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 31 July 2014

A TOUCH SLOW. (31/07/14)

I was very late going out this morning as I was waiting for the rain to clear. The dogs had a good time as they found their friend or one of the many.

I did try to take some video. I pressed the AF-ON button to focus and heard it click but it didn’t focus the lens as the camera was in servo focus and for some reason it doesn’t in video or live view. Not to worry it didn’t look up to much even taking blurry into account._MG_3298   Molly having a paddle. I hope they can last till September but they are both a bit too hairy. They don’t mind but it’s the sand, water and muck they bring back home that I object to. They also need a good brushing which deposits more crap in the van.

_MG_3296    Alfie misjudged his paddling and a wave landed on him. He wanders along in a little world of his own then seems surprised when a wave crashes round his ears. He is getting a good swimmer when the occasion warrants.

_MG_3301   This is Zeb. He is a bit big but he rarely runs at full speed so they can chase him with relative ease. It’s a very noisy business but it does tire them out and give me peace for an hour or two.

We came back and I fed the dogs. I looked at the weather forecast and it’s giving heavy showers and moderately strong northerly or north easterly winds for tomorrow and Saturday. With a bit of luck the swell will build.

I want some long exposure shots so thought I’d have a wander out to have a practise or practice or a rehearsal. I do know the difference. The first and last are correct. Unless one is talking about lawyers, politicians or bankers they just practise law, governing and banking.

It did occur to me the other day that with a ten stop filter on then time isn’t at all critical. I have read several tutorials and the pedants always seem to make a meal out of calculating exposure times. What does it matter whether it is 20s or 60s? I have at least 3 stops to play with on a RAW file. It is just a suck it and see job the only difference time makes is how smooth and smokey you would like the water and clouds to be.

I did several; all shot at 100 ISO and f16 and varied the shutter time. I am a bit slow as I don’t even need to time it accurately. Open the shutter have a quick glance at my watch then close it when I like. It’s really easy, it’s like I imagine large format to be. It’s how it was, pop the film in the tray and watch. Pull it out when it’s ready. Just like cooking. Don’t rely on the clock, use your eyes.

Were I doing it in low light then I would take a black frame so that I could get rid of noise or any naughty hot pixels. I suspect again that as long as the black frame is taken while the sensor is still warm an exposure of roughly the same length would do. I don’t like in camera noise reduction it seems to soften images which is a bit daft when one is paying ridiculous money for serious lenses. It is a little bit silly taking long exposures to soften the job but at least the static bits are sharp or sharpish.

Slow: Me?…Always have been. In primary school the teachers used to say. “Master Ward do you really want to be a Bin Man?” I had to spend longer in school listening to crap from them than the Binmen spent at work.The two Binmen I knew were finished and in the pub for lunch time everyday so although I didn’t dare say; it did have a certain appeal. Better than teaching or farming for sure.

_V0G2047    This one is 22 seconds.

_V0G2048    This one is 55 seconds. I also flipped it horizontally as I prefer the foreground leading from the right.

I’m waiting for my new external hard drive. Then I’ll declutter the drives on the laptop. If I'm feeling really enthusiastic I’ll do it properly put stuff in folders by genre and year and quarter year. I never really bother saving pictures methodically as I have little interest once I’ve processed them. Don’t know why it’s just how I am……. A bone idle binman perhaps.

I called at the shop for bread and milk and spent two pounds on a lottery ticket for Friday's draw. If I win I am going to get a 5K video recorder. The frames are big enough to use as stills. How long before there are affordable 8K cameras? Not long I shouldn’t think.

 If I don’t post tomorrow then have a great weekend.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

A WET WALK. (29/07/14)

It has been a good couple of days, I’m not a big sunshine fan. It’s nice to see the sun for an hour or two but I don’t enjoy it for days on end. Yesterday I shot another four hours of stills for time lapse. I suddenly looked up from my book and there was a German chap standing in front of the camera listening to it clicking. He wondered why it was left clicking. I explained it would click more productively if he stood to one side and wondered.

