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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32 Years On: Remembering Pan Am 103 | 35Chronicle

people, photography

21.12.1988.


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There’s not a lot I actually know that hasn’t been in the media over the last 32 years, about the Lockerbie Disaster. Though, this week, the BBC reported that the man alleged to have been behind the making of the bomb that killed 270 people on board Pan Am Flight 103 0n the 21st December 1988 has been charged with terrorism offences. When the disaster occurred, I was still living in my hometown in the Midlands and hadn’t even made the move to Scotland. I wouldn’t even have contemplated that mover for another 11 or 12 years afterwards. I remember the news though and the horror of it all – so many lost; and their families, loved ones, friends, colleagues, fellow students – all of them feeling the pain of this horrific attack. And the people of Lockerbie too, those who died on the ground and those who didn’t. It affected everyone I think, far and wide but none so much as those 270 people who lost their lives on the 21st December 1988. I was 18 when it happened.

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On my commute to work as a paramedic, I pass the Garden of Remembrance at the top of Cemetery Brae before the start of every shift, and after the end of each. In fact, I would probably pass it a dozen times during my shift and over the past fifteen years of being stationed at Lockerbie, like every local or worker in the town – it’s a fixture, easily disregarded when negotiating those bends at speed. There’s a small car park in front of it and the cemetery itself runs a good few hundred yards before one arrives at the memorial.  We arrived yesterday, late morning – barely another person in sight. The day before, however, the annual remembrance ceremony had taken place and fresh flowers and tributes laid for the victims of Pan Am Flight 103. Though the people of Lockerbie are seldom heard to talk about it, the disaster is palpably, tangibly close the town’s heart. To the outside world, it’s a town defined almost solely by those awful events – but as one who has worked here for almost 20 years, I can’t agree completely. Yes, there will always be the memory and the scars of what happened to those who lived through it and the knowledge, for those who did not. But the town and it’s people carry on – because that is all that can be done; it’s a very stoic, strong and resolute community. As for the families and loved ones of those who were taken, one can only speculate on the pain that they will feel as they always have since that night. Former Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP, said it beautifully when he wrote in a tribute which he placed yesterday, “For those who haven’t been able to make it to Lockerbie this year, you are not forgotten. They are not forgotten.”

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Over the years, I’ve had many conversations with colleagues about what happened that awful night. One such gentleman I spoke with was a former ambulance technician by the name of George White. He was on call that evening and was the first clinician on scene. The horror he faced was something which he was never able to put into actual words and we’d never have forced them either, but by the look on his face as he spoke all those years ago – he told the scene without ambiguity. I remembered George again yesterday when I read one particular name on the plaque. Suzanne Marie Miazga. She was 22 years old. Her body was found on the grounds of the ambulance station directly after the 747 was torn apart; her picture still sits in a frame on the bookshelf in our rest-room, directly beneath the TV. Her life, and the taking of it is also the reason why we tend a pink rose-bush at the corner of the entrance to our station – her name engraved in the brass plaque on the front of the planter. Pink roses were her favourite. Every single person on that flight had a favourite something and that is still worth remembering. 

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During the decades after, Suzanne’s mother kept in regular touch with George and he would travel to the States often to see her; eventually they became so close that they married. Memory fades a little for me now and I can’t remember exactly when they were married but it was certainly within the last ten years. Sadly though, due to failing health, and age – George passed away just a few years ago. As I remember him here, I hope that you’ll have a look at a few frames I grabbed yesterday and remember them all. 

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Never Forget.

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Call Me Old Fashioned… | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, close-up, colour, fine art, full-spectrum, macro, people, personal, photography, portraits, still life

A Prior Engagement.


Okay, a little bit of an announcement. At the end of last month, after two years together through thick (and even thicker) I proposed to Bumble and – after her initial tears of disbelief and throwing her hands up to her face at the sight of me on one knee, she said, “Yes”! Needless to say, we are both ridiculously happy and our wonderful nuclear family, too, has a solidified and renewed direction. After everything we’ve come through over the last eighteen months or so, I couldn’t be happier. But this post isn’t just an announcement. This is a photography blog after all and I have been waiting until I had the requisite shots, before writing.

