Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Night shots winding down and a Chevrolet Camaro V8 USA

I’ve always like night shots, from my early B&W film work which often fooled people as it could look like daytime shooting (until I pointed out the various anomalies), through the frustrations of poison yellow views captured under sodium street-lighting, to the joy of shooting hand-held night shots that genuinely look like daytime shots (again until anomalies are noted) thanks to the arrival of white LED street lights. The latter also being made possible by some amazing sensors in dSLRs combined with finding the right setting to go along with them.

I’d become so used to setting up for these shots that I’d almost forgotten how to cope with variations!

When I had to shoot both with a new (or at least seldom used long) lens recently, and under the dreaded sodium street lighting, all I got at first was yellow mush as the autofocus refused to kick in, the shots wanted so much exposure the anti-shake couldn’t cope, then the digital noise was so bad I thought I’d broken something. But, after a moment’s panic, I was able to restore at least reasonable and get the pics I wanted.

It was nice to get back to ‘normal’ night shot settings, which are almost point-and-shoot when correctly configured, and a far cry from the old days when working with film usually meant long exposures of many seconds, sometimes even more than the usual 30 second maximum provided.

This all came to mind as I was processing the pic below, which (need I say) was only caught because I could grab the shot in less than a second (before the subject sped off) hand-held, and did NOT need the long exposure and tripod, or some other fixed support, to allow the exposure film demanded.

Our new toys also mean we are spared the odd colour-shifts that could come with some films, and the grain of 400 or 800 ASA stock.

I couldn’t dredge up a quick set of details for this one, make no claims to be an expert, so can only guess it is a Chevrolet Camaro dating from around 2010 – and those rear lights came out rather nicely… two pairs of glasses!

Spot the almost cheeky grin formed in a reflection below the ‘pair’ on the right.

Chevrolet Camaro

Chevrolet Camaro


Deal with it

March 27, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The neglected car themed bike racks of Cambuslang

Technically, this is an old pic, but a recent wander that went through the main street of Cambuslang showed that sadly, things look just the same now as the did some time ago.

While these look like some sort of interesting street art, it seems these actually fall under the category of ‘street furniture’, and are bike racks.

I’ve never seen a bike chained to one in any of my visits. But I have seen the large commercial bins leaning against them, one per side and hiding the rack entirely.

The sad thing notable in evening visits is that while these racks once sported a pair of up-lighters to highlight their appearance, these have been neglected, and of the five racks (ten lights) only ONE is still working today.

Guess I’ll just have to keep watching, and see if the last light goes out, never to to be lit again, or if they’re ever renewed – some nice long-lasting low power LEDs would do the job nicely now, and need little or no maintenance for years.

Cambuslang bike racks

Cambuslang bike racks

March 26, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder


From my collection of shop shutter murals, evidence that (L.A.) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that pink is the order of the day along this part of Shettleston Road.

In case you hadn’t noticed, this shop front is… PINK!

LA Beauty

LA Beauty

When I pass every day, I can’t help seeing…

Patrick Star

Patrick Star

I’m biased, but I preferred it when this shop was a butcher’s shop.

That was notable for the time a little black kitten was resident, which all the customers loved to visit.

All but one that is.

And the kitten had to go after someone registered an official complaint with the authorities about its presence in the shop.

March 25, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The illegals – LE13 GHG

Having seen the zeal with which the English Police Interceptors (seen on TV) seem to pull over illegally formed registrations/number plates, it seems very much to a casual observer that Police Scotland don’t see this as an offence worth dealing with on this side of the border.

I have a little collection of such plates, so might as well share.

Vauxhall Adam Jam – I have to confess I’d never even heard of this until I checked the correct format of the registration number.

Illegal spacing:

Vauxhall Adam Jam

Vauxhall Adam Jam [LE13 GHG]

March 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Mountain bike mural

I seem to have collected a range of murals spotted while wandering around various places, and should really give them a mention.

I don’t mean the grand offerings now being given publicity and turned into tourist trails in the city, but simpler offerings just intended to brighten up local areas.

This one’s on the side of a container alongside a play area in Barlanark.

MTB container mural

MTB container mural

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

I used to be a nice house

I have to confess to forgetting I had this pic, and must have caught by chance when out wandering, as I barely recognised it when I came across it this morning.

It’s actually one I mentioned recently, today made inaccessible with chained fencing and overgrown trees and bushes left around it, but was at least approachable last year. The irony of things is that I’d probably have got hassle, or even a visit from the police if I’d gone further as it is overlooked and open to view from neighbouring properties (or was until the fence and overgrown garden hid it), yet the vandals that visit at night get ‘free access’ to do as they please. I get chased for just wanting to take a few pics – they get all the time they want to party, and then set fire.

While it’s now burnt out, trashed, and probably been left structurally insecure due to fire damage of the interior, based on a broadly similar house I know someone sold not too long ago (and bearing in mind that unknown features can significantly alter base value), it would probably be on the books for ‘Offers over £2oo k’ at an average guess, at the moment.

As it is, the value is probably now just that of the plot, unless somebody had deep pockets and didn’t care how much they threw at it to recover it, not impossible, just expensive.

I used to wonder how houses ended up like this.

Now I know it’s often the result of a family disaster or tragedy, or some sort of failure, eg business.

Derelict House


March 22, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

How to collect TWO personalised registrations at once

I don’t always trust my eyes, and there’s little point in me claiming any great abilities as regards my memory.

But I thought both had joined forces one day, and were conspiring to make sure I lost whatever little faith I might place in them.

