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

Sunday 30 November 2014


Saturday was another day when it struggled to get light. After collecting the dogs from their haircutter, I got changed and headed down to Kinross for the Christmas Market. It was very dark, I didn’t have any strobes as they are in the camper. It wasn’t a bad do but not very exciting._MG_0962   The crowds wandering towards the market…….All two of them.

_MG_0963     There were lots of folk about when I arrived. It could have been better lit, folk were wandering about and bumping into each other, stepping in puddles and cursing…..Quite good fun.

_MG_0971    Carol Singers.

_MG_0976    Folk Singers. There was also The Salvation Army Brass Band but they were in a really dark place. It was not the best evening out but it was worth attending.

This morning dawned bright and sunny.

_MG_0983 Holly basking in the sunshine.

_MG_0988 Barely a cloud in the sky.

_MG_0995   Alf with his new haircut. He’s already found some muck.

_MG_0985     Moll is no better they are mucky little devils.

_MG_1000    Sun on Hen.

_MG_0989    Loch Leven. It is a wonderful day but it isn’t forecast to last. I’m hoping to get out for a walk this afternoon. I bet it rains on me.

Have a good week.

Friday 28 November 2014

I’VE SEEN THE SUN. (28/11/14)

Out this morning for a wander up the hill. No rain, no mist and it was light._MG_0943  I couldn’t quite see the sun but it was the closest I’ve got to it for ages.

_MG_0947   The Old Trig Point.

Tomorrow the dogs are going for a haircut.

_MG_0948     Molly.

_MG_0945       Alfie.

They are not really ready for a trim but I thought I’d get them done before the weather turns cold. It will give it chance to grow a bit.

Have as good weekend.

Thursday 27 November 2014

WAITING FOR A TANK. (27/11/14)

I have been in Kinross since Monday and the weather is grey to dark with occasional showers. It’s not photography weather at all so I’ve been doing a few Christmas cards for the young people that vault.

I have only seen them performing their gymnastic routines a few times but it is impressive.P1010447

IMG_0555 - card

P1010275   The photographs are all by Carole Pow and the swirly bits and writing are by me.

All use the Pen Tool, Paths or Bezier curves. Call them what you will, they are the same thing and I have had plenty of time to gain a better understanding of them. Another twenty hours and the workflow and controls just might become instinctive.

I am waiting for a fuel tank for the van as it is starting to show a bit of damp on one of the seams. With a bit of luck I’ll get it back tomorrow or Saturday. Saturday evening there is a Christmas Market in Kinross so hopefully I’ll get some photographs then.

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

Sunday 23 November 2014

SUNNY SUNDAY. (23/11/14)

I’ve really enjoyed my fourteen day stay at Melrose. It has been very damp and dismal but today it is making up for it. I have walked down to the weir on the Tweed most days. It’s not far and it gives the dogs a run.

I wanted to get some pictures of Salmon or Sea Trout  swimming up stream but I was being a little optimistic. I can see them approaching the weir and aim for where they should be as they leap into the smooth water above it, there aren’t many of them and the little devils always appear where I’m not pointing. I met a chap whilst I was sitting on the wall and asked him when the best time of year is. He seemed to think they do it all year round but August is good. I need there to be as many as possible; ten at a time would give me a chance, fifty would be better.…………I have trouble catching a Rook in flight never mind a fish._MG_0942  Blue sky.

_MG_0935    A fisherman's boat basking in the sunshine.

_MG_0927     A Goosander.

_MG_0941       Another Goosander. They do this quite often but I suspect this one was cheating by standing on the river bed. They can do it in deep water. There must have been a dozen of them flying up and down and swimming around. A posh duck. They kept me amused whilst my hands froze.


_MG_0936   Abstracts of the River Tweed. It sounds better than this is where I thought the fish was and much better than… Shit… Missed again. It is still an unstill bit of river and a pleasant place to pass an hour or two. They have Kingfishers here. They flit past. Don’t even ask. I can’t manage a Goosander or Eider in flight and they are big.

Tomorrow it’s Kinross for the van service and test. Then the Highlands for the winter. I’ll look my gloves and woolly hat out. It was a bit sharp this morning.

