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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CORSEWALL LIGHTHOUSE: PT.II | LTFS | 35CHRONICLE

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

Loch Ryan’s Beacon.


IV.

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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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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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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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The Rat was a bit of an Unexpected Sight… | 35Chronicle

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

Chester: An Impromptu Jaunt in Infrared.

Ten days ago, we were on the road to Chester for a (kind of) mad-dash visit which, I am sure, will be of no huge interest to anyone reading this now, however, arriving early(ish) on the Sunday meant that we could take a walk around the city and see a few sights before the rigours of the impending Monday would find us somewhere between A and B or, B and D or – even C and F! You get the idea. It had been a good thirty-plus years since I had seen Chester and still I thought I would remember a few landmarks; yet – I remembered barely anything of the place at all. That is pretty odd for me because I am not in the habit of forgetting much and I was certain that I would at least remember something.  But no. On the plus side, however – I was seeing the place with fresh eyes, undistracted by memories (or the distinct lack of) and this alone made the city centre a bit of a playground for me, because, under beautiful sunshine (though periodically a little bit on the harsh side) I was able to grab some pleasing IR frames between coffees, doughnuts and, well – other indulgent diversions. I do have a few more captures to post in the near future but for now, I invite you to find Basil the Rat! It shouldn’t be too difficult – but I did have a chuckle when I saw it once I had got down to the editing stage. 

I do hope that you’ll enjoy these few captures and, that you’re having a great week. 

R.

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I | Chester Town Hall [720nm IR | 35mm]

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II | Desperately Seeking Basil [720nm IR | 35mm]

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III | Queen Victoria Clock Tower [720nm IR | 35mm]

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Closer Still(s) | PT.XXX | Sunflower [II] | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, close-up, colour, macro, nature, photography

Not My Usual Caper…

Seeing as how I rarely shoot or, process for colour – it was a lot of fun the other day to make a few more frames with the GR III  which is, in my opinion a black and white gem of a camera. Marketed, written about and most often thought of as a street camera, I have been shooting close-ups and macros with the GR line for years. My last post (a giant sunflower shot at 720nm IR) was made on my old, converted Fujifilm X100  but these three frames were in fact made on the GR III, believe it or not – albeit in my favoured 35mm crop mode. They were handheld shots (I had little time to set up the tripod, I’m sorry) and because the light was so appealing, I decided to leave a couple of frames in colour. I wrote a long time ago about how I only usually think in terms of colour when the colour itself is the reason why I make the images in the first place and, my intentions were the very same when I made these. This GR’s lens focuses a lot closer in macro-mode than the first two iterations of the camera and I’m pretty sure I could have got even nearer to my points of interest but, that would have ruined my framing. Close-up parallax during focusing sometimes makes it tricky especially when shooting with a wider lens, even when having moved the focus-point beforehand but as you can see here, it does a fine job. 

I do hope you’ll enjoy these few frames. Have a great weekend, all! 

R.

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Closer Still(s) | PT.XXIX | Sunflower – 720nm IR | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, close-up, infrared, macro, nature, photography

Looking Up!


Fujifilm X100 – IR Conversion | 35mm
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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.