Musselburgh Lagoons

The Hasselblad Xpan is a tremendous camera and one that I had wanted for a long time, so when one came up for a ridiculously low price I jumped on it immediately. For those who don't know the Xpan shoots in a panoramic aspect ratio using two frames of 35mm film together. Sure, most phones can do panoramas these days but that involves the stitching together of multiple images which brings with it problems such as warping and distortion, not to mention it makes capturing a scene with movement impossible since each picture is being taken at a different time. That's the beauty of the Xpan, it shoots true panoramas all with the ease of use of a rangefinder camera so you can capture a panoramic scene exactly as it looked. Anyway, enough technical talk, here's some pictures I took on my first trip out with the Xpan when my friend Kelly and I went for a walk along the Musselburgh Lagoons.

Whiteadder Reservoir

Early one morning back in June of last year I took a drive up to Whiteadder Reservoir. It's a lovely piece of land situated in the Lammermuir Hills. I remember going there with my Mum, Dad and sister when I was young and back then the drive seemed to take hours. In reality it's only about half an hour away and the drive itself is a nice one. On this particular day there was no one there except for a couple of fisherman, and when it's this quiet it really is quite idyllic.

All colour shots taken with my Mamiya 7ii and Kodak Ektar. All black and white with my Mamiya 645 Pro and Ilford HP5+. Development and scanning by Canadian Film Lab.

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Seacliff

After visiting Gosford Estate earlier in the day we took a drive along to Seacliff Beach, a private beach near North Berwick. Apparently, I had been here before when I was little but I have no memory of it. It's a very nice secluded place and good for a quiet stroll. 

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I loved the wispy clouds and the patterns on the sand. I seem to like taking pictures of Bass Rock but it's not my fault, it's visible from so many places! Unfortunately, it wasn't focused very well but I like it nonetheless. 

I loved the wispy clouds and the patterns on the sand. I seem to like taking pictures of Bass Rock but it's not my fault, it's visible from so many places! Unfortunately, it wasn't focused very well but I like it nonetheless. 

The lighthouse is way too small in the frame for this composition but it was the water on the sand mimicking the clouds that caught my eye.

The lighthouse is way too small in the frame for this composition but it was the water on the sand mimicking the clouds that caught my eye.

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After a walk on the beach we set out to find Seacliff House. From the beach it isn't immediately clear where it is, as it isn't very visible. The following pictures are some of the things that we saw during our search for the house.

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After a bit searching we managed to find it. Here is a little history about the house taken from www.scotland.org.uk:

Seacliff House was built in 1750 by Robert Colt. It was later bought by George Sligo who in 1841 employed the Scottish architect David Bryce to build a new house in a typically Victorian baronial style around the core of the older house. However, in 1907 it was gutted by fire. The exterior survives almost complete with gables, turrets and bartizans. The outbuildings were later purchased by the Royal Navy who established a top-secret research base there during World War I. The station, known as HMS Scottish Seacliff, was mainly used for navigation training and U-Boat defence.

These days the house has been reclaimed by nature and the exterior is covered in ivy.

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The light was fading fast and we had to leave before they closed access to the area (it's a private beach and area) so I didn't manage to take as many pictures as I would have liked. However, it was still well worth the visit. There's just something about places like this that fascinate me. Once owned by people, now owned by nothing but nature. Gives me a sort of post-apocalyptic feeling.

All images taken with my Contax G2 and Portra 400 except for the last three which were taken with my Mamiya 7ii and Fuji 400H. Developed and scanned by the amazing Canadian Film Lab.

Gosford Estate

Sometime last year I went for a walk around Gosford Estate with my Mum. It's a really lovely place to go for a walk on a nice day, so I'd recommend doing so if you ever get the chance. Unfortunately, access to the ponds was closed due to flooding when we were there, so I'd quite like to back one day to have a wander around that area.

This first image is of Wemyss Mausoleum. It was built to be the burial place for the 7th Earl of Wemyss and his family but only the Earl himself ended up being buried inside. I don't usually post multiple pictures of the same thing but I thought it was worthwhile in this instance, so here's a few different views of the Mausoleum.

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My Mum loves daffodils, so when she saw this little area in Gosford Estate she asked me to take her picture and I'm glad she did as I think it turned out beautifully. It's really the first time I've taken a proper portrait since I started shooting film, sure I've taken the odd quick picture of people, but I haven't really taken my time with one nor have I went out with the sole purpose of shooting portraits. Hopefully that's something I can do soon.

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One of the main attractions of Gosford Estate is its beautiful Neoclassical mansion. Gosford House was constructed for the 7th Earl of Wemyss and designed by Scottish architect Robert Adam. It was completed in the year 1800.

Thought this rundown old tractor was really cool.

I had no idea until afterwards that my two friends Kelly and Lee lived in the next two houses pictured. Quite nice to accidentally get a little glimpse into people's pasts.

The next three images would have been perfect together had I taken them all from exactly the same perspective, but I wasn't thinking about that at the time. Nonetheless, I still really like how each turned out. They were taken along a stretch of what I assume is garages/storage and I just picked out the parts I found pleasing to the eye.

All images were taken with my Mamiya 7ii and Fuji 400H.

Pentlands & Scald Law

The day after wandering around Saltoun Woods, Craig and I went for a little jaunt around The Pentlands. We would eventually climb Scald Law, which is the highest hill in The Pentlands, but we walked around a bit beforehand and found a really great vantage point of Glencourse Reservoir where I managed to get some nice shots.

All pictures made with my Mamiya 7ii and 65mm lens. Film stocks used were Portra 400 and Delta 400.

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This one was taken just a little bit along from the previous shot but I wanted to include it because of the sheep and the lovely streak of sunlight.

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I was really happy with how these black and white shots turned out. Delta 400 seems like a nice film and did a lovely job of showing the sections of light and shade painting the hills of The Pentlands.

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The next couple of shots are taken with my Olympus Trip 35 since I needed to finish the roll from the previous day. Such a great little camera.

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Saltoun Big Wood

A few months back Craig and I went a little trek through Saltoun Woods. The weather was all over the place, bright sun, heavy rain and the odd sun shower. As a result I didn't want to take any of my more expensive cameras so I brought along my trusty Canon AE-1 Program and my untested Olympus Trip 35. Probably not my best day of shooting but I think I still got some decent images, so hopefully you like them.

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Mamiya 7ii

Naturally, due to the nature of film, you are always a little bit behind when it comes to the sharing of your images. Recently though, I've fallen way behind with my blog posts and as such I'll likely post quite a few in quick succession to catch up. These pictures are from when I went out a drive to test my newly acquired (well it was in March) Mamiya 7ii. It's a camera I'd always wanted and I managed to get it for an absolute steal. Anyway, here's a handful of the test shots that I took that day.

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Happy Accidents

You never want anything to go wrong with your film or camera but on the rare occasion it does it can produce some wonderful results. This next series of images are from the same day as a previous set (Calton Hill) but from a different camera, my Yashica Electro 35 GT. About halfway through the roll I felt something go wrong but kept shooting anyways. Turns out the film wasn't advancing properly so the frames ended up overlapping in really interesting ways. These are the happy accidents that were produced. I think they look really cool.

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Aberlady Bay

This next series of images are from when my Mum and I went for an afternoon walk along Aberlady Bay. In 1952 it became the UK's first Local Nature Reserve. All images were taken with my Contax G2 and Kodak Ektar 100 except for the last two which were taken with my Konica Pop and Fujicolor C200.

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Loved the way the shadows fell on the bridge.

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Beautiful view on what was a beautiful day. I feel this one really shows how great a film stock Ektar is, such great colours.

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Been trying my hand at shooting some minimal stuff here and there. I feel like my eye for seeing those kind of compositions out in the world is improving.

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A lone swan.

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Another minimal landscape. I love shots like this.

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To finish off this set of pictures from Aberlady Bay I'm going to post a couple from a quick test roll I shot on my Konica Pop. The Konica Pop is about as "point and shoot" as they come with fixed focus and exposure. The pictures it produces tend to have a lovely soft, lo-fi look to them.

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3 Pals, 2 Rolls of Film and 1 Cat

Back in March I went to visit Adam and Emily to see their new cat Peco. I thought it would be a good idea to test some faster speed films handheld in dim light so I brought along my Contax T2 loaded with Delta 3200 and my Contax G2 with Cinestill 800T (pushed to 1600). At the time I didn't realise Delta 3200's true speed was 1000 so I shot it at box speed but despite that fact, I think they turned out really well. Sure, they are grainy but I think it's a pleasant grain. The pictures are mostly snapshots so don't expect my best work, but with that being said, I think I managed to get some really nice ones of Peco and his humans.

