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Friday, March 7

Abandoned Places: Boddin Point



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Boddin Point. Yashica 35 CC, XP2. I took two shots of this one, one wide open
 and one stopped down as I wanted to see what the bokeh was like. It wasn't
 very good being a bit wiry.

The coastline in the county of Angus on Scotland's east coast is interesting rather than spectacular. The land is so old that it's been worn away over the eons and is very much on a small scale with cliffs never really much higher than a few hundred feet.

There are a few parts that are worth investigating, though. Boddin Point is a thin finger of land jutting out into the North Sea that has a large fortress-like lime kiln at its head. This is now crumbling into the sea and no one seems bothered to do anything about it.


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This was probably shot at f16 for front-to-back sharpness. I think the above pic
 at f1.8 has captured the atmosphere a little better.


It was once used to produce fertiliser for the surrounding farms but I suppose it fell out of fashion when other types of fertiliser became commercially available. Its dilapidation has been painful to witness. When I first visited the place about 15 years ago, it was safe enough to walk along the top of the lime kiln. 

Now, it's best avoided altogether as the land on which the kiln sits is literally being eaten away by the waves that pour into the bay. Large chunks of land have disappeared beneath the waves and I'd rate the south-west side as fairly hazardous. It's only a matter of time before the foundations are so undermined by the sea that the kiln collapses into the waves.

There are one or two upturned boats that look like they haven't been moved for ages lying around and the whole peninsula has a somewhat careworn air. Needless to say, I like it! I really need to return with the Speed Graphic because it would be perfect for the type of pics that are on this page.


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It never ceases to amaze me how nice boats are to photograph!

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Couldn't resist this one either.

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These steps lead to a cottage that sits a way back from
 the lime kiln. On a sunny summer's day, it's a lovely
 spot but when the wind and rain are blowing across
 the bay I think you'd need to be a robust character
 to resist the miserable cold and the siren call of
 the Prozac bottle...

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Lime Kiln and Jesus beams. That lone seagull had no sense of composition.

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The views from Boddin Point are nice. This is looking across the bay at Red Head,
 one of the tallest cliffs along the Angus coastline.

All but the last two were taken on a Yashica 35 CC rangefinder which has a very nice 35mm f1.8 lens, probably the fastest wide angle fixed lens on any 35mm compact. The film was XP2 which is one of my favourites for 35mm shooting being fast enough and with fine-enough grain for quite big enlargements. I was using it when I was still a digital shooter and didn't have the darkroom going. It was easy popping it into ASDA to have the negs developed although that was always something of a lottery and scratches ruined a fair few.


I sold the Yashica a while back because it gave me the same compositional headaches as all rangefinder cameras. I sometimes wonder if anyone would have bothered to invent the rangefinder if Oscar Barnack's first camera had been an SLR...

The final pair were taken on the Mamiya Press (another bloody rangefinder!) and are fairly unique for me in that I used the 150mm Sekor instead of the more normal 90mm or 65mm wide angle. The film was Ilford HP5+ which I rated at 250 ISO and developed in Perceptol 1+3, still one of the best film/dev combinations ever in my opinion. Thanks to the late Barry Thornton for pointing me in that direction.

Only a mother could love this camera.

If you ever find yourself in the area Boddin Point is worth a visit. There are some quirky wee places further up the coast as well including a cliff-top cemetery where - and I'm not joking here - the local 19th century stonemason seems to have suffered from intermittent bouts of innumeracy. On one headstone, he managed to have the incumbent dying before he was born - a neat trick even for the wilder parts of rural Angus. Must get a pic of that headstone just to prove I'm not making it up!

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Abandoned Places: Stanley Mills - Part One
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6 comments :

Nick Jardine said...

Hi Bruce,

Beautiful shots - that image of the steps leading up to the cottage gate and fence really struck me.

It looks like a set shot from an old B&W movie, like the beginning section of 'The Wizard of Oz'.

Hernan Zenteno said...

Yes, the stairs to heaven photo have nice tones. Surprise me that was XP2, I never liked chromogenic film for b&w. What call my attention is the contrast in the sky. Did you use a yellow/orange filter or was only a tweak of curves of the digitalized photo?
About the fast lens on the Yashica I can say that rendered beautiful in the first shot.
I think that are rangefinder and slr photographers. I prefer the first. With rangefinder I have to imagine the shot, I only see the same perspective all the time. With SRL you see how looks like use each lens. Yes, sometimes you have things in your frame that you don't saw in your viewfinder but as with all you gain and lost something each time.

morris1800 said...

Hi Bruce I agree boats are interesting mono subjects especially if they have that 'abandoned' look about them. I feel the same about empty stairs or seats or chairs or a lone tree in the middle of a field. You obviously feel the same about abandoned buildings. Not sure why these things attract mono shots? Is it the stories they could tell, is it the people who have passed by or have even stood in the same spot as yourself in the past? Or is it simply because these photogenic scenes have no choice but to patiently hang around while you take a light reading , focus your rangefinder, try and compose the shot within the bright line viewfinder and then put up with your swearing when pressing the shutter you realise you forgot to wind the film on...... Love the last two shots with the 'god rays' captured in the seascape.

d said...

Just want to say how much I enjoy your website. Excellent. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I very much like the shots showing the shards of light that burst through the dark clouds. Where doee one meter the scene. Do you meter a midtone or shadow and let the highlihgts do as they wish, or meter for the shards them selves?

Love the site and visit most days

Bruce Robbins said...

With the sun burst shots, I think I just took a general reflected light meter reading of the scene. If you had a spot meter then you'd be able to choose your key tone and meter for that.

If you look at the two scenes, although there is the burst of light, the overall picture shows a good range of tones which probably amount to something approaching a mid tone.