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Monday, May 5

South of the Tay


Creich Castle. OM2, 70-150mm f4 Zuiko

Carnoustie sits on Scotland's east coast to the seaward side of the River Tay estuary. Most of the photographs I post here are taken within a 15 mile radius of the town in what is predominantly fertile agricultural land.

Even when I lived in Dundee, the main city in the historic county of Angus about 12 miles to the west, I still tended to go photo-hunting north of the Tay. However, venture south over the Tay Road Bridge and you're into the county of Fife - or "Kingdom of Fife" as it likes to style itself.


www,theonlinedarkroom,com, film, analogue, analog, printing, darkroom, silver gelatin, 35mm, Silvermax, spur, hrx, olympus, om2, om2n, zuiko, 50mm f2, Fife, Creich Castle, River Tay, Adox,
Ruined Church. OM2, 50mm f2 Zuiko Macro

I know the towns that hug the shoreline in this part of Fife quite well but there's an area of countryside no more than a few miles south of the river that I've hardly ever set foot in. It's this area where these pics were taken. There you find names like Glenduckie, Denbog, Lindifferon, Dandies Wood, Kilmany and Rathillet.

It's ancient countryside as I discovered, quite a few old, ruined cottages and a couple of churches with four crumbling walls and no roof. I spent a couple of hours driving around but I'd love to go back and get to know the landscape a bit better. The only drawback is that the roads are narrow and it can be difficult finding a parking spot within easy walking distance of whatever scene happens to catch my eye.

On this occasion, I had the Olympus OM2 loaded with Adox Silvermax. I really can't think of a better camera outfit for this sort of thing. The OM2's viewfinder is big and bright, the body is solid but not too heavy and the Zuiko primes sharp and contrasty and a nice match for the compact body. The intention was to develop the Silvermax in Spur HRX which meant a downrating from the normal 100 ISO to 50 ISO.

I could have done with something a little faster for hand-held work as the weather was, surprise, surprise, quite dull and I had to resort to the tripod much of the time. That's obviously no bad thing but I like to work more spontaneously when I'm using a 35mm SLR and a tripod tends to "cramp my style", as we used to say about a hundred years ago.

www,theonlinedarkroom,com, film, analogue, analog, printing, darkroom, silver gelatin, 35mm, Silvermax, spur, hrx, olympus, om2, om2n, zuiko, 50mm f2, Fife, Creich Castle, River Tay, Adox,
Psychedelic caravan. OM2, 24mm Zuiko

There were a couple of surprises that I stumbled upon on my travels. The first was Creich Castle, a 16th century ruin that has its origins in the dim and distant past when it was built as a defence against Viking raiders who took a shine to the surrounding gently rolling fertile hills and alluvial plain. I'd never seen it before and wasn't even aware of its existence despite the fact that it can't be much more than about eight miles as the crow flies from where I was born. It was owned by the Earls of Fife well into the 13th century and was the birthplace of Mary Bethune, one of the four ladies-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots.

It now seems to belong to the local farmer with its impressive location spoiled somewhat, in my opinion, by a backdrop of hideous, modern farm buildings that farmers somehow manage to gain planning permission for.

From certain aspects, however, it's still possible to capture a taste of its historic past although it's not always possible to excise all signs of 20th century living from the composition. As is usual in these things, it tends to be the best views of the castle that suffer the worst from the modern day intrusions.

www,theonlinedarkroom,com, film, analogue, analog, printing, darkroom, silver gelatin, 35mm, Silvermax, spur, hrx, olympus, om2, om2n, zuiko, 50mm f2, Fife, Creich Castle, River Tay, Adox,
Another view of Creich Castle. Note the low level farm buildings just left of centre.
OM2, 50mm f2 Zuiko Macro 


www,theonlinedarkroom,com, film, analogue, analog, printing, darkroom, silver gelatin, 35mm, Silvermax, spur, hrx, olympus, om2, om2n, zuiko, 50mm f2, Fife, Creich Castle, River Tay, Adox,
Ruined Church 2. OM2, 50mm f2 Zuiko Macro

The other unexpected scene I found was the psychedelic caravan in a wood not far from a ruined church. There was a vaguely beaten path leading from the church into the wood and I couldn't resist the temptation to follow it. It was a surprise to find the caravan which, from a quick look through a window, was evidently in regular use as a home of sorts. There was even a wood burning stove in the living quarters.

The other pics are just a couple of shots of the adjacent church. There really wasn't much left of it but the chairs left lying about intrigued me.

The Silvermax negatives came out nicely and scanned with few problems. They've joined the sheets that have been building up in recent weeks and which are awaiting some darkroom time, something I'm determined to give them next week.

You might also like:

Unexplored Fife
A Sharp Wee Number
Wartime Pillbox on Silvermax

6 comments :

John Robison said...

Well well, looks like the little (and little regarded) 75~150 Zuiko aquitted itself quite well. You folks have such a wealth of human history within easy reach. Here in our little town of Olympia, Washington a building a century old is considered 'historic' I think the old state capitol building, just down the street was completed in 1892 and is the oldest structure still in use. However you have inspired me to search out and photograph some of our local history.

John Carter said...

John Robison, come to California, here in Danville we have buildings that were built in the 1930s that are considered 'historic.' I wish for another trip to Scotland with a proper B&W camera.

Bruce Robbins said...

Yes, we have plenty of old buildings here all right. The problem is trying to see them through the mist and driving rain...

Herman Sheephouse said...

Cracking stuff Bruce - great photographs and a real feel to them yet again. You've inspired me to have an explore of that bit of Fife - interesting to see there's plenty of ruinous stuff.
There's actually a good 'Fifian' ruin on the Wormit foreshore . . just go as far as you can go, park down at the river and then walk West.
Well done.

Omar Özenir said...

How do you get on with Silvermax, Bruce? I ordered ten rolls and have exposed a few. My first impression is that ISO100 is too optimistic. Silvermax seems to be one of those short toe films where detail in the shadows disappears very fast. For me, EI50 is more on the mark.

But what took me by surprise was that once I tore off the film from the spool. This has never happened with another film so far and I can't remember that I was using some extra force. Fortunately, I was close to home and could head back into the darkroom to unload the camera. So I suggest you be extra gentle with your winding towards the end of a roll (or just stop after frame 36)

Cheers,
Omar

Bruce Robbins said...

I can't really say too much about Silvermax Omar. I've shot a few rolls but they've all been under odd conditions such as in stairwells or pillboxes or very dull, misty weather where it's either difficult to get a true picture of shadow detail (because of reciprocity failure) or where lack of shadow detail isn't really an issue because of the low contrast.

I've never ripped the film from its spool before! Have you been working out perhaps? :)