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As you may have noticed the Cinestill shots have some purple spots/blotches in them which is something that can happen, apparently. Despite that though, I thought it did a lovely job and produced a unique look, especially with the shots of Adam and Emily in the bathroom.

Roslin Glen

A few months back my Mum, Dad, Auntie, Uncle and I spent the day wandering Roslin Glen.

This first shot shows the lovely curve of the bridge leading into the ruins of Roslin (or Rosslyn) Castle, you may recognise it from The Da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou did a scene here. The castle dates to various periods due to fires and sieges meaning it had to be rebuilt/repaired numerous times over the centuries. However, the ruins at the end of the bridge in the picture are the oldest part of the castle still standing and date back to early 14th century.

The only surviving building is the house you see in the background. It was built by William Sinclair when he extended the castle between 1582 and 1597. These days the house is available for lease by the Landmark Trust on behalf of the Earl of Rosslyn.

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From left to right - My Dad, Auntie, Uncle and Mum standing in the arches of the Castle's west curtain wall.

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The jagged roof and worn exterior of the house.

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After a quick look at the castle we went for a walk around the rest of Roslin Glen. Thought the way these two trees had become entwined was nice.

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Ideally I would have preferred the cars weren't in this one but I liked the look of this building with the posts out front so I tried to make the composition work with them.

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As we went deeper into the Glen I switched over to my Contax G2 with Provia 400X. It was my first time using slide film and in terms of exposures I think I did OK considering.

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Roslin Glen Gunpowder Mill, opened between 1801 and 1803. I'm not going to go into the history of the place since I wasn't happy with the shots I took of it (see below) and I plan to go back and focus solely on photographing it, rather than taking a handful and continuing our walk as was the case on this day.

I must say that I think Provia 400X is my least favourite film I've used so far. It looks decent at times but in general I was really disappointed with how the images on this roll turned out. That's not to say it's entirely the film's fault, some were just poor and others poorly exposed and just down to my inexperience with slide film. Definitely not writing Provia off, as I may like it shot under different circumstances but I won't be sharing many images from this roll.

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The texture of this tree was so strange. It almost looks cel shaded.

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After visiting the Roslin Gunpowder Mill we started making our way back through the Glen towards Rosslyn Chapel. For the walk back I shot a roll of Acros 100 in my Contax G2.

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We eventually made our way back to Rosslyn Chapel and went into the visitor centre for something to eat. The visitor centre is a beautifully designed building and before we went in I took this picture of it.

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Impressive wooden beam ceiling inside the Rosslyn Chapel vistor centre.

Took a few minutes to get this one as I wanted both my Dad on the right and the woman on the left to be drinking whilst the guy behind the counter was standing where I wanted him. Luckily it worked out and in the process I got a nice picture of my Dad

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These actually have monitors inside but I managed to capture them in a way that makes them look like some kind of abstract art piece.

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After having something to eat at the visitor centre we paid our money and went out to have a look at the Chapel. First thing I noticed was the lovely wee cottage peeking over the wall. After a bit of research I found out it is called Collegehill House (formerly the Roslin Inn) and up to 6 people can stay there for 4 nights for £335.

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Rosslyn Chapel is a 15th century Chapel located in the village of Roslin. I took quite a few photos of the impressive exterior but you weren't allowed to take photos inside, but I may or may not have broken that rule with some well timed coughs from my Mother and Auntie covering the sound of my camera's shutter. Unfortunately, none of them came out very well since I couldn't look through the viewfinder.

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The Chapel has beautiful architecture all around it with intricate stonework and some unusual colours.

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The more I look at the pictures I took of the Chapel the more I realise I didn't really get the wide shots I wanted, partly due to not having a enough space with the 80mm on my Mamiya 645. The ones I did get were rushed with my Contax G2. Think I'd like to go back and take my time since I only spent about 15 minutes outside before going inside. I'd recommend visiting for yourself to see the inside since it's very impressive. Also worth a visit if you read/watched The Da Vinci Code since it has links to the Holy Grail, The Knights Templar and is where part of the film was shot.

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The Town On T-Max

Following our little jaunt up Calton Hill, my Mum, Dad, Auntie and I went a walk around the outskirts of the city centre. I felt this was a good opportunity to load my Contax T2 with Kodak's T-Max 100 and try to shoot some street photography/architectural stuff. T-Max is a black and white film that I was really looking forward to trying and I'm glad to say it delivered. Possibly my favourite black and white film I've used thus far. 

