photo of the week.

To encourage myself to take more photos, I'm attempting to post a photo that I've taken here each week, and tell you a little something about it. We'll see how this goes...

This week: 22 August 2011: View from Tantallon
Jeremy and I had the opportunity to see yet another stunning Scottish castle, the mighty Tantallon Castle at the mouth of the Firth of Forth as it meets the North Sea. This castle was imposing even as a ruin, so it was easy to imagine it in the prime of its years as a prominent fortress. This photo was taken from atop the massive curtain wall, which is the first defense of the castle you notice as you approach it; you are looking toward the mouth of the Firth. The fortress itself is set right on the edge of a cliff overlooking the North Sea, guarding the entrance to the Firth. Exploring these ruins was incredible, as well as the time we spent in the sleepy little coastal town of North Berwick.

15 August 2011: Festival Fringe, Bristo Square
The festival is full-swing and Edinburgh is full of people, pamphlets, and tents of every shape and size around every corner. Bristo Square is most definitely no exception, with new bar and eating areas, a huge purple upside-down cow on the top of a stage right in the middle of the sqaure (called the udderbelly cleverly enough). I took this shot last night on our way back from seeing Ed Byrne (he was brilliant). I love the color and the vibrancy of tone in the shot. That building to the right of the shot is McEwan Hall, the graduation hall for UoE. This is probably the only time of the year when it has competition for your attention when standing in that square. But that's Fringe for you.

1 August 2011: Thistle Down in Holyrood
Holyrood Park is covered in thistles right now. Lavender buds bloom from the top of a thorny stalk, and Scotland's flower against the backdrop of Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat makes for a dramatic display. The smell of blooming thistles is something I never expected, sweet and light, fragrant in a similar way to lilacs but subtler in its sweetness. The thistle down that comes from the flower fully bloomed and now dying is another thing of beauty, and also a thing of folktales. There is a tale of a sister whose brothers have been turned into hounds by an Iochlach Urlair, a witch, and the only way for them to regain their proper form is for her to spin and weave them shirts from this down, and she must do it in complete silence, without aid. I thought this was appropriate this week, as this is one of the tales I'm examining in my dissertation, and also a redaction of a tale that one of my favorite books is based on, Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.

25 July 2011: Inchcolm Abbey before a Moody Sky
Inchcolm Abbey is on a small island in the Firth of Forth, and are the best preserved monastic ruins in Scotland. I had a hard time choosing a photo this week, as I have shots of seals, puffins, and hundreds of gulls, but I chose a shot of the abbey itself because of its stalwart survival through the centuries. It was established in the thirteenth century, and has seen many things in Scottish history. I love the angry sky behind it, and the lovely light that still manages to hang on to its ancient stones. There is a tangible history about this country that I will surely miss when I return home.

18 July 2011: Moonrise
There pretty much always something beautiful to see and inspire you at gloaming here, usually it is the last remnants of pale color that fade into the deep blue of the summer dusk, but the other night it was the sunset, yes, but another spectacle rivaled the sun's retirement for dramatic and awesome beauty. It was the rising of the moon. The sheer size of it was what you noticed first, then how fast it was rising through the sky, then as you stared, unable to tear your gaze from her face you noticed that she was a pale golden color. No sickly, sallow yellow hue, she was radiant as she borrowed the vestiges from the sun's last rays. This photo doesn't do justice to the size, but I was able to capture this on the moon's swift way through a cloud bank.

12 July 2011: The Road to Faerie
I took this in Dollar Glen on our anniversary as we trekked back through the glen to the town, after having spent an amazing afternoon hiking up the glen and reveling in the sights and stones of Castle Campbell. The landscape was incredible, it changed so often through that small glen. This shot I thought looked straight out of a Tolkien or Lewis book--lots of things here do. Who knows what lay beyond that bend, what lands and adventures might lie just out of sight.

4 July 2011: Shadows of Damask
I was able to get this shot in a pub over in Tolcross called the Cloisters which sits beneath the shade of a sizable old cathedral. The pub itself has flavors much like the ones represented in this photo, vintage, classic, and warm. I love these lights, and loved even more the shadows that they created.

