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mick

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Everything posted by mick

  1. mick

    Bird Photographs

    I'm not a photographer by any means but I do enjoy taking photographs and over the last couple of years or so, as a special interest, I've been trying to capture photographs of garden birds. Now that's all well and good but what do you do with them once you've taken them? I now have hundreds of digital images of common garden birds stored on my hard drive and so I thought I'd start a topic here in order that I can display just a few of them. I'll add photos as attachments so that they don't appear in the forum Gallery and everyone can then choose whether or not they wish to view them. I'm going to begin by posting the photo that began my interest. It's nothing special at all, just a young Robin perched on a branch outside our caravan kitchen window. The above is a cropped section from a larger image and the actual subject was perhaps 12-15 feet away so even at full focal length as here it just shows that you're going to need to be quite close in order to capture decent photos. I didn't really understand how to take better photos but I soon had a desire to improve, to take photographs that were sharper and clearer. I experimented using teleconverters to get closer and began tweaking the camera's settings to obtain sharper images but I'm a slow learner so it's taken me some time to make any real progress.
  2. After what has seemed like an eternity I'm now almost ready to begin construction of a new garden railway. The Selby Garden Railway is long gone although hopefully many of the lessons learned back then will leave me in a much healthier position this time around. Plans for a new garden railway have been on hold for the last four months during which time we have been settling into our new home and having necessary alterations carried out. There remains a lot to do inside the home but the onset of Spring and some unseasonably warm weather of late means I have taken the decision to make the best of the weather outdoors and use those horrid rainy days to catch up with work indoors. As with my previous layout, a wooden garden shed will provide an indoor stabling cum station area although unlike the SGR it is anticipated that there will be far fewer roads required within it. At the present time I intend to make Worsley Dale operate along the lines of a preserved railway with less ambitious plans than before. Whereas the SGR comprised double track running this new layout will be primarily single tracked with perhaps the odd passing place out in the open, perhaps in conjunction with a remote station. The old 8ft by 6ft garden shed which was so old it almost had listed status, has now been demolished and removed from the site in readiness for a new 12ft by 8ft building to take its place. Fortunately the old shed had been placed on a paving flag base which will just require extending along part of one side to make it ready for the erection of the new shed. All being well I'll grab a photo of the vacant ground tomorrow so that you can see what I have to work with, where the shed will be located, and how it fits in with the rest of the garden. If you've been following my previous Worsley Dale thread in the Planning Section, you'll be aware that the garden has a significant slope towards the bottom end. I had thought about erecting a shed at the lowest point so that the indoor section would be at a more manageable height but I've now decided to erect the new shed in the same spot that the old shed occupied, meaning that the indoor section will again be at low level. Was it only 2 years ago? perhaps just a little more, when during a very cold spell with snow on the ground, I was erecting a shed for the SGR. That was about midway into the construction of the old layout when I had 2 operational tracks already running. This time I'm starting from the shed/indoor section and working outwards around the garden. Not sure whether that'll make any difference but I'm sure we'll soon find out.
  3. mick

    Camdale layout

    Sorry to hear you've been incapacitated since New Years Eve Tony. You certainly pick your times - don't you realise inebriation is supposed to be the condition on that night? I'm not sure whether you're still confined to a ward or have manged to make it back home but I do hope all is well and I wish you a speedy recovery.
  4. mick

    Leasingham Poacher

    Good to see things are still operational Shaun and by the smile on the smokebox door it looks like all is well. Nice rake of teak coaches behind too!
  5. mick

    Looking for a new Train speed controller.

    I can't help with suggestions for a decent DC controller I'm afraid. I also rely on the standard Bachmann or Hornby 'train set' controllers when I need to test anything under DC control but being primarily DCC I've never taken any notice of the latest offerings for DC controllers. I remember an old Gaugemaster controller I once had many years ago provided some excellent slow speed control (simulation setting) and I imagine they've improved again since those days. I see they still manufacture a range of controllers for single through to four-track operation.
  6. mick

    Worsley Dale Garden Railway

    Yes Griff, for the main part the layout has stood up well to the elements over the past seven years almost. I'm going to need to replace some of the ground level boards this year but that was planned anyway. The viaducts have been almost problem free other than a few of the top parapet walls becoming dislodged due to enthusiastic children and a local feline (which appears to have . The snow hasn't reached us yet although a cold spell is around the corner, but at least the days have started lengthening which is always welcome.
  7. mick

