Angie – Through Open Eyes | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

black & white, close-up, people, personal, photography, portraits

A Gift – for a Gift.


It’s not often that I get overly personal through my pages but constant reflection urges me to do so right now. As a passionate photographer, I love to capture, to record in the best way I know how – life; or rather, important scenes and snippets in time (from it). That’s what we do. Our reasons for doing so may change over time or may simply be dependant on the occasion or our subject matter however,  but in truth – when I want to give something back, so to speak, a photograph is the probably the most indelible, lasting gift that I can give, outside of my own self. Insosaying, my time isn’t only spent wandering around old ruins, though by many of my recent posts you would be forgiven for believing so.

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I | Lost for Words.

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Most of my past four months, in fact, have been spent recuperating (something which I am still doing, and happily I can say – with great improvement) and spending wonderful, quality time with my loved ones. It is fair to say that (especially) lately, in a multitude of ways my life has taken an huge amount of positive turns because of many yet mostly, unforgettably, because of the one most special person in my life – and, a great majority of those turns have been made possible and almost certainly could not have been so without her. It’s her face that I want to see whenever I walk into a room, whenever I pick up a camera, if only to capture her and to remind her to really look, and to see what I see. But she seldom does. 

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II | It’s All Fun & Games (Until the Bobbin Runs Out!)

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One day, I hope that she will see her importance to me and to many through her guises as a mother, a best friend, a lover, a sister, a daughter and granddaughter, a seamstress, an inspiration, a rock, no – my rock; and, my comfort. (As it turns out, contrary to her gentle demeanour – she’s a painfully merciless backgammon player too!) 

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III | Late Evening (or – From Where Evil Plots are Hatched!)

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From thin air, through open eyes and, straight to my heart.

R.

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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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Caerlaverock Castle | 720nm Infrared | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, landscape, personal, photography, ruins, rural, skies, structures, trees

Crutches.


When things turn for the worst, we all need some kind of crutch to get us through – something (or things) that we can truly lean on. There’s no subtle message here, though. Besides the obvious, it’s not only been the sticks that have got me on my feet again. Though it was only the beginning, the end of April was a horrifying time for me and I have had no end of support from so, so many people. Friends, work friends and colleagues, healthcare professionals, family and of course, my love and my rock, Angela. I owe so many – so much.

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On the inside though, it has been imperative that I am and remain as positive as I  can possibly be and this is why, in writing this short post, I remember and continue to appreciate the support, care and love of every single person to have been here for me and, for those especially – who remain. No, I am not yet out of the woods, but I can see a clearing. Without every single iota of support that I have received over the last almost fifteen weeks, I am certain that I would not be in such good spirits, nor as motivated and hopeful as I unquestionably feel. The reason I’m writing these words, is this: these pictures of the beautiful Caerlaverock Castle are extremely important to me for one huge reason – they are the first outdoor pictures I photographed since the latter part of April.

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If photography was not another of my crutches, my loves, I don’t know what else I might have leaned upon to get me back out there, and so, with even the minutest support of every single person who helped to get me back out there and the love, support and patience of a very special woman, I was indeed able (after only eight weeks) to make these frames. I get almost tearful when I view them. The afternoon I made these was a struggle for sure – but it never was going to be just about getting a few pictures. Every single person around me – helped me to make them.

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In two words: thank you!

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

35mm, black & white, infrared, photography, trees, waterscape

Looking Up.


Just a couple of weeks ago I was beginning to feel a lot more comfortable on my feet, (with hospital supplied crutches, naturally) – and so, I felt that it was a good time to get across the road and take a little stroll along the river path. My fitness is undoubtedly less since the end of April and I am determined to lessen the damage as much as I can. Not only this, but I have been utterly itching to get out with my cameras again. This day seemed to me a perfect opportunity to kill two proverbial birds with a single stone. With Angie at my side (mainly because she doesn’t trust me walking alone yet – probably a very wise thing) we gently walked for a while, taking in the beautiful afternoon sunshine across the Nith and, regular stops for shots meant that I wasn’t pushing things too hard. 

To keep my bag light, these frames were all shot on my internally IR converted GR (with internal 35mm crop). In all honesty it’s still my go-to for impromptu jaunts. No matter – I hope you’ll enjoy these few frames as I have. I guess that for me, they’re way more significant. I can once again enjoy what I love.

I hope that you will too.

R.

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I | Water or, Sky?

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II | Still.

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III | To Greyfriars.

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

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

A Chance Encounter with a Bumble.


To all of you who follow my pages, please accept my deepest apologies for not having posted lately. I know, it’s been around a fortnight. I also know that the world won’t stop turning just because I haven’t pulled my proverbial finger out, either; however, it’s been a busy time for me and I have so much to catch-up on, in life and here on WP. (Harold, I haven’t forgotten, I swear it!) 

When I have had the time, I have taken every opportunity available to get out and shoot and insosaying, I do have a ridiculous amount of work to go through, the (hopeful) fruits of which I will inevitably be sharing with you all just as soon as I have time. I’m making as much as I can and hope to be back on track very soon. In the meantime – I thought I would like to share with you all – a series that I had not expected to be working on over the last few days. As for the colour frame – I know it’s not like me to post much colour work, but, I couldn’t resist the little gem in frame two. The shots aren’t perfect by any means, but I have had a ridiculous amount of fun making them. I do hope that you’ll also enjoy them.

For your enduring patience and commitment, I thank you all. For your kind wishes during my recovery, I am overwhelmed and, I am delighted to report that things are looking good and I hope to be back to my normal routine within the next couple of months, stronger than ever. 

How much we take for granted.

R.

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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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