If I Take Just One Camera…
I | Devorgilla Bridge [Long Exposure]
II | Suspension Bridge Over the Nith.
III | The Caul & Devorgilla Bridge [Long Exposure]
It’s been a good long while since I took my IR converted X100 out for a spin – preferring usually, the utter versatility of my wonderful GXR A16 full-spectrum conversions instead. However, every now and then, when the conditions are just right, it’s wonderful to travel a little lighter still and restrict myself to just one focal-length; it avoids all the choice and confusion over which FL I’m going to shoot with and allows me to just – make pictures. Compose, frame – capture. If there is one thing I love about the X100 series, it is simply that. It just doesn’t get in the way. At all. So, after a jaunt to the Mull of Galloway and then up through Port Logan, travelling as (camera) light as I believe it is possible to do so, here are a couple of rather pleasing frames that, I do hope that you’ll enjoy too.
I’m really struggling to find time enough to sit and write, lately. You may or may not have noticed and perhaps, it’s a nice change for readers to not have to feel guilty for all the ‘scanning’ we have to do when we do our best to keep up with all of the posts we follow and digest, in a meaningful way. A way that does justice to the incredible quality of works that are so regularly posted. Well, today, I have to write. I’m sorry. But I am starting to feel that distancing of connection with what I love to do so much and that which often lends context, most acutely comes down to words. Sometimes a frame by itself cannot be its own justification. This one almost achieves that, for me – but only because I was there shooting it. Still, my sub-header pretty much covers it. What it doesn’t portray, however, are the little yet frequent internal struggles I am having to do something a little different with my cameras. Ideas that have been explored and exploited for as long as any of us can remember are thus, still a little new to me and, as confident as I am at many genres of photography, long exposures still make me scratch my head as to how best to go about it. In this case, as with the previous recent frames that I have posted, I am winging it. Timing as best I can to achieve good exposure and some decent movement within the frame where it can move the eye and the mind. But slow-moving clouds are still just that, even over the course of a minute with the shutter open and so, we come to the water to hopefully save the day. The water came through in fine style.
For years I have marvelled at the talents of photographers who have taken long-exposure photography to ever new heights and, whilst in no way could I hope to emulate some of the most incredible work that I have had the good fortune to view, I hope at the very least to be able to grasp the concept with the little knowledge that I do have and, put it to the test in making some frames of my own. Here, at the Loch-side, I was granted a gift, when eight year-old Flynn, on his first outing in a Kayak since he was four years old, drifted slowly into my frame. I made no attempt to ward him away (he was having so much fun, bless ‘im!) and, as I view the shot, I am bloody glad that I didn’t and, that he did. If only the shutter had remained open for another few seconds though? Nonetheless, happy accidents win the day and I have a frame to be delighted with.
Although I am all too aware that conditions on this day weren’t perfect for this kind of exploration, I intend to keep going and will take my camera with me whenever and wherever I can in the hope that I will discover for myself, what to look out for and how to play with it. In the meantime, the cleg bites on my shoulders are reducing nicely and I can smile at great memories. I hope you’ll enjoy this one and, that you’ll have a great week ahead.
These frames were captured a few weeks ago amidst the current lock-down here in Scotland. Standing on the bridge over the Annan at Brydekirk on the most glorious of days, I couldn’t help ponder that statement, as I looked out to parallel rocks beneath slowly flowing shallow waters to one side and, a cloudless sky to the other. Yes, I think I had just invented the revolving deckchair right there and, if I could have – I’d have remained in it all day.
I hope that you too will enjoy the views.
Following on from my previous post, over the past couple of days I have found myself more closely observing the recent cloud formations that have (a good few times over the last twenty-four hours or so) preceded some rather heavy rainfall. I remember that when I first became interested in photography, well over twenty years ago, I was obsessed with them – easy ‘targets’ or perhaps it was simply the ethereal aspect that I was most drawn to; I don’t really remember. Maybe it was both. Fast forward to present day and indeed, an obsession that I apparently lost along my way so many years ago – seems to be creeping back somewhat; and so, after a stroll (yesterday), I was very happy to come home and find a few pleasing frames on my SD card. Both of these were caught with my LTFS converted GXR. The first with my faithful R72 mounted on the front of the lens and, the second, with the wonderful Tiffen UVIR Cut, instead.
I hope you’ll enjoy them.
All captured on the same gorgeous, warm Saturday afternoon and, I have to wonder – (how quickly) will we find our way back, and, can there be true context without – people?
Indeed; I wonder how this will all play out.
Travelling home a couple of weeks ago, I passed, as I always do on my commute – the utterly beautiful Castle Loch. It’s a sight I see hundreds if not thousands of times a year and one that I never tire of but, it is rare to be near it when its surface is quite as millpond-still as this. As the sun was only a couple of hours awake and still rather low in the sky, I wasn’t even sure as to whether I would get any decent IR frames and through the trees to my left, I did my best to spot the condition of the light before I decided to pull-in. I caught a glimpse through the foliage, decided it might work and, quickly checked my mirrors – nothing behind me; time for a sharp left and a swift look at the scene. It was worth it.
As a passing thought: given that one of my favourite coffee mugs is emblazoned with the all-too-accurate words, “I am Not a Morning Person!” – I can only say that if I was left to my own devices on a lazy day-orff, I wouldn’t have managed to grab this early frame. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
We have been advised by Boris that during this extended period of Covid-19 induced lock-down, we are allowed: to make essential journeys, commute to work (and thankfully, gratefully – home again), make vital trips to shops and – to engage in (for up to an hour per day) outdoor exercise. Today, I had no essential journeys to make, nor did we need to run out for urgent supplies; furthermore, it’s my day orff, and so… on seeing what a beautiful spring day it was, Bumble and I decided that we would take the kids out for a much needed leg-stretch for an hour. A perfect opportunity to exercise my leading-eye and my right index finger too, I thought.
The streets were largely deserted (to be expected of late) save for small groups of shoppers obediently queuing two metres (or thereabouts) apart outside a local supermarket and we had absolutely no issues with bumping into anyone at all. A short walk through the town brought us to a popular spot next to the River (the Nith) more usually popular at this time of year for seagulls and – local drinkers. Today though – all was quiet, serene, picturesque and fragrant. I recall thinking to myself, “If a spring Saturday in the glorious sunshine could always be as peaceful as this, who could possibly have a problem with social-distancing?” Of course, my tongue was firmly in my cheek but you have to admit, many of you will have thought it too at some time or other lately? Surely? I have never seen this part of town so quiet (at least not before 4 a.m, that is!) As we walked towards a near deserted park on the other side of the bridge, I had an idea; one that I had had many times before, in fact. “There is a building…”
I know – I shoot a lot of buildings (and for those of you new to my pages, they include old ruined abbeys, castles, fortifications, churches, to name but some) and usually, solely in my favoured 720nm infrared output when the weather allows me to. When I’m not shooting large structures, I love to shoot around or next to water and today, I would combine the two, as we strolled.
Standing half-way along Devorgilla Bridge, you’d be forgiven for believing that my intention here was to capture the New Bridge (otherwise known as the Buccleuch Street Bridge) but in fact it was indeed the large willow which attracted me to making this frame. Seeing it draped over the water, newly budding – between me and the stonework, to my mind makes a very pleasing frame.
Rosefield Mills is a Grade B Listed disused woollen mill, situated right on the bank of the Nith and, it’s in a sad and sorry state. I have been wanting so much to capture this beautiful, old Venetian style building under IR light for many years but have never, ever arrived to shoot it and been blessed with enough natural sunlight to do so, at each attempt. Today’s encounter with it was down to pure chance that I bagged my camera before setting off, oddly – not something that I always do (there’s a lesson here, don’t you think?) I did manage a good series of images here and, this one is a preview, I guess.
Douglas Adams once wrote that nothing turns a seemingly ordinary human being into an incredible musician more quickly that the knowledge of the rapid approach of impending deafness. I feel that there’s an echo here – that to not be able to exercise one’s freedom to roam inasmuch as we have always been able to prior to current times, all of a sudden there’s an urge to find, to see, to create – to enjoy. To the full.
And so – I hope that you will enjoy these two frames as much as I have enjoyed making them. Stay well and, I hope you’re enjoying a great weekend.
In some ways, we can all do with it – albeit enforced of late but, I have other reasons to feel the benefits of little changes here and there. For those of you who follow my pages here, you’ll know very well that I am a devout fan of monochrome output for my own personal photographic endeavours. Colour has mostly (since I first picked up a proper camera over twenty years ago) remained a constant source of confusion, distraction and dare I say – annoyance, too. I’ve discussed these feelings somewhat in previous posts so I won’t be waxing on about it here; suffice to say – I have often struggled with colour photography. Recently however, I managed to get my hands on a new GR III – a camera that for me would supersede all others when it comes to black and white shooting. Then, yesterday evening, Bumble looked out through the living-room window and remarked upon the sunset across the other side of the Nith. A short, gentle walk was suggested, and, (in keeping with current restrictions of course) – we happily stepped out.
I grabbed my GR on our way through the door. What a treat! But though I have, as so many photographers – naturally, had little opportunity to get out and shoot this camera (any camera) I am nevertheless extremely happy to share these few frames.
I do hope that you’ll enjoy these few captures and, that you are all remaining safe and well. Sending my very best wishes to every reader; to you and to yours.
… that to aid in the finding of true inner peace, one must be able to enjoy the calm of a sizeable area of water for at least thirty minutes, each day; I can’t possibly know how true this really is, but hey, it works for me. Therefore, here – I wish to share four separate frames with a watery theme, caught with three different cameras, all at my favoured 35mm FoV.
I do hope that you and those you love are all well and, that you’ll enjoy these few captures.
As a serious, enthusiastic photographer, I ask myself again and again – just how many times am I prepared to return to the same place in order to get the photograph that I long to capture? The image that I know I can bag, if the conditions play the game nicely? The answer, every time, has to be – “until I get the shot”. So it is the case here, at Morton Castle. It seems not to matter what time of year I visit, nor, what the weather forecasters says it’s going to be doing the evening before; for, whenever I arrive here, the clouds always close in. Every, bleedin’, time. Anyone who has set out to capture a scene only to be thwarted by the conditions, knows exactly what I’m talking about. It’s frustrating to say the least. Don’t you think?
On the other hand, I am a firm believer that with a little patience, I am (usually always) rewarded with images that I did not envisage capturing at all, making most if not all a very pleasant surprise and yet something else in life to be completely happy about. Friday past was the fourth time I have made the trip to Morton to capture the ruin and its surroundings in infrared, after assurances by the Met. Office of clear skies and sunshine overhead until around lunchtime. Turning up during mid-morning however, afforded no preferential treatment and, as usual – the clouds were waiting. Though I had hoped we’d drive right past them, ’twas not to be.
Every now and then, pockets of blue around the sun would appear and, shafts of undiffused light would reign in short bursts, occasionally wide enough to light up the ground sufficiently enough to facilitate my pulse racing a little in my eagerness to trip another frame before the light disappeared again. For around two hours, the light would continue to cheekily lead me up and down the proverbial garden path, and, back up again in its mockery of my efforts. But patience is everything and, despite still not getting anything close to the frames I had hoped to preserve yesterday – I decided that even when the light plays games, I will play my own.
The curse of Morton? A blessing in disguise, perhaps.
[All images: Fujifilm X100 720nm IR Conversion | 35mm Equiv. | f8.0 | ISO:400]
Life has settled into a new-old rhythm lately and, now that I have a little less time on my hands, it’s time to reflect on those days when I had an awful lot more time to do the very same thing.
Whenever I have a day to kick my heels, I often think about coming back to Kirkcudbright, a place I love so much and have spend many, many happy hours wandering around with my cameras, shooting around the harbour in particular – satisfying my utter love of water, boats and glorious light; albeit the low, early winter sun. Just a couple of weeks ago the jaunt was made again, instigated by the surety of a perfect day for shooting and, checking the tide-times only solidified intentions. Few ever walk the jetty to the pontoons; whenever I come, there’s hardly ever another soul to be seen and I guess that’s another reason as to why I love this spot as much as I do. Listening to the wind slapping the lines against their masts is an inspiration in itself and I can take minutes just thinking about a single frame – but what’s not to love about that?
For as long as I am still shooting, I know that I’ll come back here again and again. I’ll probably take the same shots over too and from the same places, but when inner peace is so easily found and there’s someone to share it all with, I don’t have a problem with that. At all. I do hope you’ll enjoy these few IR captures and, come back for another look too, perhaps?
Have a great weekend, peeps.
– R –
[All frames: Ricoh GXR A16 LTFS w/Hoya R72]
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!
– Rob –
Happy New Year 2020, to You All!
One of six UNESCO World Heritage sites in Scotland, New Lanark is situated approximately twenty-five miles south-east of Glasgow, on the River Clyde. Once a thriving cotton mill (using water powered spinning machinery) and now a tourist attraction, many of the old workers’ homes are now tenanted apartments however, the old mill buildings are beautifully maintained with much of the old machinery and the whole village makes for a truly fascinating visit.
Because the overhead conditions were unfavourable, extremely overcast and damp, I took along my LTFS camera outfit to make the most of any and all available light (UV, VIS & IR). Being able to take advantage of the availability of those extra wavelengths is a real bonus under such conditions and keeps the ISO down too, which I prefer, of course. What I hope to show over the coming posts from New Lanark is just how versatile a good true full-spectrum set-up is, for black and white work specifically and, how there really isn’t a photo-scenario where its benefits can’t be exploited. I’ll move outside and inside and aim to show you another world, not that far removed from our own, but with subtle nuances not always instantly apparent or appreciated, still, that I hope will either please, or inspire; or both, perhaps. If I fail in both regards, then I need to work a little harder, methinks.
I’ll shortly be preparing my 2019 Review for posting during the next couple of days, but in the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying yourselves over this festive season and, as always, thank you so much for reading my pages. I hope you’ll enjoy these first few frames from what is a very special place.
– R –
[All images in this New Lanark series – snagged with a Ricoh GXR A16 LTFS (from ~280nm to ~1300nm) internal conversion, unfiltered.]