Sunday, 11 March 2012

Another quiet one...

It would seem we're all still very much struggling from the flu/lurgy cold that had Clare and beren off ill the other week so we've not been up to much.


Despite the grotty weather though there's always plenty to get up to, if you have the energy. It was South Mainland Up Helly Aa on Friday night, which I gather went down great; Clare was out at a concert Saturday night and there were plenty of other things on if you were out and about. 


Me, I've been mainly sleeping and reading, trying to do something and then giving in to sleeping and reading. Jo Nesbo is the latest author I'm enjoying, Norwegian crime and great, it's just tormenting the thoughts of all those mountains and lakes!




However, I did get out up to a friend's at Vidlin briefly today. Stopped on the way back to watch the Risso's Dolphns that are still at Catfrith one week later, watched a pair of red breasted mergansers along with some other more common water birds. 


Not my photo of a merganser...




But then it was a few hours unplanned sleep, before tea and more reading!


Soon it will be more sleeping before work tomorrow so I'd better get on with the end of the book!



Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Risso's Dolphins at Catfirth...

Sunday was the first day I heard that the Risso's Dolphins were back up at Catfirth in South nesting, but I was far to ill with man flu to go up there. Then again Monday, but there was no chance due to work. Same again Tuesday, they were still enticing the boys with the big lenses out to take their photos.


Today my lucky number was obviously drawn because not only did I have a chance to head up that way, but they were also still there, three of them cruising around the voe.


There were a few cars pulled up with their occupants sporting telephoto lenses and tripods I dream of, but it was a fresh and sunny day and to have the chance to watch them at all was great.


Slightly embarrassed with my lack of length I leaned in the shelter of the car and tried to get the best I could with my limited 18-55mm kit lens. The photos were nice, but obviously the dolphins were not so obvious in them. I cropped them to the extreme to make anything of the dolphins as you can see below.


 Here's two of them as they cruised past the old catalina base. We went over to that side to watch them but the wave action from that angle totally obscured any view...


Two again with The Ward of Bressay in the far distance...


The three of them here...


A few more that I used neat image on to try to clear them up...




These photos don't give any idea of how lovely and graceful they were as they looped round and round the bay. They even got a bit excited at one point with a couple of jumps, but I missed the action on camera and just caught the splashes. Wonderful to watch.


Now if you have super duper telephoto lenses and tripods (and a lot of skill) you may get something like these which Hugh Harrop posted on facebook...




Or this one posted on facebook by George Graham (sorry can't find a link to you, but let me know and I'll add it)


Tonight there are forecasts of fantastic solar activity at a level that would mean a great aurora that should be dancing in the sky. Earlier there was a definite green glow all over, but now as I type I can hear sleet on the window. You never know though, it might clear before bedtime...

Monday, 5 March 2012

Hard day at the office...

Well what an amazing day it's been in Shetland today, spring or may be even summer has definitely sprung.


Today was a toughy at work though. It really was as we've been all full of cold here for the last week. Beren has even been off school for a week and is still struggling. However I managed to struggle through the best part of a day on Scat Ness and Ness of Burgi at the south end. Sadly we had to cook our lunch on a fire and then eat the mountains of bacon butties  and fried onions we'd made. Life is some times tough eh? 


Well my chest and throat didn't appreciate the smoke, I had the trouble of sun burn and I got my feet wet too. Truly awful day!


We stopped at a cove at the end of Scat Ness just before the chain gangway to the Ness of Burgi. There's always a good sea to admire here and it obviously comes right through to the eastern side at times as the storm beach of boulders testifies.


We discovered a great rock pool to come back and may be even swim in at some point, but not today!



Our drift wood fire slow go going, but it did eventually and in no time we were frying bacon and onions in Shetland butter, all washed down with erm... strawberry ribena! Not my choice, I think we need a camp kettle.


A lovely spot on a sunny spring day. A lonely fishing boat was heading round to the east coast of Shetland, the birds were in flight and the waves were mesmerising.




All to soon we had to get moving and head along the chain gangway on to the Ness of Burgi and on wards towards the Burgi Block House.


Looking back to Fitful head...


 And forwards to the block house with the fishing boat now passing the headland...


And after the final holm next stop is Fair Isle...


Looking back past Fitful Head, Foula was showing itself. A wonderful clear day...


Then it was back to the office to stink them out with camp fire reek and then home to find out I'd missed the Risso's Dolphins up at Catfirth for a second day in a row! See them here. Yesterday I was too ill to get up there and today, well as you can see I was having a hard day in the office...

Friday, 2 March 2012

Northern Lights...

Here's a couple of pictures of the northern lights tonight from Maa Ness, Scalloway, looking north west. A beautiful night out there, just a pity I'm a light weight when it comes to staying up as there's no wind, it's fairly mild and the stars are amazing!



These are both 2 minute exposures, hence the stretched stars, anything over about 20/25 seconds and the stars  start to leave trails. I'm planning to do a really long exposure of  say 20 minutes or more looking at the pole star some time then you'll see the starts circling around it . The only problem is a 20 minute exposure with noise reduction on means 40 minutes to take one photos; time to meditate! The other option is to take lots of shorter exposures and stack them, that's a hassle in other ways, but would probably give a better quality photo.





I'm not sure I have the inclination to do that. 20 minutes looks more like this...


Combined with the northern lights in the background it would be pretty cool!