June 30, 2012

Scotland XIX - The Journey East to Elgin (Fortrose to Elgin, Scotland)

Digital original
A line of trees beside Fortrose Cathedral (of which only two small buildings remain), Fortrose, Scotland. After a specific detail to the cathedral, I was disappointed to find it was only a couple of walls under a protective covering...the trees were cool though!
Digital original, 11 image exposure blend, 2 frame stitch
When I visited Elgin in 2008, I just loved photographing in the chapter house (the only part of the cathedral preserved when it was abandoned after the reformation. The only frustration was the limitation of my camera and lens system. This time, I had a 17mm tilt-shift lens, which permitted me even more dramatic composition than those made four years earlier.
Digital original
Though the Cathedral was abandoned in 1560, it seems that burials continued on the site for some time after...this detail is from one such tomb.

June 29, 2012

Scotland XVIII - The Drive home (Lewis and Harris, Scotland)

Digital original
I spent a good fifteen minutes photographing this abandoned croft below Aird Leimhe, on the Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides. I would have enjoyed photographing inside it too...except it was full of a good number of dead sheep...rotting.
Digital orignial
During the drive home across Lewis and Harris, I continually stopped (when possible) to photograph; the afternoon weather rapidly changed from bright and sunny on moment to overcast and moody the next. In this case, just as I was photographing this view north over Harrier, the sun came out and warmed up the distant hill side.
Digital original
Just as I turned onto the peninsula upon which I was staying, I caught a glimpse of this multi-layered landscape. The four layers of mountains were captivating, and forced me to pull over and back track on foot to find the perfect place to make the image from.

June 28, 2012

Scotland XVII - The Blackhouses of Lewis (Garenin, Lewis, Scotland)

Digital original
 The roofs of the blackhouses at Garenin, on the isle of Lewis, in the outer Hebrides. Although the Lewis blackhouses have a look of real antiquity, most of the upstanding ruins were built less than 150 years ago. Many were still roofed until the 1970s but without the necessary annual repairs deteriorated rapidly; as people moved into more modern dwellings with indoor plumbing and better heating, most have fallen into ruin. However, blackhouses are increasingly being restored, especially for use as holiday accommodation.
Digital original
The blackhouses on the Isle of Lewis have roofs thatched with cereal straw over turf and thick, stone-lined walls with an earthen core. Roof timbers rise from the inner face of the walls providing a characteristic ledge at the wall head (tobhta). This gives access to the roof for thatching. Both the animals and occupants shared the same door, living at different ends of the same space. Several long ranges, or rooms, were usually built alongside each other, each one having its own ridgeline giving them the very distinctive look of the Lewis blackhouse.
Digital original
A side effect of the wet environment of Scotland.

June 27, 2012

Scotland XVI - Exploring Harris (Harris, Scotland)

Digital original
A constant theme during the explorations of the Outer Hebrides was stopping to photograph from the road. The mist and hills of the isle of Harris were really enjoyable to explore with a camera.
Digital original, 2 frame exposure blend
In contrast to all the right landscape, there wasn't much in the way of historical ruins or sites to photograph. This image was made in one of the only historic buildings outside of the capitals; it is of Alasdair Crotach’s wall tomb in St Clement’s Church, in Rodel, on the isle of Harris, outer Hebrides.
Digital original, 4 frame image blend
After finishing photographing in the church, just as I came out there was a beautiful cloud of birds in the fog above a nearby house.

June 26, 2012

Scotland XV - Neolithic Lewis (Lower Shader and Carloway, Lewis, Scotland)

Digital infrared original, 3 frame stitch
While it is called the Steinacleit Stone Circle, it may actually have been a tomb, or a farm house - no-one actually knows. Lower Shader, isle of Lewis, outer Hebrides.
Digital infrared original, 4 frame exposure blend, 3 frame stitch
My favourite image from the 2012 Scotland trip so far…a wonderful space with an almost perfect sky for infrared. A three-frame stitch assembled from five frames in total.
Digital infrared original, 4 frame stitch
The iron age brochs that are scattered over western Scotland are probably the most resonant places in the world for me. They feel so magical and timeless, and are just awe inspiring to behold. The broch at Carloway, on the isle of Lewis, in the outer Hebrides.

