Settings Sorted – 3 August 2015

I went out today to get some photos in the afternoon. The morning was spent painting in my case and that mysterious action “tidying up” by Scamp. I got one painting completed and one sketch done. Scamp got DSC_3180- blog--215some ‘tidying up’ done, and yes, I did notice the difference. The photographs today were better than yesterday, much better. The ISO was higher, but at least the aperture and the shutter speed were what I had programmed. No deer today, but the dragonflies were out in force as were DSC_3154- blog--215the damsels and some hover flies. All in all, a successful foray into the jungles of St Mo’s. Dancing class at night and knackered after it.


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It’s all about settings – 2 August 2015

DSC_3123- blog--214A couple of days ago I was ranting about timing. Today I’d ranting about settings. The first thing I did when I got up this morning, after getting breakfast for Scamp and before getting my own, was to fry off the ox tail that was to be my dinner tonight. Once that was done and in the slow cooker, I chopped up and fried off the veg and covered the meat with it. Set DSC_3128- blog--214it to cook for 7 hours and then had my breakfast. It was a dull day, but not really raining, just dull. What’s become summer in Scotland this year. It’s not all that cold, just boringly dull. No texture in the sky and no directional light to give form to anything. Very disappointing for all the poor kids and teachers on holiday. Even worse for the parents of those kids who need to devise some form of entertainment for them. However, we shouldn’t complain. That’s what we signed up for when we chose to live (or stay living) in Scotland. We get the scenery, but not the weather.

After the meat had been cooking for about about five hours, I decided to decant it into a cast iron Le Creuset casserole pot and continue to cook it in the oven as we were going out later and the residual heat from the cast iron would keep it cooking nicely. Set the gas to 5 and went for a walk to St Mo’s with the Nikon and the Tamron lens. Got what looked like a good shot of a common blue damselfly and then a dragonfly posed on top of a knapweed flower. Just after that I startled a young deer and added that to my tally. Light was low, but I was still getting 1/250th with a decent ISO reading.

DSC_3136- blog--214Came home and switched off the oven and got ready to go out dancing. I’d deal with the photos when I got back. Came home and found that the meat was dried out and the veg frazzled. Gas mark 5 was not the right setting. Ox tail in the bin. So it was potatoes, cabbage and bacon for dinner – not a bad meal. Checked the photos and discovered why I was getting such a good shutter speed and ISO rating on such a dull day. The aperture was set wide open. Instead of my usual setting of Manual, I had the camera set to Program. Out of the 30 odd shots I managed to get about 8 ones that could be worked on and further reduced that to 4 that were worthwhile posting.

It IS all about the light, but the settings play a big part too, both in cooking or in photography.

Sitting in the sun (without a raincoat) – 14 July 2015

The day started like any other Scottish summer day with drizzle then heavier rain. It didn’t matter to me because I was waiting in for Yodel to deliver a parcel for Scamp. I used the time wisely by starting another sketch from the Italy cruise. One day I will be confident enough to sketch or paint from life rather than from photos, but not today. Watercolour in the rain? I don’t think so. I wasn’t very confident about Yodel, having had a parcel just before Christmas, simply disappear and have to her replaced. However, the parcel did arrive just after midday.

DSC_2903- blog--195.jpgSince the rain had stopped and the sun had come out, Scamp decided to cut the grass. After that she wanted the gladioli to be tied up to prevent them being blown down and broken. This was my task. While doing it and getting cut to pieces on the roses that border the gladioli, I found a stray damselfly on the grass. I don’t think Scamp had mowed it with the grass, but the beastie wasn’t looking at its best. I carefully lifted it up and put it on a rosebud, hoping that it would find some aphids for lunch, but all the aphids on the roses were dead. The damselfly clung on to the rosebud and as far as I know, it’s still there.

DSC_2908- blog--195.jpgAfter the gardening, we got out the lounger (for Scamp) and the camp chair (for me) and we both decided it was Pimms O’ Clock, and had a little refreshment reading and sitting in the sun. I sat for a very pleasant hour or so before I got itchy feet and went for a safari in St Mo’s. I got a few shots of Mr Grey, my favourite is here. I also was lucky enough to get some shots of a dragonfly in the classic dragonflyDSC_2922- blog--195.jpg pose with wings out. There were a few damselflies out, but not as many as in the past few weeks. As July wears on, it’s usual to have a decrease in the numbers of damsels and an increase in the population of dragons. I don’t know if it will be the same this year with our cold summer. We can only hope that today is the start of some warmer weather.

A Dragonfly Saturday – 4 July 2015

The thunderstorms through the night seemed to blend in with my dreams as is often the case. When I awoke it was to heavy rain. Not at all like yesterday with its wall to wall sunshine, well, that’s Scotland for DSC_2779- blog--186--185.jpg you. Lazy start to the day and then lunch with June in Bridge of Allen, or is it Allan? I’m never sure. Anyway, lunch was good as it always is in this wee Italian. After lunch we went to Dobbies to get (even) more plants for the garden. I’m always amazed at the number of plants Scamp can cram into our little postage stamp of a garden. Such was the case today. As always, to avoid being infected with the gardening bug, I made a hasty exit … to St Mo’s today, but it could well have been cycling or down the canal, anything to keep me away from horticulture. The weather had cleared up by now as the magic fairies had predicted last night.

Lots of damselflies around today in a variety of colours. Mainly blue as usual, but also red and brown. Then the big surprise, a dragonfly. A stubby little brown dragon, but a dragon none the less. Also a lot of DSC_2792- blog--186--185.jpg butterflies. Can’t remember what the orange one is called, but I remember seeing a lot of them this time last year, so I should be able to find out. No deer to be seen today, but when driving to Hamilton to pick up Jac and Murd, I saw a few beside the motorway. Such a precarious existence they have. The evening was spent comparing cruise notes with Jac and Murd. Much drink was taken. It’s a good job I’m not up and out early tomorrow.