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 31 August 2012

WHAT A DAY. (31/08/12)

Yesterday was a wash out but by mid afternoon the skies had cleared and out came the BBQ. I used the oven as the wood didn’t burn down in time. Not to worry…..It was a cheerful sight and hot.

P8303360_1_2_3_4_tonemapped_edited-1   This morning was a real beauty….cold crisp and not a cloud in the sky. It didn’t last The cloud rolled in and by three it was spitting with rain.

The postman came with a parcel…………………………..

P8313395_6_7_8_9_tonemapped_edited-1     Isn’t it posh? The Arduino and lots of things they sent with it……coloured things for the most part. It also came with a perspex mounting board to keep the bread board and the microprocessor together. Took me an hour to assemble the wee spacers and the little plastic rivets…..well three out of the four. One shot on the floor and I can’t find it. Still three is enough. At first light I had moved the van so as not to trash the grass. I never noticed but the electric supply had gone off. I noticed when the computer shut down so after checking everything I came to the conclusion that we were having a power cut. That put paid to playing with the new toy.

P8313410_1_2_3_4_tonemapped_edited-1  I went a walk, warm enough for a T Shirt. Then we got waylaid by this wonderful bit of kit.

sawpan  This log is about three feet in diameter. I don’t know whether it worked. I’ll check tomorrow.

After a quick siesta I realised the power was back on so fired up the laptop and downloaded the drivers and god knows what else for the new machine. The fun then started. I had instructions from the internet…I had instructions in a wee booklet that came with the things..fat lot of help they were. Two hours later I was still dodging between the internet and control panel trying to get some joy out of the Arduino. Eventually I plugged the USB cable into the laptop and then into the Arduino. What difference that made I can’t imagine but bingo. Clever laptop! It knew I’d plugged something in. I was away or would have been if I could remember where I’d popped the downloaded drivers. I hadn’t put them anywhere they were still in Downloads……..I am a complete Muppet at times. It was the execute file I’d popped on the desktop. Just as well because I needed that next.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The computer says yes and the Arduino says yes and all without my resorting to a bigger hammer.

It will keep me amused on wet days. I have lots of bits to play with and if it all goes tits up I can just unplug it and start again. Wonderful is old technology. It is very old it’s named after it’s inventor King Arduin of Iverea. He died in 1015!

What a day…….Have a good weekend. I’m going to need smaller fingers and stronger specs.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

CARPE DIEM. (29/08/12)

_2011388_89_90_91_92_tonemapped_edited-1 A view over Coniston Water in the Southern Lake District.

No I haven’t moved. Yesterday was fine and sunny but I didn’t get any pictures. Today it is raining, really raining…..raining with a capital ‘P’ followed by ‘It Down’.

I have been here a week and not topped up the bird feeders. There are few visitors. Juvenile Great Tit, a Robin and a young Blue Tit. They have only just learnt to use the feeders themselves. I’ve had to tip food in the tray for them. The Robin is brave we came back from yesterdays wander to find it sitting on my bread board. Missed that picture as the dogs were all for a bit of sport. It’s fine, I caught it and it’s back bold as brass waiting for food. My food. I’m trying to get it to eat meal worms from my hand……I ought to get out more…..I really should shut the camper door when I go out.

Today I bit the bullet and ordered the Arduino. I can see me regretting this move. I have thought long and hard but decided to follow Horatus.

“Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero”…..Pluck the day, put no trust in the future.

I don’t! I can see this little bit of kit defeating me. Horatus could speak Latin he lived a long time ago 65BC to 8BC. Apart from fighting the odd lion life was easier then.

This computer code is harder than Latin.

Wish me luck and have fun.

Sunday 26 August 2012

IN A SPIN. (26/08/12)

I’m craving sleep and a pain free day. Not to worry these things never last forever. My mind is spinning faster than usual, it’s difficult to stop it long enough to make sense of the thoughts bubbling to the surface and sinking back into the mire.

