Tag Archives: Architecture

2014 – November – Bangour Hospital Village

Bangour Hospital Village is a massive sprawling site just outside of Livingston and has been disused as a hospital for many years.
In it’s life it has been a Veterans Hospital, a hospital for patients with psychiatric disorders and a satellite day centre for St Johns.

The grounds are open to the public and is a great dog walking (not dogging) area, with it’s mixture of empty roads, open spaces and trees. The buildings are in severe disrepair,  and all except the church have been bricked up to prevent entry (risk of collapse and asbestos).

Further information on the site can be found here.

Bangour Site
Over view (some) of the site, showing the boiler house (chimney to the centre) and the church (top right).

The general Public have to leave the site by sun down, and if any linger, the on-site security team have no problem in kicking them off …

Except for two nights only, Simon and I were granted unprecedented night-time access to the site, to lightpaint some of the buildings.

Bangour Night

The weather was absolutely horrendous; it threw it down with good old Scottish liquid sunshine – even when it got dark.
The result – unfortunately was the majority of images shot were ruined by water on the lens. Due to the size of the buildings, the average exposure time was around the 5 minutes mark, and that’s more that enough time for the lens to be totally covered in rain and the image damaged beyond my Photoshop skills.

Night Wing
Before the rain really came down, I was able to shoot this
Bangour Church
After thoroughly drying our kit, we moved across the site to the church. The rain stopped just long enough to shoot this, however the low-lying rain clouds mean that the sky is just a mass of orange glow from the reflected street lights of Livingston and Edinburgh

Shortly after we shot the church, the rain re-started with vengeance, and there was little point in continuing.

I would like to thank the people  that granted permission to Simon and I to gain access at night, and to the security team who thought we were made, but understood what we were doing.

It would be fantastic if we got the chance to go back one night – however that’s in the lap of the gods.

The site is in the process of being sold off, with a view to convert it in to a housing estate. The Grade A listed buildings will stay – the church, community hall and the nurses block – however the rest will be demolished if the sale goes ahead. It will be a shame, as the area is well loved among the local community, however seeing the site how it is, is also a shame.

2013 – March … Feeling Old

Been out playing again with Simon (OK, probably should have worded that a bit better) as we’ve had  bit of snow lately.

One of the objectives was to lightpaint in the snow. This is not as easy as it sounds, especially as the snow in question turned out to be a blizzard …

Needs a bit of work ... will fix up a treat


And that’s where I found out that several inches of snow can quiet easily hide knee deep mud and sheep shit.
My trouser leg smelt a bit rancid after that little dip …

The Croft

There is an old croft deep in the heart of shale-mining land, and Simon and I paid it a visit.
The snow had stopped falling for a while, and such is the way of the British weather, the thermometer dropped and the wind got up. Wind-chill for this shot was around the -10 mark – and I was laying in the snow (for once not covered in sheep crap).

This shot has been lit with a mixture of halogen and LED and has Simon inside the croft with a gelled flash for effect.

The Croft


March also saw me trying star trails.

Star trails can be a series of long or short exposure images  that depict the movement of the stars through the heavens – hence the name.
These are normally done in the wilds of no where, and the risk of  light pollution is reduced.
Too easy.

It was a clear night, so I thought that I’d try to get some star trails, about 10 miles from Edinburgh.
The below shot is 10 x 3 minute exposures, manually stitched together to show the trails.
It also shows the amount of light pollution that was present and being reflected off of the ice crystals in the air.
By 2200 the frost was down and we called it a night as we didn’t want to risk ice on the lens and nadgered images.

Star Trails and Light Pollution

2013 – March

March saw another shoot with the fantastic Shannen Allison (http://purpleport.com/portfolio/genevievefallon/), this time in an  abandoned weapons factory on the West Coast.

It was another great shoot in temperatures not too far above freezing.

It was too cold to shoot my original idea, so I settled on alternative plan – get Shannen in some interesting stuff and get her to use it …


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November 2012 – Atomic Chan

I got the opportunity to work with the fantastic Gemma Chan again.
This time I took her to a Nuclear Powerstation, and Simon acted as my lighting assistant.
It was cold.
It was raining.
It was slippery.
There was sea spray going everywhere.
Did we care?

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did making them.

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November 2012 – Exploring

Simon and I had the week off work following out trip up North, and we went scouting …

Old factory, West Coast:
Old electric motor in the process of being overhauled, left abandoned in the building. The chainfall is connected to a manually operated gantry crane – all movement controlled by guys hauling on chains (lifting chain can be seen to the left of the motor and transverse movement chain on the first floor)

Capstan headed valves. I’ve never seen these before; they are on long shafts that open valves deep in the floor below. (Longitudinal movement chain for the gantry crane can be seen behind the valves)

St. Peters Seminary

Simon and I met up with an old friend, Adam Matheson and we went exploring the old St. Peters Seminary near Helensburgh.
Fantastic piece of architecture, well ahead of it’s time.

October 2012 – Binns Folly

This is the folly at the House of Binns (Wikipedia), taken on a very cold and clear October evening with Simon Pole as my (equal) partner in crime.

There is probably an easy way to get the folly, however we don’t do easy.
The field that was previously set-aside turned out to be freshly ploughed – this is in the dark remember – and had experienced a considerable amount of rain over the previous couple of days.
Needless to say that the wellies that live in the back of my car stayed firmly in the car and didn’t want to play out.

So after much squelching and cursing, we found our way across the field only to find a nice mud lake and a barbed wire fence. “Wasn’t there last time” was the clean version …

Anyway, we finally got to the promised land, the parkland with it’s free range sheep and worked out our lines of sight.

Mr Poles excellent image can be found here 

Folly at the House of Binns

October Lightpainting

October saw the arrival of a new torch, a 210 lumen CREE LED.

Smaller in size than the halogen, it takes 4 x C cells rather than 1 big 9 or 12 volt battery.
This has the obvious advantage of making the torch more ‘torch’ shaped than a small box with a large cone at one end. It also means that it’s more portable; it can slide in to the retaining loops on my camera bag quite securely, leaving both hands free to carry the tripod, balance etc.
The downside is it takes C cells and not  a single rechargeable.
Still, based on current usage with cheap batteries it shouldn’t be an issue.


September – Rikki Wilkes

Rikki is a new and emerging talent based in Edinburgh.

It was a chilly Sunday morning when these shots were taken in the Carlton Hill area of Edinburgh.
Much amusement was had when a group of tourists from the Far East high-jacked the shoot, and thanks were expressed to a film crew who were planning on shooting the National Monument, however their set up was right in the middle of my shot.
Asked nicely, and the boys waited until I had finished.

Rikki: http://www.facebook.com/rikki.wilkes.9
Lighting assist: Simon Pole – http://www.facebook.com/SPPSBL

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