End of the dSLR – and a technical video expands my recent thoughts on image processing

I was lucky enough to have a more technical video fed to me regarding the amount of processing (and sensor development) in mobile phones, which obviously feeds through to conventional digital cameras and the rapidly emerging high resolution video camcorders that use similar tiny image sensors. This really has become a convergent technology, and which is impacting developments.

The first video I’m including confirms something I’ve been expecting for some time, the end of new dSLR development by Nikon and Canon. NOT to be taken as the end of dSLRs as such, as the existing production will carry on for some time, as mirrorless etc still suffers some disadvantages, but these are being addressed, although it’s likely some can’t be resolved completely. However, the advantages of mirrorless are just going to grow, although I suspect the usual diehards will still preach gloom and doom, and will be happy being sad for years to come.

The other thud on my desktop was notification of a video that put some more technical meat on the bones of a post I made a while ago, where I drew attention to the ridiculous improvement in high resolution and low light video I was watching online, with video that needed no real effort to shoot, yet was producing stunning quality from low light night scenes.

Although this video is directed towards cameras in mobile phones, as I already noted, this is convergent technology now, and all the developments are being used throughout the imaging industry.

I wouldn’t be so bold as predict, or even suggest this heralds the end of the digital camera – I’m reasonably sure it will be a long time before people who want a camera they can control are no more – but change is coming again, just as it did when analogue cameras using film eventually went away. There’s still the vinyl record lovers who apparently can’t hear clicks and scratches, and some people still like to brew up various chemical baths before seeing their pics (if they don’t make a mistake).

I’m not knocking anybody, and I’d suggest we need to be aware of all tech, old and new, as it’s always a potential source of inspiration for the next step.

It’s just occurred to me that I have a camera (ie not a mobile phone camera – I don’t even have a mobile) which already has this tech built in. I never remember to use it (and there’s the hassle too), but it has something called Post Focus. Activate this, take a pic, and you can move the focus anywhere from the front to the rear of the scene, and pic the point which you want the focus to be set on. Even when I remember to use it, I forget I’ve used it, and trash the special image file this type of shot is stored in.

I should try to remember. Maybe one day.

I’m just glad I bought a decent little dSLR last time I splashed out, and that there were no significant improvements in the following years. I’d actually been wondering if/when the manufacturer was going to come up with a surprise (other than mirrorless), but now why there was nothing (other than fancier or more expensive) even hinted at.

I REALLY screwed up just before digital arrived, and bought an expensive analogue/film SLR body because it had so many practical features for adjusting exposure, and had just been discontinued (I tracked down two in Glasgow, after considerable effort).

I came to regret that purchase – Firstly because I hardly got a chance to use it, and secondly, because it got so little use, the shutter release became unreliable, and often wouldn’t fire.

That said, I suspect ALL my SLRs (that I kept) are probably the same now, and would not work unless serviced.

The advert free old Shawfield entrance pic I promised

After taking the first pics of the original Shawfield stadium entrance recently, and finding my eyes offended by the amount of disgusting advertising applied to it, I did promise/threaten to get some better views.

That wasn’t solely a function of the advertising vandals, but also necessary thanks to the odd angle I thought the pics had to be taken at, thanks to the assorted street furniture which prevented a clear shot from being taken.

When I returned, I was pleased to find that the entire facade could be captured using a wide angle lens, as opposed to a very wide angle lens, as this minimised potential distortion.

This was fortunate, as I found the alternative of taking a number of shots and stitching them together didn’t work very well, as that street furniture limited the possible views, and led to terrible distortion, and very poor stitch quality as the angles were so disparate, I was surprised the software even stitched the views, as the edges and overlaps were so different.

I wonder if the companies placing those adverts have actually paid the stadium owners for the space, or are just common thieves, and have stolen the space?

Pics taken, the next problem was getting rid of the massive adverts, which I obviously can’t show you, since the object of this exercise was to remove them from view.

I didn’t realise just how badly out of practice I was at this sort of editing, as I mostly just tweak photos to make them look better, and correct perspective distortion and similar.

I did eventually find a suitable tool in my collection, although I SHOULD have been using layers and masks (note to self – must do refresher course).

