I live in a camper van with a West Highland Terrier for company.
My passion is creating images 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

Friday 30 April 2010

MAY DAY EVE (30/04/10)

We were out at first light this morning and lovely light it was. Coolish, glad I put a jacket on. Even more relieved as we had a quick shower on the way home. For the first time in ages the heating is on and a serious squally belt of rain has just passed through. The weather gods are just gearing up for the holiday weekend.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      Low sun casting shadows across a field that will soon be producing Oil Seed Rape I guess.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We waited ages for this female Pheasant to step from the shade. This was as close as she got, she about turned and pecked her way back into shadow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEarly morning light, this is where we have spotted deer but there was not sight nor sound today.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStill a very nice time of the day to be out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Dunstanburgh Castle……….This is what I would have liked it to look like. It never has whilst we have been here so gave it a bit of a shove in the right direction.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   I’ve never seen a May Day card but thought as it’s a touch inclement  I would do you one, Have a grand weekend wherever you are.

Tomorrow we are heading down into North Yorkshire. I’m not sure quite where.


Thursday 29 April 2010

ARRESTED (29/04/10)

Not quite but it was a close run thing, I can understand that standing outside the ladies toilets with a long lens, a camera and a pair of binoculars could leave ones motives open to misinterpretation. I’ll explain…. ‘Your Honour’……..See, three days ago a pair of Swallows turned up, now I’ve been following them about and have noticed they are starting to build a nest, (you are ahead of me here), under the eaves of the porch outside the ladies conveniences.

image       To you and the rest of the world, a toilet block. To me a nest site.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The cause of the embarrassment at dawn this morning. After taking this in poor light and half a gale we went to find Deer. The walk was fine and so I hope were the Deer, we never saw them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Blackthorn Blossom……I hope! Funny stuff, some flowers have four petals, some five and yet others six. Can only think they are moulting or what ever it is flowers do when they mislay bits.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is the path to everywhere and we are just starting to get new leaves, another day or so and they will cast a green tinge over everything. A favourite time for me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A Pied Wagtail, this system focuses then can still shift but I am getting there £2K+ gives me the incentive.

image My first butterfly shot of the year…….A Veined White……..I hope!!

Back to the cause of the bother…………………………………………

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Here he is on the ablutions block roof.

imageHere she is with a beak full of mud to stuff up under the eaves. Now, this may sound daft but they are collecting dry earth from a field, when there is a stream not two hundred yards away with wet mud. How do they get dry mud to stick together? Ok…..I’ve thought of the obvious. It must be easier to fly with dry mud, given the speed they go at.

That’s all for today, for any insomniacs, there’s a new ‘How To’ on Seeing to Pictures.


Wednesday 28 April 2010


For regular visitors I apologise. No Pictures today, no proper ones. Over a week ago the camera and 500mm lens hit the floor. After numerous attempts I seem to have the camera back to, near normal. This morning I had a go at the lens, as the camera now works adequately with my other glass. (They put an awful lot of bits in there), quite a puzzle, a damn sight harder than the Telegraph Crossword! Not barely made a start on that. Plenty of time in the twilight hours.

image  The end result a swallow at over a hundred yards, this is full frame and the lens auto focussed. In rain!!

Anyone like a camera mended…………I’ve gone deaf…………….Send it back to the manufacturers.

The main problem is that Olympus must be about to announce a new top end camera. Nothing wrong with the E-3 but they have better dynamic range on the PENN range or whatever it’s called. It would also be nice to decide bracketing  and the number of exposures. What we will get is… HD video. Not for me.

I do know one man who mounts a Cannon on a posh shoulder harness and has virtually stopped using video cameras. He is a bit weird mind! Also challenged in the brain cell department. It’s the first still camera he’s owned. The results are cinematic standard. Not saying too much when one considers that digital is still struggling to meet transparency film range. Remember those projectors, brilliant! Try zooming to 200% on a digital image without re-sampling, they are appalling. The danger is that owt’ll do for a monitor.

