Facebook Group

Rules and Guidelines
(Updated September 2021)

 

If you’re reading this then it means you’ve joined our Facebook community, so welcome and thank you for choosing to join us! 😀

We’re a small Facebook group and we really like it that way. VTLS is not a group for showing off or getting a vast amount of likes, although, liking an image is still important to us. It’s a group for like minded people who love Scotland, who photograph it and want to be part of a community. Interaction is key, we want our members to talk, share information, give constructive comments and most importantly feel like they’re making new friends.

To keep everything straight forward and keep us all on the same page there are some group rules that we’d kindly ask you to follow. Please take a few minutes to read over the rules below and if you’ve any questions you’re welcome to get in contact with myself or one of the Moderators, Jim or Angie.

Again, thank you for wanting to join our little community and we really look forward to seeing your images and getting to know you.

Paul

Creating an Interactive & Welcoming Community

  • We’re all unique and at different stages of our photographic journey so please keep this in mind and treat everyone with kindness and respect.
  • Healthy debates are natural but we won’t tolerate any sort of nastiness or negativity from our members, those posts will be removed and potentially, so may you be.
  • The key to a healthy and active community is communication. Don’t be afraid to comment on an image or interact by liking or loving it, but only if you actually do!
  • Please don’t discuss any subject that could cause friction or upset. We appreciate many of you will be passionate about certain subjects and may feel the need to discuss your thoughts and opinions, however, VTLS isn’t the place to do it.
  • You chose to join the group and hopefully you enjoy it enough to recommend us to other people. However, before inviting anyone to the group, please let them know you’re doing so. Anyone you invite to the group will have 5 days to accept or it will be automatically declined.
  • We’re an interactive group. Ideally I want to see members posting their images, however, if you’re not posting then I’d ask you to add to the group in other ways. You can click ‘like’, and you can comment, please, get involved. Members of the group who are seen never to interact or post may be removed. It’s all about adding value.

Privacy & Copyright

  • Being part of this group requires it’s members to have a mutual trust. Authentic, expressive discussions can make a group great, but sometimes conversations can be sensitive and private. What’s shared in the group should stay in the group.
  • Please remember, any images that are added to this group will always remain the property of their owner & no one else may ever take, copy or sell without permission from the owner of the image. I know some of you may want to share the images with other groups, however, please ask before choosing to share elsewhere.

What can I post?

  • The group is all about celebrating Scotland. Photographs, video & artwork depicting Scotland are allowed. If you want to share anything that’s not your own work, please, ensure you’ve got permission and remember to credit the creator.
  • If you’re considering adding 10 images or more, please create an album with the name of the place as a title.
  • The group has various themes across the month. The main monthly theme must always be images from Scotland, however, all other themes, unless stated, can be from anywhere. Just please state where it was taken and don’t bombard the group.
  • We’re not monsters, you’re welcome to share an image from your own personal Facebook page or you’re own photography page but, please, no promoting the page. Please ensure any privacy settings have been adjusted so all ‘non-friends’ can see your hard work. We’d also ask you not to share or promote any other photography groups. 
  • Within the announcements section there is a post where you can share your photography website and Instagram account with the rest of the group. Please only post these within the comments, any posted to the main feed will be removed.
  • We don’t allow the promotion of any services, no selling of products or images, no spam and no irrelevant or dead links. These will be removed without notice.
  • I know many of you will wish to watermark your images and that’s completely fine, however, please, consider the size of the watermark. Having it cover the majority of the image or detracting from the image itself spoils it for everyone. Think of the size, shape and transparency of any watermarks.
  • Due to various themes, you may feel the need to repost an image you’ve previously posted and that’s okay. Remember though, you’re camera is designed to be used, not sit in the bag forgotten and lonely 🙂 Reposting is also a good excuse to try a new edit of the image.
  • When posting please consider the image. We would discourage any image where the ‘main subject’ is political or football-related or any other subject that could offend, this includes partial/full nudity. If admin thinks it could cause any issue or feels it’s not suitable it will be removed.
  • If you’ve any camera equipment for sale you’re welcome to post it in the group, however, please note, you should switch off commenting. If it’s not done, Admin will do it for you. Please ensure you state all conversations must be done through private message. Sales posts should not be repeated unless agreed by Admin. The group itself takes nothing to do with private sales and Admin will not get involved in any disputes.
  • When posting, it would be appreciated if you could use the “Check-in” function so other members can easily locate the place should they wish to visit. If you don’t want to check in, please include the name/location in the title of the post. The group is about sharing Scotland’s beauty and by providing the location you’re helping other members.