June 25, 2012

Scotland XIV - Exploring Lewis (Stornoway and Callanish, Lewis, Scotland)

Digital original, 4 frame exposure blend, 4 image stitch
This building is part of the Second World fort above Downies Harbour on Arnish Point, Stornoway, Lewis, outer Hebrides. I've photographed the parallel fortification to these around Halifax, in Nova Scotia, so it was really enjoyable to work with something both familiar, and new at the same time.
Digital original
When I was visiting Scotland in 2008, a friend explained the evolution of the roof in the hightlands; before the 1900’s, there was thatch, then in the early 1900’s (1920 if I recall correctly) came corrugated iron, and as the economy grew, eventually slate. Old buildings either have no roof (which might be because it was thatch, and rotted or burned away), or iron, like this abandoned croft. Looking towards Loch Achmore, on the isle of Lewis, outer Hebrides.
Digital infrared original, 2 frame stitch
The standing stones of Callanish III (Cnoc Filibhir Bheag), Lewis, in the outer Hebrides. There are actually 17 stones in the circle, forming a double ellipse with two concentric circles within an inner cove. Without a doubt, one of the most haunting spaces I have photographed.

June 24, 2012

Scotland XIII - A Drive South on Harris (Harris, Scotland)

Digital original

One of the most incredible skies I have ever seen in my life! I just had enough time to make this image before it disappeared, but it was magical just to behold, and I was lucky I got the image I did.
Digital original, 2 frame stitch
While it is not common, there are times when a photographer can tell an image they are making is really strong, and this was one of those times. At the time, I wasn't certain if it would will stay in colour, or be converted into black and white, but this beautiful shallow pool was just the perfect subject to work with!

Scotland XII (Elgol to Uig, Skye, Scotland)

Digital original, 4 frame stitch

As we drove out of Elgol, the morning mist was still drifting by Beinn na Callich, so we pulled the cars to the side of ther road, and made some very delicate landscapes.
Digital original
After the image of the cow on the beach made earlier in the week, I thought I wouldn't make another cow photo to compare for some time, but on the drive out of Elgol, we stopped and photographed a small heard which was resting right by the road. This classic portrait really pleases me, and is a great contrast to the beach image (the lens difference along sets the two apart).
Digital infrared, 2 frame stitch
The last location I photographed on the way to Uig was the Fairy Glen; I spent close to an hour walking around,, both enjoying the space, and photographing it. After scrambling up and around Castle Ewen, a large rock outcrop, it turned out the best images of it were from below.

June 23, 2012

Scotland XI (Elgol to Neist Point, Skye, Scotland)

Digital original

On the last full day of the photo tour of Skye, I took the participants down to the beach in the morning, to continue exploring the possibilities. After a long discussion about tilt-shift lenses, I made this to demonstrate their potential, extending the depth of field from the seaweed covered rock in front of me to the horizon at f/16 (when I had no tilt on the lens, the depth of field ran out before the stones of the beach met the ocean.
Digital infrared, 2 frame stitch
I photographed Dun Beag Broch in 2008, both as a ruin, and as an environment in which to set the Nude, when I worked with R_. On this visit, the sky was just fabulous, making infrared the obvious camera of choice.
Digital original, 2 frame exposure blend, 2 frame stitch
The last photographs of the day were made on the western-most point on Skye, The lighthouse at Neist Point, built in 1090, is beautifully situated, and viewable from a high cliff on the shore.

June 22, 2012

Scotland X (Loch Cill Chrisod to the Aird of Sleat, Skye, Scotland)

Digital original
The shore of Loch Cill Chriosd, Skye with Beinn na Callich in the background (this give some idea of how low the water levels were during the week in Skye!).
Digital original
A view across Loch Hourn, from near Aird of Sleat, Skye.
Digital original
This lovely door, with a brass handle matching the worn paint and grass beside, just had to be photographed.

