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 June 2014

IT’S VERY HARD. (30/06/14)

I don’t recall what time I arose this morning. I went to bed early then got up then went to bed then got up again. I’m not a teenager with a new girlfriend, I’m a somnambulist or an insomniac with two dogs. I always have had trouble sleeping. It was awkward for girls when I was younger as they never got a full nights sleep. As they got older it became very annoying for them. I went to sea to work. It is a positive advantage there. The slightest change in the vessels motion and I would be out of bed to find out why.

This morning I cleaned the van a bit, accompanied the dogs to the beach. Cleaned the van a bit more, then it was half eight. The shop was open, I didn’t really need anything but a paper, papers come with the post at eleven here but we still had a wander up for a chat. I did buy a load of cheese and the bread they bake. I got some olives in Vacpack to go with the cheese.

Sometime during the night I took these.

_V0G5435   The Orkney Isles or a bit of them.

_V0G5436    The Ecuador Star outward bound from St. Petersburg and inbound for Christobal. She’s in ballast and is a Reefer, a refrigerated cargo ship.

I went for an early morning siesta. Then out again to try DOUGLAS’S very good tutorial on shooting birds. He said to sit down and watch one bird. I’d already sorted the focus points and their sensitivity in Canon’s C.Fn III menu. Some bits I didn’t understand but I tried. there are twelve different settings in C.Fn III alone and there are lots of Custom Functions.

 Douglas…..None mentioned ‘Ring of Fire’. For focus points. I picked centre and the ones nearest to centre. I guess that’s what you meant. I also found a thingy that allows the focus to track quicker so gave that a nudge upwards. Then I thought I maybe don’t want it to record these pictures fast so found another menu that said record bursts of five I nudged that one down to four.

Here they are. I picked a Common Gull, it could be a Kittiwake but I’ll stick with the Common gull as it ridded all the Blackheaded Gulls. I sat down and tried my best but t isn’t easy.

_V0G5437 It started off on the ground and I still missed a bit of wing. No worries I got most of the right wing.

_V0G5439    Then having frightened the Black headed Gull it changed direction just to confuse me and I missed a bit of left wing.

_V0G5443  It then started to retract it’s undercarriage but it was going fast and I missed a bit of it’s beak.

_V0G5450    Here it is flapping away in normal mode. Thanks Douglas. Not perfek but better. I didn’t use motor drive and none are perfect but I didn’t crop. That’s why they are crap.

I noticed it was ringed I have been considering bird ringing since I decided it was evil to shoot them.  They now flag legs, they put beak rings in, they put cattle tags in their wings…. Hey you lot that tag birds and mist net little birds for sport; please stop it, just watch them. Mist netting is awful. Imagine if you hit a chicken fence at full speed… Not nice. You contribute bugger all to science as your tag recovery rate is less than 3%. Just leave them alone and keep away from nesting sites. That will help the birds to increase in number. I know the bird taggers are licenced but have not looked who issues the licence. I suspect it is a Quango. Probably a charity like the RSPB.

I used to keep Bantam Hens and my first job in spring was to stop hens going broody I was out all hours finding where the cunning devils had laid eggs. The purpose was to stop an excess males. Two males to twelve females was about right. The Cocks don’t fight hard then. I never succeeded, I always had to pop thirty percent of the chicks in the pot.

I’m away tomorrow to lean over a cliff for a snap of a Puffin in flight with a gob full of eels. I bet if I fail I would wish I’d got a pair of scissors to clip their wings and a net.

Have fun.


Sunday 29 June 2014

ANOTHER ONE. (29/06/14)

This morning whilst sorting stuff out for long exposures I noticed some birds swimming just outside the surf. I decided to pop down as They looked like a couple of female Eiders with five ducklings in tow. _V0G5424   I couldn’t see them for the surf but we had a walk and the dogs had a run.