I am grateful to the Paralympians. These brave competitors are a real inspiration. They start in a couple of days. Why? It seems daft to hold them separately. They should be run alongside the Olympics. The hundred yards for disabled then the hundred yards for abled and so on.

Why are they called the Paralympics? Why not ParaOlympics? I can only think that ‘Olympic’ is now such a valuable brand that that is the reason.

Para used as a prefix has many and varied interpretations. It can mean ‘Half’, ‘Alongside’, ‘Beyond’. If the spirited individuals really want a catchy brand name then why not ‘Limpics’. Not all competitors limp of course, many would be pleased to be able to. I do feel they are being patronised.

Good luck to you all and have a wonderful time. You put my worries into perspective.

P8263301_2_3_4_5_tonemapped_edited-1 It could be too much caffeine or not enough falling down water……the local hostelry doesn’t allow dogs in and it’s four or five fields away. Easy to get to but the return journey would be fraught with peril.

We never got the promised torrential rain yesterday but it was never far away so I didn’t go far away either.

This morning was showery first thing but by nineish the sun was out and despite a cool northerly breeze all looked well with the world. I gathered up the little beasts and set off across the fields to the shop.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A Brown Lipped Snail……..Whilst I was watching it this little chap glided into view.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A Harvestman. It looks like a spider but isn’t. Wonderful legs, like miniature fishing rods they are.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I tied the dogs up and had a quick spin round the shop. I attempted to create this inside but some jobsworth in a silly hat told me photographs  are not allowed. Mean he is and on a Sunday too.

My plan was to walk up to the original track bed of the Stockton to Darlington railway. ( Built in 1825, I did say 1875 in my comments the other day). The first passenger line in the world. It was not to be. The path I took ran out and I couldn’t face walking alongside a busy dual carriageway. We stopped at this……………….

P8263331_2_3_4_5_tonemapped_edited-1A pile of bricks……..

P8263326_27_28_29_30_tonemapped_edited-1  NO! A locomotive made from bricks a sculpture by David Mach. It comprises almost a hundred and eighty two thousand bricks…….Bet Liverpool or Wales have one with a hundred and eighty three thousand bricks, gold plated bricks I wouldn’t wonder. Ask GRAHAM.

Neil Armstrong died yesterday. He was the first man on the moon. That is a legacy hard to beat. I’m happy he saw the Mars Rover land in one piece. I wonder what the Martians think of it…………. Here are the first pictures it sent back. I can’t credit this, I am only responsible for the GIF file. Bet it’s creator is glad of small mercies.


Have a good week. 

Friday 24 August 2012

TWICE WRITHEN. (24/08/12)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      Disc Harrowing in the dark……..This was a one hit shot as no sooner had I got set up than he stopped harrowing. I was hoping to build up a row of light trails. I win some and I lose some.

Today has been a day of heavy showers. What with the rain and my feeling out of sorts there is little to report.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The other day I proudly identified this as Common Bistort. KEITH thought it might be Amphibious Bistort. I have spent an entertaining and rainy half hour reading all about it. I’m still not able to identify it with any certainty but am much wiser. It is also known as, Twice Writhen, Adderwort, Snakeweed. It is eaten as a vegetable in spring, is made into a pudding with nettles and barley. The roots are ground up and cure almost every nasty affliction known to man. Have a look……A MODERN HERBAL. Worth a read if it’s raining with you.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABulrush or Mace Reed. I quite like them but these need thinning out. They have done as they always do and taken over this pond.

The dogs had another good day.







I was trying to get pictures of frogs. I saw frogs but the helpers were not much help.

Have a great, if damp weekend.

Thursday 23 August 2012

THINK FIRST. (23/08/12)

I enjoyed a lovely sunny evening yesterday so the last walk with the dogs was a real pleasure. The last of the swallows were still chasing flies, the wind had dropped to a fresh breeze. All was well with the world.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This reed bed is just in front of the van. It is a rush bed as these are Bull Rushes. I expected to find some dragonflies but didn’t. I bet the bloody swallows have eaten them all. On we went for a bit and I noticed some water meadow. I thought first but not enough. The only rain free day for ages and I still got wet up to my knees. Deceptively deep is water meadow……

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I didn’t know what this was but found it in the book. Common Bistort…..everything I find starts with Common. It is a local plant and mostly seen in NE England. It also grows in wet marshy places. Thanks book! I’d already worked that out for myself.

