2021: A Photographic Review | 35Chronicle Photography

28mm, 35mm, 50mm, autumn / fall, black & white, candid, cityscapes, close-up, fine art, full-spectrum, history, Indoor, infrared, landscape, Long Exposure, nature, people, personal, photography, portraits, review, ruins, rural, skies, spring, structures, summer, trees, urban, waterscape

Doesn’t it Come Around Quickly?


It is hard to believe that it’s this time of year again, the year almost over, the shortest day has passed and, I’m sitting here at my laptop – pondering over my favourite frames from 2021; a year of lockdowns, socially-distanced days out, home-schooling, trip disappointments and yet gratitude in abundance. A new grandchild has graced us, three weddings are in the offing (Bumble & I included!), health is good and I have been busier than ever. This may explain why my posts this year have been a little more frugal than previous years but, I have so enjoyed every opportunity that I have had to get out and make frames. I’ve learned quite a bit too and, changed a few aspects of my shooting and editing routines which, have pleased me greatly, too. In the coming year I hope to move slightly away from IR shooting – or rather, I want to engage further with more visible-light photography and, to also forge my creative aspirations a little more. How that’s going to work out, I have no ide as yet, but we’ll see how it pans out. My reasoning is simple, I am a staunch enemy of stagnation and whilst infrared light is a huge passion, I’ve been allowing myself to indulge so much that I have been experiencing rather more complacency than I would like. It’s again time for a little shift. Does that mean I am disappointed with my work this year? Not exactly. But there’s more – and I need to dig inside for it. I thought I’d be a natural after all these years, but therein lies the message; one can never stop trying to be better. And I need to shoot more.

As I say at the end of every year (because it’s true) – I am so grateful to each and every one of you for reading and visiting my pages. For all of your clicks and comments, your shares, follows, and other contributions you have made to my pages (hard to believe that it’s been almost four years already!) – I am ridiculously grateful because, without you, there’d be no point and my pages would be little more than an online diary. I am also inspired by so many of you, not that I always get or am able to find the time to let you know in person (that seems to be very selfish on my part and I must and will try harder) and often wonder at the amazing amount of talent that exists, often to share for the simple joy of sharing. I am sure that’s why we all do it and I hope that we can all continue to do so, around the many mayhems of life. So, for one last post of ’21, I would like to share my favourite frames of the year, one shot from each month – in the hope that you too will enjoy this little revisit. 

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January 2021 | Flynn: By {Kindle) Fire Light!

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February 2021 | Infrared Rainbow: Sandyhills Beach.

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March 2021 | Metal Bridge on Disused Portpatrick to Dumfries Line, at Parton [720nm Infrared]

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April 2021 | The Caul on the River Nith, Dumfries [720nm Infrared]

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May 2021 | Pinmore Viaduct [720nm Infrared]

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June 2021 | Boomer: Paper, String or Tin-Foil Will Do Just Fine!

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July 2021 | A London Skyline from the Thames [LTFS Full-Spectrum]

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August 2021 | Southerness Lighthouse [720nm Infrared]

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September 2021 | Turret: Penrhyn Castle, N.Wales [720nm Infrared]

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October 2021 | Dunskey Castle, Nr. Portpatrick [720nm Infrared, Long Expo.]

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November 2021 | Abbotsford House, Melrose [720nm Infrared]

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December 2021 | The Fountain, Princes Street Gardens & Edinburgh Castle [720nm Infrared]

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To my family, I am utterly blessed – what more can I say? It’s been a manic yet a wonderful year with a lot of plans either fulfilled or yet to become and, through it all (stop singing, Bumble – I know what you’re doing!) each and every one of you have indulged me as I truly hope I’ve reciprocated. When the world is in the mess it is right now, you are all the one reason I keep to feel the happiness that I do. 

