Live For Today

Posted on February 18, 2018 by Admin under Uncategorized

They say that God helps those who help themselves. Now you can take this 2 ways.

The first one is that you only achieve things by actually trying them. Just because you don’t know anything about it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a go. That’s what life is all about. Don’t do it – don’t know your limits.

This applies to a lot of things; climbing that tree, swimming across that lake or even photography. Who cares if you make a fool of yourself, you live and learn by your mistakes. Heaven knows I had a lot of them in my lifetime.

The second way to take the statement is if it isn’t tied down, I’m having it. Sadly, this interpretation is all too common nowadays. I remember the days when you could leave your doors unlocked. Your neighbours, if you had any, kept their eyes peeled for anything untoward going on.

There’s not the community spirit anymore (of the non alcoholic kind that is). Everyone knew everyone, you helped each other out. Now, if you lend someone something so they can do a little job, they return it to you broken but don’t admit to breaking it. You don’t find out about it until you try and use it yourself.

However, I digress. God helps those who help themselves. I was never really a religious person, but as I’ve gotten older I can appreciate the comfort that some people may find in troubled times by speaking or praying to their God. I’m not a believer or a disbeliever just somewhere in the middle. I’m not a church goer either, you don’t need to attend church to be a Christian, especially when you hear the opinions that some folk spout.

All in all I’m happy with what I have become and am happy in what I do. Live for today for tomorrow never comes.

This weeks picture is from one of my favourite haunts, an old churchyard and ruin. It has beautiful views and a cold biting wind.

Point and Shoot

Posted on February 11, 2018 by Admin under Uncategorized

I began my photography hobby when the wife bought me a Practika camera many Christmases ago. Those were the days when cameras relied on actual film. Each film allowed you take between 12 and 36 shots in colour or monochrome. Then you just had to wait for the film to be processed to see if you did it right (there was no such thing as editing software, there weren’t even home computers then). Not surprisingly, a lot of the early shots were blurry, out of focus and under/over exposed. I persevered and eventually was happy with my shots.

Coming back up to todays technology and my first DSLR was  a Nikon D70, followed by D3100 and a D3200. Both these cameras served me well. The DSLR’s that I now use are Nikon D53, D72, and occasionally a Fujifilm bridge camera (my go to for moon shots). I recently invested in a converter to extend my Sigma 150-500 lens. The lens was replaced last week by a Tamron. One of the biggest problems now is the weight of it all. The kit weighs 6 pounds, quite a hefty thing to manipulate. Good job I use a fast shutter speed or my arms would drop off! I must say that I feel that the Tamron is a better lens than the Sigma in that the quality of the picture is sharper, and the shutter speed is faster.

The Old and The New

I joined a local camera club a few years ago but felt it was of no help being mainly holiday snaps from members (they have since improved greatly). Every month they would hold a competition which would be judged by an “expert” who gave his critical opinion. One shot of mine of the pelagic (deep sea) trawlers berthed in Fraserburgh harbour was criticized for having the pier in it, should I have jumped in the water to take the photo? Another was an action shot taken at a local annual agricultural show of horses in action, very much a rapid fire affair with four or five horses cantering around a tree enclosed arena. The “expert” said I should have removed a tree in the background for a better shot. Well, sorry, I didn’t have my chainsaw on me that day! I believe there are no experts as such, everyday has another learning opportunity.

I have a protégé in a young lad who works with the wife who enjoys taking photos of the local fishing fleet. He takes a good photo and likes what I do. I have introduced him to software which will help him with editing and watermarking his photos (he has already had a couple that folk have downloaded without asking). I like to help those who help me and appreciate it.

Todays picture shows my Practika and big DSLR, a world apart.

 

 

10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

Posted on February 4, 2018 by Admin under Uncategorized
  1. I am a pensioner. It took a long time to get here but I’ve been a pensioner for 3 years now and loving the slow pace of life.
  2. I was born in Turriff, Aberdeenshire.  Though I was born in Turriff, I was brought up in Fyvie and lived with my grandparents on a farm.
  3. I worked on North Sea oil rigs. When I was 18 I worked my way up (literally)to a derrickman on an American exploration rig called Ocean Traveler which was operated by a company called Odeco.
  4. I am a part-time insurance assessor. Taking photos and assessing damage to vehicles, trouble is, despite the drivers up here being one of the worst on the road, jobs are few and far between.
    Old Faithful
  5. I drive a Mercedes. But not just any old Mercedes. I have a 1992 190E, the same kind that Michael Schummacher and Ayrton Senna had. It’s one of the better built ones that are made to last. I also had a E230 and it was a rust bucket!
  6. I built a pond in my garden. Or should I say dug? I have 14 or 15 fish including Koi and shabumpkins.
  7. I nearly cut my leg off! The wife and I ran a firewood business many moons ago. Part of the job was cutting down trees and clever old me, despite having safety gear on, slipped and the chainsaw went into my knee. I went back home, patched it up and went back to cutting, no choice, no work – no money.
  8. I woodturn in my “spare” time. I love turning a chunk of wood into something beautiful, bowls, goblets, pens and keyrings (they can be seen on the wife’s etsy  page ‘Little Scottish Things’. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LittleScottishThings
  9. I am a jack-of-all-trades. And master of only some. Throughout my life I have been ( not counting them all), a farm worker (no choice when you live on one); a builder (my own garage including the electrics); a lorry driver (long distance in the fish industry); a bus driver, both local and long distance and a digger driver (I met my wife on a site I was working on and, as they say, the rest is history! Her pals gave our relationship 6 months, we have been together now for 40 years this year!
  10. I’ll be back next week! I have been re-editing some of my pictures on this site and taking out the watermarks, then reloading them. I’m really getting into this website stuff!

