Highway Code

Posted on 05/27/2018 by Admin under blog
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I have been driving for some 51 years and even read the highway code when I took my test at the tender age of 17. I passed first time, but had the advantage of driving tractors on our farm as was the norm for those born into the farming industry. Years later I also achieved my HGV and PCV licences, again first time. Now, as far as I am aware, the highway code hasn’t changed that much but I do wonder sometimes with the way that people drive today, even when being instructed by a driving instructor. I though that when you bought a car the indicators came free, it must have changed because the amount of people who don’t use them seems to be on the increase! Another thing I learnt was lane procedure but this too seems to a thing of the past along with keeping to your own side at a junction and stopping at the white line. Nowadays it seems that it is ok to cut the junction whether there is a car sitting at it or not, and stopping 2 feet away from the line at a junction, with no indicators, so you don’t have a flipping clue what the driver is doing! Another bugbear – pulling out in front of you and then slowing down to a snails pace, you came out, now shift quick so the driver behind you doesn’t need to stand on the brakes before they are right up your rear end. As you can see, I enjoy driving. Seriously though, I wonder what learner drivers are taught now and I would hate to see what they do when they ever drive on a motorway, they’re bad enough on a dual carriageway. I often wonder if I’m driving wrongly because so many others seem to drive differently to me.

Rant over for this week. I had a conversation with what I assumed to be a potential client this week. He wanted an image of a fishing vessel for printing onto large polystyrene fish boxes. He asked if I could send him some pictures without watermarks so could consider them. I told him he needed to go on my website where all my images are, select what he liked and, following through the procedure of size required etc a price would be quoted dependant of what it was to be used for, how long he required the licence for and such. Needless to say I never heard from him again but a young photographer in Fraserburgh did. The guy sent him a message on his phone. Luckily he mentioned it to my wife who said that I had also spoken to him on the same subject. The lad was happy enough to give him a picture for nothing but the wife told him the rules and regulations relating to images eg copyright, permission to use the image of the vessel from the vessels owner and the value of his work in itself. She explained that if you give it for nothing then he will then go on to make a lot of money from using the image that he gave freely and get nothing back. The lad, now disappointed because he thought he’d made the big time, accepted what she told him and decided against going ahead with it. There are too many chancers ready to exploit people if they can. The guy even admitted he wanted to see pictures with no watermark on them. Oh, yeah, of course, so you can download them from the internet for nothing. Don’t think so pal.

On a lighter note, the sun is shining once more. Pity it makes the grass grow too, it’s a constant battle to keep it short during the summer. Seems to be you can mow it one day and the next day you could swear that you never did it cos the grass looks overgrown again! Well that’s me for another week, keep smiling and stay happy.

A Life of Leisure

Posted on 05/20/2018 by Admin under blog
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I am at a loss as to what to write about this week. I’ve done nothing much apart from paperwork this week. Although I have yet to finish my PFCO I have been advised to start doing the correct paperwork as the inspectors are checking up on drone flyers prior to the changes in the law which should be coming in sometime this year. I already have my insurance and all the safety gear but I will also have screeds of paper to fill out with risk assessments, health and safety, maintenance and logging all the flights in the correct manner. Who knew a hobby could be so time consuming.

Another thing I have decided to try is a bit of bonsai. For the uninitiated it’s the Japanese art of growing little bushes from what are usually big trees. I have started with a couple of smallish shrubs and now just have to figure out how you prune and train them to be miniatures of the real thing. My biggest problem will be judging what size to go for. I was making a sunhouse for the wife to do her crafts in, but I must have used an American tape measure because it turned into a 10 by 10 extension to my garage!