Have a great week.

PS. What a great result to the Formula 1 season. Well done Mr Hamilton MBE. I trust that next year you will swap the Mr for a Sir.

Friday 21 November 2014

LUCKY. (21/11/14)

I wandered into town to get a paper and a few other bits and bobs. It was just before eight, cool and very foggy. I wasn’t going to bother going out with the camera but wanted to have a look at a small church I can see from the van.

_MG_0911        The mist was trying to burn off but there isn’t much warmth in the sun. It kept clearing a bit then rolling back in. It provided much better light than I could have hoped for. The camper is about dead centre.


_MG_0915    High Cross, St Cuthbert’s Melrose. Worth a look but nothing to get too excited about. It’s better than that. If I won the lottery I would have a door like this. Maybe not it’s a bit nouveau riche. Too much red in it for a red. A grand job all the same.

I set off back home and called at the Parish Church. The light was wonderful and responded well to a bit of judicious stroking with the Adjustment brush.


_MG_0919      It is an odd looking building but has a certain appeal. It reminds me of a Masonic Hall with a tower and spire. I mentioned in a previous post that the tower dates from 1810. The church burnt down and they incorporated the tower into this building.

_MG_0922       This is the old Fire Station. It is still written above the door. If I get bored I’ll select the lettering and paint it red but I will have to be very bored as it will be a letter at a time job. There are eleven letters in FIRE STATION twelve counting the gap. It’s the ‘R’, ‘S’ and ‘O’ that take the time. If I do it I’ll be pleased it wasn’t the old Post Office or Police Station they have more curves in them. Not as many curves as there are in the Greengrocers at Moffat but I’d enjoy playing with them.

It was worth taking the camera. Not a brilliant outing but better than I had a right to expect.

I leave here on Monday and head back to Kinross to get the truck tested.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

TIMEING. (19/11/14)

I timed this mornings’ walk to perfection. I was out about an hour and wandered through town, down past the abbey and along the Tweed to the weir. I hadn’t been back ten minutes when the heavens opened and down came the Archangel Gabriel……No he didn't….not unless he was cleverly disguised as rain; wouldn't put it past him. When will it stop?

Here are a few pictures of the Tweed taken from Melrose Weir._MG_0909



_MG_0906   There were lots of small and some larger fish jumping. I think it is too late for Salmon. I’ll have to find out when they are here and try and come back as this would be a good place to see them.

_MG_0905   This is an identical view to the preceding one but the exposure time was one minute or near enough.

_MG_0877          This one is for Keith at Hiawatha House. These are light swirls or whatever they are called. I had to do some yesterday for a pernickety chap I know. This was me just sorting the work flow and brush out. I ended up with a brush with fewer, longer and less stiff bristles. These aren’t hand drawn but it is a Path or two created with the Pen tool then stroked with white. Then layer styles like inner and outer glow are added. Blend modes are critical and need to be applied to different bits of the swirls. As you can see I didn’t bother on this. I start with linear light and hard light. The longest part of the job is getting a brush that looks right.

I don’t use the Pen tool as often as I should. It takes me an hours practise to get comfortable with it and it’s controls. It can be difficult to see the path as mine is black. There must be a way of altering the colour of it but I haven’t found one. I haven’t looked very hard though. It’s a good job the weather is miserable to get twenty or thirty fine swirls can take eight hours and they are image specific. Hence I charge ten pounds a swirl. Does my head in it does. Does swirling.

A pirates grave? I’m sorry it has two borders but I set my pictures off by using a recorded action and selected the wrong one to start with. I wish that Adobe didn’t include a big list of Actions. I do generate my own but don’t like going through a mile of them to find my own. I’ll delete Adobes’. The action I use for my images is canvas 0.3cm white. Same again 0.2cm black and then canvas 2cm white. Works a treat as long as you hit the right button.

