It was strange being in Oban last weekend. When we lived in Lochgilphead, Oban at the weekend was pretty much every second week as an activity. It has now been a year since we have been there, so it was great to have a wee visit for dinner and a swim with Grandpa for wee HB. After dinner was over, at a place on the pier, the sunset began and I demanded that Julie pop outside for a quick picture. There was a moment of golden magic in the sky, but it didn’t last very long. You really have to snatch the opportunities when they come along. This one used my 500D’s pop-up flash to fill in Julie’s face and prevent her becoming a Julie-shaped black hole in the image. I am really delighted with this picture.

24mm pancake

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This one is taken a little later, after the sun was completely down, the technique was just the same. HB is becoming a wee poser. Her blue coat against the complementary bollard is a lovely colourful touch here.

40mm pancake

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Just a little bit before dinner I think, a family snap. I like the rim-lighting given by the strong backlighting from the low sun. Halos all around.

24mm pancake

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I love this rare photo of Isobel. I could have got a stronger effect if I had used the fill flash technique again, however Isobel’s glasses are very reflective and the flash reflects far too strongly from them for it to be a natural look. The equalisation of levels is all done with Lightroom afterwards here. I don’t think the picture could be done with the sun much higher is the foreground and background brightness would be just too different. I love the sheer warmth of this one. I added a little medium grain as it so often ties a picture together when there has been a lot of processing of levels.

24mm pancake

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Here is the same boat as a sunset landscape.

24mm pancake
IMG_6434And one final handheld grab shot of the bay.  Oban is blessed with a gorgeous west-facing bay which gets the very best sunsets.

40mm pancake

IMG_6463The combination of my elderly 500D and just two pancake primes is working really well. I included the lens choices with the images just to illustrate how versatile these two small lenses are. The combination is still more bulky than I would wish, but it does fit in my messenger bag with room for an ipad and a few other bits and pieces.

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  • long live print! good magazines are TREASURES because there are so few of them. there really is nothing like picking up an intelligent, inspiring magazine.dying over your skirt! and creepers! all of it.

  • “Jennifer’s live (sic) is not as frantic as her husbands”! (orangeville paper) What the heck? Jennifer is frantically supporting her husbands frantic life, for heavens sake!

  • MERYEM TURGUT diyor ki:1960 dogumluyum 1979 1980 1990 üç cocugum var 1997 calışmaya baÅŸladım 3500 günüm var cocuk borcunu bende ödeye bilirmiyim yada ne ne zaman emekli olurum

  • I think there is a deeper well of tolerance in the US. The settler colonial state is older and they already went through Slavery and Jim crow. Bull Connor was pushed aside by cultural forces. He still runs Israel. And Israel is far less tolerant of difference. Imagine the US Olympic team with no minorities. Impossible. Israel did it AND WON NO MEDALS

I have wanted to photograph Heather for a long time, but for some reason whenever we are around her there is always something else that takes priority, like family pictures or couple pictures or similar! On Easter Sunday we were walking back from Leith’s favourite cakery, we were in no rush and the sun was out and lovely. Heather agreed to let me take a few pictures and I was a happy photographer indeed!

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I was naturally keen to put the sun behind Heather and it has worked its rim-lighting magic. Even the basic pop-up flash built into your camera is good enough at close range to light your subject’s face. It is an amazingly easy trick but so counter intuitive for inexperienced photographers. Too often people believe that you should let the sun light up your subject’s face resulting in the classic squint and runny eyes if you persist. I used to do it too!

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Heather is a very warm and intensely funny person. I like that these pictures capture at least a little of this!

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Yesterday I had a day off work. I travel around the Clydebank area as part of my work and recently had spotted this water tower in the distance, but didn’t know anything about it. My free time yesterday was therefore employed in trying to find the tower from my best guesses about its location. When I did find it,  the private approach road revealed this amazing and frankly disturbing view of the tower  and its associated, now derelict works.

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The private road signage clearly said that no vehicles were permitted, so I walked the road around the building, and found this view on its other side. What a disturbing aspect this amazing building presents from every aspect. The grassy pathway provides a strong leading line to the dark, block building. (It reminds me of something darkly industrial from wartime Germany).

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This shows the same side of the building from a different angle. You can see the edge of the little secluded row of houses who have this eerie backdrop to their lives. I chatted to an elderly man who was in his garden wondering why I was wandering around with my camera. He explained that the tower was not to pressurise the domestic supply but instead to provide water pressure for the treatment works. Sadly when I observed that this was an amazing thing to have on your doorstep, he said that the local youths used it as a drinking-hideaway and that that was distressing for the residents. In fact the ladders to the tower had been cut off to stop kids climbing up and further vandalising it.

