Monday, 28 September 2009
North Berwick is a very nice and very affluent little sea side town, 25 miles along the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh. Robert Louis Stevenson spent his summers there as a young lad and it is said to be the inspiration for many of his books.
A mile out to sea, is the famous Bass Rock which boasts the largest colony of gannets anywhere in the world. I noticed a sign next to a garden wall on the sea front and went to investigate. Just over the wall were around a dozen young gannets which were being looked after by the owner of the property until they were strong enough to be released.
For the budding photographers out there, it was an interesting study in "depth of field".
I was always told to focus wherever possible on the eyes. When you are in low light and you have a long beak the results vary enormously over a few inches.
In among the rock pools, I was disappointed to see the usual mess left behind by the idiots amongst us. Broken glass is the last thing to leave anywhere near a beach!
On Saturday afternoon, The Fix got their first experience in a proper rehearsal and recording studio.
Under the watchful eye of George, owner of Sonic Boom Studios the lads rehearsed for an hour or so and were then shown how tracks were laid down.
George reckons they are ready and their first recording session starts next Saturday. It will take up to eight hours and they will have a least three tracks to take away.
After the recording studio, we tried the photo studio.
"Let's do the classic Queen album cover shot" they said.
I don't think it quite worked somehow !
And finally, a question I've often asked. Why do drummers wear woolly hats?
Saturday, 26 September 2009
I forgot to post this up after my last trip to Cumbrae.
In the fantastic museum, I spotted this in one of the glass cabinets which had archival material from the height of Millport's popularity .
Cunningham's Picture Postcard Saloon.
There were lots of old photographs of bygone days but I suppose in the future, people will be looking at all of today's photos with the same nostalgia.
My old line..... "Today's photographs are tomorrows history".
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Every year the Yummy Mummy's have a get together for lunch at the Thistle Hotel and raise money for Clic Sargent childrens cancer.
This year had a guest appearance by the Kennedy Cupcakes. Between them and Real Radio, a lot of money was raised and a lot of fun was had.
Monday, 21 September 2009
Can anybody out there tell me what this is?
I know it is an old medical device and is 50x30x10 cms in size and has a very precise clockwork motor. When wound up, the circular piece at the top rises up about 30 cms and slowly goes back down as the wind finishes.
It comes in a a very well made aluminium box.
Nae prizes for anyone who knows, just the satisfaction of knowing you are a genius.
Friday, 18 September 2009
Sarah and Chris got married recently at Glenbervie House, Larbert. It is a beautiful setting and the weather was great, it had just stopped raining the day before.
I met Sarah and Chris at a joint fortieth birthday they were guests at nearly two years ago. I remember them booking the date but the speed it came around astonished me. Time seems to be flying by.
Weddings seem to more popular than ever. A lot of couples are being caught out by the proliferation of digital cameras. Now don't get me wrong, they are brilliant but they are giving people the idea that photography is only "pushing a button". Covering a wedding is definitely not a thing that should be undertaken by anyone other than an experienced professional.
Number two son Andrew, had his school prize giving on Thursday night. Before we left, he was showing me his latest effects pedals for his guitar.
His band The Fix, practice in a completely sound proof garage at the side of the house. The neighbours had gone utterly bonkers at the noise the lads were making when they were rehearsing in the house, now they can get on with it without any problems.
It seems to be paying off as they won a recent talent show in their home town of Helensburgh.
Entrepreneur Richard Farleigh was visiting Clydebank College on Wednesday night.
Richard, famous for his role in the popular TV Series Dragons Den was talking about his life. From being fostered at an early age as one of twelve children living in the Australian outback, he told us about his meteoric rise to wealth and early retirement in Monte Carlo at the age of 34.
Being easily bored, this was not for him and he embarked on a life of venture capitalism which lead directly to him being auditioned for Dragons Den.
He has a very down to earth way of explaining his success and seemed quite modest at seeing a huge image of himself projected onto the screen behind him.
His comments on fellow Dragon and "Bankie" (One who grew up in Clydebank) Duncan Bannatyne were very funny. "I couldn't understand a word he said".
He was a typical Aussie, no airs and graces whatsoever.