He and his middling gorgeous accomplice are parked next door and are great people. They cooked for me last night. Chicken, potatoes, French beans and a mustard and white wine sauce. It turns out he thought I was drying the camera out. They had soaked a baby Canon DSLR the day before. I field stripped it and popped it in my muesli box with a load of silica gel, wrapped up in a bit of old T-shirt. Bingo….it works this morning. It worked at one o’clock this morning, it was a good night. The battery is knackered but what the hell. I gave him the link to a cheapo battery supplier. There is still a bit of fog in there but I’ve told him to get a plastic box from the Spar shop, pop the silica gel in the oven and repeat the process till the fog goes……Don’t even ask why I am the ashamed owner of five kilos of silica gel crystals.

I bounced out of bed at three but didn’t feel too good. I had a glass of milk and went back to bed. No good. I got up again and did a bit of blogging, skimmed through three thousand images looking for errant birds and left the computer converting them to TIFF files while we went for a rainy walk. It takes it a while as there were 64GB worth to do. We must have been out for a while as they were done when I got back.

_MG_3284     Three Cormorants sitting on a rock.

_MG_3289    Just under a dozen Eider Ducks swimming about.

_MG_3286    A few rocks and a dog.

_MG_3290     The same dog playing in the surf. Alf is getting brave. He can swim but is not keen on big waves.

_MG_3291   He now has water up his nose and is wet enough to wander back to the van. I’m surprised the dogs were or Alf was this active because I found Deer Tics on them yesterday so gave them a dose of Front Line. It usually quietens them for a couple of days. Buying it quietens me for a couple of days.


This is my best yet, not perfect by any means but I feel encouraged. It does involve a lot of faffing about but I enjoy messing. The old Canon FD manual lens does stop a lot of flicker and it means I can leave the camera in Av for four hours letting the camera adjust shutter speed. The first half of this video was shot at 10s intervals in full manual and split when it got too dark and pushed in RAW. The second half at 5s interval in Aperture mode. I have also found that if I duplicate the video time line into a new video layer and shift it one frame then that also helps. A Marks and Spencer plastic bag did the job when it rained. M&S bags don’t have little holes in….well worth saving they are.

TREVOR sent me this link the other day. AUTO PAN /TILT/RAIL. It is a brilliant system, It gave me no end of ideas. The files I shoot are so big that I can do it in post production but not quite as well. It is lovely for the gadget minded but it isn’t practical. There is not a cat in hells chance of my lugging that lot about without a Sherpa or Sherparess or three. Both links are worth a look. Trevor for his infrequent but perfect shots and the second for some middling good time lapse.

Does anyone know anything about Drobo drives?  I need more immediately accessible hard drive for time lapse. I can’t use Cloud as I often don’t have reliable internet access. I need a drive that will plug in via USB3 or Firewire and one I can access whilst editing. I was handling 64GB on the initial work flow of this bit of video.

I am still happy with the laptop, I’ll give PCSpecialists a ring. See if they have a low cost solution.

Have fun.

Monday 28 July 2014

GETTING THERE. (28/07/14)

Yesterday I shot four hours of time lapse of the tide flooding. I think I’m slowly getting the hang of the job. Hopefully in about ninety minutes I’ll set up and shoot the same of it ebbing. It’s a bit misty as I write this but the barometer is rising so hopefully all will be well. I was editing until one o’clock this morning and it looks okay. There are Plug-Ins for After Effects but I can’t find any for CS6 or Lightworks. I want the one that equalises exposure as the light changes. I have sorted the flickering or I have till Youtube get hold of it. I could do with having the camera tethered locking aperture and shutter and adjusting for changing light by fiddling with ISO. I’ll work on this little conundrum. The BBC and every news programme uses time lapse and they don’t get flicker. I know they use posh Sony and Red Cameras but I think it is just me. Me being a bit silly.

Here are Few Birds from Saturday.

_MG_3257     Greater Blackbacked Gull.

_MG_3258   Juvenile Blackheaded Gull with Groundsel up it’s bum.

_MG_3262   Herring Gull.

And a couple from this morning.

