Edinburgh. City At Festival Time.

 

A few days ago I took a train journey up to one of my favourite destinations, Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh. Scotland’s a place I have been travelling to for many years, my connection being my late father who was a Scot from the Lanarkshire area. The reason, or excuse for this latest trip was that fact that the Edinburgh Festival which always adds an extra dimension to the attractions of the city.

It was to be a day trip, something which is easily managed from where I live in Lancashire, the journey time is about two and a half hours also on this trip I travelled by first class which made it even more of a pleasure than usual. So after an excellent breakfast on the train and a lot of window gazing I landed up at Edinburgh’s Waverley station, nestling in it’s narrow valley between the castle on it’s rock and the well tended greenery of Princes Street Gardens. The station is always a busy, bustling place and some aspects of it’s layout can confuse the traveller unused to it’s ways.

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My Eggs Benedict, a very enjoyable way to start a train journey.

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The always busy  Waverley Station concourse.

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Yes, its the same platform, just remember which end of it you want.

I left the station by the Waverley Steps, a brisk way to leave the station and get myself onto Princes Street. The festival had started the previous week so it was now into it’s stride. I took a walk up to St. Andrew’s Square to get a flavour of the atmosphere, Festival time the square is a popular venue site with pop up arenas and bars.

After an hour or so of people watching I was making my way back towards Princes Street and I decide to stop off at Jenner’s, an Edinburgh department store of some repute. There is a cafe on the top floor which gives and excellent view over the gardens and across to the castle. So I took in this marvellous view while I enjoyed my sandwich and coffee.

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Cafe at Jenners

I like exploring places on foot and Edinburgh is a great city to do this in. I made my way along Princes Street and then up Lothian Road to the district of Morningside, Passing by one of Edinburgh’s great open spaces, Bruntsfield Links. This area is a hive of independent shops and cafes and is one I like to visit with my camera and people watch.

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Jogging by a Bruntsfield Cafe

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Keeping an eye on Morningside.

It was now time to make my way back to the city centre and the Royal Mile to take in the atmosphere of the Fringe performers on the preview stages. The route I chose took me across The Meadows and along the George IV Bridge. Built in the late 1820’s to span one of the many valleys that cut into the city centre this doesn’t look very bridge like as you walk along it, as over the years Edinburgh has crept up on it and absorbed it. It leads you past Greyfriars Kirkyard, the cafe where Harry Potter came into being and onto the Royal Mile by St. Giles Cathedral.

This is the hub of the previews for the shows and is always a must see destination as the performers do their best to drum up and cajole and audience for their own particular show.

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Bright colours to bring in the crowds

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The cathedral looks on as another story unfolds.

So that is a flavour of my Edinburgh trip, it’s a brilliant city to visit in it’s own right and when the festival is on even more so.

Edinburgh Tourism Information

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Edinburgh Fringe Festival

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Perth,Waiting On A Night Time Station

I’m half Scots, my late father came from a small ironworks town in the middle of industrial Lanarkshire and through him I have a great affection for Scotland and try to get there as often as I can. Up until a couple of years ago I would go up and stay on the outskirts of Dunkeld on the fringe of the Highlands, so I could soak up the peace and quiet of a slower pace of life for a couple of weeks. Circumstances have put a temporary halt to the long Scottish stay but I am working on getting back into that routine again asap.

On one of my last stays a friend asked to come up and spend a weekend walking in the area and that was fine by me, it would be a chance to show off my northern hideaway. Niall would be travelling up by train so we arranged to meet on the station, his train would be arriving in Perth at about 9.15 in the evening.

To be on the safe side I made sure I arrived a little early as it would also be a chance to take some evening photographs around Perth and chase down a coffee and cake. After adding to my waistline I made my way over to the station and checked which platform Niall’s train would be arriving at.

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PERTH. Solitary passenger waiting for the Dundee train

Like the majority of UK railway stations, Perth’s grew up in a slightly piecemeal way through the great Victorian railway boom. It had it’s origins in the late 1840’s with a line up from Glasgow which terminated in the town. Over the succeeding years lines came in from Dundee along the Firth Of Tay while others headed northwards through the Highlands to Inverness and beyond.