    Bird Photographs

    Welcome to the forum Squidlette! I know it's not recommended that we become too acquainted with our local wildlife but when they're content in our company what's the harm. And had you not taken her in she probably wouldn't have survived in the wild anyway. How does she react when you place her outdoors? Does she stay close by? Have you any plans to release her back into the wild?
  8. mick

    Password Safety

    It seems barely a day goes by without there being news of another corporation or organisation having their computer systems hacked and users personal information stolen. It is, therefore, essential that we are all extra careful when submitting any personal information online. With regards to the OO Garden Railway forum, the only user information required to gain access are a username, a password, and an email address, but even so, in my opinion it is essential that combinations of usernames and passwords are unique to this forum and not used together to access any other website. I recently became aware of someone I know using the same username (actually an email address) and password for several different websites including some where financial information was saved. I was able to make them see the dangers in doing so and these have now all been changed to unique passwords. I should point out that this person is not a member of the OO Garden Railway forum. In light of the above I thought it would be wise to remind everyone to ensure that your OO Garden Railway password is unique to this site and that it couldn't be used in combination with either your forum username or your registered email address to gain access to any of your online accounts on any other website. And of course, that same advice goes for every single website you visit and where you submit any personal information. If you need to change your password then this can be done via your user control panel.
  9. mick

    Worsley Dale Garden Railway

    Firstly a rather belated Happy New Year to everyone as well as my most sincere apologies for my very late 'thank you' to Andrew for the 2019 Dorking Garden Railway calendar. We have been busy closing down our caravan for the winter period but now have several free weeks during which I hope to make use of my insulated shed along with my little heater in order to get the layout put back together in readiness for running to recommence. You won't be surprised to learn that it's all very much as it was and I'm sure you've come to expect nothing more from me. I do tend to work in little spurts as you know but even when you have few commitments there still never seems to be enough time and opportunity to do the things you want to do. Anyway, in answer to some questions no Tony, I still have that small bit of shed wall that I never completely finished lining but it's no big deal and won't take long to remedy. I also still have some electric cable that needs enclosing in plastic trunking to tidy it all up. Again not a long job once I get started. The weather's pretty mild here at the moment but it's forecast to get cooler by the middle of next week so it might prove the first test of the shed insulation. The class 67 didn't replace the class 66 - it's just a smaller Bo-Bo version introduced for passenger type work whereas the class 66 Co-Co was intended for heavy freight workings. Roddy I would love to recreate the steam day sleeper too but my current 'Scottish themed' modelling period already extends from the 1980s to present day and the necessary stock costs a small fortune. On top of that Hornby go and announce even more Scottish liveried models for the coming year and I'm really tempted. Andrew, thanks for the Calendar as already mentioned. Yes, the weathering on the viaduct is certainly more effective on the sheltered side. We normally get rain from the west and the weathered side faces north-east so little rain and sunshine mainly during the summer months.
  10. mick

    Worsley Dale Garden Railway

    It's been very quiet again on Worsley Dale but there's been a fair increase in rolling stock, many of which will be featured on the layout in the coming months. I've been reading up on the Scottish railway scene lately and devouring lots of photographs and although it was mentioned by someone when work initially began on Worsley Dale, I never really took to the idea of modelling the Caledonian Sleeper because I just thought of a long rake of coaches running from London to Edinburgh that would look totally out of place on my little single line railway. But I hadn't really seen the opportunity that it presented upon arrival in Edinburgh and its forward movements with varying numbers of coaches and array of motive power. The trouble with modelling the Caledonian Sleeper is that it can be very expensive. The MK3 sleeper coaches are in great demand and command a correspondingly high price while there are no commercially available models of the day coaches. In model form, much like in real life, the RLO and BUO day coaches must be converted from other MK2 coaches and while there are some examples occasionally listed on eBay the quality of workmanship isn't always that great. I was lucky to drop on a pair that I'm quite happy with. The correct day coaches are not absolutely necessary however as there is plenty of photographic evidence to show that even when the train was in First Scotrail Caledonian Sleeper livery (as on the accompanying photos here) there could often be seen standard MK2 coaches in InterCity Executive livery for example. I intend to recreate some of those images at some point and have obtained the correct coaches in order to do so. I'm not sure why but to me the class 67 looks like it was made for hauling the sleepers through the Highlands. Below is 67024 in EWS livery hauling three MK3 sleepers and the two day coaches over Low Shott viaduct. The class 67's are being replaced by class 73's for the Highland sleepers but not before 67004 (below) was repainted in Caledonian Sleeper livery. This is 67004 'CAIRN GORM', a Hornby model fitted with TTS sound. Double heading is not uncommon on the sleeper service and so as I had both locomotives out on a cold day down in Worsley Dale I decided to put them together for another photo with 67024 leading 67004. And after what, five years or so, just look at how Low Shott viaduct has weathered and withstood a number of harsh winters without any undue damage. I would really like to recreate the sleeper service with InterCity liveried sleepers but I've yet to see any offered anywhere and I dread to think of what the asking price would be. I might have to console myself by modelling the Scotrail HST's just announced as part of the Hornby 2019 range.
  11. mick

