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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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! – 
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.

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]

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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.

Corbelly Hill Convent, Dumfries: PT.I | 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, fine art, full-spectrum, history, infrared, photography, ruins, structures, trees, urban

All Roads Lead to… Roam?!?


Content Warning: This post contains elements of sarcasm, arrogance and common-sense, which some readers may find either offensive, or rib-tickling – depending on your sense of humour!

I may or may not be about to start on a little ‘Rob-rant’; in fact – perhaps I’ll just roll my eyes at this point and take a deep breath instead. Yes, that may be a better thing to do. You see, the one question I get asked a lot when I am out shooting old buildings, ruins, lighthouses, you name ’em – is, “Can I help you?” You may have read my thoughts about this question during one of my posts where I published a few frames of the beautiful lighthouse at Corsewall [PT.I – here] back in December, last year. It grates me every time – and it shouldn’t. 

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I have been meaning to come here to the old convent at Corbelly Hill for around six months. Waiting for a clear day with good sunlight and plenty of time has been the only reason it has taken me so long to get up here, to what is the highest building in Dumfries. Known as St. Benedict’s, and also – Corbelly Hall Convent, it was commissioned in 1881 for the Nuns of the Perpetual Adoration and, was completed in 1884. In its time, it has also been used as a girls’ school, a makeshift Sheriff Court and even a museum. It has lain empty and semi-derelict for a good many years now, though. In 2003, it was used in the filming of Peter Mullan’s film “The Magdalene Sisters” – set in 1964 onwards, about the cruel abuse of women at a convent in Ireland. Though I would dearly have loved to have spent some time shooting inside the buildings, as some have before me – it was not to be. 

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II

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One utterly fabulous thing about Scotland is the right to roam and so, seeing no signage indicating otherwise either, Bumble and I took the walk up the hill from Maxwell Street, enjoying the clearest of views over the town on the way up and, we had a little scout around the outside of this beautiful building with a view to setting up for some fitting frames. The light was just about perfect by midday and it almost took my breath away with the sheer size of this place. As we walked around towards the main entrance, we noticed two police vans, a builder’s van and, a couple of cars. Old vinyl 45s from the 70s were strewn curiously and chaotically across the lawns. A broken window to the left of the main entrance door. Not a person in sight though. We picked up a few of the vinyls and read their labels – each one a 70s chart-hit and not a true dud among them if I’m honest. As we wandered the grounds, I began to capture a few shots. That’s when a short and stocky, builder-chappy – surly of face and postured with intent, walked towards us with his faithful right-hand man… to his left. “Can I help you?” he asked. I smiled gently, trying to not smile my facetious smile at the one question that presents to me every time as a red rag to a proverbial bull. “I’m not sure.” I politely replied. “How much do you know about infrared photography?” This precipitated a stunned silence and a quizzical expression in the gentleman who, once he had remembered why he had asked the question in the first place, told us that there had been a break-in that morning and he was concerned as, he had just acquired the building for himself. “Fair enough, but as you can see – you’re unlikely to get any trouble from us. Would it be okay if we carry on around and get a few more frames before the gates go in?” We were graciously (okay, a little facetious there, I know!) granted the freedom to roam once more; our attire possibly an obvious indication that we were not at all dressed for a raid on this day and were safe to be let loose. Yet, every which way we turned from that moment on, we were followed at a distance of no more than ten paces by the builder-chappy and three others of his crew; every word Bumble and I shared from that moment on, was not private. We contained ourselves to the awe of this place and reigned in our feelings about what had just happened. 

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III

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For around four or five days after I made these frames I was confined to being back at work and so, I literally have only just got around to edits today and, having finished working on this series, I really do have the pleasure of sharing a number of shots with you, which, I sincerely do hope you will enjoy. One more day and I’ll be back in the jug again… so who knows, I may get a few more up tomorrow, too? 

Thank you again for reading and I do hope that you’re getting set for a wonderful weekend. 

R.

This post is thoughtfully dedicated to all owners of derelict land and property who needlessly fear the evil intentions of the middle-classes who walk hand in hand, wielding small cameras.

Fear not – we’re only making pictures!

[All frames: Ricoh GXR LTFS Full-Spectrum Conversion & Hoya R72 720nm IR Filter]

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2020: A Photographic Review | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, candid, close-up, colour, fine art, full-spectrum, history, Indoor, infrared, landscape, Long Exposure, macro, nature, night / low-light, people, personal, photography, portraits, review, ruins, rural, skies, spring, still life, structures, summer, trees, waterscape

Decisions, Decisions.


Every one of us has a similar story to tell of this trying year that has been – 2020. It was touted as the coming year of clear vision and foresight, change for the better, its number instilling feelings of hope and reason in each of us. It stood for something. Then – it arrived. Instead, it has been the year that has made us all think harder about what it means to be human, about how we act, how we look after ourselves and our fellow man; our families, friends, loved ones and most of all, those whom we will never know and yet we hope that they have also regarded our well-being in just the same way. Not everyone has given it so much thought or consideration though; those who have had us shaking our heads in despair at showings of ignorance or selfishness. That hyper-awareness that has been growing all year, is at its peak now – for those who have been paying attention, that is. So many have suffered and lost, many more have suffered and, will be doing so still. And these thoughts keep me grounded when it comes to looking back over my own personal year – small fish by comparison yet, relevant to what I love.

