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Scotland Yet

Scotland Yet

As Scotland heads into the last two weeks of the referendum on independence, campaigning on both sides is increasing. It’s an emotional time to be in the country. Many people are remembering back to the previous referendums that were held on whether or not Scotland should have a devolved parliament. In 1997, in the run up to the second devolution referendum, the singer Davy Steele wrote the song Scotland Yet, which has recently  been used in a film of the same name, made about the independence vote we now face. The words are every bit as relevant today

I’ve been delighted to have worked with Patsy Seddon on creating a video of a recording of Davy singing the song using my photos.

Edinburgh tram testing

Edinburgh tram testing

The Edinburgh tram testing has stepped up a gear this week. The trams have been out on the streets much more regularly, and are now appearing several at once. I spotted 6 of them within a few minutes while heading into town today. For now it’s an unusual enough sight to have plenty of people stopping to stare, and taking snaps as they glide by. It won’t be long before that seems a routine part of Edinburgh life.

I doubt we can say the same of the glorious sunshine we’ve had in the city over the last couple of days!

Field of Light exhibition

Field of Light, Edinburgh

The Field of Light exhibition opened in St Andrew Square last night. Bruce Munro is the artist behind this unusual display. By day, it looks as if a collection of bizarre fake flowers have been planted right across the square. As night falls, it all comes to life. Each of the ‘plants’ is connected to a fibre optic cable, and lights up in an ever-changing  pattern of colour. The colours seem to flow across different areas of the square – it’s pretty hypnotic!

 

Click on any photo to enlarge it and see a slideshow

There are nearly 10,000 bulbs in the exhibition. It’s possible to walk through the square and immerse yourself in the waves of lighting. It also looks pretty spectacular if you can view it from above. There are some superb shots of the show by Paul McGuigan, on the Edinburgh Spotlight website.

The exhibition is free, and is open from  3rd February to 27th April 2014. The lights are switched on from 5pm to midnight each day.

This brief time lapse gives a sense of the way the lights alter in the space:

Star Flyer in Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s winter funfair

The centre of Edinburgh city is buzzing in the run up to Christmas. As part of the world famous Hogmanay celebrations, a funfair and market appear in Princes Street Gardens in the run up to the holiday period. This year, there was also a market in St Andrews Square. Towering above this market space was a new attraction – the Star Flyer. This was a ride that took folk nearly 180 feet up into the air above the city, and swirled them around above the bustle going on below.

As soon as I saw it, I knew the Star Flyer would be a great subject for a photo or two. I was itching to get out in the evening, and take some shots with it lit up. I had my first opportunity to get out to it with my camera after dark yesterday, and I wasn’t disappointed. I kept my feet firmly on the ground, and shot the ride from underneath. I loved the effect of using a long exposure with the camera on a tripod.

Click on any of the images below to see a larger version.

 
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10 reasons I love being in Edinburgh at Hogmanay

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

On my way back home from tonight’s fabulous Torchlit procession I got to thinking about how it’s one of my favourite events of the year to photograph. And it’s in my favourite city. There are a zillion things to love about Edinburgh, and it’s really shown off at its best for Hogmanay.

So here’s 10 reasons why I love being in Edinburgh this Hogmanay:

  1. 35,000 people squeezed themselves onto on one small hill for the torchlit procession tonight. It takes about an hour for the tail end of the procession to arrive on the hill, and then the fireworks start. While folk waited, there was loads of goodwill and banter – a truly fantastic atmosphere.
  2. Walking back from Calton Hill, chatting to a hoard of happy Vikings.
  3. Spotting a policeman helping a couple by taking a photo for them, with their flaming torches.
  4. After an absolute deluge on Monday, we got a clear, and  almost still, evening for the fireworks the night before Hogmanay.
  5. There’s so many photogenic moments – Edinburgh is a beautiful city during the day, and it completely comes alive at night, with lights, flaming torches, brightly lit funfair rides, and of course the fireworks displays.
  6. The views from the city hills are great for watching the fireworks if you’re not so keen on being part of the city centre crowds.
  7. The Hogmanay street party is celebrating its 21st birthday this year – we’re going to get a night to remember!
  8. This year’s street party is also celebrating the launch of Homecoming Scotland 2014. At midnight, fireworks will be fired simultaneously across Scotland. As the bells strike, we’ll be joining in the world’s biggest rendition of Auld Lang Syne.
  9. And a wee practical thing – after the bells there  are free buses home for anyone staying within Edinburgh.
  10.  As well as Edinburgh’s world famous Hogmanay Street party the official Hogmanay website has details of concerts, the Street Party carnival, Scot:Lands, and the Loony Dook.