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Calton Hill

These images were all taken on and around Calton Hill using my Contax T2 and Fuji 400H. My Mum, Dad, Auntie and I went up early one morning for a walk and the light was particularly beautiful that day.

First up is an image of The Burns Monument on Regent Road at the foot of Calton Hill, the foundations of which were laid in 1831. The monument was built to house a white marble statue of Robert Burns and it did so until the statue was moved to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery due to smoke from the gasworks below affecting the marble.

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The Old Royal High School, also known as New Parliament House, is a 19th century neoclassical building on Calton Hill which, despite its name, isn't home to the Scottish Parliament. A proposal in the 1970s for it to house a devolved Scottish Assembly fell through as the 1979 devolution referendum failed to provide sufficient backing for a devolved assembly. Since then the building has been used for various things such as a place for meetings for the Scottish Grand Committee and as offices for departments of Edinburgh City Council. In December 2015 plans to turn it into a luxury hotel were rejected by the council.

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The view from Regent Road.

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A closer look at the impressive architecture of the Old Royal High School.

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Waverley Station and the North Bridge.

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St Andrew's House, the headquarters of the Scottish Government.

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The top of The Nelson Monument peeking over the nearby greenery.

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Overlooking New Street.

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It seems that people rarely take a picture of just the Dugald Stewart Monument on its own, it's almost always accompanied with the Edinburgh skyline in the background. For me, I wanted to focus on it along with the subtleties of its surroundings such as the lone tree, the green poles and the shadows on the paths in the foreground.

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Old Observatory House on Calton Hill.

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Some others enjoying an early morning walk.

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Construction of The National Monument was started in 1826 but was abandoned in 1829 due to lack of funds. It was modelled upon the Parthenon in Athens and is a memorial to those who lost their lives during the Napoleonic Wars.

It's an impressive structure but that's not why I like this photo, let me explain why I do. Triangles are a big compositional tool in photography, and whilst I'm not going to go into the details of why (I'm not qualified/knowledgeable/talented enough to do so), they are something I notice quite often in my own work, sometimes after the fact. Which brings me to what attracted me to this picture, the people, particularly the spacing of them. For example the space between white trousers person, monument person and red top person. Or the space between monument person, red top person and the person to the left of the lamp post. Both of these examples also create triangles. I don't have a reason for why I find this visually pleasing, I just do. Another feature I found pleasing was the juxtaposition between the two people at the monument and the two people either side of them. One of the people at the monument is taking a picture of the other, there is a relationship between them, whereas white trousers person and red top person are heading in completely different directions and appear to be singular with no relationship between them. Now, I'm certainly not claiming that I saw all of these things at the time of taking the photograph, I was only aware of the pleasing spacing between the people and, in terms of timing, trying to make sure the two people on the right didn't intersect with the lamp post, but I think noticing visual features that you like afterwards is important because it gives you more insight into what kind of things you like to see in your photographs and also teaches you to look out for these things when taking photographs in the future. Hopefully that wasn't too boring of an insight and apologies if it was too convoluted.

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This is the Nelson Monument, built in honour of Horatio Nelson. For £5 you can climb the spiral staircase all the way to the top and see some incredible views of Edinburgh.

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The Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Palace. Dynamic Earth, The Crags and Arthur's Seat viewed from the top of The Nelson Monument. Film captures light like this so beautifully.

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Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street, Waverley Station and the North Bridge from The Nelson Monument. Not the most unique image I'll ever take but I'm happy with my version of it.

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A lovely view of the City Observatory. In 2009 the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh moved out of the Observatory and the buildings reverted to the City of Edinburgh Council. In 2012 the Council started redeveloping the complex in partnership with the Collective Gallery who relocated from their old premises in 2014. Today they run exhibitions in The City Dome and they aim to finish redeveloping the rest of the site and have it fully open to the public in 2017.

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Another Edinburgh cityscape. I love the orange house down the bottom left.

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This is my final image from up at Calton Hill and I think it might be my favourite. Like I mentioned with my photo of the National Monument, the placement of the people and the triangles they create really stood out to me. Specifically the couple admiring the view, the girl emerging from the shadows at the bottom of the path and the person under the tree. That was my focus with this one because, quite frankly, the view takes care of itself.