_MG_3277    Eider Duck and duckling.

_MG_3283    A montage of the Dipper.

Have a good week.

Saturday 26 July 2014

THE GATHERING. (26/07/14)

I really wasn’t with it yesterday. I woke up full of the joys of summer this morning but by ten my eyes were back to streaming and my head felt all bunged up. The pictures I took yesterday are not good. I should have taken a polariser and a UV filter but forgot. Having looked forward to this day for weeks it was a disappointment. Not through any fault of the weather, the organisers, audience or the competitors, all four were working in perfect harmony. It was just me. I was a Muppet._MG_3210 Jam packed the place was. I’ll re-phrase that…..The place was jam packed. I know that is how it should be written but I don’t speak like that.

_MG_3204  The massed band of Sutherland Schools. I thought they were brilliant, smart, tidy and made a grand sound. I’m not fond of the sound of folk annoying sheep but if you like that sort of thing these children did it to perfection. You will have to imagine the sound. I did try for some video. I couldn’t see the screen because of the sun so whilst I was twisting this way and that to see I just got heads and feet and grass. I did get focus eventually but by that time they had marched past. I did get some funny looks. The old lady standing next to me said have yoose just been clegged. Crafty lass, she needed someone to lean on. I walked her within hearing distance of the dancing stage, kicked a young lass off a chair and sat her down to listen to the addresses.

_MG_3209    These are the Addresses. The chairwoman takes ages to go through all the births and deaths. Whilst the Clan Chief stands looking sombre. Don’t know why? He is the local undertaker. Clan Chiefs are now elected here which is a step in the direction of democracy. She then spent ten minutes extolling his virtues before he got his turn and declared the Games open.

_MG_3213     This is a great moment the heavies warming up. They can do this anywhere they like but when competing they have to do it in an expensive cage.

_MG_3229      This is to protect the public and little children who run onto the field. This cage was very expensive. The safety Elves said the committee had to get one. I am daft but I’m not daft enough to stand anywhere near a twenty stone man throwing cannon balls and big hammers about. If anyone gets hit then they deserve to be deselected from the human race.

Now; what all you athletics fans have been waiting for. A fit lass in sunglasses.


_MG_3227  The big girls racing. I did catch the winner for some portraits but she was a useless poser she kept pulling faces, glasses up and glasses down, I was starting to get fed up. She made me delete them. I always give folk the option. She didn’t like these she said she looked like a flapper. I struggle with the dialect but assured her she looked nothing like any Slapper I had seen. Told her she was drop dead gorgeous, that's when she introduced her better half. She came third but won the ladies hill race. A marriage made in heaven?

_MG_3256   I’ll leave you on a noisier note. A young lad tuning up his pipes before going on stage for his moment of glory.

Sorry I wasn’t feeling better. It should have been a great day and apparently it was. It was just me being out of sorts.

Friday 25 July 2014

OUT TAKES. (25/07/14)

I could only stand two hours of the Games. As Carole the BBC weather girl says it is “Scorchio”.

I am sneezing and my eyes are streaming and I feel dog rough. I do get Hay fever but usually only with Linseed and a bit with Oil Seed Rape. I haven’t seen either round here so it must be something else I don’t like.

The games Field was heaving with folk. I did get pictures but they don’t look good. I didn’t miss the big girls running. I wasn’t that ill. These are just pictures of other things I saw today._MG_3201   A Coracle, I like water but I would think twice before getting in one of these.

_MG_3200    This is a proper boat, a Shetland Yole.

_MG_3203     I could do with one of these. This is a sturdy tripod. I dread to think what it cost.


_MG_3255     I don’t know what these are called but it carries a posh camera a zooms about taking video. I would love one. Brilliant it is.

comblue      Lot’s of butterflies about today, this one was the only one I got. They rarely settle for more than a second or two.

starling       These are a source of endless amusement. The juveniles following their mums about begging for food. I should have got a bit of video as she would relent and feed it then get fed up and chase it away. It’s a noisy business; Starlings can’t do anything quietly.

frog       This daft frog was on the grass verge. It hopped onto the road so I carried it across and popped it over the wall. I just hope I carried it in the right direction. It is far too pretty to get squashed.

moth        First thing this morning I eventually got a picture of one of these. They fly all day and usually stop with their wings folded and hide underneath leaves. They about 6mm long. They are common, there are hundreds here.