27 June 2011: Eilean Donan Castle
I saw many beautiful things on our trip to Skye, and I photographed most of them many times. And while I couldn't rank the most beautiful sight I captured, Eilean Donan Castle is surely one of the most picturesque and idyllic place I was able to photograph. From the bank across the water where I stood to the far mountains behind the castle's seat there were elements of beauty that captured the senses and enraptured the imagination. It's no wonder this castle is the most photographed in all of the Highlands and perhaps all of Scotland. There's really no further explanation needed.

20 June 2011: Cockburn Street
Cockburn Street is another one of the old streets off of High Street that not only curve around but also declines down hill--much like Victoria Street. I took this on a perfectly cool night, near midnight--note the amount of light still in the sky--after a nice night out with Jeremy. I love the lights in the windows and on the buildings and the silhouettes of the aged architecture of the Old Town. Edinburgh is full of brilliant captures like this, full of character and history and so many, many stories to tell.

13 June 2011: Lindisfarne Priory
I skipped last week by accident, time just got away from me, so I apologize. I'm posting the photo this week that I probably would have posted last. I kept coming back to this photo of the priory on Lindisfarne for a number of reasons. I like the angle and perspective that it was shot with, the view of the underneath of the that arch is amazing. I also enjoy the textures that are visible on the stone, some of them intentional by the original masons of the building, and some added by time and wind and sea salt. The pock-marks on the stones have been made over hundreds of years of wind and sea spray barraging the ancient stones. The history, of all kinds, that lives within these stones is incredible to ponder upon.

30 May 2011: Blustery Aftermath
I took this on my way home from my fiddle class walking through the Meadows this last week. This wasn't the only fallen tree I saw on my walk either. The winds in Edinburgh have been insane, gusts getting up to the high 30s miles per hour. The wind comes in from below and rips upward, and it uprooted this tree like an umbrella caught in a strong, sudden gust. I thought the lines in this photo were nice, leading the eye to the felled tree then beyond as well, the ranks of trees not broken by their comrades death. The sky broods in the background as if plotting another uprising.

23 May 2011: Montreat, Home Again
I had to give a shout-out to the piece in my heart left in Montreat. So many memories are held around this lake and I was glad to capture it in all its spring glory. I was so glad to be back and I was able to share it with my closest friend, Chelsea, who also has joyful memories in this place. I love the reflection in Lake Susan of the green-clad mountains, such a familiar image, but one that shouldn't be taken for granted. It was refreshing to see it again with eyes that wonder at its beauty rather than skipping over its familiarity.

9 May 2011: Southsider Signage
I love how in Edinburgh even the newer pubs can pass for ancient. I'm not positive how new or old this pub is, but with stones and signs like this it's easy to imagine woolen waistcoats and bowler hats crowding through the doors. I thought that the signs and plants with the lantern in the center really made for a nice composition, and I made it feel a bit more antiquated with a warm filter in PS, and those stones really sing with a bit more contrast on them.

2 May 2011: Nicolson Street at Gloaming
I shot this the night as Jeremy and I walked down to North Bridge to try to catch a glimpse of the Beltane festivities up on Calton Hill. There wasn't much to see from the bridge unfortunately, and we went back home, but not before I was able to get this shot. Busy streets and sidewalks and stark silhouettes join the splendor of Old College and Surgeon's Hall which flank this photo in a coming together of deep evening colors and the hues vibrant city life.

25 April 2011: Mussenden Temple
I've taken a week off since I wasn't near my computer last week, and I've also moved my update day to Monday, and now hopefully I can be on time a bit more often. This photo was taken last week when Jeremy and I were visiting friends in Northern Ireland. It was taken from Whiterocks Beach, below Mussenden Temple. The image of the near-ruined building sitting proudly upon the cliffs is breath-taking and the scenery surrounding its promontory make the sight even more striking. The day was misty and the sea rough.

10 April 2011: House by the Loch
This is another shot taken on our blitz trip to the Highlands. The morning we left was so misty and otherworldly I wish I had been able to get better shots through the bus window. This is one that turned out well enough. I can just imagine a selkie story taking place right there on that coast, or maybe some other sort of water creature. The Highlands are full of places like these and it's not hard to see why the folktales are such a rich source of imagination and wonder.

