Monthly Archives: February 2013

Bananas ! A Faux Pas

Exactly ! Bananas….that’s how Thursday started at Winterbourne Towers. In a nut shell (or Banana skin in this case) I stole my wifes breakfast. Technically speaking it was a “portion” of her breakfast. Well I didn’t know that she wanted a banana in her porridge did I? Elaine never has banana in her porridge, she always has Granola. Having said that so do I. Anyway, to cut a long story short we’ve not had chance to shop this week yet so supplies have been diminishing slowly with Granola and bananas holding on to the top two on the shopping list chart rundown. This is all beyond my awareness as a male by the way. So Thursday commences like any other Thursday.  I got up slightly early to make sure the sunrise wasn’t up to much after yesterdays faux pas. And also because I had agreed to meet my good friend Lee Pirie aka Yorkshire Flyer to have a morning taking aviation images. Two days in a row I hear you say. Yes, its been a while hasn’t it. Anyway, back to the bananas… I am going to try to defend myself here but it’s probably all in vain as I know I was in the wrong. So here goes…My beautiful wife (that’s not a grovel by the way, that’s what I always call her) Elaine was about to put two bowls of Porridge on the table and as usual I pop a sliced banana in my bowl along with a small handful of  Granola. This morning there was only two very small bananas left in the fruit bowl so I grabbed them both thinking that wasn’t greedy as they were significantly smaller than normal and proceeded to slice them whilst sat at the table.  After Elaine had placed the bowls on the table a brief statement to the words of “Oh there’s no bananas.. err … there were some bananas” came out of her mouth with a comical glance in my direction. Yes, I know, I was guilty. I just didn’t know….. “I’ll just have porridge then shall I” she said….We laugh about things like this, because life is way too short. I did offer Elaine my bowl before you ask.

Despite the Faux Pas at breakfast Elaine was still communicating with me, that was until the second slip up of the day. Elaine has been very fortunate to have been granted a place in this years BUPA Great North Run. My wife is what I would call a serious, casual runner. You know what I mean, she doesn’t go running twice a day and spend 32.5 hours in the gym and she doesn’t need a rub down from a bronzed Italian masseuse afterwards. Elaine runs to a plan; she has a set routine in place for the countdown to the GNR and she’s sticking too it. I have to give her credit as her running is something that has evolved over the last few years and I am extremely proud of her. I never thought I would see someone diagnosed with Asthma run the way she does.  Anyway, before I set off to meet Lee this morning Elaine informed me that she was going running. Now, I don’t have the best memory in the world, but it might have helped if I had listened instead of drifting off in to Winterbourne-Land and thinking of aviation and photography. Half an hour in to my photography I received an email on my phone asking for further details regarding an issue I had with a website I am looking after. Now I knew these details were on my desk at home and instead of being patient and waiting until I actually got home, I did what I always do and ring my beautiful wife, only this time Elaine was 5 miles from home and half way through her training plan.The  only way of answering the phone was to stop her in-ear coach and take my call. Well, I didn’t know did I? I should have listened. I actually rang twice, because she didn’t answer first time which I think made things worse. When I finally did get to talk to her I found out that I wasnt the only one that had rung and I was reliably informed that her morning run was crumbling beneath her feet. I’m truly sorry Elaine……lol 🙂

On to the important bits…. My great friend Lee Pirie, (before you go any further please have a read of Lee’s Bio here because this guy is the salt of the earth and what you would call a real true friend. You know what I mean, someone who would do anything for you and you would do the same back ). Lee loves his photography just like me and with the weather being so nice it was an ideal opportunity to get up to the airport. Lee expressed his desire to get some photographs of this mornings Thomson Holidays flight as it departed. So that was it, the stage was set. Cloudless skies, wall to wall blue and sunshine..yeehaa..a photographers best friend. In winter the sun rises almost in the south-east and this leaves a bit of a problem at Leeds Bradford Airport as it means shooting in to the sun. Who cares !! this is No Rules No Limits Photography … so we did.


Jet2 Boeing 737 departing Leeds Bradford Airport

As you can see from the shot above, the images do require a little bit of attention once you get them in to the computer. But they do give an impression of what it was like. I really like seeing the heat from the back of the engines in shots like this, it really provides atmosphere. We arrived at the end of the runway just in time for the Thomson flight and with the view down the runway looking direct in to the morning sun it was going to be a similar effort to the one above.