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Berwick Law

A few weeks ago on a lovely, bright Scottish morning my Auntie and I climbed to the top of Berwick Law. I just received my scans back from that day and I'm really happy with how they've turned out. They are a mix of Portra 400 shot using my Mamiya 645 Pro and Ektar 100 with my Contax T2. It was my first time shooting medium format and also my first using these cameras and film stocks. I'm really loving the results. Anyway, here's the first picture. It's probably the weakest of the bunch but I liked the way the sun glistened off this pool of water, sort of looks like an infinity pool.

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On the north side, just before you reach the summit, lies the ruin of a watch-house from the Napoleonic Wars. Soldiers situated here would light a fire whenever they saw French ships trying to enter the Firth of Forth. The Law has a long history of being used as a lookout.

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The views from the summit, especially on a morning like this one, are beautiful. This image shows the majority of North Berwick and its lovely coastline. The island to the left is named Fidra (from the Norse for "feather island"), and it is claimed that Robert Louis Stevenson based his map of "Treasure Island" on it. A similar claim is made about Unst in Shetland. I guess we'll never know for sure, but what we do know is that he mentioned Fidra in his book "Catriona" and often spent time on the beaches which overlook the island.

The smaller island to the right is known as The Lamb and is flanked by two skerries (a skerry is a small rocky island too small for habitation), and they are referred to as North and South Dog respectively. Bizarrely, it was bought by serial cutlery destroyer Uri Geller in 2009 because he believed it contained ancient Egyptian treasure.

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There are four islands off the coast of North Berwick, two of which I talked about already. Collectively they are known as the East Lothian Emeralds. The third island in the chain of four is called Craigleith. It was once a rabbit warren, which is a series of connected underground tunnels occupied by rabbits, until myxomatosis wiped out the population in the 1950s. Apparently, rabbits have since been spotted there after being mysteriously reintroduced.

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One of the things I tried to capture with these images is the man-made patterns of the residential areas and I think this one in particular showcases that well.

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My eyes always seem to be drawn to curves and in this instance they were drawn to how the houses curve round gently and lead the eye towards the Bass Rock. Bass Rock is the fourth and final island off the coast of North Berwick. On the island you'll find the ruins of both a castle and a chapel, a lighthouse, and roughly 150,000 gannets. It is the largest single rock gannetry in the world and that very fact is the reason why large parts of the rock look white from a distance. Its lighthouse was constructed by David Stevenson, cousin of author Robert Louis Stevenson. The Bass has a rich history for such a small island and has been used as a prison at various different times. The history books also say that the first inhabitant of the island was a Christian hermit named Baldred who died around 606 AD. A fact that I find hard to get my head around.

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A nice shot of my Auntie looking out to the Bass Rock.

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I wasn't sure whether or not I should post this one but I wanted to show a view from the summit facing south. In person the way the light was hitting off the perfectly cut straight lines of farmland was stunning but I'm not sure I managed to capture that. Also, due to somewhat limited space (falling to my death didn't really appeal to me) I struggled to get the framing the way I wanted.

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On the way back down I swapped my Mamiya 645 for my Contax T2 loaded with Ektar. The first shot I took was of this rather nicely placed bench that's just over halfway up the Law.

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A few seconds after I took this picture of my Auntie I lost my footing and duly rolled down the next part of the hill. My falling technique solely revolved around not smashing my Contax T2 off the ground after only taking two pictures with it, and luckily, I succeeded!

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On our way back down we spotted the string of wild Exmoor ponies that graze on and around Berwick Law. I didn't count at the time but I've since read that there are seven of them and they are named Sherlock, Clouseau, Morse, Inspector Gadget, Artemis, Rebel and Oberon, respectively. They were brought to the area as part of a conservation grazing effort to help deal with the overgrowth of coarse grasses and gorse.

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Exmoor ponies nearly became extinct after the second world war due to soldiers using them for target practice and some people killing them for their meat. At one point only 50 registered mares and 4 stallions remained but luckily they managed to recover and as of 2010 there were an estimated 800 Exmoor ponies worldwide.

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And just like that they were on their way. I'd like to go back and dedicate some time solely to photographing them as I think I can do much better, but it was still a nice surprise having them wander by.

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Managed to take a picture of my Auntie just as she walked through this little tree archway. Love the forest green of the trees in the distance.

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I quite enjoy minimal landscapes like this one.

