Old, Secluded Stone | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, full-spectrum, photography, ruins, rural, structures

The Temple of Cally Woods.


This one was another rare find… and again, I can’t take any credit! What can I say? Bumble finds ’em and I shoot ’em!

In 1779, a landscape gardener by the name of James Ramsay built this beautiful gothic ‘temple’ from which, at the time, fantastic views over Gatehouse and the open parkland of the Cally Estate could be breathtakingly enjoyed. Now, it stands hidden within the Cally Woods, a stone’s throw from the A75 yet, invisible from it. Surprisingly, however, it was found to be a mere two-minutes walk from a side-road – barely visible through the trees until we we almost upon it. Some work had been undertaken in around 2005 to restore this building and this was evident in some very obvious modern materials and techniques used, but its aura matches its era – and offered a very enjoyable half-hour for one particular gent. Oddly, its main facia and entrance to the south is identical to the west face, albeit that the doorway and windows on the west side are bricked up now. It seems a little odd and I wonder if Ramsay had changed his mind while building it or, perhaps, was it altered at some time in its future? One William Todd was a known resident here, for ten years, whilst he was in charge of drove cattle belonging to James Murray. I can’t imagine how cosy this place would have been with the open fire roaring. Of course, it would have had a roof, back then! 

I hope you’ll enjoy these few grabs and, thank you again for reading.

R.

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I | To the Trees [Ricoh GR III – VIS] | ISO:1600

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II | The South Entrance [Ricoh GR III – VIS] | ISO: 800

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III | The West Wall [Ricoh GR III- VIS] | ISO: 640

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IV | The South Entrance [Ricoh GXR – LTFS] | ISO: 673[!]

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V | Roofless [Ricoh GXR – LTFS] | ISO: 2810[!]
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GETTING OUT [AHEM!] – LESS | PT.III | 35CHRONICLE

35mm, black & white, fine art, infrared, landscape, photography, rural, skies, structures, waterscape

Cumbersome Ol’ Things!


So, here we are, at the last of my posts from the beautiful Sandyhills – one of the most gorgeous areas of coastline here in Dumfries & Galloway. From a freezing cold day on an empty beach, a glorious winter sun low in an ice-blue sky. You’d think by now that I’d be tempted to shoot in and, process for colour a lot more but no, I still can’t seem to ‘see’ in colour. These four captures were all made with my LTFS converted GXRs – I took them both, set-up for 720nm – in case one of them decided to freeze up on me (it’s happened before). I am happy to say that, though aging now (in camera technology terms) they still performed perfectly. Lest not that the medium become the message, I still have to remind myself that for some reason, I have never been able to ‘see’ quite so well with any other camera that I have ever shot with, than these cumbersome ol’ things. Perhaps I am a cumbersome ol’ thing, too, which may well be why we get along so perfectly. Slow, methodical, meticulous and as always – enjoying the moment. And here, with family, on a day like this, what else could possibly be quite so worth getting out of bed for? 

From the icicled ceiling of the Needle’s Eye and the frozen beaches of Southern Scotland, may I say, as always, thank you so much for reading, I do hope that you’ll enjoy these few grabs and – I wish you all a fabulous, safe and healthy weekend ahead. 

R.

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GETTING OUT [AHEM!] – LESS | PT.II | 35CHRONICLE

black & white, fine art, full-spectrum, infrared, nature, photography, rural, skies, winter

The Freezing of Time & Tide.


Moving on from my last post, sharing a few grabs from a beautiful coastal spot not far from home over a week ago, I mentioned that on a brighter day, we would return with the munchkins, a small picnic and flasks of tea, coffee and soup! I would also take my IR and LTFS gear along and give Sandyhills ‘the treatment’… jeez, this place screams out like it’s begging for it, I can tell you! Anyway, after checking the forecast for the coming week after our first visit, Wednesday looked like it was to be the best for shooting and, for access, the tide times app gave us a window of around two hours prior to sunset which would enable us to safely get back to the caves and, the Needle’s Eye again. We arrived at a completely empty beach just around lunchtime – not even a dog-walker in sight. We had the whole place to ourselves. I would never have imagined that, even though it was so bitterly cold, that this place would be so empty of people, considering the space here and the fact that sensible outdoor pursuits are still permitted as long as distancing is observed. Still, not a soul for the most part of the time we spent here. A real rarity.

