Saturday, 27 June 2020

Time Capsule

Created a time capsule of where I lived 143 Lochee Road, Dundee till 1953, very old tenement building on the right with outside toilet shared by all on the landing. Had good fun there as a kid, playing just down the road in a wooded area. The tenements were demolished years back, so have made an overlay of where they were situated.

Comic Software

I use Comic Life software to create custom comics. Currently I have just finished Issue 5 of the monthly Lightning Preservation Group comic.

Amazing program with so many possibilities and always have fun trying to think up captions for the photos I use.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Google Docs

Been around for quite a while, and have never bothered looking at them till a few days back when I was asked to find a workaround to Microsoft Word, now that they operate a subscription to use the program.

I knew that there were several free programs, but the request was for one which would run on a Chromebook, so being a google operating system the obvious choice was Google Docs as it would be installed by default.

So with the seed of possibilities, I spent the best part of the day, playing with Google Docs, the learning curve was not difficult and I found the program really good and it seems that there were advantages over Word which was new to me. The Docs are stored in Google cloud, so always available on whichever piece of hardware you have.

The Docs can be downloaded in various formats even Word, so am glad I took the time to explore what Docs can achieve.

Some good news

As from the 4th July my local pub is to reopen after several months closure due to the Virus. Look forward to a lovely cool pint of Batemans XB and perhaps a game of dominoes with the lads. I would think that it could be outside in the beer garden as to allow social distancing.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Sad News

Yesterday I received an email confirming what I thought might be true about Bruntingthorpe Airfield Cold War Jets as a venue which has seen fast taxi events and night photo shoots for as far back as I can remember.

As a member of the Lightning Preservation Group since 2009 and having been part of the CWJ open days as ground crew and had the pleasure of working on these classic jets up till November 2009 when we staged the  Lightning double reheat fast taxi as a twilight event for the photographic fraternity. Alas these events will be no more.

Cox motors acquired the airfield some time back and they use the airfield and its taxiways to store new and fleet cars for auction. Over the last few years, this has caused many problems for the collection of aircraft which are dotted around the airfield, basically a lot of them were hemmed in due to parked cars.

The Cold War Jets collection was the brainchild of one of the Airfield owners David Walton and over the years the collection of vintage aircraft has grown. Unfortunately Cox motors are not Aviation minded at all and have called a halt to aircraft events, so no more fast taxi days, photo shoots as we knew it. David Walton created a chunk of airfield land which allowed us to build a Q shed and on adjacent land which he still owns, he intends to build a museum to house some of the jets.

In the meantime, I believe that Cox motors have given notice to several of the aircraft groups that they need to remove the aircraft from the airfield. I know from articles that the Buccaneer Group are moving a few of their jets to another location. Unfortunately this may not be possible for the larger jets as they can not fly out and would have to be dismantled and transported to other locations if they can find them. The cost would be way too high for many, and I fear for the outcome of many. But we will see how this all pans out as time goes on.

As I mentioned earlier, the Q shed and the Lightnings are safe from all this upheaval as they are housed on Mr Waltons land and not part of Cox's take over. The Lightnings will still be worked on and kept in taxi condition, but the rub is that they may end up in the same situation as XR724 at Binbrook, where it is now hemmed in on a concrete hardstanding and not able to fast taxi at all. The hope is that we can still have smaller photo shoots and perhaps an anti-det engine run. All things come to an end, it is inevitable, but us small band of brothers will survive.

Friday, 19 June 2020

My next job

After a spell at Largs department store in Dundee town centre, I moved to one of the other branches of Largs, at Lochee a district of Dundee. I was sent to run the photo/musical accessories department. This was an exciting diversion for me, selling cameras, film, projectors etc., and also items like recorders, guitar strings etc.,

Thursday, 18 June 2020

JD Brown part 2

Initially I was employed to operate the black and white processing plant and as time went on I found myself helping out in the Photo Copying and Enlarger department, processing 5 x 4 sheet film and printing out commercial stuff on DeVere cold cathode type enlargers, but still basic white trays of developer, water and fixer, yellow wall lamps and plastic tongs, just like the old days.

