Harley Tanks 2018

I remember creating the collage of Harley Tanks from the 2018 rally and sharing it on a facebook group but it looks as though I didn’t add it to my blog. So here it is, rather late I know.

This one has 64 tanks in it. It was raining on the day so bikes may have been tucked out of the way and I might not have put too much effort into finding them. Also there had been the risk that the rally was not going to take place. For a rally that closes off public roads there are many things that need to be done. Each task may be reasonably straight forward but there’s a lot of them and miss one of them and the event does not happen. Until social media and the community got behind the event to support the organisers there was a risk that it was not going to happen. I think there is a valuable lesson to be learnt there – if there are things that we enjoy taking part in don’t expect others to put all the hard work in just so we can have fun.

The 2019 rally was the 40th and I got 214 tanks in the collage.

The 2017 rally collage was 133 tanks

The 2012 rally saw me find 59 Harley tanks.

At the 2013 rally I added 43 new tanks.

I also have photos from 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014. I might put together a little history sometime.

A Glimpse of GIMP

GIMP is being forked to Glimpse.

On several occasions when I have told people I use GIMP as an image editor I have seen smirks. Not a good start, and that is before I have started talking about applying masks to layers. The situation does not improve when they ask what it means and I tell them that it stands for “GNU Image Manipulation Program”. Why would you want to manipulate a GNU Image? However “What is GNU?” is often the next question. And the answer is “GNU’s not Unix”. How is this supposed to entice someone serious about photography away from Photoshop or Lightroom? You can even find “photoshop” in the English dictionary now.

I am pretty sure that the use of GIMP is quite widespread but when a department head tells their graphic designers that they are to use a different editor instead of PhotoLab or PhotoShop or PhotoScape I reckon they’ll tend to use the name as little as possible.

What percentage of people picking up a digital camera know what Unix is? And of those how many might be interested, or care, that something is not Unix? But perhaps most people don’t care what software is called, and they are the ones that are never influenced by advertising.

If you have come from an IT background you can tap the side of your nose knowledgeably and install the new version of GIMP from the command line. Why would we want to let Windoze or Mac users into our world?

The answers are that it is a powerful image editor and it is Open Source i.e. free.

Apparently the project name has been a discussion topic on several occasions in the GIMP Project community and up until recently those in the know have tapped the side of their noses and carried on. I have not read the discussion itself but according to one source (The Register) it recently got a bit bad-tempered. As a result someone stuck their finger up and created a fork of the project in the best open source tradition and the current name for it is Glimpse. The new project has grand plans for major improvements to the user interface (AKA make it look even more like PhotoShop?) but is this looking for ways to justify the fork?

I don’t think I will be switching over for a while yet but it will be interesting to see if Glimpse gets past the geeky image or adolescent smirks of its parent.

Harley Rally 2019

This August Bank Holiday was the 40th Harley Davidson Rally in Baildon. And the sun shone! This year was also the 50th anniversary of the formation of The Wrecking Crew, a Harley Davidson club, of which the Shipley branch plays a massive part in keeping the rally going year after year.

An amazing job had been done by the organisers of the rally (see Shipley Harley Rally) in getting all the necessary people involved so that the event could actually take place – no mean feat. The event itself was enjoyed by all. And then the clean-up took place. Fantastic! I have seen photos of the aftermath of the rally and they have made people wonder “Did it actually happen?”.

A massive thank you to the organisers, the bikers, the people working, the volunteers, the businesses and the public. And the weather.

Though the whole weekend is great fun we shouldn’t forget that one of the reasons for the rally is to be charitable. As usual toys, books, pens, pencils etc have been collected for the Children’s Ward at the BRI. In the past money has been donated to such things as a Youth Development fund and Riding for the Disabled. Keep an eye on the Shipley Harley Rally website where I expect they will give an update on the charities involved.

There are some social media sharing buttons at the bottom – feel free to share with your friends.

