In Long Forgotten Corners… | 720nm IR – PT.II | 35Chronicle

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

…Yet Standing, Still.


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IV | A Little Perspective | Parton Viaduct | 720nm IR

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V | From the Bank of Loch Ken | 720nm IR [… kind of!]

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VI | A Last Look Back | 720nm IR [… with a little help!]

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[All frames: Ricoh GXR LTFS Full-Spectrum Conversion & Hoya R72 720nm IR Filter]

Link: Video taken in 1965, just before closure, in June of that year – opens in new window.

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Drumlanrig Castle – Revisited | PT.II | 35Chronicle

50mm, black & white, photography, rural, structures

Splendour in Stone.


After my last post of the stonkingly gorgeous Drumlanrig Castle, here are my final three frames which were made with my Sigma DP3 Merrill. Its 50mm [75mm equivalent] is probably my favourite of the three I have in my bag and, requires more thought to use for architecture and landscape compositions than the wider 30mm[45mm] and 19mm [28mm] lens versions. The micro-contrast of this lens and sensor pairing absolutely bite my face off on review for editing and the details punch back hard for good measure, too. This thing needs a little taming, I think. Now, the cage and chair are ready – if I could only find my whip?!

For all of your clicks and comments on my previous post, thank you so much! I hope you’ll enjoy these few longer FL frames. 

R.

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I | 1/160th – f5.6 – ISO:200

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II | 1/100th – f5.6 – ISO:100

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III | 1/80th – f5.6 – ISO:100

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Drumlanrig Castle – Revisited | PT.I | 35Chronicle

black & white, photography, rural, structures

Old Habits Die Hard.


Last week we took a spin in the new jalopy and headed for a place that not only do we both love, but also somewhere that I have so enjoyed making photographs for almost twenty years. Though my techniques have evolved moreso over the last ten years or so, sometimes, I still crave the simple, bare-bones approach to shooting. Drumlanrig Castle is as beautiful a place as any I have ever visited that can shine all by itself, with the simplest of photographic approaches. Some subjects need little work at all. The last time I photographed here was back in early November ’19 [Post No.166]. It was so good to be back, especially before the gardens open to the public again! All this space to myself… kid, sweetshop…

All frames: Sigma DP2 Merrill | 30mm [45mm Equivalent].

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I | 1/50th -f8 – ISO:125

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II | 1/80th – f5.6 – ISO:100

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III | 1/100th – f8 – ISO:100

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Abnormal Service is Resumed | 35Chronicle

black & white, colour, photography, rural, structures, waterscape

When I said “It’s Not Over Yet”…

… I meant it. Back in Post No.62 [August 2018] – I shared a few 715nm & 760nm infrared frames from Talla Reservoir, here in beautiful Tweedsmuir, a place which I have revisited many times over the last twenty or so years and each time I do, I hope for ever more still water. I have yet to witness it though I have imagined it many, many times. I know what my perfect image of Talla and its pump-house look like; I’ve just never been able to capture it. Yet. This is a place which I have always known to be wonderfully picturesque, reassuringly tranquil and yet never easy to capture in two dimensions. It can take a good hour or more to get here from home and in an hour, Scottish weather can change a dozen times and so, no matter what you expect on the way, often – conditions can be far different when one finally arrives. Insosaying, I have learned not to expect or hope for ‘favourable’ conditions and instead, work with what I have; what I had on this day – was cloud, haze, and my three DPMs. I’ve said this before and I absolutely believe it, that the medium shouldn’t be the message… but when the medium is so good at getting the message across, it’s hard to ignore its importance. 

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I | Talla Reservoir & The Pump-House [DP3M]

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Sigma’s DP Merrills have accompanied me here once before – perhaps six or seven years ago and back in a time when I really don’t think I was photographically or artistically mature enough to truly appreciate them; what they truly offer. Things are different now. I have slowed down my approach to a point where I don’t care anymore that these little brick-like cameras take an absolute aeon to write even one image to card, or that the shutter-lag catches me out every single time I make a shot, or that its Foveon sensor can’t render well above ISO 400 (in black and white; for colour frames, 200 is the limit, especially if you’re making large prints). What I do love though, is how these little bricks capture immensely detailed frames without fuss or flourish, without scene modes, art filters or other awful, tacky, consumer-poaching gimmicks but with menus which are helpfully customisable and hence, are so ridiculously easy to quickly navigate. It’s got all I need to make a shot – and absolutely nothing more. Halle*******lujah! With the Holy Three in my bag, my shoulder barely knew they were even there. No changing lenses, no slow zooms, just perfectly matched primes and sensors that bite a chunk out of your arse when you’ve finally uploaded for edit. Hey, you have to forgive me – this is photo-blog after all! 