What’s your favourite thing about being in Edinburgh at New Year?

 

Brand new Haymarket station opens

Brand new Haymarket station opens

On Wednesday 19th December, morning at 5.30am, the new station at Haymarket in Edinburgh will open its doors for the first time to the travelling public. The £25 million project has been completed on schedule and within budget.

The entire development has been built without shutting the existing station at any time, and with minimal disruption locally. Most of the work has been carried out on overnight while the station has been shut.

The frontage for the new development will be around the corner from the original station entrance. So by tomorrow morning this entrance will be closed:
Haymarket station's old entrance will close from tomorrow

….and these new doors will open, immediately behind the tram stop on Haymarket Terrace:
The new Haymarket station building, the night before opening

 

 

Daytime tests for Edinburgh trams

More tram tests in Edinburgh

The Edinburgh trams were back on the streets again today, undergoing further testing. I have a selection of shots taken between the west end of Princes Street and Haymarket station. Full selection of tram testing images, Tuesday 17th December 2013, available for digital download.

 

Competition – win a pair of Scottish landscape calendars

This competition is now closed. The winners were Jane Willis, and Maureen Dornau – please message me on the Photography Scotland Facebook page by Monday 23rd December. Let me know your postal address, so I can send you your prizes. Thanks


Competition – win a pair of calendars

Photography Scotland is running a competition on Facebook. Two people will win a pair of beautiful landscape wall calendars for 2014.

Competition - win a pair of Photography Scotland wall calendars
Terms and Conditions

  • The competition closes at midnight GMT on Monday 16th December.
  • Entries can only be submitted on the relevant post on the Photography Scotland Facebook page.
  • Entries are are submitted by liking the post on Facebook and adding a comment on the post.
  • The 2 winners will be selected at random, as soon as the competition has closed.
  • The winners’ names will be posted as a comment on the original Facebook post, and if possible they will also be contacted via a direct message on Facebook. (This can only be done if your Facebook settings allow it).
  • The winners should contact Photography Scotland within 1 week of the closing date, through a direct message on Facebook. If the prize is not claimed within a week, a new winner will be selected.
  • The winners will be asked for a postal address. The prize will be posted to this address. The address will not be used for any other purpose.
  • This competition is run by Photography Scotland, and is not sponsored, supported or organized by Facebook.

Edinburgh trams tested overnight

Testing the Edinburgh trams

The tram ran on the streets in the centre of Edinburgh tonight, for the first time in over 50 years. As the tram left Haymarket station at 11pm, a crowd with cameras followed it eagerly down to Shandwick place. It was accompanied by large numbers of contractors in their brightly coloured orange overalls, walking alongside the carriages as they progressed into town.
There were mixed feelings watching the progress of the test. The trams won’t be ready to take their first passengers until May 2014, a delay of three years  from the initial planned completion date.  With the budget for the trams being overspent by over £400m, and years of traffic delays during the building works, many locals are likely to be pretty scathing about this progress towards completion.
The December weather gave the trams a fairly stormy reception. The forecast for severe gales has resulted in trains being cancelled across the country.
Edinburgh trams leaving Haymarket during testing in the city centre

The Great Tapestry of Scotland

The Great Tapestry of Scotland

I went along to see The Great Tapestry of Scotland at Cockenzie House & Gardens yesterday. What an amazing achievement!
The tapestry records key moments in the history of Scotland from pre-history to modern times. It was stitched by groups of volunteers from around the country. Over 18 months, a total of 65,000 hours of stitching has created 160 stunning panels.
It was completed in the summer of 2013. It’s now being toured around the country to different venues. If you haven’t seen it yet, get to it if you can! Apparently there are plans for it to be in Aberdeen early next year, and in the Scottish parliament building again next summer.
Here’s just one of the panels. It depicts the first Edinburgh International Festival in 1947. The circle in behind the cello and fiddle is a replica of the Princes Street Gardens floral clock from 1947.
This panel was stitched by:
Jo Allen
Ann Campbell
Mairi Campbell
Heather Davidson
Alice Henderson
Eleanor Horton
Jackie Kemp Jan Kerr
Le-Anne Koh
Sue Lougheed
Delia Marriott
Janis McGravie
Moira Nelson
Kirstin Norrie
Sigridur Oladottir
Ffion Reville
Fiona Roche
Patsy Seddon
Heather Swinson
Linda Swinson
Margareta Thomson
Catriona White
Lois Yelland

A single panel from The Great Tapestry of Scotland

 

Work has now started on a new tapestry: The Scottish Diaspora, which will be completed and on display in 2014, as part of the Homecoming celebrations.