Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Almost Hello once again !

Well its been a busy few months, much busier than I expected to be honest, and in fact its still all very much work in progress with regard to moving my Blog somewhere else, and my Photos to a new hosting company.

I am having 2nd thoughts about Blog moving right now, as the Blogger interface is one that my Walnut sized brain has become very familiar with during the time I have been in the blogosphere, and the blog that I was thinking of associating with my new website is certainly not as feature rich and as simple to use as this well done Google...for now. Should I stay or should I not will be pondered further over the next month or so, so watch this space.

The Photo hosting site however, is up and running and hosted by Zenfolio, with whom I am very pleased with, so I can definitely recommend them to any of you who wish to showcase, or sell your Photos. The use of this referral code when applying for a Zenfolio site provides you with a 1st year discount, and me some pennies, and they are quite literally pennies as well, so I'm not going to survive on the referrals is all I can say ! SNY-GD1-SGQ is what you need to put in, in the correct box when signing up.

Anyway the Photography site is Triple P Imaging, You are all welcome to peruse, comment or even knock yourself out and purchase a small photo or two. Shipping is worldwide from several major photographic printing labs near to you...  


Friday, 20 April 2012

Goodbye for Now

For a period of a few months I will be shutting this Blog down, or rather not contributing to it anymore, as I have several projects ongoing which require my full attention, one of which is beginning to move my growing Photographic portfolio to another hosting company, and once that has been done (along with with the completion of some other Projects !) I will begin blogging once more, although no longer with Blogger itself.
Thanks for everyone who has taken a peek these last few months, and many thanks for your kind comments. All the very best to you all in your continuing adventures, and I hope to see you all again towards the end of Summer.

I say Adieu for now, with a photo taken from my "Fragments of Colour" collection hosted by Photobox


Friday, 6 April 2012

Farewell Peru

Well it was finally time to take my leave of Peru, and what better way than the Airline that is the Pride of Holland - KLM.
If you are vertically challenged, or under 12 years of age, then this is the Airline for you, as they have tailored the seat size and knee room specifically for Persons under 4' tall and sylph like i.e. its non existent. It was to put it mildly, a pretty miserable flight. You first get a hint of what is to come, when you go onto their website a few days before your travel so as to "manage your flight". Here you will find an amazing amount of options for seating, all of which come at an extra cost, for example  a seat in a row of 2, that will be an extra 96 Euros Sir, thank you so very much, or maybe a seat at the emergency exit with some legroom, as opposed to no legroom ? certainly Sir, please stump up 125 Euros. If you don't fancy getting ripped off, then its just the standard seat for you, and you better show some gratitude for that as well.

Air France, who allegedly have KLM as a Partner, used exactly the same Aircraft ( a 777-300ER for those who are even slightly interested), on the way to Lima, which had a seating plan in Cattle class which reads 2+4+2, where the Budget Airline partner KLM has a seating plan 3+4+3, and has more rows....Hmmm, even with my rudimentary understanding of Maths that did not herald glad tidings for the journey to come !

Once onboard, and shoe horned into your Seat how can we delicately put this....a Fat, Sweaty, Smelly example of the Human Race, who promptly put the seat back to recline before we had even taken off, KLM then assaults you with their Food. I can honestly say, I have absolutely no idea what I was served with, in fact, I would have preferred sucking the little hand towelette that came with the meal, and in retrospect, maybe I should have, as a) it had more taste (lemon!), and b) certainly more nutritional and calorific content, than the crap that was hidden under the foil of the plastic tray, actually, come to think of it (and I really would rather not), whatever that offering was, was stuck more to the underside of the foil when I peeled that back, than in the tray itself....oh yummy !
Amsterdam Schipol Airport could not have arrived soon enough, even the obese Object beside me must have thought so, as immediately upon landing and the Aircraft turning off the Runway, he wanted to crush me, as he tried to get out of his seat and open the overhead locker as the Plane continued to head towards the Air Bridge. It took 2 cabin staff to wedge him back into his seat while trying to explain to him in words of no more than 2 syllables that the Plane still had 2 miles of taxi way to traverse before coming to a stop....Knob !

Taxi Coming
So the moral of the story, is don't travel by KLM unless there is no other option, they really are the Pits. I would probably prefer to stick pins in my eyes before experiencing the quality of their service again !

As you can see from the photos, Crew change day was welcomed with a wonderful sunrise, smooth seas and baking hot sun, as we headed into La Cruz on our small Crew Change Boat. Once at La Cruz, it was a 2 hr bus journey to the airport at Talara, heading down the Coastal plain (see the last picture), before flying to Lima, and then back to Europe. Unfortunately as the day wore on, more and more haze became visible, so many of the Photos taken from the bus journey will need some post processing to make them reasonable.