I still print a few and the best interpolation software can’t compete with medium format scanned.

I can hear you now………Don’t whisper!…………Daft old bugger is living in the past.

For those that were expecting a photo here is one from yesterday………………….

image      This is not good the second coming of a sunrise………..Told you!…………Try this…………….

image The first coming. It was boring, tomorrow is looking good. Another sunrise and IGNORE the blessed castle we’ll walk the other way.

Am now going to settle down and explain how to do exploding text  effects…………No I’m not, Molly wants a walk, big lens or little lens? Cheers……Good job we are only here once………Couldn’t stand this all over again…..Don’t know how Buddhists and Christians manage……What! This is just Kindergarten!!

Tuesday 27 April 2010

SPRING (27/04/10)

It has turned decidedly cool outside, but the flowers are flowering and the hawthorns are turning green. Even the grass is growing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACan you tell? I’m bored and it’s starting to drizzle. Unfortunately we have to go for a quick constitutional.

All the best till tomorrow.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow you can see what is about to occur and so could I. He’s concentrating on the job in hand so hadn’t a clue.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Not any more he isn’t, he’s contemplating soggy feet. Cruel I know but it quite made my morning. I just hope the shot was a stunner.

I’m getting ahead of myself. We got up at four o’clock this morning hoping for some decent light on the castle ruins. Got away in twilight a half hour later. We hadn’t gone quarter of a mile when I heard a loud barking, I knew what it was but couldn’t see it. Molly was whining and whingeing, she knows what they are. I shut her up and we crouched down whilst I scanned the gloom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      An absolutely awful shot of a female Roe Deer, you don’t want to see the others, you probably didn’t want to see this one! I could barely see it, focus was a bit miss no hits at all! I now know where it was so will go better prepared tomorrow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Dawn at the seaside was nothing to get excited about.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese being the best of a bad lot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     Mute swans, by this time the sun was behind cloud so not the colour I would have wished for.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    Still a lovely sight before breakfast.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      A long way away but I include it as it’s an Eider Duck, at least I hope it is. A first for me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Skylarks were up and about their business so we settled down by an old Pill Box to see if one would land. They stop up in the sky for ever singing away and when they land I can’t tell where. We got lucky after half an hour or so. At least I hope we did……….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       I pray this is a Skylark. I must admit it doesn’t look a whole lot like the one in my book. Well apart from having a beak, tail, two legs and feathers that is.

The light on the castle never amounted to much and the only other birds about were Greylag Geese, Oystercatchers and some unidentified brown jobs that were too quick for me.

We may get out later but it’s turning cold now and the winds getting up, we will see.


Monday 26 April 2010

KIPPERS (26/04/10)

Today is Caster and castle day. We caught the bus to Caster, pronounced like the sugar.  We arrived around eight o’clock in bright sunshine. There was a bit of a nip in the wind but still a very pleasant morning. Caster is famous for it’s smokehouse which converts Herring into kippers using oak chippings to provide the smoke. The variety produced here are supposedly the best in the world. I will try one before we leave and put up with the truck reeking of smoked fish for weeks, perhaps the BBQ is the sensible option

.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   A fish eye view for a fishy village. Caster.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   It is a very nice place, though I found it hard to get a decent shot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   The road out and the road in for that matter.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   The smoke house, the black streaks are a tar like substance, don’t know whether it’s fish juice or wood tar and I was not in the mood for a taste test.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   A level walk of around a mile brought us within heaving distance of Dunstanbugh Castle or what is left of it. It’s not doing too badly considering it’s exposed position and the fact it’s seven hundred years old. This image was shot through a warm up filter and polariser.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     The main gate. It doesn’t open till ten so rather than hang around for an hour I decided the inside could wait for another day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  This is the North tower. just around to the left there is a one hundred and fifty foot cliff which drops straight down into the North Sea. It was impractical to even attempt a shot today as the sun was right in front of me. Plenty of sea birds nest building on the cliff so given a cloudy day I may even identify them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   On we plodded to Embleton Bay, in total contrast to yesterday, we didn’t meet a soul. This walk of half a mile or so between the golf course on one side and the sea on the other is full of bird life. Lots of Skylarks, numerous unidentified wee brown jobs and several Small White butterflies. I will return for some dawn pictures and take a long lens with me so I can have guesses at what I’ve captured.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is an example, a heavily cropped example of what in my inexpert but considered opinion is a Stonechat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     Dunstanburgh Castle taken on the way back home. I was getting bored with Mediterranean blue skies so thought I’d finish with black and white.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings but it looks as if a very early start is called for.