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II | Tweedsmuir Parish Church & a Sorrowful Stone [DP1M]

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Quite by accident, something else I have come to enjoy about the DPM series (and the DPs before them, I might add) is their unusual colour signature. Without going into too much science – the Foveon is made of three separate layers each capturing a different colour, from front to back – blue, green and red. This means that blue light hits the sensor first, and red, last. Naturally then, more red light is required than blue to register on the sensor (as it has to penetrate the blue and green layers first) and this is, as I understand it, why the Foveon’s captures look a little less warm than a standard, interpolated Bayer sensor would produce. Furthermore, I really like the look. Oddly then, for me – being predominantly a black and white photographer (and by the way, these things totally ROCK for monochrome!) that I should enjoy the Sigma’s colour output in the way that I currently am. I absolutely look forward to much better light where I can really find out just how much these tools can interpret what and how I see. Maybe one day soon I will get my wish and, my long-suffering and ever-faithful Bumble will be able to stop concentrating so hard at paying attention to my incessant wafflings and just, perhaps – enjoy a few more frames instead, over a nice cuppa. 

Which – I hope you also do. Thank you, as always – for reading! 

R.

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III | Cross-Over [DP2M]

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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.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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I.

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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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II.

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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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III.

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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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IV.

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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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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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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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Carnsalloch House, Kirkton | 35Chronicle

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

Black & White Heaven | A Full-Spectrum Photographic Adventure.


14th August 2020.

It all started with a half-hearted faff-around on the web, looking for some more interesting, old and abandoned places nearby worthy of a visit and, a photo-sesh. I’ve taken my cameras to so many wonderful old and [seemingly] forgotten places over the past many years that I might well at some point have thought that I may have ticked off a good many of them but still, I love to be proved wrong and, surprised. Last week, I got another such surprise when Bumble stumbled upon a short article about Carnsalloch House, near Kirkton. Passing me her ‘phone, she asked, “How about this old place? It’s not far, either!” I took a look and, feeling that familiar pang of excitement, a huge smile now lay wide across my face. Tomorrow, we would go. The BBC weather app was called to duty and, the day was consigned.

Not even two weeks prior, I had sent off a couple of A16 lens units for my trusty GXR outfit, to my good and clever friend, Amar. One was for a simple sensor clean and, the other for another LTFS [full-spectrum] conversion. Only a few days later they arrived back and, I was extremely keen to put them both through their paces again – dedicating one for LTFS [UV + VIS + IR] shooting and, the other for 720nm IR; this would save me swapping out mounted lens filters as the light changed. I know too that Amar is very keen to see results from his labours and, who can blame him? With that said, all of the frames I will be sharing over this series were shot on both units and, with nothing else. Anyhooz, back to Carnsalloch House…

The Old Stable Building:

24mm | 1/125th | f6.3 | ISO:1467 | VIS.

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24mm | 1/125th | f6.3 | ISO:209 | LTFS.

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When we arrived at first, we thought we’d found the house. Poking around outside and comparing the few shots we’d found on the ‘net had us befuddled and actually scratching our heads because the shots definitely didn’t correspond to the building we had arrived at. It was certainly a grand building but there were too many differences to ignore. This wasn’t the place. Still, it was worth a good look and so we carefully found an easy way inside. After a quick look around, it was clear to see from the original ceiling height, the sheer cubic footage of each room and the huge arched entry doors front and rear that we were actually inside the old stable building. The Austin Maestro ‘Tandy’ van (made between 1982 and 1995) that stood just as derelict as the building itself, looked no bigger than a child’s toy in here. Vandals have visited and, revisited over the years – fires have been set and spray cans have been emptied and this once, clearly magnificent building, now lies in complete ruin with no hope of rescue. After an hour or so, with the afternoon moving steadily on, we decided to look for the locally famous crypt. Quite how many know of it is unknown to me but there are very few images to discover online and, in true fashion, I decided that I wanted to change that. What I had seen of it had me feeling very edgy, and keen to push on and – find it. Looking around the old Johnston Estate, we followed what appeared to be a promising trail to where we believed it might have been an ideal place to build such a thing. Only a five minute walk from the old stable building, we came across the instantly recognisable Carnsalloch House.

