Restricted: Dryburgh Abbey | 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle

35mm, autumn / fall, black & white, history, infrared, landscape, ruins, rural, skies, structures, trees

On Certainty &… Unwavering Gratitude.


To my mind, there is only one thing better than having a solid seven days off work and that is, waking up on the first morning after a busy run of shifts and knowing that you have seven days off until the roundabout starts spinning again. This morning, I woke almost immediately at the sound of Bumble’s 7:00 alarm, (almost two hours after my usual start) and felt nothing but bliss at the realisation that I had nothing specifically to get up for and, nowhere that I needed to be. It makes it easier to rise – to accept getting out of bed as a part of the day; especially for one who enjoys his sleep as much as I do. When I can get it. Shit! I make myself sound so lazy – I’m really not! At around half-past, Flynn called from outside the bedroom door, “knock, knock!” (because his hands were full) and as I greeted him back, he carefully tip-toed in with a mug of coffee, gently placing it next to me on my nightstand; he barely spilled a drop! From his left hand he then revealed a piece of kitchen-towel, wiped up a few drops with a smile and then we agreed, we wouldn’t tell mum! Such foresight for one so young! As he left the room, I caught up on the news of the day as I supped, smiling. Another bliss. Across the landing, I heard Flynn cheerily getting ready for school.

Though the news, the world over, is pretty much the same – and not often something to smile about of late, I am happy today because I am grateful. For the life that I live now after such an awful event last year is one of positive recovery, much improved health, work, purpose, enjoyment, reason, acceptance – and most of all, my family. That closest of circles full of love in all directions and understanding without shadows. Feelings like these are essential for me on days like this – when I have nothing specific to which I must attend, yet, in the knowledge that if I were to achieve nothing by the end of the day, would leave me feeling much disappointment in time wasted. The older I become, the more I loath wasted time. And so I write. Forgive me if you can’t see the link yet.

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I |  The Ruins of Dryburgh [I] – 720nm IR – 35mm

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As I read the news (and before I continue, I would like you to know that I do not wish to blabber on about the latest ‘C’ word – even though apathy is spreading, an apathy to which I absolutely cannot subscribe or agree with, the news of it is becoming as tedious as Brexit had) – I felt more grateful still. We are all well, until the day that we are not and days of wellness should be seized and – enjoyed. So many are suffering as a result of this modern problem, made worse by the lack of understanding that sometimes, only old methods have the real and lasting solution. Whether we liked it or not, we all grew up hearing those words – “do as you’re told!”. It was for our own good. And look, we’re still here, more than likely because on occasion, we actually listened. Many are not hearing, not listening and this is doubtlessly exacerbating the problems which we are facing now – like a horrendous, ugly pyramid-scheme, hurtling towards the ground at freefall speed before we realise it. But many are listening and, actually doing something about it and soon, I hope – we will start to see our lives and our potentials open up and bloom again. I say this because a recent visit to Scott’s View (see post #240) was terminated by a visit to the beautiful, richly historical Dryburgh Abbey, near Melrose in the Scottish Borders – the final resting place of Sir Walter Scott, in 1832.

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II |  Scott’s View – 35mm w/Lens-Ball – 720nm IR.

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Dryburgh Abbey was founded in 1150 (10th November to be more precise) and, is the Daughter House of Alnwick Abbey in Northumberland. In 1322 it was burned down by English troops and, after restoration it was burned again by the armies of Richard II in 1385. During the fifteenth century though, it is known to have flourished – until that is, the coming of 1544 when it was destroyed completely. What remains of the building, as of the grounds too, are considered to be a Scheduled Monument (of national, or historical importance) and, happens to be one of the most beautiful sites I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. The weather helped of course. But, Bumble and I were still hampered.

