Pictures by Walter

A View With Every Picture


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Adventures with Susan – A Walk In The Park October 2005

As 2005 wound it way to 2006 our friendship was deepening.  Having discovered digital photography I always took a small camera into work with me.  On days that I walk to work I would stop and take photos of Sunrise, how the light changed the shape of trees and images which pleased me.  At this time I was using a simple point and shoot Nikon E7900 a 7 mega pixel camera that fitted into my pocket. In fact that little camera was responsible in re-awakening my interest in photography.  Looking back to 2005 images I rediscovered a set taken on the Wednesday 5th October 2005 during a lunchtime stroll along the river Almond (Now Almondale Park.   Looking at the images I realised that the landscape then was a lot different as were the amenities.  Under the  Livingston Development Corporation (LDC) the town was developed in stages.  The riverside was retained as natural as possible with an open air bandstand/Antitheater, Pitch & Putt course (Now the site of the Civic Centre). Walkways, seats placed alongside the river. In 2005 a lot of the sites were dilapidated and in need of restoration/replacement.

However, the walk along the river was a pleasant walk on a nice with plenty to see if one looked carefully.  I found to my pleasure that Susan like to listen to the birdsongs, and nature watch  We were slowly finding out that we did have a lot in common as well has having different interests from each other.

Being Autumn the foliage was autumnal in colour, gold, bronze and the birds were singing or even trilling their songs. Squirrels were dashing up and down trunks, scampering along branches looking for nuts etc to take to their store for the oncoming winter.  I found on these walks that Susan loved nature in all its forms,  she was perfectly happy to sit and just listen to the sounds that surrounded us.

During good weather days we would take many walks along side the river Almond and the many country parks surrounding Livingston over the 14 years we were together.  Our last trip was on the 14th June 2019 when we went to look at the changes made to the old weir at the road bridge on the B7015 Calder Road.  They had made changes to reduce the force of the water flow from the weir and creat salmon ladders and pools to allow salmon to get up river.  We had seen the Almond change from a dirty, frothy, contaminated river to a cleaner river that salmon had returned to.  That was just the latest change we had witnessed over the 14 years.

Link to the album of our walk on 5th October 2005


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Adventures with Susan – Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre October 2005

Perthshire hills

Looking back at pictures taken in 2005 it would appear to have been avery good year weather

Susan acting her age.

wise.  I am judging by the fact that on the 2nd of October 2015 Susan along with my young cousin Caitlynn headed off to Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre.  If I recall correctly it was known as Auchingarrich Wildlife Park then and the sky was blue and the sun shone.   I had found out about this hitherto unknown wee gem of a place in Undiscovered Scotland.  The park was nestled in the Perthshire Hills near Comrie.  It was a wee bit of an eye opener, in more ways than one.  As well as the park it was also a farm, a Bird of Prey Centre with indoor playing areas where kids of all ages can have fun.  I discovered then that Susan had a zest for life and refused to let decorum or other restrictions on how adults should behave stop her from releasing her “inner child” (see picture on left).  Caitlynn was surprised at first as was I.. shocking behavior in front of my young cousin  ;).  We headed to the cafe (which would always be our first port of call on any visit), to enjoy coffee and a bite to eat before we set off exploring.

Susan posing at Standing Stone

Outsider the cafe to the left as you leave is a small hillock with a standing stone on a small hillock. I forget how old it is, but it has been there since the year dot as we say.  I posed Susan next to the stone to proved scale, and as I suspect that many of use would do, Susan reached out and touched it (see image on right).  As she turned her back to the stone, I looked up with a look of horror on my face and indicated that the

Kookaburra

stone was falling…..   I got laldy from her – she discovered I had retained my service humour.  We did have a good laugh over that over the years.  It was here we both saw our first Kookaburra – the Australian King Fisher, funny it would be another 8 years before we say the British Kingfisher and that was on our trip to Bath via Stratford on Avon.   We had a right laugh at the sign pointing “This way for the Tartan Sheep”, we ignored as we were sure were were not tartan sheep or that gullible.    There are many exotic animals at the centre/park and all well looked after.  We wandered among geese, ducks, hairy heiland coo (that ate bananas as a treat), the outdoor play park where the kids had fun:

Susan on the ball, Caitlynn the catcher

Sited among the Perthshire Hills Auchingarrich provides good opportunity for landscape photography as well as wildlife (captive or otherwise).  What of our younger member Caitlynn?  Apart from attempting to keep Susan under control she was enjoying the experience apart from birds flying near her.  She told us that she had a fear of birds as did her mother.  However, she had no objections to walking through the Birds of Prey section as she was assured there would be no birds flying loose there.   As we wandered around the central arena Caitlynn spotted a small “Kestrel” it was being held by its handler.  She backed away from the bird which had fluttered as it was startled by some noise.  The handler placed the bird on its perch, amd went to reassure Caitlynn that the bird was more afraid of her the she of it.  Susan and I looked on as the handler slowly talked Caitlynn into approaching the bird, but not too near.  As the handler told of the life of the bird Caitlynn began to relax and ask questions about the birds in general.  After a while the handler asked Caitlynn if she would like to have the bird on her hand?  Hmm, bad idea I though as I had experienced the effects of her phobia when a wee budgie escaped from the cage at home.  To my surprise and to her credit Caitlynn did indeed hold allow the bird to perch on her hand, but as the picture shows she was still wary of it.  Susan and I were so proud of my young cousin that day.  Mind you she went with Susan to the cafe as I took a few shots of a  falcon in a flying display.  In all we had a great day out and as the weather was beginning to change we decided to head home after we had some tea of course.  As we left the cafe and headed for the car I took one last picture.

A promise for the Future

 

 

 


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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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Birds of a Feather….

I make no bones about it I can sit for hours watching common garden birds at a feeder.  I have been known to sit and just watch the Blue Tits, Great Tits and Chaffinch flying into and out of the various feeders without taking a picture.  Mind you that  could not be said at a recent visit to Bellymack Hill Farm – AKA – Red Kite Feeding Station on Sunday 10th April.  I took over 570 images that day.  I was using a Nikon D7100 and a Sigma 150-500 Zoom:

20160410-_DSC4415

Think I’ll have to go again as I’m still not that happy getting birds in flight that and the fact that the flying display by these birds is mesmerising to say the least.  20160410-_DSC4523However I do have a pc set up near my living room window  and keep a camera near to had to capture the garden birds that visit my feeders or in the case of the Starlings – raid my ground feeders of meal worms.  Today I managed to get a shot of a starling showing the hidden colours of the bird.  Some people that the starling is a dull black. I did an extra processing step to bring out the details a bit better, picture on left was teh normal edit the picture on right the enhanced edit:

StarlingBA