CSS and the Forth (Rail) Bridge

Over the past couple of weeks I have been working on a former academic supervisor's pet project. It involves creating a new set of CSS code for his website to slowly drag it out of the dark ages (the late '90's when we still designed websites using tables). The first stage is to implement CSS rules and to discard the tables that currently hold the site together.

The task which at first seemed simple has turned out to be a giant monster that will seemingly never end. It took me roughly a week just get my head around how it worked. It's built around a database and perl code and is different from any other project I have worked on and it has been so: frustrating; fun; enlightening; educational; emotionally draining (depending on situation). Fortunately for me this is the kind of project I love working on :-)

Hand coding into a terminal window again reminds of how I built my first site on an Apple Mac I (yes, the 1984 one) at university in 1996. It was a amazing time with 56.6K modems and ytalk that allowed you to chat to other people on the network that was 'logged on'. I can't think of a word that is large enough to describe how much things have changed since then in technology. Anyway, back to this website that was built around that time... :-) I haven't put a link to the site because it would be nice to work on it until it has been totally overhauled and redesigned. 

So, last night I finally got out with my camera, and took a trip up to North Queensferry to try and get a moody shot of the Forth Bridge. Little did I realise that almost every route to North Queensferry would provide challenges. The route going through Kincardine was closed, and it wasn't possible to go back across the Kincardine Bridge, which I did not realise and ended up going around Kincardine twice. Eventually drove across the Clackmannanshire bridge along to the Forth Road Bridge missing my turn off on the Fife side due to the sat nav not recognising all the new roads built for the Queensferry Crossing. Thought I would be able to via Inverkeithing but alas the road was also closed here, for some reason that a local chap explained to me in an accent that was more alien than Scottish, of which I understood a couple of words.

Thankfully when I got there it was still a bit misty and heavy rain. All for this photograph. Soaked through to my skin the Albert Hotel then charged me £2.50 for the worst (instant) coffee that I have ever had.

Totally worth the hassle for this photograph though.





Lightroom hidden secrets.

I have heard from a lot of people that they are struggling with Lightroom of late. Admittedly I was an avid fan of Apple's Aperture when it was available and it did take me some time to get used to Adobe's Lightroom.

I came across this video today which I thought was worth posting as it has some nice tips that aren't usually covered in most Lightroom tips videos :-)

Cramond, Edinburgh

Cramond is a village that lies north west of Edinburgh between the Forth River and the Almond River. The line of concrete pylons was built from Cramond Island to the shore to complete the anti-boat barrier (which is often misidentified as an anti-submarine barrier - the water is far too shallow). It was constructed during World War 2 to protect the Forth Rail Bridge and Rosyth dockyard.

This is another place that I have been meaning to go to for a long time having seen a lot of great photographs in other instagram accounts. As always, click on the thumbnails for the large version if your on a desktop / tablet



I attended a course on "QGIS Conversion Training" on Friday, run by EDINA at The University of Edinburgh. For those that don't know QGIS (Quantum Geographical Information System) is an open source alternative to ESRI's ArcGIS.

Over the last few years QGIS has become more popular, partly as it is now as powerful as ArcGIS and partly due to it being open source (therefore free). Many companies are now switching to it as it doesn't require long term costly contracts with ESRI, and it runs on all the major Operating Systems (Windows, Mac OS X and Linus).

The course was excellent and although I have had previous experience of QGIS this course really filled in a lot of gaps, it covered:

  • Setting up QGIS
  • Working with Data
  • Creating Data
  • Geoprocessing
  • Advanced Visualisation.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good the course was, how well run and how well presented it was. It was quite possibly the best course I have been on. EDINA will be running this course again in the future, if you are interested get in touch with Tom Armitage, who will be able to give you more information about the next date that the QGIS course will take place and costs associated with it.

I would like to say thanks to Bruce Gittings and Tom Armitage for their hard work on the day!

Cambuskenneth Abbey

I have become acutely aware that the darker my mood is the darker my photo edits become. I guess that is why they are called moodscapes.

A few shots from Cambuskenneth Abbey, near Stilring. It is a ruined Augustinian monastery. The abbey is mostly reduced to it's foundations although the campanile (bell tower) still stands. The abbey fell into disuse during the Scottish reformation when the abbey was looted and burned. The campanile was restored in 1859 and the crown acquired the land in 1908, Historic Scotland now mange the area. 

The first image is in the campanile looking up to the celling of the first floor. The second floor ceiling can be seen through the round area in the middle of the first floor ceiling. The second floor is not accessible, although is sometimes open to the public, best to check when at Historic Scotland. Click for the larger images if you are browsing on a desktop / tablet.