I got back to the camper, popped the kettle on, dried the dogs and changed my shoes, socks and trousers. I then decided to have an hour practising with computer code. I found a superb set of video tutorials by a young American called Jeremy Blum. They can be accessed here at JEREMY BLUM.COM. I was considering starting another blog for such things but now will just warn folk with the heading ARDUINO……. This way I won’t be adding to the vast amount of information readily available on the internet and boring folk to death with my inaccurate gobbledygook. I thought first this time.

Quite how I got from tutorials on YouTube to a Lily Allen video I don’t quite recollect but I found it very amusing. Don’t follow this link if you are easily shocked by profanities or sexual innuendo. LILY AND ALFIE. I just loved it.

Untitled-1 This morning I flung open the van door to be greeted by another fine morning. Good job I’m in a field all on my own as I was doing my best Prince Harry impersonation but unlike him I was not fondling my crown jewels. I could write more on the silly man but will leave it to others. Spoilt overindulged and over indulging hoorays are best ignored or thumped hard.

I chucked on wet trousers, wet socks and wet shoes, finished my coffee, woke the dogs and set off on the mile wander to the supermarket to get some milk, tobacco and a paper. I arrived to find it shut. All that way for nothing. I should learn to tell the time and think first. It was only six thirty and supermarkets need a rest like anyone else. I’ll go again tomorrow……..a bit later in the day.

P8233240_1_2_3_4_tonemapped_edited-1 Early sun and a ploughed field.

P8233245_6_7_8_9_tonemapped_edited-1 The Stockton to Darlington Railway. This was the first passenger carrying railway in the world. I think! It was going to be built in London but folk were worried it would cause earthquakes or plagues of frogs or some such catastrophe so decided to test it in the North. Nothing much changes.

That’s about all for today. I’ll leave you with……………………………..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   A Teasel and blue sky from yesterday. It’s drizzling here again.

Have fun. 

Wednesday 22 August 2012

WE’VE MOVED. (22/08/12)

First thing this morning I moved the van five miles…..less as the crow flies but that is irrelevant as the camper can’t fly. Even if it could I would hope that it would fly more directly than the crow. We are still just outside Darlington but in a much more rural environment.

P8223192_3_4_5_6_tonemapped_edited-1   The bird feeders are up for the first time in a month and are already attracting a few customers. Give it a day or two and the little devils will be eating me out of camper and home.

P8223197_198_199_200_201_tonemapped_edited-1   The view out of the side door. It’s been a grand day for once. It’s a bit windy but it hasn’t rained…YET!

Before we left I took the dogs for a last look at the Tees……..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A garden Snail climbing up a dead Hogweed.  I can’t think why unless it was to get a better view.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Two slugs eating what looks like bath sealant. it was much softer. I haven’t a clue what it is but it didn’t smell…I resisted the impulse to taste it.


P8223182_3_4_5_6_tonemapped_edited-1 This is an arable farm. The barley and oilseed rape are harvested. They are happy with the barley but the rape was only middling. The wheat is ready but too wet so another days sunshine is required before they can start combining it.

The winning one-liner from the Edinburgh Festival came from Stewart Francis; “You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks”. I still like Steven Wright’s little gem; “What’s another name for a thesaurus?”

Let us hope for another good day tomorrow.

