Pictures by Walter

A View With Every Picture


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20170423 – Dawyck Botanic Garden

We Talk to The Trees

After our visit to the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh we travelled to Stobo and Dawyck Botanic Garden.  As their web site states:

“Dawyck is truly one of the world’s finest arboreta. Seasonal displays of abundant exotic and native plants provide a breathtaking backdrop of colour throughout the year. The Garden also offers an award-winning visitor centre.”

Visit Scotland has this to say on its site “Dawyck Botanic Garden is home to one of Scotland’s finest tree collections including some of Britain’s oldest and tallest trees.  The 65-acre five star Garden offers woodland and burnside walks and is renowned for its seasonal displays of snowdrops, bluebells, Himalayan poppies, rhododendrons, azaleas and autumn colour”.

With that in mind we went on the David Douglas trail:

Dawyck House is not part of the Garden and is not open to the public

Technical details:  Nikon D7100,  f6.3, Tamron 18-270 mm Zoom @ 140 mm,  Shutter 1/320th sec ISO 200

Wood carving of David Douglas looking towards a “Douglas Fir”

Technical details:  Nikon D7100,  f11, Tamron 18-270 mm Zoom @18 mm,  Shutter 1/200th sec ISO 200

 

Technical details:  Nikon D7100,  f5.6, Tamron 18-270 mm Zoom @ 92 mm,  Shutter 1/1600th sec ISO 200

A host of….

Technical details:  Nikon D7100,  f16, Tamron 18-270 mm Zoom @ 110 mm,  Shutter 1/160th sec ISO 200

 

Gallery

 


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20170402 – Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Spring  Sprung – Flowers Bloomed

I like photography and try various aspects of the hobby.  I’m better at some aspects than others.  I’m not a people photographer, street photographer I am not, I prefer landscapes, animals, birds and plants.  We visit the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh at least twice a year.  My one problem is I forget the name of the plants.

Technical details:  Nikon D7100,  f6.3, Tamron 18-270 mm Zoom @ 140 mm,  Shutter 1/320th sec ISO 200

Technical details:  Nikon D7100,  f8, Tamron 18-270 mm Zoom @ 170 mm,  Shutter 1/400th sec ISO 200

 

Technical details:  Nikon D7100,  f8, Tamron 18-270 mm Zoom @ 170 mm,  Shutter 1/400th sec ISO 200

Technical details:  Nikon D7100,  f8, Tamron 18-270 mm Zoom @ 270 mm,  Shutter 1/400th sec ISO 200

 

Gallery

 


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20170313 – Zoo Visit

Zoo Visit

We hoped to catch a glimpse of the Bears, Fishing Cat and of course Lions

On our visit to Five Sisters Zoo in January  we enjoyed looking at the 4 lions enjoying the sun (Sun Cats) as well as the Lemurs and meerkats.  On this visit we hoped to see the bears as they came out of their winter hibernation and we were in luck.  The challenge of zoo photography is to attempt to get natural shots without including any signs of cages/fence etc.  Not easy by any means.  However, I do enjoy the challenge and am very pleased when I get the shot right.

African Grey Parrot

 

African Grey Parrot: taken through glass.

 

Technical details:  Pentax K-1 (full Frame), f6.3, , Sigma 18-270 mm Zoom @ 58mm, Shutter 1/125th sec ISO 200

 

 

Brown Bear – one of three rescued bears

 

 

 

 

 

Brown Bear… Taken though Double Link Fences.

Technical details:  Pentax K-1 (full Frame), f6.3, , Sigma 150-500 mm Zoom @ 500mm, Shutter 1/500th sec ISO 800

 

Ex Circus Lion

 

 

 

 

 

Let Sleeping Cats Lie….

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 150-500mm Zoom Lens set at 400mm, f6.3 ISO 400 shutter 1/500th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

 

Artic Wolf

 

Artic Wolf – Howling Time

As we walked around the zoo we heard the wolf howl – one of the wolves was in fine vocal voice that day.

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 150-500mm Zoom Lens set at 190mm, f6.3 ISO 200 shutter 1/200th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

 

 

Eurasian Lynx

Eurasian Lynx

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 150-500mm Zoom Lens set at 500mm  f6.3 ISO 1600 shutter 1/400th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 150-500mm Zoom Lens set at 500mm  f6.3 ISO 1600 shutter 1/400th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

Fishing Cat

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 150-500mm Zoom Lens set at 500mm  f6.3 ISO 1600 shutter 1/400th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

Gallery

 


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20170212 – Feeding Our Souls

Feeding Our Souls

I’ve mentioned in my previous blogs that Susan has a love of the mountains.  She is an ex hill walker and has climbed various Munros, Corbetts etc.  Me.. I’m strictly sea level.  Susan was getting me to do some hill walking before her bout with cancer.  I know she misses her walks in the Pentland Hills (not far from where we live).  I can feel when her spirits begin to dip and all I have to say is Road Trip Glencoe.  Before I know it she has grabbed her boots, camera gear etc before I get my camera gear and car keys.  Funny for a lass from Manchester she has a deep love of Scotland’s people and countryside.  I uttered those fatal words on Sunday 12 February 2017 and zoom.. we were away.  Dependent on time of year, and weather of course, we have our favourite stopping off places when we do this drive but more of that later.  However, I’m going to digress here – the term Feeding The Soul came from Susan herself and was the tile of her blog. She let her blog lapse in 2012 but recommenced in 2014 with a blog title “Don’t Stop Believing” in September 2014.  A year later she was fighting a bigger battle and she did not stop believing.

Back to our feeding the soul trip:

Loch Lubnaig 3rd January 2015

 

Loch Lubnaig is one of our stopping places and at the first car park going north.  The loch is usually so still here it gives a mirror reflection (see image taken on right). Alas it was not so on this trip.  Our next stop is at the Golden Larches Cafe for a very welcome cup of coffee before our next regular stop Loch Tulla Viewpoint.  However, on this trip we stopped south of  Bridge of Orchy to photograph the Horseshoe Curve Viaduct near Auch.

Technical details:  Nikon D5300, Nikon 18-200 mm Zoom @ 22mm, f16, Shutter 1/5 sec ISO 100

 

 

Horseshoe Curve Viaduct

 

The Horseshoe curve… North of Tyndrum, South of Bridge of Orchy.

The railway builders hadn’t the money for a viaduct across the mouth of a broad valley. The result is the famous ‘horseshoe curve’, where the line enters, circles & leaves the glen at the foot of Beinn Dorain. We have crossed it on the train trip to Fort William.  Susan and her friend Debbie attempted to walk to Bridge of Orchy from Tyndrum but ran out of time.

Technical details:  Pentax K-1 (full Frame), Sigma 18-270 mm Zoom @ 29mm, f7.1, Shutter 1/320th sec ISO 200

Loch Tulla Viewpoint (A82)

On leaving Bridge of Orchy the A82 crosses over a small river by means of a single span steel bridge – which I have always taken as the start of a long climb with horseshoe bends raising to Rannoch Moor.  At the end of the first bend there sits a large car park with views of Loch Tulla and surrounding area.  During Summer and good weather it is a popular stopping place, especially with tourist busses.

 

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 43mm, f9 ISO 200 shutter 1/500th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

Lochan na h-Achlaise

Lochan na h-Achlaise and Loch Ba are separated by the A82 road to Fort William. The lone trees and rocks with snow-capped peaks in the distance create one of the most atmospheric landscapes in Scotland.

Lochan na h-Achlaise

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 80mm f9 ISO 200 shutter 1/320th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

 

 

The Great Shepard

Buachaille Etive Mor

I suspect that this may be one of the most photographed Munro in Scotland and Walkhighlands appear to agree “Buachaille Etive Mor is one of the best known and loved of all the Munro peaks. The epic view of the mountain from the main A82 road makes it appear quite unassailable and is one of the most photographed sites and sights in Scotland.  I also think it would be very hard to get a picture that has not been done before.

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 29mm  f7.1 ISO 200 shutter 1/120th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

 

Feeding Her Soul…

Susan Feeding Her Soul

Doing this catch up blog reminds me we are overdue for another visit to Glencoe:)

 

Gallery

The road goes on.. To Loch Etive

 


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20170202 – Museum Designs

Visit to National Museum of Scotland (AKA Chambers Street Museum), Edinburgh

The museum recently underwent an internal refurbishment of galleries replacing and organising exhibits.  Susan was keen to see the new Art & Designs Galleries in particular the Fashion & Style Gallery.  Her desire to visit the Styles and Fashion Gallery arose out of her voluntary work with SCDA (Scottish Community Drama Association) clubs where she costumed shows and acted in plays. I liked the challenge of taking pictures in the museum using just their or natural light and used it to test out my Pentax K-1.  Kit used Pentax K-1, Sigma 18-270 Zoom.

