Fuji Finepix S200EXR for sale

The Fuji Finepix S200EXR is one of the new generation of bridge cameras with a superzoom – from 28 mm to 430 mm .  Fuji S200EXR , pre-used , good condition. The camera is now sold

* 12MP Superzoom camera with versatile 14.3x Fujinon lens;Switchable EXR sensor with 3 priority modes: High Resolution, Dynamic Range and High Sensitivity;EXR AUTO combining Scene Recognition and 3 EXR priority modes to optimise for 6 different scenes;NEW Pro Focus mode: create professional looking shots with a shallow depth of field;Aperture and Shutter priority for creative control and JPEG and RAW capture * Switchable EXR sensor with 3 priority modes: High Resolution, Dynamic Range and High Sensitivity * EXR AUTO combining Scene Recognition and 3 EXR priority modes to optimise for 6 different scenes * NEW Pro Focus mode: create professional looking shots with a shallow depth of field * Aperture and Shutter priority for creative control and JPEG and RAW capture

NUMBER OF EFFECTIVE PIXELS: 12 million pixels
CCD SENSOR: 1/ 1.6-inch Super CCD EXR
STORAGE MEDIA: Internal memory (approx. 47MB)?/ SD memory card/ SDHC memory card
FILE FORMAT: Still image: JPEG (Exif Ver. 2.2), (Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible), Movie: AVI (Motion JPEG) with sound, Audio: WAVE format, monaural sound
LENS: Fujinon 14.3 X Optical zoom lens, F2.8 (W) – F5.3 (T)
LENS FOCAL LENGTH: f=7.1mm -101.5mm (equivalent to 30.5-436mm)
DIGITAL ZOOM: Approx 2x (Up to 28.6x when combined)
APERTURE: F2.8/F11 (wide), F5.3/F11 (telephoto)
SUPER MACRO: Approx. 1cm to 1m
SENSITIVITY: Auto/Auto (3200)/Auto (1600)/Auto (800)/Auto (400)/Equivalent to ISO100/200/400/800/1600/3200/6400*/12800* (Standard Output Sensitivity), Number of recorded pixels: ISO6400: “M” or “S”, ISO12800: “S” only
EXPOSURE CONTROL: TTL 256-zones metering

The Fuji Finepix S200EXR . Price £260 – Save over £100 on this camera – Fuji S200EXR , pre-used , immaculate condition, free UK delivery

Christmas pictures – fresh snowfall causes chaos in Scotland

Once again a new fall of snow has caused chaos on the roads in Scotland. Yesterday  snow fell for about 6 hours and the country’s transport system seemed to grind to a halt. Commuters and drivers are demanding answers as to why local councils never seem to be ready for the snow. It’s amazing in the 21st century that councils cannot get hold of accurate weather forecasts. Every time this happens they say that the snowfall was heavier than they expected . Last week snow started falling on Friday night about 12 o’clock. The gritters started to appear about 2 hours later. Scotland’s transport minister Stewart Stevenson conceded that the weather advice the authorities had been following “did not meet requirements”.

And he warned that it could take some time before the roads were “back to anything approaching normal”.

Some travellers were stuck in their vehicles for more than 15 hours as Scotland bore the brunt of the weather.

A fresh wave of ice and snow left several major routes – including the M8, M9 and A80 – impassable.

Police across the country’s busy central belt warned people not to travel on Tuesday unless it was “absolutely essential” after temperatures plunged as low as -17C (1.4F) and hampered gritting efforts.

The deluge on Monday – which appeared to take the authorities by surprise – saw people sleep in their cars or abandon them as motorways and A roads clogged up.

On Tuesday morning, Strathclyde Police reported that the snow and ice on some roads was breaking the blades on snow ploughs.

Mr Stevenson said that the authorities had been caught out by the severity of the weather.

My Christmas pictures gallery features pictures of the Highlands

Travis pictures live at the SECC

Travis live in Glasgow
Travis live at the SECC , Glasgow

Travis used to be one of the biggest bands on the planet . They seem to be in retirement at the moment . In their heyday they sold millions of records . I took this picture at the SECC , Glasgow in 2004. I have also uploaded this with some other live bands in concert to my Flickr photo stream

3D pictures of castles

Edinburgh Castle 11
Edinburgh Castle 11

I have added three 3D picture galleries to the website . Each one features a 3D cube with 6 pictures on it . You can control the cube by holding your cursor over it .There are 3D pictures of Edinburgh Castle and Eilean Donan Castle

The Edinburgh Castle 3D pictures gallery features six of my pictures of the famous castle which is consistently one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK

Eilean Donan Castle
is my favourite castle in Scotland , sitting on a small island in the middle of 3 lochs

Top 5 stunning landscapes in Scotland

Scotland has an abundance of stunning landscapes to visit . This is my own selection of my favourite 5 places to visit .

1 . Glencoe

glencoe
Glencoe

Glencoe is a beautiful rocky landscape featuring the 3 Paps of Glencoe – giant mountains of solid rock. In the summer you might hear the piper in the car park playing a lament . When it goes quiet the silence is quite eery . Listen carefully and you might hear the wailing of ghosts from the Massacre of Glencoe.

2 Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle looks like a fairytale castle set on a little island in the middle of 3 lochs. The history of it is unique among Scottish castles and it actually goes back nearly 800 years . It has long been a favourite of photographers for calendar and postcard images

3. Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond , Scotland
Loch Lomond , Scotland

Loch Lomond is the largest stretch of fresh water in the UK . The scenery along the banks of the loch is legendary . In the summer it is a tourist honeypot . Ben Lomond dominates the eastern shore of the Loch

4 Black Mount

Black Mount Scotland
Black Mount Scotland

The Black Mount is a range of mountains stretching from Glen Orchy to Glen Coe, beside Rannoch Moor. The range features two Munros (Scottish mountains over 3000ft)

5 Buachaille Etive Mor

buachaille etive mor scotland
Buachaille Etive Mor Scotland

Buachaille Etive Mor is probably the queen of Scottish mountains. From the A84 the mountain looks like a giant rocky pyramid . It can look quite awe inspiring in the middle of the winter or on a sunny summer’s day .

Stirling Castle’s medieval knight revealed

Stirling Castle's medieval knight revealed
Stirling Castle's medieval knight revealed on BBC

A medieval knight whose skeleton was discovered at Stirling Castle has been identified. This Thursday, BBC Two’s History Cold Case series will attempt to discover the identity of the warrior who may have been killed during Scotland’s Wars of Independence with England in the late 13th and 14th centuries. The castle changed hands several times and scientific tests have been used to work out whether he might have been a Scot, an Englishman or even French. The programme focuses on two of 10 skeletons excavated from the site of a lost royal chapel at the castle.A team led by Professor Sue Black, a world-renowned forensic anthropologist from Dundee University, wanted to find out how, why and when the knight, and a woman buried nearby, met violent ends at the castle. Historic Scotland, which cares for over 50 Scottish castles , has announced that it is commissioning further research to find out more about the 10 skeletons, which include two infants.
Painstaking research has revealed that, not only was the knight likely to have come from the south of England, but he was almost certainly at the centre of efforts to repel sieges of the castle when Scots were trying to reclaim it in the 14th century. Forensic experts, archaeologists and historians have joined forces on a project that has unearthed a likely name for the warrior – Sir John De Stricheley – after records showed an English knight of that name died in the castle in October 1341. The remains were found with nine other skeletons under a paved floor in a lost royal chapel in 1997, but their identities were shrouded in mystery until recently, when new scientific tests were carried out.
This work will be carried out by Dr Jo Buckberry of the University of Bradford and archaeological scientists Dr Janet Montgomery (University of Bradford) and Professor Julia Lee-Thorp (University of Oxford). Plans are also being made to include the facial reconstruction, and the other research results, in a permanent exhibition due to open at Stirling Castle next spring.
Richard Strachan, Historic Scotland Senior Archaeologist, said: “Professor Black and her team have done a great job in finding out more about two of the skeletons.

“The facial reconstruction of the knight gives a powerful impression of what a warrior who died in the 1300s may have looked like.
“He was a very strong and fit nobleman, with the physique of a professional rugby player, who would have been trained since boyhood to handle heavy swords and other weapons and who would have spent a great deal of time on horseback.
“We are building on this work through a project with Dr Buckberry, and her colleagues, to use the latest archaeological techniques to discover more about the lives and origins of all the people found buried in the chapel.

“This includes where they were brought up and the food they ate, where they were from, how they died and possibly why they were buried in the castle.”

One intriguing avenue of research will be to compare the results from the Stirling skeletons to those of soldiers found in mass graves who were killed at the Battle of Towton, the decisive clash of England’s Wars of the Roses, in 1461.

Dr Buckberry, a biological anthropologist, said: “Techniques have advanced a long way since the skeletons were discovered in 1997 and we can now tell much more about where people came from, their lifestyles and causes of death.

