Monday 31 December 2012

End of the Roll

End of the roll of film.  Nikon D80
31st December 2012

As today is the last day of the year, I decided to have an 'end' theme, hence the end of the roll of film.

Good old 120 roll-film is useful as it has a paper backing with all the necessary writing on; 35mm is not quite so useful for the job.

The camera is a 1930's Zeiss Ikon Nettar 515/2; I must put another roll of film in it and use it for future blog posts :)   With a 9cm x 6cm negative size, the image resolution possible is a startling 60Mpixel colour image!

Happy New Year.

Sunday 30 December 2012

Starting to Crumble

First signs of the Rhubarb.  Nikon D7000
30th December 2012

The sun has been out very briefly in between deluges today.   I took the opportunity to clean out the chickens and to have a look around the garden while the not-often-seen yellow orb was almost visible in the sky.

I noticed that the Rhubarb has begun to awake from its Autumn slumber and is rapidly putting up some new shoots and leaves.

It looks like an early Spring Rhubarb crumble may be on the cards for supper!

Saturday 29 December 2012

Blustery Day

Long exposure of tree.  Nikon D7000
29th December 2012

Today has been very windy, wet and completely Pooh.

In tidying up the yellow room, I dug deep enough through the dumped contents of my old office to find my tripod again.

I thought I would try a long exposure to try and capture the motion of the trees at the bottom of the garden.   The framing is not ideal, but I thought it was best to keep the power lines in the image as they give a nice fixed 'sharp' part of the image to contrast with the motion.

Friday 28 December 2012

First Starlings

First Starlings.  Nikon D7000
28th December 2012

The number of Starlings has been increasing slowly over the last few weeks.  Last year we were lucky in that the vast clouds of birds roosted in the trees around the school field which are a fair distance away.

Unfortunately the birds are roosting in the trees at the back of the house at the moment, making for a very noisy dawn chorus and also starting to pepper the cars with Guano.

Hopefully the deluge of crud will be rewarded in a month or two by great displays of the flocks of birds weaving around in formation.

Fingers crossed they will be a good source of images for future posts :)

Thursday 27 December 2012

Slowly going cheesy

Cheese Plant.  Nikon D7000
27th December 2012

I had this cheese plant in my office at work for many years.   It is currently sat in the dining room awaiting a decision.

It faced the other way in my office so most of the leaves are now facing the wall.  There are lots of new leaves starting out however which suggests it may survive ok.

The leaves are interesting in that they get quite big before they start to split and divide up.   It may need quite a significant prune however which it may not like quite so much....

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Sprouts are not just for Christmas

Sprout Racing.  Nikon D7000
26th December 2012

After harvesting a set of wind-up sprouts from some Christmas crackers, sprout racing ensued.

A few were slow, but walked straight; others had a hankering to turn right all the time and went halfway down the field before heading back to the start line.

There were only really losers and cheats until a wind up Shaun the Sheep appeared, along with a manic Christmas pudding from last years crackers.

Again, none made it to the finish line unaided!

They did keep us rather amused for some time :)

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Turkey and Wrapping Paper

Turkey Devastation :)  Nikon D7000
25th December 2012

!!!! Its Christmas !!!!

We have spent Christmas at home this year and it has been about as relaxing as Christmas with three excited kids can be.

The turkey was sublime, which is good as there is plenty left for the rest of the week :)

The dog was not so sure about being buried in wrapping paper this morning, but after a slurp of leftover gravy with her tea, she has got back into the Christmas spirit.

Xena has Christmas wrapped up.  Nikon D7000

Monday 24 December 2012

Just Hanging Out

Stockings awaiting Santa.  Nikon D7000
24th December 2012

It is the eve before mayhem and the kids have hung out their Christmas stockings on the fireplace.

They have in general been quite good at times this year, so they may be in luck!

Merry Christmas.

Sunday 23 December 2012

Public Lighting

Light-up Snowman.   Nikon D7000
23rd December 2012

As Christmas Day approaches, more houses and gardens seem to be sprouting illuminated figures.

There are snowmen, Santa's and dodgy looking reindeer.

The electricity board must be rubbing their hands; a Christmas bonus after all.

Planning a Trump

Sprouts and Carrots ready for the big day.  Nikon D7000
22nd December 2012

Today I went shopping for fart fuel.   The sprouts look just the ticket.

Roll on the big day!

Not Quite the End of Time

Empty Office.  Fuji F11
21st December 2012

Although the Mayan's let their calendar run out today and some thought it may herald the end of time, for me today it marked the end of 17½ years at the university.

I finally finished clearing my office, ready for a new start with the new business in the new year.

