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The World Has Gone Mad…The UK Anyway

Posted on 08/12/2018 by Admin under blog
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Hello peoples. I read an obituary this week from the Times newspaper about the sad demise of Common Sense, a much loved person of great age. I also read on social media that a motorcyclist was asked to remove his helmet whilst a lady in a burka was getting served at another till.  Yes, the country has gone mad! Even criminals have more rights that law abiding folk. They get 3 square meals a day for nothing, can watch TV all day or play games consoles that they don’t have to pay for whilst some of the old age pensioners can’t afford to both eat and heat. The system definitely leaves something to be desired.

It’s been a funny old week. My grandchildren are away on holiday with their dad and the wife’s back at work, so I have been left all by myself (violins please). I tried to entice a friend along as a spotter for drone flying but he declined as he thought it too hard for him! I might ask a young lad I know who would appreciate it more, as we both have similar interests and he can be trusted to be sensible.

I went out yesterday for some flying to practise for my drone test. During the test you must use manual mode which is quite tricky compared to the usual atti mode. Yes, you guessed, I crashed…twice. It’s an expensive way of cutting the grass! Luckily, there was no damage to anything except my pride. Never mind, I got a good 50 minutes of flying in. I did have to clean my drone afterwards as it was covered in dead flying beasties. You could actually see the flying insects on the movie I took.

My intensions for next week(yes I know I probably won’t do half of it) are getting more flying in, more photography as the combining has started in earnest now up here, and generally keeping on top of my website. No doubt it will be a week of big ideas and very little follow through!

This weeks image is  of a sunset looking eastward towards the cliffs of Pennan from Fraserburgh lighthouse.

Time and Tide

Posted on 08/05/2018 by Admin under blog
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Well here we are in August already, who would have thought it, I have only now got used to using 2018 as the year!  Time and tide wait for no man so the saying goes and such is true. It’s only when you see old pictures of the house you lived in as a child and then see the new build in it’s place that you realise how old you are and how long ago it was that you were there. I was brought up in my grandparent’s house…a little croft surrounded by trees and open fields. To go to school I had to walk over 2 miles in all kinds of weather, and that after doing my chores on the farm. At the end of the school day I had a 2 mile plus walk home to do my evening chores before being fed. To be honest, I don’t remember too much detail of those days, just the odd bit here and there…a little pond where we would catch eels, the long walk up the road from Fyvie. At some point we moved with my new stepfather to another farm in Aberdeenshire. My grandparents remained at the croft and my grandmother died there. My grandfather continued to live there until he died also. I left school at 15 and when I reached the age of 17 I began my career on the North Sea rigs working for an American company on an exploration rig the Ocean Traveler. I started at the bottom and quite literally worked my way up to a derrickman whose job was to catch the drill pipes as they came up to the top of the rig, yes that high place right at the tip. Fantastic view of the sea and a long way down to fall! Ah, those were the days, money flowed like water, and the plughole it went down was the casino in Aberdeen!

Getting back to today, I’m a pensioner with a lifetime of experience behind me, some good, some bad, but that is life after all. When you are young you think you have all the time in the world to do your thing, but before you know it, age has crept up on you and bites you on the bum! My granddaughters gift one Christmas was a book with loads of questions about my life to answer and it really is hard to think of some of the answers, believe me. I have never really settled far from my place of origin, still in the same county in fact. Come to think of it, that’s the way it was in the ‘olden’ days before the advent of cars for all and travelling everywhere is the norm. I’m beginning to sound like Rip Van Winkle, and some days I feel like him too, but hey, I’m still alive, I still have all my faculties (though they might not be as sharp as they used to be), and I can do anything my heart desires (within reason). I hope to have a good few years left in me yet so I can see my grandchildren grow up into adults and start on their life journeys. Be grateful for what you have achieved and what you will achieve in the future for we are only here for the blink of an eye when you consider the bigger picture. Talking of pictures, I’m the old guy on the left!