Sunday 25 April 2010

UP WITH THE LARK (25/04/10)

This morning dawned misty, no, not that good, hazy. We went out but the light was awful.

Called it off came back and second breakfasted. A good job we did, it rained. By eleven the sun was doing it’s best so we set off on the half hour walk to the seaside. A half hour walk for us can easily turn into an hour or more. Molly has to sniff every inch of ground and I get distracted by birds, buildings, fences…………. Anything…. A good job there’s no rush.

I’ve never seen so many people, disregarding a supermarket car park,  in months.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    Embleton Bay…………The good thing is it’s dog friendly. Molly is at long last learning not to drink sea water, a good thing. Too much salt is bad for one, I won’t go into detail of what it does to a dog!!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Dunstanburgh Castle and yet another people jam.

Add to the above a golf course and one has serious congestion. I’m sticking around this time. PHIL has made suggestions and looking at what he finds, I won’t gainsay him. I found a Cowslip, the first of the year for me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A grand plant, proper spring. The leaves are starting to unbud or sprout, I’m an engineer not a botanist! Won’t be but a short day before summer.

I’ve seen a couple of Swallows, can’t catch them on camera, like greased lightening. I am amazed they still have that much go in them considering how far they migrate. Surely they don’t have to go as far as Africa for a Midge.

Look after yourselves and Happy Birthday to KEITH.

Saturday 24 April 2010



image   Well here we are , we were just down the road last year but the castle was covered in scaffold.

We left Bellingham at seven thirty this morning to raid Tesco in Hexham, a bit of a detour but the direct route is twisty and narrow so quicker to do the extra twenty miles, plus food as a bonus.

Summer is here, well the sun is, it’s great, I’ll do my best to take advantage before the rainy season starts. May to December.

We settled in and went for a wander to get the lie of the land, the forecast is good till mid week, just as well it’s dawn and dusk for photography here, makes for a long day at this time of year even allowing for a siesta.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  A very pleasant exit from the site.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    Skylark at ten thousand feet, OK not quite but we waited for him to drop and then couldn’t find him. I assume the ones that climb to the edge of the atmosphere are male, generally females aren’t that daft, she’d be sitting at home watching Coronation Street. Must be two years since I’ve sat and listened to their song…………..Great!

Things got better on the way home……….Thanks to KEITH  I now know that the following isn’t a Greenfinch, I could still do with seeing one. A Greenfinch that is.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA For any ignoramuses out their this is a Siskin. Ta Keith……………….Want some more I’ve loads.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA        Here’s another, pray to god they are Siskin. I’ll try for full frame tomorrow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I’m new to this birding business but it’s amazing how many Chaffinch have survived the winter, the wee blighters are everywhere.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADunstanburgh Castle. It’s been photographed to hell and back but never this badly…………Make a name for myself yet…………..Crap shots of photogenic subjects.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHawthorn blossom, I hope!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    Primrose, safe on this one………….Not be long before I can walk through deciduous woodland and get that once a year chlorophyll green cast on all the images.

I’ll leave you with this………………………………………..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      A lass, multi tasking, she’s casting a critical eye over another camper erecting his tent whilst water collecting. I shot this on the way to the bins and asked if I could take her picture. She shouted across……….There’s a bald bloke wants me picture….Her partner arrived and said….What you done…….Come with me…..I got him holding a reflector, we spent an hour messing but she just got more self conscious. I’ve a lot to learn.

‘Birds’ are harder than birds. Great face though!