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This is the last photo from my Berwick Law set and possibly one of my favourites from the day. It is exactly the image I saw in my head and it really shows what a spectacular camera the Contax T2 is. Speaking of which, aside from this shot and a couple of others, I don't think I did the camera justice. After using the Mamiya 645 at the summit my mind was still in that mode so I ended up metering for nearby shadows with the Contax by half pressing the shutter totally forgetting that doing so locks the focus. I think shooting at f8 saved me a bit but it wasn't ideal. The good thing about making dumb mistakes like these are that you feel like such an idiot afterwards that you won't ever make them again. My next blog showcases the Contax T2 way better and I'm looking forward to sharing it.

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Hailes Castle

A few weeks ago I wanted to test my new Contax G2 so I went to Hailes Castle with my Mum. It was really nice to go out somewhere with her as it's not something we really get to do and Hailes Castle was on my growing list of places I wanted to go visit. East Lothian, the county where I live, has a huge amount of castle ruins strewn across its land and I'd like to visit as many as I can. With so much history right there on my doorstep, it seems foolish not to.

Hailes is one of Scotland's oldest stone castles and was built around the year 1220. It sits in the valley of the River Tyne about a mile and a half from the town of East Linton.

I shot two rolls of film, one roll of Fuji Superia X-Tra 400 rated at 200, and one roll of Fuji C200 at box speed. As for lenses I used both the Zeiss 28mm f2.8 and the 45mm f2. Extremely happy with the Contax G2 system and I can't wait to use it again. Hopefully you enjoy the pictures.

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Hailes Castle was built by the de Gourlay family and remained under their ownership until they forfeited it during the Wars of Independence with England. The castle was then granted to Sir Adam de Hepburn by Robert the Bruce. The last Hepburn to hold the castle was James Hepburn. James was believed to have been involved in the murder of Mary, Queen of Scots’ second husband, Lord Darnley. In April of 1567 Mary was abducted by Hepburn and taken to Dunbar Castle. They then travelled to Hailes Castle, where they stayed overnight, before proceeding to Edinburgh to be married. It was this event that would eventually lead to Mary’s ruin, and years later, her execution.

 

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What remains of the East tower along with the tree that's sprouted up behind it.

 

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My Mum having a wee seat in the castle grounds.

 

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Old Hailes Burn is a tiny tributary that runs along the front and side of Hailes Castle and into the River Tyne.

 

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The distinctive red sandstone masonry makes it easy to identify the original castle from the parts that were added to it later.

 

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My Mum walking through the remnants of the Castle's curtain wall.

 

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A mishmash of rocky patterns.

 

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A cottage that overlooks a castle? I think I'd be OK with that.

 

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There's a little maintenance building within the castle grounds and I couldn't help but be drawn to the shades of green, particularly the olive green of the bricks surrounding the window frame.

 

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This is one of those photos that I think people might find utterly boring, but personally I find nature's colours and textures to be anything but.

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I accidentally exposed for the highlights with this one so it looks different to the other castle shots but I'm posting it anyway because I quite like it!

 

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A closer look at the lovely cottage just across from the castle.

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This one might drive symmetry buffs mental but I liked the hedges.

 

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We passed this amazing bridge on our way to Hailes Castle, so on the way back home I quickly jumped out the car and took a handful of pictures of it.

 

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North Berwick

Received my scans back from the lovely folks at UK Film Lab after only 3 working days. Truly excellent service. Wasn't supposed to have them until this month so it was a really nice surprise!

The first shots I'll be sharing are from a blustery, wet Sunday my friend Craig and I spent in North Berwick. I had intended on testing my Contax T2 but I didn't feel comfortable taking it out in the light rain. Instead, I decided to take my much less expensive Lomo LC-A to test and I thoroughly enjoyed using it. I wasn't sure what to expect from my compositions since the viewfinder is a bit weird due to the frame lines being partially obscured. No idea if that's the case with all LC-As or if it's just mine. Either way I worked with what I had and I'm happy that, for the most part, they were accurate. It was also my first time using a camera with zone focusing which was cool and I did a lot better than I expected. All shots were shot using Fuji Superia X-Tra 400 at box speed. 

This first image was taken from the car on our way to North Berwick, at a set of traffic lights in Haddington to be precise. I liked the way the windscreen fog and the dashboard framed the man crossing the road.

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The coast is beautiful when it's sunny, but I also find the same to be true when the weather is the complete opposite. A different colour palette, a different tone, a different feel.

