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Old 18th April 2013
stoates stoates is offline
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Something Different From Me

As some of you will know I was in the RAF for a great many years and much of that time was spent flying low-level over the world’s oceans thinking ‘who in their right mind would want to work at sea on a boat’. Well after an enforced career change thanks to Mr Cameron I am now one of those crazy people! I am working for a company involved in ocean seabed and sub-seabed surveying, primarily for the oil and gas industry. This means I am now away from home for several weeks at a time (though I also get the corresponding amount of time off which is very nice!) and the opportunities to get out and about with my camera in the Scottish landscape have consequently diminished. Space is obviously limited on the boat so I packed my E-510 and my 2 kit lenses not expecting to get much of an opportunity to use it. I was pleasantly surprised………

(Apologies for the large number of images and the fact that some are merely record shots).

The weather was fantastic for the first few days, quite unexpected for the North Sea at this time of year. Our vessel always seemed to be surrounded by seabirds - hundreds would be roosting on the water each morning. I wasn't too fussed about the gulls (I see far too many of them at home - our environmentalist got a bit excited about an Icelandic gull but they all looked the same to me) but I did like the Fulmars and Gannets;





We were working at first around the Elgin/Franklin field 150 miles east of Aberdeen before moving up to Dunbar, NE of the Shetland Islands. The first 3 images were taken around 0500 at sunrise on 2 consecutive days in the vicinity of Elgin. The 4th is a daylight image of Dunbar.











We made a short port visit to Lerwick between jobs to drop off personnel and pick up some equipment. This is Lerwick harbour and sea front at 4 am.



The weather had got gradually worse during the job but I was not prepared for being woken at 3 am on our way back to Lerwick by things flying around my cabin. We had sailed in to a storm and were beam on to some pretty horrendous weather (at least to me as a 'newbie' it seemed horrendous). I ventured up to the bridge and wished I hadn't as the seas looked huge, even in the dark. Anything loose on the vessel was now on the floor and to prevent further damage we spent several hours facing the wind at very slow speed. I went back up to the bridge after daybreak to try and capture the drama but by then the seas had calmed a little and I didn't really manage to convey the ferocity of the waves.



We eventually made Lerwick after 19 hours to a beautiful evening. This Banff fishing boat was just making its way out to sea as we berthed - you couldn't pay me enough to be on a boat that small in bad weather!



And finally, this had been 'home' for the past 3.5 weeks - the Ocean Observer.

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E-M1 Mk II, E-5, E-510, 9-18mm f4-5.6, 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 II, 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD, 5omm f2, EC-14, 14-42mm, 40-150mm, Velbon GEO E640L/PHD64Q, METZ 48 AF-1

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Old 18th April 2013
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Re: Something Different From Me

They are all good to look at but the first sunrise is exceptional.

One of my sons is due to go off to university to study geology/palaeontology so he may well end up doing something similar somwhere in the world. Are you working in a navigational or technical capacity? I'm not too sure where RAF training would fit into this sort of work if indeed it has any direct relevence. I'm sure its all interesting none the less and it would fascinate me.
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Old 18th April 2013
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Re: Something Different From Me

The change of career may have been forced upon you but it does sound exciting and is providing you with some unique photo opportunities. I hope it goes well for you and that you can still find some time to photograph some of Scotland's attractions on dry land!
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Old 18th April 2013
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Re: Something Different From Me

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Originally Posted by OM USer View Post
They are all good to look at but the first sunrise is exceptional.

One of my sons is due to go off to university to study geology/palaeontology so he may well end up doing something similar somwhere in the world. Are you working in a navigational or technical capacity? I'm not too sure where RAF training would fit into this sort of work if indeed it has any direct relevence. I'm sure its all interesting none the less and it would fascinate me.
My job title is Underwater Geophysical Engineer and I am primarily responsible for the deployment, monitoring and maintenance of the sonar and surveying systems. My airforce background was in underwater acoustics and sonar so there is some read-across there but I was much more of an analyst rather than an engineer so some of the technical aspects of the job could prove challenging. Our vessels carry at least one Geophysicist so that could indeed be a career path for your son in the future.
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E-M1 Mk II, E-5, E-510, 9-18mm f4-5.6, 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 II, 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD, 5omm f2, EC-14, 14-42mm, 40-150mm, Velbon GEO E640L/PHD64Q, METZ 48 AF-1

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Old 18th April 2013
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Re: Something Different From Me

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The change of career may have been forced upon you but it does sound exciting and is providing you with some unique photo opportunities. I hope it goes well for you and that you can still find some time to photograph some of Scotland's attractions on dry land!
Many thanks John. It is good to be back home and hopefully I am going to be getting out and about with IainMacD for a spot of landscaping in the near future.
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E-M1 Mk II, E-5, E-510, 9-18mm f4-5.6, 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 II, 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD, 5omm f2, EC-14, 14-42mm, 40-150mm, Velbon GEO E640L/PHD64Q, METZ 48 AF-1

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Old 18th April 2013
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Re: Something Different From Me

A terrific series of images of subjects which few of us will have experienced first hand. Excellent narration to accompany the photos too Stoates. A superb post.

Ron
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Old 18th April 2013
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Re: Something Different From Me

Great set of images Steve, that really is "Something Different From You"!
Bird shots
Only kidding it is good to see what you get up to while you're away - those seas look rough! I am not sure why, but I really like the shots of the rigs, maybe it is the light you have captured rather than the structures?
Looking forward to getting out and about again soon.
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Old 19th April 2013
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Re: Something Different From Me

Excellent images, I really like the silhouettes of the rig, they are really powerful.
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Old 23rd April 2013
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Re: Something Different From Me

Quote:
Originally Posted by stoates View Post
And finally, this had been 'home' for the past 3.5 weeks - the Ocean Observer.

Was the Ocean Observer in Lerwick harbour on Saturday morning?

The weather on Shetland is a wee bit breezy again today so there are quite a few ships sheltering in the habours, and tonights Lerwick to Aberdeen is delayed due to the weather.
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Old 24th April 2013
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Re: Something Different From Me

Really like the rig shots keep going and post some more
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Old 24th April 2013
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Re: Something Different From Me

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Was the Ocean Observer in Lerwick harbour on Saturday morning?

The weather on Shetland is a wee bit breezy again today so there are quite a few ships sheltering in the habours, and tonights Lerwick to Aberdeen is delayed due to the weather.
Hi Chris

According to this link;

http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/shi...MMSI=232217000

the Observer returned to Lerwick on Saturday night.
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E-M1 Mk II, E-5, E-510, 9-18mm f4-5.6, 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 II, 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD, 5omm f2, EC-14, 14-42mm, 40-150mm, Velbon GEO E640L/PHD64Q, METZ 48 AF-1

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Old 24th April 2013
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Re: Something Different From Me

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Really like the rig shots keep going and post some more
Cheers Ed, I'm back out on the vessel around the middle of May and will be taking the camera again. I understand you had a bit of unwanted 'excitement' while I was away - glad to see you home recovering and back on the forum again. All the best.
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E-M1 Mk II, E-5, E-510, 9-18mm f4-5.6, 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 II, 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD, 5omm f2, EC-14, 14-42mm, 40-150mm, Velbon GEO E640L/PHD64Q, METZ 48 AF-1

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Old 24th April 2013
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Re: Something Different From Me

What an interesting thread, great pictures and narrative to boot.
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