JD Brown employed 3 main photographers during my time, Stewart Hill, Ken Lieper and Harry Garland, I looked after the prep for them, loading 35mm cassettes, 5 x 4 sheet film holders et., and also the processing of the film after the lads returned. It was enjoyable work.  I left for a spell of retail photographic experience at another Dundee shop  Largs, in Whitehall Street, where I learned a lot about cameras and all the gear that supports the hobby.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Moving on

Moving on from my early beginnings in photography, Lindsays photographers was sold off just a few years after I had left for a new adventure, another photographic employer JD Brown in Castle Street , Dundee. This was a modern upgrade to the rather basic laboratory I had just left. Things were mostly automated, no more manually having to lift rods of acetate film in development processing, but a new electrical system which lifted the rods and moved them through each chemical bath on a timed system, eventually dropping the rods of film in to a heated conveyor which dropped the rods into another room where the girl printers took over.

This was processing on a large scale and was probably the biggest lab in Dundee at the time. I will continue with the narrative on my next post as there are lots more to tell. JD Brown was also a commercial photographers business and I was also involved in this side.

Monday, 15 June 2020


Yesterday I had a thought about moving my Blog over to a WordPress Blog which was available on my website, the idea being that I would have full control of the Blog. I spent some time reading up on WordPress and it seemed like a good idea.

It was set up automatically from my website control panel and very quick too. I had already downloaded my Blogger content to an .xml file ready for the import to WordPress, and that was an easy task too.

Then came the customize part, adding a theme and various other things to make the blog presentable, this part was to say the least very frustrating and not easy at all. In the end, frustration took over and I removed the WordPress blog from my website.

At least I gave it a try and all that was lost was a few hours of my time.

Another Photo Restoration

Continuing on the Photo Restoration theme, here is another one of myself from 62/63 from a very small print I still have, it was scanned some time back and finally got round to restoring it to a reasonable condition.

The print was on lustre paper, one of the worst types to scan, no idea who took the photo, the hat was made from a large manilla envelope, the jacket was bronze coloured with a nice warm collar. Have happy memories of working there, Lindsays Chemists and Photographers, Step Row in Dundee. The shop was in Castle Street, Dundee and was eventually sold to another Photographic business, Elena Mae.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Posting comments

Not one comment has been posted to my Blog since it started,so checked google and it seems the default comment setting "embedded" was causing the problem as I had tried commenting myself which did not work.

Changed the comment setting to (pop up box) tried it out and it works fine.

Can someone carry out a test comment on any post for me to prove it works, many thanks.

Have got the comments working now, thanks to my pal Scott for testing it out.

Was it so long ago

Busy going through old photos and restoring them, came across this one from the early 60's when I worked as a darkroom technician in a lab at Step Row, Dundee, used to cycle to work from Fintry the housing estate we lived in at the time,  hence the cycle shoes. I was busy setting the points on this old BSA Bantam which was used for delivering finished photos to various chemist shops in town. Happy days. Not too sure, but think this would have been 62/63 ish.

Monday, 8 June 2020

USB SD Card Reader

Years back I had a PC that had a card reader built in and in those days it got used a lot. I recently got my Lumix camera out and had to charge both batteries through lack of use.

Had a specific picture in mind and captured it no problem. Got back indoors and after spending like what seemed ages, found the camera USB lead, plugged the camera in and had forgotten the long winded procedure of getting to the images to download. Eventually figured it out and downloaded the images I wanted, all in all took a while.

Decided to get myself a USB card reader and tried it out today, simple, insert the card, plug it in to the PC, look in the file contents window, find the images, download them to PC and it was so easy, glad I spent £3.55 on the card reader now, job done.


Over the last few weeks while the weather has been good for gardening, we have sorted out the back garden, re-potting most of the big pots with new compost etc., as some were getting a bit pot bound.

Checked out the barbecue which has not been used for a few years, but was under a cover. Unfortunately when the cover was removed it revealed that the coal tray was completely rusted up and nearly falling out. Not much left of the barbecue, so with a bit of thought, I transformed it into a two tier plant trolley and put it to good use, also allows the hosta plants to be raised off the ground and hopefully out of reach of slugs/snails etc.,

Todays excitement

 It was not raining today, so decided to have a walk, stretch the legs. Stopped in at the shops on the way and bought some milk, can't c...