I had to recreate almost 1/3 of the facade, and fill in the former gate area with bricks  –  unfortunately only learning that this obvious closure was in fact WRONG, and the opening had been covered with horizontal metal shuttering (until a billboard was stuck over it).

Well, it was too late, and it’s a terrible piece of retouching, but it’s all I’ve got.

Old Shawfield Entrance Edit Version

Old Shawfield Entrance Edit Version

I noticed there were still a few original details hanging from the brickwork, so took a few closer shots of those, since they’re bound to disappear eventually.

These were masts with pairs of triple circular details located towards their lower end, and still carrying old floodlight housings, which would have lit the approach t the entrance, sadly slowly decaying

This geometric form was quite common in the days of Art Deco decoration, and seen on many building of the period.

It wasn’t uncommon for flagpoles on buildings to receive a similar treatment around their fixing points, but these masts seem to be purely decorative, being a little short for flagpoles, and (as far as I can see), having no remaining features suggesting the presence of any of the hardware needed to raise and lower a flag.

Shawfield Masts Above Entrance

Shawfield Masts Above Entrance

Just for fun, I thought there should be oblique views too.

Shawfield Obliques

Shawfield Obliques

The details needed a closer look.

Remarkably, the cables for those light fitting are still hanging down from their fittings.

Shawfield Stadium Detail Above Entrance

Shawfield Stadium Detail Above Entrance

While this was an active entrance in the stadium’s past, it’s been unused for as long as I can remember, and glancing at the area behind (by virtue of breaks in the wall and old gates), this is now a wooded area, completely overgrown with mature trees and other greenery.

Looking at aerial images confirm this finding, as such images show nothing by trees covering the entirety of the triangular northern corner of the site,

As I was looking around for some period pics, I discovered that the stadium was featured in the news (on Scottish TV). The info I found was undated, but I’m taking a chance and guessing this was some time around 1990, and was speculating that the departure of a football team based there meant the stadium was up for sale, and the owners were going to sell it to developers, for demolition so that houses could be built on the cleared site.

Obviously, yet another highly accurate prediction by journalists (more interested in getting attention than reporting facts), as the stadium still stands there.

I even noted it was still hosting doggie events back in 2019.

That said, although I can find a website online, I can’t see any events listed, and it will have been out of action for the past two years as a result of the various COVID-19 restrictions.


WOW! Big changes at The Tur(d)

Last time I passed through Cuningar Loop Woodland Park, I was a bit surprised to see The Tur(d) didn’t seem to have made a lot of progress.

And I am fair, and point out that there is a good deal of work going on almost out of site, installing a new boardwalk and access route to it and, although unrelated, there is also work progressing on the expansion of the park, and development of nearby features.

That said, I was surprised at the amount of visible change on this feature when I took a run through the park last night.

The bare wood appearance has all but gone, and the access stairs have almost been completed around the structure, leading up to the viewing platform.

The Tur(d) Progresses

The Tur(d) Progresses

There almost wasn’t a pic, even though I took a few – it was getting dark, and the park lights were on, as were the spots at the top of The Hope Sculpture (sorry, it’s too high to include).

Even I’m looking at the above and impressed at how processing saved it, given the blurry mess it started off as, with no detail to speak of – even the stairs I mention have been lifted out of the murk.

It took me a while to figure out where the voices, and other odd noises, I could hear were coming from (no, not in my head), then I spotted the local yoofs popping up on the viewing platform, and climbing down the still incomplete stairways.

They were there as I took the shot, but their movement meant they didn’t register in the image.

Nobody fell 😦

Just make sure my mistake is fixed – a look at Cuningar’s new builds

Since I made such a colossal mistake in my early posts about the new structures being added to Cuningar Loop Woodland Park, I thought I should do another post, just to make sure the difference was clear.

As noted, I wrongly assigned the early foundation work to that being installed for the new viewing platform, unfortunately officially named The Tur (which I feel will join the Glasgow Arc and be rechristened with a local name of The Turd, just as the former has come to be known as the Squinty Bridge, even on online maps).

Although my initial posts noted the robustness of those foundations, that fact failed to trigger the obvious realisation that it was for a much larger structure – the as yet then still to be announced, 23.5 metre tall Hope Sculpture.