Speaking of Post Processing, I use Capture NX2 for any touch ups I may do to my images, although I am now seriously tempted by this new version of Lightroom (4), as Capture NX2 is getting a bit long in the tooth. I am still struggling with Adobe products though, as I do not find them particularly user friendly, so I would be interested in anyone's opinion of LR4 before I waste any time and effort looking seriously at the 30 day trial on offer that Adobe currently do.
Have a good Easter for those of you who celebrate it, and for those of you who don't (Myself included), then have a great Holiday.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Almost Crew Change.

Well we are almost there, because on Wednesday early morning I shall be heading into La Cruz on our Crew Change Boat, and from there, a Mini Bus will take us to Piura airport, and away back to Arbroath, via Lima and Amsterdam.
As always towards the end of trip, time just flies by, and you find all the work you have been putting off to the last minute, now comes back to bite you in the ass as you start running out of hours. This is also complicated by the fact that something always goes wrong in the last few days, so your attention is diverted elsewhere sorting that out, and dealing with various inane emails emanating from the Office.
The Big (Its certainly BIG in my case, as i am getting off !) issue we are dealing with right now, is that allegedly the Fishermen in the area are currently blocking roads and Ports, apparently in protest at some type of Government census that is due to take place in the coming days, over which period of time their Vessels have to remain in Port, and not out on the Prospect area interfering with our operation........ Wonderful !
Our poor Agent is running up and down the coast right now, trying to find a jetty sticking out of somewhere which will allow us to get off the Crew boat, and where in addition the road is not blocked for our onward travel. His job needless to say is just made a teensy bit harder, as he keeps running into the various road blocks as he tries to travel round. We are obviously not putting him under any pressure to find a solution....he just better had by Wednesday !

For the last week we have been sailing close to shore, well 5 miles from it, but that's close enough for thrills in a Boat like this, trying to avoid the various obstructions in the area such Oil platforms (Working or abandoned), small Tankers and various mooring buoys that are scattered around  in no apparent order, or pattern. So that's at least enabled me to get some pictures of the Coastline itself, and the Cloud formations we have been seeing. So for now I shall leave you, and say good bye to Peru with two contrasting Cloud pictures, and you will next hear from Me in April, by which time I had better be back in the UK.........or the Agent will be feeding the Fishes (Just kidding......Not).


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Flying Dolphins

Its been a little busy this week, as last Wednesday we did a partial Crew Change, where approximately half the crew got off on our Crew Boat, while the remaining crew looked daggers at them as they headed for Shore and onward freedom.
So for me, there were a few new faces, and names for me to promptly forget 10 seconds after being told.....a growing sign of "old timers" disease inexorably advancing through what passes as grey matter between my ears these days.

What was unexpected though was the send off they had from a pack of Dolphins, who seemed to take the opportunity to play around us, as the two Boats were together doing the actual passenger transfer. Unfortunately I had only bought my 35mm lens with me for this brief trip out here, so the two Photos you see, have been zoomed up 50% or so from the Original.

Flying Dolphin
I say "unexpected" in the above sentence, as its pretty well known on the Vessels that I work on, that I am always the last Person on board to actually see anything swimming. Its a running joke on board, that whenever I am called to the Bridge to see something interesting, it's invariably disappeared by the time I arrive, breathless and red faced on the Bridge, having climbed about 5 flights of stairs. Only to be then faced with the Smiling (leering ?) face, and helpful comment from the Officer on Watch, that "I have just missed the Shark, Whale, Seal, Turtle, and they were really close to the Boat as well",
However, on Wednesday I beat the odds, and it turned out a lucky, and privileged day for me, and hopefully the luck will continue for the remainder of the trip.

Peruvian Sunrise
I thought I would add a quick Sunrise photograph to the post as well, as its not often out here, that I have the opportunity to have some sight of land as a back drop for my Maritime Sunrises and Sunsets. I hope Scott at  Just Used Pixels will approve, as he does take some absolute stonkers of these over on his Blog.

