Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…


Cat vs Dog

Cat vs Dog

26/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Should I laugh, or should I cry?

It’s a shame that even fast-starting compact cameras still take time to wake-up and be ready to use.

And, while reviewers quote sub-second time for this when testing, they fail to take account of the ‘Time to First Pic’ reality, as such cameras usually start up in wide-angle mode (arguably best for a quick grab shot) which means that you can’t really catch a subject moving away – the zoom is always powered so you have to be very careful not to hold the zoom button down for too long, or you will zoom past your subject, and take even longer to zoom back.

This would have been a catchy pic if I’d been able to just lift the camera, zoom manually, and hit the shutter without having to wait for it to switch on (Oh – I could do with a dSLR) – I first spotted this pair when it could be seen that the doggie was dressed much like the hoomin.

I got the hoomin, but almost missed the doggie, and you can’t see its vest properly.

To me, from the angle taken, and because of its thick coat, it almost looks more like a cat, or a little bear 🙂

Some say, they were making a political point, but since I don’t recognise that sort of thing, I’ve no idea.

I just thought the doggie looked good (better than the hoomin, and probably smarter too).

Pensioners and dogs for independence

Pensioners and dogs for independence

19/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Nice black cat (sticker) and other livestock seen today

Just for fun, I tried grabbing this pic of the rear end of a Nissan Micra after passed the bus I was on.

I really didn’t expect it be useable, taken in a hurry, and I thought badly distorted by the toughened glass of the window.

Micra Black Cat Sticker

Micra Black Cat Sticker

It was in interesting trip for livestock…

First was a woman with the tiniest puppy (NOT one of those disgusting, yappy, ‘toy’ dogs) I’ve seen someone carrying in one hand. So cute, the lady sitting next to her got to hold it and played with it for the rest of its journey.

Then, another woman came on with what looked like a mesh bag over her shoulder – but after a while it started to let out plaintive ‘meows’. This one turned out to be a cat on its way to the vet. If you’ve taken a cat to the vet, then you’ll know long meow they all seem to make when they know where they’re going.

The fun started when a guy came on the bus – with a something just a little smaller than the Hound of the Baskervilles.

It almost pulled him off his feet while he was trying to find enough change in his pockets, to pay the driver, as his doggie decided it wanted to smell the fellow creature trapped in the carrier, and we all got learn doggie’s name was Lucas.

There was more fun once the ticket was paid for, and Lucas decided he was going to sit up at the back of the bus, after being told NOT so smell the cat!

It was fun watching the owner get dragged to the back of the bus.

No chance of a pic, so…

Dog dragging owner

Dog dragging owner



12/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

That cat looks like a dog – OH!

The time it takes to take a pic can really spoil it.

By the time the camera came to life and actually took this pic, the dog had moved from the place it had been lying, and no longer looked like a great big tortoiseshell cat.

I did a quick look online, and it seems I should be referring to this as ‘brindle’ when it appears on dogs and other animals.

Tortie doggy

Tortie doggy

Not to be outdone, and in a spooky coincidence, I came across an old friend later in the day – a tortoiseshell cat that lives near the Barras.

Doing a ‘catloaf’ impression.

Tortoiseshell catloaf

Tortoiseshell catloaf

19/06/2019 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Easter reminder… Chocolate is POISONOUS to dogs!

Just a reminder, which even the cat* wants made public…

Hide the chocolate and make your home a dog-safe zone this Easter

Dogs Trust has issued a warning for dog owners ahead of Easter weekend.

The charity is reminding people to be vigilant and keep the chocolate out of reach of all four-legged friends over the next few days.

Last year 60 per cent of vets reported cases of pets suffering from chocolate poisoning over the period.

As Easter eggs and other tasty cocoa treats find their way into homes, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity hopes to raise awareness of the continued risk the consumption of the sweet treats poses to our canine pals.

Vets issue chocolate warning to Glasgow dog owners over Easter poisoning fears

Chocolate Toxic To Dogs

Chocolate Toxic To Dogs

Sadly, it seems the cat’s motivation was one of selfish warmth, and not any concern for a fellow creature, so no surprises there.

Cat on dog

  • so no surprises there.


18/04/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Who’s a clever boy?

Spotted this.

Not something you’re likely to find the cat doing!

Good Dog

Good Dog

Cat, usually.