Ship in a Glass:

 

I do have filters but rarely use them.  As I said I like the challenge of taking a picture in the museum. That challenge is to get  good image, clear and details on point of interest yet retain some reflections. I’m content to please myself, I’m not selling my images, my photography is for me.  Of course I’m happy if other enjoy the result as well.  The image is of an engineer’s model of the Trans-Atlantic Communication Cable laying ship in a glass case surrounded by numerous lights and reflections.

 

Technical details:  Pentax K-1 (full Frame), Sigma 18-270 mm Zoom @ 29mm, f3.5, Shutter 1/40th Sec ISO 3200

 Fashion and Style:

Sublime to !

 

Fashion and Style, not something I take much interest in especially in clothing. Susan keeps telling me I should. 🙂  Anyway our visit to the museum was to let her have a good wander around the refurbished gallery.  I, as usual, rush through stopping to take the occasional picture.  The image to the right was taken from the 3rd floor gallery looking down and gives an impression of the range covered by this exhibit.

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 35mm, f4 ISO 3200 shutter 1/30th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

A Fine Gold Hat

Specially made for a pop star (I believe)

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 58mm f4.5 ISO 3200 shutter 1/25th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

 

 

Walk in These Shoes

 

 

I do not need to or want to walk in any shoes like this.  However, to the “In Crowd” they would be a must.

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 68mm f4.5 ISO 3200 shutter 1/50th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

 

A Dress for the Royal Court

 

Susan related a tale of events caused by such a dress in a play our friend Angela was acting in.  Costuming was fine, alas the set doors were not wide enough.  Hmm I was under the impression that the ladies just sort of did a sideways glide through narrow doors.  18th Century Court Dress.

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 29mm f3.5 ISO 3200 shutter 1/40th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

Over the years we have spent many an hour in the museum, going to the free and chargeable exhibitions.  Eventually we took out joint membership and have made good use of our membership. It is a perfect way to while away a wet day, get lost in the past and if you are our generation become shocked at what was once our goods and chattels but are now historical artefacts.

 

 

Gallery

 


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20170201 – Butterflies in Winter

Visit to Butterfly World, Edinburgh

What better place to visit on a cold February day than Butterfly World at Dobbies, Lasswade.  Preparations on protecting the camera to the sudden temp change. A search on The net gave this advice:

“Condensation occurs when moving from a cold area into an area with warm moist air as the cold lens elements cool the air causing moisture to precipitate out. As stated previously, good practice is to put the camera and lens in a sealed plastic bag before moving from the cold area. This traps dry air around the lens and gives the glass time to warm up. Do not seal the camera in a plastic bag when moving from a warm area into the cold! As the warm moist air inside the bag will start to condense as the camera cools.”

The atmosphere in Butterfly world is hot and humid so give your camera time to adjust, especially if you visit in winter.  I would also suggest that you pre-fit then lens of your choice and stick to it for the whole session.  Changing lenses in hot, humid temperatures is not recommend .

Hot, Humid Stroll:

Although I purchase a guide to aid identification of butterflies/moths it usually gets lost.  No change there then 🙂 Camera used was Nikon D7100 fitted with Sigma 18-270 Zoom.

Technical details – Nikon D7100 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 150mm f6 ISO 250 shutter 1/125th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

Technical details – Nikon D7100 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 270mm f6.3 ISO 800 shutter 1/100th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

It is not just butterflies/moths one can see – there are lizards and insects

Snakes Alive

 

Technical details – Nikon D7100 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 270mm f6.3 ISO 250 shutter 1/13th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

Gallery

 


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20170120 – Road Trip Killin

Visit to Killin

We usually visit Killin at least twice a year January and May.  It is a historic village and the ancient burial ground of  Clan McNab  is accessed via the old Killin Bridge.  Wikipedia has this to say about the village “The west end of the village is magnificently sited around the scenic Falls of Dochart, the main street leading down towards the Loch at the confluence of the rivers Dochart and Lochay. The falls are crossed by a narrow, multi-arched stone bridge carrying the main A827 road into Killin.”  The charm of Killin is the villagers and their community spirit.  As I said we go at least twice a year, January to see their pantomime and May to support the Killin Komedy Festival.  This trip was also a proving trip for my recent acquisition a new Pentax K-1 full frame DSLR.