So, I’m not psychic.

In fact, I had seen the Tur’s base being installed in nearby undergrowth, a simple concrete base.

The Tur (or Turd) has finally begun to make an appearance, and can be seen below.

Tur and tree

Tur and tree

From another side, on its simple base.

Tur Construction

Tur Construction

Yet another angle, this time with a unique view to the Hope Sculpture, which won’t be seen this way once the remaining woodwork has be added.

Tur and Hope

Tur and Hope

The Hope Sculpture base can be seen in this view, where it can be seen to be vastly different from the base of the Tur.

Hope sculpture base scaffolding

Hope sculpture base scaffolding

And a last look at the new sculpture’s installation – with my current luck, I suspect it the work will be done, and the site cleared by the time I get back.

Hope Sculpture and base scaffolding

Hope Sculpture and base scaffolding

Hope Sculpture springs up in Cuningar Park

I hadn’t realised that a whole month had passed since I was last able to make it to Cuningar Park – the main reason for not getting there at all was rain, with more than three weeks of the stuff almost non-stop.

There’s been some noticeable changes to the projects underway down there – and I’ve been shown, once again, that assumptions are usually WRONG!

This time it was the identification I had made of the foundations I had spotted work start on some time ago.

In my own defence, I have to say I was unaware of the Hope Sculpture details at the start, and had identified the foundation being worked on as the base of the forthcoming viewpoint unfortunately christened The Tur or as I suspect as Glaswegians will come to know it – The Tur(d).

I’m sorry, but it’s just a daft name, so easily changed to an obvious nickname.

The Hope Sculpture

I didn’t realise I had been away so long, or that a month would be enough time for the Hope Sculpture to be installed, but there it was, standing at its full 23.5 metre height when I dropped in to the park for a quick look at what was happening.

Hope Sculpture Zoom

Hope Sculpture Zoom

They had also made progress on the poor Tur(d), which now betrays its real position on the right. I had noted the concrete base there previously, but thought it was going to be the basis of some access point to the tower/viewpoint.

Cuningar Hope Sculpture and Tur(d)

Cuningar Hope Sculpture and Tur(d)

There are various stories behind the sculpture, even in this post I did when it was announced, so I won’t go over it again.

This information panel has been added to the works info presented in the park, zoom to read.

Hope Sculpture Description

Hope Sculpture Description

Dusk was already arriving as I took this (thanks to the recent arrival of DST – Daylight Silly Time that moved the clocks back an hour), so it’s not as detailed as it could have been in better light.

The view from the river

Although I had the wrong camera for this shot in the failing light (you can see the lights in the park are lit on the right), it still shows how the new sculpture looms over the area, and is highly visible – well, 23.5 metres is not small.

It will be even more noticeable in the dark nights (when I will get down with a proper low light camera), and try for some decent shots once the lighting is fired up.

Cuningar Park Hope Sculpture across the River Clyde

Cuningar Park Hope Sculpture across the River Clyde

Tur Construction – work is now apparent

I hadn’t intended to look at the Tur construction, and was at Cuningar Park to look for/at something quite different (which is another story for another day), but when I crested the top of the bridge, couldn’t miss the fact that much had changed since I was last there.

There hasn’t been much to see, since most of the work has dealt with foundations and ground works (and the new access path I haven’t mentioned yet, mostly out of sight so far), but that’s all changed, with work now underway on the above ground structure of this viewing platform, and extending to the new access.

It looks as if it’s almost like a massive Lego build, with concrete blocks being threaded onto foundations set into the ground.

I suppose this works for such a small construction – it just looks a bit odd as I’ve been watching much more massive structures rise around Glasgow recently, and these are created using liquid concrete pumped around rebar (steel reinforcement) surrounded by shuttering. It’s all a bit boring to watch now, as the method of pouring a central concrete core to carry all the services now seems to be almost universal, with the floors hung from that central support.

I’ll have to work out a new plan for visiting the park – until recently it made for a half decent bike ride in the evening, but with the nights “Ferr drawin’ in” now, it’s getting too dark too early for that to go on, and I need to work out daylight visiting hours.