Over the last ten years, my love for infrared landscape photography has continued to evolve and I have a new love over these latter few years too – old ruins and Marsden-esque scenes that invoke the past, questions, stories forgotten or simply – awe. This year has been a little more tricky though, to capture them. Many places I have wished to visit have been closed or actually close-off, local restrictions have curtailed non-essential travel and I have been made to think a little differently as to what or how I would like to shoot. Another little learning curve has been experienced this year and this can only be a good thing. Creatively, I have still found myself struggling a little – mostly with my own photographic repertoire and not wanting to get ‘stuck’ in a niche – but I think it may be too late for such feelings. The rod is against my back already, however – I feel a coming change in my approach, necessitated by the course of recent history and by the passage of time. Change is inevitable and I can feel it bubbling under the surface. What it will be is yet only a series of random flickers of frames like subliminal advertising pasted inside life’s film reel. They exist – not yet realised. But time is changing us. And it’s changing me. Insosaying, this year’s review isn’t just about looking back at some old photographs – it’s about wondering where I’ll go and what I’ll do next. I still don’t know – but I’m looking forward to finding out. 

It’s been a little tricky for me to select my favourite frames from 2020 – it would’ve been easier if I had chosen by the number of clicks or comments by post. By some choices, I may coincide by accident – but these are my selections based on time, place, feeling and creative satisfaction.  The best I have been able to achieve really is here. All I can hope is that you’ll enjoy this little recap. 

 

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January 2020: The Wedding Trio | Scotland’s Folly – Calton Hill, Edinburgh.

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February 2020: Lowther Castle, Cumbria. 720nm IR | 35mm.

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March 2020: Hermitage Castle. 720nm IR | 35mm.

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April 2020: Seven Tonics [Whatever Gets You Through].

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May 2020: Home School…

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June 2020: Air & Water.

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July 2020: Southerness Lighthouse | 720nm IR w/ Hoya R72 & 10-Stop ND.

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August 2020: Dundrennan Abbey | 720nm IR.

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September 2020: Suspension Bridge Over the Nith.
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October 2020: Scott’s View – Melrose & The Magic of a Fair Maiden’s Hand.

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November 2020: Ol’ Fashioned | 3″ Macro.

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December 2020: The Silent Bell – Hoddom Castle | 720nm IR.

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Thank you all so much for your company and your contributions this year, and to both newer followers and more long-standing readers – I am always eternally grateful for your contributions both to my pages and, for what you yourselves create. Thank you! I wish you all a very happy, prosperous and healthy ’21! Please – join me again when you can. 

Warmest wishes to you all… 

Rob.


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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.

Corsewall Lighthouse: PT.I | 720nm IR & LTFS | 35Chronicle

black & white, full-spectrum, history, infrared, landscape, photography, rural, structures, waterscape

The Light & the Dark.

The hotel at the lighthouse had been on our list of places to visit for a little while now, not least because it promotes itself as wedding venue too and, given recent engagements (ahem!) and our fondness for the west of our county, we made the journey during a three day stay in Portpatrick. The coastline is simply stunning here and even though the weather was extremely moody at best (and howling at its worst) there was no way that we were going to forego this particular jaunt. Looking out from the mouth of Loch Ryan it is hard to even contemplate why anyone would wish to look in any other direction, no matter what the elements.

Built around 1816-1817, the fully functioning tower is still run by the Northern Lighthouse Board, however, since automation in 1994 – the rest of the buildings were converted into a hotel. Word has it that in 1817, Corsewall’s Principle Light Keeper had fallen asleep on duty which caused the light to fail for a time, to the detriment of passing ships heading towards the coastline, and so therefore, he was subsequently and severely demoted. In November of 1970, Concorde flew over Corsewall Lighthouse on a trial flight and when passing the tower, it shattered many panes of glass around the light. Later flights by Concorde would not cause the same phenomena. Sadly though, at the time of our visit the whole place was closed due to the effects of Coronavirus and ensued restrictions and, we were unable to enter. Instead, after a lovely walk around the place and taking in the views, Bumble sought protection from the ever worsening elements inside the car, and why not? Nobody wants to get soaking wet or freezing cold on their birthday!