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PERTH. Looking along platform 2 towards Dundee

I always feel that there’s a particular atmosphere about railway station at night, a mixture of the sinister and the romantic. This is particularly so at Perth, the buildings being designed by the eminent Victorian architect Sir William Tite, the adjacent station hotel has the bulk and presence of a Scottish Baronial castle. Always having a camera with me I spent the 20 minutes or so before arrival time taking a walk around the large open platform spaces.

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PERTH. The footbridge, a recent addition and not popular as you have to go out into the rain to use it and there are already stairs and ramps in the original building.

The station’s shape is a large main group of platforms that serve the route to Inverness and in years past branch lines that were closed down in the unfortunate clearing out of the Beeching years. These are joined by two platforms which are served by the line coming in from Dundee, this passes over the south of the city centre after crossing the River Tay. There’s a more regular service on these platforms. The trains through here go on to serve Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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PERTH. Lights glittering on platform 1, wait here for trains to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Here and there people waited for their train, some on the northbound platform and some waiting for a train out to Dundee or Aberdeen. There was a general quietness about the place, only disturbed by the distant, steady rumble of the idling diesel engines of a train waiting for it’s next journey. Before long Niall’s train rumbled in, we said hello and made our way back to Dunkeld after a shortish visit to a local bar for me to warm up a little and for Niall to unwind a little.

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A Busy Month

Just a quick post to get back into the swing of things. I’ve had a busy month getting a couple of projects off the ground, on in particular has been adding to and organising the ebooks I produce. With a little bit of head scratching and midnight oil burning I’ve managed to produce twelve titles, not in one month obviously but reaching number twelve feels like a bit of a personal milestone.

I’m now starting to feel comfortable with the format and more importantly confident in the style and content of the books.though as always, at the back of my mind is the thought that I don’t want to get over confident and just bang out books in a production line with no thought as to the idea behind them. if I expect people to look at them they have to have a decent theme and a degree of style and continuity.

I don’t intend to step back from book production, I really enjoy the challenge of putting them together, print on demand will be the next step, which means more head scratching and midnight oil burning over a different set of production techniques.

All of the above though has meant that the blogging has become a whole lot more sporadic than it was before so a bit more personal organizing will have to be brought into play.

Fleetwood, Marine Hall

FLEETWOOD. The Marine Hall

 

Right, blog entry over for now, the next one is beginning to come together out of a pile of scribbled notes.

Lachlan’s e-book bookshelf

Edinburgh, The Quickness Of The Hand.

 

 

Watch carefully, is it here, or is it there? The quickness of the hand deceives the eye. This is Edinburgh, on the Royal Mile by St. Giles Cathedral and the Festival is at it’s height. This event is in my top five of locations for candid street photography. You just have to pick a spot and it all unfurls before you like a tapestry of a carnival. Here a magician was working the crowd with an assistant picked from the crowd. Time and again the young lad carefully followed the action but at each reveal that darned magician had done it again.

For candid images I always think that monochrome is the only way, colours can distract from the action, plus for me the black & white tones always add a timeless quality.

I like to get in at least one visit to Edinburgh each year and timetables are being consulted as I type this.

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EDINBURGH FRINGE

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL

 

Down The River Clyde.

 

 

 

The Munlochy Clootie Well

The Clootie well at Munlochy is a favourite location of mine, all the lore so because I discovered it by accident. It is located in Scotland on the Black Isle. I was on holiday in Scotland and had driven up to Dingwall and had returned via Cromarty on the tip of the Black Isle. My route back took me through the village of Munlochy and on a back road I spotted what looked to be a collection of rags fluttering through the trees.  Intrigued by this I stopped and found the Clootie Well. A cloot is Scots dialect for a cloth, the idea is that a strip of cloth is dipped into the waters of a well and tied to a tree and as the cloth decays and vanishes whatever your ailment or problem is vanishes with it. The healing well at munlochy is thought to be dedicated to St. Boniface. 

28/08/14 SCOTLAND. The Black Isle. Munlochy Clooty Well.

SCOTLAND. The Black Isle. A clooted tree at the Munlochy Clootie Well. The tradition is to dip a cloth, a cloot, in the nearby well and then tie it to a nearby tree while making a wish. Some people get carried away.

