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!
Edinburgh Mela festival photography
Today has been a long day, taking photos for the Edinburgh Mela festival. It’s also been a huge amount of fun. I love the atmosphere at the festival. Despite it’s size, it retains a really friendly approach throughout the weekend. There’s a sense of the crowds being relaxed and enjoying that atmosphere. But also behind the scenes, it always seems as if everyone is having a whole lot of fun. There’s a huge number of people involved in making the festival happen, including festival, staff and volunteers, catering staff, stall holders, performers and security staff. It’s no mean feat to be able to create such a welcoming atmosphere every year, across such a diverse group.
The day quickly became a blur of colours, dance, music, and amazing food smells! The festival had organised two photographers to take their official photos for their website this year. With the enormous programme they had on over the weekend, covering the full breadth of the event certainly kept us on our toes!
I was delighted when I found out the Mugenkyo Taiko drummers would be playing on the main stage. What an act! Their drumming rhythms are tight and compulsive. They also have an amazing stage presence, and are well choreographed. They were a great act to photograph, and definitely a highlight of the weekend for me.
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?
Edinburgh Mela festival in Leith
I’m really looking forward to taking photos for the Edinburgh Mela festival again this year. This is a photo from the dress rehearsal of Rama and Site, the Mela’s opening show down on Leith Links. Usually the festival starts on Saturday, but this year they have taken the decision to put on a free show. There will be pyrotechnics and fireworks involved in the performance. And they’ve even scheduled in a full moon for the night, too!
The Edinburgh Mela is a riot of sound, colours and tastes, based on Leith Links in Edinburgh. There’s non-stop music, dance and theatre going on throughout the weekend, as well as food and other stalls, a fashion show, and childrens’ area. From a photographer’s perspective, it’s a great fun event to photograph. The colours and continuous activity certainly keep me on my toes, and provide opportunities for all sorts of shots I wouldn’t normally have a chance to take. The event always has a wonderful atmosphere, with thousands of visitors, and a real family friendly feel to it.
I’ll be down at Leith Links taking photos for the festival again this year. Here’s a few of my Edinburgh Mela photos.
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.
What a fantastic gig last night – The ABC was packed, and by the end of the night, the floor was bouncing like a trampoline. I didn’t take my camera, so here’s a couple of pics taken on my phone.
New Year celebrations
The city is buzzing in the build-up to the Edinburgh Hogmanay fireworks tonight. Last night’s start to the festivities, the torchlit procession, and the son et lumiere on Calton Hill, was spectacular. There was a wee taster of the fireworks to come, too. It was hard to know where to look – the fireworks were shooting off in all directions!
The opening event at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations culminated in a spectacular firework display, with lasers lighting the sky above, and a huge bonfire on the side of the hill. I was lucky to be right beside this when it went up.
With warm wishes for the coming year!
Mairearad Green, acordionist
I love getting out to events and festivals around Scotland to take photos. I was invited to go to Colonsay in September, to take photos for the Poozies, and for the festival.
Here’s Mairearad Green, accordionist, playing at Ceol Cholasa.
The Friday night concert at the Scots Fiddle Festival was rounded off by Duncan Chisholm (fiddle) and Tony Byrne (guitar). It was a superb set, with many of the slow airs and beautiful tunes that Duncan is renowned for playing.
And the staff at the Queen’s Hall were impressed at the number of encores.
Duncan Chisholm and Tony Byrne
I was in Ullapool on the spring for the Adult Feis. What a fantastic weekend – there were countless opportunities for taking landscape photos around Ullapool. it’s a very photogenic place. The weekend was also packed with music, friends and fun, with a fantastic line up of musicians teaching and performing, and some lively sessions going on late into the night.
And someone even thought to lay on sunshine for the weekend. Perfect!
This was one of the more tranquil moments from the trip:
Yachts in the bay at Ullpool in the Scottish Highlands
The California-based Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser was involved in the very first Scots Fiddle festival in 1996, and has been a great supporter of the event over its history. He returned to play at the Saturday evening concert this year, along with cellist Natalie Haas.
Alasdair Fraser at the Scots Fiddle Festival
Natalie Haas, cellist
Alasdair and Natalie
Find out about commissioning Ros to take promotional photos
What a cracking night that was! First on were Tyde, and band of young musicians from the Newcastle Traditional Music Course.
Andrew Waite, accordionist with the band Tyde
The remainder of the night shot by when Duncan Chisholm and Tony Byrne came on stage.
Duncan Chisholm, playing a slow air at the Scots Fiddle Festival concert
Tony Byrne, guitarist
Duncan & Tony onstage
And behind the big performance, there’s the sound and lighting engineers
There’s just one day to go before the start of the Scots Fiddle Festival 2011. From early on Friday evening, if you stray into the Newington area of Edinburgh, expect to see every 2nd person on the street carrying a fiddle-shaped case, as they head into the Queen’s Hall and King’s Hall to join in with the frenzy of fiddle-related events that will be packing both venues for the weekend.
Once it’s all over for another year, there might be a few fiddles taking up a more peaceful pose!
The Scots Fiddle Festival will be back again for its 16th year on the 25th-27th November. It promises more fiddling than you can shake a stick at, with concerts, talks, recitals workshops, ceilidhs, sessions, open stage, festival club…and a fiddle walk around Edinburgh. How do they fit all that into one weekend?
Angus Grant, playing at the Scots Fiddle Festival 2010
This year the Festival has moved to a new home, and will be based mainly in the Queen’s Hall, with some events in the nearby Kings Hall, and ceilidhs in the South Halls. Be prepared for a few extras this year – there’s a Gaelic workshop and a step dancing workshop squeezed into the programme, on top of all that fiddle playing. Dust down your instruments and get along for a weekend of fun, frivolity, friendship, festivities…oh…and full-on stint of fiddling too!
Fiddle on stage
Colourful Beltane celebrations in Edinburgh’s High street
I happened upon some folk from the Edinburgh Beltane Festival a couple of days ago. They were out at the Mound, performing in the run up to next week’s event on the Royal Mile. They’re always very photogenic!
Beltane performers at the Mound, Edinburgh
I’ve been updating a separate page with lots of the photos from Ceol Cholasa last week. We had a ball….and I came home with a stinking cold! So here’s a link for pics of the festival – gigs, workshops, sessions, ceilidhs….and a few landscape photos I managed to take around the island on what was a very memorable trip to Colonsay.
Ceol Cholasa – the final stramash
Clarsach workshop with Patsy Seddon and Mary MacMaster
Lau were in great form at last night’s concert
Aiden O’Rourke, fiddle player
Martin Green, accordionist
Kris Drever, singer and guitarist
Edinburgh castle fireworks
It’s been a full on weekend taking photos at the Mela. As I was pedalling back home tonight I heard the ’5 minute warning’ firework go off from the castle, and realised that although I was knackered, I couldn’t miss a chance to take one final photo on the road home.
Princes Street was impossible (I did try, but by 5 past 9 wriggling into a spot where you could see anything other than a warm glow in the night sky was looking a bit tricky) so I decided to head off down Lothian Road….until I spotted the steps down to the public loos…a perfect spot!
Edinburgh Festival fireworks from the castle
Thanks to Isobel for this suggestion for a photo title for the gallery!
As dusk fell over the Edinburgh Mela site last night, a wee rainbow appeared – what a lovely way to end the evening!
Rainbow at the Edinburgh Mela
There were some beautiful dancers at the opening night of the Edinburgh Mela.
Traditional dance at the Mela festival