Thomson Boeing 757 rotating off runway 32 at Leeds Bradford Airport

Thomson Boeing 757 rotating off runway 32 at Leeds Bradford Airport

It was, in fact it was almost an exact replica. What happened next was very strange and it took a couple of minutes to sink in what had actually happened. As the aircraft passed overhead and climbed in to the Yorkshire sky it started to snow. Seriously. Lee and I looked at each other in disbelief. There were no clouds and the sun was shining.  You could see the snow, feel the snow it was very strange. Before I had time to take it in, it had stopped. The only explanation I could muster up was that it had blown off the wings of the departing 757 and it was actually small ice crystals and not snow. Who knows.

It was a slow morning  at Leeds as aircraft movements were limited but we had a great time and I managed to tap off just under a hundred frames. It was also great to catch up with Lee again, I am just hoping it wont be as long before we get together again. Thanks Lee.

On a final note….Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today…..


Leeds Bradford Airport | 27th February 2013

93-0701G-CGNPG-CGNP93-0701Sunset | Yeadon - 27th February 2013Sunset | Yeadon - 27th February 2013

The photos from todays little “muddy” jaunt to the airport. The last two images are of this evenings gorgeous sunset and afterglow. Thanks for looking

Back in the saddle…

If it hadn’t been so cold this morning then you could have almost imagined it was spring. The sun was making an appearance and I almost questioned whether it would have been worth getting up to see the sunrise. Sadly not quite. After a home breakfast Elaine and I decided to break from routine and nip over to Golden Acre Park . After a very slow wander around the park lake we decided we would stop at the cafe for a quick coffee. No word of a lie, it was really warm sat in the sun and the coffee and scone tasted sublime. Why is that? Why does food always taste different outside? Strange isn’t it. The birds in and around the park are quite tame as they are used to human interaction and it’s quite easy to get good photographs from the cafe terrace. Today I refrained from taking the camera as a stroll was in order. I have had plenty of images from the cafe terrace over the years and today would have been ideal


opportunity for some more of the same. I sat down with Elaine and it was actually warm, the sun was cutting through the air and it actually felt warm. We had a little visitor join us for coffee, a Robin. Not having the camera to hand I missed the opportunity so I have supplied you with a picture from a couple of years ago to give you an idea of the proximity of the birds to the cafe. The coffee and scone were lovely and we headed back to the car for the  short ride home.

Over the winter months my aviation photography has been put on a back burner and apart from a couple of visits down south and last weeks trip to Lincolnshire thats been about it. Adrian texted me this morning informing me of an unusual visitor at the airport. So off we head in beautiful sunshine the 800 metres from home to the airport. The primary reason for todays visit was to see a rather rare visitor to Leeds Bradford Airport. The aircraft in question actually visited the airport on the 14th of this month and I was unavoidably detained elsewhere so missed the opportunity to grab a shot. The aircraft is a United States Army Beech RC-12Q a later variation of the RC-12D. The Beech RC-12D was an adaptation of the business class Super King Air 200B and replaced the earlier version designated as the Beech RU21HA large number of these aircraft were acquired by the US Army and deployed with various elements of the Army Security Agency (ASA) for battlefield electronic reconnaissance. The aircraft are used for COMINT and D/F duties and are equipped with the fully automated ‘Guardrail V’ system which relays data to ground stations via a data-link. The aircraft also carries an ECM system.The latest version, the RC-12Q, introduces a satellite relay function between participating ‘Guardrail’ units. Operating as a ‘mother ship’ to surrounding RC-12P aircraft, the RC-12Q receives data from the other aircraft and, together with it’s own data, relays it via satellite to a ground station where operators remotely control the aircraft’s bank of receivers. The ground operators can also uplink flight path and frequency changes to the aircraft – very little processing is carried out on the aircraft. A crew of 2 pilots flies the aircraft which have frequently been deployed to areas of conflict, such as Kosovo. Around 60 RC-12’s have been delivered to the US Army over the years. A photo of the RC-12Q is shown. I will post a link to todays images shortly.

