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

Monday 30 September 2013

PERFECT GIANTS. (30/09/13)

It’s a grey dull day here in Porthmadog. I took the dogs a quick walk and had to return for a camera. The dogs wouldn’t come back without a good cursing, they don’t like being short changed._MG_1722 Even I couldn’t miss seeing these monsters.


_MG_1727 A pair of Shaggy Parasols in perfect condition. The ‘grown ups’ name is Lepiota rhacodes. These are edible but must be cooked. I used to eat them but these days they give me stomach cramps. I can only assume they don’t mix well with campanology.

_MG_1723  A pity as they are a meal on their own. The coin is a pound coin. they are 7/8ths of an inch in diameter or 23mm for those of metric persuasion.

I could do with finding some Puff Balls they are my favourite cooked with smoked bacon.

That’s all for today. Tomorrow I’m heading for Borrowdale in the Lake District. Lets hope for some misty mornings and autumn colour.

Sunday 29 September 2013

SATURDAY - PART TWO. (29/09/13)

The video today is a vast improvement. It has yet to achieve critical acclaim but I have made it much longer. If I can’t make them better I’ll make them bigger.  As I write this it is uploading to YouTube and only has six hours to go. Maybe a bit more; my internet is a bit slow here. It would probably be quicker to pop it on a memory stick and post it.

I don’t know how Keith talks over his videos. I have tried but then start focusing and panning and other complicated things as best I can and say something rude. This film job is a multiperson task. I have Alf as producer and Molly as director but I can’t be listening to them. I’m just the point the camera man and I failed, I failed to notice the fence post. I’ll have to get Moll one of those wee telescope things I’ve seen directors posing with. I also need a focus person….Pushers or Pullers I think they are called. Proper film people most likely have one of each._V0G7654 Despite what you may think the focus ring is not held together with the cable tie. This is something I dreamt up to facilitate smoother focusing. I should stop dreaming; it’s a waste of time. The video still keeps dropping in and out of focus and judders when I touch the cable tie.

I also shot a few stills, these are to wet your appetite. If you don’t like steam locomotives then click out now.

_V0G7669  I suspect a new bit of hose is required. Unfortunately he didn’t get wet but It was a close run thing for me. From now on in this post is for the furry hooded jacket brigade.





_V0G7663   A few details of NG 143.

_V0G7660 This one is just because I like the image. I noticed that all the engine drivers lean out of the cab and gaze in wonder as the loco negotiates a set of points. These new fangled things must be a real source of wonder.


_V0G7675  It came as a bit of a shock to realize that these two locomotives were built twenty two years apart. Longevity of design is a forgotten concept today.

_V0G7677    This is just because I like a good fire.

_V0G7679    The Whistle…….my last and my favourite image of the day. I missed the first toot and had to ask the driver for another. He said he only does one toot before departure. I was a bit stressed and said just pull the bloody chain. This is a really long Toooot! I think he was worried he’d run out of coal sitting there tooting all day.

Here is the movie.

Garretts at Waunfawr.

I wanted to add a bit of music….I fancied Smoke on the Water. It’s a bit expensive paying for copywrite so I’m afraid it’s musicless.

Have a great week.

Saturday 28 September 2013


After yesterdays fiasco with macro I sorted out where I went wrong and wandered off to get my confidence back.

_V0G7646 A Dandelion seed head.

_V0G7647 A Blackberry. These are both okay and shot at 1/250s and f16.

I then went looking for insects but non would pose for long enough. I did find a dead Crane Fly, carried it carefully back to the van trying to ensure that no important bits fell off.

_V0G7652    Crane fly at 1:1. These will all enlarge full screen with a click.

_V0G7651     At 2:1. I can see the separate lenses in it’s eyes. Not good but the best I’ve had so far.

_V0G7650     At 3:1. The end of it’s wing. I should have kept it and taken all it’s bits at three times life size or in it’s case dead size.