Just as a footnote, thank you to those of you that have visited the Triple P Imaging page and emailed me, and yes I know the most recent photos are not included for sale yet; but the bandwidth and various firewalls that are in place while I am Offshore, prevent me from downloading the images to the portfolio. They should all be there within the next 2 weeks, when I finally get off this Floating Palace.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Barnacles ahoy

Well its been another, lets see how best to phrase this...."interesting" week in Seismic, or as the French would say eloquently, "merde". The main issue being not the Fishing Boats, but the fact that we have been, what is fondly refered to, as barnacled.
Balanus balanoides, or Barnacle to you and me, is a very successful little Beastie, often found in surf zones on Rocks and sea cliffs, and on the bottom of Boats, where it attaches with something akin to superglue, and then starts filter feeding, growing and reproducing madly (Not a bad life, come to think of it). The upshot of this, is that it creates a lot of drag and weight on whatever its attached to, which if its a rock is neither here nor there, but if its on our damn streamers....well that's a different story all together.

Insane Noggie
 If you let the little Buggers keep growing, then you will find that the tension on the streamer increases pretty dramatically, the upshot of which, is that you could find that you start the day towing 10 streamers and finish with, lets say 3 dangling behind you, and at 1.5 million dollars a streamer, that's an awful lot of money to have dropping off the end of your Boat, and heading deep six.
Seismic companies throughout the years have invested in many ideas on how to tackle these little rogues and prevent them from pulling off our streamers. Some of the ideas they have come up with, are more amusing than effective ie covering our streamer in a stocking type of material (kinky, and completely ineffective), slapping an anti barnacle gel on the streamer (fairly kinky, but it proved to be a barnacle attractant), and painting the streamers red !! I mean which bright spark came up with that last idea ? Barnacles have colour vision, and are warned off by the all things red ? That's got to be clutching at a fairly large straw to think that that's going to work.

Trainee !
 The previous company I worked with, came up with a power washing contraption which you put in a small boat, the idea being that you would lift the streamer with its offending barnacles to the surface, drape the streamer into a box with these power washing heads on the Boat, and then drive along the streamer happily washing away the barnacles to your hearts content. Great idea in theory, and absolutely bloody useless in practise. Firstly, even with headphones on you would be practically deafened by the sound of the power washer on its full wash cycle, and secondly bits of barnacle would be blasted everywhere, to such a point that for 2 or 3 days following a sortie, and with every shower you took you would look down at your feet and still see barnacle parts floating around the shower tray, and wonder to Yourself where the hell they had come from !

Fishing Boat at Mancora
 Anyway, to cut a long and dreary story short, we had to bring in all our streamer and basically scrape them clean by hand....not a quick job by any means, and after a few days an extremely smelly job as they all began to rot in the heat, no matter how often you washed down the decks and the Reels upon which our streamers are retrieved and deployed.
Right.... on to the Photos, and i should say I have an apology to make for the first 2. These were taken on a previous boat, with a Previous Company, and are included purely as a reference as to what these damn creatures look like in reality. The quality is not great, as naturally i was in a hurry to take the photo and then vamoose as fast as possible ! I also have to apologise for the quality of the Models that were used, but i don't have the big bucks of Mario Testino, and therefore Beggars can't be choosers. I can however assure you that the Model in the first picture really isn't insane, he's just Norwegian. I would however question the sanity of the Model in the 2nd picture. The T on his hard hat is to signify he is actually a Trainee, and not a Tit as you were probably all thinking.
The 3rd more normal photo is of one of the Fishing boats that are currently sharing the sea with us these days.

Till the next time....

Sunday, 4 March 2012


Well its been a week now that I have been onboard, and like most things when you get on a new boat, you feel a bit like a spare part, as you find you are continually walking down the wrong corridors to get wherever you thought your Cabin was, or you don't know where to find the simplest tool, or in my case, work out where the hell they hide files on their joke of a computer network....every boat is very different, and very individual.

Mancora Beach
Jetty and Fishing Boats..oh, and a Horse.
So its always nice to find a piece of continuity somewhere across every Boat you visit, and in my case the humble Noodle is that piece of continuity, which gives me that warm and cosy feeling of belonging, when I am offshore.
Noodles, are the staple diet in Seismic as far as i can gather, especially for those of us who work erratic hours, and miss meals occasionally. They are also the staple diet for the night shift who has to struggle to find any nutrition whatsoever, in the limited, and completely unoriginal choice of breakfast they are given each day half way through their shift. If you don't like Fried Eggs, you really should not be sailing on a Seismic boat and working nights !

Knackered Fishing Boats

However the noodle, to anyone in Seismic, is a serious dining experience. Firstly, they mainly come in little square fluorescent packages of loveliness, delighting in such names as "Mama Tans Noodle Plan", or on this Vessel "Sopa Maruchan !"; the colours of the packaging gently hinting at the levels, and quality of the E components found within. Secondly each Noodle pack contains up to 3, yes 3 small sealed packets of yummy chemicals, some powder, and some liquid, which when opened and combined with boiling water, produce complete gastronomic euphoria in the lucky individual who is consuming the said concoction. Finally, they are just so easy to make.....even Jeff my old Flatmate at college, who we once caught putting Corned Beef in the Oven to roast, could make a bowl of noodles, as all it takes is boiling water.