Every Picture Tells a Story

Posted on January 28, 2018 by Admin under Uncategorized

They say that every picture tells a story. This may have been so in the days before mobile phones, but now the story some pictures say is “I’ve got a boring life that I need to take selfies and show people what I had for my breakfast”. Nowadays there is way too much being put on social media. An example: Senga is going on holiday so she tells facebook all. “Hey, I’m going away for 2 weeks to Tenerife, we’re flying out tonight and the dog’s in kennels!” Cue Mr Burglar, checks the location via all the personal info Senga also put on facebook along with the photos of her house and street! And they wonder why they get robbed? I seriously believe that brains have become obsolete. Are people not taught anything? Common sense and general knowledge seems to have gone out of the window along with respect. It reminds me of when I was young (a long time ago now), if you did something you shouldn’t and got caught you would get a clip round the ear from the beat bobby and you would dread going home cos you knew you would get another hiding from your parents, or grandparents in my case, if they found out. But the one good thing to come out of it is the respect I have for others and their views whether I agree with them or not. We are all Jock Thompsons bairns after all, no-one better than the other.

But, I digress. Pictures and their story…I am not a believer in Photoshop, too many people edit their photos so much that the finished picture bears no resemblance to the original shot. Don’t get me wrong, I use editing software (Zoner and Nikon) but only for clarification and definition of the image and occasionally for cropping, but never to add or remove objects or people who weren’t there. I don’t see the point of that, your image should catch a moment in time not have things that you maybe took 6 months ago.

Todays photo shows a little back road where I live and the extent of the snow we had in January this year. Usually it doesn’t lie to long with being so close to the sea, but can be quite extensive.  Enjoy and I will catch you all next week.

Happy Birthday

Posted on January 21, 2018 by Admin under Uncategorized

Well, that’s me another year older. But am I any wiser? I wonder sometimes. In the summer of 17 I decided to invest in another drone, a Phantom 4. It was helpful that I had practise on a similar drone although there are differences between them. I also decided that I would take my PFCO (for the uninitiated it stands for Permission For Commercial Operations).  This is a requirement  if you use your drone and make any gain, monetary or in kind. Now, for someone who has had 4 strokes this is quite something to tackle. With weather, aeronautics, navigation, safety, pre and post flight checks, I’m not surprised I’ve gone grey.

Going back to humble beginnings, I started out digitally with a Fujifilm camera and the shots she takes are excellent. Who needs a fancy camera to take good shots of the moon? Talking of the moon, there are 12 Hasselbald cameras abandoned on the moon by astronauts. Bit far to go for a freebie though! I still use my old Fuji for moon pictures, it’s the best out of all my cameras for it. It’s so simple my 7 year old granddaughter takes pictures with it and they are pretty good.

Over the years I have acquired many Nikon cameras and these are my mainstay. I have however, recently turned traitor and bought a Canon camcorder. Yet another way of having some fun seeing what I can do.

 

I have taken thousands of photos but never seem to be entirely happy with the result (or very occasionally). I like outdoor shots best where the sky is my studio, admitted I sometimes have to tweak them to bring out the beauty of the clouds, but overall, they are the best background you can have. I always say I don’t do weddings because by the time the bride has adjusted her underwear I will have fallen asleep waiting. No I prefer the chance of getting the shots I want on the spur of the moment and by luck. My tenet is “right time, right place”.

Keep happy and keep snappy, see you next time.

Learning Curves

Posted on January 14, 2018 by Admin under Uncategorized

Welcome back. I can’t be as dull as I thought cos you’re here again! Throughout the spring of 2017 I took my drone to different places locally. A private fishing loch with lots of trees and electricity pylons! This is a guaranteed ‘learn to fly’ area. I have also been to the local westerly coast, very rugged, and as I found out, windy once you are 60 feet in the air. The rain clouds were looming in the near distance but I still managed a 10 minute flight. One thing I find disappointing is the actual fly time for a drone’s battery. On average you will get, from a fully charged battery, 18 minutes of flying time, so you have to preplan carefully on what you want to do . You definitely don’t want to run out of juice, though the drone does have a built-in ‘return to home’ facility when the battery has little charge left. I witnessed this at one location. I was quite happily flying and the drone suddenly went up in the air. I honestly thought something was wrong. It turned out the ‘return to home’ function  had kicked in and it’s first job is to bring the drone to a defined height. I was below that height. It was definitely a learning curve!