As an engagement gift to me, Bumble gave me a new cocktail watch for my wrist and also, for my growing collection. I have collected watches, (only certain movements it must be said) for many years and, this new gift had me rather stunned, even moreso because she clearly knows me so well. Insosaying, though I do feel a tad selfish posting these, it also stands as my little testament to the value of time and, how we spend it. Many of my readers will know that I don’t just shoot old ruins and infrared scenes – I enjoy many forms of photography and macro-photography is one of my firm favourites and major passions when I am forced to shoot indoors. Couple this with my love of mechanical watches (as opposed to quartz movements) where, I have always felt that there is more magic and fairy dust inside such a watch than levers, cogs and springs, well, you might understand just how marvellous and precious these instruments are to me, personally. And, a watch is a very personal thing. If it is thing of visual beauty, then I am in awe of it. Keats said something very similar, I recall. Such is the case here, with my beautiful (5147/8000) Seiko Presage SSA392J1.

With its 4R57 automatic movement, 41-hour power reserve indicator, gorgeous colours (inspired by the classic, ‘Old Fashioned’ cocktail – recipe at the bottom of this post!) perhaps it is indeed, itself, a classic in the making. What I am certain of however, is that for me, this combination is as classic as it’s possible to get and the value of time somehow becomes even more poignant when I wear it. So, by way of utter appreciation and gratitude for the love of the woman in my life, who knows me better than I do – I now post a few shots that I have very carefully selected after a painstaking couple of days editing, post-shooting. Whatever you photograph, it should always be shot with love. I hope I have done enough here.

(For anyone interested, these frames were made with my Ricoh GR III (the closest frame, with the Hoya +10 – front-mounted) except for frame two of Angela, which was shot on an LTFS converted Ricoh GXR, in full-spectrum – hence the slight softness of the focus). 

Thank you so much for bearing with me and for reading once again. I hope you’ll enjoy these few frames too.

… To Bumble – whatever I have to say to you, I’ll say it in private! 

R.

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To Mix an Old Fashioned:
  • Place the sugar cube in an Old Fashioned glass. 
  • Wet it down with Angostura bitters and a short splash of club soda.
  • Crush sugar with a wooden muddler, rotate the glass so that the sugar grains and bitters give it a lining. 
  • Add a large ice cube. Pour in the whiskey. 
  • Garnish with an orange twist, and serve with a stirring rod if you’re so inclined.

…and, relax!

R.

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Is That a Fly in Your Vino, Dear? | 35Chronicle

black & white, candid, close-up, people, personal, photography, spring

Any Excuse…


My catalogue of shots is ever increasing lately and to be perfectly honest, it’s a little bit of a struggle keeping up with editing. Add to that the amount of time that I simply do not want to spend indoors when the weather is as glorious as it has been over the last couple of days and – you’ll have some idea as to how tricky it is to keep up; especially if you’re a photographer yourself. Sometimes, it feels as though it’s a never-ending wheel. Then the sun sets a little and, the wheel slows down a bit. Take today, for instance. 

For the most part, since finishing my last run of shifts I have been itching to get up to my office and work on the shots I snagged at Ellen’s 100th. Then – I remembered that the little ‘un wanted to go out on his scooter this morning and of course, there’s home-school to fit in too. Furthermore, I wanted to spend a little time in the garden (can you hear me retrospectively searching for any old excuse, already?) and have a tidy up; or perhaps I’d just crack open a bottle of beer and get a little more colour on the ol’ napper instead. Anything, anything to remain outside. I mean, unless one has a sun allergy, who (who doesn’t have to remain indoors) would want to be inside on a day like this? So, as Bumble took her wine and her book into the garden, I ran upstairs to grab a camera. Maybe I’d grab a few frames around the garden, seeing as how it’s looking lock-down lovely lately (as I am sure many more are, during the current situation!)