Fish and Chips tonight ?

 Anyway, enough of the rambling and on to the photos. These were all taken at Mancora, which apparently, so I have been told, attracts the Surf Dudes and attached Groupies, although I couldn't see a lot of wave action (or Groupies) for the short time I was there. What was there though, was some of the Fish Flinging Fleet, and plenty of Fisherman catching various bits and pieces from the shore, including one lucky fellow who had caught himself a Ray of some kind, and was happy to pose with it. Circling in the Skies above, were some fairly large birds, not unlike Pterodactyls, who would occasionally swoop down, and take off the Beach the odd Fish when the Fishermans back was turned, as they sharpened their gutting knives on the rocks. Unfortunately the light, although bright, was polluted with a general haze caused by the midday sun, so the Photos don't "pop", but they are a nice reminder nevertheless of the end of an interesting journey before heading out to the Boat.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


Yup, I'm in Peru, and no, it wasn't planned, which all in all, is pretty normal to be honest in Seismic at times !

Piura Street scene

The week had started badly enough with me having to go through my very first tooth extraction, an experience which i would rather not repeat again in a hurry, and this was then followed by the fateful phone call asking me how long it would take me to get ready to travel to a vessel in Peru, rather than head off to the Office in Bergen. So here I am, busy sailing up and down the coast of Northern Peru for my sins, fighting with the local Fishermen who keep throwing fish at us (I kid you not), a fairly strange way of doing a discard me thinks !
Its my first time in Peru to be honest, and so far I am pleasantly surprised, even with the odd fish being thrown in my direction. Lima airport was amazing, very modern, very easy to get round, and very helpful staff....a real eye opener, especially as I had travelled from the delights of Paris, and we all know what a shining example of an Airport that is.... although I guess CDG must be improving slightly, as this time they had managed to send my luggage with me, rather than to Baku, or some other destination of their choice.
From Lima, I travelled to Piura, and then after a stay there, travelled up the Pan American Highway (sounds grand, but isn't) for 3 hours before eventually arriving in Mancora, whereupon I was picked up by a boat and sailed for the big nasty Seismic ship running the gauntlet of the Flying Fish from the local fishing fleet, who obviously believe they own this part of the Ocean, and consequently believe they have the sole right to sail and work in it. To be honest, its no different from dealing with Scottish and Spanish fishermen in the North Sea; minus the thrown Fish of course, as there is of course no Fish left to catch in that area, let alone waste throwing at anyone !

Rice Paddies the photos. just a couple this time, as I shall expand the story and post more photos when I am a little more organised. The first is just an early morning street scene from Piura, and the 2nd is taken from the window of the vehicle I was in when travelling to Mancora.......You would think you were in Vietnam with those rice paddies wouldn't you ?

More will follow.


Monday, 13 February 2012

10 days to go.....maybe ?

Its about 10 days to go before I once more depart civilisation and head off to the Boat, although this time there is a twist to my departure, as a) I don't know when I'll be actually heading off, and b) I don't know where I'll be heading to. A strange set of affairs bought about by my Company deciding to work for a large American Oil Company. Nothing strange about that I hear you all say, and thats normally the case, except when you work for these particular Boys (The Oil Company), who in their alleged wisdom have decided that anyone who wishes to work for them, has to take on a daily basis, a pretty aggressive anti malarial drug, for the 5 weeks we are offshore. On top of that, they will also randomly test us to make sure that we are taking this damn stuff.

Scurdie Ness Lighthouse, Montrose

Now lets step back and look at this demand. We are currently working some 75 to 100 miles offshore, which as far as I am aware is a little out of reach of the average Mosquito, unless Angola breeds a super long distance Mosquito of some sort. So apart from the Crew changes onshore (where I am more than happy to take this anti malarial shite for that small period of time), I would say the chances of you seeing a Mosquito is as rare as rocking horse pooh. Secondly, this anti malarial drug does have side affects, especially for people who take it over an extended period of time, and make no mistake, 5 or 6 weeks is an extended period of time in anyone's eyes, except of course for this Oil company who rather arrogantly, think they know best.
Luckily the Seismic Company I work for, although being French (Only joking !), are enlightened in their way of thinking, and told all those who did not wish to take part on this Job and the abuse of your individual freedom and rights, that they could stand down for this Project, which I very gladly took the opportunity of doing so, along with several other Colleagues, as I for one, suffer from, how can I politely put this ?..... "The running trots" after about 5 days of taking this drug....and thats just the known side affect that hits me, heavens knows what other crap is happening to my Body in the meantime. So there you go, I am now officially standing down, and waiting to be redeployed somewhere else for my sins, for the period that we are unfortunately working for the Evil Empire.
Just as a side kicker to all of this; this well known American Oil Company recently spent 50,000 Greenbacks on research, on producing a test that would detect whether an Individual actually took this anti malaria which I would have respectfully thought would have been better deployed in the actual real fight against Malaria, but Hey, what do I know about these things !