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In my bag, I had my trusty pair of LTFS converted GXRs – one set-up for 720nm IR and the other for VIS using a Tiffen UVIR cut on the front of the lens. This latter set-up, I find, yields noticeably sharper results than a standard VIS camera configuration, which I put down to the (potentially) complete eradication of extraneous wavelengths other than those within the VLS from reaching the sensor. If the light had been poorer and less, I might have removed the UVIR altogether and shot full-spectrum for the extra light it would have gathered (and conversely – softness, due to UVIR light pollution) but, the light played ball and remained (almost) where I wanted it to be.

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One thing I have never seen in my life, though I have lived many years on or near a coast in the UK – is a frozen, receding tide; yet, here it was right in front of us. Stunning, beautiful and, almost other-worldy. If I were not such a fan of Attenborough, I’d have been even further taken aback. Now though, I am reminded of our youngest who, on this day, when he was warned about the lack of grip beneath his feet as he walked behind us, suddenly called out… “Wait! I shouldn’t step on… WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT???! You can guess, perhaps, the position we found him in, the moment he’d finished asking the question! Honestly, to say I pissed myself is a bit of an understatement. The penguin-dive and slide were a nice touch, too!

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Further along the beach, in a deeply recessed rock at the entrance to one of the caves, we sat together on the sand, we ate and drank, we laughed and marvelled at the space around us; the breeze didn’t touch us at all and the sun was by now warm enough that it had us removing our jackets. It was like the world and all its problems didn’t exist – if only for a couple of hours. It was indeed a blissful day. Photography isn’t always just about making photographs, because, I truly believe that the moments between the frames, those feelings that you just can’t capture in a still are always on the outside edge of every single capture – hidden in memory.

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Enjoy your moments – and capture them, however you can.

R.


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Getting Out [Ahem!] – Less | PT.I | 35Chronicle

35mm, 50mm, black & white, fine art, nature, photography, rural, skies, structures, waterscape

Romancing the Stone.


These frames are from our first visit to the small hamlet of Sandyhills, around a week ago. It was a little impromptu but the weather was fair and, as Stickola Nurgeon had promised the people of Scotland that despite the still current Tier 4 restrictions, we could indeed, still venture out for legitimate exercise without the fear of being questioned or arrested [hurrah and huzzah!] – so, Bumble and I hopped in the car and headed off for a stroll on the beach. I have been itching, you see, to get my 5D3 out into the open and put it through its paces a little (and a little is all it can get right now, obviously) so this was a perfect opportunity not only to get a little time in free air but also to, hopefully, snag a few frames. We’d been reading about this local-ish spot, famed for its caves and one particular arched rock, known as the Needles Eye (accessible only at low-tide) – the words ‘kid’ and ‘sweetshop’ leap to mind. But there’s a reason this is PT.I – you see, this place is so picturesque that we decided to visit again, later in the week and, we took the nippers on our sequel visit, under glorious low winter sun and blue skies; of course, this meant that I would give this place the IR treatment I so knew that it deserves (however, more on that in the next post). There’s a romance here that’s impossible to ignore. For now though, I do hope you will enjoy these captures from a beautiful part of Dumfries & Galloway’s coastline. Keep well, stay safe and thank you!

R.

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[All Frames: Canon 5D III | EF 24-105mm / f4]

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Cabin-Fever, Diversionary Tactics & Silver Linings | 35Chronicle

black & white, photography, rural, structures

Durisdeer Church.


