Saturday, 10 December 2011

Yellow Lily

This is only the second time anyone has ever given me flowers and I was so taken with them.  Yellow lilies and beautiful red and yellow roses.  I didn't manage to get a good shot of the roses but I did like this one of a lily, not least because it is so warm and sunny seeming.  I also liked the angle.  It always strikes me as odd how much of a difference the angle you shoot something at makes.  It shouldn't because I've been at this for long enough to know even a few millimetres makes all the difference, however it is still striking to flick between two shots of the same thing and see the effect.  I say this because I had two photos which, to all intents and purposes, looked the same.  And yet this one was vastly better than the other.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Falkirk Wheel

The Falkirk Wheel is a really rather clever bit of engineering based on a very simple concept.  It was built to connect two different canals where a series of something like 11 locks were required to join them previously.  It is, very simply put, a boat lift.  The canal is open to the gondolas at the top and the bottom, with the far end sealed off by hydraulic doors.  Once the boat is in place and secured, the hydraulic doors onto the canal are closed and the wheel is free to turn using its electric motor.  The gondolas are balanced, so that there is no strain on the mechanics, purely using the displacement of water.  And the gondolas sit level in the turning arms of the wheel because it sits on wheels in the circular cut outs and the weight of the gondola keeps it sitting level.  It is so clever, and it looks very impressive.  The only way it could be improved?  A bit more speed ;-)

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Panda Express

This is FedEx's Panda Express taxiing at Edinburgh Airport earlier today.  It flew in from China carrying the two Giant Pandas who will call Edinburgh Zoo their home for the next 10 years.  The plane itself is not one that would usually land at Edinburgh (a Boeing 777F) and that in itself drew people in to see it.  Its unusual livery and rather exceptional cargo drew crowds of people and hoards of press in to catch the first glimpse of an animal that has created more excitement than any other in the UK in years.  I didn't for a minute think that I would see the Pandas.  I wanted to see the plane in its cool livery and, well I like planes, so the thought of seeing something that was a rare sight in Edinburgh was a little exciting too.  As it turned out, we found a spot where we could actually see the plane sat on the tarmac, and from not too far away either.  They spent a lot of time hanging about - probably doing press conferences and checks and all sorts - during which time the majority of us were trying to make sure our fingers didn't freeze to camera lenses, chain link fences, etc.  Eventually a door opened in the side of the plane,
near the tail and the first crate was brought out.  I could, through my zoom lens, make out that there was something in the crate, but not much more.  However, Yang Guang in the second crate was much more active and I could see him moving around and watching through the perspex walls (yes, I promise that is a Panda face!).  This is hardly the best picture ever - from a great distance and with heat haze from a generator causing a disturbance - but I got to see Yang Guang in the flesh before the vast majority of people in the country!  Maybe not the most awesome claim to fame ever, but I'm very pleased about it.  Some time later they were finally all loaded up and ready to go.  Once the press and dignitaries were shipped off to the zoo to see their arrival there, Tian Tian and Yang Guang were off again, this time in Panda branded lorries!  It's safe to say that they don't travel discreetly.  And I can't wait to see them properly.  There will be a few member preview days at the zoo from the 13th to the 15th of December and I have my ticket booked to go visit on the Tuesday the 13th.  If it's not too busy I might try and get back on the Thursday too!  Working part time definitely has it's advantages ;-)