Cultybraggan Camp

Another set from a photo-excursion in May this year, directly contrasting with the pleasure of nature’s bluebells earlier in the day.

Cultybraggan is situated just outside village of Comrie. It was first used as a prisoner of war (PoW) camp during World War II and then became an Army training area before housing a Royal Observer Corps nuclear monitoring post and a Regional Government Headquarters. The camp ceased to be used by the military in 2004 and is now owned by the Comrie Development Trust.

The camp is also right on the line of the Highland Boundary Fault, running from Glen Artney straight through the camp and up through Dalginross and along the A85 through Strathearn.

Unusually for me, I’m trying a little artistic experiment – overlaying the same texture of trees (taken much more recently in Glen Lyon) over images, to see what can be made of it.

Around St Fillan’s

Loch Earn is still an idyllic scene despite everyone stopping to take photos in St Fillan’s. Herewith, two obvious views:

Personally, I like this view instead:

People Watching / People Watching

People Watching / People Watching

There’s a time-/context-axis running from the far distance – first there was the landscape, then there was Robert Mulholland’s statue Still, then there’s people taking photos of it, then there’s me shooting them. All things considered, a bit “meta”.

Bird on a Wire

It had to be done:

"Bird on a Wire"

“Bird on a Wire”


A few days ago a contact on flickr observed I’d entitled a photo in a rather perfunctory fashion, `A Tree‘. The tree itself is relatively characterful, branches blown according to the prevailing wind direction into an exuberant tentacle-waving display; the work that went into the processing of that image was, as usual, significant: it’s a vertorama, the presets used for each image evolved for optimum image quality, the stitching took time, and a lot of time was spent choosing the filtering, black&white conversion and toning.

One thing I noticed about competitions in photography clubs is a distinct tendency for photos to be awarded higher marks according to the literality of their titles relative to their physical subject-matter. This was irksome at the time (as I’m currently “between clubs”), but on a little thought I’ve realised there are several styles of titling photos:

  • one layer of abstraction towards a concept: “dreich”
  • literal: “sparrow”, “buzzard”, “dandelion”
  • understated – perhaps textual / ideological minimalism parallel to the photographic aesthetic
  • cynical, throw-away or orthogonal (e.g. “Untitled” or using the camera’s sequence-numbered filename)
  • outright cliché

Some photos just fall straight into the latter category. No amount of grungy texture-blending processing is going to stop people seeing my photo of the day today and superstitiously muttering the incantation, “bird on a wire”; a Google image-search brings up an entire page full of similar images, differing mostly in the number of birds involved. Similarly, there’s something in the shared photographer psyche that instantly entitles any example of wabi-sabi as “seen better days”. Googling that is left as an exercise for the reader.

More to the point, if a photographer (or their editor) has sufficient lack of background story to entitle such a shot otherwise, should it have been taken except for the sake of adding to one’s collection?

I’m up to 7 birds on the wire now and they’ve changed into pigeons.

Morning Blur

Having discovered one or two people on Blipfoto who use it, I’m finding intentional camera movement (ICM) interesting as a means of artistic expression. 

I make at least one photo per day; a few weeks ago I settled on wiggly wednesday as a theme – the results arising from multiple images taken with random camera movement, chosen for their visceral response, blended together and toned black&white as always. Making it a “Wednesday” thing is a great way to balance exploring the effect regularly with not overdoing it to the point of boredom.

Anyway, this morning I discovered it’s also viable on the mobile phone – in low light of a dull day among the trees its automatic exposures were long enough to let rip and see what happened.

Motion-blurred ferns/bracken

(two frames blended in the Gimp and toned and processed in Darktable).