28mm | 1/125th | f6.8 | ISO:591 | LTFS.

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28mm | 1/125th | f6.8 | ISO:351 | LTFS.

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Carnsalloch House:

24mm | 1/500th | f8 | ISO:200 | LTFS.

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The house has been empty since 2000 or thereabouts and since then, it too has been the target of arsonists and vandals. Built in 1759 (there is a stone depicting this on the outside wall of the north wing) Carnsalloch was once a palladian two-storey mansion house; an A-listed building (as of May 1959) that first belonged to Alexander Johnston[e] of Carnsalloch – a London chemist. Along its timeline, the house has had many extensions built (and destroyed by fire) and, for its latter years since 1960 it was run by the Leonard Cheshire Foundation (a UK health and welfare charity). It is reportedly the most haunted house in Scotland and has even raised questions and concerns about the sighting of ‘the ghost of’ a Great Dane – standing at a first floor window to the east of the pillared entrance. Believe what you will, but there are those who have wandered the area with dog treats in hand, hoping to find the pooch and, lure it to safety. I have no idea as to whether the canine (apparition or not) was ever located or indeed, seen again. Suffice to say, we met nor encountered no Grey Lady, or a seemingly semi-see-through Scooby-Doo! Largely, due to the extensive damage and vandalism, this once gorgeous building was not so much of a treat to walk around as we would have hoped. Entry on our part would have been extremely dangerous (and probably quite stupid, too) and so, we took a look only around the outer building itself. The weather too was closing in a tad and after just a few frames, we headed back to the car for a re-group. It was time again to re-consult the oracle. We just had to find the crypt.

The Johnston[e] Chapel & Crypt:

24mm | 1/125th | f6.3 | ISO:591 | LTFS.

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It was almost impossible to find any useful information about the Crypt. Nothing we could find could tell us where the heck it was situated but one search made us think that it could be in the vicinity of Kirkton Kirk itself. Time was still on our side (just) and so, we set off again. Barely a mile on, we stopped and looked around the church, looking for signs and familiar landscapes from images we’d found that would point us in the right direction. Nothing. We scratched our heads again and, while I was checking my batteries and cards, Bumble showed me her ‘phone again. I was now looking at a small map of Cemetery Wood. There was a red pointer marked only some fifty yards from the road out of Kirkton. We excitedly spun around again.

The light was fading as the clouds moved in and, seemingly there was nowhere to stop anywhere near the wood. Checking the road behind, between the bends as we approached the sharp left near the entrance to the wood itself, Bumble spied the small patch of ground just off the road and right around the bend and made straight for it. Parked. Now to find the crypt. Climbing over the gate, eyes peeled – no sign. Observing the light under densely foliaged and closely-neighboured trees I was beginning to worry that even if we found the crypt, I’d have little useful light under which to shoot it. Certainly IR was not going to be a choice. We walked towards a high mound and there, through the murk, was the corner outline of what was clearly a beautiful and ornate stone structure. We hurried forward and climbed the earthy slope. Stood right in front of us – was the crypt.

24mm | 1/125th | f6.3 | ISO:436 | LTFS.

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Out of interest, one of the shots I’d seen on the web (of the Johnston[e] Crypt) was in fact an IR shot, taken by someone on a converted Nikon pocket camera of some sort. A slight hint of jealousy that someone had stolen a little thunder from me, sure – but, whimsical and no more. I was determined to capture this place reflecting its mood and setting. LTFS turned out to be absolutely perfect for this part of the trip due to the light conditions and, it enabled me to capture wavelengths impossible to do so with any of my visible light set-ups, thus keeping my Tv higher and ISO lower than usual. The frames of the crypt may have you realising that I was back in hog-heaven and, you’d be right. I was beside myself. The chapel and crypt were built in around 1850 and, have also suffered multiple break-ins, vandalism, roof damage due to a fallen tree – gables and ornate roof stones scatter the ground around it and as resting place, it has been desecrated horrendously. Seeing it, taking it all in just for what it is now – renders a feeling of noticeable sadness. But to be able to capture it like this – I am almost speechless now. I am still stunned that we even found it. Rather, I didn’t! It’s okay though.