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I | I’m Sure There’s a Fly in This?!

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As time goes by, I am finding that my shooting arsenal is growing – I am pretty sure that whatever I could possibly want to photograph, I have the gear for it. But what did I reach for? My old GXR A16 full-spectrum conversion, that’s what. I mention it often, I know (sorry ’bout that!) but mostly in relation to Luminous Tone Full-Spectrum or infrared frames that I have grabbed with it. Not today though. You see, in it’s native form, with its own IR-blocking filter in place, it’s normal to whack a UV at the front of the glass too. It’s the norm nowadays isn’t it? However – with a unit that has had that blocking filter removed (and nothing has replaced it, of course) if you want to shoot normal / visible light only, one has to use a UVIR Cut filter on the front of the lens and, this is where the fun starts. Because the UVIR Cut filter blocks out UV and IR so well (I use a Tiffen filter, if it matters) for some reason, it seems far better at blocking out those undesired wavelengths than stock internal filters and thus, lends itself to far more sharpness and contrast than the standard lens unit with the same shooting settings. As a predominantly black and white photographer, this is a real bonus. This particular camera has to be the punchiest black and white camera I have ever shot with. Anyway, I brought it outside for a little playtime.

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II | I Know it’s in Here Somewhere!

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Obviously, when I came down again to join Bumble in the garden, there were other shots to be caught. I didn’t get any frames outside of the courtyard, but I did snag these – and clearly, I just couldn’t resist sharing them. I sincerely hope that you have all been enjoying great weather, perfect health and – plenty of happiness. It’s important to have a little fun! I hope you’ll enjoy these few captures which clearly do conclude happily… 

-R-

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III | Sorted! [The Face of a Part-Consumed Fresh Glass…]

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Feel free to join me on Instagram: @35chroniclephotography
Thank you for visiting.
R. 

 

100 Years On [& a Letter from the Queen] | 35Chronicle

black & white, people, personal, photography

For Ellen – Happy One-Hundredth Birthday!


This really is a dashed post – in twenty minutes I need to head off to work but, after a couple of hours spent celebrating one of the few(?) socially distanced 100th birthdays (of Bumble’s grandmother) replete with a police piper, and a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ from four members of the local constabulary (two of them, Inspectors, no less – and yes pictures will follow of course) I just have to share a couple of frames grabbed through Ellen’s window as we celebrated in the car-park – a monumental occasion. 

Happy 100th Birthday to Ellen Keeble and, we hope to see you again when the lock-down is done; and thank you also to HRH for coming through in style! 

-R-

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Thank you for visiting.
R. 

A Sign of the Times | 35Chronicle

black & white, people, personal, photography

Home-School | Week No.8


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I | 09:05 – Enthusiastic.

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II | 09:15 – Distracted.

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III | 09:20 – (Just About) Re-Focused.

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IV | 09:30 – Hmmm…

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Thank you for visiting.
-R-

In the Eyes of Beholders | 35Chronicle

black & white, candid, colour, people, personal, photography, portraits

Bumble’s ‘New’ Camera.


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Lockdown Blues | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, colour, people, photography, portraits

It’s Can’t be Easy, Being Seven!


Two weeks of lockdown before the school Easter holidays commenced and guess who’s had his fill of it all, already? Homeschool is tougher than he’d bargained for, he’s not allowed to visit the new local play-park, the shops have all run out of his favourite sweeties and through it all, I keep sticking my new GR III in his face! It’s tough, being a little ‘un, I can see that. To make matters worse, my Windows 10 laptop has all but died on me after a recent Windows Update (thanks for nothing, Mr. Gates – or whoever is running the show at Microsoft, now) and I have had to find a complete new way of processing, editing and saving my shots. To top it all, I have to use the WP app my iPad – which is not as simple as it should be and I can see a few corrections to formatting in Safari, coming right after I publish this. Anyhooz, all is not lost – it’s all about adapting, I guess.

