A Change of Direction

Sometimes, one’s photography takes quite a turn.

A few years ago, I was all interested in large-format landscape work, when a fellow member of the photo-club inadvertently threw the spanner in the works by saying his particular approach gave results that represented how he felt at a given scene. Hang around: how come every LF landscapie I know feels exactly the same way then, if that way is defined by 5×4 format, tripod low on the ground, golden-hours (normally morning, strangely), portrait orientation, near-mid-far, Fuji Velvia film, grad-ND sky and rear-tilt perspective, amongst other things? Having seen that as a clique fashion rather than individual expression, I rejected it and promptly went digital, making a photo a day using overcast dull light to show the shapes of trees in the local woodland realistically.

Last Saturday marked something of a milestone: 4 years of posting a daily photo on Blipfoto. Over time, the idea of forcing a photo a day (especially one as considered and well-processed as I strived to achieve) has become artistically unhealthy and my enthusiasm for the site has waned considerably, so I called it a day.

In some ways, the future looks to be a return to landscape; certainly I intend shooting a lot more of it than I have previously, but I’m intending letting the inspiration drive matters not forcing it by the calendar. I’m hoping to post more often on this blog as well, but using the real camera as well as the mobile, so there’s been a bit of re-branding happening too…

So it was, on Sunday afternoon, with head slightly reeling from the decision, I set off with Dog for an afternoon stroll, with no idea how far or where we’d go except that I wanted it to be a long walk. And it was the longest we’ve been on since moving here, I think – left Portpatrick and walked past the golf course to Port Mora where I usually turn inland and walk through the Dunskey Glen, but this time I continued past Port Kale and the transmission huts (where cables came ashore for monitoring communication during the Troubles in Northern Ireland)…

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Transmission huts in Port Kale, outside Portpatrick

…and with a bit of determined plodding along the Southern Upland Way, the next thing we saw was Kilantringan Lighthouse in the distance.

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Kilantringan Lighthouse along the Southern Upland Way, black and white with my favoured platinum toning

It took 2.5 hours, so probably 8 miles or thereabouts, given very few photo-stops and some leisurely steep bits.

All in all, an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Solar Halo

It’s one of the more common atmospheric-optical phenomena, but I still had to stop and admire this ring of colour in the wispy clouds, sun hidden behind the chimneys.

Solar Halo

What It Looks Like

Two views of Portpatrick from the middle of the harbour; one taken on the mobile and processed as usual with snapseed:



and the other on the Sony NEX-7 with an ND1000 filter to give a long exposure brushed silver water and hint of movement in the clouds, processed with Photivo and Darktable (amongst other things):

Portpatrick Harbour under a mackerel sky

Portpatrick Harbour under a mackerel sky

A Democracy

For the past month or so, my Facebook and Twitter streams have been fairly awash with politics – several positions represented from `at least do something’ to more specific suggestions. And so one’s braincell has been suitably spinning with big ideas of economy and nation-states, social equality, whether proportional representation is the right model for governance, whether one can apply `reduce,reuse,recycle’ to politicians, and all sorts of things.

What you actually get is the local defence budget blown on no fewer than 8 A4 printed direction signs guiding you 20yd into the village hall, finishing with “Queue Here” taped down a table-leg.

A Democracy

A Democracy

“I’m being a queue.”

Ten seconds later the two elderly ladies gave up personning the stall and came out to talk to Dog instead.

A View Down a Hole

My most popular photo on flickr, Raw, is a view taken an increasing number of years ago, as the light faded, looking down a big hole in the ground – the gorge below the lower bridge at the Falls of Bruar.

Today, whilst strolling along with Dog, I looked over some railings in the village carpark to another small gorge, and saw the cloud iridescence above me, reflected in a pool, the surrounding rocks draped with slimy green moss. How elegant…

Shades of pastel colours

Shades of pastel colours

A Bit Spooky

I’ve taken a few photos of these small waterfalls since the start of the year. This time, I went for the context of the surrounding caves as well, and just for a change, shot it using the new mobile phone camera before processing as an HDR panorama.
Port Mora, along the Southern Upland Way from Portpatrick.

Waterfall and Caves

Wee Waterfall

I’ve made a few photos of this waterfall since the start of the year: it might only be small, located a long walk away from home in the corner of Port Mora bay beside a cave, but being my own discovery makes it more favourite than some of the other waterfalls in Galloway.

SRB ND1000 filter, two frames at 30s each; experimenting with a fairly thick-black tonality and the 6×7 portrait aspect-ratio.

Wee Waterfall

Wee Waterfall

Ways of Looking at a Bollard

Well, they say photography is partly about seeing interest in mundane things. So here are five views of a simple bit of street-furniture:

  1. fisheye, defished – for an ultrawide distorted effect, the bollard in its context
  2. minimalist – all distracting elements removed for a pure study of lines
  3. abstract – reduced to a pattern of lines, curves and textures (two of these)
  4. telephoto – from afar, with moderate context

All are black and white, HDR made from 3 frames bracketed +/-1EV.

Beyond these Shores

A simple comparison today, the same scene seen two ways.

First, colour. The camera chose a fairly cool whitebalance, which lends itself to a purply-blue tint reminiscent of certain slide films of old:

Sunlight on water

And this is what can be made of it – a much shinier, silvery monochrome rendition, the punchy contrast emphasizing the foreground rock shapes:

Sunlight on water

Both have their merits – you can favour whichever you wish!

Technical details:
Sony NEX-7;
an HDR of 3 frames: ISO 100, f/10, for 1/125, 1/250, 1/60s exposure times;
processed in RawTherapee, blended in enfuse, manipulated in darktable.




No more sun, no more wind.
Only a strange feeling
leaving without moving
I’ll try another world
and the sky slowly fades in my mind
just like a memory.

– Eric Serra, My Lady Blue, from The Big Blue.

Misty Morning

I think this is the best misty morning I’ve seen in nearly a year of living around Portpatrick – the fog’s not lifted all day. Naturally it made for some great photo opportunities this morning too.