The first bit of Garrett video is in the can…..that’s an expression we pro video takers use. The last train comes through here at 4pm or thereabouts. I suspect I’ll be posting the finished film tomorrow but if YouTube are good maybe earlier. I’ve looked at the rushes…..that’s another pro expression…..They look much better than Thursdays. Today a Garrett tomorrow Uma Thurman.

Have fun.


Friday 27 September 2013

SHOCKING. (27/09/13)

A lovely sunny day here in Wales. There are no trains running on a Friday so I went macroing. An Unmitigated disaster it was. The new split focus screen works well with the 100mm macro lens but not so well with the MP-E 65mm. It works well in the van but is the very devil outside. Perhaps it’s just the way I am today.

_V0G7630   I found this. It’s an awful shot but the best of seven. It is dead and blowing about in the breeze. I thought it was an earwig but how did an earwig get caught in a web? They do have wings but I have never seen one fly.

_V0G7624    This is a Hoverfly. It is beautiful but I still haven’t managed to get it’s eyes in focus.

_V0G7639    A female Garden Spider that abseiled down the van window.

I sat about for ages getting bitten by midges and waiting for a Dragonfly to settle. It didn’t but it did return several times. Whilst waiting I was popping Indian balsam seed pods. The other day Keith and I were engaged in a similar activity. We couldn’t decide whether they give one an electric shock when they pop. After today I’m still not sure but it does feel as if they do.

_V0G7631   The shocker.

Have a great weekend. I’m devoting myself to steam trains tomorrow and then moving down to Porthmadog on Sunday.

Thursday 26 September 2013

STEAMING. (26/09/13)

I’ve moved about twenty miles to the village of Waun Fawr. It lies on the route of The Welsh Highland Railway. This and The Welsh Mountain Railway though not unique in global terms are not replicated anywhere in the UK.

_MG_1706 This is a Garrett 2-6-2 + 2-6-2 articulated two foot gauge locomotive. She was built in Manchester England in the early nineteen fifties so is younger than I am. I think this is a modified one. They diverted smoke box gasses on some of these back into the firebox. Fuel efficiency increased by a quarter. I can’t get on the internet to find out as I’m uploading another awful video. She does seem to have an odd pipe running down he boiler frame so I suspect I’m right. I’ll have to get a jacket with a furry hood then I’d know I am. 

_MG_1700  This is the two foot gauge track she runs on. The line is single track. I know you will have noticed two tracks, this is a passing loop. It’s a very safe system as should the line ahead not be clear this train can’t proceed without a token from the up train. The drivers swap a baton over, a bit like relay racers in the Olympics but in a more relaxed manner. They only issue batons at the controlling end of the line; and not one more than the line has passing places. A fool proof system.

_MG_1709   As far as I know all these locomotives were built for The South African Railways. The last few were built in the mid nineteen sixties. I’ll check tomorrow as my memory is not what it was.

_MG_1710       It was raining really hard. These cabs have a sun roof but this one doesn’t shut. The fireman was shovelling coal for all he was worth with the injectors on to make sure she had enough steam to climb the flanks of mount Snowden before her descent to Beddlegert and her destination at Porthmadog.

_MG_1698   The front tender holds water and the rear one coal. This the water tower she drinks from.

_MG_1697This is the stream that supplies the water….I’m being fanciful. Boiler water has to be totally inert  and free of salts and other minerals these days. This water must be the purest in the country. I suspect they import their own water for the water tower these days.

These are my favourite locomotive. Not pretty but they are really efficient work horses. To see them working hard on the gradients here is a once in a lifetime experience….unless like me you keep popping back for another look.

The line runs from Caernarfon to Porthmadog. I think a return ticket is in the region of thirty ponds or so. Makes InterCity prices look a little on the expensive side.

I’ve waited for three hours for this video to upload to YouTube then they tell me it looks a bit shaky….I’ll give them their due they are polite.

Welsh Highland Railway

It is a bit shaky, well up to my normal standard.

Tomorrow there are no trains running so I’ll stop an extra day and go macroing tomorrow. When I post please tell or let me know if they are shaky or a bit dodgy. I need help with this video malarky.