To all of you who read and contribute to my pages (and hopefully enjoy some of my work, too?) – I hope that you have all had a wonderful holiday and, I wish you all the very best for 2022. Thank you so much for sharing and being a part of what I do. 

Warmest wishes to you all…

R.

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Of Sir Walter Scott [1771-1832] | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, fine art, full-spectrum, history, night / low-light, people, photography, structures

Scotland’s Image-Maker. 


Following on from my last two posts from Abbotsford House, I feel it’s only right to share some frames of the man himself – insofar as it can be possible given the passage of time. At Abbotsford, a striking bust of Scott stands at the head of the room as one exits his study from where he wrote much of his work. As for the Playmobil character – I have no idea as to why it was even there but felt it humourous enough to simply leave it there. In hindsight, I think I should have moved it away before making that shot – still, I like it enough. But by far my favourite of the two shared here, is this first frame – of Scott and his Deerhound, Maida, both relaxing beneath the Sir Walter Scott Monument on Princes Street, in Edinburgh. That this utterly astounding and beautifully ornate monument happens almost certainly to be my favourite structure to have ever even seen, let alone photographed (yes, you may have seen it feature once or twice in much older posts, here) is no coincidence. In any case, I do hope you’ll enjoy these frames.

R.

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I | Scott & Maida Beneath His Monument, Princes Street, Edinburgh | 1/25th – f5.6 – ISO:3200 – 28mm – LTFS Full-Spectrum.

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II | Bust of Scott w/Life-size Playmobil Character, Abbotsford House, Melrose | 1/80th – f5.6 – ISO:3200 – 50mm – LTFS Full-Spectrum.

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III | The Head of the Room, Abbottsford House | 1/40th – f4.0 – ISO:3200 – 24mm – VIS

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Abbotsford House, Melrose | 720nm Series: PT.II/II | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, history, infrared, rural, structures

A Few More Takes: A National Monument.


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IV| 1/540th – f7.5 – ISO:200 – 35mm – 720nm IR | Ricoh GXR A16 LTFS Conversion w/Hoya R72

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V | 1/110th – f8.0 – ISO:200 – 24mm – 720nm IR | Ricoh GXR A16 LTFS Conversion w/Hoya R72

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I | 1/380th – f8.0 – ISO:200 – 24mm – 720nm IR | Ricoh GXR A16 LTFS Conversion w/Hoya R72

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Abbotsford House, Melrose | 720nm Series: PT.I/II | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, history, infrared, people, photography, rural, structures

Great Scott!


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I | 1/350th – f7.5 – ISO:200 – 35mm – 720nm IR | Ricoh GXR A16 LTFS Conversion w/Hoya R72

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II | 1/270th – f8.0 – ISO:200 – 24mm – 720nm IR | Ricoh GXR A16 LTFS Conversion w/Hoya R72

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There is a special ‘something’ about the Scottish Borders when the sun is even only half out. From home, it takes barely and hour and a half to get there and so, at the beginning of this month we planned a whistle-stop visit with an overnight stay on the outskirts of Melrose; I had a few places on my list – two of which, my lenses would be extremely interested in! The first was here, at Abbotsford House; the famous home of the infinitely more famous late Sir Walter Scott – poet, novelist, playwright, historian, antiquarian, judge (to name just a few of his accolades, that is). It can be said that Scott can be largely held responsible for Scotland’s national and international identity;  there’ll be no argument from me on that one.