“This group is highly unusual, because of where and when the people were buried, suggesting that they might have been socially important and have died during extreme events such as sieges.

“As the castle changed hands a number of times these are people who could have come from Scotland, England or even France and one of my hopes is that we will be able to find out where at least some of them originated.”

The skeletons, which date from the 13th to 15th centuries, were found during preparatory work for Historic Scotland’s £12 million refurbishment of the castle’s Renaissance royal palace, returning it to how it may have looked in the 1540s.

Part of the project involves the creation of superb new displays telling the story of the castle through the centuries.

Gillian MacDonald, Stirling Castle Executive Manager, said: “The BBC’s research, and the further investigations we are carrying out, will be an important part of the new exhibitions that visitors will be able to enjoy next spring.

“They will be able to see the reconstruction of the knight, who seems to have survived many terrible wounds before finally being killed.

“The displays will tell the castle’s story from its days as a royal stronghold through to more recent times. These and the newly refurbished apartments in the royal palace will mean there is lots more for visitors to do and see.”

Should Eilean Donan Castle be featured in Monopoly?

eilean donan castle 19 pictures, e-cards
Eilean Donan Castle e-cards

Board game Monopoly is published in a new Highlands version in October . The question is , what properties should feature in the new game ?  Eilean Donan Castle must surely qualify as an iconic building and the most photographed castle in Scotland . The publishers have decided to give the public a say and anyone can vote for their favourite location or landmark between now and April 2 nd . The famous board game, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year , will retain its usual format.

The ownership of property has historically been a controversial issue in the Highlands since the days of the clearances  and it is sure to cause heated debate when voting starts in Inverness.

More than 30 spots are up for grabs before the new game, in English and Gaelic, goes on sale. The Highlands have been described as the playground of the rich and famous with many well known personalities owning Scottish castles , including Mohammed al Fayed ( Balnagown Castle, Easter Ross ), Cameron Mackintosh , painter Jack Vettriano ( Easterheughs Castle )  and Peter de Savary ( the luxury Skibo Castle resort and the venue for Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s wedding ) . Many castles in the Highlands have been sold in recent years . Duncraig Castle was sold last year . Eilean Donan Castle has iconic status as one of the most photographed castles in Scotland . Urquhart Castle , on the shore of Loch Ness and its famous monster, should get serious consideration .

Other suggestions include the Glenfinnan Monument , Inverness Castle, the Cairngorm ski centre, Ben Nevis and the iconic Caledonian Canal . MSP Peter Peacock  nominated Assynt in Sutherland,  bought by crofters from private owners, to replace the prestigious Mayfair.

Maybe Highland Monopoly should feature Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic college in Skye, as part of a Gaelic element. It could not be bought and sold, but anyone landing on it would have to learn at least one new Gaelic word in order to be able to move forward again.

A board spokeswoman said: “Gaelic is very much a part of the identity of the Highlands and its place names and we suggest areas such as Culloden and iconic structures such as the Glenfinnan Viaduct”

Cameron Mackintosh’s pocket castle is on the shore of Loch Nevis .The building commands the point between Tarbet Bay and the main loch, midway between the two tiny villages of Tarbet and Kylesmorar, looking due west to the distant Cuillin mountains on the Isle of Skye. Inaccessible by car,  it is pretty difficult scrambling miles over the headlands by foot.  Mackintosh had bought himself some abandoned estate lodge in this remote spot, perhaps last extended by an Edwardian laird, and spared no expense in bringing it back to life.

Does Eilean Donan Castle qualify as an iconic building in the Highlands . Vote now in our online poll

free castle e-cards

15 Scottish castles for sale

[poll id=”2″]

