Hexham Abbey | PT.II | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, Indoor, photography, structures

A Little More Light-Play | Pushing the Ricoh GR


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IV | Ricoh GR 1/10th [H/H] – f3.5 – ISO:3200 – 35mm Internal Crop

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This little camera never, ever fails to astound me. After all I wrote about it [here] there was still one aspect of it that I never properly tried out. As a rule, I have seldom, if ever – shot at equivalent film-speeds of faster than ISO: 1600; not on any camera and certainly not seriously (save for occasionally with the incredible Nikon offering, the Df, which is  a whole different beast altogether). However, when the light drops and one finds oneself tripodless (say, through poor preparation, perhaps) the only way to get the shot, sometimes, is to bump up the ISO and, without anywhere suitable to rest my GR during the making of these frames, handheld was the only way to go. 1600 wasn’t cutting it as, even with reasonably steady hands and good stance, most of the frames were just coming out a little too soft due to that smidgen of camera movement.  Therefore, 3200 was the only way to get them. Without realising it, I was on a test mission after which I would find myself thoroughly delighted. My initial thoughts were simply that it’d be better to get the shots than not. 

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V | Ricoh GR 1/10th [H/H] – f2.8 – ISO:3200 – 35mm Internal Crop

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I’ve always enjoyed the grain that appears in the GR’s images, especially at around 800-1600; it’s light, almost organic in appearance and lends a feel to a composition that instead of destroying it or breaking it up, actually appears to add more warmth and cohesion instead. To me, it harks back to when I used to enjoy shooting Ilford HP5 on an old ME Super, all those years ago – and to be honest, on most occasions, grain is such an integral part of the frame that I rarely even see it; and that’s exactly what happened here when I started editing these shots. I couldn’t even see it. You’d be forgiven for thinking that these have all undergone a major repertoire during processing but in truth, I really don’t enjoy spending too long in LR and so, these are very lightly processed and NR hasn’t even been touched. Exposures are a breeze and accurate with the GR and after having shot with it for so many years, I’m fortunate to be able to feel like it’s really an extension of my hand and, it has seldom let me down. Whilst for some types of composition, clean, pristine is more desirable – it’s not always what I’m looking for and I am moving quickly away from the ‘keeping it sharp and clean’ school of thought. Insosaying, if the light is good, I’ll be happy come what may. I think that no longer being pointlessly critical is going to open up a whole new wave of ideas that I am already very keen to exploit. It doesn’t just do it in black and white, either; colour frames come up pretty nice too!

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As always, thank you so much for reading my pages and I do hope you’ll enjoy these few captures of Hexham’s gorgeous abbey. [PT.I can be viewed here].

-R-

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VI | Ricoh GR 1/45th [H/H] – f2.8 – ISO:3200 – 35mm Internal Crop

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Hexham Abbey | PT.I | 35Chronicle

black & white, colour, photography, structures

Light-Play | Outside vs Inside…


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I | Ricoh GR 1/60th – f5.0 – ISO:400

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II | Ricoh GR 1/15th [H/H] – f2.8 – ISO:3200

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III | Ricoh GR 1/15th [H/H] – f2.8 – ISO:3200

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(…no comparison!)

Happy New Year, all!

– R –


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2019 Photographic Review | 35Chronicle Photography

black & white, boats, close-up, colour, Indoor, infrared, landscape, macro, nature, night / low-light, people, photography, portraits, review, ruins, rural, skies, still life, structures, summer, trees, waterscape

As the Days Begin to Lengthen.


This time last year I was preparing my first ever photo-review here at 35Chronicle and, at the time, I could never have professed to have known just what a year 2019 was going to be for me. In every sense of the word it’s been an amazing year, and – a traumatically difficult one for the large part. Suffice to say that if you are a regular reader of my pages, you’ll know a little of what I’ve been up to and, subjected to and – you might also realise that as well as those closest to me who have kept me going throughout the year since spring, my love of all things photographic have been my main non-pulsatile impetus to get back out there and, get better. Better in health, at life, at shooting – just, better; in any way I can.

Despite some difficulties in getting back out there (you try shooting whilst holding on to your crutches while your camera bag is threatening to slide forward under the weight of the gear – with the express intent of taking one of your legs from underneath you!) I have enjoyed many excursions this year. Insosaying, I have done my best to represent each month of 2019 (by date of publishing) with what I feel is the one shot that truly made the cut. My cut. I hope I have done enough.