The centre of Baildon looked great. The Farmer’s Market was held on Saturday morning and during that there were not too many bikes around. In the afternoon Northgate started to fill up and old friendships were rekindled. A new Rock was also introduced – Baildon Rocks.

With the sunshine and blue skies the view from the campsite at the rugby club was beautiful. The warm weather also brought out the grasshoppers. This one was on the wall between the two fields.

The rally is not limited to Harleys but most of what was around was not your mainstream means of transport.

The main event for the public is at 1:00pm on Sunday when Northgate fills with the bikes and they ride off down Browgate. In the past they used to then ride up Otley Road to Harewood House, I’m not sure where they go now. I think many ride round in a big circle and come back to the campsite.

With it being the 40th rally, and the town pulling together last year to make sure the rally continued, and with the good weather the turnout was good. The above “posters” show 214 Harley or Indian tanks that were at the rally – I know there were more around. I have watched a video and counted 332 “bikes” going down Browgate for the ride out.

After the ride out Northgate stayed closed which allowed the fun to continue.

River and Canal Friday

On Friday I went for a walk along the river, the canal and through Hirst Wood – with my camera of course.

I kept my eyes peeled for a sight of the Great White Egret that had been around but no luck.

Boaters, bikers and walkers were out enjoying the sun.

I also expected to see a Grey Heron but the edges of the river were free of them though a fair number of Canada Geese were leisurely paddling along.

The weir at Hirst Mill is a lot different now following the damage during the floods of 2015. The change in height is now over a greater distance and it is strewn with rocks – a place to sometimes see Grey Herons but in this case a Grey Wagtail was perched on one of the stones looking for insects.

So if you don’t see a Grey Heron on the river or canal why not…..

… look on the nearby walls. Or…..

… up in the trees.


In the air flying by.

But then if you want to see more than one why not look up into the fields?

Adel Dam on Wednesday

Though it was raining I went along to Adel Dam Nature Reserve on Wednesday.

At the first hide the feeders were busy with Nuthatch, Blur Tits, Great Tits, Woodpeckers, Mandarin Duck, Magpie and Chaffinch with Moorhen quietly messing around near the water. A Kingfisher went pee-peep and perched on a branch for a second before flying off.

At the 2nd hide one of the birds I spent a bit of time watching was a Little Grebe. It was frequently diving and coming up with small fish. It is not until I saw it near ducks that I was reminded of how little they are. I had spent quite a bit of time watching the Little Grebe before I realised that there were two of them and they were taking it in turns to sit on a nest.

On several occasions I heard and then saw bits falling from high up in one of the trees. I looked over the tree with my binoculars but it was probably the forth time that I saw bits falling that the squirrel was finally showing itself as it snipped off and tucked into the nuts on the tree.

Other visitors that added yo the interest were a Bank Vole, Kingfisher (which flew a few circuits of the water but kept quite hidden when perched) a Chiffchaff and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

I think the noise of the rain and the splashes on the water helped make the afternoon relaxing. The Mandarin Ducks didn’t seem to mind it either and it looked as though they swam out onto the water when it was at its heaviest instead of staying under the cover of some of the overhanging trees.

Kingfisher missile


On a recent visit to Denso Marston Nature Reserve I noticed what I thought was yet another bit of blue plastic on a branch.

But on a closer look it was a Kingfisher. The usual sighting of a Kingfisher on that part of the river is as it flies away having seen you first or flies past just above the water.

This one didn’t seem too worried by me taking photos of it from the other side of the river.

But then I heard the call of another Kingfisher and it looks as though this one did too as it took to the air.

It looked as though it got to the air just in time as another Kingfisher flew along like a dart looking as though it was aiming for the one perched.

It flew onto the next branch only a short distance away while the other one now looked back from the next tree down river.

These are not brilliant photos but it is great to see Kingfishers and they tell a bit of a story. You can click on an image to see it larger.