Dunnottar Castle pictures

Dunnottar Castle one, scotland
Dunnottar Castle one , Scotland

Dunnottar Castle could be called a hidden gem amongst the plethora of Scottish castles . It is not very well-known but it has a fascinating history including visits from William Wallace and Mary, Queen of Scots.The castle must have the most spectacular location in Scotland , sitting on a  rocky promontory on the east coast of Scotland just outside Stonehaven , about 15 miles from Aberdeen . The word impregnable was probably invented for this castle. It is surrounded on all sides by a sheer cliff . Entry is by a tunnel through the cliff . Once you actually reach the top the views are stunning. In the 12th Century Dunnottar Castle became a Catholic settlement with the first stone chapel being consecrated in 1276. According to “Blind Harry”, a 15th Century poet, whose epic poem was an inspiration for the 1996 film “Braveheart”, William Wallace set fire to this chapel with a garrison of English soldiers taking refuge inside. The current chapel was built in the 16th Century.Dunnottar Castle was home to one of the most powerful families in Scotland, the Earls Marischal, from the 14th century when Sir William Keith, the 1st Earl Marischal, built his Tower House, also known as the Keep.  The Earl Marischal was an office bestowed on the Keiths by James II. The role was one of the three great offices of State, along with the Constable and the Steward.  The Earl Marischal had specific responsibility for ceremonial events, the Honours of Scotland and for the safety of the King’s person within parliament. Consequently it was not unusual for the monarchy, including Mary Queen of Scots, to spend time and stay at Dunnottar.Nowadays you can get married in Dunnottar castle , although you do so at your own risk since there is no shelter in the castle buildings .

Growing threat of image rights grabs

Photographers have to be aware of possible misuse of their images. Nowadays there is a growing threat of image rights grabs , mainly from competitions organised by magazines and book publishers.The scenario is straightforward. A photo competiton is announced with the winner getting published in a book or magazine. However if you read the small print a different story emerges. Chris Barton wrote on his blog about a Great British Life competition . The small print reveals “”By submitting any material to Archant, You automatically grant Archant the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, edit, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such material (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed for the full term of any rights that may exist in such content.”The BBC , Sky and other television companies have done a similar thing with their requests to viewers for their pictures of news events. If you send them a picture you are also giving them the right to publish it wherever they want without any payment .

HDR screensavers , tools for creating HDR photos

Eilean Donan Castle 314 screensaver
Eilean Donan Castle HDR screensaver

HDR photography is great way of getting a new perspective on what you can do with your own images . There are many ways of creating HDR photos , including Photomatix and and Photoshop . Photomatix is still the best tool for making HDR pictures as far as I am concerned . I used it to make my first HDR screensaver . I have just started trying out HDR PhotoStudio2 from Unified Color. The basic interface has a limited number of options compared to Photomatix .Unified Color has announced that HDR PhotoStudio, its High Dynamic Range software package formerly available only on the Windows platform, is now available for the Mac. The software is compatible with Intel systems running Leopard and Snow Leopard and requires at least a 2.5GHz dual core system with 2GB of RAM (4GB is recommended). HDR PhotoStudio gives photographers control over the colors within an image, a tool set that helps them address the effects of merging multiple exposures, and an improved workflow, the company says.
“In response to requests from photographers, we are excited to introduce HDR PhotoStudio to the Mac faithful,” said Alfred Zee, CEO of Unified Color Technologies. “With HDR PhotoStudio, Mac users can finally produce full-color HDR images that they envision, without concern that their dynamic range or colors will be clipped or shifted by applications constrained by traditional narrow gamut color models. With our technology, photographers can unlock the full color spectrum while preserving a realistic look and feel to their images.” HDR PhotoStudio’s 32-bit floating-point technology and Beyond RGB color space is designed to accurately depict and edit all the colors the human visual system can recognize. While the current evolution of HDR photography has often been characterized by oversaturated and unnatural-looking images, the makers of HDR PhotoStudio say their software enables photographers to provide a more true-to-life look for their HDR images. “Most other offerings are forced to reduce image quality to bring an HDR photo into a color range it can manage, often losing image data and clipping the full scope of colors in the process. While the current evolution of HDR photography has been dominated by oversaturated and unnatural-looking images, mainly due to these software limitations, HDR PhotoStudio enables photographers to unlock their complete photographic vision,” the company explained. The program’s tools aim to address some common difficulties in HDR photography. These include a halo reduction slider to fight the haloing problem of HDR images; a patented HDR noise reduction technique; the Veiling Glare adjustment designed to cut down on image haze from compounding lens glare; a Color Tone Equalizer which allows simultaneous management of saturation in six basic color channels; and a customizable recipe button to save macros. HDR PhotoStudio supports Unified Color’s native BEF file format which enables efficient HDR image compression, so photographers can easily manage and archive the large files, according to the company. The package includes a BEF-converting Photoshop plug-in, which enables the final HDR image to be applied to a Photoshop project. The program also supports RAW files from all the major camera manufacturers as well as TIFF, JPEG, BMP, and OpenEXR formats.
Available for immediate download via the company’s Web site, the Mac version of HDR PhotoStudio is being offered for an introductory price of $100 throughout the month of February. After that, the price goes up to its regular $150.