Of course, the whole reason I am writing any of this is because, well – you are reading it. As such, I need to say a massive thank you to a huge amount of people who have been with me this year and without whom, my 2019 would have turned out rather different and probably not as good. Therefore, to loved ones, to friends, to everyone here on WP, and to everyone who has been of support to me throughout the year, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You all know who you are and I forget not one of you.

Please do enjoy this selection of just some of my favourite frames of this year and I hope you’ll join me again in 2020. It’ll be great to see you again. (To H – thank you and please forgive me for my shameless and blatant use of your sign-off. It fits perfectly, expresses my intent to a tee and I truly can’t think of or find a better way to say it. I promise to only use it this once!)

See you on the flip-side, folks!

In Metta.

– Rob –


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January 2019 | Moss after Rain.

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February 2019 | The Wellspring – Kirkcudbright | 720nm IR.

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March 2019 | Thirlstane Arch – Powillimont, Southerness | 720nm IR.

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April 2019 | Dundrennan Abbey [AKA: The Day of Two Cakes!]| 720nm IR

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May 2019 | Angela.

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June 2019 | Gelston Castle | 720nm IR.

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July 2019 | River Nith to Greyfriars | 720nm IR.

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August 2019 | Angela & her Machines.

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[Just After] September 2019 | The Kelpies – Falkirk | Late Dusk.

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October 2019 | Light Muse (Sic!)

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November 2019 | Edinburgh, from the Castle.

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December 2019 | Paisley James – 4 Hours Old.
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Happy New Year 2020, to You All!

X

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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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IV.

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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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V.

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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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VI.

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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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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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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.VIII | 35:Chronicle

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

Drumcoltran Tower [PT.III]


Okee doke, this is to be the last in my ‘Postcards’ series – no point kicking the backside out of it; (otherwise it just gets boring). Though I did get out and shoot a lot before I ended up rather incapacitated, I have been as productive as I can be of late and, will have some newer, more recent material up soon. Still, with regards to Drumcoltran Tower, I feel that despite three posts, there’s more to capture here and, when I am back on my feet, I absolutely intend to return and shoot again under even better light.

You’ll notice, if you have read Drumcoltran Tower [PT.II] – that I have chosen to post a similar first shot from the parapet and over the neighbouring farm, taken under visible-light conditions as opposed to the original IR frame in PT.II. I guess I still cannot decide which  I prefer. Nonetheless, the whole place has a wonderful feel which, I fully intend to exploit again in the near future. 

R.

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VII | From the Parapet.

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VIII | From the 3rd ‘Floor’.

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IX | Stone Steps by Window.

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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.IV | 35:Chronicle

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

Drumcoltran Tower [PT.II]


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IV | From the Parapet | 35mm | 720nm Infrared.

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V | From the Third ‘Floor’ | 21mm.

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VI | Without: Within | 21mm.

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Postcards from the Recovery Position [PT.I]
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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.II | 35:Chronicle

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

Gelston Castle [PT.I] | 720nm Infrared.


To date, no ruin has ever taken my breath away on a first encounter as much as Gelston Castle did, on this day, one month ago.  As I understand, it is not under the umbrella of any protective organisation and, stands on land now being run as holiday accommodation, in the village of Gelston, between Castle Douglas and the Palnackie to Auchencairn road. Completed around 1805, designed by Richard Crichton (a pupil of Robert Adam) Gelston Castle was built by Sir William Douglas, of Castle Douglas.  During WWII, the house was requisitioned in order to care for handicapped boys evacuated from Glasgow and, once this use had ceased, it was de-roofed, never to be inhabited again. 

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I | Rear Elevation | 35mm | 720nm IR | X100-IR.

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Those of you who are regular readers of my pages will know that whenever the sun is out, if I am shooting beneath it, my IR cameras are the first tools I’d reach for. On this day however, conditions were unpredictable at best. This meant that I required around two to three hours to make enough images to cover my wish-list, at least, as frequent and prolonged cloud-cover tested my patience somewhat. With that said, I could have wandered around here for many more hours than I did. A beautiful monument, some of the most fabulous, fine architecture I have seen of late and, a lovely spot for just being what it is amidst stunning countryside views. 

