Pictures by Walter

A View With Every Picture


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Adventures with Susan Part 3B – Deep Seaworld (2005)

As our ramble around Kinross Gardens was a bit too quick and the day was sunny we decided to spend a little time in a cooler place.  After a short discussion we headed for  North Queensferry and Deep Seaworld as Caitlynn and, if truth be known, Susan wanted to walk under the sharks.  So we headed back south and entered the undersea world.

Walter walking under the sharks at Deep SeaWorld

I am saddened to state I have very little memory of the visit, I know I was there and took pictures in very trying conditions.  Susan took a few, one of which is me walking under the sea tunnel with camera glued to eye as I attempted to take pictures.

I do wish I had more memory of the visit and I’m positive we did go back on another day. I do know Caitlynn and Susan were really excited, no surprise there with Caitlynn, but Susan displayed the joy and wonder she felt so openly in her face.  I came to know that look as so often she showed it on our outings, sometimes the simplest thing would light up her face.

One thing – we found Nemo before he was officially lost, as the picture below reveals: (click on image to see album of visit)

Nemo Found

In all we had a good day visiting Kinross House Gardens and Deep SeaWorld.


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Adventures with Susan Part 3a- Kinross House Gardens

Susan, Catelynn and Debbie

Having enjoyed our inauguration adventure on The jacobite we looked forward to our next adventure which turned out to be in two parts.

On this adventure we had the company of my cousin Debbie and her daughter Caitlynn.  I have heard that the days remembered always appear to have been warm and sunny, all I can say is that 7th August 2005 was very hot and sunny.    Our first stop was Kinross House to wander round the formal gardens. I had discovered the gardens some time previously and told Susan about them.  No entry to the house, just the gardens and it was an honesty box system.   I understand that the house and gardens were sold in 2012 and one can no longer visit the gardens.

As you may have noticed Susan had her camera with her and  looking at her archives I found some pictures she took of the day:

Susan was a good photographer but she really enjoyed doing videos.  However she would always take a few shots – but tended to use mine in preference to hers own.

I particularly like this one of my young cousin Caitlynn that she took:

If it is true that one can no longer walk around the garden it is a sad loss. The history of the gardens was interesting as was the layout.  From the garden you could see across Loch Leven to the ruins of Loch Leven Castle

Ruins of Loch Leven Castle

From Wikipedia:

Loch Leven Castle is a ruined castle on an island in Loch Leven, in the Perth and Kinross local authority area of Scotland. Possibly built around 1300, the castle was the location of military action during the Wars of Scottish Independence (1296–1357). In the latter part of the 14th century, the castle was granted by his uncle to William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas, and remained in Douglases’ hands for the next 300 years. Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned here in 1567–68, and forced to abdicate as queen, before escaping with the help of her gaoler‘s family. In 1588, the Queen’s gaoler inherited the title Earl of Morton, and moved away from the castle. It was bought, in 1675, by Sir William Bruce, who used the castle as a focal point in his garden; it was never again used as a residence.

Today, the remains of the castle are protected as a scheduled monument in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.[1] Loch Leven Castle is accessible in summer by the public via a ferry.

Click on image to see Album.


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Adventures with Susan – The Jacobite Trip (2005)

Ex-LNER K1 – 62005 “Lord of the Isles”

2005 was a sad year for Susan as her mum had passed away on 25th July.  I Had not been aware of that fact until she returned to work.  During one of our lunch break walks we had touched upon taking a trip together a day out so to speak.  Quite how we decided upon a trip on The Jacobite I am not certain.  Susan had taken her grandkids to see Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter 2) and the segment with crossing Glenfinnan Viaduct had stirred a desire to cross by train.  We agreed to to take a chance and head up to Fort William and see if we could get a ticket.  Our first on many adventures together was on.

