The Festival

For years now I’ve been saying that I will go to the Edinburgh Festival, every year I say it. Do I go? Well no, never or at least I haven’t been in the last 12 years, that was until last year when I finally managed to fit it in. Although it was quite a while back that I was last there I have to say the memory of it has always stuck with me, for anyone who has only experienced it once you will know what I mean. The atmosphere is electrifying and contagious, you feel that you have no choice but to smile and laugh and get involved in everything that’s going on around you. The streets are packed and there is so much going on that it’s nigh impossible to take it all in. Regardless of where you look there are performers placed strategically everywhere, various singers, dancers, jugglers, sword swallowers, there’s people dressed in all manner of costumes and garb from all different periods. It’s downright amazing what you see and at times a little overwhelming as you just don’t know where to look first, afraid if you face the wrong way you will miss something.

I had always planned to go in alone or with a photographer friend of mine however as plans do, they change. It became a family event and my wife and my 3 children accompanied me and we all made a day of it.

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My children loved it, they had seen nothing like it and they couldn’t get over the fact everyone was in a costume of sorts, they also could not understand why someone dresses as a statue and does not move for an hour, to be honest, neither do I :-/

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The whole day flew in and other than our hunt to find somewhere to eat that wasn’t queued right out of the door it was a great day.

It’s amazing that people travel from all over the world to experience the festival, and to take part in it. Below is a gentleman who hardly spoke English and had travelled over from China to be part of the festival. He juggled blocks and balanced them which sounds fairly rubbish however it was worth the 25 minutes we had to wait while he stretched himself and got ready for his performance.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was the music. There was musicians and bands all over the place, some playing acoustically, some not. There was metal and rock, bagpipes and ballads, country and pan pipes too, it was a veritable symphony of a hundred different instruments coming at you from all different angles. It was great!

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There is some really talented people out there and its a pleasure to hear and see something that you would not normally show an interest in. I find that it completely opens up your senses and gives you a sense of joy when you see so many people enjoying themselves and having fun, as I said, it’s contagious.

This guy was one of my favourites, half of the time the bubbles didn’t materialize, but when they did they were amazing. It’s the look on his face that makes it for me, it looks like he has just done it for the first time and amazed himself. I also felt the skeletal gentleman adds to the picture, it’s as though he just waiting for it to pop!Edinburgh Festival 2015-0005

If you’ve never been before or like me it’s just been a long time I would encourage you to go in 2016, you won’t regret it and you will have the memory forever.

Well as always, I thank you for reading through my post, I hope to see you back for the next one. Any comments, drop them below.

Thanks, Paul.

Chloes Baptism

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Its been a long while now since I posted, far too long in fact. So much has happened since my last post, so many days out, places visited and tales to tell. Where to start really.

Well I felt a good place to start would be my nieces christening, as this site was supposed to be about me improving my skills and my photography journey and this was the 1st time I had taken photos for anyone other than me.

Chloe is an adorable little girl, she’s 5 years old, fairly quiet with a really cheeky grin and has a knack for getting messy! My sister made the decision last year she wanted Chloe to be christened and had it all arranged fairly quickly. I offered to take my camera to capture the moment for them.

Now, I am a landscape lover, an admirer of architecture, there’s nothing better than a sky full of cloud and some hills to shoot or a ruined castle begging me to record it’s slow demise. Family, friends, people in general, not really my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to do portrait and events, it’s just, it’s someone’s day, “what if I muck it up”. However, I suppose confidence is all part of the journey.

So what you see here is some of the photos taken on that educational day. I only used my 50mm lens and all pictures were taken either on “manual” or “aperture priority”. I have only included a selection of photos taken on the day as I have not spoken with everyone who was there and have not gained permission to display their photos online.

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The Water Horse

A couple of weeks back on a smashing sunny day we took a trip out towards Falkirk. We had planned for a while to go visit the Kelpies and finally managed to find the time. Now these horses have to be one of the most photographed landmarks in Scotland recently, everyone has a pic or two, mainly at night, you can’t go onto Facebook or Instagram without seeing pictures of them. However I struggled a bit, I was using my 50mm 1.8 lens and that’s probably not the best of lens for something so large and dominating however I did manage a couple of shots from slightly different perspectives. If I am honest, there okay but none are what I wanted. I think I need another trip out, one with no children and lots of time to allow me to frame the shot better. Anyway here they are, the few shots I managed and did not delete!