We didn’t do much yesterday except go to a nearby garden centre (where I bought my future bonsai shrubs from), and had a cuppa whilst we were there. The cafeteria is quite nice and the coffee good but not too pricey. I decided to have a bite to eat too and chose a scone and a doughnut. Well, the scone was fine and the doughnut rock hard, but the worst of it was that although the coffee was reasonable at £1.55, each scone and doughnut cost £3 each! I could have bought 5 doughnuts for £1 in Asda! I don’t mind paying a bit more when its decent stuff but as far as the snack goes, what a rip off! Needless to say, I won’t be eating in there again, I will stick to the coffee.

Got a real treat this week, the swallows have returned, and this little cheeky chappie decided to pose right outside my window just long enough for me to rattle off a few shots. I was very surprised as they are usually flying quite high and fast, or settling on some phone wires that are just out of my focal length. Hope you like it.

Have been thinking about my plans for next week and haven’t got a clue what I am going to do. I might fly my drone a bit, maybe a bit of gardening. I think the best thing is to see how it goes. My health problems are a bit full on at the moment so what I do will depend on how I feel. Old age doesn’t come itself. I would love to take in a sunset at a local estate which I sometimes frequent, it should be stunning but then again you can’t tell what the weather may be like. You never know, I might have something interesting to say in my blog next week! Live in hope and see you next time time.

Mother of Invention

Posted on 05/13/2018 by Admin under blog
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Necessity Is The Mother of Invention, a phrase ascribed to Plato though the original author is not known despite it being around since the 16th Century. The earliest actual use was in Richard Frank’s “Northern Memoires, calculated for the median of Scotland”, (how’s that for a bit of useless information!). Basically it means you make do and mend Think about it, you want to go for a hike in the highlands in the middle of nowhere but you still need your equipment, so you make do with a stone wall instead of a tripod or even develop a rig which suits your purpose. Photographers are known to smear Vaseline on their lenses to crate a softer scene (how they get it all off the lens afterwards is another matter). The perfect solution to an age old problem was highlighted in the press this week when a Scottish farmer’s cow developed mastitis and her calf was unable to suckle on all four teats. Solution? Get the wife’s bra and tie it onto the cow so that the front teats are covered and the calf has to use the others thereby releasing the pressure in the udders. Brilliant idea. Don’t think my granny would have done the same thing though with their cows. Not surprisingly, the farmer’s wife says she won’t be wearing the garment again.

This week has been a mixed bag. My pond pump (I have a 1500 gallon pond in my garden) decided to give up the ghost after about 4 years. Give it it’s due it is on 24/7. So, I decided to buy a new pump, found one online and ordered it. A couple of days later the pump arrived. I though it looked small sized but what I didn’t realise is I had misread the description of volume and ordered a pump a tenth of the size I need. It will have to do for now until I can order one with the correct volume of throughput. I get the impression I should leave the ordering to someone else, I make too many mistakes (must be an age thing.)

On the bright side, I have tried out the Litchi app with my drone (DJI 4 went on strike). I have managed to figure it out and am quite pleased with a video I did yesterday at Logie Loch near Crimond. You can find the video on https://www.facebook.com/lochoflogie . I quite like the music that goes with it too. The fishery is a lovely place to go, there’s a mixture of lake, river trees, deer, badgers and numerous birds to see, and they also have the facility for wedding photography amongst the trees by a bridge or even in front of the lake at very low cost. This week’s first picture shows the bridge and the second one is the loch. As you can see it was a lovely day, not too warm and not too cold. It didn’t last long, we are now back to a wet and overcast day. We live in hope of a good summer. Keeping smiling (it scares people!) and I will catch you next week.

 

 

Exercising My Brain?

Posted on 05/06/2018 by Admin under blog
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Exercise is one thing that seems to be the norm nowadays and yes, maybe I do need to do some, but I like to think my excess is middle age spread rather than Lidl’s croissants that I enjoy so much! The wife has told me I must be the laziest photographer ever as instead of getting out of the car to take a picture I am quite happy to stay seated and manoeuvre the car into the right position for me to take the pic through my side window. After all, why strain your muscles when there is another way of doing things? There are plenty of exercise DVDs on the market by celebrities who have enough money to get surgery if needed to lose weight. Whereas the like of Davina McCall and Lorraine Kelly make it seem fun I think I would be better of if Bernard Manning or the wrestler Big Daddy did an fitness DVD, much more my style.