I managed to grab a handful of images including a shot of a British Airways Airbus departing for Heathrow. The significance is? I hear you ask….is, well…the last time I photographed a British Airways aircraft at Leeds Bradford Airport was the 4th of November 1984 when the inaugural 747 flights used the new runway extension for the first time. You can view a set showing the 747’s on my Flickr pages here . Apart from a few diversions from Manchester over the years I still havent managed to grab a decent shot. So when the service was announced back in June last year I made a point to visit the airport from December onwards and grab a few frames. We havent had the best of weather over the last two months and today was an ideal first opportunity.

As you know, I have a passion for low light photography and sunsets. Whilst sat here typing my blog I can see the setting sun; I stared and just watched the colour emerge from the horizon. It was totally unexpected as it looked way too hazy in the distance for anything spectacular to happen. The glow just became more and more solid orange. With no time to dash off anywhere I resorted to standing at the window and making the best of the foreground to emphasize the colour. I will leave you for today with a shot of the last light of the day. Be safe people. Thanks for reading.


Pigs in the mud cake…(just had to post this)



You will need:
– A biscuit/cake of 20 cm (self-baking cake and some stores sell them plain)
– 2 x large bar of milk chocolate 200 gram
– 1 Cup (250 ml) whipped cream
– Filling for the cake of your choice ( a layer of jam / tart fruit and a layer of pastry cream, whipped cream or butter cream.
– 3 x a five-pack KitKat
– 1 packet (250 gram) light pink marzipan
– Cake saw or large knife
– Skewer (for the pig eyes)
– Ribbon
– Flat board or plank to the cake to set

In advance you already prepare the pigs, there’s no real method … just a bit like sculpting in elementary school once

Pour the cream into a saucepan and place over low heat.
Continue stirring until almost boiling.
Meanwhile, the bar of chocolate into cubes break.
If the cream almost boiling turn off the heat and stir in chocolate the cubes
Stir until you have a smooth mixture.
Let this cool and thicken and occasionally stirring (takes a while).

In the meantime you take your already baked biscuit and cut it in 2 layers and fill with your filling of choice.
Keep your cake on a bread board or other surface so you can easily rotate because smear the sides, is a nice mess
Break the kitkats already in 2 and put them ready.
Look how thick the chocolate mixture is, when he is about as thick as custard you can smear the sides of the biscuits/cake
Use a spatula or just the back side of a knife.

If you have the whole cake smeared around you can stick the kitkats.
This is a difficult job, the kitkats sometime will not stick and fall occasionally.
Put them a little slanted so they lean against your cake.
If they were all sitting around you quickly do a ribbon around it and put them all pretty straight.

The rest of the chocolate mixture, you just pour this on top of the cake.
Please note, when it is too thin it goes through the kitkats wall!!!!

Then you put the pigs in the still soft chocolate and put in the fridge.

After an hour
you can put cake on a beautiful plate and serve, enjoy!

The Faces of Me….

I saw this on the wall of the Oncology Centre at St James Hospital, Leeds.
I took a photo with my phone and recreated it for my blog.

Draw me with a happy face
a first prize
a big surprise
a favourite seat
a chocolate treat
kind of facehappyDraw me with a sad face
a lovely lost pet

a dad I never met
a granny’s chair
something not fair
kind of face
sadDraw me with a fearful face

a noise in the dark
a bully in the park
a really bad mood
smelly noxious food
kind of face
fearDraw me with a bored face
a monday morning
great big yawning
a couldn’t care less
if I make a mess
kind of face
boredWhich face is my face?

I must face the truth

A poem by Les Baynton

Where did the weekend go? … in Gigabytes

The last few days have been manic. That’s a statement by the way. Photographically I’ve not had a lot to do until I was invited along by my very close friends at Cancer Support Bradford & Airedale  to take some shots at their latest event “The BIG BREW”. These guys are just the best and I have no hesitation in saying that they are the salt of the earth. Cancer Support Bradford & Airedale is a local independent charity established in 1988. They are unique and provide face-to-face support services and are the only charity of their kind in West Yorkshire. logo I don’t want to name individuals, but you know who you are…I find it an absolute honour to help these guys out in every which way I can. The Big Brew event runs from Friday, 1 until Sunday, 31 March. The initiative is a chance for people and groups to host their own coffee mornings, afternoon teas, cake sales and workplace events to raise money for the charity. The Lady Mayoress, Mrs Margaret Smith, launched the event at Bradford Town Hall on Saturday. A handful of the Bradford Bulls players were also in attendance for the opening and I sat down with the guys for a chat.tn_076CSBA_MW_220213 I had a nice chat with the Lady Mayoress despite forgetting how to address her correctly when ordering her around for photographs. I don’t think she minded been called ma’am and I am confident she didn’t find it an insult in any way. If I never get invited back that could be one of the reasons.