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A Change in the Weather

Well this last few weeks the weather seems to have been all over the place. It wasn’t to long ago we managed 3 seasons in one day! All of a sudden though we have some sunshine and warmth, good old Scottish shorts and t-shirt weather (10°+!).

So, it was only the 2nd day of the easter holidays and I was already getting moans and groans of “I’m bored”, “I’ve nothing to do”. So I packed a picnic, myself and the 3 tiny terrors into the car and went to Barons Haugh Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Motherwell. It’s a lovely place for a walk, situated in a large estate with lots of hidden corners to explore.

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The weather held up, there was a bit of a chill wind at times however in general it was a very pleasant walk.

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We found a nice corner that gave a good view of the River Clyde and set out our lunch.

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My picnic packing skills must be fairly decent as a few swans appeared and decided to join us for some sandwiches.

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We were out for a good 5 hours and only made it half way round (children are so slow!) however we did manage a not too shabby 5 mile walk, not bad for 3 kids under 10. I will say though, trying to watch a one year old and also take photos is not as easy as it sounds. Every time I pulled the camera out he was off! His brothers were not much better!

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Seen as I am supposed to be improving on my very limited photography skills I decided to only use my Pentax 50mm lens, no zoom except my feet. Most of our walk was trees and riverside with little to look at other that swans, ducks and birds and reeds. However on the way back up to the car we did manage a short stop at the old cemetery.

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It’s in a poor state, very overgrown and a lot of damage to the grave stones.

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It’s a real shame however it also grants it some character. I’d love to have seen this place in its hay day as there was once a church also that sadly nothing remains of.

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Well as always, thank you for taking the time to read through and I hope you liked the photos. If your in the area and have never been I would recommend Barons Haugh.
I’ve been a little behind with my editing however I will aim to get my next post on soon as possible. I’ve been out a bit recently and have more to share.

Thanks again,
Paul

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An Atmosphere to Remember

IMGP5997_1Last year I was lucky enough to experience the most wonderful atmosphere in and around Glasgow.

Let me start by saying that I have almost no interest in watching anything sport like. Sport is something that I do wish I enjoyed more however I am 36 and have never found any love of watching any sport and I certainly dislike the politics and rivalries that fall in line with it.

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However….the Commonwealth Games, well that was something I enjoyed a lot more than I ever expected. Maybe it was because it was happening so close to me, maybe it was the buzz and all the positive vibes and emotions. Either way it was a pleasure watching it and photographing what little I could. For anyone who spent some time at any of the stadiums or who visited Glasgow Green you will know exactly what I am meaning, it was an electrifying atmosphere that became contagious.

IMGP6216My family and I spent a few days at Glasgow Green and loved it, so many people, all happy and no trouble, the sun even shined for most of it! Just a lovely time. I have to say though, so many fantastic people volunteered to help out and they helped make the games what it was. I can honestly say that I am disappointed I saw so little of it live and wish I had volunteered, however seeing some, well, it’s better than none. My family were more fortunate than I and managed to see more of it however I did manage the final of the men’s road race and even with some rain it was great.

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You really need to give these guys some credit, the distances they have to cycle, the courses and terrain and the especially the inconsistent Scottish weather! I did think it was a little funny though looking at the difference in physique as some were so small and skinny looking, others large and well muscled, you would have thought they may have a disadvantage being heavier.

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We managed to make it back into Glasgow later in the year for the Commonwealth winners parade through Glasgow.

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It was so busy though it was a struggle to get into a decent spot for pictures.

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I also (stupidly) thought that using my manual 50mm lens would be a super idea as its pretty sharp. In hindsight, my autofocus zoom lens that is less sharp would probably have done a better job! Oh well, always the next Commonwealth games :-/

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I know it was a while back and this site was mainly for anything up coming that I do, however I hope you don’t mind me posting some of these pictures as it was just such a lovely experience and I wanted to share what little I had of it.

Again if you have made it this far down, thank you, thank you very much.

Paul