This weekend the wife and I were child free so decided to go out for the day, or most of it. We set off for Peterhead about 1 o’clock, then went to the Happy Plant Garden Centre in Mintlaw for a cuppa, then on to Pitfour estate for a long walk around the lake in the estate. Pitfour is a popular venue with walkers, cyclists and photographers. Usually they are quite a few different species of bird to look out for but this time it was swans and mallards. The highlight of the day were 2 ospreys. The ospreys nest in one of the many trees on the estate and have done for several years but you can never seem to see them, so it was a treat to see both of them in the sky and one came in to land on the nest. There’s a gate across the pathway some 100 yards from the particular tree and even my long Tamron with a total focal length of 750mm struggled, but you can see from this week’s image that I did manage a bit.

The walk around the lake, which has an overgrown island, worked out as approximately 5029 steps (according to the wife’s fitbit) and is roughly a mile and a half and it is a really lovely walk. There’s a walk through the trees too which we will do next time. A friend saw bats there last week so I might even try it at dawn and dusk to see what appears at different times. If anyone is in the vicinity of Mintlaw I would recommend going to the estate. There is even a temple (dilapidated now) to Theseus with its Romanesque columns and surrounded in scaffolding due to repair work.

Keep pumping the iron and I will be back next week.

Time

Posted on 04/29/2018 by Admin under blog

Time is a strange thing. When your young with no worries or cares it seems to go slow and Christmas is always ages away. Get to your teens and you start wishing your life away, always wanting to be a grown up. Then comes your twenties, a time for settling down, having a proper job and plenty of responsibilities, maybe even starting your family. It’s now when time seems to speed up big time. Before you know it your 40 and saying “Where did the time go?” or “In my day…”. You then wait for retirement, thinking of all the things you will do in your spare time. Bang…pension age is here and there is just not enough hours in the day to do everything! Old father time is going at a gallop and you feel tired just trying to keep up. Yes, there are advantages, not having to go to work every day being one, but sometimes you think it could be a good thing, you wouldn’t have to do all those little jobs that fill your day.  Some of my weeks are definitely like that. I intended to do quite a lot this week including going out with my drone, but I ended up with that being done and post processing that little else got done apart from smarting up my car and mowing the grass. Oh well, there’s always next week!

I’ve been looking at the analytical data for my website and trying to figure out how to increase traffic to it. I don’t totally agree with in site advertising, I think it can be invasive and distracting. I know it is on some sites I’ve been on. I am going to have a good look at it and come to a decision. Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge following of my images on my ericwattphotography.com site, but want to improve on other areas of my web site so everyone can see what I’m doing. One thing I am doing is putting on a comment box so you can all leave messages (not rude or derisory ones mind) so I can see your opinions and suggestions. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended (if I am you will soon find out!). Please keep a look out for it and take part.

Yellow Monsters

Posted on 04/22/2018 by Admin under blog

Well, what a change weather wise. We’ve gone from cold and wet to dry and hot and back again. Some forecasters say we will get snow flurries next week! I think we’ll be a bit luckier, the warmer weather is here even if it’s not as hot as Spain. Never could understand why people spend a fortune going abroad to sit in the sun when Britain gets it’s fair share of sunny weather too.

I’ve done some gardening this week, my potatoes are in as well as carrots, swedes, cabbage, tomatoes, peas and kale. Now it just remains to be seen if any of them decide to grow. I will say one thing, my newly seeded grass that I sowed in my daughter’s garden has sprung into life and looks pretty good so far. I’ve never really been green fingered, oh I’ll plant stuff and it usually grows but apart from pruning I tend to leave it to the wife to decide what goes where.