Have a good weekend, it’s forecast to rain hard here tomorrow.

Thursday 24 July 2014

THE EVE. (24/07/14)

I wasn’t going to post today as I have been polishing cameras and lenses and trying to remove a midge from the sensor on the 5D. The 1Ds is worse there are a flock of them in there. They won’t blow and they won't brush so I’ll have to invest in a wet cleaning system or wait and let Simon at Harrison Cameras give them a scrub.

Tomorrow it’s the Highland Games here in Durness. I really hope I’m in the mood to be jovial, entertaining and get lots of nice pictures of folk being serious and silly. I’m also hoping that I can leave the dogs in the van. I’ll leave the aircon on but I haven’t told them yet. I still haven’t decided; Alf had so much fun last year barking at shot putters and caber tossers, both dogs wanted to join the running races. One naughty little girl did she slipped her collar. Seems a pity to leave them for the sake of a picture or two. I could compromise and take them for the first hour.

The stepping rings and the small ten stop filter came today so I can do long exposures on any of my lenses barring the macros. I like SRB Griturn. The filters don’t colour cast badly and certainly not unpleasantly. The Lady on the phone says they do if you stack them so I didn’t order another one to stack. It’s good to deal with a company that has sales staff who know what they are talking about and remember who they are talking to.

I have taken pictures today but I was after a tiny, day flying, moth. there are hundreds about but they will not stop still and being only a quarter of an inch long are the very devil to frame. I failed.bedstraw  Yesterday I cut a big “V” out of a bit of tan coloured card and Gaffer Taped a couple of kebab skewers to it. I now plonk it behind the flower and it gives an uncluttered background. This is uncropped at between two and three times life size.

eyebright  This is the same. Not at all sure about the bevel. I’ll think about going back to a plain matt.

I went looking for the tiny succulent with blue flowers but couldn’t find it.

selfheal    I did find this and I rarely see it with flowers on. I once lived with a lass that made tea out of it. Disgusting it was. She also made cookies with hemp. They tasted horrid but I could live with them. Put a positive cast on the day they did.

I’ll try and post tomorrow but it could be that I don’t have time. All the Caber Tossing could work up a thirst that will require a few pints of beer to quench.

If I miss tomorrow have a great weekend.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

A WING AND A PRAYER. (23/07/14)

It is roasting here and has been for a couple of days. Yesterday there was barely a breath of wind so I sat about feeling hot. Today is much better but breezy so I went out looking for insects. I didn’t manage many in focus but some are just about acceptable. I also have to admit to an act of cowardice. I was sitting in the undergrowth when a Cleg landed on my wrist. I rarely see them till I’ve been bitten but would love a picture of one as they have incredibly beautiful eyes. I hadn’t the nerve to let it bite so swatted it, it’s on such occasions that an assistant would be indispensible.

I hope I have identified these correctly but it is a hit and miss job with me.endamfly      This is a 99% ID. Lestes sponsa. The Emerald Damselfly. It’s green and as far as I know it’s the only Damsel fly that leaves it’s wings open when it is perched.

eristalix      This is 80%. It is a new one for me. I can’t find anything else quite like it in the hoverfly section of my book but there are a few dozen different Hoverflies. This one is feeding on a small White Clover.

marmalade      I’m 75% sure. I have half a dozen pictures of this from different angles. Five are blurry but it does seem to tick most of the boxes.

scaeva       When I took this I was a hundred percent certain. Now when I look at previous ones I’ve taken and had a good look on the internet I think it is something else. The Frons, the bit between it’s eyes, is a tan to grey colour on both Scaeva pyrasti and Scaeva selenitica and this one is almost white. I’ll have another look on the internet.