Speaking of adapting, I know I said I wouldn’t do it, but yes, I did – and I am loving the latest iteration of Ricoh’s GR. All of these frames were captured on it at my favoured 35mm internal crop mode and to round off on a good note – young Flynn was only feigning in shot one. He’s coping just fine and can even tell the time now! Onwards!

Though I am certain that nobody has ever pegged the GR series as a serious portrait tool, I reckon it’ll pass. Keep smiling, keep well and, I hope you’ll appreciate the annoyance I have had to endure this afternoon to bring you these! One has to laugh, eh?!

R.

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Behind the Scenes: An Introduction | 35Chronicle

black & white, people, personal, photography, portraits

Meet the Family.


Breaking with tradition here somewhat (as in – I’m not posting any IR, ruins, waterscapes or close-ups, for a change) it’s time to have a little break from my usual outings and big-up some very important people. Well, almost all people anyway. This is the crowd that put up with me and my photo-shenanigans, as well as everything else too and, without whom – my life could be so, so different. It is said that behind every good man, there’s a good woman and it’s very true. But also, there are a couple of great boys and, two long-suffering beagles, as well. Usually, I’d post this many shots over a couple of posts but this is different – we don’t spread out over two pages in life, so, here we all are.

I have always been so grateful to all of my readers and contributors throughout the evolution of my pages – yes, that means you too, and (aside from the pooches, obviously) each and every one posted here knows just how important photography has always been and still is to me and, how I strive to do something with it that satisfies my inner need. With that said, this isn’t just about you meeting us all, but it’s also about the lot of us meeting you too. As a whole.

I often miss the genre of portraiture after having enjoyed it for so many years, and it’s always fun to find an excuse to grab a camera and snag little moments – especially when they mean so much. Life can change in the blink of an eye and I know just how lucky I am to have them all in mine. This is what it’s all for.

From us to you… hi!

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I | Corby-J. – Looking Like a Backgammon Master but actually asking “What Cunning Kind of Devilry is This?! Hmmm!”

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II | Flynn – Starbucks (Either Overly Focused or, Potentially Hypnotised by Hot Chocolate & Cake!) 

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III | Angela & Paisley (4 Hours Old) – Delivery Suite.

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IV | Lucy – An Ageing, Slightly Limping but Surprisingly Resourceful Jack Russell.

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V | Noodle – A Disloyal, Yet Ridiculously Easily Bought-Off Siberian Huskey. 

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VI | Rob – by Ang. “Help! Some Woman Just Nabbed my Camera!” (First Day Off the Crutches – Outside a Bar in Falkirk!)

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[Normal service will undoubtedly be resumed by the next post! As always, thank you for visiting!]

-R-

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2019 Photographic Review | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, boats, close-up, colour, Indoor, infrared, landscape, macro, nature, night / low-light, people, photography, portraits, review, ruins, rural, skies, still life, structures, summer, trees, waterscape

As the Days Begin to Lengthen.


This time last year I was preparing my first ever photo-review here at 35Chronicle and, at the time, I could never have professed to have known just what a year 2019 was going to be for me. In every sense of the word it’s been an amazing year, and – a traumatically difficult one for the large part. Suffice to say that if you are a regular reader of my pages, you’ll know a little of what I’ve been up to and, subjected to and – you might also realise that as well as those closest to me who have kept me going throughout the year since spring, my love of all things photographic have been my main non-pulsatile impetus to get back out there and, get better. Better in health, at life, at shooting – just, better; in any way I can.

Despite some difficulties in getting back out there (you try shooting whilst holding on to your crutches while your camera bag is threatening to slide forward under the weight of the gear – with the express intent of taking one of your legs from underneath you!) I have enjoyed many excursions this year. Insosaying, I have done my best to represent each month of 2019 (by date of publishing) with what I feel is the one shot that truly made the cut. My cut. I hope I have done enough.