I was through in Peterhead yesterday to Halfords for oil and stuff for my new car so took the opportunity to have run around to get some new pics. There is an ASCO base in Peterhead close to HMP Grampian, and usually there are plenty of oil related vessels to see. Yesterday there were two huge yellow structures on a barge which I assume are for the windfarm being constructed a couple of miles offshore (plenty of wind in Peterhead believe me).  I asked a couple of guys I know what they could be, and sure enough they are for the wind farm. Apparently the tower for the turbine sits in the centre pipe and the rest goes down to the seafloor and ballast used to ground it in the drums at each corner of the structure (see the image). It’s amazing how far technology has come in the last 80 years or so.

I’m hoping next weekend to go in the Aberdeen direction, apparently the offshore wind turbines that Donald Trump so objected to, are being installed off the coast of Balmedie near Aberdeen and also near to Trump’s golf course. They look further in than they actually are but I could never understand why Trump objected, surely his golf buddies would be concentrating on their balls and clubs to even notice the turbines. Ah well, can’t please everyone. Natural, renewable resources are the thing of the future and if you have the facilities, then you should use them.

Happy Anniversary

Posted on 04/15/2018 by Admin under blog

It’s been quite a good week for me, the sun has been shining, spring is here and I was blessed with 7 goldfinches in my garden! I knew there was 3 but then in came another 4. Given that they can be in flocks of 100, I still have a way to go.  I also mowed the lawn for the first time this year so it shows that it must be getting warmer! According to the weather forecast it’s going to be warmer here than in Portugal next week. I can only surmise that Portugal will be very cold!

It was the wife and mine’s wedding anniversary this week, 26 year married but been together for 40 years. Not bad for people saying back then that they gave it 6 months max. We’ve done pretty good I think bringing up 3 kids with no help from family and working for a pittance. We must have done something right after all. My son and daughter presented us with a car two days ago, not a new one (I don’t agree buying new as the value goes down by 1/3 as soon as you leave the showroom). It’s a Renault Megane, 06 plate and only 48,000 on the clock. I took it out for a test drive yesterday and it’s so quite compared to my previous car and going over the potholes doesn’t set your brain rattling. Today I gave it a wash and a bit of polish and it’s looking great. No excuse for not going anywhere now. We are truly grateful and appreciative of our kids.

The only downside this week is infernal updates from Microsoft. They seem to take forever to complete. I even phoned them and had a few words you don’t get in the Bible.  You may notice this week that I have been uploading pictures of old tractors this week which I have had for some time (the pictures not the tractors) with a hope of expanding this category. It doesn’t seem like 15 years since I started this photography lark more seriously but time flows quickly.  Not too sure what next week will entail yet, I haven’t decided but think it may be a start to getting more exercise to get rid of the winter weight (staying away from the croissants from the local Lidl might help).

Catch you all next week, have a good one.

 

 

Technology At It’s Best

Posted on 04/08/2018 by Admin under blog

When I think back to my days on the farm, I used to get to drive a Massey Ferguson Ted with it’s grey paint and open air views, I thought I was the bees knees! Such a modern piece of equipment. Sadly today most of them can be seen at vintage tractor shows and ploughing matches. Moving forward to todays agricultural machinery, it really puts that old Ted into perspective. A young  farming friend of mine, Euan Mcleod, yesterday invited me into his New Holland T7 which he was using to sow a new crop for this year. Wow! What a difference. Now, everything is done by computer, just push a button to start and away she goes, no steering needed. Even the ground area covered is so much greater. In the old days you would take  about a day to seed about 5 acre, now it takes an hour to do 9 acres approximately (correct me if I’m wrong).