I always thought it was a bit rich that the Mayan's should be predicting the demise of all humanity; they clearly missed their own demise coming afterall.

Descending Slowly

Santa in his chimney.  Nikon D7000
20th December 2012

The big day is approaching fast and Santa has made it a fair way down the chimney.   It is Alex's job to remove each day to let Santa down slowly.

It is tempting to change the order of the sticks though so he gets 'stuck' :)

Done Reading

Glasses.  Nikon D7000
19th December 2012

It is sad but as I have got older, I have had to admit defeat and now have to wear reading glasses (boo!)

I have two pairs; +1 for reading, and +3.5 for looking at the ground glass of the view cameras with.

I left the +1 sticker on this pair so that I could tell which glasses I had picked up.

I was made to peel the sticker off a few days ago as I was going to be wearing the glasses in public.

I have just realised why I left the sticker on as I accidentally put the +3.5's on and could not see my feet, so nearly fell over.  

Some nice pink framed glasses in Dame Edna style may be the solution to telling the difference ....

Water Water Water Meadow

North Meadow, Cricklade.  Fuji F11
18th December 2012

It has been a little damp recently.  This morning as I drove up to Sheffield, I passed through Cricklade and went past the North Meadow that had the Fritillaries in earlier this year.

It definitely shows why it is called a Water Meadow at the moment.

I just hope it means there will be a good display of flowers again come the Spring.

Winter Solargraph

Solargraph from Golden Syrup Tin.
17th December 2012

I wanted to make sure that I posted the solargraph from December on a day that we actually had some sun and so a line would be present.

Today (17th) was nice and sunny (leaving a trace almost at the very bottom of the set of lines), and the next time was the 21st itself!   As I had another picture planned for the 21st, I decided that today would be the day I posted the picture (it was actually extracted from the can on the 21st).

I angled the can a bit more upwards and across when compared to June's solargraph.  There are also a few very blank regions of this image as well where October should have been....


Red Kite near Lampeter.  Fuji F11
16th December 2012

Today while riding shotgun in the van, I managed to capture a picture of a Red Kite out of the window as we were on our way back from Lampeter.

Although it was not flying fast, it was plenty fast enough to make capturing a picture difficult!

Welsh Hills

Welsh Hills.  Fuji F11
15th December 2012

I realised that I have not posted many landscape photographs on my blog.

I am on a trip to Wales for the weekend, so thought it was an opportune time to start to rectify the imbalance.

Its all a load of baubles really

Christmas Tree.  Nikon D7000
14th December 2012

We have a real tree again this year and the kids had fun decorating it the other week.

We have kept it watered and so far, the needles seem to be holding well.   Hopefully it will last into January before the branches start to bend and dump all the baubles in amongst a heap of pine needles.

There is a lot to be said for fakery, but plastic trees are just not the same somehow.

The Advent of Choclolate

Advent Calendar.  Nikon D7000
13th December 2012

As the kids are just over halfway through their advent calendars now, Christmas must be getting close.

The advent calendars are good training in self restraint; if the rule was that they could not eat the chocolate until after their breakfast, I am sure one of the kids would have opened all the windows and devoured the lot by now.

Testing Testing, one two one two one two

Microphone in Low Key.  Nikon D7000
12th December 2012

It had to be done: as the date is 12/12/12.

The day was bitterly cold too but the freezing fog from overnight has lifted, leaving a fantastic hoar frost.

Frost.  Nikon D7000

Crescent Moon

Moon, Star and birds at dawn.  Nikon D7000
11th December 2012

Today started nice and clear and the crescent moon was still visible at dawn this morning.

Two birds flew across as I took the picture too, adding a few more points of interest.

Long Face

Pan Handle.  Nikon D7000
10th December 2012

Today I thought I would try to capture another slightly abstract image of an every day object.

I noticed that the handles on the pans are very 'face like', but with rather a long nose.

It was also a bit of practice in lighting; I used a brolly on the right and a white reflector on the left to give some highlights to help define the shape of the pan.

Revenge of the LEGO

Jar Jar Binks how we all wanted him.  Nikon D7000
9th December 2012

The first three Star Wars films made were great.  When they made the prequels however, the travesty of Jar Jar Binks was unleashed.

At least with the LEGO figures from Alex's LEGO advent calendar, we can create the scene that should have been :)

Stars and Smoke

Stars and Smoke.  Nikon D7000
8th December 2012

Tonight was clear and cold.  I remembered to put my tripod outside for a couple of hours to let it shrink, and then had a go with a few star photographs.

The orange street light at the bottom of the garden picked out the few remaining leaves on the apple tree and some chimney smoke in this picture; if you look at it large, there are some of the stars visible too.

I did not do any long timed pictures in the end; it was just too cold!