For almost a year, we had Dryburgh on our list of ‘must visits’ and, indeed when we had visited Jedburgh and Melrose last November (on a most miserable of days, climate-wise), we simply ran out of daylight and had to re-schedule – date as yet unplanned. After an hour or so looking out over Scott’s View though, we were so close to the abbey that to not stop by would have been (from an infrared photographer’s point of view anyway) a cardinal sin. (No pun intended though in retrospect, apt!) As we drove down the hill from the ‘View’ – Bumble checked the oracle and we were happy to know that we had about an hour before the gates would be closed. What an end to a fabulous daytrip this would turn out to be! We even bypassed the statue of William Wallace so that we’d have time to see it. After a few more minutes though, we arrived to park the car behind the entrance to the abbey –  the sign read,

“Closed to Visitors”.

Bollocks!

We stood a moment in disappointment, bewilderment, joint frustration and even disbelief as the sun shone through the trees, squirrels seemingly taunting us from the other side of the wall within the vast acreage of their rich and autumn-tinged playground. We even called the site office to enquire as to why coronavirus had any impact on opening times to such a vast outdoor space – as if they would see sense, come down and re-open the gates just for us. But honestly, as so many organisations seem to use this current predicament as an excuse to fold up early without letting anyone know, it’s a frustrating experience to say the least. Even the local Post Office has seen fit to close its counters two and a half hours early, as if herding the same amount of customers per day to their two windows in a shorter space of time would have a positive impact on the spread of C-19? Any excuse to knock-off early and balls to an explanation? Okay, so my frustrations clear, fuzzy thinking acknowledged – how to get a few frames of this gorgeous ruin?!

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III | The Ruins of Dryburgh [II] – 720nm IR – 35mm

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Being made of more ‘abiding citizen’ than ‘ah, what the hell?!’ – we decided not to test Scotland’s ‘no-tresspass’ law, especially given the residing occupants of the lodge cottage at the gates directly to our left. Instead, we drove around to the hotel around the other side of the ruin, the sign for which, in my former excitement and anticipation I had completely ignored in passing and yet, Bumble hadn’t. We parked up outside the front of the hotel and I quickly retrieved a couple of cameras from Molly’s back-seat. (Yes, my car has a name :0) Looking around we were waiting for a bow-tied, waist-coated employee to perhaps tick us off for not at first coming in for so much as an afternoon tea, however, no such interaction ensued and we were glad of it. Time was running out and the light was threatening to fade on us. Over a high wall separating the hotel from the abbey’s grounds, we could instantly see that, as luck would have it, we were far better off where we were. The view over top is just incredible. As I prepped my cameras for a few shots, the sun again burst through the clouds as if on cue and I raised my hands above the wall, now so high over my head that I was unable to use the viewfinder – the screen would do just fine now. Though I wasn’t able to shoot any other angles than these (or slight variations of very similar) as I walked the length of that wall, I can honestly say that I remain extremely grateful. Yes, a return visit is necessary – but we’ll phone the office first, I think. Just to make certain!

Thank you for reading and I hope, as always, that you’ll have enjoyed these few frames.

R.

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Messing About with Boats: PT.II | 35Chronicle

photography

Evening Colours: Wellspring, Kirkcudbright.


Almost every year for the last fourteen or so, I visit this old wreck and shoot her. Just along the way, fifty or so yards further towards the Merse Bridge also lays the wreck of the ‘The Loch Ryan Lady’ – another old fishing boat that, too, has been weathering the climate in just the same way on the exposed bank of the River Dee at Kirkcudbright but, the Wellspring seems to have survived rather more attractively. Where The Lady is now a truly rotten skeleton, her rusty and pitted rudder now missing too and her portside hull laying in tatters of chunks of shapeless shards and splinters on the ground, I do take a lot more time with this boat. Her hull, by comparison, is mostly intact and, when the sun is shining on her port side – the colours around her name light up and shine with the pride of having done its share of many a hard day’s toil. 

I hope you’re having a fabulous weekend, thank you for reading and, I do hope you’ll enjoy these few selected frames. 

R.