It’s great to see all the old machinery still in use, and it’s my intention this year to go to some ploughing matches which are held locally to get more pictures. The annual New Deer Agricultural Show in the summer usually has an old fashioned threshing mill which I have a movie of. Everything was so labour intensive back then. A young lad wouldn’t stick for a job when he left school, there was always a farmer taking on folk. Nowadays there’s not the need for so many farmhands as everything is done mechanically. In a way it’s a shame as there was such a sense of doing a hard days graft and feeling proud about it, whereas now you just need to sit on your backside in a machine most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I feel proud of our farmers who can struggle with bureaucracy  and regulations and still produce a good product. Long may it continue.

Who knows where technology will take us next. When you think how far the world has come since the first world war, the possibilities are endless. That said, I still admire that little Ted of yesteryear.

Easter Bunny Lays An Egg

Posted on 04/01/2018 by Admin under blog

Ha ha, that got your attention!  Easter is upon us, it also means that it is April already, where did the last 3 months go? Could it be an age thing? I swear the time goes quicker the older you get. Even my eldest granddaughter will be 10 this year and I still remember holding her in my arms when she was a baby, seems like just last week.

Looking back over the years, I have done a lot in my life, from humble farm labourer to coach driver, even did a stint on an oil rig. Trouble is I’m not any richer either, living is expensive. I bought a new lens last week, a Sigma 18 x 300 mm to replace one that got condensation problems one year at a local agricultural show where I was taking photos for them in the piddling rain. I did get the lens serviced but it would, occasionally, stick when extending and retracting, hence the new purchase. Think this will be the final one, I have a good enough setup now. Come to think of it, I’m worth more dead than alive!

With the passing of the months, I think Spring is finally here. It’s been a lovely day today with blue skies and sunshine. It fairly makes you feel brighter but I’m not expecting it to last long. It never does in our corner of Scotland. Being on the coast you can’t predict exactly what the weather is going to be like. I wait and see what it looks like outside in the morning and if I can see Mormond Hill (about 5 miles as the crow flies), then I am pretty sure it will be an ok day.  This week I intend to do my daughters garden and get some grass seed sown so the girls have a good surface to play on, maybe get my potatoes in the ground too.

Once again, I’ve come to the end of this week’s blog, (it’s not an easy task to put together either), so I will say enjoy the Spring, embrace the new life that appears and may the sun shine on you. Keep smiling.

 

Stop The World I Want To Get Off!!

Posted on 03/25/2018 by Admin under blog

What a crazy world we live in. Do what you think is right and others will say its wrong. Do something wrong and they jump on you from all sides. Me, I just like to go with the flow, but remember, if you cross me I am an vengeful opponent..

You have probably heard the saying “everything being equal” but when is it? Equality is a state of mind be it male/female salaries (very much in the news at the moment), law and order (special ‘celebrities’ come to mind), and poverty. One in 5 children in Aberdeenshire live in poverty, but Aberdeen (the so called oil city) has some of the highest paid jobs yet we still have people outwith Aberdeen about whom the assumption is made that they are well off. Not so, there are numerous foodbanks in the area and increasing in number. What kind of world do we live in where the divide between rich and poor is so diverse? Before we look to giving handouts to foreign countries we should be looking in our own back yards and sort our problems out.

Well, rant over. Better days are coming (so I’m told), the sun is shining, the birds are nesting and spring has sprung. I’m hoping to get out and about with both camera and drone, I’m sure there is lots for me to find (the extra exercise won’t do any harm either!) I might even take my Canon video camera out and have a go at filming. You watch, all the wildlife will disappear into dust the minute I turn the camcorder on. That’s usually the way. I get a lot of birds in my back garden but guaranteed, despite having the camera ready, as soon as I pick it up the birds fly off. Thinking about putting the camera on a tall tripod and set the focus for the most popular feeding spot and take a chance. It has occurred to me that it’s maybe the reflection of light off the lens that’s scaring them off. Unfortunately there’s not much I can do about that.

Well, that’s me once again. Stay happy, stay snappy and don’t let the b*****s get you down.


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