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"