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

Saturday, 27 September 2014

VESPA RALLY. (27/09/14)

This post should appeal to Laura. She loves her Vespa.

Before I get round to them here is a quick view from our walk yesterday evening._MG_3722   Redcar Beach. We had a grand if arduous wander along the sands. The tide was in so it was hard work walking on the soft sand. There were thousands of Sandhoppers but the funny thing about them is if you pick them up they don’t hop. They always remind me of the flee circus. Brilliant things.

_V0G7492      This isn’t a Vespa either. I think it is a male Horsefly. Whatever it is I like his face, he’s dining on Ivy flowers.

_V0G7479     This is half a Michaelmas Daisy resplendent with a dusting of tiny dew drops.

_MG_3721     The first of many Vespa. This one is Vespulas vulgaris. The image could be sharper but it does show the anchor like face marking which differentiates it from the German wasp which has three black dots on it’s nose.

_V0G7491

_V0G7494

_V0G7495

_V0G7484     These are mostly different wasps but I’m almost sure that they are all Common Wasps feeding on Ivy flowers. I shot these with the 1Ds and by gum it is a heavy camera with a lens and the ring flash on it. None of the images are cropped for magnification so if you would like them larger you will have to click them and use Ctrl+ to zoom in. No insects were damaged and neither I nor the dogs were stung so a happy morning.

Tomorrow we are going for a walk somewhere and then stopping for Sunday lunch. Monday I’m driving down to York for a week where I am assured that there are lots of Newts to look at. I’ll have to take the extension tubes off for newts as they are much bigger than insects. I could leave them on and pretend I was brave and had crept close to a Salamander.

Have fun.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

COOT AND CROW. (25/09/14)

Today has been pleasant enough but windy and overcast. I have been out three times but have not seen anything particularly interesting nor close enough to make a study of.

This is a picture of the Herons but taken with the macro lens yesterday._MG_3704  There are five of them not six as I thought. I have never seen them in anything but single units so it was a surprise to see so many together.

_MG_3714  I rounded the dogs up and put them on the lead, we then kept very quiet and crept through the reeds. I don’t know why when the little mere came into sight it was empty.

_MG_3716     After ten minutes this Coot emerged from the reed bed.

_MG_3715     Then another appeared and chased it away. Coots are aggressive little birds but do have wonderful feet. I wandered over the bank to the river Tees. No Otters and no Seals, both can be seen here as there is a fish ladder up the barrage which makes for a handy food trap.

After breakfast I went down to the big Asda on Portrack Lane. They had a good selection of fresh fish on offer so I’m having fish pie with mushrooms and a couple of chillies; I pushed the boat out and made a cream sauce for it to cook in. I’m looking forward to supper. In Spain they sell cardboard cartons of natta de cocina, cooking cream, it’s a bit like Elmlee cream here but much better. I used normal double cream. I’ll top the potato off with my oldest cheese, I think it is that hard Swiss stuff that you can scrape with a potato peeler and make little flower shapes. I noticed it going a bit crumbly yesterday. It’ll be fine after a blast in the oven.

I had a sandwich around two o’clock and decided to give the Reserve one more go. Lots of Dragonflies and big ones. They were flying high and not settling. They were either Common Hawkers or more likely Emperors. Big blue jobs from what I glimpsed. I’ll have a serious go at them tomorrow. 

_MG_3720   A Crow, it was making a very funny purring noise. I suspect that the repulsive, smug, excuse for a prime minister of ours had phoned it. He is a disgusting misogynist. I am no royalist but have more respect for the queen than Dithery. If I were her I’d pop him in the Tower for a week or so. Shave his head and tattoo ‘Pompous Twit.’  on his forehead and ‘Witless.’ over his pate. He is braver than I gave him credit for. There have been times when I would have loved to be a missoghamist. I got hit and it nipped such dreams in the bud.

Unless I score with the Dragonflies early tomorrow I won’t post as I’m going a walk on Redcar beach to take pictures of the reflected sunset with a lass who is so posh she has her hair done in a hairdressers and has been known to have two showers on the same day. Don’t panic, she shops in George and Oxfam, I’ll check, she looks as if she does. She is relatively normal.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

FAILURE. (24/09/14)

I am in Stockton-on-Tees. It’s turned into a beautiful day 17oC but very breezy. I decided that despite the wind it was worth going out to find some Dragonflies. I wandered down to the river Tees and had a good ninety minutes strolling round Portrack Nature Reserve. There were plenty of Dragonflies and a few Butterflies but they weren’t hanging around and the wind was blowing them all over the place. I also saw a flock of half a dozen Grey Heron. I’ve never seen them in a group before. Tomorrow I’ll pop my wellies on and take a long lens and try for a photograph or two.

I was getting desperate I’d been out an hour and hadn’t even switched the camera on. I was tempted to by a gaggle of nubile young ladies from Durham University. I think they were on a nature walk but they stopped to pet the dogs. I did think of lying on my back to see if they would tickle my tummy. The dogs have all the luck.