Friday 7 December 2012


Broken Arrows.  Fuji F11
7th December 2012

I had the chance to photograph a stack of broken arrows today.   The arrow shafts retreating into the distance is a real lesson in perspective.   It is also quite enlightening to see just how inventive folks have been over the years in designing different shapes of metal tips for arrows.


Shards of Ice.  Fuji F11
6th December 2012

The ice at the bottom of the field this morning was decidedly treacherous.   Someone had put their foot through and shards of ice were standing proud from the refreezing pools.

I was glad I remembered to wear my scarf.

Winter Fires

Coal Fire.  Nikon D7000
5th December 2012

It is cold tonight; cold enough to consider throwing coal on the fire and not just wood.

It is also partly as we have no wood cut either!

Winter cakes

Charlie's Cakes.  Fuji F11
4th December 2012

Charlie made some cakes today which had a very seasonal theme.

I could not resist a picture of them; the Robin looks rather jolly!

Two fingers for Santa

Santa finger nails.  Nikon D80
3rd December 2012

Liz decided to redo her nails again, but this time with a seasonal twist.

By putting two fingers together, Santa gets his hat put on.

He could have a different hat for 4 days of the week.

I bet he hopes he does not get to wear a green hat :(

Mince Pie Season

The first batch of mince pies this Winter.  Nikon D7000
2nd December 2012

You know when Christmas is approaching as the urge to consume mince pies becomes overwhelming :)

A few years ago, I spent many hours attempting to create a recipe for mincemeat which was low enough in sugar for me to eat.

Luckily I succeeded and for those who are also against the shop-bought stuff (which is often at least 50% sugar), the secret is:

Grated Apple                                               2lb 3oz
Chopped nuts                                               1lb 2oz
Oranges (juice and grated zest of each)          3
Lemons (juice and grated zest of each)           3
Currants                                                       8oz
Slutanas                                                        8oz
Raisins                                                          8oz
Suet                                                              9oz
Mixed Spice                                                  4 tsp
Ground Cinnamon                                         2 tsp
Ground Ginger                                              2 tsp

Start by placing the Currants, Slutanas and Raisins in a sieve and washing through with hot water until all the excess sugars are removed and the water runs clear (it can take a little while!)
Core and grate the apples (can leave skin on) using a coarse grater.
Grate the zest off the oranges and lemons using a fine grater and then juice them.
Place all in a big bowl and give it a really good mixing.

Leave the mixture in the bowl covered with a cloth for 12 hours to allow the spices and flavours to mingle; it takes some time for the orange and lemon juice to soak into all the other fruit and if you taste it now, it is quite sharp!

Cook in the oven at gas mark 1/2 (120 degrees C) for 3 hours, covered loosely with foil.

Allow to cool and then make a batch of mince pies from some of the mix, and freeze the rest; as there is very little free sugar in the recipe, the mincemeat will not stay preserved in jars like traditional recipes do.

In theory, the above quantities makes enough mincemeat for a winters worth of pies for us; however some years I have to make a second batch of mincemeat :)

Have fun!

Frozen Over

Frozen Pond.  Nikon D7000
1st December 2012

To usher in December, this morning the pond was completely frozen over.  It always fascinates me how the patterns form in the ice, and the added chaos of the leaves both frozen under it, and also stuck in the surface where they have fallen in.

I have not seen any birds trying out their skating skills yet, but I am sure it will be fun to watch :)

Sunrise and Chimneys

Morning sun lighting up Edinburgh's chimneys.  Fuji F11
30th November 2012

This morning I managed to catch dawn breaking and just starting to light up the chimneys of the city.   The contrast of the orange sunlight to the cold grey stone is fitting for how cold it actually feels this morning!

Big Wheel

Big Wheel at Edinburgh's Winter Fair.  Fuji F11

29th November 2012

Edinburgh's Winter Fair opened tonight.  There were fireworks and lots of crowds.

Some even ventured up onto the big wheel to get a good view of the city.

It was a bit cold for me to contemplate being suspended in a Gondola for quarter of an hour.

Shopping for Purple

Jenner's on Princes Street in Edinburgh.  Fuji F11
28th November 2012

Princess Street was lit up again tonight; and being rather spectacular in a stunning lilac shade was Jenner's, one of Edinburghs department stores.

The old architecture contrasts well against the building site which is the road next to it where they are still installing the cities tram lines....

Field of Glass

Glass roof of Waverley station in Edinburgh.  Fuji F11
27th November 2012

Tonight the glass roof of Waverley train station was lit up brightly.   It looked almost as if you could walk directly across from Edinburgh North Bridge to Princess Street in the distance.