Arbroath harbour

Anyway, enough of the rant and on to the Photographs. Again, both these Photos were taken from my 2011 Calendar offering sent to my poor Family, and selected unfortunate Friends. The first picture shows Scurdie Ness Lighthouse which stands guard over the entrance to Montrose Harbour a little North of Arbroath, here on the East coast of Scotland. The 2nd offering is of the small Marina/ Harbour at Arbroath, taken on one bright ( a rare commodity in this part of Scotland !), early Summer morning last year. There used to be tons of Fishing Boats in that second picture, but thanks to the radical and forward thinking policies of the EU, the fishing Boats have been wiped out here on the East Coast....another wonderful example of what happens when people, with no particular experience believe that they know best.


Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sunday, Busy Sunday...

Its been an incredibly busy weekend here in Scotland, and I am absolutely exhausted if truth be told. Firstly there was the 6 nations Rugby on Saturday, where unfortunately Scotland lost to England (as they normally do, but they live in hope !), then of course this was followed by various games of Football in the Premier league, the highlight of which was Swansea's thrashing of West Bromwich Albion....2-1 !

Dunnottar Castle

Saturday is currently being followed by an equally busy and knackering Sunday, starting with Wales beating Ireland in the Rugby..... a cracking result if I may say so, not that i am biased in any way by being Welsh (large grin across my face at this point), and this has now been followed by Manchester Utd (boo hiss) pulling back a 3 goal deficit against Chelsea to draw in the game they were playing. Next on the Agenda its the darts (just kidding), and then the Superbowl, where heavily pumped and steroid filled individuals, with more body armour than the average soldier in Afghanistan is currently wearing, throw themselves at each other head first, while one member of their team throws a small lozenge shaped ball at a very fast moving individual in his team 400 yards away or something. If that individual is unlucky to catch this projectile, he is generally rewarded by a couple of the Defenders hitting him so hard, that not only does he not know what time of day it is, after he has recovered (If he in fact does), but he actually lose's any comprehension of what week it was before the impact occurred. Its a wonderful spectacle (the game that is, not the Guy getting hit....honest), and being a Brit I am completely sold on the whole experience, which means that I will be staying up, and getting progressively more inebriated until the very early hours, and then eventually go to bed and miss out on Monday....Go Giants Go ! Its a damn hard life trying to watch all this sport.

Queen Vic's well

However, before I see the game, I actually do have to get off this lardy ass of mine, get something to eat, publish this crap, and make an intelligent comment on the photos I have downloaded....easier said than done is all I can say......but here goes anyway.
For the last couple of years I have been doing a small Calendar for what is essentially a captive family, and what few friends i have! 2011's theme was Postcard Scotland, and the photos are taken from that. The first is of Dunnottar Castle, which lies just to the south of Stonehaven. The photo was taken in the evening sun, which just caught the fortifications in its golden light. Again, in post processing I had to bring out of the under exposed dark outcrop on which it sits. The 2nd is Queen Victoria's Well situated in the Glacial valley of Glen Clova in the Angus Glens. This Well was constructed by the local populace when they heard that Queen Victoria was going to pass through on one of her travels from the Balmoral Estate....whether she did actually drink, or take a rest on her journey at this edifice is not really known, and I am not sure if anyone these days actually gives a toss anyway, but it makes for an interesting foreground for a Photographer.

Right....I'm off for the Superbowl, catch you all later.....

Monday, 30 January 2012

Norway, Part 2 of ......

Yup, you have guessed it, the weather is still stinking here, and so the camera has not been in action, so I am reverting to the back up plan of continuing to slag off Norway........ So keep smiling through gritted teeth you Noggies out there !

Angel of the North

Speaking of weather, I do not know what it is like in your part of the World, but do your Forecasters get it so spectacularly wrong as ours ? In the recent forecasts we have been laughably been given, they have kept on referring to the "Northern Lights" being able to be seen across the North of Scotland....Oh Yeah ? I didn't realise that this phenomenon had the ability to be seen through a 10,000 ft thick cloud layer, interspersed with a touch of fog and a torrent of precipitation. Weather Forecasting is a nice job if you can get it I guess, as its the only one I know, where you get paid no matter what shite you spout, and how wrong your predictions are....whoops, I forgot about Politicians, who also have the added ability to lie through their teeth, and get paid expenses for doing so.....