_MG_3707     I took three snaps of this Teasel into the sun at different apertures to try and get some halos round the spines. Another failure.

_MG_3701     Eventually this Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria) flitted and fluttered past and settled. It wouldn’t let me closer than this.

I was about to give up and take some macros of Hoverflies on Michaelmas Daisies when all hell broke loose. The dogs had been chatting to a couple of Huskies and had shown them how to get into the Tees. The Huskies weren’t interested in swimming but were enthralled by the piscean skills of Alf and Molly. A lady came past with three toy poodles and one decided to have a go at Alf. A Husky came to help. Chaos and I have a tiny bite on my thumb from a tiny Poodle. The Poodle has a sore bum. I decided a sit down was required. I was sitting on a convenient bench and to my left my companion was a Dragonfly. I am not sure what it is and I couldn’t get a head on view. I thought it was a female Brown Hawker but it was nothing like big enough and hadn’t got the orange colour to the leading edge of it’s wings.

_MG_3709   I think it is an immature male Common Darter. Sympetrum striolatum. It was very accommodating, it kept flying off and coming back but resisted all my attempts at a head on shot of it. I popped some extension tubes on and got some close ups.

_MG_3710    Left or port side.

_MG_3712    A plan view from slightly behind.

_MG_3713    Right or starboard side. Sorry about the blown Highlights I did try to shield it with my jacket but it was enjoying the sun. It is often a problem with insects. They are sun bathing so it is hard to get head on shots. I’m not sure what it is but it made my day.

Have fun. These images are big so feel free to click them and press Ctrl+ and tell me what it is.

Monday, 22 September 2014

ENGLAND HERE WE COME. (22/09/14)

Tomorrow I am setting off on the drive south to Middlesbrough. It’s a good four hour run but an interesting one hundred and eighty miles down the A68.

I anticipate staying for a couple of weeks or so and will split my time between the North East and York. Then I’ll wander back via the Lake district and the Borders before setting off to the Highlands for winter. I’m hoping for a magical snowy season with plenty of hoar frost. I suspect the reality will be gales and rain but there is nothing wrong with a dream.

I haven’t taken any pictures today but yesterday I found this splendid fungus. _MG_3687

_MG_3688    Fringed Hay-cap. Panaeolus sphinctrinus. I am 80% sure of the ID but have never seen one anything like this size. It was in perfect condition. I ought to have got a spore print but didn’t like to remove it. It may produce some more large ones if left alone.

That’s all for today.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

PIPE ABOARD THE ADMIRAL. (21/09/14)

The sun shone yesterday afternoon. I was just considering a siesta when I noticed a butterfly flutter past the van. I wandered down into the garden and there were eight Red Admirals and a Peacock all in mint condition. Almost as many butterflies as I’ve seen all summer.

Before I got round to the Admirals I managed to find a dozy blowfly. I have been trying to get a picture for ages but they aren’t very accommodating.

_MG_3676    Greenbottle Fly. Lucilia sericata. This is a male, his wife is no doubt taking advantage of my absence from the kitchen and busy laying eggs on the pork joint that is waiting to go in the oven.

_MG_3674      This was next to it on the same flower. I got both it’s eyes for once and several pictures of it’s bum as it kept turning away. I think this one is Bombus lucorum.

_MG_3680      Red Admiral. Vanessa atalanta. Below are a few more views. I was concentrating on their tongues; they are unbelievably long.

_MG_3673

_MG_3686

_MG_3683

_MG_3682      These were shot with the 100mm with varying lengths of extension tubes and some with the MP-E 65mm. I used ring flash as it is the only way to go for me. I have got a flash bracket but it doesn’t get the strobe far enough away from the lens so I get a nasty shadow.

_MG_3668      This is my favourite and as good as I get.

It was a very entertaining afternoon, thank you to all you butterflies for being such good sports.

Have a wonderful week

Saturday, 20 September 2014

MORE MACRO. (20/09/14)

It was very wet overnight but it’s brightening up now. On our way back from a damp walk I turned a couple of stones over and captured a millipede and a centipede. Neither were much over an inch long but they were very lively so I popped them in the fridge. When I retrieved them an hour or two later they were dead so I won’t do that again._MG_3667   Millipede.

_MG_3660 Centipede.

I also found this Crane fly.

_MG_3656

_MG_3657

_MG_3658 I think this one is Tipula oleracea. It was sitting on the wall with it’s wings folded. These were all taken with the MP-E 65mm lens hand held at magnification from 1X, 3X and 2X.

I’m in macro mode at the moment. I’m sorry if it’s boring but it is good for my hand/eye coordination.

That’s all for today.

Friday, 19 September 2014

WHAT A RELIEF. (19/09/14)

The referendum is over. We can now get back to some serious current affairs coverage. I’ve not seen any speculation for ages on Katy Kambridge and her pregnancy nor confirmation of her sire. The Ryder Cup is only a couple of days away; who could not be enthralled by the spectacle of men in silly clothes trying to get their balls in a little hole.