Walking over may surprise the pigeons roosting underneath though.

Sea of Clouds

The Moon above a sea of clouds.  Fuji F11
26th November 2012

Today we flew to Edinburgh and as the sun headed down towards the horizon, it highlighted the tops of the clouds with the highest ones casting shadows across the sea of fluffiness.

It was raining on the poor sods underneath :)

Sunday 25 November 2012

Sweet Flowers

Stevia rebaudiana in Flower.  Nikon D80
25th November 2012

Over the last few days, our Stevia plant has decided to flower.

We have it indoors on the windowsill so it gets plenty of warmth and light.

It will be interesting to see if the flowers taste as sweet as the leaves do, although they are really tiny and it would take quite a few to fill a teaspoon!

Cracked Nuts, Cracked Teeth.

Walnuts.  Nikon D7000
24th November 2012

A good sign that Christmas is on its way is when the shops start to stock nuts again at reasonable prices.

I am sure there must be a knack to extracting Walnuts whole from their shell, but I rarely manage it.

What would be good is if a nut could be bred where its shell was day-glow orange and a very different colour to the nut inside.

That way, I can easily pick out the bits of shell before I try and bite down on them thinking they are nut.

Would make a good picture with day-glow nuts on the tree too.

Hansel and Gretel

Gingerbread House in the Hotel.  Fuji F11
23rd November 2012

In the centre of the revolving door at the hotel we have been staying in here in Oslo, they have had a display.

For the previous days of our stay, there was a dress on a tailors dummy in the centre of the door.  This morning we awoke to a Winter sight of a ginger bread house, complete with icing for snow and cotton wool for chimney smoke.

There were some children in the Hotel looking longingly at it, but I bet it would not last long if they could get the other side of the glass!

Ferry Lights

Ferry in Oslo Harbour.  Fuji F11
22nd November 2012

With Oslo being 60 degrees North, by the time we have finished work, it is seriously dark outside.

The wind has dropped today and the rain has almost stopped too, allowing the lights from the ferry to reflect across the water.

Rather pretty.

Yellow Umbrella

Oslo Royal Palace in the Rain.  Fuji F11
21st November 2012

We walked through Oslo city centre this evening and ended up at the Royal Palace.  The weather was a little colder than the UK, but the rain made it feel like home.

There were few people mad enough to go out in the cold and rain, but in typical style, just as I decided to take a picture and risk getting the camera wet, a lady walked through not just with an umbrella, but a yellow one.

Better make the most of it in the picture!


Floor of Oslo Airport.  Fuji F11
20th November 2012

Whilst walking around Oslo airport today, wondering exactly where I needed to be, I looked down and realised that I may not be alone in being lost.

To ask the question and then inlay the words into the floor suggests that getting lost in the airport may be a common event.   There were also many other phrases inlaid in Norwegian; they were probably the instructions for where I needed to go!

Monday 19 November 2012

Shepherds are Warning

Red sky at Dawn.  Nikon D7000
19th November 2012

Dawn this morning was a spectacular fiery red; I bet it had shepherds everywhere quaking in their boots with what was about to come in the next few days.

I just put it down to pollution and Rayleigh scattering myself.

Sunday 18 November 2012

Autumn Morning

Frosty Leaves.  Nikon D80
18th November 2012

Today started with a good white covering of frost. The fallen apple leaves looked quite spectacular with their icy decorations.

I just need to cut some wood now so that I can light the fire this evening!

Saturday 17 November 2012


Alex distorted in a bowl.  Fuji F11
17th November 2012

The coffee machine has been dying over the last few days.  It has done well as we have had it 9 years.   We managed to find another one while shopping today; Alex also managed to find some nice shiny mixing bowls on display too.

At least it kept him amused for a while!

Triangles part 3: Christmas is coming

Toblerone.  Nikon D7000
16th November 2012

I found some more triangles today.

Although one piece is a lifetime's supply for me; these triangles are likely to be quite transient.

Order and Disorder

Prototype circuit.  Nikon D7000
15th November 2012

I have been looking to find examples of patterns recently and noticed the nice structured order of the rows and columns of the connection points on my prototyping board.

The board structure contrasts to the disordered scramble of wiring of the components that are all plugged in.

Just a shame that the software I have written and  programmed in the chip is more of a disordered state than nicely ordered too!

Triangles part 2: Sideshow Bob

Bob the apple after two weeks.  Nikon D7000
14th November 2012

I have been conducting an experiment where I have left Bob the apple to slowly develop a 'character'.    It is two weeks now since I carved him and he is growing fur and developing a distinct aroma.

I am not sure if he would be best in a sideshow, or could audition for the role of Uncle Fester.

Time for a journey to the compost bin....