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

Thursday 28 February 2013

BACK TO NORMAL. (28/02/13)

I woke this morning to a waning moon and a sky full of stars. I should have put another couple of layers on prior to my trip to the shower block. Minus ever such a lot it was.  Clear skies and normal. Great!

I had medium to cool ablutions went back to the van, got the dogs harnessed up and with the chest harness toddled off to the sea with Bertha clattering around my knees.

30th January 2013 G12 003es_edited-1                                               This handsome chap is me with Bertha…Fill flash, soft box the works. I’m happy, I look pretty….. The shot was taken by KEITH a month ago whilst I was down advising on all matters ornithological. I told both he and Trevor if it has feathers it’s a bird. I’m not daft!

I arrived at the seaside and settled the dogs behind the fishing boat. Plenty of birds around, as usual, they were miles away but they would come closer.

_V0G5583_edited-1      As close as they got……..I suffered over half an hour of serious sunshine and brass monkey weather. Sunburn on my bald pate and my nether regions reduced to a fraction of their former glory. The boat people arrived.

_V0G5595_edited-1    I gave up and retraced my steps to feed the dogs and breakfast. Bertha takes a nice enough shot of boat folk. Just as well…. damn nigh cripples me carrying it. Ice under foot doesn’t help….were I to slip slidey over then not only would Bertha suffer but I could be crushed.

I decided to go and look at the biggest port on the Cumbrian coast, Cumbrian Riviera I meant. It was built ages ago. It is better than Millom but not by much.

_V0G5596_edited-1      This is Ravenglass station. The journey time to Whitehaven is about half an hour and the fare is £5.60p return on any train, the ticket is purchased on the train……no messing about…..dogs go free….Cheap. Why does it cost a hundred pounds or more Sheffield to London? Why don’t London trains go to airports? It only takes twice as long and a bit as this. I can only think it is MPs inflating their expenses yet again. It is cheaper for me to fly than go by train from the north of England to take advantage of cheap London flights. Probably would be here but neither Ravenglass nor Whitehaven have airports and anyway airlines can be funny about dogs. It is a wonderful system one tells the guard if you want to hop off at halts along the permanent way and he gives the driver the nod to stop. A proper service and the train was fullish so it is appreciated. Thank you Northern Rail. Alf was excited and stank the carriage out but all was well, I blamed his putrid flatulence on the Collie two seats in front.  His owner said Bob give up with the farting.! We’ll soon be there. Bob did not look happy.

_V0G5597_8_9_tonemapped_edited-1       It is a big port…..Built to provide a safe haven for fishing boats and for merchant vessels shifting coal. It’s massive but redundant.

_V0G5606_7_8_tonemapped_edited-1This is what the EEC used to spend money on….a posh bandstand.

_V0G5609_10_11_tonemapped_edited-1   This man does deserve a mention. John Paul Jones the only American to invade England. Here he is depicted spiking the battery gun in Whitehaven. They forgave him and gave him the freedom of the town. I suspect they put his behaviour down to a quaint colonial custom.

_V0G5612_edited-1 Another memorial. To the miners. The inscription reads ‘The End Of An Era’. Thanks Thatcher!  I doubt she will ever be forgiven. The sculpture is surrounded by street lights and notice boards so is difficult to snap. I missed the bright blue sign…..That just gives information on parking charges…..I thought the machine that gives tickets did that but what the hell! Signs are big business about the only business round here.

_V0G5615_6_7_fused_edited-1       The outer harbour.

_V0G5618_19_20_fused_edited-1           The inner harbour wall. It is a good place and worth a visit but like so much of the UK it needs to be seen on a sunny day.

That’s it for today……I’ll see what tomorrow brings. Like it or not so will you.

Wednesday 27 February 2013

I’M TRYING TO BE A BIRDY. (27/02/13)

It’s not often I do two posts in a day but this one is to ask for help. I love landscape, I’m not lazy. I’m just a little idle. I carry filters and tripod. I have been with birders……really posh ones. KEITH AND TREVOR. I listened to their cameras and, by god, it shocked me. In film days they would be shooting a roll a minute.

I live and learn, digital gives one this freedom. I also have tried cropping in……I’m a hopeless birder. Thought about my problems and offer the following.

Camera set to fast drive flash set to high sinc and TTEL or whatever  auto is with Canon. I think it means fill flash. I’ll try and refine the job. I am half way there.


_V0G5554_edited-1       Chaffinch, a bit crap….okay really crap! it is moving at a hundred miles an hour.

_V0G5560_edited-1      This is better. The poor old Great Tit is just to the right of the left hand feeder. I’m amazed it has survived. Glad it has….I know what it feels like to be a cripple.