With non-essential travel still restricted here in Scotland, I have read nowhere that once a journey becomes essential – that there are restrictions upon the route one should take to make it. Obviously I would not decide to travel an overly excessive distance to make any trip but, I did make a choice to take us off the beaten track when it came to a well-timed dental appointment last week. Every cloud… as they say. Heading ‘roughly’ in the direction intended, instead of taking a main trunk road there, I though that it would be nice to drive the longer, more rural and leisurely route through vast hills, taking in views from above and below the low clouds that floated between them. The ever present mist and fog had ensured that the air remained damp and cold, and even so, it was nice to be outside the house for what was the first time in many weeks. Home is and should always be the heart of life and yet, the space outside can be a new-born revelation when cabin-fever has taken such a firm hold. We were glad, probably for the first time – that the reason we were taking in a little scenery was due to a visit to the dentist. Who’d have thunk it?!

On the way, we made just one stop – in the tiny hamlet of Durisdeer to take a look at the local church; a quick leg-stretch if you like and one that enabled me to grab these few shots with my 5D III. (It’s a recent addition to my bag and I’ve had nowhere near enough time with it – after all, there are only so many shots of busy coffee tables, indoor plants, studious children or – the pooch, that anybody could take and, I would not wish to over-indulge you with family portraits!) These are the first frames I have snagged here and I really do want to go back with my infrared gear too – reminds me a little of the ruined church at Hoddom Cross that I shot a couple of years back. Definitely a trip for the (hopefully) near future once all of this madness is under control. 

I hope you’ll enjoy these few captures and, are staying safe and well.

R.

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[All Frames: Canon 5D III | EF 24-105mm / f4]

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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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CORSEWALL LIGHTHOUSE: PT.II | LTFS | 35CHRONICLE

black & white, boats, full-spectrum, photography, rural, skies, structures, waterscape

Loch Ryan’s Beacon.


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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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HODDOM CASTLE – 720NM IR [PT.III/III] | 35CHRONICLE

autumn / fall, black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, rural, structures

Finale.

In closing up my posts from Hoddom Castle, I’d like to share my final three IR images from this beautiful 16th Century ruin. If you have been reading my recent posts, you’ll be aware that I will be gifting three shots to the local estate office which looks after it and, I am again looking for your input. It really is a pleasure to share these frames and I do hope I have done it at least a little justice. Please do leave your vote (one shot per post only, please) in the comments section if you have time. Thank you so much for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little series and I look forward to putting my annual review together for posting just before Hogmanay – and a few other little nuggets in-between, I am certain.

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend.

R.

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VII |  “1891”.

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VIII | Desolate.

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IX | Shadows Before Light [III]

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HODDOM CASTLE – 720NM IR [PT.II/III] | 35CHRONICLE

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

LUXURY APARTMENTS FOR PIGEONS & CROWS?


In my last post, I shared the first few frames from a recent shoot at Hoddom Castle, my first successful IR jaunt here, ever. If you read the first in this series you may remember that I asked anyone who has time, to please let me know in the comments section of each post, their favourite one shot, so that I can put together a trilogy of frames which I am going to gift to the estate upon which Hoddom Castle stands. So, here are the second three frames from which I would like to hear your opinions and choice. Of course there will be one more post to come in due course so please do watch this space. I really am grateful for your input and you will save me a small headache for not having to choose, myself. 

Thank you so much for reading and please, any and all comments are welcome, below. 

R.

IV | The Silent Bell.

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V | Shadows Before Light [II]

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VI | Parapets.

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Hoddom Castle – 720nm IR [PT.I/III] | 35Chronicle

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

IT’S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE.