It was a good morning. I was joined by a German chap with an MP-E 65mm on a 7D. I was in a good mood, I usually object when photographers intrude on my patch of weeds when there are several acres of the stuff to sit in. He was chatty and wanted advice  He got some good pictures from what I could see but he had only just bought the lens. He was trying to use a macro rail in a stiff breeze. I explained that I only use mine indoors and use the 100mm Canon macro with a 36mm extension tube outside. Once I showed him I was on manual focus and just rock the camera he tried it and put me to shame. Beginners luck, winning the world cup, winning the Grand Prix, just being alround smartarses, who knows, but I was happy for him……Twat.

That’s all for today

Monday 21 July 2014

TO THE STARS. (21/07.14)

We're doing fine here but I am a bit upset. The dippy snappergorgeous with the crap Canon camera and the wonderful bum has been taken home to Gosforth by Mr Misery Guts. Daft lass gave me her card and mobile number. She would kill me. No chance I’d dare risk it. Is she on the game? I’m definitely not paying for yet another failure. Odd lass.  She must just see an old man that can take pictures in the dark and I just see a shape and smell something which has sod all to do with changing a lens. I realise my life is lacking something nice smelly.

She did say this morning that it was ages since she’d had such fun on a beach. I was happy to be of assistance. I did wonder whether she’d actually tried it on a beach. Perhaps I should be more forthcoming.

Gone now she is…No regrets…I have memories though.

Today, I hardly dare admit it but I’ve been lock picking. I got into somebody else's camper. I never lock things up but a lady knocked on my door and said.

”Our camper door has slammed shut in the wind and we can’t get in.”

I couldn’t open Rosie’s new posh Cooper SSRRII Mini the other day but a year ago I got into her Golf in seconds. Her door had slammed shut whilst she was cruising the site looking for folk that hadn’t paid, It’s just a knack I have. Rosie has a spare set of keys now. In her pocket: wherever her pocket is….A big girl is Rosie, be fun hunting the pocket she lost them in. The camper was no bother, less than a half minute. Mine is never locked. Just not worth locking anything with barrel locks ; any half wit can do them.

I’ve been busy today. I had a load of time-lapse to edit. It is wonderful stuff but I am really struggling to make it work. I must be the worlds worst video editor.

Whilst the video was chundering and champing through it’s business. I got on with my tea._V0G7630   Half roast peppers, potato shredded, Parsnip shredded. Pork shredded and a couple of flowers a few chopped jalapenos. The one on the left is Zig-Zag Clover and the one to the right is  Hawks Beard. All on a plate……The pork is sausage sans skin. I cheated a bit.   

I thought I’d pop the flowers on cos LAURA does. I wouldn’t eat them. Not sure she does but she is an artist. I wouldn’t mind her popping up here and finding out.

Makes my tea look silly I’ll never be an artist. I do love her posts. I just look a bit gay putting flowers with my tea. ….Who cares.

Ages of video editing today and yesterday. Photography, as I am fast learning is not about instant gratification. The medium is instant but I really find video hard to edit.

We will go and take lots of pictures of Rock Doves tomorrow. I bet they look like pigeons.

Have fun.

Saturday 19 July 2014

SINKING. (19/07/14)

About a month ago I did some time lapse of the sea and beach. It was very annoying so I ordered a ten stop ND filter. Yesterday I tried it, it does work but not in half a gale of wind.

The lass next door has a Canon and hired my macro lens. She returned it whilst I was playing with long exposures. I could have phrased that better but it will give YP and his smutty keyboard something to comment on.

This morning she saw me wandering off with tripod, camera and big bag. I said I was going to take some long exposures on the beach. “Hang on.” She called her ugly half and her dog and off we set. Long exposure photography is a bit hit and miss. I tend to guess, the longer the exposure the less the time matters, on 35s exposures I am not to five seconds or so. It is a pain in that you have to frame up and then pop the filters on. She not only didn’t have a Manfrotto shoe for her camera but her camera didn’t let my bulb timer thing plug in. I thought that odd. Not as odd as either of them not having a watch though. Happen time doesn’t matter. I had a spare camera cap in the bag so swapping lenses wasn’t the problem it could have been. I also lent her the tripod, spare lens caps and a shoe for her camera. She was thrilled to bits with the results she got. It’s great when one gets the opportunity to inspire another person to lunacy.