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I |  The Hotel & Tower [720nm IR]

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As I walked Bumble back from the hotel itself towards the car, having wandered around the tower and the foghorn together so that I could grab a few frames, we were met by a lady in her 4×4 who, having sped down the hill stopped alongside us on approach to the building and wound down her window to speak to us. Then, she asked the one question that is guaranteed to irk me more than any other when I am making my frames. “Can I help you?” she asked. Well, “I don’t know, can you take over shooting for me if I should suddenly forget how to do it?” I wanted to reply. Instead, I refrained from sarcasm and exchanged politely with her until she explained that she owned the place and was popping in to check her emails. Why would I even care about that? In truth, I think our presence triggered off a sensor or we were on camera perhaps, prompting her expedient arrival from her nearby abode. I mean, I can see how a couple like us would put a lot of fear into someone – especially when you take in the evidence – holding hands, the odd cuddle to dispel the cold of the gusts, the picture taking. Of course. I once again prepared to endure the worsening elements – for the sake of art, you understand. I mean, why else?

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II |  ‘Round the Rugged Rock the Ragged Rascal Ran [LTFS]

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Getting here though, was a bit of pain the derriere – and I am surprised that anyone planning a wedding or reception would make the trek if they knew beforehand how the final part of their journey would pan out, should the weather turn sour. This is definitely a fair-weather destination if you wish to remain – unsavoury. Imagine if you will, donning your finest finery, having washed and polished the car (as such an occasion would suggest as appropriate) and turning out as pristinely as you possibly could before setting off. Your journey to within a mile or two of Corsewall may be largely uneventful, perhaps even wonderful, then the heavens open as you approach the back roads, past the farms, through as much cow-sh*t as it’s possible to spread across the hugely pitted and pot-holed tracks that wind around and down towards the tower. Imagine too, all of that muck sprayed up both sides of your previously pristine jalopy, as you pray that you won’s split a rim or two in any of the deeper craters who’s depth and severity are sinisterly hidden beneath copious quantities of shit and water. (You can tell I’m a little precious about my car now, can’t you?!) So – let the nightmare begin! How to arrive? Or, how not to! Perhaps save it for the sunshine?

Despite high winds and a decent amount of rain, I somehow managed to snag a number of shots both in IR and in LTFS (full-spectrum) when the light started to fade – that I am actually very happy with. Sorry about all the back story and though not every shoot I go on isn’t as romantic as they might appear to be, I hope too that you’ll enjoy these first few frames of (really) a beautiful and picturesque corner of South West Scotland. 

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III |  The Tower & Foghorn [LTFS]

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Thank you ever so much for reading and I do hope that you are keeping safe and well.

Until PT.II – toodle-pip!

R.

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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.

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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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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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.

Dundrennan Abbey | 720nm IR – PT.III | 35Chronicle

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

I Really, Really Can’t Help It!

Way back in April of last year, I wrote what was to be my first post on Dundrennan Abbey. It was certainly not the first time I have shot here for, I have been revisiting this beautiful ruin for almost twenty years. It has a draw that very few other places can illicit quite in the way that it does and, seeing as how I keep my cameras with me whenever I’m on any kind of road-trip, well – it stands to reason that if ever I am near the place and I have time to stop, I invariably do. I don’t always get lucky with the light but seeing as how I have shot here over a dozen times or so, I have a very pleasing stash of visible light and infrared captures. Each time, I try to see different angles of the abbey, capture something different and – this can be quite a challenge because revisiting somewhere, anywhere, multiple times in order to shoot can lead to a bit of muscle-memory taking over, trying to catch again those favourite angles only – better, this time. I sometimes have to try very hard to stop myself from doing this. Nonetheless, I also believe in shooting every angle possible while on location and, edit hard when I get to the upload at home. This little shoot was a tad different though. I have started to be more selective when it comes to the work of my shutter-finger. If I don’t ‘see’ it, I don’t shoot it anymore. If I see the frame and it’s not working for me, no matter what the balance between positive and negative elements, the camera will mostly stay in my bag nowadays. With that said, these frames came pretty naturally and while I did repeat a few past shots, these are (to my mind) a little more mature and pleasing. On this occasion, well over a year since my last visit, the grounds are now extremely overgrown; the result of a pandemic which as yet displays no signs of abating to the point of disappearing and so, much is left to wither. The lack of maintenance here at Dundrennan, however, only amplifies its historical and physical authenticity from a visual perspective – and despite the hard work put in under normal circumstances to maintain these grounds and this stunning structure, I rather prefer the look it has now that nobody has touched it since our own lockdown commenced.

On a much different note: I notice now that my followers have surpassed 300 here on 35Chronicle Photography and I cannot let this go without saying a massive thank you to each and every one of you who follow my pages, and also, to the many of you who don’t follow yet return to read and peruse my words and images. I started this blog back in early 2018 and when there is so much competition (for want of a better word) for people’s time and consideration, I do feel that with this amount of followers and over 22,000 views to date – I have a lot to be very grateful for. To all of you, from the bottom of my heart, Thank You All!

Just lately I have been extremely busy with prints so it has taken me a little longer to getting round to posting, this week. I do hope though, that you will enjoy the following few frames as much as I do. Thank you so much for reading.

R.

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[All frames captured with Ricoh GXR A16 LTFS Conversion w/Hoya R72]

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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.