Loch Tulla Viewpoint

Loch Tulla Viewpoint and Black Mount

It is said (but not by whom) that everyone experiences a “Perfect Day” once in their life.. Sunday the 31st July 2005 was such a day.  We set off from Livingston at 6:00 am it was a clear day with nary a cloud in the sky.  It takes 3 hours + to get to Fort William allowing for photo stops on the way.  Susan was in good spirits as we set off heading for what would be our usual route to Glencoe.  We stopped at the Loch Tulloch Viewpoint – surprisingly clear of tourists.  I was struck with the cloud formation above the Black Mount as it gave the impression (to me at least) a simmering volcano.  At 8:30 the morning was

Buachaille Etive Mòr

already warm and the day held a lot of promise.  As this was our first trip together, on what would become a regular outing (Glencoe), I did not stop at the layby near Buachaille Etive Mòr as I was not aware of the significance of her to Susan at that time.  However, Susan did get one on the way back. We arrived in plenty of time to be first in line for a ticket (not guaranteed – we learnt from that to always book ahead.)  We were in high spirits, like excited school kids on their first outing.  Looking back, and I may be seeing through rose tinted glasses (makes a change from looking through ones with smears), we were relaxed in each other’s company.  Susan was smiling a lot as she pointed out Ben Nevis and relating her climb with Bob up the mountain.  I was twittering about the history of the line.   At 09:50 we were offered two tickets (Return) and boarded “The Jacobite” for our adventure through the mountains, along the lochs, gullies. cuttings heading to Mallaig behind a living breathing dragon.. oops sorry got carried away with a memory there.

We did a there and back again trip.  Have enjoyed ourselves  exploring Mallaig ie finding an eating place , walking along the harbour and general chit-chat we found we had many things in common as well as many differences, somehow there must have been residual magic from the HP film as we planned our next adventure together.

Album: Click here to see album

My final photo of that trip shows a Susan deep in thought with her reflection on the carriage window.  I would take many pictures of Susan on our adventures and with the Intrepids but this remains special  as I said everyone has at least one perfect day mine went on for 14 years.

Susan Wales Memories

Video


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Adventures with Susan – Beginnings

Susan Wales

Susan Ann Wales 2005

I first met Susan Wales near the start of my Civilian life.  Like all I had a childhood, then reality dawned and childhood ended I began to earn a living, still at home.  I started as a delivery lad for local co-op. then got a Job as messenger at British Rail Hope Street office, thence Signalbox lad at Glasgow Central Signal Box, Trainee Signalman, Porter at Williamswood, finally Passenger Guard (I had just turned 18) at Central Station.  I stayed with British Rail for 3 years then enlisted in the Royal Air Force at the age of 21.  I re-entered civilian life in 1993 and had 3 jobs before I was became temporary maternity cover for Assistant Licensing Officer at West Lothian Council in 1997.  It was there I first met Susan. We chatted as work colleagues do.  She was at that time married to Bob Wales.  Susan was a Legal Assistant, tasked with processing traffic orders and looking after the legal library.   If I recall correctly Bob passed away in December 2003.  Susan then persuaded her mom, Mabel, to move from Manchester and live with her.  During this interlude Susan and I would chat as colleagues and meet at lunch

Bruce Monument – 1

with other friends and colleagues.

Among my many interests was photography, but I was never happy with film.  I could see the picture but no matter what I did it never transcribed to film.  I was always disappointed with the commercial processing, but I had learnt a painful lesson whilst serving at RAF Gan,  photographic chemicals and I do not mix.  Alas my interest waned and eventually died away. 1982 whilst stationed at RAF Stanbridge I became interested in the new fangled toy of the year the personal computer, a love affair which lasts to this day.  Two changes occured in 2005. The first was a spur of the moment purchase of a digital camera a Nikon E2000.  I still have it. My love of photography was re-ignited.  Combined with computer software I could at last get the images I saw and print them myself.  My favourite make of SLR was Pentax so I purchased a Pentax *isDS Digital Single Lens Reflex and began the learning curve of shooting in digital raw and “Developing” on digital software to create my final image.  My first ever digital image was taken on 2nd January 2005 at 15:04:24 at Bannockburn.  The bug had bitten, infected the blood and the brain was seduced…I have discovered digital photography which combined with computer software gave me control over my image processing.