I feigned indifference but would have hated to see the United Kingdom rendered asunder by the SNP. Normal life can resume whilst the Westminster degenerates try to wriggle out of all they have promised in the last week or two. I am expecting a dose of collective amnesia and buck passing from that quarter.

I haven’t got many pictures but  here are what I have.

_MG_3652     Bubbles of Hot Air Dispersing or Beads of Sweat dissipating from Dithery, Clog and Moribund. …………No not really.

_MG_3651    It’s a bit of dewy spiders web.

Yesterday evening whilst I was displaying my customary sangue-froid while all around me folk were crotchety, sweating, swearing and trembling young Carole came in bearing this little creature. She spells her name with an ‘E’……..Thought I’d better clarify matters after yesterday’s cuckoo.

_MG_3650 It’s a Common Toad. Bufo bufo. Not to be confused with the aforementioned politicians They are Buffoon buffoon buffoon. It hasn’t got anything wrong with it’s eye. It is the reflection of the twin strobe tubes. I ought to have cloned them out but the picture doesn’t really warrant that much work. Even if it did then straight out of camera has merit in some quarters. Idle or incompetent factions to my mind but tolerance is a virtue and I can see mine being tested over the next few weeks.

Have a great weekend from a United Kingdom.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

SPELLINGA. (18/09/14)

It’s been a nasty damp day so I thought I’d carve my name from a stick. What a muddle I got in.

I took a picture of a piece of fence, downloaded it to Photoshop, reduced it to a sensible size, mapped it for texture and wrapped it over a stick I’d drawn in Blender. So far so good.stick1   If I say so myself it’s not a bad stick. Quite realistic and by far the best bit of UV compositing I’ve done. For any folk that play in Blender the Node Compositor is daunting but very flexible. I’ve never dared use it before but with another hundred hours practise will master it; maybe.

I then set to and carved ADRIAN’S IMAGES out of my stick. I got it all sorted out, lit it with a couple of virtual lights got the virtual camera in position. I did a quick five sample render to check it was something like then increased the particles from five hundred to twenty five thousand and set it rendering at one hundred samples.

I went apple picking, popped back to check after an hour or so and realised I hadn’t spill chucked.

stick      What a Muppet I am, I got an extra ‘A’ on the end.

It was good fun. I’m glad I found it funny. I only swore for a minute or two.

Tomorrow I’ll find out whether I’m in a foreign country.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

DRONES. (16/09/14)

It’s a warm windless day. I decided to go macroing again.

_MG_3637      Drone Fly. Eristalix tenax. There were lots of these about and they were for the most part cooperative. This one is a female. It’s head looks a bit different but I’m sure I made notes and noted as being the same as the following ones.

_MG_3628       This is another taken from a bit further away.

_MG_3641      What a long tongue she has. She also seems to have an extra tiny little wing.

_MG_3632   This is a male. He’s not as sharp as I would have liked but my arms were aching.

_MG_3646    Bumble Bee. I think this one is Bombus hortorum. I find these very difficult to get a picture of as they are either buried in a flower or constantly moving around.

_MG_3647   Here is a side view.

_MG_3636    It can get a bit difficult to tell which bit is what, what with all their fur.

I was really looking for spiders today but I enjoyed snapping these. I just hope the IDs are correct. If they are it will be cause for celebration.

That’s all for today.

Monday, 15 September 2014

HAIRCUT. (15/09/14)

Yesterday I headed down from the highlands to the central belt of Scotland . I didn’t need anything in Perth so decided to turn right in Crieff and cut the corner. Crieff or grief. There is something called the Ryder Cup happening. I kept passing signs saying contractors vehicles but none saying road closed. I don’t play golf so my knowledge is limited to watching folk wandering about on bumpy lawns in pyjama trousers and gay shirts trying to get their balls in a hole that is a long way from where they started. Like watching paint dry; I’m tolerant. Whatever turns you on. I ought to have paid the game more attention when I was younger. I read in the paper a bloke got six million pounds for being first to get his ball in the hole. No matter how ridiculous they look golfers are not stupid.

I was flagged down by a very uncouth security man. He wanted to know if I could read. I said I could but had trouble with long words like pteriodactles. but I knew the ‘P’ was silent as in “ISS Off”. He told me the road was closed. I had to point out it wasn’t so he took my number and on I went. I was waving the victory sign and singing Rule Britannia as loud as I could. I hate security men. _MG_3583_4_5_tonemapped  My last view of the Highlands. Clachaig Gully.

Today it was dog haircut day.

_MG_3610   Alf all hairy.

_MG_3611 Moll in need of a trim.

_MG_3615     Molly sparkling bright.

_MG_3617       Alfie looking really smart.

This place is my sisters and is full of animals, horses, dogs, geese and hens.

_MG_3622       This is Zoe. She is the boss but is getting old and finding bossing a strain.

_MG_3621     This is Rosa. She is Zoe’s daughter and tolerates my two but gracelessly. There is an Alsatian but I couldn’t find her…..Pity she is a beautiful dog. I’ll get a snap later in the week.

That’s all for today, Have fun.