    Bird Photographs

    If you recall, back in October 2018 I managed to capture a few photographs of a female Sparrowhawk that had begun visiting the bird feeder in my garden. It had no intention of feasting on the goodies I was offering but rather hoping to land itself a meal of one of my smaller feathered visitors. Luckily for them they always managed to evade capture but their good fortune was bound to end at some point. As on previous occasions, I had to dash to grab a camera as soon as I saw the Sparrowhawk arrive but by the time I returned to take a photo it had already grabbed this little sparrow. Within a few seconds it was away carrying its prey with it. This time I'm told it was a male Sparrowhawk.
  12. mick

    My cobbled together layout

    Looking good Griff. Will be nice to see it filled and sanded.
  13. mick

    Worsley Dale Garden Railway

    Don't worry Griff, I'm not about to eradicate my feline intruder but it is extremely annoying when a cat from a good distance away is causing damage to something I've spent a great deal of time putting together. I've only added anti-climb spikes on top of the fence adjacent to the viaduct so if it uses common sense it will jump over a little further up the garden and not end up with sore feet.
  14. mick

    Worsley Dale Garden Railway

    Since I reported on the damage to Stack Gill viaduct, and after having repaired it, I discovered a few days later that it had been damaged again. I now believe it's a cat that's causing the damage and so I've nailed some security spikes along the top of the boundary fence where it seems it's jumping over and down onto the top of the viaduct. It appears to have worked so far. I've not finished work inside the shed so nothing has been replaced and thus there's nothing new to report, however, I have managed to get hold of some new Bachmann MK2F coaches which I'm looking to forward to seeing on track. I've also ordered a Mk2F DBSO which, as far as I'm aware, I've never seen in operation in real life but which appear to offer me a way of running back and forth between the two stations without the need to remove the loco in the terminus station and stick it back on the other end. I'm probably going to be operating a model railway with vehicles and liveries that might never have been seen together at the same time but that's the way I enjoy it.
  15. mick

    Camdale layout

    It feels like where getting close to seeing some action on Camdale now that the transformers have made an appearance. I'm looking forward to seeing a view of the entire layout. Have you had any thoughts regarding scenery or is that looking a bit too far ahead?
  16. mick

    Bird Photographs

    I've not managed to photograph any of those yet Roddy and we see loads of Red Kites but it's always whilst were driving. I thought I'd add a few photos of young Blue Tits this time. I've taken quite a lot though very few are worthy of displaying and just about all of them were taken around the bird feeder which does nothing for the natural setting. The ones below weren't quite ready to feed themselves Youngster and parent. Strange how the young ones have all the markings but not the adults colours. The one below was a quick snap of a youngster that settled on a neighbours fence.
  17. mick

    Bird Photographs

    Hi Tony. The 5D is a full frame Canon Digital SLR, (Canon EOS 5D) the latest version of which I believe is still the MKIV. I have the earlier MKII from a few years ago as well as the MKIV. The largest native bird in the UK is apparently the Sea Eagle (had to Google that one) although we don't get any round these parts. The largest bird we get to see is probably the Heron as it takes an interest in my Koi. I photographed the one below near Long Preston, just outside Settle in the Yorkshire Dales. They have a wingspan of between 1.5 and 2 metres. It's amazing to see just how steady their head remains while they search the streams for food. I have some video, taken on a blustery day, which shows the birds neck swaying about in the breeze but the head absolutely still while they focus on their prey. I've had them stalking my pond on a number of occasions but its covered with a netted frame to keep them out.
  18. mick

    Bird Photographs

    I've taken so many photographs of birds recently that trying to choose a selection to include here is no easy task but the Blue Tit was proving quite an enjoyable challenge. Here's another selection of photos featuring a Blue Tit taken 2-3 weeks after the previous ones. Normally they don't hang around long enough to be able to take a series of photos but when they're searching the tree foliage for caterpillars you get a decent opportunity. I particularly liked the photo below which appears to show the little bird having a great time swinging to and fro. There are more Blue Tit photos to come!
  19. mick