Susan - Glencoe- Buachaille Etive Mòr

Susan on her last visit to Buachaille Etive Mòr

In fact it was photography that really brought Susan and I together.  When I left the RAF I lived with my mother, I had been given a compassionate posting after the death of my father owing to the fcat my mother was elderly and disabled.  This in effect killed any further promotion through the ranks.  As I stated earlier I retired from the RAF in 1993 after 22 years service with the Rank of Corporal.  Hey  I got a pension so I was happy. During the spring – Autumn I would walk to work and had camera with me.  I would stop and photograph flowers, birds trees etc. I was getting used to my camera.  Susan was already an avid photographer with her own Pentax SLR.  She, Bob and one of Bob’s workmates would go up to Glencoe and climb/hill walk – her love of one mountain stemmed from those days – her beloved Buachaille Etive Mòr.

Little did I realise or indeed did Susan, our lunchtime walks and chats were drawing us into a relationship.  Our first adventure was just around the corner or was on track so to speak.

Our Colleagues in 2005

Our Colleagues

 

 

 


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A Winter’s Month – January 2010

Nikon D300s

A New Year, with two new photographic toys Santa had very kind left at Christmas. A New Nikon D300s with a Sigma 150-500 Zoom.  It had become apparent that I needed a larger zoom than the 28/300 for some of my animal shots at zoos.  Unfortunately (if I recall correctly) there were not many third party lens for Pentax fittings.  I was contemplating buying a Sigma 150-500 for Canon but a hint was dropped to forget that.  Christmas revealed why.

January 2010 (at least in West Lothian) started off with a lot, and I mean a lot of snow, along with a big freeze.  Yet the sun did shine – it shone but not a lot of warmth.  To test my new outfit I took my normal walk to my place of work getting to know the camera and lens.  This took me from Craigshill to Almondvale and the (then) new Civic Centre where |I was employed in Legal Services, West Lothian Council. Susan, Sid and I headed off to Linlithgow – which shuts down over the festive season, and had a walk around Linlithgow Loch to feed the birds.  It is a nice walk round the loch (see WalkHighlands) and popular, even on the 1st of January.  Being a loch there are lots of waders as well as gulls.  Most popular are the Mute Swans and Ducks (Mallard, Tufted Ducks etc.)  Regretfully we had to wait until we got home to have a warm soup – as I said Linlithgow closes down at Festive Season.

Where else would one test out the combination of large Zoom lens  and new camera – Edinburgh Zoo sprung to mind.  In a previous blog I mentioned that we were once members of the Society but no longer.  However the Zoo was the ideal place to test the outfit and I captured (to my mind) some great shots of Tigers, Lions etc.  I forgot to mention that Sid had purchased a Nikon D300s and Sigma 150-500 from Jessops in Edinburgh.  I thought he would have twigged and brought it with him to the zoo.  Silly man forgot them, mind you that was the last time he did so. Nowadays he carries the D90 and D300s with a small zoom and the 150-500.

I did not realise it at the time, but the year that started off so well would soon become the year from hell as far as my personal life went.  My mother lost her battle with cancer and soon after my partner was fighting for her life against pneumonia.   In all 2010 was a year of change and led to a bigger change in 2011.