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I | Wellspring & the Crow | 720nm Infrared | 35mm

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II | Evening Colours | 50mm

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III | Wellspring: Resting Beneath the Clouds | 35mm

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An Alternative ‘Scott’s View’ – Melrose | 35Chronicle

35mm, 50mm, autumn / fall, black & white, history, infrared, landscape, nature, photography, rural, trees

The Site of Trimontium: A Trilogy.


A single day’s journey into the Scottish Borders last week had us purposefully perusing local maps for all of the sights we’d hoped to visit – while the threatening weather remained (mostly) on our side. One of the day’s most anticipated sites was here, at the renowned and history-steeped Scott’s View – Sir Walter Scott’s favourite view out to the triple-peaked Eildon Hills. At over 420m in height they look out to Teviotdale to the south and the northernmost peak has been discovered to be covered in over 5km of ramparts which enclose an area of around 40 acres within which at least 300 level platforms have been formed within the rock itself in order to have provided bases for houses. It is believed that the site was occupied as far back as 1000BC. During the 1st Century CE (common era) – the Romans had erected the huge fort of Trimontium of Newstead (named after the three peaks) at the foot of the hill on the bank of the River Tweed. As sights go – they don’t get a lot better than this on such a glorious day.

The hollow (as legends would have it) hills are actually marilyns and are steeped in folklore, as well as history, as the words of ‘Thomas the Rhymer’ would attest. Formed by the upward push of an underground volcano around 300m years ago, they were cleft in three by the magician Michael Scot as written by Walter Scott in his poem ‘The Lay of the Last Minstrel’, in 1805. With all this said, however, words alone cannot describe the feeling when standing at this spot and looking out at all of… this.

As most captures from up here would depict a very similar view with my standard set-ups, I decided to do things a little differently. The lens-ball treatment was a huge amount of fun and, I could never have left this scene without having grabbed an IR frame or two as well. (If you have been reading my pages for a while now, you’ll know this already, I guess).  Thank you so much for reading and have a great weekend, all!

R.

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[Equip: X100-IR & X100s w/50mm TCL]

I | Through the Ball – 50mm.

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II | 720nm Infrared – 35mm.

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III | The Magic of a Fair Maiden’s Hand.

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The Rat was a bit of an Unexpected Sight… | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, cityscapes, infrared, photography, structures

Chester: An Impromptu Jaunt in Infrared.

Ten days ago, we were on the road to Chester for a (kind of) mad-dash visit which, I am sure, will be of no huge interest to anyone reading this now, however, arriving early(ish) on the Sunday meant that we could take a walk around the city and see a few sights before the rigours of the impending Monday would find us somewhere between A and B or, B and D or – even C and F! You get the idea. It had been a good thirty-plus years since I had seen Chester and still I thought I would remember a few landmarks; yet – I remembered barely anything of the place at all. That is pretty odd for me because I am not in the habit of forgetting much and I was certain that I would at least remember something.  But no. On the plus side, however – I was seeing the place with fresh eyes, undistracted by memories (or the distinct lack of) and this alone made the city centre a bit of a playground for me, because, under beautiful sunshine (though periodically a little bit on the harsh side) I was able to grab some pleasing IR frames between coffees, doughnuts and, well – other indulgent diversions. I do have a few more captures to post in the near future but for now, I invite you to find Basil the Rat! It shouldn’t be too difficult – but I did have a chuckle when I saw it once I had got down to the editing stage. 

I do hope that you’ll enjoy these few captures and, that you’re having a great week. 

R.

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I | Chester Town Hall [720nm IR | 35mm]

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II | Desperately Seeking Basil [720nm IR | 35mm]

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III | Queen Victoria Clock Tower [720nm IR | 35mm]

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HOME A RATIONALE | LIGHT-WAVES | ARCHIVES | LINKS
If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018-2020) except where specified. No Copying or Redistribution of any kind is permitted without prior consent from the author, unless links to original work is clearly provided. All images are resized prior to posting.