Week 14 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 15th June 2008

If you were assembling a list of the architectural wonders of the world I don't suppose Morrisons Supermarket in Gibraltar would be on it but it is certainly an impressive building if you take the trouble to look.

I walk over to buy a newspaper and find that the entrance is being guarded by a friendly white dog who is auditioning for a role in the music business but is about a hundred years too late - "His Master's Trolley" just doesn't have the right ring to it somehow.

Monday 16th June 2008

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I have found an excellent Bird Forum that also deals with the technical aspects of photography. Accordingly, I decide to have yet another go at Digiscoping using my somewhat crude setup. This boils down to just holding a cheap camera in front of the lens of the telescope. You can do this with your hand but some sort of attachment is better - as shown in the middle shot above. I find that the best results are obtained by setting the camera to Macro but other cameras may differ so just experiment.

The first ship I look at happens to be the Panama registered products tanker, Leader, which has the fancy lifeboats referred to Last Week. My guess is that these are now becoming compulsory for tankers carrying dangerous cargoes. Anyway, this time the results are measurably better (left photo above) than just using the Panasonic DMC-FZ18 at maximum zoom (right photo above). Bear in mind that the ship is at least a mile away and with a "normal" camera would just be a dot. Gibraltar harbour is about five miles across with at least twenty ships parked up at random (not really - they have to make sure that they don't get tangled up if the wind changes direction so no doubt they are carefully arranged)

For the anoraks, the shot through the TeleVue 85 was taken using a 20mm Plosl eyepiece and a Panasonic DMC-FX50 camera. I also have a TeleVue 8mm - 24mm eyepiece but the clamping attachment will not work with that and holding the camera by hand does not work either.

The way forward seems to be a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera. To quote a very helpful person on the forum "I suggest you get a proper DSLR that you will use without a lens. For more magnification, you can use a teleconverter. You will also need a T adapter to attach the scope - TeleVue makes some and they are also readily available from many suppliers"

Later I read the Daily Telegraph and discover that there are calls for "Ethics in the Arms Industry". I look forward to further calls for "Virginity in Brothels" and "Honest Expense Claims from MPs"

Monday 17th June 2008

On the way back from La Linea on foot, we decide to take a night shot of Gibraltar. What I had not intended to take were a nearby cat and the edge of my camera strap but in the interests of photo verite, here they are.

During the day I discover an excellent ship spotting forum which is terrible from a programming point of view (if you post on it do NOT preview your post as it screws it up) but full of helpful and knowledgeable people who quickly identify the mystery vessel of 23rd March 2008 as a container crane transporter. It had never crossed my mind that there would be ships specially built to move container cranes but evidently there are at least six in China alone.

The site has over 500,000 ship shots and you can see them being added by punters (eg me) at the rate of about one per minute, night and day! It also has a minimum photo size of 1024 width which on some sites is the maximum allowed. This confuses me but when I am told off by one of the moderators for posting small photos I start to fire the biggest photos I can find at it but it takes them without a gulp. Good site.

Wednesday 18th June 2008

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Late in the afternoon we wander down to Casemates Square to meet somebody for a drink when we come upon a prison van brightly adorned with balloons! Presumably this is an attempt to popularise the prison which we found unexpectedly a few weeks ago when we walked up the rock. Certainly, it looks like a cosy place and accommodation is free so worth thinking about.

Thursday 19th June 2008

When I go to bed in the early hours Cathma is all brightly lit up! When I get up she is still there. According to the World Shipping Register she is a General Cargo Ship but I think she is something more exciting than that. Precisely what though, I don't know. No doubt the nice people on ship spotting forum will know. I am tempted to say pedants but I won't because I am already in enough trouble for posting the picture of the four pretty girls skulling across the bay ( Sunday 8th June 2008 ). "Why are you posting such pictures?" Frankly, I have no idea but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Later we go to La Linea so that my girlfriend can go for a swim. She has equipped herself with a bright green flotation device which looks like a giant doughnut. I try to take a photograph but unfortunately she is obscured by somebody walking past. Sorry about that.

Friday 20th June 2008

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A pretty tug called Pallencia II comes past at a sedate pace, unlike HMS Scimitar (P284) which appears to have only one speed - very fast. In the evening I watch yet another re-run of the Second World War - as I explain to my girlfriend, I have to see it just in case Hitler wins this time.

Saturday 21st June 2008

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I am up bright and early as my girlfriend is going to a hen party and I am the taxi driver. As I walk into the living room I remark that there is nothing much in the harbour when my eye is caught by a strange looking vessel. When I look closer it is the Edmondgracht carrying a cargo of yachts on the deck. If it sinks they will be spoiled for choice.

Later the tug Warrior turns up flying the Stars & Stripes, quite why, I have no idea.

Finally, we set off for Jerez (where the sherry comes from) and I drop off all the hens in the Primark car park (don't ask how to get there - we found it by accident and my Tom Tom is prepared to swear on a stack of Bibles that it doesn't exist).

Coming out of Jerez, I notice a giant statue - nice effort guys, it'll look great when you get the head finished.

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