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II | Front & Side Elevation | 35mm | 720nm | X100-IR.

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Shooting these old ruins is becoming a bit of a habit of late – one I am happy to continue to immerse myself in, I must say. When I am back on my feet, I’m going to go a-hunting again!  Though I must remain patient – another ten weeks or more, I can’t wait.

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III | Rear Elevation Between Tall Trees | 35mm | 720nm IR | X100-IR.

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Postcards from the Recovery Position [PT.I]
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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

black & white, Indoor, infrared, landscape, personal, photography, ruins, rural, structures

Drumcoltran Tower [PT.I]


Okee doke, a little explanation is required here because my absence has been a little more protracted than I would have liked, of late. 

Two weekends ago, I was involved in a rather serious accident while at work and found myself admitted to hospital. Details aren’t important but I can say that I am very lucky to be alive. My injuries however, are serious enough that I am required to remain in bed and, after a week in hospital, I am now at home, in the same position, where I must stay for the foreseeable weeks ahead. 

Before I had returned to work however, during a number of beautiful days-off, I made the most of the sunshine and, with A, visited a good number of places, made an even better number of frames and, consumed regularly – copious cups of Earl Grey tea, locally made cakes and the occasional ice-cream too. With all of this noted, all of the frames I will post over the next few weeks are from the vault; a recently replenished vault, and, I am glad of it because the chance of me getting out to make photographs within the next six weeks or so, is looking so slim as to render it invisible, at least from a side-on perspective. 

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I | Drumcoltran Tower | 720nm Infrared | 35mm.

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Drumcoltran Tower is situated in SW Scotland between Beeswing (Bees-wing as opposed to Bee-Swing; though the latter image may be rather humorous, nonetheless)  and Kirkgunzeon (pron: kur-gun-y’n) and is integrated now into a modern farm. It’s not very well signed and until you approach the junction that leads to it, it’s not signposted at all. But it’s so worth finding. 

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II | Mother Nature as Projectionist | 21mm.

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From the outside, it looks rather uncomplicated, not all that exciting, as other structures from its era might appear, and one would be fooled into thinking that a five-minute exploration would more than enough. I was fooled, because once we entered the tower, we didn’t leave for another ninety minutes or so. Over the next four or five posts, I hope to show just why this externally (comparatively) nondescript treasure of Scotland, captured my imagination. 

It’s good to be back and, I do hope that you’ll enjoy these first few frames of and, from this early 16th century beauty.

R.

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III | Enjoying the Views [One Must Keep His Spirits Up!]| 21mm.

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Morton Castle Ruins, Scotland | PT.III – Finale | 35:Chronicle

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

Its Place in Time.


At the risk of posting somewhat predictably of late, I can safely say that this is to be the last in my recent series of images taken at Morton. Since visiting, despite the awfulness of the weather and light-conditions at the time, it should be of no surprise that I fully intend to return to the ruins as soon as I possibly can; hopefully when conditions are far more conducive to my intentions, perhaps. Such a place is somewhat of a rarity – though local landscapes are abound with dilapidated historical and dare I say, romantic relics, however, Morton has a situation, a place-in-time so to speak, that can render one utterly speechless simply for the sight of it. Though I did try to capture the site from a number of angles and perspectives which might express just how romantic this place is, I know that I can do better. Finer weather would be a real treat, though. Yes, I shall certainly return – and, it won’t be a day too soon. 

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VII. | Morton Castle & Loch | 35mm.

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VIII. | East-Side D-Turret | 35mm.

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IX. | East-Nor-East [II] | 35mm.

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I very much hope that you’ll have enjoyed this series. 

R.


(For more images in this series, simple click on the ‘morton castle’ tag.)
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Thank you for visiting. If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018, 2019) 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. 35chronicle@gmx.com 
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Morton Castle Ruins, Scotland | PT.II | 35:Chronicle

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

Solitude.


Occasionally, words only serve to get in the way. 

R.

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IV. | Morton Castle | 35mm.

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V. | Morton, from the Dam [II] | 35mm.

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VI. | Westerly, over Morton Loch | 35mm.

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(For more images in this series, simple click on the ‘morton castle’ tag.)
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Morton Castle Ruins, Scotland | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

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

For E.J. Dexter, et al.