The Church at Malloy Shipyard

Anyway, back to Norway, just in case you Natives had thought that my rambling had taken another direction, and you had escaped any possible onslaught.....
Actually today, I am going to be very complimentary to the Norwegian Medical Services, especially the ones who attended to the Poor Guy who was having a suspected Heart attack, just before the Boat sailed out on sea trial after the Shipyard work (He must have been worrying about the quality of the work he saw done to the Vessel, and therefore thought, bugger that, I'm not going out on that Boat !). About two minutes after the Emergency call was made, what can only be described as Two Baywatch Wannabees appeared, in beautifully tailored and form fitting coveralls, with their blond hair neatly tied up to show the sensuous curve of their neck...sorry about that, I'm getting a little carried away here ! Now don't take me wrong, but I thought that especially when treating a potential heart attack victim, the whole idea was to keep the Victim's heart rate low, and calm.....well there wasn't a lot of that happening when they appeared is all I can say. However, in about 5 minutes flat, they had the Guy wired in, and plugged up, to some fancy kind of machine that went beep (or not much beep, in his case !), and began streaming his failing heart beat through the airwaves down to Oslo, where presumably, some equally glamourous person in an awesomely beautifully tailored White Coat took one look at the results and then ordered a Chopper....amazing is all I can say, within 32 minutes he was in a Helicopter heading to Bergen, where I am glad to say he made a full recovery.

Malloy Slipway

So the moral of the story is that if your Heart succumbs to the Norwegian crap diet of Pizza, Hot Dogs and Rotten fish (did I not tell you about the Fish ?), then you can rest assured you will be swiftly and efficiently dealt with by the Norwegian Medical Service, who are only populated by People good looking enough to be on a show of Gray's Anatomy ....... NHS eat your heart out.

The Bow

Today, the photo's are all Black and White. The reason being that in a very flat or cloudy light its sometimes the only way you (or certainly Me) can make an image pop a little, and see the detail in what seems to be the ordinary. Obviously it it can also be a neat way of creating atmosphere, especially within an Industrial setting.....Dark satanic mills etc. The only post processing in these examples was to crop a little, and play a smidgeon with the contrast.
If anyone is interested, the full size and high definition photos in this Blog are available here to purchase in many ways, shapes or formats, with the product being able to be shipped anywhere in the World (within reason !)....End of advert !


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Norway Part 1 of .....

I'm knackered to be honest. I am sitting here having just come off the running machine (Don't get too impressed, it was more of a stumble on the damned thing), drinking a glass of water, whilst eyeing up a bottle of Vino, and thinking why the heck do I feel so bad ! I am sure I saw some kind of news item the other day saying that Scientists have invented some kind of pill that allows you to get fit while you sit in front of the Telly or something.....bring it on I say, and make it snappy before I injure Myself.

Look Right

Anyway, to get to the Title of this little piece of drivel..... Some of you who do actually follow this rubbish, understand that I work in the whacky world of Seismic exploration. In April last year I went up to visit the "zit" of Norway, a little  town called Malloy, somewhere North of Bergen.  A Town that consists of about 200 wooden houses of different colours, 2 (nasty) eating establishments, one Garage, One jokingly named Best Comfort Hotel, One Bar and finally a Bowling Alley.....I kid you not ! Its obviously the 10 pin Bowling centre for Norway. The reason for me travelling to this mecca of debauched living, was to take over my New Boat, that was just finishing up on an extensive upgrade of works that were being done to it.

Look Ahead

To get to Malloy you have to take a Ferry, which takes about 4 to 5 hours, and calls in on a ton of small Quays all over the various Fjords it travels through. It would be a really scenic ride, except for the fact that in April it rains non stop in that part of the World, so any thought of Photo opportunities happening, just go up in smoke, or in this case, in Sea Fog. So a quick travel tip for all you Folk thinking of going to Norway, or Bergen in particular...Don't, unless you like the rain and wind in April, and eye watering prices for basic, and necessary items such as beer and food. On the subject of Food, its fairly obvious that the National dish of Norway is a toss up between a Pizza slice, or a Hot Dog, both of which can be found in the charmingly named 7/11 outlets, which can be found everywhere, and at a price where a 2nd Mortgage would have to be considered. As for the beer....If you want to pay $15 for 0.2 litres of piss coloured fizzy water, then go ahead and knock Yourself out. Basically, Norway is good for those of you who wish to go on a diet, and lose some weight......Top tip !