24mm | 1/125th | f6.3 | ISO:295 | LTFS.

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24mm | 1/125th | f6.3 | ISO:766 | LTFS.

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It was my intention to post a few images at a time and over a few posts – you know, break it up a little bit? I never like to over-indulge or test a reader’s resolve or patience. Ever. But for some reason, I just want to get these frames out there. A little bit of a back-story, perhaps but without the means to yet find out more about Carnsalloch – this is the best I can do right now. I do hope that you’ve enjoyed these frames. They have been extremely pleasurable to make and mean a little more to me than some of my other works. If you have stuck with me through all of this – wow; and… thank you!

In closing this one, I would like to thank Amar for yet again creating for me another wonderful piece of technology – my leading eye is very fortunate, my friend. I remain in black and white Nirvana! Thank you, my friend!

To the R&D and marketing peeps at Pentax Ricoh – thank you for making what Ricoh must have believed was a bit of a mistake at the time – poppycock! This thing rocks – still!

Of course, equally, to my bestie and lifetime sidekick, Bumble – who seems to have as much passion for what I do as I do. Now there’s a rarity and one worth looking after. Cheers darlin’!

R.
24mm | 1/125th | f5.9 | ISO:456 | LTFS.

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The Kelpies – After Sunset | 35:Chronicle

black & white, night / low-light, photography, structures, waterscape

Horses in the Sky.


It’s simply not possible to visit these mind-blowing structures by day and to not return after sunset to see them in their dazzling, alternative guise. After the child-like exuberance I enjoyed while photographing them with my two IR cameras earlier in the afternoon, I suffered yet more of it with the anticipation of returning after  sundown, to shoot them again, this time lit up from their insides against a darkening, moody evening sky. A few expletives leap to mind when I remember just what I thought to myself as the Kelpies began to shine – and only seemed to intensify.

Oddly, I did not take a tripod with me, trusting instead that my Df would handle the low-light pretty well (especially as I was only ever intending to capture them for black and white) therefore, all of these frames were snagged hand-held, 28mm at ISO:6400. I’ve included a colour frame original from shot one, at the end. I really do hope you’ll enjoy them!

[Thanks, Alena, for the sub-heading – by far the funniest comment I’ve received in a long while, I can tell you!]

R.

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IV.

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For Angela.

My first break away since the big breaks! Without you, these shots wouldn’t have even happened. For your patience and, my motivation – thank you!

X.

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

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

Light of Heart.


To find Drumlanrig so void of people on a gorgeous day like this is a rarity, a real rarity in fact. Perhaps it had something to do with the different timings of the school summer holidays between Scotland and England because from past experience, this place is usually teeming with people at this time of year. However, I complain not a bit simply because it did mean that I could exercise complete selfishness without a hint of guilt. Therefore, a few more IR frames from a place I love. To my mind – there’s no better way to see it. 

R.

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

28mm, 35mm, black & white, infrared, photography, rural, structures, summer, trees

Hog Heaven – An Alternative View.


Back in early April this year, we visited Drumlanrig Castle, near Thornhill. You may remember, if you’re a regular reader, that at the time, I was shooting with my then newly internally converted 720nm IR GR [PT.III of original series]- and, what I really wanted to capture were the beautiful gardens here. Sadly, April is a little early and the groundsmen were still working their fingers to the bone in preparing these fabulous grounds for the public and, some shots of the castle itself were the best that I could steal. Once they were open however, we went back – and, what a glorious day it was to wander around and to play with light again. 

Don’t be misled by a gentle introduction – this place is stunning in any light and, I hope to do Drumlanrig’s gardens justice over coming posts. I only hope you’ll enjoy them.

R.

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

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

Clouds (& Their Silver Linings).


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IV | A Morton Kind of Mood.

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V | King of Clubs.

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VI | Proud.

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

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

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


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

Onwards.

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

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

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

I hope you’ll enjoy these.

R.

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I | Across Morton Loch.

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II | Brothers.

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III | [A Bit of] Morton Castle.

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

To my Angie, to Corbs & to Flynn. X

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