Meeting up

  • The group have been known to meet up on occasion. Any meet up’s or events will be added to the “Events” tab along with details of the event and times.
  • If any member of the group is heading out for a bit of photography and they’re willing to open it up to other members then we’d ask you to create an ‘event’. Please include details of where you will meet, the time and the aim of the meet. If you can, please, add a link to a map showing the location too. If anybody needs help with this just message me, I’m happy to set the meet up for you and manage it too, it’s no problem.
  • If any members are meeting up, we’d encourage you to think safely. The group can be a source for like-minded individuals but you must always let others know where you’re going and who with.
  • If any event is arranged by the group or on behalf of the group, please be aware that these meets are intended to be meet-ups between friends or like-minded individuals. We will decide on the date, time and location but getting to the location is your responsibility as is any cost incurred. The group have no funds or insurance and will not pay or reimburse any costs that you may have incurred.

 

On a Cold & Frosty Morning.

Blantyre Park Farm Woodlands_9There is nothing quite like photographing on a cold and frosty morning, literally nothing like it, as its bloody freezing!

One morning last week I sat in work looking out of the window and everything was slowly being whitewashed, there was a freezing fog, low cloud cover and a light dusting of snow. As I was working late there was no possibility of photography however I vowed on my day of I was heading out.

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I chose a little known place nearby, situated at the back of Hamilton and Blantyre, I say little known as unless you live locally or work in the area most people aren’t aware of these paths. Most of this area was once farms and vast fields now we have a Technology Park, a university and many, many houses. Of course there are still fields and farms but far fewer than ever before.

Not far from the hamlet of Auchentibber sat the farm known as Blantyre Park, now mostly gone and covered over by the new houses at West Craigs. However, you may be surprised to know that there are still plenty of the old farm tracks remaining, certainly enough for a great walk. You can enter either from West Craigs or from the Technology Park, there are a few paths and the walks can be done in a circular. You can choose to follow the few miles of paths or like me, head into the trees and follow the route of the Red Burn up to Park Road. The Red Burn runs through a deep cleft in the landscape and makes for some lovely scenery. Unfortunately there is the usual dumping of rubbish and random barrels along the way however it’s still beautiful, especially as the sun rises through it.

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You can see from my pictures that I had all sorts of light to play with, from bright sunlight, to dull and dingy to almost ethereal, there are so many different looks to my photographs that you would think I visited over multiple days.

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You will find a few other walks in this area, so if you fancy making it a longer walk you do have a few choices. You can stop at the recently refurbished Auchentibber War Memorial or you could head along the behind the building known as Browns Land and walk up to Dykehead Woods where you will not only get great views over Hamilton but you can see the old Lime Kiln.

Thanks for reading, below are some more images taken on the day.

Paul

© As always, all images subject to copyright and cannot be used or shared without prior permission.

A Little Grain is Good for the Soul

You may, or may not remember I previously wrote a post titled “Death of the Point and Shoot”. I was essentially saying why do we need pocket cameras anymore when we all carry mobile phones that are capable of taking such good photos.

Well it may surprise you to learn that I have recently not only dug out my old point and shoot but I have purchased a few others also. Your probably thinking “Really? Why?” Well let me enlighten you further.

When I say point and shoot, its a 22-year-old, 35mm film point and shoot. If my memory serves me well I received this as a 16th birthday present from a family member and used it little. I took it on a few holidays here and there but I never had much use out of it as I held no real interest in photography back then. However when I recently came across it again I purchased a battery and some cheap film and set about using it.

It’s a whole different world using one of these and my kids can’t grasp it at all. Every shot I fire off I get asked “can I see it?” Even my wife is asking me “why use it, you have a proper camera, whats the point?”, “you do realise there is a cost to shooting film?”. However they don’t get it, it’s the simplicity, the fact I have almost no control over the shot so I need to take my time. I need to think each shot through and take into account the light and composition because if I get it wrong I will have wasted a shot and it will cost me more money. Shooting 35mm slows me down, I find it more relaxing and it’s enjoyable.

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Now this is all new to me, my previous excursion into 35mm film 20 odd years ago was nothing more than a point and click exercise with little thought put into any photo. As this is a new adventure I did not want to spend any real money on film so after a quick Google search I found that I can buy camera film at …..wait for it…..Poundland! And guess what, it’s only a £1!! Bargain.

Ok, so it’s not Kodak Ektar, it won’t win me any awards but it will (hopefully) allow me to learn without breaking the bank, film isn’t cheap you know.

Current selection

After stocking up on the cheap and extremely over saturated AGFA Vista Plus 200 I started to stock up on 35mm point and shoots. Again I hear the “why” however considering I now own 7 and they have all cost me less than £15 combined I don’t feel that I have wasted my money. I have a couple of lovely Pentax zoom lens cameras in perfect condition, a couple of older fixed focus Olympus, Kodak and Vivitar cameras and my original Canon SureShot 60 Zoom.

