Landscape photography isn’t usually my thing, but if there’s one way of changing that it’s spending some time in the Scottish Highlands. After nearly three (!) years in Edinburgh we finally took a trip out beyond our doorstep and tried to cram in as much sightseeing as possible over the course of a Bank Holiday weekend. The appearance of the sun was almost as incredible as the use of my camera.
Glen Coe, Fort William, Loch Duich, Ben Nevis, Glen Affric, Glen Roy, Lochalsh, Loch Ness, Inverness, Loch an Eilein, the Caingorms… Yeah we didn’t do too bad. Equally as impressive was the weather - the sun shone pretty much the entirety of the weekend, except sod’s law the light went flat just as I was setting myself up for the best shots of the weekend - at Eilean Donan castle and also at Dog Falls.
I must admit to being slightly depressed by the fact that when I dusted the D700 off for this year’s BTCC event at Knockhill Circuit, one of the two cards I use still had last year’s pictures on it. Yup, I’ve used my camera so little over the last 12 months I hadn’t even had the need to format it.
Anyway, this year marked the 20th anniversary of the event at Knockhill Circuit. They wheeled out a few previous Scottish legends and had them do a couple of laps in some older cars which was pretty cool to see. Disappointed that there were no BMW E30 M3s doing the rounds but I guess no Scottish driver ever competed in one of those?
Not only is this “auf wiederesehen M3”, this is goodbye to car ownership of any kind - for now.
On Saturday I handed over the keys to my M3 CS in exchange for a decent chunk of change. The wheels for its sale were put in motion about six months ago when we decided to split our time between Edinburgh and Manchester. The absurd insurance quotes I received following the move, coupled with realisation of how much its costing me to own a motor that I do very few miles in (about 5k in the last year), meant that I had to let it go.
So that’s it. But not only am I without an M car for the first time in years, I’m actually without a car full stop. And how does it feel you ask? In short - liberating, on a number of levels. Owning a nice car that you care about is an almost constant stress - you have to be particular about where you park the car, you’re constantly thinking about little things that need doing, imperfections or improvements, and how much they’ll cost. Then there’s the omnipresent worry of something going wrong. And that’s before we start talking about the insane insurance quotes, road tax, and the ever ridiculous cost of fuel.
While I can’t put a price on some of the experiences I’ve had in the M3 and the M5, when those types of trips are few and far between it simply doesn’t make sense to burden yourself financially and emotionally with such a machine. For now anyway - let’s see how this streak of sense and reason lasts (-:
While searching around for Cray-related imagery I stumbled across Lawrence-Livermore National Laborotory’s Flickr stream. There’s some fantastic shots in here of all kinds of exotic machinery and science-related shenanigans, but of particular interest to a nerd like myself is the Supercomputing set.
It’s a great collection of photographic history dating back to 1952, and includes more recent installations such as their “Tri-Lab Linux Capacity Clusters”, BlueGene/L, and most things in between. Check out the full set in the link above, it’s fascinating stuff.