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Here are a few of the tower itself. I have included more than I might usually simply because the architecture is so interesting.

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This last one is from the side of the building showing the view that the residents have from their back doors. All a bit depressing, however, there is something fascinating about this kind of architectural heritage and it seems sad that we couldn’t make something of it as a local heritage centre.
IMG_6309Photographically, what was interesting was the sheer simplicity of my ageing 500D with my 24mm f2.8 pancake lens. It is making me think a lot about Canon’s strategy for smaller DSLRs and just how good it would be if they would make a small rangefinder to use with the small pancake lenses. The sharpness of the pancake lens seems great.

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  • Patrick Hopkins

    Matthew, just saw your website while on some downtime. About 6/7 years ago i discovered this water tower and it’s had me captivated ever since. It’s nice to hear of someone with your eye appreciating what I thought was an amazing example of architecture gloriously untouched. I’m sure whether if it was in the middle of Clydebank or its fringes it’s decline would be accelerated, and I still belive it is.
    The story goes- from the same old man you were talking to I presume- is that in 1993/4 approx it was bought by some Iranian fellow with the intention of ‘low impact residential housing’- an old folks home- situated across from the Watertower and waterworks. All for the hansome sum of £43,000- a steal in my opinion. Occasionally he visits the area and as recent as last year he confirmed to the old man that the green light had been given for his plans to go ahead. His intention of demolishing the water tower has been shown to be more costly than renovating it. I nearly choked on my falafel when I heard about what he planned to do with it. Anyway, keep up the good work, shifts about to end! Regards

  • george smith

    Sad to say the tower is no more, I watched it being demolished today 19th October from my bedroom window

  • Pedro

    My daughter came in round about that time to say it was gone, only to say she was kidding, but there were a lot of machinery in the area, so it didn’t bode well in my opinion. Needless to say, a week later or so my worst fears were confirmed. Razed to the ground, and no one batted an eye. Not even the local newspaper, a spurious, know- nothing rag, usually known for knee jerk reactions (if recent developments in the town are anything to go by) failed to be interested in its demise. A truly tragic development in the name of ‘progress’. I though Glasgow City Council had no soul when it came to preserving identity, but West Dunbartonshire Council really have excelled themselves in ripping out an architectural icon, far more worthy of survival than the individuals who helped bring it to its knees. So long Water Tower, you were there the stuff of dreams!

HB and I were killing time in the Buchanan Galleries, and one of her pleasures is a babyccino while I have a cappuccino. We had a pleasant chat, she had a little game on my ipad, and then she got the much awaited babyccino. It came made beautifully by a lovely barista with lots of smooth foam and about 15, (HB and I counted), mini marshmallows. This picture was taken while she was demonstrating her unhappiness that her mum had gone solo shopping. (Don’t be too upset for her, it lasted until marshmallows and fruity bites arrived). I love this image because of the stillness and focus on her while the legs and people in motion behind the waist-height barrier create a feeling of a snatched moment. I also love the leading-lines of the table edges taking your eye approximately at least to HB. Finally I love the very transparent seat and background making HB seem improbably substantial against the almost invisible structures.

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Here comes part 2 of the little story. HB loved the babyccino so much that she asked if she could have another. I handed her the money and asked if she would like to go on her own and ask the man if he would give her another babyccino please? Her little face lit up hugely, and off she went as proud as punch to be going like a big girl on her own to buy a drink. I watched her the whole way and there were two pleasures, one, her little happy “I am growing up walk”, two, the incredibly generous and sensitive treatment she received from the prince-among-men that was the barista; he was fantastic with her and she was so thrilled. Thank you to that man.

As a lesser issue, I love the colours and the slightly old-fashioned pastel tones. The lighting too is lovely; the reflection on the table is actually a soft leading line to the subject, looking back for reassurance as three year olds will.

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HB and I went to the bookshop this afternoon and we bought some lovely bedtime stories. As we walked back to fetch our car, I asked her if she would let me take a quick photo of Sauchiehall Street in the darkness. She kindly assented, but then surprised me by saying “Dad, take my picture”.  Two things strike me about this resulting snap.

1. How big must grown-ups seem to only-just-three-year-olds?

2. How like a little space-suit and space wellies this clobber seems! (More signs of her astronaut potential). Actually, Yoda thing also there going on is!

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The actual street image. (How odd is the spotlit overhead cable)?

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