We came back and had breakfast. I forgot it was Sunday and fry up day. I didn’t buy any fry up stuff yesterday so it was a choice of Muesli or porridge with raisins. I decided on muesli. I had half a peach with it. There was only one half worth eating as it was going rotten. Alf had the stone or pip. He likes chomping them up.

Out again as is our routine, the dogs expect at least three wanders a day in summer. The wind has dropped so I took some ND filters to get smoky water. I tried but you can’t stack the cheap ones it just makes a horrible mess. I’ll get onto SRB tomorrow they do a ten stop filter for £30.00p.

_V0G5420   On the way back I found this. This is a hard one to do. I wish I knew who did it. This is about a meter tall so quite big rocks. I suspected Superglue but didn’t want to test it. I came across this……………Another one.

_V0G5428   I found one last year but she was standing up and I thought she was about to jump off the cliff. I was a wimp and said hello are you alright? I had to repeat myself louder and she gave me dogs abuse for ruining her meditation. This one was sitting down so I took a snap and gave her a wide berth. Nasty tempered folk are meditators. I did consider asking if she fancied a pie and a pint whilst watching the MotorGP but decided it would be far too exciting for her and dangerous for me.

On Tuesday I’m leaving here for a few days to go to RSPB Dunnet Head. I want a picture of a Puffin with a beak full of Sand Eels. The van needs a polish up so I’ll do that tomorrow.

Have a good week and I’ll see you about Thursday. Before should you be unlucky and I have an internet connection.

Saturday 28 June 2014

ADONIS. (28/06/14)

Another guessing game today. I was out early but it poured with rain. I came back dried the dogs and had a shower. Just before lunch the wind dropped and the sun came out. Off we wandered to see if there were any dragonflies brave enough to risk flying. There were a couple of Blue tailed Damselflies but the flash refused to fire properly. I went back to the truck and got new batteries. I thought I'd changed flash batteries but I can’t have for over a year as the ones in the ring flash were Energizer and it’s over a year since I switched to Maplin batteries. When I got back I sat around for a half an hour but there was no sign of them, a damn Swallow had no doubt had them for lunch.

ragrob    I tested the strobe on this. I am 99% sure the ID is correct.

eyebright      Again 99% sure. I love this little plant and have never noticed it here before.

hawk     And a Flee Beetle. I am going to go for the Hawkweed with few leaves. There are lots of Hawkweeds. This whatever it is, is in perfect condition.

needle     This little fly was acting like a Needlefly on Mares Tail. It doesn’t roll it’s wings round it's body like the black ones do and it is a wonderful lime green colour underneath. I have loads of shots of Mares Tail leaves but none of the little tinkers upside down view, it kept staggering round the blind side…There are times when fly spray would come in handy.

Now Adonis…..not me but the Butterfly. I saw or thought I saw a common Blue on our way back home so I sat down and waited for it to pop back. It did after twenty minutes or so and brought another with it and they were both the same colour so hence my identification. I remember a naturalist saying last year that although the Adonis is only living in the south of England there is an Irish version which also lives up in the top of Scotland.

The next pictures have bonking content so send the children to bed.




adonis3 There you are. He’s just rolled off. I was brave with the ID they could be a pair of Gay Common Blues. Whatever they are, it was a privilege to see them. I don’t get many butterflies up here.

Have fun.

Friday 27 June 2014

MIRRORS. (27/06/14)

It’s been a busy morning. The front coated mirrors arrived just now. That gave me a break from pouring over the flower books trying to identify the results of this morning’s labour. It is still very windy but it is dry. pound     This is a pound coin balanced on the front coated mirror and lit with the ring flash. No double reflection and the flash doesn’t show in the mirror. I’ll think of things to do with this set up but as I can use flash I should be able to take pictures of insects on the mirror. This isn’t Photoshop if you enlarge it you can see the writing on the edge of the coin. I just love getting results straight out of camera.

