Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The lost projects of 2009

I suppose I could write this blog entry every year, but this seem to be the first time I’ve consciously had to make the decision to forget numerous ideas that I had set to one side, intending to pick them up in a few days or weeks time, after dealing with more important matters.

Some have lapsed simply because they weren’t particularly interesting, or well thought out, so had little future, and this is something to be expected. With staff, these can be farmed out together with orders and instructions for their completion, but when there’s only one of you, that’s not an option.

There is an upside, and in many cases the subject is not time dependent, and can be resurrected at some later date, and maybe even receive better treatment, as new information becomes available.

On the downside, developments may overtake things, as happened in the following example, where the CCTV explosion meant that an article which began with, at most, a few dozen subjects (the cameras), ended up with well over a hundred, and simply became impractical.

A case in point

One in particular has stuck with me, because it was a bit of a favourite I had been looking forward to completing, but the sheer amount of time needed to complete it meant it became impractical and would never be seen. However,  the reason for its demise is still worth thinking about (for a few minutes, at least).

As I walk to and fro from the two main shopping centres I use, I had come to notice that the number of CCTV cameras had steadily grown, and included both public and private installations, and these contained various qualities of camera, from the cheap and cheerful, to the fully automated pan, tilt, and zoom types. The original plan had just been to collect pics of all the cameras on the route – a total of some seven or eight miles – and post them all online in the order they were encountered, together with any relevant notes.

This started out on a fairly casual basis over a period of weeks, and became extended when I realised that it was easy to miss one camera while studying another, and I found I had to repeat the exercise a few times in order to mop up those that had been missed on earlier walks. This was the fatal flaw, and over that time I found that not only were cameras being added, others were being removed, so I was aiming at a moving target.

The real killer was when I sat down one evening and flicked through the collection in order to see how the cameras could best be picked out and displayed, and how many of them merited some sort of comment. After the revisits and updates, I found that the number of pics had passed the one hundred mark, and many of these contained more than one camera if a commercial site had been picture. Had I been merely uploading to pics to something like Flickr then there would have been little problem, but also little explanation along with the pics. When I did the math, and worked out the time to edit the pics for use, correct the exposure in cases where the cameras were mounted in places with poor lighting, assembled them into some sort of relevant order, added text, error-checked, proof-read, etc, etc, etc, this turned into a mini-marathon, and i could have written a book in the time this exercise would have taken to complete.

So, it’s never going to happen, but on the other hand, I do have a fairly complete collection of all the CCTV cameras on the main road through the east end of Glasgow, as seen in 2009.

One of the surprises encountered during the exercise was the disappearance of the rather interesting camera pictured below. This one was notable because it used two separate cameras modules within the one body. For some reason, I could never get a sharp picture of this one, which needed x15 zoom even to catch the detail shown, and even this is cropped from a much larger original. My camera would variously refuse to lock focus, lock but focus poorly (as seen here), and on one occasion insisted on steaming up every time I held it (but it was the middle of winter on that day). After getting home on numerous occasion to find the pic next to useless, I thought this one was jinxed, and I would never capture it.

Clydebridge CCTV camera

These cameras came in various combinations for security use, generally having a low-light or infra-red camera combined with a normal black and white, or colour model, among the various options. Without more detail available, I’m guessing the area around the lenses looks like an infra-red illuminator, to assist with night use. I was going to try something better to get a closer look, but as it’s gone now, that won’t happen.


June 11, 2010 Posted by | Lost, Site News | , , , | Leave a comment


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