Bear in mind there will be more new work here, as there will be a new sculpture installed at the far end of this field.

If you’re wondering about The Bothy, being built at the other end of the park – no update, it looks as if little is happening on that part of the site at the moment. I didn’t even see anyone there when I passed through during working hours (but it takes me only moments to pass).

Restricted Access

If you’re only an occasional visitor to the park, be aware of RESTRICTED ACCESS from 02 October 2021 to 17 October 2021 as areas of the park will be closed when ‘Jurassic Encounter’ takes over.

This is described as having some 50 animatronic dinosaurs on show, for visitors to wander around, on parting with about £12 to get in for a look.

Although the park will not be fully closed for this event, access will be restricted – signs have already been posted.

No, you won’t get a post about the show itself, not from me at least – I’ll make do with the view of the works from the bridge, as seen below.

Tur Construction Expands

Tur Construction Expands

And closer to the structure.

Tur Construction

Tur Construction

Cuningar Park Tur(d) supplemental

(The foundations pictured are actually for the Hope Sculpture, a feature I was unaware of at the time, and later visits found the true, simpler, Tur base later – Just make sure my mistake is fixed – a look at Cuningar’s new builds)

I had to go to Cuningar Loop Woodland Park yesterday, so took the opportunity to try for a pic I couldn’t try for last time, as the spot was blocked by some other visitors, and they weren’t moving any time soon.

They had to pick the one spot that provided the one viewpoint that looked down on the Tur foundation works from anything that could be described as even remotely elevated spot on an almost level field.

It was certainly better than the previous view, and worth catching, as the spot will be built over soon, and never be seen again.

Cuningar Tur Foundation II

Cuningar Tur Foundation II

I didn’t notice it at the time, but did spot a sign on a door in the background while I was processing the pic, and got curious.

Why would they need a specific ‘DRYING ROOM’ on an outdoor construction project like this?

I don’t see any relevant material lying around, or anything under cover.

Whatever they build, or build with, it guaranteed that, in Scotland, the one sure thing is that it will get wet.

While I can come up with reasons for drying materials being used indoors, I’m not doing so well with the same thought on something outdoors.

Maybe it’s some new perk for the workers – I’m sure anybody that’s had to work outside during a Scottish autumn would appreciate a company sponsored drying facility, not to mention a change of clothes and a pair of wellies,

Cuningar Tur Drying Room

Cuningar Tur Drying Room

The container to the right is separate, and the sign suggest the room on its right is the site’s first aid station.

There’s nothing on the one to the left, but with those louvres, I’m thinking a fairly safe assumption would be a smallish silenced motor-generator set (there is a Jarvis Plant label on it), to provide some power for that DRYING ROOM, and the rest of the site, since we now seem to be wholly dependent on lithium-ion battery powered tools nowadays, with only peasants using unpowered hand tools.

It’s going to be interesting to see how long it takes the Darwin effect to set in, and for evolution to make formerly healthy labourers to develop the same ailments linked to inactivity as beset desk workers and ‘machine minders’ when automation arrived in 20th century factories.


News of yet more goodies to be added to Cuningar Loop Woodland Park

If they keep on adding stuff to the relatively new park opened at Cuningar Loop in 2016, there’s not going to be any room for visitors!

They haven’t even finished work on the last set of additions, but there’s news of more.

It’s now going to be home to a 75-foot-high sculpture consisting of a 10-foot-high statue of a child on top of a 65-foot-high plinth, to be known as the Hope Sculpture, which will have an area of hardstanding, and four stone benches, complete with lighting.

The feature will be associated with the COP26 climate summit to be held in Glasgow this autumn.

Although the new sculpture is to be put in place in advance of the summit, it is to be retained as a permanent feature within the park.

75-Foot-High COP26 ‘Hope’ Sculpture To Be Put Up At Clyde Urban Park

Clyde Gateway - Hope Sculpture

Clyde Gateway – Hope Sculpture

Work has started on ‘The Tur’ (in Cuningar Woodland Park, if you forgot)

(The works pictured are actually for the Hope Sculpture, a feature I was unaware of at the time, and later visits found the true, simpler, Tur base later – Just make sure my mistake is fixed – a look at Cuningar’s new builds)

I’m sorry, but I just can’t get my head around a name like ‘The Tur’, especially when it doesn’t come with any explanation about its reason for being – see the last post for a description (of the viewing platform).