All todays images were shot with the 100mm macro lens at f22.0 and 1/200s. the ring flash was set with a bias of 1:4 and metering is E-TTL.


clover   I was going to call this clover but it’s leaves are wrong for clover…… It is a Clover. Thanks Trevor.

hfly Had I known the mirror was coming then I’d have caught this and taken it’s picture on the mirror.

monkey Thank you Keith for the correction.




vetch    Sweet Cicerly in bud. Thanks to Trevor I now start to look as if I know what I’m snapping.vetch2    Another one that Trevor knew. For an engineer he is a damn fine botanist. It would save us both time and effort if I just e-mailed a draft post to him. Thanks to Trevor for a post that is worthy of a botanist.

All images will enlarge with a click. As always identification is a major problem. Help is always appreciated.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday 26 June 2014


I couldn’t care less today. The black dog has been lurking for a while and I woke this morning at just the back of three and could barely move. I took a couple of Ibroprufen with an espresso. An hour later I was good enough to take the dogs out.

I really ought to go to the Quacks but I have no confidence in them. Vets are getting the same. At one time a vet could sort me and the dog I’d taken and all for a tenner . All I ask is that they prescribe a bottle of 50mg Hydrocodine tablets which I can mix with alcohol when I get too frightened to move. If I want them now I’d have to renew my Ships Captains Medical Certificate. Bastard GPs.

I am not a one for prolonging my life. If it gets too nasty here for my vitals then I’ll be goner. I have had a good life. I have always been a loner. I got in the van with one dog and inherited Alf. I hope thy don’t outlive me.

Hey Ho. There is life in the old dog yet. I’m waiting for some very posh mirrors. They come from London so are about a week late. I rattled the company’s cage today. Despatched by Royal Mail on Monday, I paid for them last Firsday; devils. Doesn’t Air Miles Andy deliver Royal Mail? It is F…ing Thursday.  Fursday is how they say it.

Not to worry. I can’t leave a post without a picture._MG_2542 This is silly. I meant to load this one.

Untitled-1 There we are sensible again.

Perhaps not, have fun.

Wednesday 25 June 2014


Yesterday I posted a video time lapse and a series of stills from the old full manual lens. Almost full manual, it doesn’t have a leaf shutter like the Bronica lenses do.  The stills were awful. They looked as if they’d been shot with a LOMO camera. Worse than a Brownie. I put a brave face on my £75.00p investment; I didn’t want to look an idiot for going retrograde. Why looking stupid still bothers me I can’t explain. I should have got used to it by now.

Last night I realised what the problem was. The individual frames for the time lapse look fine. I’d taken a picture of Molly that was fine. We had venison burgers for lunch and there was one left over. I chopped it up for the dogs and wiped my fingers really carefully on the back of my jeans. I noticed I must have missed a bit of cooked deer as it transferred itself to the lens adaptor….still here and with me?…. I’ll get on with the saga. I polished the lens after giving it a quick squirt of lens cleaner and it must have got unscrewed a bit. I must have been too vigorous in my cleaning and polishing. Not something even I, knowing me, would have thought likely. I screwed it in again. We are now back to normal.

I got up in the middle of the night for some star trails. It barely got dark._V0G3987 This was shot at 0030h. The stars are there but no chance of picking them out.

_V0G3988 Never admit defeat. Wonderful stars. I just drew some. Not too many, just about right I think.

It’s blowing half a gale here but it is lovely and sunshiny. I stopped for a quick tiddle on our first walk, a hazardous business in half a gale. I see Wimbledon has kicked or served off. I hope it isn’t as windy down south. I would hate to think that Andy Murray’s balls were getting blown about.

It’s been a good day. I went on Amazon for a bit more reading matter. I order on the laptop and then just swap the downloads into the Kindle via the USB wire thingy that charges it up. Last time I tried there was no computer download option. It said Adrian’s Kindle 1 Adrian’s Kindle 2 or Cloud. I wrote them a very strong letter, signed Mr Angry of no fixed abode. I never got a reply but when I purchased some more serious reading this morning it said after CLOUD, ‘computer’  in little writing. Spot on Amazon. They are pretty good, if I’ve bought a book before then they tell me. Frightening in a way and probably not necessary as my memory isn’t what it was.

