Sunny Weekend in the Borders


It’s been a while since I posted on this part of my site sorry about that, I’ve been busy doing other things. Anyway this weekend has been stunning in our part of the Scottish Borders, I’ve been enjoying working in the garden. The Photo above was taken yesterday under one of my local bridges, thank the gods for wellingtons as the water is still icy cold. Obviously I have applied some effects in photoshop to the original shot taken on the Google Pixel, but I like the result and that is all that matters.

Google Pixel panorama fish-eye mode


I’ve had the google pixel phone for some time now and I especially enjoy using the panorama modes. As I have said before the way the phone stitches the images together can be a bit random, but most of the times it works fine. The image of the Bridge near my home (above) was shot with the fish eye mode and was put together perfectly . I’ve massively resized the image from the original 41.5MP   6444 × 6444.  10.2 MB size but you get the general idea of what this mode does.

“They’re Back!”


‘Civilisations’ rise and fall, but no matter what the foolish humans do nature still just keeps rolling along. So the Snow Drops are back, they push onward and upward no matter the weather. As frail as they are strong they come and go often unnoticed. These are the skyscrapers of  the world beneath our feet, seek them out, but be quick or your have to wait another year.

Boxing Day

Went for a nice drive this afternoon around Langholm and beyond, the Snow topped mountains and hills looked great. Definitely the best scenery I’ve experienced on a Boxing Day in years.
Photo taken on the google pixel and edited in snapseed. 

Dogs don’t do leaves

My Leonberger refuses to do any chores, well to be honest he just can’t see the point. Of all the pointless things I do raking the leafs is top of his list. Standing out in the cold swiping at things that have fallen from the sky, bagging them up and then most stupid of all emptying them back out, on to a huge smelly pile of grass cuttings. It’s just ridiculous and it takes up  valuable time, time that could be spent lying on his bed with his feet the air or staring at the biscuit tin. If I even have the audacity to ask him to do something he just looks at me as if to say, what the hell do you think I am a bloody sheepdog ? :)

Mistakes at Sycamore Gap – Hadrian’s Wall

Saturday  we went to view the Iconic Sycamore Tree as seen in many movies and TV documentaries. The tree is best known for appearing in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner. I had wanted to see it for years, but it had always been to far away, since our move to the borders it’s now just an hour down the road.

I must confess in making 2 stupid mistakes on this trip, first I just glanced at the map without grasping the type of landscape I would be walking on. Secondly I put all my faith in the Google Phone to be able to take the picture I had long wanted to take then I got to the tree. I had read the Sycamore was just a 15 minute walk from the ‘Once Brewed’ car park which sounded easy, until I got there and realised the path went up and down steep hills. The path which has been created brilliantly using large stones (no doubt to counter erosion from all the visitors) were wet and smooth, so T* and I needed to stay very focused on the walk, otherwise I new one of us was going to end up on our arse.

When I finally got to the tree, for the first time in my life I must confessed to feeling my age, while I may still think I’m 25, my body knows differently. Sadly my wife who has Sarcoidosis was not able to get to see the tree, but did make it half the way and enjoyed the views and peace from there.

Not taking one of my ‘proper’ cameras to the tree was foolish, as the google phone simply failed to get me the image I wanted. I’m sure not having a tripod didn’t help but the panoramas taken by the phone were very poor, as were the normal images. They were still great by phone standards, I expected to much in poor weather and was duly let down. Hence why the image for this post is black and white as it helps to mask some of the inconsistencies.

Lesson learned
My conclusion from the trip is we have not reached the time yet where the phone can truly replace a camera in all situations, this may seem a obvious statement to most photographers, but over the years I made many leaps of faith with technology and met with success. I dumped all my film cameras and brought into digital when all my colleagues were still adamant digital would never catch on. I guess it was wishful thinking to believe the time was here yet where I could always leave my bulky digital SLR cameras at home, I won’t make that mistake again.

Edinburgh Christmas Market

So Friday my wife and I went to the Edinburgh Christmas Market for the first time. Personally I like to avoid busy places, but it was a nice evening weather wise and I thought it would be a good chance to take some photos. Loved the creativity of some of the products, sure you could spend a fortune there, but we showed restraint don’t and just got a new salt lamp (much needed) and some candles.

Had a tasty vegetarian meal at Jamie’s Italian Restaurant  . All went well until the train ride home on the Borders Railway to Tweedbank, simply not enough room. I think someone has massively underestimated the popularity of this service, the park and ride at Tweedbank is already proving woefully inadequate.

Google Pixel Panorama


I’ve been into tech since the days of the Commodore 64 however the fun of learning new stuff has long died in me. All i want now is simplicity, I just want to click, swipe and move on. Thats why I like the Google camera app, it’s easy to use with a few cool features and zero brain ache. The picture above shows a panorama from my lower field that simply worked. Googles tracking system for large shots is simply brilliant, just hold the target circle over a grey dot on the screen until the grey dot disappears and then move on to the next one.

I’ve tried all the Large Scene settings on the app :- horizontal, Vertical, Wide-angle, Fisheye, I’ve had mixed results, but I’m sure that has more to do with my often difficult subject matter (trees with tons of branches) and unstable hands than the Google calculations system.

The upshot is if I want a large format image I can have one and quicker than it takes to boil a pot of tea, which sounds like a good idea. Laters