Return to Albert Docks

An anniversary visit provided an opportunity to return to Albert Docks, Liverpool. This wasn’t a photography visit Per Se, so I just used my phone and added to the 12 Pics series here.

Albert Docks, Liverpool


You can see that in some of the images the phones camera was starting to struggle a bit. Perhaps a flagship model would have coped better?

On the one hand the images are OK as record shots. On the other, the photographer in me thinks I should have used one of my cameras rather than my smartphone.

Nobody pays any attention to people using smartphones to take pictures, but in some places using a ‘big’ camera would have security guards twitching. You cant help thinking if you were doing anything untoward you would blend in better with a phone.

Normally I would have brought my Nikon V1 as my travel camera, but for this weekend I left it at home. There could still be an argument for something more capable than a phone but not the size of a DSLR.

I hope the race towards full frame mirrorless doesn’t leave a gap in the smaller more portable camera category. The trend at the moment seems to be mirrorless full frame with big expensive lenses.

Just when people need a smaller alternative it looks like that option could have less choice in the future.


Highlands 2018 gallery added to 12 Pics series

Highlands 2018 gallery has been added to the 12 Pics section after a recent visit.

You never really know what sort of weather you will get in Scotland. You could get rain, sleet, snow and sunshine all in one day.

Our last trip saw some lovely sunshine with warm temperatures.

We also had some cloud making for very overcast conditions. As the light changed the colour of the water also changed from a nice blue to a dull grey.

Not much you can do about the weather so enjoy what light there is and if doubt click away. You can always hit the delete button later 🙂

Highlands 2018 can be found here.



New pictures added to Eyes Down Gallery

There’s some new pictures added to the Eyes Down gallery here.

Here is an example:


My son Andrew takes all the images in the Eyes Down gallery.  He has Down Syndrome and some communication difficulties but enjoys going out and taking pictures with his father. He is also has a gift to make people smile.

It’s fascinating to see what Andrew finds interesting. He liked the ducks on the water above, sometimes he takes pictures of paths other times its signs.

Nikon 1 V1 macro

I’ve added a Nikon 1 V1 macro picture to the macro gallery. The image below was taken with the 30-110mm Nikon 1 lens with attached Raynox DCR250 adapter. A previous article here gives more examples of what this setup can do. It’s a lot lighter and more portable than my dedicated DSLR  lens and can give some amazing results.


OK…. so I clipped the wing on the right hand side a little, but I did manage to get a reasonable amount of eye detail. If you’ve ever tried getting this close to flies you’ll appreciate how difficult it can be. They don’t tend to stay still very long 🙂


Recent trip to Albert Dock, Liverpool

We recently had the good fortune to be able to visit Liverpool, England. It’s not somewhere I’ve been before, I tend to avoid big cities because I’m not that keen on large crowds of people or busy places.

So why go there in the first place? It was a weekend out to see Michael McIntyres’ world tour show at the Arena. The show was actually quite good and we managed to book a hotel literally a stones through away.

Echo Wheel, Liverpool
Echo Wheel, Liverpool, with the Arena just visible on the right.

In the morning (after the compulsory full English breakfast) we had a wander around part of Albert Dock. It wasn’t a photo tour so rather than incur the wrath of the wife I grabbed a couple of quick shots as we walked round.


Albert Dock with the Echo wheel in the backgound
Albert Dock with the Echo wheel in the background. Nikon V1.

The above shot really pushed my little Nikon 1 V1 sensor to the limit. There is detail in the shadows under the arches, while just about retaining the highlights in the cloudy sky. This was really more of a record shot, but I’m surprised how well it came out considering the 1″ sensor.


Albert Dock, Liverpool
Albert Dock, Liverpool


Another record shot again pushing the sensor on the V1.

Not quite sure what this building is (maybe the Open Gallery?), kinda liked the reflection.

Around Albert Dock there were some interesting styles of architecture, the old mixing with the new. The clock tower on the right is part of the the Royal Liver building.

The Nikon V1 is great for slipping in a pocket when you don’t want to carry larger kit around.  When my V1 finally gives up I might have to move to m43, that then brings up the issue of whether to run two different formats. A story for another day I think.

In terms of visiting Liverpool, I think we will be returning at some stage.


It’s a question of perspective

It’s  a question of perspective.

While out at the local coast on a cold and windy morning recently I came across these guys:

Lifeboat practice


This lifeboat crew were practising for when they are needed most. It was a bitter day and I had the luxury of warming up in the car while they were still out.

Kinda puts things in perspective.

Heads up

After a few cloudy days the weather has warmed up, the sun makes an appearance and I take the opportunity to look for dragonflies at the local reserve. The last couple of years, warm days in September resulted in some decent dragonfly activity so I was quite hopeful.

Sure enough they were out and even with the breeze, fairly active. If you’ve ever tried to photograph dragonflies in flight you know how quick they move. Out of all my dragonfly shots I’ve only got two or three decent in flight captures. Today I went for the (slightly) easier resting poses.

I like to try and capture dragonflies at different angles if I can. While a decent head shot is nice the wings and body can also be quite interesting.

Talking of wings the shot below shows some detail. I found it covered in dew on top of a post. Don’t know what happened to the body.


More dragonflies and other insects appear in the macro gallery here.


All images taken with a Nikon 1 V1, 30-110mm lens and Raynox dcr250 adapter.