Have fun.

THE MEETING. (25/09/13)

I arrived at a farm about midway between Llanwrst and Betws-y-Coed yesterday. It is a grand spot but has no walks out. It was a wonderful late summer day. I texted Keith and settled in.Then tackled a job I have been dreading. I successfully installed  the new split focus screen in the Canon 1Ds. It is brilliant. It may seem a little strange but focusing DSLRs is not as easy as the system was designed to make it. I now have a view finder that shows bits blurry and when I twist the focus ring on the lens no bits look blurry. It will still focus on auto, Canon say exposure can be out a bit with this screen. I can’t say I’ve noticed. I’m very pleased with the result. I tend to use manual focus and this bit of customisation is the right way for me. Mad as a sack of spiders am I, converting an SLR to a Rangefinder.

Keith arrived about half nineish. And off we set.

_MG_1695 We drove up to Pen y Pas and had a stroll up the miners track that leads to the summit of Snowden. Needless to say we didn’t walk that far. It was a bit damp and misty but the rain held off.

_MG_1696It was then time for lunch. This is the town clock in Llanwrst.

After a pie and a pint we retired to the van and spent the afternoon gossiping, drinking coffee and talking to a flock of hens. Very relaxing birds are hens and these were unusual. It doesn’t take much to keep Keith and me amused.



_V0G7610  This was by far and away the star of the day. I have never seen such a scruffy and comical bird.

I have moved to Waun Fawr for a couple of days to admire the Garret  locomotives on the Welsh Highland Railway.

I’ll have a bit of catching up to do as I’ve been without internet so far this week.

That’s all for this post it’s not been photograph weather this week.

Saturday 21 September 2013

NO MORE RED EYE. (21/09/13)

Red eye has never been a problem I’ve had even with camera mounted strobes and rarely after a heavy night.

I never take pictures of people unless they are half pissed in a pub or a member of a band. The latter are usually more spaced out than the clientele what is watching them. Why oh why did I spend thirty pounds on this magnificent white elephant.

_MG_1685 It took my fancy and for the price of three days smoking seemed a bargain. Flash is an image saver used either at 1/8th power or since I swapped from Olympus to Canon then TTL is for the most part fine. I already had the wriggly wire and the strobe. A strobe is much the same as a flash but you avoid burning your fingers swapping bulbs…Why folk moan and bang on about recycle times is a bit beyond me. This edifice was built for proper flash units. It puts the flash far enough away from the lens to avoid the ‘Red Eye’.  In my limited experience so does the same strobe mounted direct on the camera but I tend to bounce it either sideways or off the ceiling. Nothing more irritating than flash unless it is flash aimed at one.

_MG_1683            It has a lovely grip. and a slot for my thumb.  Worth the money on it’s own. I’m sorry about the state of my fingers. I have just been unloading a couple of really naughty Tups. For those that don’t know they are men sheeps. Daft as a brush they are and very greasy. I can’t believe they didn’t want to get out of the trailer….I bet they were as daft getting in. I should have washed my hands though…No excuse at all. I am a mucky devil.  Mucky but helpful. The farmers wife had left him at the pub to chat about sheep and she was dressed up so smart that I felt duty bound to help. It was only after dragging a couple of filthy sheep I thought to ask her what happened to all this  female emancipation?

Julie said: “Nowt as ‘appened to it. Yuse do as yuse is asked.”

Fair enough but I did wonder. At least she asked and didn’t tell. As a kid I was told. We males are making ground but I don’t anticipate equality in my lifetime.

I love being back in Derbyshire. I love the people here. I never got to handle sheep in Scotland, thank god. Civilised up in Scotland they are.

I’m sorry about yesterdays images I’ve done them again. I’ve popped them side by side. One click will fire them up full screen.


The left hand one a is what I intended.

_MG_1666This one is new,  same view but a dew pond for a foreground.

_MG_1669  The trees are starting to just get a tint.

