sort my own wander tomorrow. t least it's free. Can't be anything else up here.
      Fulmar are revolting. If you creep up to them on a cliff ledge they projectile vomit on you. I washed a perfectly good jacket thrice before binning it.......They do look a bit like a baby Albatross. Please say they do and I'll agree that ringing birds isn't sport.

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    2. They're are related both because of their 'tube' notes. That's how one vomited on me projectile style

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    3. Douglas, you cannot get rid of the stink. Put your jacket in the washing machine and all your clothes smell of rotting fish. I worked on a trawler for six months and never had this problem. I had a niece who could do it as a baby but it washed out. God only knows what is in their guts to make it so repulsive.

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    4. Semi-digested fish, guts and all! You see. Even I know. You didn't need to call on a god.

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    5. Folk that have been honked on couldn't disagree. Lovely birds but they do have vvile habits.

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  8. Too bad about the Puffins. Darling birds.. Bob's blog has me smitten with them. Still your surroundings are fine and you always have something interesting to post - word-wise and image-wise.

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    1. Hilary, not always some times I have to invent pictures.

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  9. Hi Adrian, to bad you missed the Puffins. I don't like to use fill flash as it tends to flatten out the light and make the image look 2 dimensional. I look at photography this way, for model photography, the designers don't like to see shadows but for portraits and other types of portraits like flower photography shadows and light make the image look 3 dimensional on a 2 dimensional plane (or piece of paper). You shoot which ever you like, I just thought I would let you know what I like to do. I to started thinking that flash photography was the way to go, when I first started taking photos, but as I got older and wiser and learned a lot with the Professional photography assoc. I started using natural light to it's fullest to get the images that I wanted. I only use flash when needed when there is a lack of light. In studio photography we try to make the image or portrait look like it was taken in natural light with shadow play. You have yourself a wonderful time in this new location. Bye for now.

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    1. Horst, I used to use a reflector but am going through a ring flash phase. It makes macro simple as I can use tiny apertures like f22 or even smaller. The strobe has two tubes which can be set to different durations so giving contrast.
      It is so easy to use. I set speed to 1/200s aperture to f22 and let the E-TTL sort out everything else.

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  10. That must have been a lovely drive, would have taken me hours. Too bad about the puffins, hope you get one next time.

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    1. Pauline, the last twenty miles or so is a bit tedious but the first stretch more than compensates.

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  11. As always, you are in a very beautiful land. We do meet up with different folks. It's what makes it interesting.

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    1. Red, it was worth the drive. It is a beautiful road.
      It was close to being £1000.00p interesting.

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  12. Precioso lugar Adrian ahora tengo muy reciente el mar ;))
    El reflejo de la tercera imagen es genial y muy buen la pillada de la gaviota.
    Buen miércoles.
    Un abrazo.

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    1. Laura, que era un hermoso día. No duró. Hoy el viento está aquí otra vez y de la lluvia en su camino.

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  13. the scenery is spectacular and your shots fantastic. Sorry you did n't see a Puffin. fulmar shots are great. They are not in the gull family and differ from albatross in that the nostrils on an albatross are on the side and the fulmars are on top. Love the reflection in the 3 rd shot.

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    1. Margaret, if you take enough pictures in vile weather then once in a while you get a day to remember and good weather as well.
      I know there are related to Albatross. I bet Guillemots are a northern Penguin. Once I get it sorted in my mind I'll do a post on it.

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  14. Wonderful shots, and many smiles. Good ol' Phil Light! Thanks for making the day lighter!

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    1. Bill, as the kind people that take me birding will testify. I'm hopeless. I'll switch to a wide lens to get all of the birds in if they are making nice patterns. All I can hear is the machine gun rattle of cameras on motor drive. Golden Plover make wonderful patterns in low sun.
      Pete was a nice bloke. I gave him what help I could and when I told him that Fulmars are a bit special he tried to get some shots. He wasn't used to two feet of lens. Nice bloke all the same and I made him a coffee. My coffee is European espresso so I had to water it down for him. His wife wanted herbal tea. I gave her a week Green Tea. She couldn't tell and was still alive the last time I saw her. Whilst he was sorting out his coffee I showed him on the mug how to use a split ring flash as the idle man's way to a quick image. Very impressed he was. It's a long way to come from Spokane so he deserved a bit of help. I popped some Fulmar images onto his memory card and told him to own up when he showed them.

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  15. Adrian you have a set of postcard perfect shots here!

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    1. Gillian, it's just the weather. Easy Peasy. No tripod and shot from passing places. It was a lovely run on roads I've used before with the wipers going flat out and visibility a hundred yards.

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  16. Are they oyster hatcheries in the second photo Adrian?

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    1. Carol, they are salmon farms. They don't do Oysters here but they do Mussels They grow them on long ropes from single buoys. Oysters live in shitty mud and fine gravel. I enjoy eating them as long as they a raw and just have a squeeze of lemon juice. I don't really like salmon but again if it is cut thinly about 1/4" and marinaded in lemon juice for an hour or so it goes well with a few mixed leaves and a soft poached egg. Wild Salmon is expensive so try Sea trout. It is cheaper and tastes just the same. It does to a twenty a day smoker.

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  17. A real crop of goodies today Adrian. I particularly like Ben Hope but I expect it's your least favourite because of the light.

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  18. Yes Graham. I'm not into fudge tin or chocolate box images. I do quite like it as I suspect it will sell. Right place, right time shot.

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  19. Some awesome landscapes with Ben Hope and the Beach scene that stick in my mind.
    I realise that you might have had a great drive to get there but the concentration for that amount of time on 50 /50 single track roads is incredible.

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    1. Jay, I have got used to single track roads. It is worse in summer as there is more traffic but they are still deserted compared with roads further south.

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