Macro with the Nikon 1 V1

Not many people do macro with a Nikon 1 V1. Not many people have or like the Nikon 1 series full stop. I ‘m a bit odd ( as my  wife will testify), in that I quite like the V1. It’s a shame Nikon messed the 1 series around so much. With the right marketing they could have achieved so much more. It didn’t help that Nikon couldn’t decide what body style the V series should take. Three very different body versions was the last thing the V series needed.

Anyway, I tend to take my V1 all over the place. I get a body and the equivalent focal range of 27 -300mm in my pockets quite easily.

I’ve mentioned before I use a Raynox close up adapter. Fit this onto a 30-110mm Nikon 1 series lens and you have a nice little macro capable setup.

The day I captured the images on this page I was actually looking for dragonflies. Although the weather was warm with no wind, the dragonflies weren’t cooperating.


Instead I turned the camera to these more accommodating chaps.


Just for good measure here is a third one:


All these were taken with the Nikon 1 30-110mm lens and the Raynox 250 adapter:


The image above shows the Nikon 1 V1 with 30-110mm lens. I removed the Raynox adapter from its normal adjustable holder. Fitting a 40.5 to 43mm step up ring instead. The whole setup measures about 6″ or 150mm in new money.

Not too shabby for a kit lens and relatively cheap (compared to a dedicated macro lens) adapter.



(This post has sparked my interest in  flies. If you can positively identify these would you be kind enough to  email me here. 

Many Thanks.)

Hardknott Roman Fort

For some reason I never posted Hardknott Roman Fort to the 12 Pics series so here it is.

Hardknott is a steep pass on the Western side of the Eskdale Valley in Cumbria. The Romans built the fort to protect the route Eastwards from Ravenglass  onto Ambleside and Kendal. Known to the Romans as Mediobogdum, soldiers posted here must of felt a long way from home. Spending some time looking around the ruins, you can soon appreciate how hard it must of been in winter.

Hardknott Pass

The fort is at an altitude of 800 feet. The pass continues on to a height of 1289 feet and shares the steepest road in England title with Chimney Bank in North Yorkshire. Hardknott itself  misses being the highest fort in Britain, which is Whitley Castle (Epiacum) also in Cumbria at 1050 feet.

The road up Hardknott is narrow and steep. There is not much parking and access to the fort will involve a short walk from the road.

You can find Hardknott Roman Fort in the 12 Pics series here.

Castell Coch, The Red Castle

Castell Coch – The Red Castle – added to the 12 Pics Series here.

Castell Coch was essentially rebuilt by the Victorians. Some refer to it as a 19th Century revival castle. Others know it as a romantic ‘folly’ rebuilt around 1875 – 1891. It occupies the original 11th century grounds.

Castell Coch
Front gate

While called a castle it is very different in style to the more ‘classic’ designs found in Cardiff, Chepstow and Raglan.


There is parking available on site, a short walk from the main entrance. You will also find a gift shop and tea room in the castle while walks are available in the surrounding woods.


As with most castles, due to the towers, there are steep narrow steps. Access other than the court yard for buggies and wheelchairs would prove challenging.

Ullswater, Cumbria added to 12 Pics series

Ullswater, Cumbria added to 12 Pics series.

A recent trip to Ullswater, Cumbria resulted in enough images for an addition to the 12 Pics series.

The Western side of the Lakes is slightly quieter than the Eastern side. If you fancy you can have a ride on the Ullswater ‘steamers’ (technically not steamers any more, but still enjoyable). Ullswater is almost nine miles long and a round trip takes around two and half hours.

See the series here.

Muncaster Castle and Gardens with Hawk and Owl Centre added to 12 Pics series

The latest edition to the 12 Pics series is Muncaster Castle and Gardens with the Hawk and Owl Centre, at Ravenglass, Cumbria.

This was a day out. With an excuse to photograph some birds of prey and get a bit of BIF practice in. The day in question happened to be a bit cloudy after the previous days glorious sunshine.


You can quite easily spend all day walking and photographing here, with an Owl display in the morning, a ‘Sky Hunters’ flying display early afternoon and a ‘Wild Heron feed session’ around 4.00pm. In between the displays extensive grounds offer photographic opportunity. A range of refreshments are available if you don’t want to carry your own. For accessibility and other details can be check their website here.

The wedding day

Following on from a previous post… Mobile phone photography at a wedding.

We were recently invited to a friends wedding. Now I quite like weddings. There is something almost magical about them. The opportunity to dress up (this one was in Scotland, so kilts were order of the day), but more importantly the chance to share a special day.  Continue Reading “The wedding day”

Get out when you think about it.

You know how it is:

The leaves are only just turning – I’ll get out next week and get some shots.

Trouble is next week is busy with one thing and another.

Then the weather conspires against you with dull or overcast conditions that make the inside of your dishwasher look bright.

It’s OK there is always next week!

Then a storm hits and most of those leaves are now in the road or across the pavement.

Can anyone relate to this? I’ve done it so many times now you would think i’d know better.

So the next time you think you should get out and take some photos ……..just do it.

Skara Brae, Orkney added to 12 Pics series

Skara Brae, Orkney added to 12 Pics series.

Skara Brae, can be found on the west coast of mainland Orkney, near the Bay of Skiall. It is a Neolithic village, occupied some 5000 years ago, inhabited  before the Great Pyramids of Egypt were built.

It remained hidden until a storm hit in 1850 exposing some of the buildings. The village was abandoned around 2500BC.

Consider a visit if you go to Orkney.