Edinburgh Hogmanay funfair
One of the things I love photographing is the Edinburgh Hogmanay funfair which appears in Princes Street each year. There’s a real sense of energy, colour and movement, and a buzz in the air with so many visitors to the city enjoying themselves.
When I first got my digital SLR camera, one of the first things I did was to experiment with using a long shutter speed to capture the movement of the fairground rides. This is one of the chair o’ plane ride, which is set up beside the Scott monument. I took this one in 2010, which was a particularly snowy winter in Scotland.
Saltires in the sun certainly make a good photo subject! I love those chance opportunities when photos present themselves to you unplanned. I was stunned to find out that there was a march on today, coinciding with a photography workshop I was running. It’s the second time it’s happened – we were treated to the Pedal on Parliament march when I ran a similar workshop in April.
On both occasions, the marchers assembled in the Meadows and marched up George IV Bridge, right past our front door. And on both occasions, we were treated to warm sun, blue skies, a great atmosphere, and plenty of photogenic activity.
Today’s march was a rally for Scottish independence, so it was the saltires in the sun that dominated the event. It was blue and white in every direction. And of course there were a few sets of bagpipes too! the march was busy and very good natured, and certainly gave the workshop participants an interesting challenge to round off the day.
If you’d like to learn about improving your photography skills, find out more on my photography workshops page.
Edinburgh festival fireworks
I’ve never been to Princes Street gardens for the Edinburgh Festival fireworks before. It’s a brilliant event to photograph, being visible from a huge number of vantage points across the city.The event is one of many fireworks displays that are set off from Edinburgh castle each year. During the Edinburgh Festival there’s a display every night as part of the Edinburgh tattoo event. Edinburgh is also host to one of the largest Hogmanay events in the world, which has the Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party as its climax. The Edinburgh festival fireworks are unique, though, in that the firework display is set to music, played live by the SNO, who are in the Ross Bandstand in the gardens, immediately below the castle.
I was invited to join a group who go along every year – they were well organised, and had an advanced party who went early to find a good spot for our group. By the time I arrived, Princes Street Gardens was thrumming with excited peaopl, all busy setting themselves up in almost every available space in the park. Picnics were being spread, and cameras set up. I was amazed at the size of the crowd – there was hardly enough room to walk across the grass! It turned out to be a fantastic evening – perfect weather and good company. And what a fireworks display!
Rama and Sita
I was taking photos for the Edinburgh Mela tonight, at Rama and Sita, their opening event on Leith links. The evening started with the local Samba band ‘Pulse of the Place’ playing as the light faded, and drawing the crowds in. Rama and Sita was the main event. It’s a spectacular piece of shadow theatre, with plenty of pyrotechnics too. In the Diwali festival, Hindus celebrate different aspects of the story of the relationship between Rama and Sita.
I had been down at Leith Links last night, for a run through of the whole show. It was really useful to get an idea of what would be happening, and gave me a chance to work out some possible vantage points for taking photos on the night. It turned out to be a beautiful evening – just as well, for an outdoor performance!
Were you there? What was your favourite part of the show?
Every August, during the Edinburgh Tattoo, we have a fireworks display from the castle six nights a week. The Tattoo is a world famous spectacular show, which takes place against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, right in the heart of Scotland’s capital city. Performers and the audience come from all over the world. The first Tattoo took place at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens in 1949. The Edinburgh Tattoo has grown enormous since then, and now has performances every night for 3 weeks during the festival, and fills the castle esplanade with a riot of colour and music. As a major attraction to visitors to Scotland, the Tattoo’s full run of performances regularly sell out well in advance of the event.
It’s another great opportunity for taking photos. I went into Princes Street tonight to take some shots. I have a favourite wee spot where there’s a big enough gap between the trees to get a good view of the castle. When I arrived, there was already another photographer waiting to take some fireworks photos. But there was enough room for the two of us, and he proved to be good company!
Edinburgh Fringe events publicity
I’m often impressed at performers’ ingenuity when it comes to ways to advertise their shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. The Edinburgh Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world. For three weeks every August, every available space in the city is converted into a Fringe venue. Lack of venues has meant an increasing amount of creativity in developing new spaces. Recent years have seen shows on Salisbury Crags, in shipping containers, and on buses. With 2,695 official shows in every nook and cranny in the city this year, there’s stiff competition for each production to get their seats filled.
I particularly enjoy the folk who manage to turn the whole problem on its head. Rather than finding ever more bizarre ways of dressing and/or behaving to draw attention to themselves, there are always some groups who have focused their efforts on finding ways to make their fliers that bit more irresistible than those being proffered further along the street.
Here are some of the guys from InSTEP Theatre , who came up with a novel way to increase the attraction levels! I wonder how many folk took their fliers?