For me adverse weather conditions have always served as a strong reminder of just how alive the world is and that was very much on display in North Berwick with the sea hammering against the rocks causing the water to shoot high into the air. It was really cool to watch and I'm glad I managed to capture a little bit of that.

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It was nice to see so many people out and about exploring the coastline despite the wind and rain.

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Craig looking out to sea.

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I'm not sure if it's still in use but this little coastguard lookout hut sits on the rocks watching over the sea nevertheless.

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Hints of yellow.

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These colourful doors were once changing rooms for North Berwick's outdoor swimming pool. Sadly, the pool is no longer there, it's now used to park boats not in use, but the rainbow coloured doors remain.

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This elderly gentleman was having a stroll along the harbour just in front of Craig and I. He was only in our view for a minute or two at most and my decision to take the shot when I did happened in a split second. However, the moments beforehand play a big part in why it's one of my favourites from that day. Let me explain.

"The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows" by John Koenig is a project that aims to come up with new words for emotions that currently have none. One of the words in the project is "sonder" which he describes as "the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own". I mention this because I've done this for as long as I can remember and I did so with the man in this picture. I wondered if he was lonely, if he'd lost the love of his life and walks this path because it's something they used to do together. Or maybe it's something that brings him great joy and his significant other awaits cosy in their little seaside home. The possibilities are endless and in truth I find it overwhelming because I feel every bit of emotion contained within the life I've constructed for the person.

I may not have seen his face but his slightly hunched, closed posture, pictured above, felt vulnerable to me and made me wonder what he was feeling, and I guess that's why I like this photo so much. It's just a man out on a walk, but that man has a story. We all do.

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I loved the contrast between the dull, dark buildings in the foreground and the bright, colourful little houses in the back.

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Marine Parade is home to some stunning shorefront houses. This charming property really stood out to me.

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Another lovely property on Marine Parade.

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This is another favourite of mine from this roll. Turned out exactly as I wanted.

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The dark colours of rock formations always stand out to me on grey days.

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The Lomo LC-A is a great little camera and I had a blast shooting with it. It's diminutive size means that it can be taken with you almost anywhere and also that it's very inconspicuous, which is nice if you don't want to draw attention to yourself with a big camera. As for the images produced by it, I love them! They have a lovely soft quality to them that I find hard to describe in any great detail but they are certainly of a more lo-fi, lomographic variety. Speaking of lomography, the camera really changed my stupidly blinkered view of  it. I had always seen it as cross-processed images with crazy colour casts and insane vignetting, which isn't my thing. Sure, you can cross-process your LC-A images to achieve that look if you so wish, and vignetting is present but it's much more subtle and that more subtle version of lomography is one I really like.

Anatomy in Black and White

A few weeks ago I grabbed my recently purchased Canon AE-1 Program and shot my first roll of film. I did so at my Dad’s work, Edinburgh University. Through chance, the Head of Anatomy at the university had saw my Dad carrying a camera he had picked up for me at a charity shop. My Dad explained that it was for me and the Head of Anatomy suggested that I come up and take some photos. So the following Sunday night my Dad and I were free to roam the majority of the Anatomy buildings by ourselves.

I was unsure whether to shoot film or not since the lighting was going to be challenging for the type of shots I wanted to take and barring basic point and shoots and the odd disposable in my youth, I had never shot film before. Nonetheless I stuffed my AE-1 into my bag along with my Canon 5D Mark II just in case and I'm glad that I did. I ended up shooting both film and digital as, quite frankly, I thought there was a very high chance I'd load the film wrong, or that the pictures would be totally unusable. Thankfully that wasn't the case and the scans I received from the lab turned out way better than I expected. Ilford HP5+ really delivered the look that I had in my head and this post will contain a mix of shots from that night, both film and digital. Hopefully you like them.

All in all it was a successful trip and long overdue since circumstances meant I hadn't been out to take pictures for over a year. I had to get by posting old stuff and the odd photo taken at home. It’s nice to finally have new stuff to share. 

Canon AE-1 Program taken with my Nexus 6P

Canon AE-1 Program taken with my Nexus 6P

Edinburgh University’s Anatomy Lecture Theatre, which dates from 1884, is a very striking room. Its steep, tightly packed rows of seats gave students a great vantage point of the small teaching area where live dissections of human cadavers once took place. These days it serves as a normal lecture theatre and I'm led to believe that it's rare for the public to gain access to it. Therefore, I did my best with the short time that I had to try capture both its architecture and its mood from a different perspective to that of the handful of photos that already exist online.