Best of Intensions

Posted on 07/29/2018 by Admin under blog
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Well my title says it all. Intensions – early morning and late night – never happened; Bullers of Buchan and puffins – never happened. What happened instead? Monday and Tuesday into Wednesday – granddaughters, mum was working nights (she’s a midwife). Pretty much the rest of the week, the wife sorting out my new computer eg passwords, favourites, anti virus and editing programmes. I also took the chance of the wife’s help to do some more study and testing on my drone course (the wife has more brains for that kind of thing than me, and even she got some of the questions wrong!) My next step apparently is getting required paperwork organised and accepted, and then taking my practical flying test. It’s been a nightmare at times and I have often considered quitting it all together but I have got this far so have decided to continue to the end. It hasn’t all been so I can fly commercially, but also gaining a certificate and achieving something (I’ve never had anything like that before apart from a driving license). We did go for a couple of runs out and about and I got some good shots. We did a reccy locally for the best spot to catch the lunar eclipse and found the perfect place (see image from a wintertime) with a clear view of the south east horizon. Come the Friday, it was overcast, rainy and windy and there was no way we were going to see the eclipse in those conditions. Oh well, I will just have to live until next century to see one again (you never know, science may have found a way to have immortality by then!). 

The farmers have started their harvesting this week and I got 3 different sets of photos of combining and bailing which you can find in my images gallery. Our weather has been brilliant up to last Friday so it was good for them to get started. Now though, it’s piddling with rain and there’s a wild wind, you get soaked just going out to the garage. We can’t complain though (we do actually), and we also get to laugh at the “weather warnings”, too much sun and the wrong sort causing roads to melt and railway tracks to bend in the wrong way. It makes a change from the wrong type of leaves, and the wrong kind of snow!.

Next week? Not sure yet. Would like to get some flying in but that is dependant on the weather too. The wife’s back to work on Tuesday so I will be all on my lonesome again (violins please). I will take each day as it comes, whether sunny or not there is bound to be lots to do, it’s just finding the time to do it all!

I will leave you with this quote from Bertrand Russell which sums everything up: “There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.”

Once Upon a Time…

Posted on 07/22/2018 by Admin under blog
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In the beginning a man took a box with a tiny pinhole in it and discovered, using light reacting paper, that he could capture an image on that same said paper, albeit upside down. Forward over the decades to the 1820’s and 30’s, photography progressed until a man (it’s always men for some reason), would get his subjects to stand or sit absolutely still for an inordinate amount of time and he himself stick his head under a curtain at the back of his camera whilst holding a flash in his hand. I often wonder how many photographs have been ruined because someone had a sneezing fit? It is probably why photos of “ghostly” beings first emerged. The word “photograph” as you may know, comes from the Greek “”photos” meaning light, and “graphien” meaning to draw. The Victorians liked to photograph their dead (not much chance of them moving about and spoiling the shot!). Quite often families would have a group portrait taken after someone such as a child had died to remember them by. The child would be dressed in their finest and propped up enough to appear as though they were still alive. A bit morbid don’t you think?

Originally photographs were monochromatic (or black and white), and I am sure you will have seen plenty of your grandparents and great grandparents etc. Colour photography did not appear until 1861 with the use of coloured filters, a principle devised by  Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell in 1855. Kodak introduced the colour film in 1935. Developing the film required knowledge of how to use chemicals to “cook” the film into a recognisable image. Later, you could take your used film to a chemist or photography shop to get your films to be developed and prints taken off. You would receive back both your photos and the negatives from which you could produced more photos.

The Old and The New

The camera was a cumbersome object usually used in a studio with photographs being mainly for the well off in society. In 1900 the Brownie camera was introduced by Kodak and photography for the masses took place. In 1981 Sony produced the first digital camera though the images could only be displayed on a television. By 1991 the first commercially available digital single lens reflex camera was manufactured by Kodak and although it was prohibitively expensive for any other than professional photographers, the birth of commercial photography had arrived. Looking forward to today, you can now buy at reasonable prices digital cameras with multi-pixel capture available. Nowadays you can even take photos on your mobile phone (though I don’t feel these are “proper” photographs, a phone is a phone!)

So we have come a long way in a relatively short time. Nobody now considers that taking a photo of someone captures their sole as many believed long ago. We don’t generally photograph dead people either (unless you’re a pathologist). On the downside, the so called “upskirting” has been made aware to the public due to high profile court cases and laws changed to abolish the awful practice. I bet nobody thinks twice about taking a photograph nowadays, it’s become the norm. But I feel there is still a place for the artistic and educational images that are available. A word of warning though, don’t believe everything you see!

As a foot note, I would like to thank all of you for your support and interest in my work, there would be little point in doing it otherwise.

Oh My Head!