Look Left

I transgress (of course), as the reason for telling you all this in the first place was to write a couple of articles about the Norway visit last year, and describe the taking out of the Boat from the Shipyard, with some photos thrown in for good measure, as and when it stopped damn raining. The other reason I am writing about something I did last year, is that since I have been Home, I have not yet ventured out to take any worthwhile photos, as the weather here right now varies from Cold, Cold and Wet, Cold, Wet and Windy to Cold, Wet, Windy with some Sleet thrown in for good measure..... An Independent Scotland ? Go right ahead and have it I say, and keep the damn weather as well.
So thats my feeble excuse for writing about Norway this time, and any time in the next week or two.
Right; back to the Boat and the Photos.....Like a lot of small Shipyards in Norway, they are actually located in some quite photogenic areas, and with great light ..... occasionally, so this set of pictures gives you a feel for the location, and the sight that greeted us most Mornings as we took our first Coffee of the day, and waited for the Yard Workers to start banging around, and do what Yard workers do all over the World....not a lot.

The Beast

Because of the steepness of the Fjord sides you have huge light contrasts as the sun rises, so the exposure across the whole picture is quite difficult to achieve, and for me, is best tweaked a little in Post processing to help bring out the picture a little more, which is certainly the case in the first three photos. Although the skies in the first 3 photos are clear, most of the time it was like the Final photo, where there were very flat light conditions, so I then went to Black and White photography, which will be my subject when I get round to part 2 of this Norwegian Odyssey......thats when I can be bothered to of course.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Home at last

Back from a not so good journey, from the delights of Conakry in Guinea. The flight unfortunately stopped in Noukachott (Mauritanea) on the way to Paris, where Air France happily filled the Plane completely up, and once again, just like winning the lottery, I got a Mother and Baby in the middle seat next to me......Now I don't know why this happens, but I have an unerring skill in making Myself completely attractive to the likes of the local Village Idiot, who wants nothing more than to chat, normally very loudly. The Drunk, who thinks I'm his new best friend, and finally screaming Babies, with Mum's who actually don't give a Flying Toss (not an intentional pun) about their Fellow passengers sat next to them on a 7 hour journey. It was so bad, that I actually couldn't wait to get to Paris's CDG airport.....I mean just how bad does it have to get, to wish for that to happen ? Its the worst Airport in the World, staffed completely by Neantherdals of the lowest order; but for me, after that journey it was like entering Nirvana, an oasis of civilised calm, as soon as I stepped on to the Air Bridge, and off that damn Aircraft.

For those of you who live in my little part of the World, you will know that its been very clear these last few days, especially at night, and when the wind dropped....a rare combination in Angus ! So to clear the head from the travel woes, I headed to the beach at Easthaven, and tried to capture something of interest using the available light at 01:00 am in the morning. All I can say, is that they are different, and they have given me a little push to keep trying and see just what I can photograph in the middle of the time though, I'll try not to do it in -4 degrees C, it's a bit extreme when I have been somewhere for the last five weeks where it never got below 30 degrees C !

Saturday, 14 January 2012

No Mores....

Its the last weekend of this trip, so in offshore parlance its generally referred to as "No Mores" ie no more Fridays left, no more Saturdays left and so on and so forth until you get off, which in my case happens to be next Thursday 19th January.....reminder to Myself,  "Must tell the Wife I am on my way Home".
The words "get off", sound pretty damn innocuous to most people, unless of course you are an acne laden Teenager, who thinks your lucks in, after you've made the target of your affection drink 10 Vodka Red Bulls, whils't clubbing to the deafening sound of Chase and Status going through that vacuum held between your ears by your skull.

Dawn over Biscay

However, to us normal sane folks offshore, instead of a bus ride, train ride or car journey to and from work, we utillise a unique form of transport called a Helicopter, to "get off".
Now to actually get to the stage where you are thought of by your Company, worthy, deserving and damn well grown up enough to be able to use one of these wretched things, you have to do a Helicopter Underwater Escape Training course somewhere nice and cold like Aberdeen or St Johns in Newfoundland, preferably between the months of November and March.

