Like a Tiger Caged | 720nm IR | 35:Chronicle

black & white, boats, infrared, nature, personal, photography, rural, trees, waterscape

On the Inside.


It’s been over seven weeks since the accident that put me flat on my back and, I’ll be brutally honest – it’s starting to hurt more. I’m not talking about the pains from the injuries though, you understand. Those, I can deal with. But the pain I am starting to feel inside, the one specific pain that keeps nagging me and, reminding me that life is still happening and, I need to get back out there and be, well, normal again. To be able to live my life as I live it is all that I want now. I am getting about a lot better lately, but the sun is shining, the weather is beautiful, the spring is passed and I feel anxious, taunted, and I know how much I am missing out on because today, I should be out there too.

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I | On the Rocks [II] | 720nm Infrared.

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II | Water Under | 720nm Infrared.

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Like a caged tiger, both physically and mentally, with purpose and a distinct rolling of the shoulders, I am pacing, looking out at a world I still can’t touch, yet. It’s temporary – but time doesn’t wait and I am, through my steady improvements, becoming teeth-clenchingly restless for the outside. Artistic block is creeping in too and my edge is feeling decidedly dulled. I need to be doing what I do.  None of this will matter much to many, nor should it matter – but my protracted pauses are of good reason.

Bear with me, please – I’m getting there; and keep doing what you all do. I’m reading!

R.

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III | Stronger | 720nm Infrared.

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Gelston Castle | PT.II | 35:Chronicle

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

Infrared & Visible-Light Comparisons.


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IV | Gelston Castle | Visible | X100T | 35mm Equiv.

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In Gelston Castle | PT.I I published a few initial frames of this utterly gorgeous ruin, all three – photographed in infrared, using my internally converted 720nm IR X100. There’s a reason that I use this camera for infrared shooting rather than any later iterations of Fuji’s iconic camera. The sensor. Though it has less resolution than the ‘S’, the ‘T’ or the ‘F’ – its more organic output is simply perfect, when the slightly grainier aspect of IR light is to be captured. For some reason, the later versions of the X-Trans sensor just failed to do it for me and, as much as I have tried to wait, to see if one day their output would one day find its way into my visual affections – it hasn’t. I think six years with later X offerings is more than long enough. So, whilst my ‘T’ ended up for sale recently, the original will stay in my bag until it croaks on me. 

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V | Gelston & Resident Crows | 720nm IR | X100 | 35mm Equiv.

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As I habitually resize all of my frames before uploading for posts, there won’t be much visible difference between my captures  and those from most other similar cameras with the same sensor size and subject to a similar workload, but when I’m working on them in post, I really do notice. On the other hand, my other internal IR conversion (the Ricoh GR) though slightly more gritty than the X-IR, has an even more pleasing output for infrared, but, oddly, even after setting WB prior to each excursion, the X seems to show much better colour balance and wider tonal range under infrared conditions, whereas the GR-IR shows only red and magenta tones. As I process all of my IR work for black and white, this makes very little difference in the long run – unless I need to accentuate any particular colour band. 

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VI | Gelston thro’ th’ Trees | 720nm IR | GR | 35mm Internal Crop.

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To (non-scientifically) show the differences between three very different cameras, and, just for fun – these are three more shots of the beautiful Gelston Castle, from three different perspectives; one from each bit of kit. I hope you will enjoy them for what they are. 

R.

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Closer Still(s) | PT.XXII | AKA: Miss Jekyll

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

Love in a Mist.


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[All frames: Ricoh GR | 4:3 | Internal 35mm Crop | w/Hoya +10.]
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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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After the Rain Stopped Falling | 720nm Infrared | 35:Chronicle

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

The Lighthouse at Southerness | 35mm | 720nm IR.


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

35mm, black & white, boats, infrared, photography

Messing About with Boats | 720nm Infrared [PT.I]


Show me just one day – then place within it some sunshine, a little water, a few boats, a blue sky and perhaps a few clouds, then – place my IR camera into my hands and you’ll see a smile on my face almost as broad at the Solway Firth. More than this, there really is no more to be said.

R.

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I | Fisherman’s [Stock] Anchor & Scalloper Behind | Kirkcudbright | 720nm IR.

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II | Hull Breached by Time & Weather | The Loch Ryan Lady | 720nm IR. 

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III | Perpendiculars | Kirkcudbright | 720nm IR.

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

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins

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


Captured well over a month ago, I had to be a little creative with my angles here, as in and around the grounds of this marvellous relic (which dates back to the 12th century) a large group of very young school children were enjoying some outdoor time under glorious sunshine.  Without my even having to ask (which I wouldn’t have, anyway) but, as if they knew, I was politely granted all the privacy I needed to make my shots without any of them running into my frames. What more could I have asked for? Another one of Scotland’s ancient, tucked-away, lesser-known and beautifully preserved treasures, to which I as many others too, I am certain, would and do happily return. 

Note: Of late, I am learning to adapt my workflow with more emphasis and, whilst I have always worked towards more even exposures, staying safe and sticking to preconceived ideas and so-called rules, I have decided that I am no longer going to do this. I need to push my boundaries and see where they take me and, I do hope that my work will reflect these ideas and remains enjoyable to those of you who read my pages. It’s a process – and I’ve been stagnant for so long. 

Reflection. Evolution. Discovery.

R.

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

35mm, black & white, Indoor, nature, photography, portraits, still life

One Temperate Heart.


