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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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.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.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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Orchardton Tower | 720nm IR | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

28mm, black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, rural, structures

A Once Outdated Revival?


A few miles drive from the beautiful Dundrennan Abbey, in the parish of Buittle (pron: Bittle) stands this fabulous structure, just a mile or so south of the village of Palnackie. It dates back to around 1400 AD and was built by the Cairns family who became strongly associated with this area from the early 15th century, onwards. What is special about Orchardton is that today, it is the only cylindrical tower left standing in Scotland. Oddly, it was also built around 200 years after round towers had ceased to be fashionable. 

The tower was situated at the north-east corner of a fortified yard which would have sheltered livestock and other domestic amenities, but itself, would have provided living accommodation on each floor, accessed mostly likely by the use of a movable staircase. At 11 metres in height, once climbed, the tower also provides spectacular views over the surrounding landscape, though here, the stonework is the real treasure. The last of its kind.

R.

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Dundrennan Abbey | 720nm IR | PT.II | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, structures

900 Year-Old Details.


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V | Entrance Gate -720nm Infrared | 35mm.

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VI | Fraction – 720nm Infrared | 28mm.

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VII | Fraction [II] – 720nm Infrared | 21mm.

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VIII | Fraction [III] – 720nm Infrared | 28mm.

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[Dundrennan Abbey | 720nm Infrared – PT.I]
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Dundrennan Abbey | 720nm IR | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, structures

On Days Like These.


I. | The Abbey – 720nm Infrared | 35mm.

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Okay, okay! I have a thing about old buildings and magnificent, ancient stonework. It could be worse. Instead of cameras, I could have a PS or an Xbox (whatever they are – but hear that they are also quite popular?) 

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II. | From an Outer Doorway – 720nm Infrared | 28mm.

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Over the last almost twenty years, I have visited and revisited Dundrennan Abbey on more occasions than I can remember. Mary, Queen of Scots spent her last night in Scotland, here, before being escorted across the Solway Firth by the English, to Carlisle Castle where she would spend the next nineteen years as a prisoner before being executed, in 1587. Whether for the scenery, the history, or both – I have never tired of shooting here. Two days ago, I visited again and, with my IR converted GR in hand – spent around an hour making a few more frames. The groundsman (Pete) was also on site, fixing the ol’ place up a bit, ready for the spring and summer onslaught of visitors, but mostly, I had perfect ‘alone’-time to wander round and grab a few angles that I had missed over previous visits. Here, I wanted to simply show a few frames of some of Dundrennan’s beautiful arches – in a tad more detail, with each shot.

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III. | Through an Interior Arch – 720nm Infrared | 28mm.

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Shooting in IR under ideal conditions (bright sunshine and few clouds) really does bring out the contrast and utter magnificence of places like this – and I have no doubt that there are more just like this, waiting for me to capture. As spring and summer progress, I know already that I am going to have a very busy season indeed, not just for having so many places to shoot, but in the first instance – being able to visit them and soak up so much atmosphere, history and enjoying too, a complete change of pace. On days like these, there’s truly nothing better. 

R.

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IV. | Zenith – 720nm Infrared | 21mm.

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Ricoh GR | You Can Call Me – ‘Jack’ | 35:Chronicle

black & white, close-up, colour, full-spectrum, Indoor, infrared, landscape, macro, nature, night / low-light, personal, photography, review, ruins, structures

Photographic ‘Mechano‘? | A Few More Nuts & Bolts.


Two very special cameras have made up the mainstay of my shooting arsenal over the past eight years; the Fujifilm X100 (the debut, the ‘S’ and, the ‘T’) and, the Ricoh GR (also, the GR II). The model numbers don’t really make much of a difference to me because it’s all about how they allow me to work when I’m making pictures. Furthermore, my joy of them has nothing to do with button layouts, menu-order, online reviews, or much else either. It’s really all about the ability to carry a portable, capable and an ever more familiar set-up that produces very workable digital negatives shot through focal-lengths that I prefer the most. Shooting with shorter focal lengths has been my passion for a good number of years now, ever since I made the decision to give up on larger systems and telephoto lenses. That decision itself came from a notion that being out of range didn’t make me a better photographer at all – it wasn’t brave and, I always felt like I was on the outside looking in, instead of immersed in the process. That’s why I ditched the longer lenses. Simple. I wanted to learn more about photography and could no longer find satisfaction from picking-off frames from a distance – no matter how attractive I found focal-plane-to-background separation. The change was swift and, sharp.

