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Sunday, July 8

The Angus Glens

It's been a while since my last post but a lot has been happening none of which, sadly, has been conducive to photography. Cath and I decided to knock down an internal wall in the house and install a new kitchen. We did all the down-takings but got a joiner in to build the new kitchen. That involved about a dozen trips to the local municipal dump with car loads of kitchen cupboards, appliances, flooring and the various elements that go to make up an internal wall. Thankfully, we're just about finished now.

Then a couple of weeks ago I had my gall bladder removed to sort out a problem I'd been having off and on with gall stones. It was a cancellation that got me into hospital and it came right in the middle of the new kitchen going in. That meant a period when I could do very little, especially when it came to lifting stuff. I wasn't supposed to pick up anything heavier than a glass of water - and the Mamiya Press weighs a lot more than that!

On top of all this there's the World Cup. That's been keeping me in during our long hours of daylight when I might otherwise have been out capturing some lovely evening light in the countryside. Actually, for a sports fan, this time of year plays havoc with any plans I might want to make. The football, Wimbledon, the Tour de France, The Open golf - I love everything about June and July. I've been following these events for decades and there's no way I'm going to stop now.

I used to think that I didn't really fancy taking photographs in summer, preferring the dull days of winter, but it's probably as much to do with the fact that there are too many distractions at this time of year.

Still, everything, apart from the sports viewing, is getting back to normal now and I'm keen to get out and about again with a camera. Until then, here are a few pics I took on a drive through some of the Angus glens north of my home town of Dundee earlier this year. They were all taken on an OM1 and a 28-135mm Tamron lens, a very fine combination for this type of photography. Three of the pics were shot from the driver's seat through the side window of the car - just about the ultimate in lazy-man photography.

I've deliberately processed them in Photoshop in a contrasty and gritty fashion but I'm not sure if I'd print them that way. There are a few different ways of approaching landscapes and over the years I've become less and less interested in the medium/large format, fine grain look. That may be partly the result of seeing too many super smooth and sharp digital photographs. Nowadays, I prefer a photograph to look like it was shot on film. For portability, you can't beat 35mm but there is a danger when using the small format for landscape work that details can get lost in the grain unless something like Pan F or Tmax 100 and a tripod are involved.

That's one of the reasons that I decided to buy the Mamiya Press outfit a few weeks ago: shooting at 800 ISO, there's a bit of grain but the fact that the 6x9 negs don't have to be blown up too much means the details are usually well-preserved.


Steve Mack said...

You still have snow on the ground in summer?!

With best regards,


Herman Sheephouse said...

Which Glens Bruce - need more detail!
That one, third down in the last batch, looks so damn inviting . . . mind you're braver than me to head out that way in the snow - I once did Water of Saughs in our old Micra, but was forced to take an alternate road because of increasingly deeper drifts and was strong-armed to take the road up by the Caterthuns, because I could find enough space on the road to do a three point turn (yes in a Micra!) between the drifts - you've not lived till you've driven up a really steep road that's too narrow to turn on, with snow drifts piled around 12-14 feet at the side . . . oh and it was freezing over too.
That wee car got me to the Caterthuns though - sadly I didn't have the skill to take decent photographs -or wlse I was too in a state of shock. That was Leap Year Day - Feb 29th 2004 . . . . Etched on my memory . . . in terror.

DavidM said...

Good to see you back.
A great set of images. Your uprating seems to have worked well except perhaps for No 3 where it's given some splurges of unrelieved black, at least to my eyes and on this screen. Or is that your gritty phase manifesting itself?

Ingalan v Sweden was the ideal time to visit IKEA. Plenty of parking spaces. Only one person in the queue. I got some Swedish lager too – very refreshing in the heat.
The previous Ingalan match was even better at B+Q. I was almost the only person in the big green shed. Sport does have its uses, as well as being a brewer's dream.
Let's hope the operation scar and the kitchen are soon back to fighting (cooking? snapping?) fitness.

John Carter said...

What a beautiful place! You are lucky to live there.

Bruce Robbins said...

You could be forgiven for thinking that as sometimes it's not too far from the truth. :)

Wait a minute 'til I consult my notes - bugger, didn't make any! They're mostly Glenisla if I remember correctly. The one you singled out would need a map to show you the location. I'll ping it to you later on. The Caterthuns are difficult to photograph in my experience. There must be a good vantage point but I haven't found it.

I see what you mean about the black splurges - on the fourth one down? They all look fine on my PC monitor but I had a look on the iPad when I saw your comment and it's exactly as you described. It's a tricky issue. My brother and I and Ally McCoist are the only Scots I know cheering on England. I grew out of the "Little Scotlander" mindset in my late teens. Cath says Nicola Sturgeon is supporting England as well but that's just a PR stunt. When England are playing, that's probably the busiest time of the year for our IKEA stores. :)

Herman Sheephouse said...

Caterthuns - White Caterthun at sunrise on a Leap Year dawn, with the sun rising over the North Sea illuminating all that rolling Angus and Mearns countryside . . oh and you have to be knee deep in snow.

Koen V said...

Speedy recovery, Bruce. Koen.

Bruce Robbins said...

Yes, the Angus glens are very nice. They're not spectacular in any way as far as the height of hills or waterfalls, etc, go but they have a certain charm that I like.

Thank you. I'm feeling fine.

Herman Sheephouse said...

Very nice? You're not doing our local land justice there Bruce.
For anyone who has never seen them, they're beautiful and each one is similar yet different. Just drive and position your car at the Scott/Wilson Memorial at the head of Glen Prosen - I personally think that is a really spectacular view.
Interesting info:

Or head off to Water Of Saughs and look at all the pink houses in the Glen and then park and walk to the Sheiling of Saughs and wonder why on earth anyone would choose to look after sheep so very very far away from anywhere that sold supplies. Or if you're feeling serious get along to Clova - driving that road is like you think you know what you're going to be getting but when you head off along the wee single track road past the Clova Hotel into Glen Doll - it's a whole different ballgame of really rugged, challenging country. Munros galore, and in a couple of decades of exploring it, I still see new vistas and new things.
Or beautiful Esk with its buzzards and eagles and loch and waterfalls (Falls of Damff at Loch Lee).
All the ancient oak and pine woods dotted here and there, small farmhouses hunkered down against the weather . . . I've gone on too much haven't I?

Nice? Nah, stunning, beautiful, rugged, rolling, spectacular . . . blah blah ';0)

I'll get my coat . . .

Bruce Robbins said...

That advert was brought to you courtesy of the Angus Tourist Board.

normusarms said...

Bruce Quote "My brother and I and Ally McCoist are the only Scots I know cheering on England. I grew out of the "Little Scotlander" mindset in my late teens".
Pleased to hear that, after the semi-final I got a crushing bear hug off a grinning Scotsman he said that he "shared my pain". I did not really believe him but at least I could drown my sorrows in bar at The Kintail Lodge (Shiel Bridge).Unlike the cheating Naymar after the "hug" I did not go down rolling on the floor screaming whilst holding my face. I am still upset but proud that England tried to play the game unlike the pathetic cheating South American teams, I'm optomistic for success in the future after watching young England lose to the gutsy Croatian team. In the hotel bar England were also cheered by Dutch, Germans, Norwegians and a lone Australian.
The photos of the winter snow are well worth capturing they are a stark reminder of the bleak weather Scotland endures every year. It was 27c on top of The Five Sisters of Kintail on Friday, I drank 21/2 ltrs of water doing the full ridge. Took a few colour snaps with my Fuji 645 they would make good pictures to put on tins of shortbread but they are probably not much to write home about.