A few years ago, I visited Hoddom Castle to photograph there under infrared conditions and, whilst I was disappointed and let down by the weather upon my arrival, I came away with some rather pleasing visible-light monochrome frames. It’s not always about alternative wavelengths for me and I do love just shooting with my normal equipment – but even saying that, I hear my honest brain asking me who the hell do I think I am kidding? After all, I don’t recall posting any of those older frames. Honestly, I still enjoy those frames, but after a recent visit back to the castle with a couple of hours to kill under a glorious sky, the word eclipsed, springs to mind now. I forgot how difficult it is to shoot around here though and the angles really made me think a lot harder. I hope though, that I have done this beautiful building some justice.

As an aside, over a year ago, I moved out of my little cottage in the country on the very estate where the castle stands, and on leaving, I was asked by the estate office if I would take a few IR shots around the castle and let them have two or three frames for their holiday site promotions. I offered to them that the kind of work I produce might not be suitable for their intended purposes in that, eerie black and whites of their prized, listed building might actually put people off, unless they are planning on starting up a ghost-hunting side-line? Nonetheless, their request was a perfect enough reason for me to go back and photograph it again, the way I have always wanted to see it.

Whilst I haven’t selected which frames I will gift out yet, I thought it may be more interesting to hear your views instead. So here’s the deal – I am planning three posts of the castle over the next week or so and anyone who has time to message me in the comments with their favourite (one only) shot from each post, will make my decision for me. Please do feel free to drop me a message and, of course any and all comments are very welcome. Thank you again for reading my pages and, have a great week, all. 

R.

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I | The Birds.

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II | Shadows Before Light.

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III | Pay Your Green Fees!

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Hanging the Washing in Sleepy Hollow | 35Chronicle

35mm, autumn / fall, black & white, infrared, landscape, photography, rural, skies, structures, trees, waterscape

Views from Two Bridges | 720nm Infrared.


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I | On the Fleet: The Mill, Gatehouse | 720nm IR | 35mm.

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II | On the Fleet [II]: Behind the Crafty Crow, Gatehouse | 720nm IR | 35mm.

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Never Look a Gift-Horse in the Mouth… | 35Chronicle

35mm, autumn / fall, black & white, boats, infrared, photography, rural, skies, waterscape

Port, Starboard or – Straight Up? | Kippford [720nm IR]


It was to be a day of semi-relaxation – getting things done at home interspersed with doing not very much at all; a little of everything and not much of anything. After the initial rigours of an early Friday morning and a quick visit to town, on foot, I received a message on my ‘phone – “Looks a bit too nice to stay in all day!” This message was punctuated by an emoji indicative of a Bumble who was rather miffed by our joint lack of outdoor plans (something that regular readers of my pages will know already isn’t a habit I usually indulge in). Still, I had to agree that the day was looking rather splendid indeed and even by 09:30 I was excited to know that the little jobs around the house would have to wait until later that afternoon. As I walked home, I decided that a little jaunt to Kippford, a small sailing village not far from Dalbeattie – would be perfect. Lunch at the Mariner and perhaps, just perhaps – a few shots? 

Whenever we visit, I always seem to find much difficulty shooting here. Though my preferred light-source is IR when the sun is shining, I would always settle very happily for any decent light black and whites with the tide being in for once and, 99% of the time I will arrive here to look at glistening, soggy silt and sandbanks as the water of the Solway has already waved “cheerio!” for another few frustrating hours; a few hours that I don’t have, to wait for it to return, usually. Yes, I should check the tides – I mean, who wants to see boats (or shots of them, anyway) listing hard to port or starboard and resting either hull on what is essentially a mud-flat? On this day, however, I got lucky and, after lunch, I still had plenty of time. An hour or so anyway, before the tide tucked-tail and started to run out again. 

With all this said, please enjoy a few of my infrared frames from another of South West Scotland’s beautiful little ‘postcard’ villages. I hope you have a fabulous week and, thank you for reading! 

R.

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I | Kippford – from a Pontoon | X100-IR – 35mm.

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II | Little Land, Big Sky | X100-IR – 35mm.

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III | Up & Away | X100-IR – 35mm.

 

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IV | Signals? | X100-IR – 35mm.

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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.