Though it is now a visitor attraction should not take away from the fact that Abbotsford is of huge historical importance to Scotland and, it is more a monument than a house. Not only this, it is also utterly breath-taking; outside and in. The restrictions still placed upon us by Covid however, meant that during our visit to Abbotsford – there was a blessings and a curse. The obvious blessing was the reduced amount of visitors as a result of lengthy timeslots between admissions; this meant a great deal to me personally because as with any time that I visit a place of interest, I always prefer to capture without the obvious element of tourism and favour making frames which concentrate solely (inasmuch as can ever be possible) upon my subject, without avoidable distractions within the frame itself. Conscious exclusion is a big part of how I prefer to compose and so this was indeed a welcome blessing. As for the curse – most of the interior of the house (in fact all, above the ground floor) was inaccessible by visitors and so, we were constrained to a very few rooms downstairs. This is not to say that what remains on view to the public is not of interest. I have seldom witnessed or enjoyed such eclecticism or marvelled at such broad tastes and collections. Though I am sure curators had a difficult time of putting everything together (it is impossible to know and even more difficult to conceive as to whether the house’ interiors have been preserved in their ‘natural’ state – yet, I doubt it very much given the huge passage of time since Scott’s death in 1832) – it is both wondrous and romantic to spend time taking it all in. Though I have never read his works, I really do feel that I should. I do feel a niggle in my side, edging me towards a few more books for my Kindle!

For now, here are my first few chosen infrared exteriors taken at Abbotsford House and, I can only hope that they bring even a little, light-hearted enjoyment. As always, thank you so much for reading!

R.
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III | 1/380th – f8.0 – ISO:200 – 24mm – 720nm IR | Ricoh GXR A16 LTFS Conversion w/Hoya R72

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Gwrych Castle: PTII/II | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, history, photography, ruins, rural, structures

The Real in Surreal.


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IV | 1/270th – f8.0 – ISO:200 – 85mm – Matrix

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V | 1/750th – f8.0 – ISO:200 – 50mm – Matrix

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VI | 1/500th – f6.0 – ISO:200 – 35mm – Spot

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Gwrych Castle, Conwy: PT.I | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, history, photography, ruins, rural, skies, structures, trees

“The Showpiece of Wales”? No Bl**dy Wonder!


It’s name literally means, “Hedged Castle” and Gwrych was built between 1810 and 1825 by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh in memory of his mother, among other relatives. As we drove along the Expressway just a day after arriving in North Wales, the listed country house was clearly visible from the road and appeared to have been built into the rockface behind it; to say that it is impressive is probably the most ridiculous understatement I could possibly come up with. It is staggering. From first sight of it, it was on our list of sites to visit before heading home at the end of the week and, on our last full day we managed to secure a booking, the first of the day and, we finally headed out to see it. Though I was hoping for better weather and the chance to capture some IR frames (and was denied by the cloud and threatening drizzle) I cannot be unhappy one bit for the experience of having been able to wander through this beautiful, jaw-dropping place, with only a dozen or so other visitors at the time; it’s easy to understand why Gwrych would become so busy not even an hour later and having managed an early timeslot was to prove more than fortunate with the shots that I was able to grab before we finished our tour. But having timeslots, the need for which was obviously enforced by the pandemic – has its downsides, especially when entering the more confined or indoor spaces; visitors who’s slots were only ten or twenty minutes behind us – began to catch up and, the wish to slowly take in the place becomes an exercise in either moving out of people’s way or, worse, rushing along in order to keep our distance. The imposed one way system and countless cordons and other exclusions cut out much of the ground we had hoped to cover during our time here and that made the whole visit even shorter. So, what should have taken a good couple of hours, was over in around forty-five minutes. (There’s plenty I could say about that but common sense doesn’t always prevail and besides most of the site available was outside in the fresh air – this didn’t make much difference to the speed at which visitors were herded in, and ushered out by more following visitors.) I was and, still am a little amazed as to how they managed it given that there’s so much ground here! A calculated exercise in speedier throughput for maximum gain, perhaps. I have to admit to being rather surprised when we reached the exit arch so soon; almost as though we were the subject of a time-lapse recording. An anti-climax? Yup. You bet. But those walls (despite the crane which, in its defence, did lend an air of scale)… oh, it was worth it!

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I | 1/350th – f7.6 – ISO:200 – 70mm – Spot.

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II | 1/125th – f8.0 – ISO:218(!) – 24mm – Spot.