Monday 20 August 2012

HARDUINO. (20/08/12)

This is a self indulgent post. Please translate the page into Hotentot…..It will make as much sense.
MARK…. Has much to answer for…..ages ago he posted on the Raspberry….not as in jam.  You dumb clucks! It’s a wee thingamajig that one can programme for simple tasks. What did he start?
I love anything new……this is old new. Twenty odd years or more ago I wrote a bit of software that would convert Fahrenheit to Centigrade. It took a week but it worked. I used a language called  ‘C’.  WHY? Don’t ask me it seemed a good idea at the time.
When I was at sea and still using a sextant for position fixing. It took me ten minutes a shot to calculate a fix. In those days calculation tables were available but I always got my wee pinkies on the wrong line. I tried using a ruler to keep my place but the plonker on the helm would hit a big wave, hopeless it was. I ended  up in the middle of France. Having a leaning, or being a bit of a mathematical bent.……What did you think I meant?….I used Spherical Trigonometry to reduce the sights then drew them empirically onto plotting sheets. So as to avoid Trig tables I used a Sharp calculator…a small fortune it cost and was the size of a little brick. Then along came the Psion. I got one. The Sharp was capable of remembering keystrokes….I wasn’t. The Psion was programmable…..Not in my hands it wasn’t. All that money for a posh calculator. I bought new batteries for the Sharp.
I had forgotten the sense of failure until Mark posted.  
Now this is an uphill curve. I’ll be bent at the end. I can, by spending thirty pounds or so become the proud possessor of an intervalometer , a lightening conductor….sorry detector, a motion sensor and an infrared sensor all of which will trigger a camera whilst I sit in the pub having deep philosophical discussions.
Philosophical conversation is important to men like me. We like to discuss many and varied topics. The incompetence and incontinence of elected leaders is topping the list at the moment. Closely followed by the nubile qualities of the bar staff with sports people and their failings running a close third.
I need a challenge. Enter the Aduino. The Aduino Uno. Aduino is Italian for Aduino and Uno is Italian for one. It’s similar in function to the Raspberry but unless you buy the expensive ones the microcontroller in the Adiuno is replaceable. I have had experience of electronics…Replaceable is an important consideration!
A pause whilst I weep.
I once built a radio controlled glider. I had a transmitter…… It had a reciever…..and  three circuits to control three servo motors. By the time I had finished building this lot and persuaded it to communicate. It would have required a small car to transport the transmitter and a Jumbo Jet to carry the rest of the gubbins. The glider looked wonderful. I had no trouble with that part.
All the bits for the electronics I can fondly remember purchasing from Ballards in Sheffield. I got a mixed bag of transistors, resistors, capacitors. bits of circuit board ( the sort where one used a craft knife to cut the copper strips which were glued to a resin impregnated board…(Can’t remember what it was called. AH YES Tuffnol, that’s the stuff. Spitfire pilots used as bullet proofing in their seats.) Sometimes I got things I didn’t know what they were.
A case of Deja Vu. A few years previously I used to collect stamps and I always prized the colourful triangular ones from Fiji. I suspect a Fiji didn’t even have a postal service….. I didn’t know what a Fiji was, no matter, I liked them.
So onto the Arduino. it’s a posh bit of kit. It has 32KB of memory…2KB of Ram and it runs at 16MHz. The Micro controller is the ATmega328. The mega bit must refer to it’s EEPROM of 1KB………..I don’t know what an eeeeeprom is. I’ll look it up. perchance it doesn’t matter much but I suspect it does. It must to someone, else they wouldn’t bother mentioning it. Not for twenty two pounds. That’s all it costs. There are a few other bits but a starter kit costs around forty pounds. About the same as the weekly veg bill.
When all this kit arrives I’ll start another blog…..HARDADRIANIUNO…..Possibly, maybe just ADRIANIUNO…or….HARDIUNO? Any other polite suggestions will be considered.
This is the project for the year ahead. I’m completely mad. We don’t even get many thunder storms. Still, no worries. I can stand at the other end of a field in the dark and fire a flash gun on myself and see if the camera fires.
Have fun

PUDDLES. (20/08/12)

I think that Windows Live Writer is back up and running…..thank the Gods of all things cyber.

