The Sky’s The Limit

Cumbrian Mountain Skyline
Cumbrian Mountain Skyline

I thought you might like a picture of the skyline today. It seems like ages since we looked over this way and could see all the way to the mountains. They’ve been working undercover for the past couple of weeks.

Did you ever develop your own pictures, in the old days I mean, before everything went digital? Do you remember that it was because you had to wait up to three weeks before your negatives and their positive results popped through the letter box, that you decided to have a go at doing it yourself? I doubt if they’d let you buy the chemicals these days, I’m sure they must have been poisonous to everything.

Then there was the luxury of a red LED stopwatch. All assembled in a cardboard box, naturally. You see, the red colour of the LEDs (the only colour available at that time) didn’t fog the film. If you think about it, the camera very carefully and precisely exposed the film to daylight so the last thing you needed was a clumsy, bumbling human shining lights all over it.

The tricky part was the transfer of the film from the camera, to whatever vessel you intended to use to slosh the film and chemicals around in. This all had to be done in, as close to, pitch dark as possible, usually under a thick blanket, with only the flickering light of the LED display as it counted away the minutes and seconds until the chemicals and film had been together for their allotted span.

A bit like speed-dating, I suppose.

Home From Home

House Martin
House Martin

We have seen a few house martins flying around as The Dog, Jackie and I patrol our locality. It is, of course, futile to try to photograph them when they are flying around. They are so small and move so fast that only blind chance would place one in the frame – as and when the camera chose to take the shot. Digital cameras are really great for those of us who just want to click away and then look at the pictures later, but the price you pay is that the camera takes the picture at its own convenience with little thought for all the time and effort that went into framing the shot.

We were pleased to find this one sitting on a wire today. I must mention that there were actually two sitting on the wire to start with, but by the time we had convinced ourselves that they really were house martins and not just a couple of sparrows, one of them became bored with our indecision and swooped off for a light snack.

They used to nest on cliffs, but as soon as humans reached the level of intellect necessary to build decent houses, they upgraded to the more modern and up to date option. Very sensibly, they spend our winter months south of the equator. They raise a couple of broods here each year, probably to teach the youngsters how tough life can be, before they potter off for a lazy three months or so in the lush plenty of the tropics.

It’s a good life if you can get it.