It will be a while before I’ve got around to using them all, however as I use each I will share the pictures with you on here. At the moment it’s all over saturated AGFA Vista film that I’ve shot however I have just received a roll of Kodak Professional T-MAX 400 ASA which I have been told is one of the best possible black and white films to have. I can’t wait to use it however I’m waiting for the right day, preferably bright with lots of shadows, I’ll also need to decide what camera to use. I am also currently shooting a roll of Kodak Advantix APS film that expired 11 years ago, I’m curious to see how that turns out.

Once all of the cameras have been played around with and I feel that I have more of an idea of whats required when shooting film I will purchase an SLR or Rangefinder, I haven’t decided which yet.

Now this doesn’t mean the end of digital for me, far from it, (although I did recently sell my DSLR with a selection of lenses) no, I plan to still shoot digital and I’ve recently acquired a Pentax K50.

So for now I’ll leave you with a selection of pictures recently shot using my Canon Sureshot 60 Zoom. They’re not great but for my first foray I’m happy.

Paul

© As always, all images subject to copyright and cannot be used or shared without prior permission.

Time poor 

Clyde walkway, Bothwell Castle.

Click the picture to download the Clyde walkway leaflet for Bothwell.

Aside from my family, there are three things in my life that I feel extremely passionate about, photography, walking and history. Any one of the three can cause me to lose hours from my day.

Kype Water, Sandford.

Clyde walkway, Bothwell Castle.

Regardless of the weather there is nothing I enjoy more than to be out wandering around the countryside. Generally before any adventuring, you’ll find me pouring over old maps and looking for historical information about the area that I plan to visit. I love finding relics from the past, old ruins, abandoned buildings, monuments, graveyards, that sort of thing. These all make for fantastic subject matter in my photographs and that allows me to combine all my favourite pastimes into one trip out.

Graves, Lanercost Priory.

However like most people these days I am time poor. I like to think I’m a family person and always put their needs first (my family may disagree!) but then I find that my hobbies take a back seat. Between work, a wife and 3 children I struggle, struggle to find both motivation and the time to squeeze in much else. However since February this year I’ve been making an effort to get out at least one day a week even if it’s only for a couple of hours. When I’m out it’s mainly been for a walk, anything from a few miles to as much as 8 depending on where I go and how much time I have. Believe it or not I don’t normally take my camera with me, mainly due to time constraints, however I always have my phone.

View of Carnwath Church and St Mary’s Aisle.

Inside St Mary’s Aisle, Carnwath.

On most of my jaunts my focus is walking, generally it’s around some old historic estate trying to find any remains. I may not have my camera but I always try to take some photos on my phone. Not only does this provide me with a record for the future, it allows me to share what I have found with others online.

Taken near Culter Fell.

My photography has definitely taken a back seat over this last 6 months. It’s not that I’ve given up on it or lost interest, it’s just I don’t have time to spend on it along with everything else, and exercise has definitely been more of a priority. I am hoping now the mornings and the nights are lighter that I can fit in some proper photography between now and September but only time will tell.

Inside the summer house at Dumfries House Estate.

As I previously mentioned in another post, it amazes me how good mobile phone cameras have become. Some of the photographs I have taken whilst walking have turned out really good and I find now that I am enjoying using my phone more and more for photography.

Waterfall, Kelburn Castle.

My phone is the Huawei P9, it has a dual lens camera co-engineered with Leica with one dedicated lens for monochrome. The results are fantastic, the quality is way above any previous phone I’ve owned or used, it allows manual control and shoots in DNG RAW format. As I said, I’ve had this with me on my travels and I’ve taken pictures on each trip. What your seeing on this page is some of my favourite pictures over the last few months, all taken on my phone and edited from RAW using Snapseed.

Mausoleum, Lowther Castle.

We nearly all have a phone and it’s generally never far from us, I’d encourage you all to think about what you like and start taking some pictures, you don’t need the biggest or best camera to make a good photo. Remember, a photo is recorded by the camera but it’s taken by the person holding it.

Hermitage Castle, Newcastleton.

The Wider View. 

Well it happened again! Once more I’ve fallen into a lull and I’ve been neglecting my photography. The reason? Well, part of its time, part of it’s the stress of being a parent, a husband and working full time too. How do other people manage and still fit in a social life?

Anyway, I recently had the pleasure of spending a Sunday touring about the Scottish Borders. What a fantastic area to explore and I hardly even scraped the surface! There are so many ruins to explore, there’s iron age and bronze age hill forts, old churches, beautiful old cemetries and the scenery, well its just as beautiful as up north and just as dramatic in places too.