June 21, 2012

Scotland IX (Storr to Loch Ainort, Skye, Scotland)

Digital original, 3 frame stitch
My second time climbing Storr was no less magical than the first; the weather was much better, and for most of the walk I was in a t-shirt and shorts. A view to the south-west from the Storr, Skye.
Digital original
I am a sucker for worn doors...I do with there wasn't the modern hasp and lock, but even with it, the image has a simplicity which I really enjoy.
Digital original
A view across Loch Ainort made an hour after sunset.

June 20, 2012

Scotland VIII (Cill Chriosd to Elgol, Skye, Scotland)

Digital infrared original
 A relatively recent grave, Cill Chriosd, Skye.
Digital original, 3 frame stitch
When we drove pas this lock, the water looked like glass; we quickly found a place to part, and moments later half-a-dozen photographers were clambering to make the most of the moment. Not five minutes later, the wind came up, and the magic was over.
Digital original, 12 frame exposure blend, 3 frame stitch
Looking across Loch Scavaig, from Elgol towards the Black Cuillins.

June 19, 2012

Scotland VII (Elgol, Skye to Glenelg, Scotland)

Digital original
On our drive out of Elgol in the morning, the light on Beinn na Callich was fabulous, demanding we take the time out of our drive to the mainland to make some photrographs.
Digital infrared original, two frame stitch
The broch at Dun Telve, Glenelg. One of my favorite places on earth.
Digital original
The peaks of the Black Cuillins after sunset as seen from Elgol, Skye.

June 18, 2012

Scotland VI (Elgol to Duntulm, Skye, Scotland)

Digital original
One of the most unexpected photos from this trip to Scotland was of the cow on the beach; we were having breakfast, overlooking Elgol bay, when the highland cattle, on mass, began to walk down to the beach. With no hesitation, grabbed my camera gear and headed down to the beach - and a minute later, was mere feet away from the big beastie!
Digital original
As the first day of a week long photo tour of Skye and Western Scotland, the first order was to give the students a quick look at the island. One of the first stops was this dramatic view of the Trotternish Peninsula, looking north.
Digital original
The end of the day saw the students and I at the north end of Skye, photographing the evening and sunset over the Outer Hebredies.While most of the focus was on the view to the west, looking back to Northern Sky revealed a beautiful sky, which I was quick to record.

June 16, 2012

Scotland V - Driving North West (Glen Coe to to Elgol, Skye, Scotland)

Digital original
The pass of Glen Coe; in 2008 I drove through this twice, but never felt I caught the ambiance of the location; this time, even with the rain, I think I did better.
Digital original, 2 frame exposure blend, 2 frame stitch
The beach at Elgol, looking towards the Black Cuillins. I photographed this basic composition (with the curving arc of stone in the foreground) three separate times over the week I stayed in Elgol, and have get to determine which I prefer.
Digital original
A view of the other end of the beach at Elgol, using a 1000x neutral density filter to give the water some magic.

June 15, 2012

Scotland IV - The Drive North-West (Doune Castle to Kilchurn Castle, Scotland)

Digital infrared original
Visiting Doune Castle was fabulous - having grown up with Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it was fabulous to walk through the same spaces that the Python's filmed parts of the movie.
Digital original
The stairs within Doune Castle were just fabulous to photograph.
Digital infrared original, 3 frame stitch
When I visited Scotland in 2008, I photographed Kilchurn Castle from across the Loch, but this trip there was plenty of time to explore the castle. I spent close to an hour walking around the ruin, photographing it from pretty much every angle.

Scotland III - St. Gilles Cathedral (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Digital original, 17 frame exposure blend, 3 frame stitch
The roof of the nave in St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh.
Digital original, 16 frame exposure blend, 3 frame stitch
The Thistle Chapel in St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. Completed in 1911, the chapel is used by the Knights of the Thistle, Scotland’s order of chivalry. Though small, it is in 15th century high Gothic style and full of elaborate carvings in wood and stone and of colourful heraldry.
Digital original, 9 frame exposure blend
Though St. Giles Cathedral is relatively small, it was a real pleasure to photograph in. The warm red sandstone gives it a different feel from any of the other cathedrals I've photographed to date.