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Despite poor light, I was able to snag some very pleasing frames from Gwrych Castle and no, though the castle was host to the UK show, “I’m a Celebrity…” last year, I won’t be sharing the frame of Ant & Dec’s life-size cardboard cut-outs here. With that said, the castle has a huge amount of history and claims to fame, and I’m sure last years series barely scratched the surface. A simple search from your chosen browser will return much, if places like this are your thing. But for me – I love Gwrych for what it is. Splendid. Mind-bendingly huge. One of a kind. 

Magnificent!

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III | 1/220th – f8.0 – ISO:200 – 24mm – Spot.

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As an aside, this post happens to be my 300th here on 35Chronicle Photography. As such, I’d like to dedicate this one to every single one of you who either read just occasionally, follow, click, comment, contribute in any way and, at any point over the last (almost) four years since I started this blog. If it weren’t for you, there would be no point in any of this. Thank you!

R.


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An Old Sentinel: PT.II | 720nm Infrared & VIS | 35Chronicle Photography

35mm, 50mm, black & white, fine art, history, infrared, landscape, Long Exposure, photography, ruins, rural, skies, structures

Dunskey Castle: A Little More Time.


In December of 2019, I saw for the first time and photographed – the gorgeous ruins of Dunskey Castle near Portpatrick. The original post can be found here: Post No.170. Of course, when the weather is good for IR shoots, as it was in my original post, I’ll always reach for my infrared equipped cameras first but even when the light drops, as it did here right before sunset, if the subject is good and the conditions are favourable, IR isn’t always necessary in order for me to come away with a sense of achievement or pleasure from capturing the realisation of an image in my head before I even got there. Here, I wanted to concentrate on getting some longer exposures of the castle ruins at different focal-lengths and combine my use of infrared and visible light. So, as Bumble unpacked the chairs and the late evening picnic she’d lovingly prepared earlier, I set up my equipment and polished off my Big Stopper ND. I hope that I have done this wonderful place a little more justice than I managed on my first visit; and if I haven’t – I still have the beautiful memories of a cliff-top picnic at sunset, on the edge of the world with my bestie! Worth it!

Time passes like clouds, over us all – even the stone won’t survive forever and, I feel a poignant sense of relief in that sometimes, we can get to slow time down to a stop – and watch it in replay again and again, in a still.

R.

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I | 35mm. 30″. f21.0. ISO:200 – 720nm IR.

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II | 24mm. 60″. f22.0. ISO:100 – VIS.

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III | 50mm. 30″. f22.0. ISO:200 – 720nm IR.

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Threave Castle: PT.II/II | 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle Photography

35mm, autumn / fall, black & white, boats, fine art, history, infrared, landscape, nature, photography, ruins, rural, structures, waterscape

Shifting Perspectives – On a Mirror.


Following on from PT.I here at Threave Castle, I would like to share my final two frames from this gorgeous, secluded, sun-drenched spot. Though the river surface was as still as a mirror’s, the undercurrent was very slowly shifting the ferry round at its bow towards its port-side and added an attractive new angle to the scene. As the undercurrent pulled the ferry round, I shifted towards its stern and lined it up with the bank as much I could (before actually falling into the river) in order to capture this beautiful scene. Wooden jetties – very slippery when wet! I also wanted to share the closer shot of the castle itself – a very simple composition and a fetching reflection. I do hope you’ll enjoy it too. 

Thank you so much for reading and I wish you a fabulous weekend!

R.

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III | Shifting Perspective: On & Across the Dee | 35mm – 720nm IR.

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IV | On a Mirror: Closer to the Walls | 85mm – 720nm IR.

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If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © Rob Lowe | 35Chronicle Photography  (2018-2021) 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.