Video/Slide show “A Winter’s Month”


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Wandering with a Pentax K200D – 2009

In 2008 I had two cameras – A Pentax K200d to act as a Second body to my K10D it eventually became my main camera of choice.  It was rated as a beginners camera but had weatherproofing.  However, by 2009 I owned 6 DSLRs.  I had bought a Canon EOS 50D, EOS 500D, Nikon D90, Nikon D300s.  I was spreading my wings testing the myth about which is the best camera.  Whilst I still retain the Pentax K10D, Canon 50D and 500D I no longer have the Pentax K200 or Nikon cameras.  I had fun that year taking 13,900 images, learning to cope with RAW files and Lightroom – having given up Photoshop as far too complex for my simple needs. The breakdown per camera is:

Pentax K10D – 4021 images, Pentax K200D – 2800, Canon 50D – 1974, Canon 500D – 1915, Nikon D90 – 1508 and the Nikon D300s – 571, a total of  12965 pictures the remaining 931 taken with unknown cameras. As you can see I preferred using the Pentax K10D closely followed by the  K200D.  The Canons came second and the Nikon last.   I still have not solved the which is best dilema as I use Pentax, Canon and Nikon for different tasks.

Anyway I digress 2009 I took the K200D on my travels around the UK as it was lighter then the K10 and a lot lighter than the Canon/Nikon. My Partner (Susan) and our fellow Intrepid Sid had fun traveling around Scotland, Down to York and looking through the images brought back the adventures.  My highlights were – Photographing inside St Giles Cathedral (actually the High Kirk of Edinburgh), Catching the moment the 1 o’Clock gun was fired, our trip to Inchcolm Island in the River Forth and my night shot of the Forth Bridge (rail bridge) at night from North Queensferry Harbour, at the time the bridge was undergoing a lengthy restoration and paint job – started in 2002 and finished in 2011.

I’ll leave you to enjoy (or not as the case may be) a short video of my wanderings with the Pentax K200D


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The Jacobite – A Memory from 2005

from Amazon for reference purpose)

During recent data housekeeping I came across a memory from July 2005.  Earlier that year I had bought my first ever Digital Single Reflex Camera (DSLR). It was a Pentax  *istDS, a 6 megapixel DSLR as a step up transition rom Pentax SLRs.  As a relatively new digital camera user I refrained from using RAW images.  on 31st July 2005 Susan (at the time a work college)  took a trip on one of the most scenic railway routes in Scotland.  Long before “Harry Potter” and flying Blue Ford Anglias the line from Fort William to Mallaig was famous as the “Fish Line”. Built to facilitate the transfer of the fish from the busy port of Mallaig to all points south.  In its

Ex-LNER K1 – 62005 “Lord of the Isles”

heyday in the 1960’s Mallaig could bost to be the busiest fishing port in Scotland.  However all that changed in the 1970s. Overfishing led to depleted stocks and a  four year ban on herring fishing was enforced.  The railway line was in constant threat of closure despite the importance of the new tourism industry.  In 1984 the then Scotrail introduced a steam hauled train from Fort William to Mallaig – which continues to this day as “The Jacobite” under private operator West Coast Railway. However, the whole route known as the West Highland Railway covers from Glasgow to Mallaig or Oban.  This was our first outing as a couple and we left Livingston by Car at 6 am a two hour drive to Fort William driving across Rannoch Moor, through Glencoe to Fort William.  If my memory is correct we had not booked a seat on this train, we learnt from that and have since always booked seats.  We were lucky as there was two seats available and we got on.  Mind you we spent most of the time on the outward journey standing the the space between the coaches, with me popping me head out with camera getting pictures of the scenery as we made our way to Mallaig.  My only disappoint was the fact that the engine, ex British Rail, 62005, K1 loco was travelling Tender First.  Still I would get shots on the return of the train crossing the Glenfinnan viaduct loco first. Travelling behind a steam hauled train adds to the adventure  – the scenery is always superb in good weather and travel by normal train is a lot cheaper than by steam hauled, but a lot less romantic.  I took 193 photos on that trip and relied on the camera to produce the results.  As I said at the beginning I rediscovered the images and edited them using Lightroom CC using the skills I have gained in 13 years.  I selected 39 images to make into a small photo video omitting 1 image, that of my companion on that day – she is now my partner and this is dedicated to her Susan – it was a perfect day to start our adventures together.