Posted on 07/15/2018 by Admin under blog
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Well folks, I am older but only a little bit wiser. I have been doing my drone course this week and it’s not as simple as it seems. I have covered human  resources, map reading, Heinrich’s Ratio and Meridian Diversion! To say my brain is strained is an understatement. Each quiz I did at the end of each part consists of 10 questions, trouble is there are not asked in the exact way they are taught so, sadly I got quite a few wrong and failed some of the sections. On a happier note, I have accepted that I maybe won’t be able to get my PFCO, I can only hope they take my age and health conditions into account and hopefully give me it anyway. Time will tell. As long as I fly legally and don’t charge then I can fly to my heart’s content. I’ve learnt a lot on the way so even that is a bonus.

Other things that have happened this week include my youngest granddaughter flooding the kitchen by leaving a tap on, and the same granddaughter twisting her ankle so badly that she had to go to hospital to be strapped up. Also this week, I have ordered my new computer and am awaiting delivery supposedly tomorrow so I will be able to go back to my computer to edit my movies and stuff instead of relying on my laptop. It’s surprising what you miss when your sound card is fried!

I have discovered the delights of cornbread (though the label says it contains wheat and gluten!) and I must say that I do feel a difference in my digestive tract (I have IBS). I would recommend others try it. It tastes good too. I’m always on the look out for foodstuffs that will help my conditions. I’ll give anything a try once within reason. I was brought up on old fashioned basic healthy meals, porridge, kale, tatties and the like. The only things I don’t take now are onions (my granny used them in everything), and milk (I saw what’s in milk that comes directly from the cow). I’m not one for so called fast food but do like an occasional chippy as long as the chips aren’t greasy.

This week I am intending to finish my drone course so I can move onto the next level even if I don’t get any further. The wife is on holiday from Friday afternoon for 10 days so we are hoping to get out and about a bit. We quite like the idea of going out at stupid o’clock in the morning(around 4 am) to see what’s different out there at that time of the day and might even try a dusk outing too.

This week’s image shows the beauty of gathering storm clouds over our village harbour.

Wise words as a conclusion this week: If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.

My Take On Life

Posted on 07/08/2018 by Admin under blog
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This week I am going to educate you and give my take on it, enjoy…

  1. Peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite – I once, long ago, helped a farmer to remove a big tree stump with dynamite, needless to say the stump stayed where it was but the shed it was next to was obliterated!
  2. The average person falls asleep in 7 minutes – I seem to fall asleep as soon as the TV goes on at night!
  3. Women blink twice as much as men – women also talk twice as much as men!
  4. Most of the dust under your bed is your own dead skin – along with all the other dusty c**p that you hid under there
  5. Grapes explode when you put them in a microwave – now who got paid to test that theory out? And which poor soul had to clean it all up afterwards?
  6. Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia – a bit like Newcastle buying coal from Poland!
  7. Turtles breathe through they bums – most politicians talk through theirs.
  8. Talking to yourself makes you smarter – I definitely agree with this one or otherwise I’m just going mad!!
  9. Women spend on average 76 days rummaging through their handbags – the wife said I should get a manbag to carry all my puffs and potions, I told her no way just make sure I have pockets in my shirt (not always the best thing…I lost a pair of glasses in my pond).
  10. On average a person walks past 7 psychopaths a day – who new? And which ones are they?
  11. The dot on the letter I is called a tittle – I thought a tittle was a sniggering laugh
  12. There are more chickens in the world than people – how the heck did they manage to count them all?
  13. A snail can sleep for 3 years – sometimes I feel I could sleep for a week.
  14. A cat has 32 muscles in each ear – whereas a parent needs eyes in the back of their head!
  15. Your foot is the same length as your forearm – I thought it was supposed to be length of another part of the anatomy, according to women?
  16. Ants never sleep – whilst teenagers never wake up (not when they’re supposed to anyway).
  17. An idiot is a stupid person with a mental age below 3 years, while a moron is a stupid person with the mental age of between 7 and 12 – and some adults in Westminster are just moronically stupid!

I hope you have enjoyed my educational talk (sometimes I am so stuck as what to say it’s handy to fall back on trivia!) My pic this week is totally random and not connected in any way to anything else on this page! Stay safe, stay legal and I will see you next week.

 

One Day At A Time

Posted on 07/01/2018 by Admin under blog
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I’m going to have to stop making plans for the week ahead…it never turns out how I want! Got as far as Mintlaw this week for a cappuccino and a couple of new plants to hopefully turn into bonsais. I bought two a couple of weeks ago but one has died already. I’m definitely NOT green fingered. I split the root ball and planted it up but I think the sun has fried one of them, the other had stems which weren’t woody enough. I will try again, this time with another Cotoneaster and I can’t remember the name of the other one I bought. The main thing is small leaves and woody stems. I also received seeds for Japanese maples but I’m not convinced they will grow either. It remains to be seen.