Cat Drag

Cat Drag

16/03/2019 Posted by | photography | | Leave a comment

That feeling, of being watched

Another of those days, walking along when THAT feeling hits.

Took a while, but the feeling of being watched as I walked around Glasgow Green turned out to be right.

Almost didn’t spot the reason.

Don’t worry, it’s not summer, and it is Scotland after all, so chances of this being a doggie in danger of overheating – slim to nil!

Dog in car

Dog in car

21/02/2019 Posted by | photography, Surveillance, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Dog and Cone – compact beats dSLR

Looks like the saga of ‘Dog and Cone’ is over, and with an unexpected winner!

This started with chance observation when I stopped to collect a pic of mural I had missed.

PLEASE check the pics in that first post, just to get a feel for how small the subject ‘Dog’ is.

Things got more serious when I went back for a better pic of ‘Dog and Cone’, and brought home pics where the compact BEAT the dSLR for image quality.

I didn’t really believe my own results, and resolved to go back for a rematch, but early sunsets and high buildings at the site meant I just didn’t seem to be able to get there when there was a decent amount of daylight and, once again, the results were poor, despite using a dSLR and a long lens.

I finally managed to get back to the spot during the day, albeit an overcast one, and repeat the pics, which I took using both dSLR and compact with long lenses (both referred to as superzooms).

I’m seriously shocked, and I took the pics!

Despite being vastly superior in terms of sensor size and sensitivity when the light is failing, the dSLR has simply NOT been able to match the compact for this shot, no matter how much I fiddled with the settings.

I tried reducing the ISO the dSLR wanted (I usually let it alter this within set limits), but this just brought camera shake and blurring instead of noise.

The lighter compact was able to reach more than twice the zoom length, with lower ISO/noise, and catch this one.

If nothing else, I really did learn something with this shot.

So, first the dSLR’s best of the day, after processing.

Dog and Cone by dSLR

Dog and Cone by dSLR

And now the compact’s effort, also processed.

Dog and Cone by compact

Dog and Cone by compact

Seriously, this is down to the location and lighting

I’m sure some of you are now shouting at me, calling me ‘Useless’, and suggesting I just didn’t try.

Had I not taken all these pics myself, I’d probably be one of those doing so.

The more usual scenario is that the dSLR (with large sensor) beats the compact without any effort being needed, which is not really any sort of surprise. The one qualification I would add is that in daylight, both can be comparable, even at full zoom. However, once the light starts to fade, the compact is normally the first to struggle, and detail starts to go. Vibration and camera shake can be better using the compact as it combines optical and electronic stabilisation, while the dSLR usually just has optical stabilisation.

Probably the best illustration is seen in pair of pics I took of a detail at the top of the organ in Kelvingrove.

No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get a decent pic from the opposite end of the entrance hall.

See some earlier pics of the wider view showing how far away the organ is from the balcony the pics are taken from.

I tried taking pics of the figures at the top of the organ, using the compact, on a number of occasion, always with the same result.

(Ignore the colour, the camera is currently set for ‘Vivid’ shots due to the dull grey outdoor light we have at the moment, and the organ has coloured highlights).

I’m not sure why, as this result is considerably poorer than experience suggests would be expected. However, similar shots along the galleries follow this example, so my guess would be I’ve found the light and contrast level that the compact’s autofocus system just doesn’t like.

Kelvingrove Organ Figure Detail Compact

Kelvingrove Organ Figure Detail Compact

Last time I was there, I managed to pack the dSLR and superzoom.

Unlike ‘Dog and Cone’, this result WAS as expected, and the dSLR focussed and exposed with no anomalies.

Kelvingrove Organ Figure Detail dSLR

Kelvingrove Organ Figure Detail dSLR

Note that I never use a tripod, so all these shots are hand held.

16/01/2019 Posted by | council, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

My 2018 nemesis – ‘Dog and Cone’

I didn’t realise a ‘simple’ pic was going to become something of a marathon.

I spotted this ‘Dog and Cone’ by chance, while collecting a Glasgow mural I’d missed (didn’t even notice it for ages).

I managed a closer pic at the start of the month with the compact, but I thought I could do better.

I was wrong. Between not having the long lens with me, arriving so late that it’s dark, and today’s gem, no doubt arranged by the damned dog – a puncture en route, which cost me well over an hour.