3 April 2011: The Highlands
I couldn't not include a photo taken in the Highlands here, so here's one I didn't include in my recent post about that trip. This was a taken from near the Commando Memorial in the Great Glen. It's on a high ground so the surrounding view was breathtaking. That and add in the dramatic heavy grey clouds hovering just above the peaks and moody weather, and it made for a beautiful and typically Scottish setting.

27 March 2011: Stained Glass Detail at St. Oswald's Kirk
I took this last week at my fiddle recital. It was hidden to the side of stage left inside the kirk. Luckily, as nervous as I was before having to play in front of people on only a week's practice of the tunes, I wasn't so focused on it that I didn't notice this gorgeous stained glass. I love the detail in the glass, and the shades of blue used in the glass are just brilliant--not the mention the character of the old stone.

20 March 2011: Leamington Walk at Gloaming
This was taken just as night was falling on my weekly walk across the Meadows to Bruntsfield for my Fiddle lesson. I love the colors in the sky here, and the way the lanterns pull your eye into the photo. The branches of the trees make for great texture, and you can just make out the lovely Victorian pink sandstone architecture of Marchmont to the left of the photo. The lane on the left on the walkway is for bikers, and they come tearing through, so it's best to stay on the walkers side of the pavement.

13 March 2011: Meadows of Crocuses
Spring is nigh, and these little lovelies are the evidence. Row after row of crocuses are lining the walkways on the edge of the Meadows here in Edinburgh, and I am loving the message they proclaim.

6 March 2011: St. Anthony's Ruin above a Wee Loch
Sorry I'm a day late again, but hopefully this photo makes up for it. I took this with my mobile phone yesterday on the way home from church. I could have kicked myself for not having my DSLR with me, but I think this image captured enough of the beauty of it to get the point across. This was taken in Holyrood Park, and that's Arthur's Seat there just to the left behind the ruin. And yes, this is in the very center of Edinburgh, a little taste of the Highlands for those that can't be there.

27 February 2011: Silhouette Sunset in the Meadows
I actually had a hard time deciding on a photo of the week this week, because I actually got out and took a good number of photographs this week--which is exactly what I wanted this page to do for me, so hooray! I decided on this photo because of its almost bluntness of beauty. The way the tree and branches frame the shot and the colors in the clouds, shifting and melding into each other to create colors that are indescribable. And then the silhouette of the cathedral standing proudly over the trees in the horizon, it's straight lines and firm shape at contrast with the organic character of the surrounding trees. I'm quite pleased with this shot, and I think it captures so much of what Edinburgh is made of: beauty; man-made, God-given, and how beautiful they can be together.

20 February 2011: Tulip Vignette.
I apologize for not updating this on Sunday, but I didn't really get the chance, and then yesterday I was running around again until coming home to make dinner before company last night. But I didn't cheat this week, you'll be proud to know. I took this photo last week of the two-dozen tulips Jeremy got me for Valentine's Day. I really love how the light is illuminating and igniting the hue of the petals. I've always loved tulips for their stems as well, and I really love the lines they create in the glass, and how they begin to give way to the weight of the flowers themselves. I thought the lines of the blinds really added to the line element that makes this photo so interesting to me. So there you are. Photo of the week!

13 February 2011: A High Street Close.
I'm cheated a little this week, because I actually took this photo back in December, but I'm quite fond of it and I still haven't gotten back into the swing of my photography. This is just one of the many closes winding their way up to High Street from other old stony Edinburgh streets. Some are covered, some are open to the sky, and this one is actually one of the wider ones, some of them are so tight that two people couldn't walk abreast down them. I love the closes because they exude an old world feel, a city made with stones that have seen so much. What has happened in this close through the hundreds of years its been here? It's seen revolutions, enlightenment, wars, and forbidden loves below dimly lit street lamps. Call me a romantic, but I can't help but speculate at the amount of stories those stones could tell.

6 February 2011: St. Gile's Cathedral.
I took this photo with my phone, hence the none-so-straight lines of the panorama and pixelated colors. But I thought it was gorgeous anyway. This cathedral is breath-taking. We went for a Sunday morning service, and I was completely blown-away by the acoustics and sound in that building. The choir and hymns sung brought me to tears, it was palpable.


bookishme said...


Love you

Sam said...

all things lovely.