Tuesday, 25 December 2007
I have a great job!
On Thursday I was asked to take photos of a family reunion at the
Forrest Hills Hotel on the shores of Loch Ard. When you turn left after Aberfoyle, you enter another world. The scenery is stunning and this was a particularly cold but spectacular day. It reminded me of a Fenimore Cooper novel and right on queue, along came a canoe, fortunately not being paddled by Mohicans. It looked like they were having a great time.
The Forrest Hills Hotel was lit up like a Christmas tree and looked like an oil painting from the bottom of the drive. My wee dog spent no time in exploring and even joined me at the end of the jetty for a portrait.
The reunion party was brilliant as the family hadn't seen many of their close relatives for quite a while and getting them all together had been a mammoth task.
All this and less than an hour from the centre of Glasgow, fantastic!
Friday, 21 December 2007
I had a very pleasant day on the Isle of Bute on Thursday. Off I went on the
Calmac ferry from Wemyss Bay and shortly after docked in at Rothesay Pier. I was met by Tony from Bute recycling. Yes, that was the job. A day in the life of the recycling team for a feature story. And what a job they do. All types of rubbish is sorted, crushed and sent off to enjoy life as something else. I noticed a huge proportion of the cans being crushed were of the alcoholic variety, I was reliably informed there was a reason for that. I'll not state the obvious. They were a really friendly bunch and looked after me royally.
I have been going to Rothesay for longer than I can remember but I hardly recognized the pier. It is now all roll on, roll off huge hydraulic machines to get cars and people turned around at super speed. The romance has gone. Some things however don't change. I noticed from the top deck on my return, a familiar landmark. The "Black Bull"! Now be warned, it may look quite innocent but I've never come out of it in any fit state of mind, ever. It does absolutely great food by the way. I was very impressed by the hardy soul in his dingy as the freezing wind would have cut you in half. Where he was going to or had come from, I'll never know.
And finally, another first in my life. I managed to get on and off the Isle without one drop of alcohol passing my lips. I can hardly believe it!
Thursday, 20 December 2007
I heard Steven Lindsay live for the first time back in April of this year at the CCA in
Glasgow accompanied only with keyboards. On Tuesday night, he was playing King Tut's with his full band. Both gigs were brilliant.
I strongly recommend that you add his albums Kite and Exit Music to your collection.
I had my first visit from my eldest son Roddy by car on Monday night. Yes, he has passed his driving test and arrived with four of his mates to borrow a winged shirt and black tie for the school dance.
One of his pals is very keen on photography and seemed very impressed by the studio and
all the gear lying around. They suggested I take a "studio portrait" for posterity. This is the result !
Ah well, boys will be boys.
Tuesday, 11 December 2007
I was travelling into Fife recently over the Forth Road Bridge. To my right was the magnificent Forth Rail Bridge. I am probably one of the few lucky people on the planet who have ever stood at the very top of this colossus of engineering.
Back in 1998, I was commissioned by Railtrack to take photos of ongoing work and the visit of the QE2 to the River Forth. Up I went, replete with mandatory high viz, hard hat and steel boots. What a buzz! Four hundred feet above the river and standing on a platform no bigger than a snooker table I found the whole experience quite overwhelming. To my utter astonishment, I heard a voice, " How's it going mate"? From out of nowhere and walking as if he was out for a Sunday stroll was Andy. Now Andy's job title was " Rope Technician". He prowled the structure with an arrogance that beggared belief.
I had a great conversation with him. I found out that his job was to get to places
where no mere mortal would even think about going, what a guy!
He then helped me out by getting involved in some set up stuff. I couldn't believe my luck and in the middle of all this, his phone rang. " Sorry mate, can't talk right now I'm getting my photos taken". Unbelievable.
Anyway it turned out really well for us both. I had a contract with the Sunday Mirror in those days to cover soccer matches on Saturday. They were running a series of "Men In High Places" features and the editor phoned shortly after this shoot asking if I had anything suitable. We both earned a few extra bob but Andy was without a doubt, the star man.
Thursday, 6 December 2007
My eldest son Roddy is back in goal. He has always been a goalie ( must be in his genes as his great grandfather was goalie for Arbroath) but a couple of years ago he got offered weekend work, so the fitba was literally booted out the park. He is staying on for a sixth year and can play for the school team as the games are during the week.