I’d wandered past some road works and noticed the number plates on one of the lorries, and made a mental note to catch a pic on my way back.

On my way back…

Well, I’ll let the pics tell the story, and explain why I thought my eye/memory were playing tricks.

Looking good on the approach, and an interesting number:

Daldowie Trailer EEZ 2227

Daldowie Trailer

A little further on:

Daldowie Lorry RHZ 1622

Daldowie Lorry


March 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Spring snow

You have to love Scottish weather (and Canadian, from other tales I’ve been told recently), it never disappoints, unless you’re a Sun-worshipper. In that case, you really would be better off somewhere else.

March 21 is by no means ‘late’ for snow here, the latest date I can recall for sure is April 1 (seriously), but I’m sure that’s not the latest.

This morning’s view was no great surprise as I’d heard the noise that snow makes against the window during the night, and the temp had fallen from 10° C to 1° C and was still falling, but I was surprised by just how much was lying, given the previous ‘warm’ days.

I grabbed a quick pic with a couple of shaped trees that almost looked like Christmas trees with the snow lying on them, still snowing too.

Almost hard to believe it was only a couple of days ago I was enjoying a walk in the same place, having left off my winter protection yet still finding I was too warm and breaking sweat, and wondering how on earth the folk who were STILL wrapped up in heavy jackets, scarves, boots, gloves, and woolly hats were able to stand the heat, or if they were ‘cold-blooded’.

I find them as puzzling as the macho-males I also see in this weather, clad only in t-shirt, shorts, and trainers – apparently more interested in showing off their horrible hairy leg tattoos than staying warm. Clearly Scottish males wanting to get their money’s worth!

March 21 snow

March 21 snow


The temperature’s been unable to creep past 7° C today, but the snow didn’t last for more than a few hours.

All gone, and although it doesn’t show up in the second pic, there is actually a watery Sun shining on this later view:

March 21 no snow

March 21 no snow

March 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Poundworld’s first real failure

Overall, I’m usually happy enough with most items I buy from the various ‘Pound shops’, and judge them from a realistic point of view given the price… £1.

But the one pictured below was a near total failure, and I have to get the disappointment out of my system.

I do a lot of walking and clock up 12 miles or so without realising it (and didn’t know this until I strapped on a GPS watch recently) and that get boosted with some running too. I don’t have any foot problems as a little care goes a long way, but some of my ‘tools’ are wearing out, so I thought I’d add some newer items when I spotted then in Poundworld (and that is specific, not a generalisation).

As you’ll see, for the grand total of £1 I got 4 new ‘tools’: an end operating nail-clipper; a side operating nail clipper, a hard skin remover or file; and a metal nail file.

The two nail clippers probably work, but their cutting edges are just ground into the bare metal, and were left with the resultant burrs still attached. I can’t use them for their supposed purpose as they are the wrong shape to fit curved human finger or toe nails – their cutting edges close to form a straight edge and and that hurts as they flatten the nail before they actually clip. Good for the tool box though, and clipping soft copper wire from the back of PCBs.

The hard skin remover… politely described as ‘blunt’. You might abrade some hard skin with it if you persevered, provide you did not fall asleep or die of old age first!

The most appalling was the supposedly metal file.

I’ve angled it (ironically, using a £1 coin) to highlight the contrast between what was assumed to be the dull abrasive surface… and a couple of shiny areas that appeared after I tried filing a nail with it. Instead of the nail being worn away – the abrasive surface ‘disappeared’ as it was scraped of the metal backing by the fingernail.

Far from being an abrasive surface finish, it seems to be nothing more than a soft coating that LOOKS like a roughened metal surface, and metal below is actually smooth and shiny.

Seriously Poundworld?

I’m hardly going to travel back and complain, but this is fairy cynical junk, and some might even call it a ‘con’, aimed at silly wee teenage girls who would know little better, and might think this is ‘normal’.

Poundworld pedicure set

Poundworld pedicure set


March 20, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Living life in the fast lane

Although there are quite a few charity and hospice shops around, and I do look in the windows, there’s seldom anything of real interest to be seen.

As a latent hoarder whose largely managed to avoid the affliction taking hold, I’ve probably got a house already containing anything that’s on offer.

But I did spot one little gem recently, and ran in to snap him up.

Garfield Skateboarder

Garfield Skateboarder

It hadn’t occurred to me at the time I took the pic, but I later realised that the elasticated ‘things’ around his ankles were actually his skateboarding kneepads (the ‘pads’ are actually hidden from sight, around the back of his legs – that was the way he came), and later views show him more properly attired.

March 20, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Diesel diver

Given what we have learnt about the cover-up of diesel emissions by Volkswagen, and the now-foolish government backed promotion of small diesels in Europe, I’d be wishing my Volkswagen diesel would turn into a sub and dive out of sight.

But then again, again from driving company diesels, I never understood the attraction, even on an economic basis.

The cars were (so I was told back in the day) priced above the same petrol car, since the diesel engine had to be engineered to take the extra stresses imposed by diesel operation.

And there seemed to be no saving in fuel costs, as diesel fuel came to be priced at least 10% more than petrol, so the legendary 10% mileage advantage seemed to be yet another fantasy, or lie.

Regardless, I spotted a nice registration number recently, and one that didn’t ring any bells either, so is rare on my wanderings. A 2016  Volkswagen Tiguan Match.

Volkswagen Tiguan Match 2016

Volkswagen Tiguan Match 2016

March 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: