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

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Portpatrick | PT.II – 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, rural, structures

Old St. Patrick’s Kirk [Circa: 1629]


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[All frames: Ricoh GR Internal IR Conversion w/35mm Internal Crop]

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Portpatrick | PT.I – 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, boats, infrared, landscape, photography, summer, waterscape

The Harbour Series.


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[All frames: Ricoh GR Internal IR Conversion w/35mm Internal Crop]

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Edinburgh Nightscapes | PT.II – LTFS Series | 35Chronicle

black & white, full-spectrum, night / low-light, photography

In the Black.


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IV | Scott Monument | 1/18th – f5.6 – ISO1600

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Following on from my previous post, I cannot resist sharing a few more frames from Edinburgh, shot from the Christmas Market on Princes Street and, a last night shot from the castle. All of the shots in this post and PT.I were made with my LTFS (Luminous Tone Full Spectrum) converted GXR A16 unit, without any external filtering and, handheld. Shooting in full spectrum for night-time black and white is a real treat, largely due to the fact that even artificial lighting can emit strong UV and IR wavelengths, adding to the amount of light that the camera is able to capture, thus, reducing Tv values and making for steadier shots without a tripod. Not only this, but the level of detail in the blacks, when compared to making the same shots on my standard, unconverted units, is – to be frank – completely wonderful. A little IR softening and a slight increase in grain is inevitable but, for me, these aspects please my eye to the point where I run out of words. I do hope you’ll enjoy these few frames as much as I do.

– R –

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V | Scott Monument | 1/45th – f5.6 – ISO1600

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VI | From Edinburgh Castle | 1/7th – f8.0 – ISO1600

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Edinburgh Nightscapes | PT.I – Final Postcards from the Recovery Position | 35Chronicle

black & white, full-spectrum, night / low-light, personal, photography

Multiple Exposures, Perhaps?


In a way, I suppose that blogging is as much about diarising as it is about simply sharing what we do, think, or feel, sharing who we actually are – adding little pieces of ourselves to a community that in some way might appreciate it, and give back too. For me, it’s about all things – including the sometimes more personal side of my own life. Though I am not one to purposefully overshare (believing instead in the sacred and private aspects of life) I would like to share these few words, inspired by someone very, very special who has been here for me tirelessly and in every conceivable way – throughout my recovery from multiple spinal (and other less serious) fractures and injuries, back in April. It’s been a winding road thus far – and the fact that I can share these words and images with you all, is a testament to many, many people, and yet most of all, one.  It’s about as real as it gets but I don’t often share like this, so you’ll please forgive me for opening up this way. Photography for me, is so important – probably my biggest ‘thing’. But it’s not – everything.

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‘Tis the Eve’.

‘Tis the eve’ of my return to work,
Though much to do, no blogging I’ll shirk.
With broken bones, through healing too,
Small takes on a life, I’ve shared with you.

As I look now to brighter times,
Routines return, lay-ins subside;
And, before my mindset changes tack,
Special memories are skipping back.

Many of them circle my mind,
But, the fondest here, I think you’ll find,
A recent jaunt, a cold birthday weekend,
In celebration of my love and, my friend.

For these frames you see were only made
Of patience, love and a care that stayed,
That helped me heal in body and mind,
And to keep me giving, of the very same kind.

– R –

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I | Over Princes Street Christmas Market & Waverley Station from Edinburgh Castle. The Light-Beam, Shining from the Castle to Nelson’s Column on Calton Hill. | 0.5″ – f7.6 – ISO:400 – Ricoh GXR A16 LTFS Conversion [Unfiltered].

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II | Waiting to Cross – Edinburgh | 1/25th” [Handheld] – f4.8 – ISO:3200 [No NR] – Ricoh GXR A16 LTFS Conversion [Unfiltered].

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III | Moonrise from Edinburgh Castle, with Light-Beam to Nelson’s Column. | 0.5″ – f8 – ISO:1600 – Ricoh GXR A16 LTFS Conversion [Unfiltered].

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Now, we can move on.
X


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Down by the River | PT.III | 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle

autumn / fall, black & white, infrared, photography, structures, trees, waterscape

Sound Reflections of Light?


Here are just a few more frames, shot a couple of weeks ago along the River Nith, not far from my home. On a glorious afternoon like this, I can just grab my bag and within a couple of minutes, I’m here; looking ahead of me, looking around me, looking for a patch of light that might catch my eye in a way I haven’t yet seen, and then, I’ll look back – to see what, if anything, has changed in the scenes that I have passed. Light can alter so quickly, especially at this time of day when the mid-autumn sun is dipping fast away to the west and it’s all too easy to miss what we have perhaps dismissed already. It’s better not to. It’s better to look back and not miss it. If it’s there. And it was here.

Though I was running a tad late on my walk to collect a certain young lad from school, I can justify that in my slight (and uncharacteristic) tardiness were in fact a few beautiful reasons. At seven, I’m not certain he’d understand, but a forgiving soul, he is. Looking back, it’s a wonderful view.

I do hope you’ll enjoy these few frames.

– R –

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I | The Sound of Light.

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II | The Grey Heron.

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III | Through the Eye of the Beholder.

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[All frames: Ricoh GXR A16 LTFS Conversion w/Hoya R72 – 720nm IR Lens Mounted Filter]


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An Old Sentinel | 720nm Infrared | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, landscape, photography, ruins, skies, structures, waterscape

Dunskey Castle Ruins, Portpatrick.


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[All Images: Fujifilm X100 720nm IR Internal Conversion]


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The Crichton Memorial Church | 720nm Infrared – PT.I | 35Chronicle

35mm, autumn / fall, black & white, infrared, photography, structures, trees

If I Had a Tail, I’d Never Stop Chasing It.


Why the heck has it taken me so flippin’ long to get back up here to shoot this gorgeous church? As with the Goldielea Viaduct (Post 163) – Crichton Church has always been one of those places regularly on my map, a constant and long since dog-eared post-it note in my head to come and photograph it on some such blue-sky day as this.

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I | The East Face | 35mm | 720nm IR

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Lately, I have been seeing it rather a lot (four times a week as it happens) because, I pass it each time I head out for another of my twice weekly physio sessions. Set virtually in the centre of the beautiful 100 (or so) acre grounds of the Crichton Campus (this place has so much history, it’s ridiculous – see here, at Wiki if you’d like to have a read up) it commands a vast space, popular and well known to anyone who has ever had any reason to visit; and they’d be many. 

The Crichton Campus itself  is home not only to the University of the West of Scotland (this happens to be its smallest campus) but also local businesses (which have, since 2013, set up in many of its grand, sandstone buildings throughout the estate – after the closure and relocation of the old psychiatric hospital); it’s also a very popular location for wedding parties and holiday-makers and, as you might imagine from this, the grounds are usually a lot busier with people than these frames might suggest. On this day, I got very lucky. 

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II | South Face w/ Shadows | 24mm | 720nm IR

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I really do hope you’ll enjoy these first few frames of this little series, photographed during mid-morning only a few weeks ago, as the season seemed to more firmly dig its heels in, we did have to hang around for a good hour or more while we waited for the lower mid-autumn sun to gain a little more altitude for these captures. (Thankfully, there’s a wonderful bistro on campus that serves a fabulous cooked breakfast!)  Frame 2 is a little hello from us, to you – as I prepare to return to work next week after what has been a strenuous seven months to say the least, and also, a proud statement on my part that the one who has been right here with me through it all, is still smiling, even in shadow.

As am I. 

For now, toodle-pip!

R.

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III | West Face | 35mm | 720nm IR

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The Falkirk Wheel | PT.II | On Peripheral Crap | 35Chronicle

black & white, photography, structures

They Paved Paradise | Conclusion.


In PT.I of my Falkirk Wheel posts, I wrote  a little about the principle behind the purpose and mechanics of the wheel itself and also, about how it felt to me – to photograph such an incredible piece of engineering whilst having to continually exclude so much of the theme-park scenery that only seems to serve in diminishing the importance of the feat itself while at the same time maximising revenue in any way possible, from visitors. Sadly, thus – t’is the way of things and I am probably going to have a little mini-rant, now – ahem.

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When I look back at these pictures, I still can’t help feeling a twinge inside, one of sadness that the only way to make money from this is to sell anything that anyone is prepared to buy and encircle the entire structure with all manner of food and drink stalls, kids rides, gift shops, you name it. Yes, I know I sound like a whinging ol’ duffer, but imagine anything else that you feel is somewhat worthy of being singled-out and displayed for its importance, (be it in history, engineering, art, music, literature, politics, anything) and finding it surrounded by countless cheap, punter-drawing sideshows replete with the obligatory pink and yellow bouncy castle. (I’m not entirely sure why I suddenly find myself thinking about Jenson Button’s 2009 Brawn F1 car, or Damon Hill’s 1996 Williams but, some things are important enough that they shouldn’t need all that razzmatazz, instead, being allowed to stand out for just being what they are). How wonderful it would be to just appreciate something without having to waste mental energy on negotiating around all the ever present, peripheral crap. Have a theme-park by all means – just,  create a little more space between, enough to give everyone the opportunity to make a decision on how they wish to enjoy it, including we who don’t give a monkey’s about facile distractions.

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I find it a shame because, I love these shots – but I can’t enjoy them as much as I know I would have, had I have been able to move more freely around to appreciate and photograph it from angles completely prohibited by all the man-made, money-making tat around it.  As I remarked, on posting a few infrared frames in PT.I – it really is a must-see, but I simply cannot buy into the modern theme-park ideal that spoils the natural scenery around what is in both design and function, a beautiful structure. Shooting to the sky is the only way to capture it unfettered, but at more ground-level angles it deserves a much plainer backdrop.

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I absolutely love the way that the wheel plays with the light, the boldness of the structures and the intimacy of its workings. For contrast, the IR series in PT.I seriously does it for me but these standard frames (shot on my Df, for anyone interested) have a clean edge that lends very well to its subject. Despite a little (ahem) commentary, I hope you’ll have enjoyed them too. 

Can’t please everyone, eh?

R.

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Caerlaverock Castle | 720nm Infrared – PT.II | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, landscape, photography, ruins, rural, skies, structures, summer, waterscape

On Top of the World.


Towards the end of last autumn and as winter approached, I discovered to my complete joy that in all the years that I have been enjoying shooting infrared light, it is in fact possible to revel in it the whole year-round; weather permitting of course. No longer do I feel that ol’ sinking feeling once the clocks go back in the so-called knowledge that my IR cameras should just get hung up again until the spring and instead, I simply look forward to the next IR-perfect day on which I can get back out there and shoot. Subject matter is everything of course and here in Scotland there is no shortage of inspiration nor of places as yet unseen through my lenses. 

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Whilst some of my subjects may appear (even to me) safe, popular, somewhat predictable even, I cannot help but feel a huge amount of happiness and satisfaction at being able to capture them under lightwaves less commonly photographed and, share an alternative view of my world that to most, is not often enjoyed. Caerlaverock Castle is certainly one of D&G’s most prominent and beautiful landmarks and, back in June – on the day of the summer solstice, my IR-eye was put back to work. The first post of this two-parter was published only eleven posts ago, yet all the way back in August which only makes me realise just how much catching up I still have to do however, I have been extremely busy during my recovery from the events of April and, there still seems so much to do – but I really am getting there and, to be bluntly honest, it really is a bloody good feeling. Sure, I am a little snowed under, but I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way.

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As summers pass and autumns draw; let winters come and thwart no more.

My lens will be there; somewhere.

R.

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[All Images: Fujifilm X100 720nm IR Internal Conversion.]


Postscript: I have recently upgraded my standard WP plan (note the slight change in site address – yes, the old link will still bring you to my homepage) so – no more ads! To any of you who read my pages and are not WP subscribers, thank you and, I do hope that this change improves your reading experience.


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The Gardens of Drumlanrig | 720nm Infrared – PT.III | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, photography, rural, structures

Hog Heaven | PT.II


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[Images: Ricoh GR 720nm IR Conversion – w/35mm Internal Crop.]

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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.VI – Reprise | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, structures

Lincluden Collegiate Church | 720nm Infrared [PT.II]


These two frames have been a long time (for me, anyway) on my shortlist for posting, since my initial publication of my first infrared captures of this beautiful ruin, back in May. They were captured in the middle of April just nine days before I became incapacitated (for a while at least) and for me – they still have great significance and certainly more than would ever allow me to forget the past and simply move on without acknowledgement of it. 

Life was good. And it is, still.

R.

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[Postscript: Sadly, I have learned of late that this gorgeous ruin has been subjected to no small levels of recent vandalism and, I feel even more fortunate to have captured when I did. I have not yet returned to it but when (and if) I do, I know already just how upset I will feel. So, I do hope you’ll enjoy these frames as I am almost certain that no-one is going to put their hands in their pockets for the clean-up. A sobering likelihood of all our todays.]