    Bird Photographs

    Very similar to the previous attachments but this one was taken three days later when I noticed the Sparrowhawk for a second time. It looked directly at me but remained there for a good few seconds. Once again it scattered the sparrows but left empty handed. My first photo on Monday was taken at 16:05 and the first one on Thursday was at 16:13 so it's pretty consistent.
  20. mick

    Bird Photographs

    I took the Sparrowhawk photos with a Nikon Coolpix P900 which is described as a 'bridge' camera. It has an 83x optical zoom giving a 135mm equivalent of 24-2000mm. I purchased it to save me having to lug the much heavier DSLRs around when out walking but it's ideal for getting those quick snaps that would otherwise have been lost by the time I'd set up the Canon EOS 5D MkIV which is my favoured camera. For wildlife/birds etc I use the 5D with either a Tamron 150-600 zoom lens or, much better in my opinion, a Sigma 800mm prime lens with 1.4x and 2x tele adaptors. The drawback with the Sigma is the size and weight - it's very big and needs a good solid tripod - but coupled with the 5D it can deliver some really great results depending on the conditions. Very colourful Lorikeets Tony - they'd make some great close up photos.
  21. mick

    Worsley Dale Garden Railway

    Garden railways require frequent repair and maintenance and this morning I've been out trying to put this back together. Perhaps it was the Sparrowhawk or maybe the pigeons perching on it? It's only damaged along one side so it doesn't feel like a cat that's jumped over as I would have expected it to have damaged both sides.
  22. mick

    Bird Photographs

    It's the closest I've ever been to one Roddy and yes, it's a privilege to see one at such close quarters and to be able to capture the photos. We've seen them circling overhead on several occasions recently and it's clear they're aware of the birds feeders so I expect we'll see it again. I've been told it's a female Sparrowhawk.
  23. mick

    Bird Photographs

    I began this thread in order to post my most recently taken photos but started by trying to bring things up to date through a selection of photos taken previously. I still have a number of older photos to add but the ones included here were taken only yesterday. I was sitting at the dining table using the laptop when I noticed a bird outside near the feeders and it wasn't the usual sparrow or blackbird. It darted into the shrubs. Now normally I have a camera to hand but as I had recently arrived home I had to rush into another room, get out my camera bag and get hold of a camera. I removed the lens cap and switched the camera on but there was nothing to be seen - it seemed I'd missed my chance. The vertical blinds were drawn back on the windows so I didn't dare get too close to the window itself but I could see there was still something in the shrubs. I waited and then suddenly this popped out.... I use the dish to feed live mealworms but it wasn't interested in them - only in the sparrows that had been feeding there moments earlier. I quickly took the above photo expecting it to disappear at any moment but then had the chance to zoom in a bit for the following photos although they were taken through double glazed window glass at a distance of 10-12 feet. Now although I enjoy taking bird photos I'm not always certain of their identity but I believe this is a Sparrowhawk, similar to the one Roddy posted a photo of earlier. If anyone can confirm its identity I would be grateful. It left empty handed on this occasion but it's been lurking around before so I expect it will pay another visit sometime soon. Keep that camera handy!
  24. mick

    Worsley Dale Garden Railway

    Well here's a view that hasn't been seen for some time - Shieling Bridge station almost completely devoid of rolling stock and infrastructure! I've done a bit of weatherproofing on the outside of the shed and just had a general tidy round inside so thought I'd grab a photo of the empty station. It shows just how much work I still have to do but at least now it's a much more comfortable environment in which to do it. By the time I'm back up and running there's unlikely to be many opportunities to run anything round the garden but at least if it's cold or wet outside, I should be able to make myself comfy in the shed and get on with finishing the stations. I've not yet got round to altering the far left hand siding which scrapes against the cladding and I've still to repair the damage to my colour light signal, which currently lies on the platform, after it's unfortunate trip up the vacuum cleaner nozzle. But looking at the overall state of play, there was a time when I would have given anything to have been in this position
  25. mick

    Maximilianshafen

    Well you're certainly proving all the doubters wrong and showing that OO/HO in the garden can be very successful and worthwhile. Just wait until you can show them a fully operational layout next year! I think the forum provides the required inspiration and motivation to make a start in OO/HO outdoors. It shows what is possible and provides advice on things that are best avoided. Each individual member introduces their own ideas and you've added some novel methods yourself which should aid others who dare to follow in our footsteps! I think you win the prize for the most expansive OO/HO garden railway featured here so far and it's been very interesting following along. Looking forward to the recommencement of construction in 2019.
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