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I. | Sir Duncan Rice Library Building – University of Aberdeen.

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After a few years with the Fuji-X I wanted something a little smaller for my pocket, for those days we all hanker for at one time or another – when we can grab the shots without carrying the bag as well; not a replacement as such, but a complement to my existing camera(s). By that time, I was completely hooked on shorter focal-lengths, the immersive experience of making pictures with them and that was when I bit the proverbial bullet on a GR – a camera that has been in my bag or my pocket for almost six years, no matter what else I have been shooting alongside it. Now, you may think that this is going somewhere a little bit too romantic and, you might be right. You see, out of every piece of equipment I have ever shot with over the last twenty-plus years, Ricoh’s GXRs and GRs have been my absolute favourite to use. The GR however, (even for all of the APS-C variants of the GXR) – tops the lot. I have no issue with admitting that the GR is (digitally speaking) the best, most customisable, usable camera with which I have ever made pictures. But the oddity in all of this is that – it just got even better. I’m not talking of anything Ricoh has done to it or, for it. It’s simply that as well as my standard model, I now have another, converted to split-spectrum with an internal 450nm filter. This might not sound like a big deal (especially if you’re more a colour enthusiast or just not a fan of black and white photography) but bear with me, and you’ll see that it actually – is.

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II. | Kinclair Viaduct.

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My first foray into split-spectrum and true full-spectrum happened when I had received a converted A16 unit for my old GXR a few years ago and, with that one unit, I was able to reduce issues of low-light black and white photography and shoot any alternative wavelengths that I chose to – usually near-infrared around the 720nm mark. In truth, my main love for a split-spectrum converted camera lies in the ability for me to choose different IR wavelengths as my base, when shooting, though primarily, I stick to 720nm (give or take around 20-30nm) – as I have done for the last twelve or so years. But it’s lovely to have the latitude when it’s needed. If any of you browsed through my images of St.Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, late last year, you will notice, if you look, the clear benefits of shooting indoors with a split or full-spectrum converted camera as, such a set-up effectively doubles the shutter speed because the amount of wavelengths and subsequently, available light, is also doubled. For this kind of photography, black and white is really the only option (unless you’re into really funky colours and peculiar white-balance) and if you’re happy with this, you’d be even happier at the reduced (or complete absence of) camera / motion blur in your shots, not to mention the huge amounts of extra detail in the blacks and shadows.

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III. | St. Gile’s Cathedral – Edinburgh [Full Spectrum – Handheld].

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Now, a small admission. Originally, when I started drafting this post, my intention was to write some kind or report or, review, about my newest acquisition in the 450nm GR. But as that camera is only half of my story, I have decided to be more – general and, as my title suggests, I do consider the GR to be the most customisable camera I have ever had the pleasure of getting my hands on. The mere fact that I now have two of them, both set-up in completely different ways, for alternative shooting requirements, will bear this out. The fact that I have most of the accessories available for them, is also a factor in their importance in much of my work because, by and large, I don’t go in for huge amounts of add-ons for my gear and, prefer to keep weight down instead. But as weight is not really an issue with a camera so compact, I allowed myself to indulge in order to make them as useful as possible, to me. As well as both cameras, one standard and one converted, I also have three GH-3 filter adapters. On one, I have the IR 720nm filter, on another – a C-PL and on the third, a +10 close-up filter for a little extra macro. Having each filter mounted on separate adapters allows me to very quickly swap-out filters between cameras with just a click & twist. Obviously, the R72 filter adapter only gets exchanged with the +10 if I’m going to choose close-up work in IR or split-spectrum, but the C-PL can be swapped out for either of the other two, because as I have discovered, the standard GR set-up is also receptive to IR wavelengths with no hot-spotting, giving the shooting process a natural ND sequence. So, for long exposure IR imagery, the standard GR handles infrared rather well indeed. (I will do my best to show this as artistically as I am able, during the summer). With the addition of the GW-3 wide lens (which is pretty special, I must say) I can add a 21mm repertoire to each set-up at will, with custom functions set for (35mm) crop-mode and conversion-lens use, on each camera; not to mention the ability to set each of the unit’s three custom modes, for different set-ups. The fact that I love the GR’s output is the reason I shoot with it in the first place but, coupled with its mechano-like, Swiss Army-Knife tendencies – I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything for wide shooting, or – much else, for that matter.