Of course, being an amateur, I have had lots to learn not only about the drone operation but also health and safety and the need for insurance (confirmed by a fellow ‘droner’ whose drone ‘kicked back’ and hit him in the face). Just imagine if that had been a member of the general public, or worse, a child. No, I know it costs money but it also gives you peace of mind. There are far too many people taking chances, ignoring the drone guidelines and just doing as they please where they please. It is bound to end in disaster. They are not toys and need to be used with respect. With the Government looking into passing laws on drone use the whole situation should change in some part for the better but, unfortunately, there will still be those who are a law unto themselves.

A New Year a New Me

Posted on January 7, 2018 by Admin under Uncategorized

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Where did the last year go? It seems like only yesterday that I expanded my empire and made my range of photography wider compared to nearly a year ago.

Lost? Well, here’s my update. My eldest son had bought a drone and showed me what it can do so I decided ‘I can do that’, and after much searching for reviews I plumped for a DJI  Phantom 3 Standard from Drones Direct.  When it arrived I opened the box and though ‘ What have I got myself into?’  However, once I figured out what all the bits were for and how to put them together, I was well chuffed with myself. My son Michael said he would take me out for a lesson in drone flying. Well, it was cold, snowy and the middle of February. Woohoo, drone went up and I was like a kid with a new toy until Michael said “It’s snowing dad, take her down”. Me? I went into panic mode but did manage to successfully get the drone landed. Needless to say I was smitten. I couldn’t wait for the next time I could get out!

For the next couple of months I was more or less restricted to my back garden, or places in the middle of nowhere. Those bad weather days were filled with finding out more about drone flying, rules and regulations and having to buy spares for my drone after little mishaps with propellers (they don’t like going too close to trees!)

Surprisingly the picture quality of the drone is quite good and I had great fun seeing what the cameras limits were. The world takes on a whole new perspective when you are airborne. You can see things that the birds can see and look through water (if it’s not muddy) to the waterbed.

One of the problems with drone flying is the strength of the wind. Yes, it might be nice and calm where you’re standing but up there a bit, it can be a different story. Let me explain. Before I got an app to help me, I too thought that 60 feet in the air would be just as calm as it was at ground level. I checked the wind speed with an anemometer which told me it was ok to fly. Up goes the drone, I look up and go “Where’s it gone?” Luckily my wife was acting as my spotter (to keep an eye on the drone when it is airborne) did her bit and pointed it out to me. It was nowhere near where I thought it would be and made me realise, (and study further), that this wasn’t going to be as simple as I thought!

I have come a long way since then and I appreciate the forces of nature as well as it’s beauty. I will share my experiences (and mishaps) in all things photographic in my weekly blog so remember to come back. I would like to thank everyone for their interest and views and hope I am not too boring. I have never done a blog before so this is yet another new experience. Catch you next week.

Myself to date

Posted on January 4, 2018 by Admin under Uncategorized
Self taught, I have had a long time love of photography. My first camera was a Praktika TL5B, given to me as a gift. That was a long tome ago and I eventually got into digital photography. I seem to have taken a liking for Nikon cameras as I have owned the D70, 3000, 3100, and am currently using the D5200 and D5300 models and looking to upgrading to either the 7100 or 7200.
Gradually, after trying many ideas including live events I have settled for nature, fishing and farming for the most part as these are local to my area. I live in the North East of Scotland so have the benefit of both seascapes and landward areas to explore. I am also an insurance claim photographer for a national agency and have my own liability insurance which allows me entry to areas where the general public are not always allowed. One on going task is the photographing the underside of oil supply vessels for a ship modeller in Denmark and a recently completed commission was for frontage views of a  local but national pub chain. I have recently finished a request from a German author who requested images and information on lighthouses. So it goes to show that the work can be varied and interesting.
Photography makes you more aware of what is happening in the world around you from the smallest insect to the industrial world of commerce. You use your eyes more and open yourself up to the unexpected and unusual.
I started uploading my images onto Flikr and now have web pages on GlobalEye, 500PX, Viewbug and FanArt Review. I also run pages on Facebook for Fraserburgh Harbour, Sandhaven Boats and my own personal page. All are available to view by all, just put my name in a search engine and see what comes up.
Apart from all my images being available to buy, I am also available for commission work, the only thing that doesn’t appeal to me are weddings. There are loads of people already doing them and I just haven’t got the patience to wait for the bride to adjust her clothing just to look good!
I prefer “what you see is what you get” as far as photography goes. I edit my images through Zoner and Nikon software but will never  Photoshop, there’s a reason for ‘that’ bit being in the photo so why  remove it? I was once told at a local camera club by a judge that my image of boats would be better if I left out the pier. Another image from a live equestrian event that I should remove a tree for a better shot despite the arena being surrounded by trees!
Nowadays, being retired and a pensioner, I love to get out no matter  the weather. The outdoors is my studio and so varied that two images of the same scene on differing days can be totally unique in what they capture.
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All images © Copyright protected Eric Watt Photography   07969 800835
Professional Photographer Fraserburgh, Scotland, GB