Drifting off topic slightly and leaning back towards photography….I tried something a little different whilst at the event. As you will know from my Flickr photographs I love doing photo-stitches and I have a whole set dedicated to them here  … These stitches are quite easy to do when you have a landscape or a sunset…I am sure you know what I mean, when you have a static subject. The job of obtaining one of these takes on a whole new meaning when you have a moving target, let alone two dozen of them. Anyway, I tried it by handholding the camera and moving around in a rotating motion. One of two of them contain people moving slightly but I am sure you will agree the one I am showing you looks perfectly acceptable. By the way, if you fancy a go at doing stitches there is a post I wrote here tn_034CSBA_MW_220213

The Bradford Bulls players were a good laugh, I chatted with them during shoot and also sat with them for a cuppa and laugh or two. Overall, during the time I spent at The Big Brew the whole event was going down a treat and I am sure all the staff at Cancer Support Bradford & Airedale will announce it a success.

A very kind old school mate dropped me a line a couple of weeks ago via that loathed social network site Facebook.  She very kindly asked if I could make use of a couple of external computer hard drives. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth I snapped up that offer as I am forever running out of storage space. Saturday afternoon I met up with her and collected the said hard drives. Well to say the least, they were a life saver. The average RAW file from either of my cameras is about twenty megabytes and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that 30,000 images a year over 5 years is quite taxing on a single PC hard drive. So began the mass exodus of camera files from my PC to the new externals…..and they were filled in a matter of hours.

I assume every photographer has a system when it comes to backing up and keeping things “just-in-case”. You know, the typical scenario when you have edited your raw images from a weekend away; you delete the originals by mistake or they become corrupted and all you are left with is a 1200 x 800 72ppi jpeg file that is only any use as an internet based image. And what happens next… you receive an email from a top London Agency asking for a full size, high-resolution version and they are willing to pay a high price for it. Before you think any further let me tell you something; This happened to me ! With a small file like the (1200×800 @72ppi) you have no chance of doing anything with it in print and its only use is on the internet and that’s about your limit. So the lesson learned here is to back up and archive which is exactly where I am now. Ready to back up 2012.

At the start of 2009 I was just about to start backing up my 2008 images when the external hard drive that stored all the RAW files suddenly decided to stop. Just like that! I went round the back of the PC and removed the USB lead and unplugged the power lead and transformer from the mains. I tried the drive in my laptop and no joy. What I did next was a mistake of mammoth proportions. What I should have done was open the hard drive case  and remove the actual hard drive inside-of-drive-2which actually is a very easy task. Had I done this, I could have inserted the drive in to my PC either by opening up the case and screwing it to a hard disk bay then connecting it up or by temporarily connecting it internally and then transferring all my files. Instead, I looked at the power supply transformer and what sprung to mind was “Ah..Ive got one of those in my OED” … (O..E.D by the way is my “odds and ends drawer” ) and lo and behold I did. So I connected it up, inserted the USB lead in to the PC, switched on the hard drive at the mains and POWWWWW !!! Thousands of raw files gone in 2 seconds. I then opened the case and was greeted with an insulting puff of smoke that dissipated before my eye. It looked like a scene from Harry Potter. I seem to recall a plaintiff giggle coming from somewhere in the house but this cannot be verified for fear of the repercussions. I estimated that the total loss was about 16,000 images and this was quite upsetting to say the least. The proof is in the pudding as they say, you only need to look at my Flickr pages for 2008 at you will note that only 72 images exist for that year.

So was the lesson learned. Absolutely, of course it was. Anything you love….. BACK IT UP !!!
And on that note, I will leave you as I am off to back up my Wife & Kids….as I love them to bit.

The Pixel Doctor

Over the years I have gained a lot of experience taking photographs. From location photography to studio shoots; from football matches to weddings and still life to medical injuries. I have done it. As time moves on my passion for this hobby never fades. A few years ago I decided to change my way of thinking and put my knowledge to good use by teaching photography at a local school. Things moved on from this as local groups and societies invited me to do presentations and tutorials on photography and Photoshop.