I took a jaunt into town today, to see what was happening on the Royal Mile. I love taking pictures in amongst the hustle and bustle of an event like the Edinburgh Fringe – there’s always a real buzz about on a sunny day, with all the street performers finding ever more unusual ways of persuading the hoards of visitors that they want to come to their show – or at least take a photo or a flier! The High Street was hoaching with people.
And there’s always plenty to photograph. Many of the groups appear with a strong colour theme, which often makes for great photos. I loved these colourful umbrellas from the folk from Shed Theatre
Forth road bridge at South Queensferry
On a recent trip to Fife with some visitors from Australia, I suggested that we stop off in South Quensferry on the way back to Edinburgh . I love the views from the shore, looking north across the estuary, in between the Forth road bridge and the Forth rail bridge.The two bridges create a spectacular site, spanning the Forth estuary side by side. The Forth road bridge was completed in 1964 and is 2.5 kilometres long. In recent years there have been increasing concerns for it’s long-term safety, as today’s traffic levels are far higher than predicted when it was first built. Work has already started on a new Forth crossing, which is scheduled to be completed in 2016.
As we headed down into South Queensferry, I was secretly hoping that the sky might clear a wee bit, as it wouldn’t be long before the sun set. It’s a place where there’s plenty of scope for some superb landscape photos at dusk.
I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The view was impressive from the pier down by the Hawes Inn, and as the sun went down the Forth estuary turned gold.
Sunset at the Forth road bridge
I wasn’t expecting to visit the Forth road bridge on this trip. I went on a jaunt with an old schoolfriend, out to Fife. We were heading for a boat trip from Anstruther to the Isle of May. I had a plan to take some puffin photos, as well as an idea that I might get some good shots in one or two of the Fife coastal villages, if the weather brightened up a bit. One of the things I love about taking photos in Scotland is that you never quite know what to expect.
As it happened, we didn’t even make it on to the Isle of May. A heavy swell out in the North sea was making the entry into the pier on the island look pretty tricky by the time we got out there. So we returned to Anstruther a bit earlier than expected. Although it was cloudy and dull as we headed back towards Edinburgh, we thought it would be worth stopping off in South Queensferry for a quick wander along the front and a look at the brodges.
I’m very glad we did – just as we arrived, the sun appeared again, and we were treated to some spectacular lighting on the Forth road bridge and the rail bridge beside it, for half an hour or so. Then, by way of a finale, the sky added a wee touch of drama to the scene over the Forth road bridge. Wonderful!
Sunset over Fife
Last night was one of those lovely calm quiet evenings with the promise of a good sunset. I decided to head up Calton hill with my camera, to see if there was any prospect of some landscape photos as the sun went down. It was beautiful up on the hill. It always amazes me how easy it is to get a feeling of leaving the city behind, just by climbing a small hill. There were very few people up there, despite the lovely weather.
I sat up watching the glow over Fife for ages, and ended up with a batch of sunset photos I’m quite pleased with.
Edinburgh castle esplanade
It’s been quite a washout over the last couple of weeks in some parts of Scotland. In Edinburgh we had floods earlier the month, and then what felt like endless days without a glimpse of the sun. So it was a relief at the weekend when the clouds rolled back for a while.
I had a chance to venture out with my camera so I headed into town, which seemed to suddenly be buzzing with tourists out enjoying the sunshine. It’s not long now till the Tattoo starts, so I decided to nip up to the castle esplanade to enjoy the sun. I’m lucky to have such amazing places to take photos right on my doorstep!
Band photos and commissions
Da Hooley ceilidh band are a lively ceilidh dance band based in Edinburgh. In taking the band’s publicity photos, I had the extra challenge of being a band member, and having to take photos of myself. Thank goodness for tripods and the invention of the remote shutter release! I decided we could have a lot of fun with the final photos if I photographed all the band members individually, allowing me to blend a selection of photos together afterwards using Photoshop.
Da Hooley had a gig arranged in the St Bride’s Centre in Edinburgh. A quick phone call to the centre manager, and we were all set to go. We turned up half an hour earlier than usual for the gig and had some fun getting the shots taken. St bride’s was an ideal location for the shoot as they have theatre lighting and black stage curtains, which made the process a whole lot easier.
I’ve been having a lot of fun putting the final photos together. The shots have been used on Da Hooley ceilidh band’s website, and also for creating a new design for the band’s business cards.
Water of Leith bursts its banks in Edinburgh
There’s flooding along the Water of Leith in Edinburgh this week. Edinburgh Council are currently finishing work on a flood prevention scheme around the Stockbridge area of the city. I’m not sure that this part usually floods, but there has been persistent very heavy rain in Edinburgh for days. The path to the North of Roseburn was completely submerged by late this afternoon.