Of course, the whole reason I am writing any of this is because, well – you are reading it. As such, I need to say a massive thank you to a huge amount of people who have been with me this year and without whom, my 2019 would have turned out rather different and probably not as good. Therefore, to loved ones, to friends, to everyone here on WP, and to everyone who has been of support to me throughout the year, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You all know who you are and I forget not one of you.

Please do enjoy this selection of just some of my favourite frames of this year and I hope you’ll join me again in 2020. It’ll be great to see you again. (To H – thank you and please forgive me for my shameless and blatant use of your sign-off. It fits perfectly, expresses my intent to a tee and I truly can’t think of or find a better way to say it. I promise to only use it this once!)

See you on the flip-side, folks!

In Metta.

– Rob –


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January 2019 | Moss after Rain.

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February 2019 | The Wellspring – Kirkcudbright | 720nm IR.

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March 2019 | Thirlstane Arch – Powillimont, Southerness | 720nm IR.

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April 2019 | Dundrennan Abbey [AKA: The Day of Two Cakes!]| 720nm IR

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May 2019 | Angela.

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June 2019 | Gelston Castle | 720nm IR.

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July 2019 | River Nith to Greyfriars | 720nm IR.

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August 2019 | Angela & her Machines.

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[Just After] September 2019 | The Kelpies – Falkirk | Late Dusk.

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October 2019 | Light Muse (Sic!)

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November 2019 | Edinburgh, from the Castle.

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December 2019 | Paisley James – 4 Hours Old.
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Happy New Year 2020, to You All!

X

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On Human Connections | PT.II | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, people, personal, photography, portraits

Celebrations & Christmas Wishes.


Time is short today and as festive preparations continue, I would like to take a little time out to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. It’s been a very different kind of year for me, but for others, the experience of this thing called life is only just beginning. Therefore, to each and every one of my readers and followers, I extend my warmest wishes and, especially to one little girl, who is about to celebrate her very first – though she’ll never remember it. This one’s going to be a blast

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, no matter how you’re celebrating. 

Warmest wishes,

Rob.

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I | Four Hours Old | For Paisley | 35mm

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II |  Paisley, with Mum & Dad, Elaina & Arran | 35mm

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III | Angela Gets a Hold – Paisley at 4 Hours Old | 35mm

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On Human Connections (& the Withholding of Sherry!) | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, people, personal, photography, portraits

From my Quiet Corner.


It’s not often that I photograph people anymore, however this post for me at least, is a little more poignant. This year has seen hospital visits very frequently on my agendas. Not only for myself have I spent time in one or another, but sadly with an ageing family member and the problems exacerbated by the very same and unstoppable process,  this has brought on the necessity to spend even more time in various departments and wards throughout the year. But there’s something else about hospitals other than the obvious that runs deep in their very ethos that, if you simply look around you – can be seen everywhere. 

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I.

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Now, I know it’s absolutely not ethical nor even polite to photograph at random the unfortunate plights of others in such a personal context, so, I’d like to share instead a couple of simple frames which for me epitomise the deeper connections between human beings  that I have only ever witnessed so emphatically – in hospitals. Though I have hung on to these shots for a good number of months, (I found it very difficult to find a cohesive context in which to publish them) now – I feel I can share them in such a way that I would hope makes such clear sense as to render the message obvious. 

As I sat in the corner of a nearby community hospital, observing Angela with her ninety-nine year old grandmother, Ellen, who had by then been a patient there for over two months, the intimacy and love that filled the room was something that I just had to try to capture. Heart-melting moments, right there in front of me.

Thankfully, Ellen is home again at the time of writing and is doing very well indeed. (We’ve had to withhold the sherry though; just in case.)

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II.

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[Both frames were discreetly captured on my secreted Ricoh GR, set to my preferred 35mm Crop mode.] 

