I’d been trying to get to shoot with Rachelle for quite a while and dates never seemed to gel.
Eventually, they did, and we spent a happy 4 hours wondering around West Lothian getting soaking wet as the liquid version of sunshine was pouring from the skies.
Undeterred, Rachelle cracked on with it, worked her socks off to give me some great images.
Simon and I decided that we would travel North for a change.
A casting was produced, and from the respondents, the wonderful Kat Folan was chosen.
This was primarily a research and testing mission, and as Simon and I have very little knowledge of “The North”, Kat was our guide.
Our favourite spot was the fantastic Slains Castle, somewhere north of Aberdeen.
Yeah, I know … it’s a bit out of synch – July then August and then July.
It’s what happens when you think that you’ve done something and in reality you haven’t.
I thought that I’d already posted these images, but on cursory glance through the blog, I haven’t.
Anyway, Simon and I escaped for a day (and part of the night) in to deepest darkest Lanarkshire … we even crossed a county border in to somewhere else, although I’m not sure where.
I’d seen photos of a gorge near Loch Lomond called The Devils Pulpit and decided I wanted to go and have a look at it.
Simon, Linda and I jumped in the car and headed off to the deepest darkest depths of Finnich Glen near Drymen.
When we got there, there was a couple walking around and looking lost. The bag gave the chap away as either a fisherman, or photographer; the presence of the female made the fisherman unlikely so that left photographer. It turned out that they were from Spain originally, but were living in Winchburgh (just around the corner from here) as they found the Spanish climate disagreeable. So they moved to Scotland ….
Anyway, the 5 of us strolled around for a bit, and eventually found the gorge – you’ld be surprised at how cunningly disguised a 100 odd foot hole in the ground can be – but couldn’t work out how to get down to the bottom.
Help arrived in the form of a returning group, who rather nicely gave us (correct) directions
There are some pretty steep and worn steps leading down to the central chamber, so be careful if you go. I didn’t shoot these as I wanted to get something different than most of the shots I’d seen, so off came the boots and on went the waders …
Summer holidays … gotta love them.
I thought I’d take the kids wild-camping (or as us of a certain age know it – camping) and things were looking bleak.
The night was chosen, and the bags packed.
And it rained. In fact, it didn’t just rain … it rained. I thought I was going to have to buy a boat, not a tent.
So we cancelled that night and picked another. These weather apps are bloody amazing. Never has it been possible to have so much incorrect information to hand about the weather at any one time.
Anyway, night chosen and it had to be stuck to, rather than face the looks of trembling disappointment again.
So off we went, to the deepest darkest depths of rural Dumfries and Galloway, with the fine Scottish sunlight falling from the sky in an almost horizontal direction. Yep, it was bloody raining again.
Pride before a Fall and all that
I had mentioned to Jen, my wife that I was considering buying a bag of dry firelogs to take with us. These are bricks of compressed wood chippings that have a burn life of about 4 to 6 hours. We were going overnight, so a bag of 6 was going to be more than enough.
After a stern talking to, where my male pride was dented with taunts along the lines of “Bear Grylls can light a fire with a dishrag and a damp boy scout” I caved and decided that we would use the resources that nature provided; camping in a wood the bounty should be plentiful.
And it was.
To say the branches laying around was water-logged would not do it justice. You could wring the water out of it, and what wasn’t wet, was still growing.
Cheat? Or Get Eaten Alive by Indigenous Wildlife
BBQ lighting gel may be suitable for lighting BBQ’s, but it’s chuffing useless at lighting wood that’s been underwater more times than HMS Astute.
After a couple of hours of giving the midges a free meal, I’d had enough … and the kids weren’t fairing too well either.
Out came the special pot … chaffing gel. You know, the stuff they use in restaurants to keep your food warm.
As a fire lighter, it is bloody superb, it really is. Built the fire around the tin, lit the gel and off it went.
And because the wood was soaking wet – possibly deck planks from HMS Astute – we had a great little smoky fire, and the midges had to feast on what ever it is they eat when there isn’t a human about.
And no one called us to the land
And no one knows the where’s or why’s.
Something stirs and something tries
Starts to climb toward the light.
Simon came round last night and on the spur of the moment, we went up to the old Fever Hospital at Thornton. We’d previously visited the site in May and while there discussed the shoot potential of the site.
It’s popularity as a location seems to be growing amongst photographers in this neck of the woods, even with people bringing their own props – and leaving them there – as well as models.
Last nights visit was a spur of the moment thing, and after wading through soaking wet nettles, grass and thistles (rain seems to be a predominant feature of us visiting this site as it was tipping it down last time too) we went for a wander around in the fast fading light
Simon did his bit, go his shot, and then I did my thing. We always try to do different things when out together, with varying degrees of success, and sometimes we do use bits of each others setups. In this case, the prop was already there (it wasn’t there in May).
Simon and I went up Binney Craig.
I’ve lived here for about 10 years and I’ve never been there before – in fact, I didn’t even know how to get there.
For those not in the area, it’s a volcanic outcrop and local legend has it being one of the four rocky tumescence formed when the Edinburgh volcano erupted. These outcrops are supposed to follow (roughly) the points of the compass.
Niddry Castle is a private dwelling in West Lothian. It’s spent most of the time that I’ve been here under scaffolding during it’s refurbishment.
We’d left the Craig and was just looking for something else to do (we can be so good at planning) and stumbled across the castle.
This is shot just after sundown and has no additional illumination