_V0G5564_edited-1           Mr and Mrs Collared dove not sure which is which….I suspect he was late back from the pub.

_V0G5580_edited-1       Incoming Long Tailed Tit.

_V0G5582_edited-1      Can’t win them all but I think fill flash is worth pursuing.

As always I try to maintain political neutrality. However if you live in Eastleigh and vote for a Liberal or Conservative then may you rot in your own excrement. If in doubt don’t vote. Take to the streets or if you are wealthy just withhold your taxes….sorry that is patronising Eastleigh residents have already sussed the latter.

Have fun…..I doubt Nicky Cleggy Baby will have much to laugh about this time tomorrow. Hopefully Dithery, devious Dave will be similarly affected though I don’t have that much faith in this constituency.

Just have fun…..Vote Monster Raving Lunacy Party if in doubt.    

JUSTICE. (27/02/13)

I have been hoist by my own petard and have been served my just deserts. I admitted yesterday that whilst all you southerners have been sitting under a blanket of cold wet cloud I have enjoyed wall to wall sunshine. I felt quite smug.

_V0G5546_edited-1     Freezing fog this morning……it was even icing up my beard and woolly hat. Vile it is so here are a few sunny pictures from the last few days.

_V0G5542_edited-1            This poor mite was caught by a Kestrel three weeks ago and escaped. It is a real mess but is eating and surviving.

_V0G5540_edited-1           A Collared Dove half of a pair that visit.

_V0G5525_edited-1          One of dozens of Chaffinch this one is female.

_V0G5511_edited-1        House Sparrows.

_V0G5518_edited-1         Finally a Goldfinch.

That’s all for today.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

WHY AND WHAT. (26/02/13)

Why didn’t I take the long lens on our walk this morning? This one is easy to answer…….I’m an idle devil.


Yet another bright, sunny and freezing morning. We made our way down to the seaside. I now have plan ‘D’ to get closer to the birds. Purely by chance I stopped to light up a fag behind a beached boat. I looked up and there were three or four Oystercatchers not fifty yards away. They didn’t stay but I did.

What? Whilst watching a few Redshank a flock of these flew in……………………………..


_V0G5478_edited-1   Landed……………………………………

_V0G5479_edited-1    Sat about for a while……………………..

_V0G5482_edited-1     Then departed…………….I don’t know what they are. At first I assumed they were Oystercatcher but they aren’t.

These were shot with a 135mm lens……..I will take the 400mm next time and use the boat as a hide.

I will get to the Owl Centre but I hate to waste this wonderful weather….Sunshine dawn till dusk, brilliant it is.

Any help with ID would be much appreciated, I’ve been back and forth through my book and am none the wiser.

Sunday 24 February 2013

CLOSER. (24/02/13)

First light this morning was much like yesterday. No light at all.

We came back, ate breakfast and the sun was shining down on us. Off we toddled again.

_V0G5381_edited-1  I decided that if I set up on this little spit of salt marsh then we could be quiet and still and hope the birds would come within range……Optimism is a wonderful attribute no matter how misplaced.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe dogs settled, now all I needed were the waders. There were plenty around, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin and a few of a size between the two. Sandpiper of some sort I presume. What a waste of an hour and a half…..photographically.

I had only just opened my flask and was admiring a couple of curlew when a Chocolate Labrador charged out of nowhere and put everything into the air and away. It’s owner, an ignorant bitch of a woman with an arse the size of Luxembourg, and a face like a squashed cabbage waddled up laughing and said that’s disrupted your day. With commendable restraint I said nothing. It is fortunate it is Sunday and I need all the help I can get with birding. I didn’t want God on her side…..I doubt he was….I’m no Adonis but she poor woman was a real fright. I’m an optimist, I could have met her in the twilight and been petrified…..I wanted to show you that ugly goes through and through but she wouldn’t pose for a picture. Probably just as well….the lenses are expensive!

We waited for half an hour but although a few birds returned they were miles away. An exaggeration, a couple of hundred yards away so near enough to enjoy but too far to photograph.

Altogether I spent a couple of hours an hour either side of high water but  we were then rudely interrupted by a Marsh Harrier. If you think a dog can cause havoc then you want to see the effect a raptor has. I was frozen by this time was out of coffee, fast running out of roll ups and so decided to call it a day.

That’s an hour and a half walking and two hours sitting. I’ll be a shadow of my former self!

_V0G5399_edited-1       What I am calling a Redshank……It could well be something else despite having red legs.


_V0G5386_edited-1       A Curlew. These are easier to get close to when they move up onto the moors to breed. I have a little bird by the feeders that makes a similar call. I can’t isolate it.

_V0G5413_edited-1          There was no sign of the Wigeon this morning. This smart duck floated past but I can’t find it in my book.