That’s all for today.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

THE SUN IS TOO LATE. (18/11/14)

It is a glorious afternoon and I am stuck inside popping swirls or light streaks onto photographs. It ought to be a simple job. Just draw a path pick a pressure sensitive brush right click on the path and select stroke path. Add a couple of effects like inner and outer glow a dab of colour. Mess with blend modes and opacity and Bobs’ your Uncle. For those that are interested then make sure that the brush draws black. Some draw white I always use a transparent new layer but found out that blending modes can be surprising if one has a white brush….. So much to learn and so little time. If you are interested in Swirls then have a look RENNEE ROBYN. Subtle must be her middle name. My attitude is hit it harder. You still here Trevor? So much grief for so little money. Two more goes you get and a final render for your measly ton.

He asked for wide sweeps tapering and curling round and shooting off out of frame with a light blue neon look. It doesn’t look good . The lass is black so I picked colour from her skin tones and added a wee dark blue gradient to the swirls. I think she looks perfect. I did think she didn’t need any adulteration at all. She doesn’t need playing with.  Well she does but I know my limitations.

I got fed up after four hours and several rejections so took the dogs a walk to the old railway station. I’ll start again when the photographer is a little more precise about the effect he is looking for. You Listening Trevor? Any bloody spatter brush will do cut from default 30% to 1% when it’s properties are modified I don’t need more brushes. It’s streaks are spot on. Give me a clue…. finer point, thicker point. I accept that the swirl in the first sample image didn’t do the young lass any favours shooting out from her armpit like it did. It gave the impression she hadn’t washed as often or as efficiently as she could have. That was just a quick trial for colour, opacity, etc. I can pop the swirls anywhere you like, even alter the curve I just wasn’t looking, it could have been a whole lot worse.

Melrose Station.

_MG_0897     It opened in 1849 and closed in 1969. This is all that is left. The down platform was demolished to make way for the Melrose by-pass. I would and will get some pictures of the front of the station building but I’ll have to wander up with a wider lens.

melstation       A composite image of the wonderful canopy. I stood near the middle of the first image and shot left and right. Then bodged them together. Not bad for two hand held shots. It then started raining again.

_MG_0898      Melrose from the station platform. When it was built I suspect the new buildings weren’t there and a Victorian tourist would have got a cracking view of the Abbey. Piss poor is town planning.

_MG_0902        Melrose rugby club’s ground. Bits of blue sky. We still got wet on the way home.

Have fun, I’m hoping to get out before tea time for some long exposures of the weir on the Tweed.

Monday 17 November 2014

PLAYTIME. (17/11/14)

I wonder when this rain will stop. I am sick and tired of getting wet twice a day. I was moving to Eyemouth but the field I was going to stop on is a swamp. I am staying here in Melrose for another week. I can’t see the point in wasting diesel just to see a different bit of wet countryside. Melrose has plenty to look at and if I time the dog walk right I can chat to the yummy mummies collecting their issue from the primary school next door.

I have been playing again. I decided that it would be interesting to pop an audio player into the blog so that I could talk to you, post bird song, cows mooing, dogs barking, etc. I found various bits of HTML code and chose one from a company called CINCOPA. It looks a smart set up. They have varying skins for their player and also host audio, video and photos for nothing which is always a good start.

I compose my posts in LiveWriter so can’t access HTML stuff from there nor are there many plug-ins for it. I thought I’d got it all sorted by using the Layout and Composer in Blogger Desktop. Everything was going Tickety Boo.

I thought it was but when I did a test post the audio player didn’t show up but what I’d called it did. I called it ’Adrian Speaking’. I’ll have another go this afternoon, there’s summat there. The code was there and, give or take an inch, it was where I wanted it. It was showing underneath the comments box but that was, on closer perusal, where I’d pasted it so not at all surprising really.

I can’t work out what is wrong as there is a URL for the player and it’s skin and another for the content. I checked that I hadn’t got too many http//s; no just the one. Many link boxes include an http// and then when I copy and paste URLs I get two. It never works with two. More is not better when it comes to computers.

I have been saying that I wish I knew what I was doing for so many years now that I think I’ll just accept that I’m a dumb cluck and use my tried and tested method of trial and error. Google are very understanding and do give me a test blog which nobody else can see. I can practise practicing my nonsense in private.