[Images: Fujifilm X100 Internal 720nm IR – 35mm Equiv.]

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Closer Still(s) | PT.XXIV | 35:Chronicle

50mm, black & white, colour, photography, still life

A Little Light Muse [Sic]!


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I | Wall-Flowers.

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II | Light-Headed, Perhaps?

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III | Fin!

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Goldielea Viaduct | 720nm Infrared | Ricoh GR | 35:Chronicle

28mm, black & white, infrared, landscape, photography, rural, skies, structures, trees

Isn’t it Always About – Time?


When I first moved up to Scotland, this disused viaduct was very soon to be a very regular sight for me – in that my regular work travels around the area of Dumfries & Galloway put it often in my line of sight. Needless to say, taking my love of old, bold structures, landscape and infrared photography into consideration, I have surprised myself that almost twenty years have passed and, I have only recently photographed it. From the roadside, it stands tall and proud, around two-hundred yards away amidst fields and forestry and, a care home stands directly in front of it. Behind it, sits a house and its grounds that, from first appearances, look to have once been a large stable block and yard. It’s unarguably  a beautiful and idyllic spot.

It was a couple of months ago when a rare day occurred; the sun came out early in the morning and seemed to threaten hard to remain out all day so, I grabbed one of my IR  cameras; not specifically for this series of images though, moreso to just throw in my small back-pack for a bike-ride with Angela that would take us through some gorgeous scenery and eventually terminate here – on the Dalbeattie side of Cargenbridge (on the outskirts of Dumfries). All the recent physiotherapy I have been having, though massively helpful, could not have filled my mind with the strength I seemed to feel on this day. An all-too-short twelve miles of road and off-road climbs under a relentlessly blue sky and increasing heat, pushing my legs to the limit and straining my once broken spine into comfortable submission had me feeling on top of the world and then, we climbed towards the viaduct that I have seen so many times over the years. Today, I would bag it. About time, indeed.

Thank you for reading my pages and, I do hope you’ll enjoy these three (rather later than they deserve to be) frames.

R.

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I | 28mm 

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II | 21mm

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III | 28mm

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  • Engineer: John Miller.
  • Operational: 1859-1965. Castle Douglas & Dumfries Railway.
  • Desc: Fine 18 Arch, Double-Track Viaduct on a Curve, 1011ft Long & 92ft High.
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The Falkirk Wheel | PT.I | 720nm Infrared | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, boats, infrared, photography, skies, structures, summer

They Paved Paradise.


It’s not what you’d expect and it certainly was not what I expected it to be either; I didn’t do any research, favouring surprise over fore-knowledge of a place that is often mentioned but not yet visited. Much like a literary classic, I suppose, that sits on the shelf for years and soon becomes ignored until the day when it simply falls into your hand. Well, it was that close and quite simply could not be ignored.

The Falkirk Wheel is a monumental piece of engineering – a rotating boat lift that since 2002 has reconnected the Forth & Clyde Canal (below) and the Union Canal (above), the first time since the 1930s. The site itself is one of the most staggering pleasures to the eyes but I have to say, that turning the whole place into a theme-park doesn’t lend well to the sheer awe of it all. Certainly, it will draw huge income and just as likely, it makes life a little tricky for any photo-enthusiast (ie: moi!) to make images of the prime attraction – the wheel itself. Nonetheless, without wishing to sound like an affiliate to the Scottish Tourist Board (or an anti-affiliate at that) for anyone who is interested in the waterways of Scotland, or anywhere for that matter, or engineering – this thing is a must see.

It works on the principle of Archimedes theory of displacement (that a body immersed in water displaces its own weight in water) thus, each of the two gondolas contains 250 tonnes (250,000 litres) of water without a boat within, or the same weight when containing a vessel. This means that enough electricity to boil a few kettles is required to get the wheel turning before the balance of the two gondolas (180 degrees from each other) keep the wheel turning in perfect balance with each other. It’s all extremely simply yet, ridiculously clever. 

Here, I have done my best to capture some of the essence of the Wheel whilst sticking to the idea of conscious exclusion, (in other words, without the pedalos, ice-cream stalls, crowds and, bouncy castles, for instance). I do hope you’ll enjoy this first instalment. 

R.

[All images: Fujifilm X100 Internal 720nm IR – 35mm Equiv.]

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