Forty houses in Stockbridge were also affected by flooding. There’s up to date information on the SEPA website on areas of Scotland that have flood alerts or flood warnings in force.
Floods in Edinburgh
Scotland has been hit by some seriously unseasonal weather over the last week, resulting in floods in Edinburgh and other parts of the country. The rain is forecast to continue over much of the UK in the coming days. In Edinburgh, river levels are rising. Much of the low lying ground is now completely saturated after another day of rain.
The Taste of Edinburgh festival was due to take place on the Meadows this weekend, but has been cancelled as the area is so wet it’s deemed unsafe. I went up there briefly late this afternoon to see what was happening, and found the site eerily quiet. There were just a few officials turning people away at the site gates, and a few ducks enjoying the unexpected ponds.
On the West side of the festival ground, a lot of the area is now under several inches of water.
Highland dancers at the parliament in Edinburgh
I was down at the Scottish parliament building this week, t0o watch the Highland dancers. The event was celebrating the queen’s visit to Edinburgh in her jubilee year. Massed pipe bands marched down the Royal Mile to Holyrood, followed by an ever increasing crowd of excited spectators. There’s something very stirring about the sound of so many Highland pipers playing together outdoors.
Once at the parliament building, there was plenty of music, and also a couple of superb displays by a team of Scottish Highland dancers. They made a great sight!
Edinburgh canal festival at Lochrin Basin
So the Edinburgh Canal Festival is over for another year. The festival takes place at Lochrin Basin, the Edinburgh end of the Union Canal. It was a packed day, with the annual raft race, trips in the currach (built by members of the Adult learning Project at Tollcross), stalls lining the canal banks, facepainting, bellydancing, barge trips, and live music throughout the event.
And there was plenty of action in the kayak basketball!
I’ve been taking photos for the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop over the last couple of months. I was down the the open evening at the new Sculpture Centre on Thursday evening. I’d seen around the inside of the building when it was nearing completion several weeks ago, and at that stage there seemed to still be a lot to be done. I’ve no idea how they managed it, but int the space of a few weeks, the building was completed, and the staff team have moved in. The new building is light and spacious, and has a wide variety of creative spaces. There are a number of individual workshops which have been snapped up by sculptors.
On top of organising moving premises, and planning several events around the building’s opening, the staff have been setting up the Sleep Trail exchange programme with China. Wang Xieda, the first artist to take part in the exchange, was at the open night. He’ll be based at the new Sculpture Workshop building for a month.
There was an exhibition of work by professor Bill Scott, the former chair of ESW, as well as a display of all sorts of artefacts form the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop’s history.
And during the evening there were a couple of young musicians keeping us entertained with plenty of upbeat jigs and reels.
There was a huge turnout for the evening, and some well known speakers, including Andrew Dixon, the chair of Creative Scotland, and Fiona Hyslop MSP, who is the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs.
The next event to celebrate the opening of the new building is the annual open day on 7th July.
The new building is phase one of the project. The next step will be to demolish the old building, and create a courtyard around the space this frees up. I’m hugely impressed by what the team at the Sculpture Workshop have already achieved with this major project, and am really looking forward to seeing how it continues to develop.
The sun brought loads of folk out into the centre of town today. I went into the Grassmarket to take some pictures in preparation for the April photography workshop I’m running. I ended up on the castle esplanade, and then spotted the daffodils. There’s a really spectacular display on the slopes below Edinburgh castle, overlooking Princes Street Gardens.
I was out early yesterday, enjoying a bit of early morning sun on the promenade at Portobello. There’s a whole lot of water on the beach at low tide at the moment, which is making for some good opportunities for reflection photos. Here’s the Espy, at the bottom of Bath Street.
This was a lucky moment! I was returning home from taking photos of a dental surgery in Leith. I’d decided to head along the Water of Leith, and I noticed this amazing sky just as I approached the bridge at the end of Saunders Street in Stockbridge.
This photo is available to buy as a card or print from the Photography Scotland website shop.
A photo taken in St Cuthbert’s churchyard, on Lothian Road.
The Water of Leith runs from the Pentland Hills, across Edinburgh, and down to the sea at Leith. I love it down at the shore – there’s plenty of opportunities for a good photographs. And with the combination of so many varied buildings and the water, of course there’s a few good reflections!
I had to go down to Newhaven today to have my laptop repaired. It was such a lovely day I decided to go on the bike and take the camera with me. It was sunny and still (and very cold!) – the shore in Leith was looking particularly lovely .
I don’t normally play around much with my photos after taking them, but occasionally, I go a bit overboard! I took this shot at Edinburgh’s Farmers Market, on Castle Terrace, and didn’t feel the unedited shot was that interesting. I know a lot of photographers don’t like this style of editing, but somehow this seemed to work to me.
I’m intrigued to know what others think!