Is it short for ‘turret’?

Maybe it has been explained, just somewhere I happen not have looked at.

Whatever – that last post mentioned a detour through the park which delivered pics of work underway on ‘The Bothy’ (a name that makes at least some little sense).

With limitations on my time, I’ve started using a loop around the loop (by which a mean a bike ride from home, to the park, and back again), as a handy circuit to get some cycling in.

It’s already getting dark by the time I get there and turn around – it’s not that long ago I was there when it was still light. Depressing.

Last night’s circuit found that work had started on ‘The Tur’, so it looks as if they will indeed have this new feature completed this year, and we’ll get to see what it is.

The bad news was that it was dark, and I didn’t have the right camera for taking pics in the dark!

The real problem is not so much the fact that it’s not ideal for dark o’clock pics, but that once it gets really dark, the autofocus won’t work – and if the image isn’t focused, the shutter won’t fire.

Having a manual focus option doesn’t really help in this case – if the camera can’t see to focus, then there isn’t a useable image in the viewfinder which can be manually focused.

That said, there are a few tricks which can be employed to force focus, and there was still just enough light for that.

I managed a couple of pics showing how they have fenced off the work area, and laid boards over the grass to protect it from the assorted pant and machinery which will be moving over in the coming weeks.

I thought I’d given up processing night shots so they looked more like daylight shots, but in this case I had to revive that (possibly bad) habit.

The park is so near the city that light pollution means the sky is not dark here, but comes out light. Trying to retain the darkness of a night shot generates weird halos and other oddness, making things look bad. The pic comes out looking better if I just process it like a daylight shot.

There’s still evidence of the fact that this is night (and supposedly dark).

The foreground is lit by nearby park lighting, and you can see some blue light splashes on the benches (which are plain concrete grey), from some naughty uplighters which are shining into the sky. Fortunately, they’re fairly weak, and make little difference to the amount of light pollution already shining upwards from the city centre. The other tell-tale is the burnt out spots in the image, where it has been overexposed by them.

The only light is from a decorative feature to the left, and light being reflected from the sky. I’m amazed at the appearance of detail all the way to the treeline in the distance, where there is no lighting at all.

Cuningar Loop Tur Works A

Cuningar Loop Tur Works A

I always take a number of shots in situations like this, as most of them will not be focussed – recall I don’t use a tripod, everything is hand held.

The second shot was better.  While it made no difference to anything in the distance, I was standing closer to path lighting in the park, hence the lighter foreground.

Cuningar Loop Tur Works B

Cuningar Loop Tur Works B

At least these came out, so I don’t have to hurry back in daylight.

I can pick up some ‘work in progress’ views at my leisure, or know I need to go back with a better camera if it’s dark.

Cunningar Loop Woodland Park works have started

I took a wander back to Cuningar Loop Woodland Park a few weeks ago (despite being there for almost five years, I still want to refer to it as ‘new’), just as the weather turned warm (the media referred to it as a heatwave!), and was fairly shocked to see just how many people were there – the place was mobbed!

That said, as I’ve noted before, despite covering a fair area, the accessible space is relatively small, given the overall area – much of it is devoted to features or attractions, and sizeable areas are fenced off and planted with trees, and cover rough ground, so it doesn’t take many bodies to make the place seem packed.

That makes the earlier announcements that not only was the park to see some new feature added, but that more of the land it occupies would be opened up for access.

That first visit back of this year showed that work had started on those additional features, noted to have been approved in a previous post.

I haven’t been able to collect pics on previous visits, but made the effort last night, even though it was late and getting dark (but I can carry the ‘proper’ camera now, so can get decent pics even as the light fades).

A (temporary) perimeter wall had just been completed, and I could see foundations being prepared behind.