A little over three weeks into my recovery and I still have a long road ahead. Without labouring any point as to how I got into this position in the first place (you’ll have to read PT.I if you want the most basic of gists) I am at home, being well cared for by my Angie, and, when I have the opportunity (in other words, when she agrees that I’m fit and steady enough to move around a little and not completely doped on opioid pain relief and tripping over my crutches) – the first thing I still want to do (remember: this is a public forum, kids!) is, to make photographs. 

During my second week at home, I was able to do just that from my bedside and, as a way of reiterating that things could definitely be worse, I share these few frames with you all. I am missing some glorious spring sunshine but, it’s not going to stop me. I must keep moving. 

Warmth, Gratitude & Love.

R.

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I | From Friends.

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II | Introducing Charlotte the Red, by Window Seat (Don’t Ask!)

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III | Angie – After Fluffing-Up my Pillows.

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IV | From Friends & to Friends.

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All Frames: Ricoh GR | 35mm [APS-C Internal Crop at 4:3]
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Angie | An Impromptu Portrait Sesh’! | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, Indoor, people, photography, portraits

It’s About Time(s).


It’s been around five years since I made any serious portraits and, it goes without saying that after shooting almost nothing but faces for over five years up to that point, I have been missing the genre more and more, as the years have ticked by. With this is in mind, I decided upon a course of action which, seems to me perfectly timed. Despite my recent predicament, rendering me almost useless, physically, my partner agreed to help me with an interior set-up with a view to sitting for me, for a short shooting session. My ulterior motive should be clear however, for, during my previous week-long hospital stay and, at home too over recent weeks, she has barely left my side for even a moment. I could never have expected such unquestionable devotion and yet, every day, I have it. In spades. 

So, as a way of giving something back, my most heartfelt gratitude for time spent and, that which is yet to be – here’s my little gift of a few preserved moments in time. It’s the best I can offer for now. 

Introducing – my beautiful Angie-Bee. (Another huge reason for me to know what a lucky sod I am.) I hope you’ll enjoy these few frames.

R. 

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[Equip: X100T | Daylight & Single Spotlight Mix | Two Crutches and Pain-Relief!]

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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.III | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, personal, photography

Two Sides to the Coin [PT.I]

When something awful happens, it’s often easiest of all to see the negatives, impossible to ignore the seriousness, however, helpful too, if we can reflect and find at least some positives, no matter how small. The latter, takes a little more time, though, naturally – after acceptance.

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I | Life-Lines.

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As I lay in the bed in my local hospital, during the week that I was there, I had much time to reflect on what had happened to me and, to worry myself stupid as to the possible outcomes, relative to my future. With four broken bones in my spine, a broken toe (there’s a cruel joke if ever I heard one!) and severely bruised (yet miraculously, not broken) ribs (so I was told) – I had to suffer the indignity of wearing knee-length white socks, too. Okay, I know – I’m in the trade so I know how badly I absolutely do not want a DVT or worse, a PE. But with the help of regular pain relief, I was able to see the lighter side of things, sometimes. Most notably, I was still alive, and, I guess I’m in bonus-time now. 

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II | Introducing – Wendy.

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While friends and colleagues kept me busy with frequent, daily visits, appropriate (and inappropriate) humour(!), anecdotes, utter mickey-taking and wishes for a good recovery, I (fortunately, gratefully) had little time to wallow in self-pity  – still, that would happen all by itself during the early hours of each morning as I lay flat on my back, not even able to turn myself when my back-side became numb, or my back became more painful through each passing hour. The night terrors had successfully installed themselves in my head like a post-shutdown virus, to be activated every night during the hours of midnight and five a.m. just as they still do, and so, I needed something normal to act as a coping mechanism. Something intrinsic inside me.

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III | Abbie – One of my Guardian Angels.

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After a visit from my beloved, and a heartfelt request for my camera bag – she arrived later that evening to put a huge smile on my face as she sat it on my drawer unit next to me. I imagined that whilst having to remain still on my back for the time being, I would be rather stuck for shooting opportunities and, I wasn’t wrong. With this in mind, I hope that you will forgive my distinct lack of artistic content in these images. They are real, though. If the desire is strong enough – it’s still possible to capture a few frames that will serve to remind me again and again, of just how bloody lucky I am to even be here. I live to shoot again. Bonus time or not – however I look at it, for everything that’s good in this life, a second bite is a most welcome gift and, “every day, in every way – I am getting better, and better”.

R.

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IV | Defining: ‘Snookered’?

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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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Closer Still(s) | PT.XXI | These Bleeding Hearts | 35:Chronicle

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

Moments Like This.


When a six year-old boy comes home with a gift like this, tied to his huge smile as he hands it to me (because all he can think about is the pictures that I’m going to make from it) it really does tug at the strings. If moments like this mean anything at all, it is that one can never underestimate the hearts of innocents. He’s even promised me he’ll save all of his pocket-money so that he can buy more for me to photograph. If that isn’t worth sharing, I don’t know what is.

(Thanks, Flynn!)

R.

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Closer Still(s) | PT.XX | A Little More Delicate | 35:Chronicle

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

In [& from] the Garden.


Over this recent and beautiful Easter weekend,  I took immense pleasure in setting up my close-up gear and, I took a wander around the borders and beds to see what I might find to shoot. I did manage a number of frames and, whilst I worked primarily for colour in this instance, I still couldn’t find as much pleasure from them, as I found in them once I had processed for black and white. Even here, there’s no getting away from the sheer, unavoidable distraction of colour. 

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I | Bleeding Hearts | 35mm. 

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II | Early Bluebells | 35mm.

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III | Bleeding Hearts [Side View] | 35mm.

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IV | Magnolia | 35mm.

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