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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The Problem with Nostalgia | Personal Narrative | 35:Chronicle

black & white, personal, photography

Today is Saturday – Watch and Smile (& Other Memories).


I must have been only five years old when my family lived in that old Victorian flat. Across the road and only a fifty-yard hop and skip down it – was the infants’ school I had just started at, and next door, the Doctor, his wife and their two boys lived in their enormous four-story mansion. I mention this because, my father, who had his own Monday to Friday job, used to make extra money by hiring out his services as a builder and landscaper to friends and others he knew and, because during the seventies money was scarce and, he was never able to, well, relax. For as long as I knew him, he was either working at full-throttle or, asleep. On Saturdays, during the mid-seventies, from spring through to very late autumn, he would spend his hours right next door, working for the doctor. 

The grounds around the house were not surprisingly, huge. They were thickly bordered with all manner of shrubs and trees which we young boys would climb, hide in, build dens under and eat hurriedly thrown-together picnics inside – the lawns were perfectly trimmed and striped, ideal for boys’ games beneath a never ending summer sun and plenty of out-buildings to muck around in too. If it was raining, we’d remain indoors for the morning – shut ourselves in their playroom and watch TISWAS before venturing out to find something else to busy ourselves with, come rain or shine. Sometimes we’d help my father but moreover, he preferred to work on his own and I think the real reason that I was there was to give me a little play-time without him having to constantly watch over me. We never, as far as I can recall, got into any real scrapes. The house next door was a perfect retreat, a happy distraction and, I still miss those Saturdays. I only realised just how much – forty-four years later, when I visited Drumlanrig, not even a fortnight ago. 

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Echoes.

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Some two-hundred yards away from the main castle, towards the main road, sits this beautiful little bungalow, with its greenhouse almost twice the size of it; gravelled paths, shrubs, rustic borders and plenty of places to hide in, build yet more dens – and, to lark about under a bright and warm sky. I saw this place and every memory of those Saturdays came flooding back. The smell of the laurels, the sounds of crunching footfalls and the mysteries of what I didn’t yet know of what was around each next corner. As I approached the gate, I simply stood and – exhaled. The house here is markedly different from the mansion of my young-boy Saturdays, but this place echoes my past in ways I simply can’t explain any better. For a long time, well, ten minutes or thereabouts – I stood and just soaked it in, as best I could anyway. As much as I could, did not feel anything like enough, though. Some places speak to us, I suppose. Without rhyme or reason, without intention or provocation. Yet the voice is always my own.

As I leaned on the gate and grabbed a few frames, I was aware that I seemed to be exhaling far more litres of air than I was inspiring, in disbelief of the feelings invoked most probably – and as ridiculous as all of this may sound to some, many even or, to you, I felt alive, that both a joy and a sadness presided in me with such weight that I should even feel it now, enough to write a few words about it. You see, I’ll never know exactly what happened to my father and, there’s a natural feeling of disconnection that has presided in me all of my life – not because I want or need to know the details (I’ve had  one or two opportunities to find out, had a fear of the known not been so strong) but because I can’t ever remember him being the father I would have always imagined I’d have wanted or needed him to be. In some way – I think views such as this, places that so intimately mimic the more beautiful memories of a past so far removed from a life of responsibility, simply remind me that I came from somewhere.

And some of it was good. 

R.

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