The wall had further info, and these two sections were relevant to the current works:

Cuningar Loop Construction Works

Cuningar Loop Construction Works

As can be seen from this, the features won’t be completed (or expected to be complete) until winter of this year (2021), so that probably means they won’t be open or accessible until at least the spring of 2022 (or maybe 2024 if you followed the completion/opening of the park itself). Just an observation.

Given this is July, the Bothy is moving forward at quite a pace in the good weather, so should be on schedule.

The Tur (is it just me, or does anyone else think that’s a horrible name?) is yet to be started – but it’s hardly a major construction. I’m guessing it will be prefabricated, so only ‘some assembly’ required on site.

Cuningar Loop Bothy Work Underway

Cuningar Loop Bothy Work Underway

Park lighting improvement

As a slight aside, it’s nice to see new LED lighting installed AND working on the park’s paths (caught in the above pic).

Sadly, the original lighting fixtures featured a large inverted cone (these can be seen on the same path in the sculpture pic in this post), which proved to be an irresistible draw for the local vandals, and they made short work of them, quickly leaving the early park with no lighting as nearly all the fixtures were damaged or destroyed. I think one of my early post counted something like 17 out of 20 being dead (don’t quote that though, I didn’t dig up the old post and check exact numbers).

No need to hungry

Last time I was there, I noticed some lorries/van/workers depositing ‘something’ in the middle of the park – it looked like a small building, but it wasn’t clear what it was for.

That mystery has been solved, as it’s now in place, and there even seems to be some signs pointing visitors to it.

Looks like ‘Lunch at the Loop’ has arrived.

Lunch At The Loop Concession

Lunch At The Loop Concession

Yes, I did deliberately include the stylish bike stands (which have appeared around the park), but only for their styling, NOT because they’re bike stands.

Didn’t see this coming – After being run out of Loch Lomondside, Flamingo Land developers are back to try again!

While I suggested this was a surprise in the title, I’m not really in the least surprised to read that the people behind an application to develop a water park plus accommodation are back.

I spotted this halfway through 2019, and made some notes and observations (as I hadn’t really expected Loch Lomond’s NPA to throw the first plan out):

Told you so – Loch Lomond NPA has lost the plot (and maybe should be wound up)

No point in repeating that, the original post is there to be read at the link given.

The intro to a recent article on the re-appearance of Flamingo Land probably sums things up – these people just “Don’t get it”, and need to be sent packing just as convincingly this time round as well:

Theme park operator Flamingo Land “don’t get” the main objections to their proposals to build a holiday park on the banks of Loch Lomond, according to local campaigners.

Plans by the company to build a tourist resort on the loch shores were scrapped in 2019 after objections by residents in the Balloch area, campaigners and West Dunbartonshire Council.

Officials at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park also recommended rejecting the plan, which would have included a hotel, brewery, boathouse, leisure centre, and budget accommodation.

The developer withdrew its original application for a water park and accommodation in 2019 after almost 60,000 people objected to it.

Now it’s working on significant amendments to the proposal, but local campaigners remain unconvinced.

The article goes on to suggest that the developer has effectively ignored the objections made before, and simply tinkered with their original plan to rehash the same proposal.

Rory MacLeod, of the Save Loch Lomond campaign, told STV News: “We knew they would come back but we thought they might have listened to the objections – they haven’t.

Earlier this week the Scottish Greens vowed to “send Flamingo Land packing”.

Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer, who led the campaign against the plans two years ago, said that the company is “determined to ignore both the local community and national public opinion”.

“From what they’ve announced so far, it seems their second attempt is just a rehash of the first. Flamingo Land have made clear that they are determined to ignore both the local community and national public opinion in their desperation to pave over one of Scotland’s most iconic natural beauty spots.”

The developer left a suitably long period in the hope that peoples’ memories are short, and they’d have forgotten the first application.

I think they got that wrong, and the defences have snapped back into place, with locals and supporters ready to take on the wealth of Flamingo Land in its desperate attempt to find an untapped resource to milk.

See more:- Flamingo Land developers ‘don’t get’ holiday park concerns

No need to think about this – response to Flamingo Land is just the same this time as last…

Well kiss dis

I’d like to think they’ll be shown the door quicker this time than last, but I doubt it.

What will be interesting is to see how close the objection are to that original, and impressive, number of 60,000.