Concerning Rocks

Some years ago I had a passing interest in the abstract shapes and forms rocks can take. 

Recently I was out on the Aberdeenshire coast hunting photos with a friend, who, being impressed with the rocky coastline, wondered exactly where the Highland Boundary Fault emerged at its most north-eastern extremity.

After a bit of research (particularly exploring using the BGS‘s iGeology app), I tracked it to a small headland, Garron Point, beside the golf club outside Stonehaven.

From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but on closer inspection it is awesome.

There are actually two faults – a small one at the north-eastern end of Craigeven Bay corner with Garron Point, forming a small spur off the Highland Boundary Fault which clips the coastline from the town out to sea.

On the lowland side the bedrock is metabasalt, psammite and pelite (North Esk formation) – metamorphic bedrock formed around 461-485MYa in the Ordovician period. On the highland side is gritty psammite (Glen Lethnot grit formation) – around 541-1000MYa.

The fault itself can be tracked to a matter of a few feet – a view from beside one of the golf greens shows the junction of both faults, with a strip of incredibly deformed grey rock leading away some meters rather like a line of chewing-gum.

Some of the most impressive rock outcrops I know. Toward the top-right of the frame – those cliffs are tall, especially from below! – a small fault runs diagonally down to the spray of water and out the left side; from front to back, a line of deformed pale grey rock only a foot or two wide, twisted like chewing gum, marks the Highland Boundary Fault at its most narrow only metres away from its most north-eastern extremity on land, at Garron Point headland near Stonehaven. The gnarly shapes of psammite (metamorphosed medium-grained grey former sandstone) and micro-basalt are awesome.

My favourite image is an abstract closeup – purply-red microbasalt meeting gritty blue-green psammite in a spray of cracks and marbling lines.

Prints are available on my ShinyPhoto photo gallery: Under Pressure

Perhaps the clearest view into the workings of the Highland Boundary Fault I can think of. On the left, red-purple microbasalt (its fine cuboidal structure putting me in mind of streaky thick bacon); elsewhere the blue-green-grey of psammite and pelite, medium- to fine-grained metamorphosed former sandstones. All jumbled together with fine cracks and lines of marble hinting at the pressures involved.

Birnam Hill: Winter

A couple of weeks ago in the middle of December, we were treated to a quick overnight blast of snow. It remains my favourite season for photography, so I staggered up Birnam Hill to fly in the late afternoon light.

Landscapes:

Straight-down abstracts – trees and outlines of the Birnam Burn flowing through the snow:

Ground-level tree abstracts:

As an experiment to help learn my way around the Shotcut video editor, I made a short video of the area too:

Twilight

Some more tests of the Fuji X-T20 in low light conditions.

Summer has the worst daytime light for photography with harsh shadows and washed-out pale tones; however I love the night sky with its permanent twilight (at this latitude) giving cobalt blue sky with hints of the sun’s warmth just below the horizon.

Plus it’s more comfortable than winter astrophotography ­čśë

Three studies in cloud structure – nature’s abstract patterns and a tiny blob of light of a hamlet across Strathearn:

Continuing the anthropocene-influence theme, glorious blue, red and pale clouds in an orange-tinged sky against a tiny pylon breaking the horizon:

The Pylon

The Pylon

 

 

Devoid

An exercise in uniformity: over┬áthe course of three days, I took the camera out for an hour’s walk, using the same settings (28mm f/3.5, auto-ISO, centre-zone auto-focussing) and took snaps – free-form composition, quickly grabbed, around the streets and countryside surrounding┬áAuchterarder and in woodland outside Cambusbarron, Stirling. Every image was processed using the same settings in RawTherapee (with slight changes to exposure) and the same black+white sepia-toning.

From each day I chose the best 19 and averaged them with enfuse, slightly tweaked the contrast. Presented together they give an impression of abstract canvas texture with the merest hints of structure. 

Wet Reflections

Just a couple of photos from a stroll beside a burn down the bottom end of town today at lunchtime – not great light, in fact it was beginning to rain. But if looking up doesn’t work, look down and take abstract photos of trees reflected in the burn instead…

West Woods of Ethie

My friend Tom and I went for a stroll in the West Woods of Ethie in Angus. Not a woodland I’d encountered before, but it was quite magical in some ways – quite conscious of lurching from one clearing to another, surrounded by the characteristic shapes of beech trees in their green and yellow-orange autumn plumage.

For a slightly more immersive view of the woods… click this and wait a while ­čÖé

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Perth close-ups: floral colour

The last in a short series of photos from a stroll around Perth.

These are all processed slightly differently from my usual workflow – instead of darktable, I used RawTherapee with a film emulation (allegedly Fuji Provia). As with the others in this series, all images were made on a Helios 58mm f/2 prime lens, pretty wide open.

Ashford Bobbin Mill

A study in decay.

A listed historical building dating from around 1870, the Arkwright Society had a go at restoring this old bobbin mill near Sheldon in the late 70s, but nature seems to be winning again.