Entrance to Las Palmas Port

 The HUET is a fairly basic drowning type of exercise, where you are strapped on a plastic chair (no luxuries for the condemned), in a metal tube with a window beside you half the size of a postage stamp, through which you are jokingly meant to extricate Yourselves, while the aforementioned Tube is chucked into the deep end of a water filled Tank, after first cracking through the layer of ice on its surface.
To complicate things further, and increase the pucker value of the exercise, they sometimes give you a bag to laughably blow into, as they turn you upside down, underwater, and strapped down in a seat inside this metal Tube. This Bag, allegedly give's you more time to get yourself out of your teeny window, as you (allegedly)can suck frantically on the diminishing atoms of Oxygen that you are frantically breathing in and out of this bag.
Now believe, and trust me on this, the last damn thing you want to do when you go underwater is to breath out, I am sorry, but there are a few rules in life which must be obeyed, and keeping your mouth shut under water, and not breathing out is pretty high up on my list of these.
They say by using this Rebreather apparatus bag, it can give you 5 minutes more time, or hope underwater....They are a fecking bunch of lying twats; as I emptied my bag in 10 seconds flat !

Early morning Ferry leaving Las Palmas the Photos. The first is of a pretty dramatically coloured dawn over an absolutely flat Bay of Biscay, on our transit to Las Palmas, I didn't do anything to this picture except straighten it. The colours were amazing.
The 2nd two photos were taken in the early morning light, on the day of our entry into Las Palmas Port. There was a delicate pink hue to the sky which i tried to capture, not particularly successfully unfortunately, as all you get in the pictures is just a hint of the pinkness in the clouds. Again I had to raise the ISO a few notches as it really was an early dawn.

Monday, 9 January 2012

What to photograph from a Boat in the middle of Nowhere.

Well what can i say, its certainly been an interesting few days exploring the blog, playing with the design, trying to understand the new buttons and gizmo's etc and basically catching up a all makes you feel a little inadequate. I thought frikking technology was meant to make your life easier for Christs sake; feck knows what would happen if i turned on one of these new "dynamic" templates they (Blogger), offer by mistake. There must be a heck of a lot of seriously clever people out there to design this shit is all I can say, or there's a lot of people with a fair amount of time on their hands.....nice work if you can get it, or in my case understand it.

So what have I been doing these last 2 years you may (or most probably not) ask yourselves, firstly, no I have not been spending time at Her Majesty's Pleasure, but thanks for asking anyway....I have however continued to sail around in this wonderful world of Seismic that I have unfortunately found Myself unable to escape from. But hey, who would, when you can travel to such exotic locations as Gabon (Corrupt and ruled by a Dictator) , Cabinda (Completely corrupt and ruled by who the Feck knows), Guinea Conakry (Trainee corrupt as the Officials still smile as they rob you blind), and finally Norway (Tax Thieving Bastards). Norway gets the special mention, as they consider Foreigners who have the misfortune of sailing in their waters, should for that privilege pay their Countries NI contributions, which are set at something like 130% of your salary. Remember that when you vote for the buggers at next years Eurovision Contest, that's if you rather sadly watch it of course.

Anyway, photography....You are on a Boat, you don't see land, there's not a lot of Wildlife, especially if you are in the North what the hell do you photograph apart from the Muppets you work with. Sunsets and Sunrises thats what. For me its a bit of a challenge, as you are on a moving boat ,so shutter speed has to be quite fast (that's as technical as I get), there's no point having a tripod either as you are going up and down; and to try and get a half way decent shot of some spectacular clouds and light you normally are shooting at either end of the day and therefore the ISO is up, which can create a graininess, which sometimes adds to the feel of the Photo.

The 1st Photo should be titled "Polution can be pretty" and is of an FPSO at Sunset about 100 miles offshore Aberdeen, on a fairly rare calm day. The 2nd is an early morning shot in the Moray Firth when we were sheltering from some bad weather....Yup the Bird was a fluke, and No it wasn't added in later as I am not clever enough for that shite; and the final picture was taken at the end of some fairly heavy weather we had had, which made for a pretty dramatic skyscape....just a pity the Tanker is not on the left of the picture, as that would have helped the composition a little.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

I'm Back....almost

Lock up you Daughters (I wish !), valuables (yes please), and sanity (you wish); as I am going to slowly start to return to the blogosphere once more.
A lot has happened in the almost 2 years I have been away, some of which will percolate out, some of which will remain a deep and rather dark secret.... which is probably; come to think of it, best for all of us to be honest !
The Blog is going to continue mainly with a photographic theme as I explore my passion for photography, with of course the odd sarcastic and grumpy musing thrown in for good measure.

Anyway, Enjoy and we'll see together where the journey takes us.....thats of course if you can keep bothering to read these tortured ramblings !

The photo is of a sculpture in the wee coastal village of St Abbs (near Berwick, of if you are in the USA...near to London). Its aptly titled "The Women who wait"