Threave Castle: PT.I/II | 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle Photography

35mm, 50mm, black & white, boats, fine art, history, infrared, landscape, photography, ruins, rural, structures, waterscape

The Day of Two Cakes [PT.II]


As I make the transition from days to nights today, I find that I have a little time to share a few images, straight out of the final edit stage that I was able to grab on Friday last week; a day of glorious sunshine and the whole day with which to enjoy it! Bumble and I decided to head out to Threave Castle at Castle Douglas both as one last go at getting out before my run of shifts commenced and, as a treat for our youngest, Flynn. We called it ‘The Day of Two Cakes – Part II’. We’ve done this before with the kids – we head somewhere for a visit and a few shots then head to a nice café for lunch and cake, and in the afternoon we do it all over again. It’s a way to keep their attention I guess and gives them something less arduous to look forward to. Believe me, it works! Anyhow – Threave was our first stop and I cannot understand why I have never shot or even visited here in the twenty plus years that I have been living in South West Scotland. It’s such an obvious place to come and see and given my penchant for castles, ruins and the odd infrared landscape shot(!) – not to mention water and boats, I have to ask myself how I could have been so neglectful as to wait so long to come here? Perhaps I knew I’d rave about it after as much as I seem to be doing and, I guess it’s better to keep something wonderful in reserve rather than eat all our sweeties in one sitting? 

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I | Reflections of Threave Castle & the Ferry | 35mm – 720nm IR

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The tower was built by Archibald ‘the Grim’ in 1369 as a 30 metre high stronghold for the Black Douglases and for 21 years it was the seat of the very powerful Margaret Stewart, Lady of Galloway. It is accessed by boat across the River Dee, though when we visited, the crossings were not available. I guess we’re getting used to this now, however, the best views were indeed from the opposite bank and, as these frames contain a few of my favourite things, I can only hope that you will enjoy them as much as I do. The peace, the still of the water and the utterly gorgeous light. 

Not to mention – two cakes. Does life get any better than this?

R.

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II | Threave Castle on the Dee | 50mm – 720nm IR

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Penrhyn Castle Country House: PT.IV | 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, fine art, history, infrared, photography, ruins, rural, skies, structures, summer, trees

From Shaky Ground to Solid Foundations. [* See: PT.I]


Over the course of the summer, I have had the most wonderful opportunities to photograph some simply stunning places and, Penrhyn Castle has found its way to becoming one of my most favourite so far. Here, I would to close this series with these final four infrared frames, made under glorious sunshine and beautiful blue skies – just perfect for this kind of caper. A fabulous way to spend time and to appreciate so much. Without my family, I would not have been able to get these shots at all, largely because – we decided to go and I would never have been there if it weren’t for them. But I have to extend my gratitude and love to them also, for their unending patience, good humour and tolerance of my endeavours. I guess there are only so many times they should be able to put up with’ “Hang on – I just need to grab this one. Oh, and this one!” I just haven’t found the limit yet. Neither, it seems, have they!

I do hope you’ll enjoy these last frames from Penrhyn and, thank you again for reading.

R.

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X | Through | 720nm Infrared

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XI | From Scrub to Splendour | 720nm Infrared

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XII | Through [II] | 720nm Infrared

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XIII | Penrhyn | 720nm Infrared

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If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © Rob Lowe | 35Chronicle Photography  (2018-2021) 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.

Penrhyn Castle Country House: PT.III | 35Chronicle Photography

35mm, black & white, fine art, history, Indoor, photography, rural, structures

Architects of Light.


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VII | The Grand Hall Ceiling | Penrhyn Castle

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VIII | Stone Staircase | Penrhyn Castle

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IX | The Grand Staircase Ceiling | Penrhyn Castle

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R.
Penrhyn Castle: PT.I
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If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © Rob Lowe | 35Chronicle Photography  (2018-2021) 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.

Penrhyn Castle Country House: PT.II | 35Chronicle Photography

35mm, black & white, fine art, history, Indoor, photography, still life, structures

Still Lifes & a Couple of Self-Portraits.