So, once again, arrived in the DARK.

Despite the apparent brightness of this pic, it was actually dark, not good for a long-lens pic, and even with vibration reduction, every shot was ruined by camera shake.

Sunset was at 15:52 today, the pic was timed at 15:57, and taken in a narrow street (two car lanes and only one side with footpath) where the buildings are at least 4-storeys high, and more, so not a lot of light gets past them even when the Sun’s up..

I was almost tempted to let the ISO setting run up another two stops, but decided against fiddling with things since I will be back for another try, in daylight.

Meantime, I include this merely as a reminder (to me) that even a simple trip out for ‘quick pic’ can still be ‘torpedoed’!

Don’t move dog… I’m coming for you…SOON!

Dog And Cone

Dog And Cone

I still can’t really believe the previous pic (with the compact) is so much better than the dSLR under the conditions.

Usually, in the dark, at high ISO, and long lens settings, it’s easy for the bigger camera to knock the compact out of contention.

I was even thinking I might have set something wrongly, but everything seems to check out OK.

The daylight pic had better be a LOT better.

I dug out the compact’s effort, just to be sure I wasn’t imagining things.

Window-ledge Dog And Cone

Window-ledge Dog And Cone

31/12/2018 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Mitchell Street mural – follow-up to strange find there

When I caught the Mitchell Street mural recently, I drew attention to a chance find in the corner of the pic.

I haven’t been able to get back for another look in decent light or weather, but did get lucky one night with a long zoom shot in the dark, so I’m just going with it otherwise there will NEVER be a follow-up.

Happily, I wasn’t imagining things and there WAS a dog on that window-ledge.

Better still (and this is NOT a real dog, just in case anybody doesn’t notice), in keeping with a long-standing Glasgow tradition…

It has a traffic cone on its head!

Oh, and a nice collar.

Window-ledge Dog And Cone

Window-ledge Dog And Cone

Somebody out there has to know the story behind this.

So, do tell.

04/12/2018 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Do they do ‘Clean Dog Shampoo’ too?

I seem to have reached an irritating point while archiving some pics.

A while ago I found myself ‘supporting’ a Scottish social media web site, not by any design or intent to help it, but really just because I was having a tough time, and it was really simple to make a post there, unlike this WordPress system.

There isn’t anything wrong with WordPress, but I find it slow to use, and fiddly if you are someone who pays attention to detail, and likes to minimise grammar and spelling errors.

But, irritatingly, I recognise a lot of the pics I’ve been reviewing, and after checking, find that they were used in posts in that media site, and not in the ‘proper’ SeSco blog.

Some were quite good too, so I guess I’m going to be doing a lot of cross-checking, to see if they appeared here, and correcting the omissions, if they were goodies.

Incidentally, I gave up on that Scottish social media web site (which I’d actually found after discovering many SeSco blog posts had been stolen, complete with pics, and the material presented by someone claiming it all as ‘theirs’ (both the plagiarised text and all the stolen pics) – until I contacted them and threatened them with copyright action).

I decided to ditch it after a while as it contained a lot of highly political material, which began to get very irritating after a while, with both the members AND the operators of the site making politically motivated posts and comments, with little or no moderation.

I simply didn’t want to be seen as possibly supportive of such nonsense or behaviour, so removed all my material, and left.

Just as well I did – later, they decided to end that exercise and move on to something else.

I’ve no idea what, after getting an email informing of the changes, I couldn’t make any sense of their supposed plans, and gave up trying to find out what they were doing.

Dirty Dog Shampoo

No reference to them, it’s purely a coincidence that the pic which prompted my to check for used/unused archive material was about ‘Dirty Dogs’.

Passing a general shop on Carntyne Road, I’d been glancing around the impressive array of products the owner had on offer when I spotted the bottle of ‘Dirty Dog Shampoo’, which can be read in more than one way.

Is it ‘Dirty Shampoo’ for Dogs?

Or is ‘Shampoo’ for ‘Dirty Dogs’?

Both make you wonder.

Is this how dog owners get their doggies to have the disgusting ‘wet dog’ smell all the time?

Or, does the same company make ‘Clean Dog Shampoo’?

Maybe the latter is for use when owners get fed up with the ‘wet dog’ smell!


Dirty Dog Shampoo

Dirty Dog Shampoo


06/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

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