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

This is the second shot of the Anatomy Lecture Theatre that I felt showcased it differently from how others have. The ceiling of the room, with its curves and beams, is really quite lovely. Even more so with only the back row of lights illuminating it.

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40L

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40L

A nice little staircase just outside of the lecture theatre.

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40L

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40L

Empty corridors.

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

I loved the way the light emanated from this little passageway.

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400 

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400 

The Anatomy Museum's lobby has a few exhibits of its own, with the most eye-catching being the two imposing elephant skeletons that sit either side of the main doorway.

Canon 5D Mark II. Canon 50mm 1.4

Canon 5D Mark II. Canon 50mm 1.4

A closer view of the lobby's other elephant skeleton.

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400 

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400 

Some of the lobby's other exhibits include busts, statues, death masks, paintings and a whale's jawbone. Quite an impressive collection to view before entering the museum itself. This shot shows some of the aforementioned, including a replica of Rembrandt’s "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp".

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40L

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40L

There's a whole load of staircases located around the medical school. This is one that my Dad reckoned I'd like to photograph. He was correct and I'm glad it turned out the way I saw it in my head.

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

A single lamp over a little stone archway.

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Peeking out of a medical school window onto Teviot Place.

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

A scaffolding on one of the various medical school buildings.

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Archibald Tait was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1868 to 1882. This bust of him is tucked away in a little lane within the grounds of the medical school.

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

This is the final shot from my night spent wandering the university, and coincidentally, it was also the final exposure on the roll of film. All in all I'm really happy with how the images turned out and although I enjoyed shooting the digital ones, I'll remember the night as being the night I fell in love with film.

Thanks for reading!

The Botanics

On Sunday, Emily, Adam and I went to The Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. Emily needed headshots done for her portfolio and I badly needed a female presence in my own portfolio, so this was the perfect solution. I think we managed to get some amazing shots and that they are some of the best portraits I've done to date, owed much to Emily being so easy to photograph, The Botanic Gardens being such a nice place to take pictures and Adam always helping with ideas.

This first little area was lovely. The way the trees form an archway make it perfect for this type of shot, as do the the way the railings go all the way back, adding to the sense of depth. I also feel that both of these would be lesser shots without the bench being where it is.  A trend throughout all these photos is the lovely contrast between Emily's skin tone and her black dress. 

The following photograph might well be my favourite from the day. I absolutely love it. It required a slight bit of straightening and a tiny change to the contrast but that's it. It was basically perfect straight out the camera. It's almost like Emily is wearing an extravagant decoration in her hair. The natural light is lovely and the matching pink hues of the flower and Emily's lips really add to it.

My mind was set on taking portraits (and so were my camera settings) so I wasn't really aiming to take pictures of anything else, but as ever, you end up trying to grab a couple. I quite like how this picture of a little Koi(?) fish turned out. There was just something about the concentric circles made by the little guy that I found appealing. A fantastic photograph? Nah, but one that turned out quite well under the circumstances. Similar can be said for the photo after, not great, but I liked the way it's bushy tail looked.

Anyways that was your brief animal interlude, back to Emily! i tried a darker exposure to give this next one a different feel. I kinda like it, nice and moody.

All the photos of Emily so far made use of the natural look and colours rendered by the camera with only very minimal adjustments made, which was usually to the contrast or exposure. I love giving photos a certain look, but sometimes they just don't need it.

To keep things fresh, and because I felt the following three had more of an urban feel, I decided to go for a different look. I think (read: hope) that it works. The first two, specifically, are all about lines and how they cut through the frame. I'd never had the opportunity to take this kind of shot before so I'm extremely happy that they turned out as I had hoped they would. The third is a closer portrait and it was clear at the time that the lighting in that spot was beautiful. I kept the the same look for it since it was in the same setting and I feel like it, along with the other two, make for a very nice trio of images.

This final photo puts all the emphasis on Emily's face and as such is a much tighter crop. I went for muted tones and tried to focus on her eyes. It's little things like the very slight freckling on Emily's nose and cheeks that make the image. I've always been a fan of that type of up close and personal portrait, so I hope I've managed to pull it off.

Lastly, thanks to Emily for being a great model (you can see her page on the Model Team website by clicking here) and thanks to both Emily and Adam for a nice day out.