I spent most of my week on my website (again), it’s never ending but the views I get make it all worth while. I’m now hunting through old cds to find some of my old shots to upload. I cut the grass cos it’s growing like nobody’s business with this heat and sunshine. The wife also sorted my computer as I lost a file needed for my Movie Maker, it turned out easy enough to do (just taken 2 weeks to get it sorted out though).

We went for a run in the car yesterday and managed to get some pictures of highland cows with their calves, oh they are sooo cute! (see this weeks pic), and some black sheep (not something you see a lot of up here). Next week I think (here I go again, making plans) I may lower my sights and do a bit of my PFCO course for my drone (determined to get it done), do a bit of flying with the drone (probably Thursday weather permitting), my son’s coming in by on Tuesday to build me a new computer (I fried my sound card just the other week!). As you can see, I lead an exciting life! I can’t believe it’s the 7th month of the year already, harvesting is nearly upon us and I haven’t got many good pics this year yet. I really need to get a wiggle on (that would be an amusing sight.)

I see that the new drone rules come out next year whereby all drone users whose craft weighs more than 7kg need to register and take a test to prove they know about the rules, dangers and consequences of not adhering to the letter of the law. All well and good, but do they really think those irresponsible users who fly in crowded places and within aerodrome space are going to bother with any of that? Not likely, it’s the rest of us law abiding users that are being penalised for their actions. I bet you that if they can get away with it even the MPs in Government will buy them and put it down to expenses and not bother with the rest of it!

Enough waffle for this week. One of these days I will have something interesting for you to read, don’t know when but it will come. They say that everyone has a book inside them so you never know, I may be famous yet. Enjoy your week.

“The Sun has got his Hat on…”

Posted on 06/24/2018 by Admin under blog
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So the song goes, all week we’ve heard about the lovely weather…in England! We had overcast skies and a good breeze, but today the weather has excelled itself and we have sun and warmth to the extent that the grandchildren are out in the paddling pool.

I haven’t been anywhere again this week (becoming a bit of a habit of late) as I have been resurrecting some old photos from 2012 and putting them up for viewing. Back then started the deepening of the Black Sands in Fraserburgh harbour to accommodate larger vessels. It was scheduled to take a couple of years but ran over due to one thing and another. I asked the Irish construction team if it was okay with them for me to take photos and they agreed so I have managed to chart the whole thing. You will find various track machinery, hole borers , dredgers, cranes and uncle Tom Cobbly and all. Basically, the idea was to deepen the bottom of the harbour bed to allow larger vessels with a greater depth to come into the harbour, the only problem was, it’s quite a sharp turn to get up to the pier, but there has been a lot of new vessels coming into the harbour some of which you will find in my images. This weeks image shows one shot from the job at the harbour and, yes, that is a digger sitting on a barge in the middle of the water.

It seems strange that my fishing related images seem to be the most popular, I come from a farming background myself, but I still like to get a variety of photos though portraits are not my thing, I prefer the quirky , fast moving, unusual shot when I can. The “experts” will tell you how to take the perfect shot, but why should everyone do the same thing? Think outside the box, be patient and take as many photos as you like. Being the digital age it’s not like you are having to spend loads of money processing your film only to find that you messed up on most shots. You can delete them for ever more and concentrate on the good ones, who cares if some of them turn out to be comical, that’s what it’s all about, getting that off guard image. They are memories captured in the moment.

I would like to go out every day if I could with my cameras but unfortunately there are other things that must also be done, like editing, doing stuff on my website, and research. Time flies and I’ve seen me going onto the computer to check something and before I know it, it’s time to pick the wife up from work. Many a time I’ve even sat in the evening on my laptop, though this should be lessened now as I keep the laptop upstairs rather than in the living room downstairs. My other problem is my health issues which makes me wary of going out too far by myself in case anything happens, it’s bad enough that I need to take my pills and potions everywhere I go without making it likely to happen in the wrong place. Never mind, you only live once so sometimes you have to take the gamble.