If anyone knows a better way then please let me know. I straddles the Tup, picks one front leg up and holds it tight round his head and shuffles the bucking sheep on it’s back legs. Horrendous it is, damn hard work. No wonder Pilates is so popular as a serious work out. Try daft sheep wrestling. That lanolin will soften the skin.

Have fun.


There wasn’t a cloud in the sky when I woke this morning. I walked the dogs through a charming bit of woodland.


_MG_1650_1_2_fused After yesterday it was a perfect start. I then set of for Harrison Cameras. As a result of this foray I’m now the proud owner of more rammel. I went for a motion detect camera and whilst there I found a very old Vivitar flash bracket. I’m thrilled to bits with it. I’ll take it’s picture sometime soon. I also wanted a new focusing screen for the 1Ds. This gives a cross split image in the view finder and should give much more accurate macro focusing. I’ll have to pop back for that on Monday as it was over at their warehouse. I then moved over to Buxton as the site I wanted was full for tonight.


_MG_1662_3_4_fused  This is a folly called Solomon’s Tower. If it’s fine first thing tomorrow  I’ll pop up with some flash units. There were too many folk about this afternoon.

_MG_1672    The dogs stopped to pass the time of day with a pair of lambs.  Tomorrow I’m moving back to Millers Dale, It’s only a mile or so.

Have a great weekend. Internet here is very hit and miss so I’ll try and post this.

Thursday 19 September 2013


Today has been very damp. Sunshine and showers. I met a fellow blogger in Sheffield. I was a little apprehensive. He is a bloke with a massive brain. He knows three hundred times what I know about software, possibly a thousand times. He doesn’t use Adobe but does use Blender. I gained a lot from our discussion… Well happen little as he doesn't speak 3D. He can make it work, I can make it work a bit. We had something in common we both save bits that do work and have trouble remembering where we saved them. I think he was being polite. I tend towards desktop but I find it gets filled up quick sticks. Thanks Mark I’m not happy that you struggle but it made my day finding out that I’m not alone in my blundering with Blender 3D.

Having booked an hour slot at my favourite image printer a week ago we arrived to find it devoid of fit totty decorated with iron work. Rupert who owns this establishment had to dash off. He usually does….Is it me? Mark got his big sky printed and seemed happy enough. Had I been in work mode then I would have ripped Rupert’s head off.

This is a massive printer but the magnetic lass who can make it sing and dance was silk screening so couldn’t touch the computer. She was covered in ink and screen cleaner. Gorgeous she looked.

Mark and I parted company at John Lewis. I got a new pair of Levi and a pack of knickers. John Lewis do knickers that fit right. Nothing worse than undergarments that crawl up ones crack or pinch the dangly bits. Well worth paying a pound extra for are John Lewis pants.

Untitled_HDR2 The van parked in Sheffield. It’s not bad here. It’s a ten pound taxi ride into town which is reasonable. The view up the Rivelin Valley would be fine on a good day.

_MG_1638_39_40_fused Not so good today.

Tomorrow is looking good weather wise I’ll take another trip to town and hopefully show you what a wonderful place Sheffield has become.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

…… AS A NEWT. (17/09/13)

Tomorrow I’m leaving York and heading to Sheffield for a couple of days. This morning I did a supermarket shop then the new microwave arrived and that had to be fitted. This was a much quicker job than I anticipated.

_MG_1635 This is the new machine. I ought to have brushed my hair and wiped my finger marks off it prior to taking our picture. After an early lunch I went to take some pictures of a Common Newt colony. I lifted the slab they are living under and all but one shot off down a crack in the ground. They are still very lively considering the temperature so I only managed two shots.


_V0G7596  Not to worry two is much better than none at all. I think the two black stripes mean that this is a female. It is very young as it is about half the size of the adults. This one is about two and a half inches long.

I’m moving around a fair bit over the next week. I’m spending the weekend in Derbyshire then heading off to Wales for a few days to see Keith. I’ve got a music night at the local hostelry this evening so I'm going for a siesta now. I’ll catch up with blogland later.