In the last few months I have had countless people from friends and family to strangers I have met out on location telling me “Why don’t you go out and teach this….use your knowledge”. This is where “The Pixel Doctor” comes in. Yesterday, in light of three enquiries in one day I set up The Pixel Doctor. If you click the image below it will take you to the Pixel Doctor Blog Page


In today’s world social media plays such an important part of our lives. I decided to set up relevant accounts in Twitter and Facebook for the Pixel Doctor. Links for these are shown below.


So what is the Pixel Doctor all about?

Well, is there anything you wished you could do with your images but dont know how?

Would you like to take better photographs?

Do you need inspiration or lack ideas?

Or even learn how to use Photoshop?

Learn how to see with an image in mind?

Image Composition

Discover Camera Controls

Working with light

Well the Pixel Doctor can help ….so go one then, why not drop me a line

Lincolnshire | Tornado’s, Typhoons & A very early lunch | The Photos


Some images relating to my earlier post. Enjoy, as always comments welcome

Who Am I? By Faigie Rabin

marty-rathbun-who-am-iWho am I
A Poem by Faigie Rabin

Who am I you may well ask
I really wish I knew
If I am not myself at all
Then maybe I am you
To discover who I really am
Is really quite a task
Maybe I am someone else
Who wears a funny mask
I strive so hard to know myself
To discover the “real me”
My thoughts and feelings all confused
Yet still I cannot see
What makes me tick?
What makes me feel?
So very special and unique
My purpose in this glorious world
Is what I truly seek
I wish I could be creative, self confident and smart
Not quiet, shy and insecure
Emotional at heart
I wish I had the confidence to say what I really feel
Instead of fearing criticism
Uttering words that seem unreal
Why at times do I feel so alone
And just yearn for a friendly face
While at others I just long to be
In some far off distant place
With no one else to bother me
And disturb my rambling thoughts,
Until my conscience brings me back
To do the things I ought
And so I continue on my way
On this journey they call life
I try to do the best I can
Though at times the goings tough
I’ll do my part to refine the world
And make it a better place
By being “me” to my capacity
With each trial I have to face

My Photos on Flickr Explore

Sunset - Haverigg | 28th July 2012 [explored]The Deep | Detail [explored#388]Pier-side | Hull [explored]Yeadon Tarn | Stormy Skies [explored]Black Eagles T-50 [explored]Yeadon Cemetery Ver.2 [Explored]
Silecroft Sunset | Letterbox Crop Versions [Explored]Henley-on-Thames | Jubilee [Explored]River Lazy | From the beach [Explored #492]Beach View [explored #311]Eggborough Power Station [Explored]The Frecce Tricolori [Explored]
Yeadon Saling Club [explored]Power [explored#495]Tarnfield Park [explored]Tarnfield Park [explored#4]LY-COM [explored]Mute Swan [explored #317]
G-TCDA [explored #482]G-LNKS [explored #363]A6-EDU [explored#90]A6-AFB [explored#412]AP-BID [explored#416]Heathrow Heron [explored#310]

My Photos on Explore, a set on Flickr.

Well, a nice surprise this evening. Another image selected for Flickr’s unexplained “explore page”

What is it?

Flickr has many unique features and applications that can help you easily locate interesting photographs and images, including the feature Flickr Explore. This feature not only gives you a look at pictures recently posted to the site, but also tracks what it deems the most interesting pictures that have been posted since August 2004. For people who want a visually stimulating array of pictures, Flickr Explore will provide a diverse range of subjects.

How Flickr Chooses Explore Photos

Flickr Explore relies on an impartial judge to distinguish which photos on the site are the most “interesting.” A complex algorithm calculates something Flickr calls “interestingness.” Photos are picked based on many different aspects, like number of times the pictures appears on users’s Favorites, times a picture is saved or downloaded, captions and comments associated with the picture and the number of times a photo is viewed. Throughout the day, the algorithm runs, taking into account all new pictures added since midnight Pacific Standard Time that morning.

Flickr ensures that everyone has a chance to be displayed on Explore by occasionally changing the factors used in the algorithm. By changing the algorithm, Flickr can vary the types of pictures and artists that appear on Explore. Some other aspects Flickr has changed include increasing the number of pictures featured from 50 to 500, and the calendar view was not part of the original version. If you want to increase your chances of getting a picture in the top 500, do not add the picture to many different groups, this will actually hurt your chances of being chosen.

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