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IV. | Bluebell.

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Of late, I have found myself preferring 4:3 output straight from the camera and have noted a benefit to this also, in post. The GR’s lens has a certain amount of natural light fall-off (vignetting) in the corners (especially when shooting at its native 28mm with front-mounted filters) and shooting at 4:3 reduces this somewhat unappealing effect by cropping out the far-lateral sides of the sensor. Added to the fact that 35mm is my preferred focal-length, this internal crop-mode when utilised alongside the 4:3 option, reduces fall-off further, while still providing me with a fairly respectable 9mp RAW file for processing, minus the rather noticeable fall-off. Again, many quick functions are simple and quick to set-up and I also have a ratio option on my adjust lever as well as 28/35mm crop on the effects button at the side of the camera. There’s not really a whole lot more that I can say of the 450nm converted camera, per se – it is what it is and as long as it’s raison d’etre is realised and understood, it’s an extremely useful tool for low-light, indoor photography where crushed blacks aren’t desired but organic detail is. For me – it’s there for IR in the main. But that’s just me. I still need my bag, of course – but even so it weighs next to nothing and, my bases are all covered.

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V. | Church Ruin [720nm Infrared].

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The GR has mostly been heralded as the ideal street camera to have, and I will not argue this. But what has not been extolled, as far as I am able to discover for myself, is that it can do so much more than street-photography; decent macro (with or without external filter assistance), landscape, environmental, urban exploration, and even alternative wavelength, I don’t think there’s much this thing can’t do. I have probably harped on enough now about this camera but I so want anyone who is truly interested, to know just how much a little camera can do in hands attached to a mind that wants to truly explore photographic possibilities.

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VI. | Horse-Chestnut [Sticky] Bud.

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The GR III is soon to be released in the UK (note: this post was published in early March 2019) – and I know right now that I won’t be buying one at any time in the near future. The main reason that I keep my Fujis is because of their handling, their viewfinders and the lovely files that I get to make with them. Insosaying, (because its screen can be rather hard to see in sunlight) if the new GR had been designed and built with a finder (a la pop-up EFV on Sony’s RX100 MK3 and onwards) then I doubt that the X100/IR or the ‘T’ would get much handling. If the GR III is as good as it’s going to get, then I’m sorry Ricoh- you already got it bang-on with the first one – nuts, bolts, the lot. And I’m not moving. I mean, what would be the point?

R.
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In the Still of the Light | PT.IV | 720nm IR | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins

The Ruin at the Cross | Finale.


Having had the pleasure of trying out my new GR conversion last week, I now have the pleasure of sharing with you the last two infrared frames, bagged during my saunter around the old church at the Cross, not far from my home. I have always enjoyed how the GR allows me to reproduce texture, contrast and visual detail (though, ironically perhaps, I care little for actual sharpness) especially as I shoot almost exclusively for black and white and, having this second GR in my bag (or occasionally, my pocket) really does extend potentials for  light-weight, no-fuss photography  – both for visible-light captures and for alternative wavelengths. 

I hope that these frames are as pleasing to your eye, as they are to mine. (Roll on, spring).

R.

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(Both images photographed with a 450nm internally converted Ricoh GR, + front-mounted Hoya R72 IR filter.) 

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In the Still of the Light | PT.III | 720nm IR | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins

The Ruin at the Cross | PT.II.


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(Both images photographed with a 450nm internally converted Ricoh GR, + front-mounted Hoya R72 IR filter.) 


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In the Still of the Light | PT.II | 720nm Infrared | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, structures

The Ruin at the Cross | PT.I.


These two frames are a taster of perhaps a few more to come, from a nearby church ruin. The fact that this single-storey derelict has its windows boarded-up is a little bit of a mystery to me and, a slight disappointment as it does rather mean that I can’t use those wonderful apertures as any kind of focal-point in any of my pictures. On the other hand, I am forced to put in more effort in my search for pleasing angles and views, and on such a day, I couldn’t think of anything better to do, than just that. 

(Both images photographed with a 450nm internally converted Ricoh GR, + front-mounted Hoya R72 IR filter at 28mm.) 

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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.

35chronicle.113 (2)

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

35chronicle.113 (3)

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(For more images in this series, simple click on the ‘morton castle’ tag.)
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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