Loch Lubnaig

Our route takes us past Loch Lubnaig – a very picturesque loch.  The loch has a remarkable mirror reflection, provide the conditions are right.  It is one of our regular stops:

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 43mm f10 ISO 100 shutter 1/13th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

Susan – My Partner

I like this picture as it shows Susan’s remarkable outlook at life.  Hard to believe she is recovering from a serious fight with cancer and at the time of this picture was still waiting the all clear. ( Which she got later in the year)

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 80mm f10 ISO 3200 shutter 1/125th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

Falls of Dochart

I suspect one of the most photographed water falls. I have several pictures of the falls in various states this was a first as I managed to cross to teh centre without getting my shoes wet!  The main channel flow was that abated.

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 29mm f9 ISO 3200 shutter 1/40th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

Gallery

 


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20170104 – Sun Cats

Visit to Five Sisters Zoo

A New Year dawned and we felt enlivened.  The long slog from 2015 to the end of 2016 was over and the news at the end of 2016 was optimistic.  I am making a few changes to the format of this blog.  No long-winded text, just 1 or 2 images with comment and a link to the album on Flickr.  I’m not touting for business so I select the picture(s) that pleased me or/and Susan.  I would welcome feedback – provided it is constructive and not abusive.

Two images from our visit to Five Sisters Zoo, Polbeth, West Lothian on the 4th January 2017.  The sun was shining and a bright future beckoned so what better way to celebrate than visit the ex-circus lions at the Zoo.  It is often hit or miss when one goes to the zoo, in all likeliness the animal you wish to photograph fail to show, this time the four lions were out on their hill.  I had decided not to lug round all my camera lenses (mistake) and opted to use my Pentax K-50 with fitted with a Sigma 18-270 mm zoom.

The Sun Cat

Technical details – Pentax K-50 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 210mm f5.6 ISO 400 shutter 1/250th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

Kings of the Hill

Technical details – Pentax K-50 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 210mm f5 ISO 100 shutter 1/200th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

Gallery

Sun Worshiper

 


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Image Manipulation!

Image manipulation causes quite a “stushie”, “stooshie” as we say in Scotland. (Stushie/stooshie = tizzy, fuss, much ado about…).  Images on FB have been labelled (incorrectly) as being “photoshopped” as if that was a heinous offence.  Adobe Photoshop is the undisputed champion for image manipulation, in fact skilled users can create a photographic image with a photograph being taken.  Without doubt Photoshop is powerful, complex and the bees knees for image manipulation.  I do have Photoshop CC s part of the Adobe package, but I do not use it.  Why you ask? (Okay so you may not ask 🙂 ).  I use Adobe Lightroom with Google Nik collection add-in. Lightroom is the digital equivalent of the old chemical “Dark Room”.  I shoot in RAW format ,despite the fact that the modern DSLR creates a very acceptable JPG image, and use Lightroom to adjust the RAW (digtal negative) to produce the finished JPG export via Tif (used for printing).  I have installed the excellent Nik software plug-in into Lighroom so I am able to do the extra tweaks to the image to bring out the details, colours and contrast from the original image.  The original image of “Bath Time for Junior”, taken with a Nikon D5300 fitted with a Sigma 150-500 (1:5-6.3) zoom lens and taken through the double glazed window in my living-room.  ISO: 640, f/6.3, 1/200 sec at 500 mm.  Camera was set up for RAW and for neutral image colour.  Image below is a straight non processed of the RAW file from Lightroom.
20160606-_DSC4562

I started in Development mode in Lightroom I selected: enable profile correction; remove chromatic aberration; constrain crop.  In basic mode (development) I reduced highlights to -74. At this stage I opted to edit in Colour Effex 4 (Nik plug in).  I used three presets and tweaked as required, Extract detail ( minimum), Pro Contrast (Dynamic Contrast – corrects colour cast and contrast), finally Darken lighten centre.  This resulted in the finished image below:

20160606-_DSC4562-Edit

No cloning, no removing or adding details simple tweaks to bring out what was in the original image.  Yes I do image manipulation, no I do not photoshop I have no need to  – I use Lightroom.