Back to snapping.

_V0G3989      Nothing wrong with this. It isn’t as sharp as the 24mm tilt/shift but it didn’t cost £1.4k and it’s a lot easier to control and carry which is a bonus.

I shot some more time lapse this time at 2s as the 1DSIII can’t load small Raw files at a 1s interval. This is just an experiment for folk that want to try it.

Time Lapse Test

It is time consuming but I think I have got rid of exposure flicker. I failed to notice the couple that settled out of the wind for a shelter. I bet that was an organ grinder. Be clean as a new pin they will be.

Have fun and don’t give up. Tomorrow looks to be much the same but we will wander over the hill to show you Smoo Cave. Bet you can’t wait?

Tuesday 24 June 2014


I have been here a week and it is a grand day. A stiff northerly breeze is keeping the temperatures down to a manageable 9oC. Not bikini weather but I don’t need a jacket either.

I shot these as I was playing with the Canon FD 28mm f1:2.8. It is a bit soft but that could be down to the lens in the adaptor. I quite like the old worldly effect.




_V0G3985 I have moved onto the top of the cliff as It looks as if it will be a starry night. I shot a bit of time lapse video and the flicker is almost gone.  I don’t think it would be good for epileptics. It did my head in editing it. I’ll see tonight if it is sharp enough for star trails.

Lens test

That’s all for today, I’m away for a siesta.

Monday 23 June 2014

NERDY THINGS. (23/06/14)

I’m having trouble with Blogger. About a month ago I was seriously considering switching to Wordpress as Google are a continual and right royal pain in the arse. If I miss reading any of your blogs this is the reasonimageThis is what my Dashboard looks like. It just displays the most recent post from someone on my reading list. If I click ‘View More’ it just refreshes the same page. I’ve thought about sending feedback by clicking bottom right. I’ll wait before I do. I might say something I’ll live to regret. I feel like calling them useless, annoying, fat, Yankee tossers. I would but I can’t really be sure they are all fat or, if I’m honest that they are all Yankees. In ante Google days Blogger Buzz was worth a look now and again. It’s not even worth a look once a decade now. I’ll content myself with the observation that for a country with three hundred and twenty million people it displays mind blowing confidence or arrogance not to have the word ‘Wanker’ in their lexicon.

On a happier subject I now have a manual lens for the Canon. I wanted to try one for time lapse as the auto lenses on EF fitting can’t do manual. The aperture even when set to manual in the camera menu is selected electronically. I suspect it selects it slightly differently and this causes a bit of a flickering effect. I know, I know but either use my posts instead of a Valium or read the title.

_V0G3638    The first bit of kit to arrive was this adaptor ring. It’s a nicely made item and includes a lens which will enable the FD lens to focus at infinite. Today the lens arrived.

_V0G3633    I thought Whoopee I’ve got a 28mm Nikon lens for £35.00p. Nikon have never altered their lens mounts so it would be worth five times that and I’m sure SRB-Photographic would have exchanged the adaptor.

_V0G3635    I never win. It is a Canon lens but has an Nikon lens cap. It also won’t be 28mm with the adaptor it will be 33.6mm but that’s fine. I’ll lose a stop or two from the lens in the adaptor but light gathering isn’t the problem it used to be with film. The important thing is it is manual focus and has a manual aperture ring on the lens.

_V0G3634     See.

_V0G3636    It all fits together just perfect.

_MG_2536   And it works. Not that Molly was as impressed as I was. I’ll give her a poke with a stick.

Have fun.

SPLASH. (23/06/14)

After a very damp night we were out at sixish as the rain had stopped and it looked to be clearing up nicely.