It was a good morning but I really hoped to get closer.

If it’s nice tomorrow I’m going up to the World Owl Centre. They will be close enough there. They have the little blighters in cages. It’s only a mile away so I’ll take Bertha. That reminds me Bertha needs a wash. She seems to have collected a bit of mud.

Have a good week.

Friday 22 February 2013

BRIDGE. (22/02/13)

We walked the other way again this morning. It was barely light but the sky was very unusual. I didn’t bother with the camera and birds today……..I like to try and preserve a little dignity. There were lots of curlew, redshanks and sandpiper around but around is a relative term….a couple of hundred yards around._V0G5334_edited-1  This is the rail bridge across the estuary.

_V0G5331_edited-1_V0G5329_edited-1They have kindly bolted a footbridge to the side of it………saves swimming across. The estuary can be forded at low water.

_V0G5333_edited-1    It’s a really bonny bridge.

ravpan22213  Great sky. This is pretty big and will enlarge with a click.

_V0G5318_edited-1  One from playtime last night………I really ought to make the effort to get out more……..For those that haven’t seen it before this is the Moon.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday 21 February 2013

WATCH THE BIRDIE! (21/02/13)

Before I start on this epic tale of frozen fingers and legs and ears. I suggest all you competent and not so proficient proper photographers pop out of the room and make yourselves comfortable.

Hope is not enough and neither is all the equipment a man could desire. A fast 400mm lens, an EOS 1, a lovely silky smooth Benro Gimballed head and two little dogs that sat still for over an hour and never barked once. Everything was in my favour. I found a crevice in the seawall out of most of the wind and sat down to wait for the tide to bring the birds to me. It never happened either my name is Canute or we are coming on to neap tides. I saw the moon last night and it was about half full so that explains the lack of water……My name is Adrian.

_V0G5310_edited-1  Another sunny day though the mud was frozen.

_V0G5301_edited-1     Spot the bird……It’s a Redshank I think.

_V0G5204_edited-1      An equally impressive Curlew. They are a few of these….this one got closest.

_V0G5271_edited-1       Wigeon at high water.

_V0G5295_edited-1      Wigeon again……all my ducks in a row Dennis I am.

Tomorrow I’ll try from the railway bridge…….I’ll take the extender for a bit more reach.

Life can be disappointing but I’ll keep trying….and if you have wet yourselves laughing then don’t say you weren’t warned.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

v. (20/02/13)

On Monday evening at about 10pm  BBC Radio 4 broadcast the scholar platwright and poet Tony Harrison reading his own poem v. I fell asleep long before that time but after breakfast this morning I listened to it on iPlayer. I found it brilliant and will listen again. I recommend it without any reservations…..it’s a powerful piece of work. For those without access to iPlayer it can be found here v. by TONY HARRISON. He reads it well for those that can understand an educated Leeds accent. I always prefer poetry readings to reading poetry. When reading it I find I have to practise it over and over in my head to get the stress and flow just right.

I took Bertha for an outing first thing but as I suspected the tide was just too far out for photography. It was also as I predicted blasted freezing.



_V0G5190_edited-1   Wonderful and dramatic skies so well worth the walk.

_V0G5186_edited-1    The waders were out in good numbers but too far away for a 400mm lens. It should be just right tomorrow. I carried bertha in the rucksack and that is where she stayed.

_V0G5188_edited-1    This flock of ducks are for the most part Wigeon. There are one or two strangers amongst them, I suspect they are Tufted Duck. Hopefully by this time tomorrow I’ll know for certain.

That’s all from a windy and chilly day in Cumbria.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

A QUIET DAY. (19/02/13)

It’s a cool but beautiful day. I have had a couple of walks the dogs have had three. They have a new friend. They prefer him to me……he lets them please themselves.

_V0G5172_edited-1      I hope that when he grows up he will be a more accomplished dog trainer than I am.

_V0G5168_edited-1        I have a Robin that hopefully will emulate Keith's. It won’t take seed from my hand but it is getting close. It flies above my hand then departs. I’ll get there. I seem to have more success with Pheasants. I have one visiting every morning for his breakfast…..He taps on the van step for food.

_V0G5090_edited-1       Another snap from yesterday………….It is amazing how long the Tree Creeper’s rear toe is. it has been about today but not on a tree near enough.

Fed-Ex have been today. I have swapped the Manfrotto macro plate for a posher version.

_V0G5175_edited-1      A much better piece of kit.

_V0G5174_edited-1      Not a cheap bit of kit but it is super smooth and feels very rigid…….I’ll get going with it and start focus stacking again. It is missing any scales but will move in minute steps…..I’ll have to guess.

That’s all for today. Tomorrow I’m going to lug Bertha down to the estuary……it looks as if it may be a cool job.