Yesterday was grand until lunchtime, we went a walk then called for a pint. I hadn’t got halfway into the first one when down came the rain. It was not forecast by the Met Office but UGRIB showed it. It came an hour early. I got soaked walking home…..the dogs were already drenched………..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     They didn’t pick the cleanest bit of river bank for their swim. A good job it rained on the way back!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   A Greenbottle, there are not many of these around but this one was enjoying the morning sunshine.

I spent the afternoon trying to understand the complexity of the Arduino. I don’t want to bore you with the ins and outs. You have all suffered enough with endless musings on cameras and lenses. I did find this video which was both informative and amusing. PROGRAMMING THE ARDUINO. The reason for my interest is that this tiny computer is both cheap very cheap….twenty pounds sterling or so and can be used to control camera shutter releases. By time, movement, or light. So elapse meters or lightening triggers can be constructed.

The man for all this sort of stuff is here. Code from an English Coffee Drinker. I suspect that he is English and the Coffee is foreign. Having followed his blog for a while it could be visa versa. Anything is possible when one is as bright as Mark.

Out for a paper first thing, it had stopped raining.




I gave them Spanish titles in a vain attempt to make them more interesting.

Have a good week.

Saturday 18 August 2012

SHEER LUNACY. (18/08/12)

I didn't get to bed until one o'clock this morning and was up again at three thirty. I wasn't ill, not physically. Yesterday afternoon as it was raining I was sitting and pondering lens choices for the Canon 5D III. I had a good idea....a thought...a revelation.
Now if a top end Canon wide to small telephoto zoom lens is costing  two and a half thousand pounds, it ought to be possible to get some old Leica glass at a fraction of the price. Get an adapter made and we are swimming in champagne for the price of a bath in beer. I would have to focus manually, set aperture with my fingers and focus by hand.....It is a landscape lens so no worries. The Canon has live view so focusing should be easy.....should be but it never is.
I fired up  t'internet and surfed for five hours......(never saw a Thai Ladyboy in all that time...promise!)
It is possible to use old lenses and I found lots of examples showing that Leica lenses are better for the job, I found that some will fit the Canon 5D II so the III should be okay.
My favourite camera shop has a couple of lenses both Leica R fit, a 35mm and a 50mm. Perfect for landscaping on full frame cameras.
 I then got side tracked a bit. I found a range finder Leica that only takes B&W for the paltry sum of five thousand pounds.....any Leica lens will be the same again. It got worse I came upon the Leica S. A medium format camera that is DSLR sized. The camera body is a snip at the thick end of nineteen thousand pounds. I'm not getting one as I'd have to get a long Canon lens converted to fit a Leica S. It is apparently bomb proof but one reviewer did take a spare body.....Do these Pro Snappers live on this planet?
It got worse.....I was into medium format mode. 
I have always secretly fancied a Hasselblad or Mamiya. They are cheap enough second hand. Digital backs for them make the Leica S look cheap. I then started surfing digital backs and found that one has to have a very posh Raw file converter. It was gone midnight by now.
I had a couple of Wheetbix to keep me going and looked up the software side of things. I found 'Capture One Pro 6'.....By Gum, if it does half as much as they claim it's a snip at Euros 265. I could have a sixty day free trial. I'm game for that. I shouldn't have been, I also had to download and install a Windows programme NET.  something or other. Then I had to watch a couple of videos to explain how I was supposed to go on with it. Like Adobe PS it is not obvious. 
I was exhausted...tired spelt with a Kn.
I couldn't sleep so got up thinking of the Leica Monochrom, that is how Leica spell it. They mean it only does black and white with all the shades of grey in between. At just gone the back of three thirty this morning I was resetting the Olympus E-3 to shoot monochrome. I recharged it's battery popped a red filter on and was ready.







All these were processed in Capture One...I'm happy. I'm tired. I'm exhausted. I need to get out more. I have to go out! I need a lottery ticket. As Camelot are so fond of saying if you don't enter one can't win. A pound is neither here nor there in the numbers I've been looking at......Wish me luck with the bouncing balls tonight.
Enjoy your weekend.