This is the code without the URL of my dulcet voice. That goes in the bit that starts <a href=………..>  I hope. If it doesn’t I’ll give it a whirl somewhere else or just use YouTube with a single image for the video bit. I don’t see any pixel dimensions for the player and I would have expected some. It’s all very confusing.

<div id="cp_widget_6d6fd75c-2052-45b2-9d01-ba656bc292b8">...</div><script type="text/javascript"> var cpo = []; cpo["_object"] ="cp_widget_6d6fd75c-2052-45b2-9d01-ba656bc292b8"; cpo["_fid"] = "AAIAvE8ImaoV"; var _cpmp = _cpmp || []; _cpmp.push(cpo); (function() { var cp = document.createElement("script"); cp.type = "text/javascript"; cp.async = true; cp.src = "//www..cincopa.com/media-platform/runtime/libasync.js"; var c = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; c..parentNode.insertBefore(cp, c); })(); </script><noscript>Powered by Cincopa <a href='http://www.cincopa.com/video-hosting'>Video Hosting for Business</a> solution.</noscript>

So is this script. I thought all Java and HTML code started and ended an instruction with a < and a >. I must be missing something. I am missing something. I suspect it is half a brain. I suspect this code is something weird.

Here is a picture from last week.

splashchainbridge The Chain Bridge Melrose in a gloomy mood.

Have a great week.

PS. Is there now HTML5? Does Bloogger Blugger OFF read it? Could Googly give a monkey’s bum? I’ll start again tomorrow.

Saturday 15 November 2014

MEMORY. (15/11/14)

We are just in from a walk along the Tweed. It wasn’t foggy enough to be interesting but too foggy to be pleasant. I even breathed on the lens to try and enhance the fog but over did it; more a pant than a gentle breath. On the way back I got a paper but haven’t opened it yet as it usually sets me into ranting mode. The front page was enough. Did you know that our leaders have paid to have colourful autumn leaves hand picked from the trees around Westminster Palace? Is it the start of April? No I suspect they have nothing better to do. I wonder who the tree surgeons are employed by? I can invent daft things but it takes a responsible government to dream up surreal scenarios that aren’t even entertaining. I know I’m verging on the ridiculous. I wonder what their excuse is? Lots of questions but no answers.

After the newsagents, I called in the greengrocers and then the butchers. I have lambs kidneys for today and a venison haggis with redcurrants for tomorrow. I’ll try anything once. I came out of Miller the butcher and noticed a bit of light in the antique shop next door.

_MG_0895    The window dresser didn’t look from the outside but at least there was light.

We set off back to the van the dogs had a wonderful time as the children were football training on Gibson Park. Chaos. I was in a bit of a dream or would have got them on the lead before they joined in. It is a couple of years since Molly interrupted a rugby match in Durham. Fortunately today, as then, folk thought it amusing. Moll is very good at running fast with a football. Alf just wants to talk to children. I eventually got them tethered and on we went.

I mentioned FUSION the other day and I recognise that few if any of my readers will be interested. I bet a pound to a shilling that if you click the link then the young people there will not disappoint. There is some gorgeous totty. For the ladies there are young men. MiddleSex folk will be ecstatic, gender benders take your pick. The editing suite they are in is to die for and is of course a composite. Compositing is hard as it tries to please all of the people all of the time and can end up surreal. Much like Dithery and his leaf picking , badger shooting, hoodie hugging. Silly man.

I spent six hours playing yesterday and today will construct something simple in Blender 3D and import it into Fusion. Fusion is a compositor and can draw 3D as Blender can, I draw faster in Blender both have Node editors, Fusion only has Nodes which I am just getting to grips with. Nodes are an alien concept but ten years ago so where layers. The beauty of node editing is that you can just click on them and they tell you what you have done. No more naming stuff. The problem is that you run out of screen space. Same with multiple layers on video. I’ll persevere. I’ll keep scrolling about and when I get fed up I’ll render and start on the next bit.

Most digital photo editors can composite but Fusion was at least the same price as Adobe AfterEffects. It’s now free since BlackMagic purchased Eyeon.