Here are the results of my labour.

_V0G6404   A normal one to get an idea of exposure. I then stood to the right and took an incident reading. I was just trying to make it look complicated. I was hoping the ugly half would get bored and take the dogs a walk….No such luck. I stuck the polariser and the ten stop ND on and took a series of shots.


_V0G6410   I could have sworn I straightened the horizon. Obviously not.


_V0G6418    I like this effect but will have to invest in a couple of stepping rings and a six stop filter. I’ll get on to SRB Griturn. Their filters are cheap and cheerful but they do the job. They look good in Black and White


_V0G6410bw    I could live with a picture like this. The big problem I had was that the waves kept coming round me and the tripod and it sank into the sand. I shot fifteen images and all but these had blurry rocks. A longer lens would help but I don’t have one that will take this filter hence my desire for stepping rings.

I’ll be using this again. I like the effect.

Have fun.

Friday 18 July 2014

TRIO. (18/07/14)

I was really sick last night. It was my own fault, I rarely buy ‘Ready Meals’ but succumbed to idleness earlier in the week and got a Chicken Supreme. I had forgotten all about it but whilst sorting through cheese and fruit for lunch yesterday I found it. It had defrosted but the vac-pac bit hadn’t expanded so I thought in for a penny and gave it a good blast in the microwave. It tasted bland and I shall not be buying another Mr Findus, I was chundering away something awful for a couple of hours.

After getting to sleep I had an uninterrupted six hours. I can’t remember when that last happened, I must throw up more often. It was annoying because it coincided with the one cloudless night of the year and I want some time lapse star trails to pop in my video folder. “Bother and bless my soul.” I said when the dogs woke me up at five. “I’ve overslept and overlaid.”

I was going to have a good rant but can’t be bothered. Hague has gone; his only fault that I could see is that he did little as Foreign Secretary and for that we should be thankful. When he did something he used to drone on and on till folk just nodded off. Gove has gone and not before time. Teaching is a difficult job and they need support not a good kicking from a bloke that knows sod all about it and has a face like an alien after a bad confrontation with a bus. He is a bloke you would walk miles to another pub to because of. He’s a pillock. I’m warming to this rant so will stop before I get into the other smug bastards. Just in case you are wondering Dithery has appointed lots of ladies to his cabinet. I wonder why? Is the misogynist reformed? No. He is out for Mr Cameron. Creepy little, polished faced excuse for both a man and Prime Minister.

It is wall to wall sunshine here after a week of misty, cloudy, drizzly weather. It is windy, twenty to thirty miles per hour.

harebell   Summer is here I was wondering where the Hare Bells had gone. Whilst I was sleeping the sleep of the just they must have got their act together. There are hundreds in bloom today. Gorgeous little flowers they are.

I pop all flowers into this action. It’s like Photoshop's version of a Macro from years ago or what I suspect are called Apps now. I record the key strokes and then name it flower then when I have a flower I just click. I’ve altered it to make the bevel bigger. Not sure that was a good idea.

I was hoping to go out macroing tiny flying things but it is just too windy. I am still trying for a two minute time lapse movie. I found the waves annoying as I’m sure you did. I think I have solved the problem.

_V0G6400    This is a normal exposure of Sango Sands today.  (f11, I/60s ISO100)

_V0G6402     I know it looks the same bar a colour shift and a bit of a vignette. This one is a fifteen second exposure. Now a thousand of the latter would make the tide come in on time lapse and I and folk could see it in under a minute. I think I’m sorting the job. The problem is that the camera batteries will die on me. I shot twenty frames today which is less than a second of video. It works for those that want to do it.

These big black filters are the very devil to use. You have to frame up and then block the eyepiece and dial in ten times your exposure. before you fit them. I thought sod that and used an incident light meter. I have one for medium format. If you try this block the view finder or stray light messes the job up.

Have a great weekend.