Now here is something I have not done since my days as a news photographer, a Royal visit.
I have no idea how many I have covered over the years but what I noticed here was the lack of media interest. Only the local paper was in attendance. This must be due to the swingeing cuts across the media in general due to the recession. In bygone days, there would have been a posse of cameramen and reporters.
HRH Prince Edward was visiting the premises of one of my clients ACE Recycling in Alloa. He was shown around by MD Malcolm McArdle and stopped off to chat with several members of the staff.
After a quick presentation he was whisked off to his next engagement and it was business as usual.
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
I went to see Terry Reid at the Winchester in Glasgow recently.
Now who is Terry Reid I hear you ask, well so did I. I had a vague recollection but it was my old pal Tom who filled me in and if you are an aspiring musician take note.
Back at the end of the sixties a certain Jimmy Page was looking for a vocalist for the New Yardbirds which went on to become Led Zeppelin and asked Terry to join up but he had already committed to touring the USA with the Stones in 1969. He did however recommend a young Birmingham vocalist Robert Plant as a suitable candidate. Shortly after that he turned down the offer to join Deep Purple when they decided to replace Rod Evan. Ian Gillan got the job. The rest as they say, is history.
He was still enjoying himself and his voice still sounded great. Have a listen to him at Glastonbury in 1971 and you'll hear why he was in demand.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
I only met Keith Floyd once, what an experience!
Back in September 2000, I was commisioned to take a photo of him, the manager and the head chef at the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh. The chef had won a major accolade, Keith was in town filming and the photo shoot was set up.
"Now he's not in a good mood so don't hang around", I was told by his publicist. I set up my lights, got the manager and chef ready and quickly got the shots required. It was all over in two minutes, if that.
I noticed that his entourage quickly disappeared and I started taking down my lights. A few moments later I heard that gravelly voice, "It looks like you and me are the only ones left snapper, do you fancy a swifty" ? Well, why not I thought to myself where's the harm.
Within ten minutes I had knocked back several drams with him at the bar and an hour later I realised that driving was completely out of the question, walking in a straight line was also going to prove difficult. I can't really remember what we talked about but I do remember him waxing lyrical about The Stranglers.
I'll always remember my short time with him. He was a fantastic character but I wonder how many people could keep up with him.
Not a lot I reckon.
I certainly couldn't.
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
Over the years, I have noticed distinct patterns in terms of inquiries to the studio. This year has been no exception. For some inexplicable reason there is always a great deal of interest for family related photos at the end of the summer.
The old saying "Never Work With Children Or Animals", can sometimes be very accurate but if you are patient there are great results to be had.
Not if you listen to Noel Gallagher's comments about his brother Liam regarding their
On Monday morning at five thirty, I was awakened by the screeching of sea gulls. For a moment I thought I was somewhere by the sea. I looked out of the window and there were several gulls low flying and dive bombing around. Not unusual I hear you say but this was the west end of Glasgow. The sea is miles away. They must have been city gulls.
It is nicer to see them in their proper environment as here en route to my girlfriends sisters house on the Isle of Cumbrae.
Did you know that the narrowest house in the world known as the Wedge is to be found in Millport?
If you don't believe me, here is the photographic proof. Amazing Stuff!
Also, I wonder how many boats were named Dignity after the famous tune by Deacon Blue?
Quite a few I think. At the top are a couple of them moored at Millport pier.
My old pal Tom was publishing his latest novel "Serpentine" at the Edinburgh Book Festival on Sunday afternoon.
During the Q&A session I was discretely taking some photos when I was tapped on the shoulder by a young guy with an official badge hanging around his neck. "You can't take photos" he told me in a stern voice. Not wanting to cause a scene, I put my camera down.
After the event, I was followed outside by the chap where he proceeded to tell me to delete my images as he didn't want any of them to appear on Youtube. Not content with that nonsensical reason, he proceeded to give me several more other ridiculous ones.
"Ye Gods! it's a book festival for heavens sake. Lighten up", I said. You would have thought I was a dubious character in Tom's book.
Now to get back to the book, I have read the first few chapters and it is fab. I strongly recommend that you buy a copy.