Hill walk routes to climb in SW Scotland - also coastal paths and National Scenic Areas with maps, pictures and other useful information based on extensive local knowledge
Web site development and camera info
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If you were to work your way through this site you would probably find it inconsistent in standard both in layout and in picture quality. The reason for that is that it is not a professional site and it shows the history of it's evolution in it's pages - which fact you might find interesting.
It was started in December 2000 just as a fun thing to do which combined my interests in hill walking, photography and computing, with the idea of introducing others to the possibilities of walking in this forgotten South West corner of Scotland. At that point I was just starting from scratch in web design and my pal Sandy whom you will see in many of the walks was doing his best to help me. At that stage the site we were creating was my son Allan's and he was letting me put a hill walking section onto his site - which he was creating to help sell the photographs he takes for a living under the name South West Images Scotland That's Allan and Sandy below.

Allan and Sandy

Around 2005 I got a site to myself at the present address.
Some of the earliest pages from the early days are still on the site - mainly in the Galloway section - the Awful Hand Walk for example These were just single page jobs. Then I started using "Photoshop" photo web galleries as in the Screel and Bengairn walk but I found this pretty limiting. So I started making my own web galleries and some of these now run to over 40 pages per walk.

When I started into my website at first I had been using an Olympus OM10 single lens reflex film camera and scanning the negatives on Allan's scanner which he used for film. I moved "up" to digital when Sandy got a new camera in 2000 and gave me his old one.
Sandy's old Kodak gave me images of 960x1280 pixels at 72 dpi or 1.25 mega pixels. In 2003 my wife bought me a Pentax Optio 330 GS pocket digital when I came out of hospital after having a cancerous kidney removed. I'm telling you that last bit to give reassurance to anybody that is at present going through such a trauma - I'm still alive and kicking and going up hills most weeks.
The Pentax gave me images of 1536x2048 at 72dpi (3.2 mega pixels) until I let it fall in 2006 when I got a Cannon Powershot A640 which gives me 2736x3648 at 72 dpi which is 10 mega pixel standard with 4x optical zoom. Again it is a pocket sized camera which I find is ideal for using on a hill walk. I use it mostly at 80 ASA (or ISO if you prefer) and generally on "Manual " rather than on "Auto".
In case you don't understand this ASA/ISO business:- as you go down in ASA number the grainyness of your image gets less and less but you get the equivalent of less light coming into the camera so you have to use slower speed of shot or bigger aperture or both (though with aperture size the "F" number actually gets smaller as the aperture size gets bigger). The Cannon goes from F2.8 to F8 and from 80 ASA/ISO to 800 ASA/ISO. The low F number also mean less depth of field in close-up photography but this doesn't affect landscape much unless you have something close to the camera in the foreground.
I don't use the digital zoom. However, combining the high camera resolution with the 4x zoom at the stage of taking the picture allows me when I get into Photoshop to crop out small details from the large image and these are still good enough for the net. This is I suppose equivalent to using the 16x digital zoom of the camera which I have found okay for inside a room but no use on the hill. Have a look at the two pictures on Page 23 in the Durisdeer walk or the three pictures on Pages 28 and 29 in the same walk to see what I am able to get this way.

I am Dunkie by the way and you will see me in some of the pictures that Sandy has taken if you are especially interested. He allows me to use his pictures at will - that's what mates are for isn't it. As I write this in May 2007 Sandy is 69 and I am 64 - again I have put that here to encourage folk to just get out there and get on with it no matter what your age - check out the Criffel walk where another pal of mine Morris was just short of his 86th birthday when he climbed this 1800ft hill. We all stay in Dumfries by the way and have done for many years.


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