The well has proved to be very popular over time as you can see, with whole garments and shoes being added to the collection in the trees. The atmosphere is quite spooky at times, as the wind rises and falls the items of clothing take on a life of their own and movements in the corner of your eye can be a little bit alarming.  I always try to fit in a visit whenever I am in Scotland, the ebb and flow of garments, dolls teddy bears etc add that extra dimension of feeling you are being watched as you walk around the paths that snake their way through the trees. If you are planning a visit to Scotland try and fit in a visit. A word of warning though. Should you remove anything from the well it is said that you will be cursed with the original donors ailment or problem. 

28/08/14 The Black Isle. Munlochy Clooty Well.  Shiny Shoes.

THE BLACK ISLE. The Munlochy Clootie Well. The tradition is to dip a cloth, a cloot, in the nearby wel and tie it to the branches of the trees while making a wish. Some people take this a bit further as this pair of shoes proves. I wonder if they walked home barefoot?

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I Spy With My Little Camera Eye

I am a people watcher, I think most photographers are. The header image was taken at one of my favourite events for candid shot gathering, the Edinburgh Festival. It’s not a perfect image but it was a combination of elements that drew my eye and made me press the shutter release.  The casual stance of the man plus the combination of the corduroy jacket, black narrow legged jeans and the R.M Williams boots. His face is not in the shot but the young lady’s is though partially cropped out of the frame. This is a result of a bit of tidying up of the shot, taken with a small compact which I was carrying and shooting with from waist level. The location was the side of St. Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile. 

19/08/13 EDINBURGH, The Royal Mile. Gramaphone Jass Band Washboa

SCOTLAND, Edinburgh, The Royal Mile. The Gramaphone Jass Band entertains the Fringe Festival crowds, with the washboard player strumming up a storm.

A little further along the Gramaphone Jass Band where kicking out a lively beat to the crowds, the washboard player being amongst the most animated of the group, who specialized in that 20’s /30’s jazz style.

19/08/13 EDINBURGH. The Fringe on the Royal Mile, guitarist.

SCOTLAND, Edinburgh. The Fringe in full swing on the Royal Mile, a guitarist waits his turn on the stages.

I’m never quite sure which approach yields the best results, do I pick a vantage point and let them come to me or do I try and move unobtrusively through the crowds all the while keeping my eyes open for the photo opportunity. This musician was patiently waiting for his turn amongst the acts lined up on the Royal Mile.

25/08/13 AVIEMORE. Thunder in the Glen. Ciggie time.

SCOTLAND, Aviemore. Time for a cigarette at the annual Thunder in the Glen Harley Davidson weekend.

A different approach this time, not a compact but the DSLR and long lens. Taken at the Thunder In The Glens Harley owners meeting. This smoker was part of a group enjoying a very animated conversation and again it is the combination of the expression on his face, the wrinkles around the eyes, the beard and I managed to catch the hand and cigarette in just the right pose.  Originally a colour image I felt the elements of it as I mentioned above, plus the swept back, greying hair cried out to be de-saturated to a B+W image.

20/08/14  AVIEMORE. Thunder in The Glen. Wine Tasting.

SCOTLAND. Aviemore. Wine tasting at the 2014 Thunder in the Glen Harley Davidson Owners meeting.

Sometimes it doesn’t go quite to plan but often I have found myself with a pleasing image by accident. The plan was to have more of the foreground pair in the frame but I got too close in but trying to get the shot I wanted I ended up with something different but which I think works, with the foreground  pair on the left acting as a frame for the two men in the distance on the right.  

Editing these shot is always a voyage of discovery, I know what I was looking for  when I pressed the shutter release but its the other little details that creep into the end image.

 

At The Festival.

Sorting the files after the hurly burly of Christmas and I came across this image from the Edinburgh Festival. The man’s act consisted of a sequence of sinuous movements while balancing the crystal ball on the back of his hand and allowing it to roll along his limbs before the climax where he bent down and allowed the ball to roll down his back as he stood up straight to bring the ball to a rest on the top of his head. A truly mystifying act to watch.