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IV | Out of Ink! | 35mm

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V | A Black & White Study | 35mm

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VI | From Behind Red Ropes | 35mm

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R.
Penrhyn Castle: PT.I
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If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © Rob Lowe | 35Chronicle Photography  (2018-2021) 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.

Penrhyn Castle Country House: PT.I | 720nm IR | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, fine art, history, infrared, photography, ruins, rural, skies, structures, trees

Serving Pennants?


It is said that Wales is the castle capital of Europe and has more castles per square mile than any other country on the same continent – as you can imagine, if you’ve followed my pages for any length of time, this became music to my ears, for one and yet, a little disappointing also; I was convinced that Scotland would hold that particular crown. Nevertheless, a week in North Wales with a good choice of camera set-ups, a family who don’t really do beaches but prefer a little history instead and a hankering for road-trips – well, I was in my element. One of the castles we stopped at was clearly here, at Penrhyn, near Bangor. With views to Snowdonia, Puffin Island and the Menai Strait, which separates the mainland from the Island of Anglesey, Penrhyn Castle sits in a proud position of not only elevation, but also of its architectural authority; due to its utter splendour – Penrhyn has become one of my most favourite historic structures to visit, and photograph. But it’s huge – and that can make it tricky!

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I | The ‘Tease-Frame’ | Penrhyn Castle – 720nm Infrared.

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Penrhyn’s history is long and varied and dates back to around the fifteenth century. Of particular note however, after 1833 (when the Slavery Abolition Act came into being) its owner George Dawkins-Pennant, who was an opposer to the emancipation of slaves, was compensated for being deprived of 764 slaves to the tune of £14,683 17s 2d (17 shillings & tuppence for anyone not au fait with old sterling). This compensation happened also to be the approximate cost of the building of the original, unfortified Penrhyn Castle. One can can only imagine the level of local outrage at the knowledge of this, that such a house could be thus constructed almost entirely from the proceeds of slavery. 

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II | Through Trees to Towers & Turrets | 720nm Infrared

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In 1951 the property and its 40,000 or-so acres passed to the treasury in lieu of death taxes after the death of Lady Jane Douglas-Pennant and is now owned and maintained by the National Trust; and this makes any visitor extremely fortunate. The awe on the approach up the shallow incline towards it is simply breath-taking, and from here, I will do my best to demonstrate without the use of further words. I can only hope that these frames (and those to follow in future posts) will speak for me; if you’ll forgive me the prevailing blankets of grey clouds which lingered, from time to time. 

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III | A Little Wide-Angle Drama | 720nm Infrared.

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Thank you so much for reading and, I hope you will have enjoyed these first few IR frames from my Penrhyn Series. 

R.
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If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © Rob Lowe | 35Chronicle Photography  (2018-2021) 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.

Beaumaris Castle Ruins, Anglesey | 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle Photography

35mm, black & white, fine art, history, infrared, photography, ruins, structures, waterscape

The Greatest Castle Never Built.


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I | The Moated North-West Walls of Beaumaris Castle.

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II | On the Inside & … Remembering Marsden.

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– Memento Vivere! – 
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HOME A RATIONALE | LIGHT-WAVES | ARCHIVES | LINKS
If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © Rob Lowe | 35Chronicle Photography  (2018-2021) 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.

Breaking the Curse of Morton Castle: PT.II/V | 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, history, infrared, landscape, nature, photography, ruins, rural, trees

Through Older Apertures.


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IV | The Ace of Clubs | 720nm IR.

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V | The Archer’s View | 720nm IR.

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Memento Vivere…
R.
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[All frames: Ricoh GXR LTFS Full-Spectrum Conversion & Front Mounted 720nm IR Filter]

HOME A RATIONALE | LIGHT-WAVES | ARCHIVES | LINKS
If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © Rob Lowe | 35Chronicle Photography  (2018-2021) 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.