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Angie – Through Open Eyes | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

black & white, close-up, people, personal, photography, portraits

A Gift – for a Gift.


It’s not often that I get overly personal through my pages but constant reflection urges me to do so right now. As a passionate photographer, I love to capture, to record in the best way I know how – life; or rather, important scenes and snippets in time (from it). That’s what we do. Our reasons for doing so may change over time or may simply be dependant on the occasion or our subject matter however,  but in truth – when I want to give something back, so to speak, a photograph is the probably the most indelible, lasting gift that I can give, outside of my own self. Insosaying, my time isn’t only spent wandering around old ruins, though by many of my recent posts you would be forgiven for believing so.

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I | Lost for Words.

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Most of my past four months, in fact, have been spent recuperating (something which I am still doing, and happily I can say – with great improvement) and spending wonderful, quality time with my loved ones. It is fair to say that (especially) lately, in a multitude of ways my life has taken an huge amount of positive turns because of many yet mostly, unforgettably, because of the one most special person in my life – and, a great majority of those turns have been made possible and almost certainly could not have been so without her. It’s her face that I want to see whenever I walk into a room, whenever I pick up a camera, if only to capture her and to remind her to really look, and to see what I see. But she seldom does. 

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II | It’s All Fun & Games (Until the Bobbin Runs Out!)

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One day, I hope that she will see her importance to me and to many through her guises as a mother, a best friend, a lover, a sister, a daughter and granddaughter, a seamstress, an inspiration, a rock, no – my rock; and, my comfort. (As it turns out, contrary to her gentle demeanour – she’s a painfully merciless backgammon player too!) 

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III | Late Evening (or – From Where Evil Plots are Hatched!)

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From thin air, through open eyes and, straight to my heart.

R.

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Apollo 11: For Michael Collins [and Neil & Buzz] | 35:Chronicle

history, people, photography, skies

Snoopy [& Other Underdogs].


Oddly, though I had this post planned for a week or more, after an impromptu visit to McD’s today – I found the perfect way to commemorate all underdogs everywhere, as well as this marvellous anniversary. Celebrating a young boy’s birthday I found one of my childhood heroes staring back at me from, of all places, the inside of a Happy Meal. Not one child at the table could tell me who he was or the name of his scruffy little companion – but Peanuts-styled memories came flooding back. I bought two more to make the set – of three wind-up, moon-walking NASA Snoopys; repleat with Pumpkin Suits and backpacks. My smile was huge.

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Three of a Perfect Pair.

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Snoopy Woz ‘Ere?

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Tomorrow, on 16th July 2019 – it will have been fifty years to the day since the Apollo 11 mission was launched, which would land the first man on the moon, on 20th July 1969. That was the year during which I was born, too, almost four months later. In the grounds of Drumlanrig House, (near the Scottish town of Thornhill) – not far from me, where Neil Armstrong once stayed is a forty-seven year old Red Oak, planted in the March of ’72 by the man himself.

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The Growth of History.

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It’s an incredible part of human history but like many (I am supposing, here) it’s always been my opinion that Michael Collins didn’t get enough love or glory for his unforgettable contribution to those future-shaping events of 1969. Waiting in the moon’s orbit for Buzz and Apollo 11’s commander, Neil Armstrong to complete their short mission on the surface must have felt sickening and lonely; standing at the open doors to the greatest show on earth, looking in, hearing the fun that everyone else is having but, having to wait outside and endure it. Plenty of documentaries and publications can give us a huge amount of information about almost any detail of that mission, but how much did Michael Collins not tell about how he felt during those eight days? I have to wonder. Though an integral part of that incredible mission, hardly anyone I have asked can name all three crew-members; and Michael’s is the name most forgotten. I’m not here to set any record straight, but I’m sending out my own equal recognition for him as well. Like Neil & Buzz, I’m pretty sure he’s earned it.

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Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin [Left to Right]

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Morton Castle: Reprise | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

50mm, black & white, landscape, nature, people, personal, photography, ruins, rural, structures, trees

Wind & G.A.S are Not the Same.