Enjoy your week, don’t work too hard, and I’ll be back here next week. TTFN

Out and About

Posted on 06/17/2018 by Admin under blog
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We went for a drive out last Monday as the wife was on holiday and I was fed up being in the house. Taking the coastal route west we went past Pennan to Nethermill beach where I put my drone up. The  pebble beach is between high cliffs, though we didn’t see any gannets this time nesting on the far rocks. Still, I did get a few shots from 300 feet up and it adds to my flying hours. As we promised ourselves last week, we made it to Buckie. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there when I drove fish lorries but I think it has expanded somewhat. It seems quite a busy little town with quite a wide variety of shops for a small place. I decided I would partake of fish and chips in the towns Fry In and what a treat. A decent portion of haddock and nice dry chips at a really reasonable £6.50. I definitely recommend anyone going to the Buckie area to try them.  On the way back, after I found some new boats to photograph in Buckie, we went on to Findlater Castle. Now it’s quite a bit off the beaten track and there’s quite a lot of walking to do before you reach the vantage point, but well worth it. The castle was built on a rocky promontory with the sea on 3 sides and is actually built into the rock. How they managed to get all the stones in place is a mystery but it can’t have been an easy job. It’s mostly a ruin now and the grass has grown over a lot of it but it’s still something to marvel at. If there had been such a thing as health and safety in those days I don’t think it would ever have been built on such a precarious spot. There is also a lovely beach near which I discovered when I worked with the council’s beach squad but it’s down a very steep cliff and the wife’s not able for that kind of terrain so it will have to wait until they put in a cable car!

The wife was back to work on Tuesday so the rest of the week has been the usual, computer based editing all the pics I got at the weekend and making a movie of my drone flight. It’s surprising how long this can take but I am getting better at it. This week’s image is a panorama of Findlater Castle as described earlier I am hoping to get up to my pal’s house that he’s building and get the drone up to capture the next stage in the build. I’ve been tracking it since the beginning when it was just paint lines on the ground. It’s given me good practice. Depending on the weather (so unpredictable) I think next weekend will be a trip into the south east and somewhere I have never been (I don’t think I have anyway) called the Bullers o’ Buchan near Peterhead and on to what used to be a thriving fishing village many moons ago called Whinnyfold (pronounce Finniefald) so you may get a few different shots this time next week. Enjoy yourselves and come again.

 

Early Summer Days.

Posted on 06/10/2018 by Admin under blog
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It’s been a mixed week, some good some not so good. The wife was on holiday from her work for a couple of days so hopes were high of doing something different. Nope, never happened. On Thursday we went down to my daughter’s house to put a new lock on her shed door. It took a good bit longer than I expected. Suffice to say we got back home after lunchtime and from there on in, didn’t do much else. The time just seems to slip away so quick. It was a beautiful day too, lovely and warm, no wind to speak of, a rare occurrence lately. Come Friday I still felt like I’d done 10 rounds with Muhammed Ali so decided to have an easy day. We did manage to get out yesterday for a spin round the town, took a couple of photos and went shopping. Now normally I hate shopping. I’m one of those people who likes to go into a shop, get exactly what I want and get out again. Yesterday, we shopped for well over an hour and we only went in 2 shops and even they are next door to each other!  The weather has remained overcast but we are hoping for improvement tomorrow as we intend to go up the coast a bit to Buckie, a quaint little village which I haven’t been to since driving fish lorries (quite a while ago!)

It seemed this week to be a week of breakages, first my computer speakers when a new graphics card was installed which in the end wouldn’t work right so the old one’s been put back in. Think it may have been a problem with static as I was putting the new card in as the speakers are working, just not on my desktop. The second breakage was our bed. It’s one of those with the wooden slats and one of them decided I was too heavy for it. We decided to replace one slat with another as it was only cracked a bit. That’s when the fun began. We slackened off the nuts and bolts so we could take the next slat to the broken one out and put it in the original gap. Ha, because of the way the slats slot in, when you take one out the problem becomes not having enough hands to hold onto the rest to stop them falling out. With both of use doing a balance act and a rubber mallet we succeeded in the end but I think I need to be more careful in future and not kneel on the edge of the bed, either that or go on a crash diet!

This week’s pic shows a place called Cortes House near Lonmay, Aberdeenshire. A lovely house with numerous rooms that my son and his then fiancé booked for their wedding some years ago. The grounds have their own woods and a secret garden. The wife keeps saying that if she wins the lottery then she’s going to buy it. Well, we shall just have to wait and see, but it would probably help if we actually bought a lottery ticket in the first place.


All images © Copyright protected Eric Watt Photography   07969 800835
Professional Photographer Fraserburgh, Scotland, GB