Like all this software one has to learn it. Some programmes are better at some bits and others quicker at different tasks. All require vast amounts of memory, my brain lacks memory even for quick renders or recalls.

For those that don’t know, when working in 3D you pick your camera view and can pan, rotate and zoom, when you settle on what you want you render to get a 2D view. That is all render means.

If you want to incorporate a still image you are compositing but to do it with a normal snap you have to UV Map. This just takes a picture and renders it backwards as you are working on XYZ axes then they call X - U and Y – V it pretty much ignores Z but calls it W. Buggers are programme developers. The algorithm will keep Z or W if you use a displacement map as a mask to give humps and bumps. It is brilliant but can give 50% grey bits. Bump is different as is jitter. It is harder than trying to score is working it out.

Fusion seems to work better in real time but it is still slow. I’ll ask PcSpecialists for a quote for a better graphics card and see if they can drop a bit more RAM into my laptop. I’m on 16GB of RAM and a 2GB graphics card but it only writes at 660MB. I thought this sort of thing would see me out.

I have an acquaintance who uses 4K video cameras, given another 1K then large stills printed would be as good as the Canon 5D II. Individual file sizes run into TBs. It’s great for flexibility in editing. One has to have the hardware to to deal with all the information.

I can upgrade my computer but I think it may be my memory that also needs a boost. I’ll ask the NHS. See if they do brain upgrades. If they are thinking of it then they can practise on those daft buggers in Westminster who think it is sensible to handpick dead leaves.

Have fun.

Friday 14 November 2014

FUNNY FACES. (14/11/14)

I don’t think it is going to get light today and the showers have given way to heavy rain. _MG_0859   The home of Rugby Sevens.

I’m hoping to go back to the abbey tomorrow but here are a few faces from yesterday.




_MG_0874       One of the few statues that have survived.

Have a good weekend. I hope the weather is kind to you.

Thursday 13 November 2014

A BIT OF RELIGION. (13/11/14)

Another dull damp day but at least it wasn’t raining. I decided to visit the Abbey. I got in for four pounds forty pence which was very fair. I can go again as the museum was closed due to circumstances beyond their control. They didn’t elaborate on the circumstances and I wasn’t in an awkward enough mood to ask. I assumed the curator was busy conceiving something, like lighting that doesn’t reflect from every shiny surface making snapping an impossible job. It could have been something mundane like leaves on the steps or a burglary.

I usually like to have a couple or three visits to places like this as the first one is taken up with admiring bits of this and that and trying to keep ones bearings. Then on the second visit I can plan a time frame and get the snaps I want to fit in with a bit of chat for a post. A third visit I can Take a few strobes and re-do scenes that need a bit of a shove.

The abbey was founded in 1136 and as it was so close to the English border kept getting raided, knocked down, set on fire. The remains are of building work from the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. I’ll try and remember what all the bits are called but church architecture is quite complex.

_MG_0861      The grassy bit behind the remains of the wall is the Nave. The big open window with the little doorway is the screen. It would have been filled with a wooden carving. The arches to the right are private chapels.

_MG_0862Wealthy people could be interred in them.

_MG_0864         This is the choir and the big window at the end is the east window.

_MG_0863           There are two of these passages one to the north of the choir and the other to the south.

_MG_0865         I don’t know what they are called but they are a beautiful bit of work. How the hell or heaven anyone can create a vaulted ceiling like this is just unimaginable. The infill is stone so all of those pieces must be tapered. Brilliant.

_MG_0867           The presbytery and the north transept.

_MG_0868          The east window.

_MG_0870           And a detail of it.

I think I got most of the bits correct. I have lots more photographs but they can wait for another day. The carving here is wonderful. Much of it was damaged after the reformation of the churches as the Protestants didn’t want folk worshiping Catholic statues. It’s a pity as the ones that are left are beautiful. Well worth appreciating if not worshipping.

As I left a charming lady asked if I had enjoyed my visit.  I did. Very few health and safety signs. No bright orange barriers. The National Trust ought to visit Melrose Abbey. This is how heritage ought to be displayed.