I seem to have developed (no pun intended) a propensity for posting late at night, recently – probably because I am still taking regular daytime naps to get me out of pain and it’s better than woofing the narcs that I’m currently prescribed. So, I am more awake at night than I am for most of the day, just lately. It’s not an impossible cycle and I’ll shake it soon, I know. Truthfully, I am feeling great presently and am looking forward to getting truly back to life and furthermore, I am  no longer having to endure most of the awful side-effects of the drugs, some of them rather embarrassing to say the least but, nonetheless, on grounds of utter propriety – unmentionable. A clue could be in the sub-heading, I guess. (If you read on with your tongue in your cheek – that’d be better than taking the rest too seriously. Stuff just – happens, you know?)

Onwards.

Back in February, I visited Morton Castle on a day which initially promised gorgeous blue skies inset with a clear and bright low winter sun – ideal for some IR shots of this utterly beautiful ruin. That was at around the time we had set orff! By the time we arrived, however, the clouds had moved in and the rain (known in Scotland as ‘smirry‘ – fine, light drizzle, really) began to descend and I ended up shooting the whole lot with my standard X100T. (See post I of III – here). There would be no infrared frippery on this particular day. No matter, but with that said, I wasn’t completely happy with the frames I came away with; compositionally I was very happy, but the ‘T’ buggers about with micro-contrast and smears finer details to the point where I just couldn’t live with it. A beautifully usable camera, fabulous lens but, it had to go. Either my software didn’t like its RAWs or, there was simply something about the ‘T’ that seemed to no longer agree with me. At all. Maybe I simply outgrew it, which may have been different if they’d kept the sensor from the very first X100. (Now that one was a peach!) I digress. 

Within just over two months of those initial shots at Morton, I found myself incapacitated, hospitalised, and then convalescing flat on my back for the following two and a half months with around eight or nine fractures to my spine, ribs and foot, a little internal bleeding and more pain than I could have comprehended possible at that time. What else was I to do to cheer myself up – other than to buy a new camera? Apart from the obvious things, photography was right up there on the list of things I was missing the most. Probably joint second, I’d say. I knew I wouldn’t be able to shoot it right away but I could spend weeks familiarising and reading up on it’s features so that when the day came where I could get out and play with it, I’d be more than ready; and so, that’s what I did. I bought the camera I have spent the past five years or so drooling over and, buggered the expense sideways. After all, I might not have even existed anymore – I jest not when I say that it really was that close, at the time of the incident. Hang it all. The Df arrived within a couple of days and the ‘T’ was history. I felt no remorse or pain. Not even a twinge. Move on. 

It’s not really G.A.S (gear acquisition syndrome) though – I guess that I have enough equipment to shoot pretty much any way I choose to. No, this was about something different entirely. I no longer wanted a camera that would mess about with the detail during shot processing, even in the RAWs – just a tool that would record what it sees and let me decide on output. Full-frame or not, I couldn’t care less (apart from the fact that this thing shoots clean even in the (photographically speaking) dark) – but I have been proved that I waited five years too long. What a plonker. But this isn’t a review (yawn!) – I only wish to post up my first frames from it, taken on a day that started out dismal, and pretty much remained that way, just last week. Low photographic expectations led me to something I didn’t expect – I love these frames, but not as much as being out there again. Despite the clouds, it was the finest of days. For life and, for loved ones.

I hope you’ll enjoy these.

R.

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I | Across Morton Loch.

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II | Brothers.

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III | [A Bit of] Morton Castle.

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This post is so gratefully dedicated to everyone who has been here for me in deed, word, or thought over the past couple of months – colleagues, friends, healthcare professionals, well-wishers and fellow bloggers and, most lovingly dedicated to my loved ones, whose patience, warmth and love know no conceivable bounds. Lucky isn’t the word.

To my Angie, to Corbs & to Flynn. X

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