Merely a name – painstakingly, thoughtfully carved into a door that is certainly nowhere near as old as the ruins themselves, still, looking at every carving – it is eery to almost feel the presence of so many visitors (perhaps even occupants) from the past. Morton Castle dates back to the 12th Century and, has been deconstructed, burned down, rebuilt and, has changed hands (and purpose) a good number of times in its long history. Much of that may have been well documented, however, there remains much mystery still about the place.

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I. |  Scores on the Doors | 35mm.

Morton Castle, Nr.Thornhill

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It will be all too apparent that I love old, ancient, historical buildings. Mostly though (in my laziness I suppose) it’s mainly a structural interest, a personal fascination owed to the immense ingenuity and graft (and time) that has been used or spent to create such unbelievable places, observing their spaces and  surroundings – even feeling their purpose. Yes, Morton has true presence. On arrival, the weather was probably of the worst kind for making photographs – I would not be capturing in infrared today. The sky, a heavy grey, the drizzle constant and, the clouds were getting lower over the nearby hills; but, my word – what an atmosphere. Like a child in a proverbial sweet-shop, I flipped constantly between excitement and fascination as I tried to take it all in. My brain couldn’t absorb it quickly enough; and the rain, though with small pockets of respite, was getting a tad heavier. 

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II. | Morton, from the Dam | 35mm.

Morton Castle, Nr.Thornhill

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On the east side of the ruin, at the base of the mound upon which it sits, is situated a dam that was built around the early 19th century, to purposely flood what was then marshland, in order that Morton Loch could be created and, it surrounds the site on three of its sides. Thus, in its elevated position, surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery and calm waters, even the dullness of the day could not spoil a single part of it. The only sounds to be heard were those of gentle breezes, the occasional oyster-catcher in the distance and, regular footfalls in the thick, sodden grasses. The fact that my camera was catching water from the persistent light rain did not deter me either. I honestly think that I would have sacrificed it just to get the shots that I did. With not another soul within miles, the isolation felt truly breath-taking and, on a finer day – I will (happily) spend many, many hours here. Nonetheless, the moodiness of the day lent its artistic hand to Morton’s space, a new beat in my chest that instils passions renewed and, a fierce anticipation of returning.

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III. | East-Nor-East | 35mm.

Morton Castle, Nr.Thornhill

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Perfectly ‘Scotland’? On a day such as this – yes, most certainly!

I do hope that you enjoy this, my first instalment of Morton Castle – it’s a very special place to which I am sure very few photographs can possibly do justice. (For more images in this series, simple click on the ‘morton castle’ tag.)

R. 

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Stone, Cold, Hazy | 35:Chronicle

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

Sweetheart Abbey.


The ruins of Sweetheart Abbey stand on the edge of the village of New Abbey, not even a ten minute drive from Dumfries along the Solway coast-road. On this particular day, temperatures were freezing and, the fog was thick, still I made my way in the hope that I might make some frames of this lovely structure in the mists. As I suspected, there were no other visitors on this day which would have made composition and exclusion a lot simpler however,  sadly, on arrival, I discovered that around 40% of the site was clad high in scaffolding and, almost half of the grounds were cordoned-off with temporary fences covered with CCTV warnings and police signage. Bit of a mood-killer, to say the least. With a little careful framing, however, I was able to grab a few frames of this gorgeous structure – not quite what I intended when I set out, but – almost close. 

I hope you’ll enjoy these few, only slightly misty captures.

R.

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I.

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II.

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III.

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Thank you for visiting. If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018, 2019) 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. 35chronicle@gmx.com 
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In-Spired-Out | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, structures

We Are, Therefore, We Create.


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I | Scott Monument – Princes Street, Edinburgh | 28mm – 1/125th – f4.2 – ISO: 259.

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II | Spire of St. Theresa’s [II: VIS] – Dumfries | 35mm – 1/220th – f5.6 – ISO:200.

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III | Greyfriars [II] | 720nm IR | 24mm – 1/125th – f7.6 – ISO: 336.

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HOME A RATIONALE | LIGHT-WAVES | ARCHIVES | LINKS
Thank you for visiting. If you would like updates, please click Follow. All Images & Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018, 2019) 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. 35chronicle@gmx.com 
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