There wasn’t a breath of wind but there must be a big low to the north of us. I didn’t notice it till I’d watched the Grand Prix, listened to the News Quiz, watched Mock the Week and had a pot full of espresso but there was a wonderful swell sweeping into the bay. It wasn’t quite booming but it was splashing with a satisfactory splosh.



_MG_2484  These three were snapped from a little promontory in the bay. I took a tip from the birders and shot on motor drive. I exposed for the sea and used a stop of adjustment brush on the foreground. The wonders of digital.

We then wandered down to the beach as the dogs had tired of seeing how far over the edge they could lean before I gave them hell.

_MG_2532    It looks less dramatic with the 50mm lens from sea level but it is better to be there. The waves were sweeping round the rocks and I was a bit worried they’d suck me back in. The dogs seem to know to run like hell when they see one coming. They did quite a lot of fleeing. They are still sleepy.

I decided to re-trace our route and take a bit of video. This is hand held. Steady hands this morning; I put it down to clean living and a healthy diet.


It isn’t very well exposed or composed and if I’m going to make a habit of videoing then I’ll get an external Mic.

I’m excited today. I’m expecting a new lens and some posh front coated mirrors. The lens adaptor arrived on Saturday. It fits the EOS cameras and is a smooth fit. Well done SRB- Photographic. I call them SRB Griturn but apparently they changed their name years ago. They are an excellent company to deal with. I ordered on line but before I got to pay, the form I was filling in with my delivery address went all funny. I thought sod it, gave them a ring and got a grand lass who said;

“I was expecting you.”

I gave her the delivery address and paid on the phone. It’s six months since I spoke to her. How did she know it was me that had fouled her system up again? My delivery addresses don’t fit in on online forms as I have to put the truck registration number on and address it to a bloke called James at Durness in Sutherland, if I put Highlands they charge extra for delivery. She is a star. Give them a go if you want anything a bit silly. The price may not be ‘Asda’ but it is very reasonable and they don’t make me buy three when I only want one. A wonderful outfit.

That’s all for today, I’m off gull training.

Sunday 22 June 2014

LET IT RAIN, LET IT RAIN. (22/06/14)

Let it pour, see if I care.  I judged it to perfection this morning. We were out for an hour and didn’t get wet.

I didn’t get wet yesterday lunchtime either but it was a close run thing. Three off us performed for a coachload of travellers as they went from the charabanc into the pub for lunch. I was the only foreign whistle player in the orchestral section, I was the only whistle player, the other member of the backing band was older than me but can play a mean fiddle. The dancer was the star but she agreed to split the tips equally. Well the band agreed and she concurred.

We were not allowed to put a bucket down and seed it with a couple of twenty pound notes and a tenner. The waitresses get the tips. They are then split between the entertainers, the kitchen staff and the front of house people. The bus comes from Ullapool and sometimes it is full of Americans, sometimes Chinese and occasionally Japanese. On a good day the staff can get twenty pounds each. Yesterday the coach was full of Mancunians. We got £1.73p each, there was 9p left over . The lifeboat box got that. I got a couple of free pints, had a good time so what the hell. I didn’t like to say what part of England I came from but Rosie the campsite operations executive shopped me. Sheffield, Manchester it’s all the same to folk up here.

_MG_2471   The dogs never tire of chasing each other in the wavelets.

_MG_2468    I too love watching waves playing.

_MG_2464    They are better than the television. Even a black and white Television.

_MG_2475   This is Mollies Passport photograph in case the vote goes against England. Unfortunately I can see it doing so. Dithery et al are almost as annoying as the Blackheaded Gull on the van roof. I’ll have to feed it, it is poking it’s head through the skylight and shouting. Bad bird. I have tamed them, now all I have to do is impose a bit of discipline.

I’ll have a shot at getting it’s picture for tomorrow. More work, cleaning tobacco residue from my posh skylight and breaking bread up for gulls.

They have started following me around. Rosie said I heard what you said to those gulls. The proper words are…….. ‘ Away with youse’.

Have a good week.