I got the fright of my life when I saw his team mates after all that time. One of them was at least six foot five. It was a crunch game against Knightswood and the pace was absolutely furious. I was tired just looking at them. His team, Hermitage Academy, got their revenge by winning 6-2 as Knightswood beat them in the cup last year. I reckon I'm just shrinking!
Friday, 30 November 2007
A few years ago I covered a wedding and guess what? The bride Ilona, has started a new line in handmade tiaras.
Last Sunday I did a session for her soon to be launched web site. Yes, the wedding market is colossal. Dresses, limos, flowers, food, drink, cakes, invites, the list is
almost endless. I hadn't even thought about tiaras. She is already getting plenty of inquiries. As a young mum, it is a tidy way of earning a nice income without leaving home. Good luck to her I say.
Mind you, I reminded her that they should carry a
" don't get too close" warning. They are so intricate that close contact joins them together as you can see by her entanglement with her big sister at her own wedding.
It was very funny right enough.
Monday, 26 November 2007
I went out for a look at the Glasgow light festival on Sunday night. It was fab! Glasgow Cathedral was the star attraction in my opinion. A series of projections onto the front elevation, accompanied by various pieces of classical music was quite breathtaking. Mind you, its cycle finished with "In the Summertime " by Mungo Jerry. I'm sure that there's a rational explanation for that bearing in mind it's November and freezing. Maybe it had something to do with St Mungo ? Ah!! who cares, the whole thing was brilliant.
Meanwhile down at Glasgow City Chambers, you would think Spielberg was shooting his latest ET Movie. There were three interactive light type devices shining through the columns and everyone was enjoying the buzz.
In what used to be a "no go" area after dark down on the River Clyde, the whole perspective had changed dramatically by the lighting to the bridges. It had a kind of somewhere abroad feel to it. You know that feeling when it's OK to see that sort of thing somewhere else and here it is on your doorstep. Glasgow is certainly right up there in the events department. If I were a tourist, I would have been loving it. I hope there is another light festival next year.
Sunday, 25 November 2007
I was put onto a great radio station in New York by a well known broadcasting pal of mine, who will remain nameless in case he gets the sack. East Village Radio is very, very, very, good. It doesn't matter what time of the day it is, the musical mix just seems to work. Don't take my word for it, have a listen.
I suppose my curiosity could be clouded as I spent some time in the Village
when I was in New York in the 80's. All sorts of things were going on but music was everywhere. I went to the legendary CBGB as you were guaranteed a great time.
When you look at the bands who have played there you will see what I mean.
Everything about New York is big and when I was looking through some of my old B&W photos I was reminded of the fragile world we live in. From the top of the Empire State Building, you can clearly see the World Trade Centre. I also had a meal in a beautiful restaurant at the top of one of the towers, the views over the Hudson and East River were spectacular.
The best way to get about was undoubtedly the Subway. All right, let's forget all the scare stories about never coming out after going in. Like any big city anywhere, there are certain places at certain times you wouldn't care to frequent but for getting about Manhattan it couldn't be beaten. Just about every street corner has a station access, down you go and you're off. If you haven't been to New York, go.
Friday, 23 November 2007
Craig and Christina arrived last night for a shoot. They made it clear that they were looking for something "stylish" or "different". It reminded me of the type of request hairdressers get all the time.
I have been aggressively marketing the studio over the last few months and it is proving to be very interesting. It's great to see the reaction of people when they see the results on screen. The beauty of high resolution digital photography is that you get to see the results within five minutes of the shoot finishing. You then choose only the images you want. No waste, no film, chemistry and mountains of prints. Fantastic for everyone. I have to admit, I do miss the darkroom and occasionally go in for a nostalgia break.
Here are a few shots from the dozens taken. Craig and Christina were great to work with and very happy with the results, so was I.
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Boo Hewerdine played a fantastic set in the back conservatory at Bar Brel last night. He is a really cool guy and was inviting people to join him on stage to play the Cajong. One of the audience was actually very good. He played for over an hour and seemed to be enjoying his glass of wine at the bar after the show.
I really like these wee gigs as they are technically challenging on the photo front. There is usually one teeny light, or in this case, one teeny and one stonking great red number.
Ah ! Photographers we're never happy about anything.