Now I was out with a decent sized group of people and was constantly feeling like I was holding everyone back while I stopped for photos but the views, they were amazing. The snow covered hills and the grand houses, the autumn lanes….. I was in my element. Now I’m not going to bore everyone with all my poorly shot snaps however I did do something I’ve never done before. I took multiple pictures and stitched them together into a panoramic. I hadn’t planned to and it was done quickly and off the cuff, however I was pleasantly surprised with the results.  And now, well I’ve found a new mistress and I can’t wait to do more!  I only took 4 of them however one is just blurry and dull so it’s been consigned to the back of the hard drive never to see the light of day. These 3 I am happy with, especially for 1st attempts.
Thanks

Paul

A Walk Through History

First of all let me apologise as its been weeks between posts, I just can’t seem to find the time to keep this site going, however I am determined I’m not giving up. Most weekends I have been out somewhere and I do have photos to post. I think though I am going to have to start taking pictures in JPEG instead of RAW as this is mainly what holds me up, I never seem to get time to process them!

Anyway enough of my apologetic whining!

So, a few months back I stumbled upon a reference online to a castle I had never heard of, Torwood. After some reading up I found that it’s not to far a drive and that there was not only the ruin of a castle but the ruin of broch also, known as Tappoch broch. For those who do not know of brochs they area very old fortified dwellings once common in Scotland and Ireland, around 2000 – 3000 years old. Needless to say the 1st chance I had I took a trip over.

It did start as a rather dreary morning however it brightened quickly and turned out to be a splendid day albeit a little to bright for pictures as you’ll see, a few burnt out skies! We found a small layby just after the village of Torwood and parked up. There is a rather nice walk up the hill through some forest by a disused mine and quarry. Had it not been raining I would have a great 1st picture to show. The quarry is flooded and there has to be hundreds of old tyres floating in it. However there was a few ducks all swimming around between the tyres not seeming to mind the horrible looking water. It would have been an interesting shot. Now it’s not to long a walk from the car to the broch, maybe a mile, mile and half although it’s all uphill however it doesn’t take to long. It’s a nice enough walk through the forest however it’s not any different from any other, nothing special to see, although I’ll mention that this was once a royal forest used for hunting and for timber.

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Once you reach the broch its a little underwhelming as it’s just an overgrown hill, until you get near to the crown of the hill that is. As you get closer you see the stonework, the ditch surrounding it and the stairs going into it.

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Its walls can’t be more than maybe 7 feet at their highest but there is enough left to see that this was once quite large with thick defensible walls.

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Standing on the hill with the trees cleared away it would have looked quite imposing I would imagine. At this point it was about 7am and the sun was getting higher and the clouds were clearing away although it was a little chilly. We stayed there for about an hour or so, got some pictures, went exploring then moved on further up the hill towards the castle. The walk from there to the castle again could be no more than a mile and its a fairly easy walk, a slight incline then a slight decline and it levels out.

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You come onto a gravel road that leads to the castle and some house near by, you get a great view from here across rolling fields. In the distance you can see the Falkirk Wheel.

Forest path

Just of to the side of the road thee is a path and you get a nice side view of the castle from there.

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A view from the road

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Falkirk Wheel in the distance

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The castle is now only a shadow of its former self with only one building still standing, however any castle enthusiast can see that this castle was once much larger with a central courtyard and high walls on all sides, it’s a real shame only this small part now exists. The castle is a ruin and is not accessible, I believe it’s privately owned.

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Entrance road to the castle

There is not much shade around the castle and the sun was bright at this point so as you can see I managed to get the sky blown out a little in a couple of shots. Now had I not plans for later that day I would have liked to explore around the area some more as it looks as though there was more places for a wonder and I am sure more photos to be had however it just means another trip some point later in the year, hopefully!

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We didn’t head back the same way, we followed the road down by the houses presuming it would bring us out in Torwood village, which it did.It was a pleasant tree-lined avenue with lots of daffodils lining the way.

tree lined path

The walk back was all downhill and in a straight line, it took about 20 minutes and that was with me stopping to take a couple of pictures.

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Now as luck would have it, we made it back to the car, packed our gear in the boot and as it closed it began to rain, then pour. I love those days when the weather is on your side!

Now I have purposely not written about the history of the two sites, I would have been here all day! I would encourage anyone who may be interested in either site to a take a trip over and explore and there is info online for both sites too should you wish read up. I will say though, One thing I found interesting was, the day started with the walk up to the broch which is around 2500 years old, then we came to the castle that is around 450 years old and then the last part of the walk took us to the modern-day village, which is very modern in places with a lot of houses built this century. Hence the title of my post as it was a walk through the ages.

As always, let me thank you for reading through and again I apologise for the length of time it takes me to get things updated.

Paul