Domain Change

My online presence is going through a bit of a rethink at the moment and one element of this includes the Darker Skies domain name that has been running on this website for a number of years.

To be honest, I’ve never really taken to the darker-skies.com domain name so I’ve decided to get rid of it after a a lot of thinking. I think a new Darker Skies related domain name is needed – something that fits the blog better. Time to put my thinking cap on!

Next year i will be developing this site further and to do a thorough job the domain needs to go. The blog, however will remain and can be accessed through its regular WordPress address of www.darkerskies.wordpress.com

 

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From the Castle Walls

Sterling Castle is one of the most impressive landmarks in Scotland and one that i’d passed for quite a few years without stopping for a closer look.  Fortunately i managed to get that closer look last weekend and both the castle and the views were fantastic.

Sterling sits in the central Scotland and has played a key role in shaping the country over the years. It’s strategic position, combined with the near impregnability of the castle, has caused invading armies many problems over the years. Often they would bypass it rather than try and take it.

The visibility was fantastic on the Sunday i visited. The cold November air was beautifully clear enabling visitors to see the mountains, located 30 or 40 miles away near Tyndrum, at the edge of Stirlingshire. A sprinkle of snow could be seen on the peaks.

One thing that did surprise me during my castle visit was the number of tourists, though i suppose that the tourism season never really stops now. I’ve always loved the reactions and behaviour of those on holiday. We all do it, but in the social media age we seem to need to prove, more than ever, that we have visited a location. The selfie stick must be the ultimate symbol of that desire. The postcard, at one time a critical part of  communicating holiday news, has been dying over the years due to social media, to the point that Salmon postcards,  who  have been publishing postcards and calendars since 1880, are to close after over 100 years of trading.

Coach tours are my favourite tourism activity to watch though. The large scale and yet fleeting visits they make are popular, seem to only give a tantalising taste of the location.  People seem to love the convenience though, even though there doesn’t appear to be the time to stand and soak in the place. Two coach tours pulled up below the castle and i took the image below. While the castle appears to be the main focus of attention, the field also contained Highland cattle that also got their photo taken. Highland cows do love having their picture though 🙂 Note the photographers who have climbed over a gate to get a clearer view.

The image of the Wallace Monument has to be my favourite from the visit. The tower stands on the Abbey Craig from which William Wallace was said to have watched the gathering of the army of King Edward I of England, just before the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. The tower also has a great view looking back at Sterling Castle, so the next visit will probably include a climb up the Wallace Monument to see the view.

The Autumnal colours are an added bonus along with the clear visibility. The light in the summer can be wonderful but it can also bring some atmospheric conditions that can hamper the photographer . The colder air, combined with the late autumn light, really helped capture  the magnificent views from the castle walls.

Back on Track

Images from a new project that i’m adding to the mini blog on my main website this month. Early days but I like the results so far – especially the digital black and white which I’ve never really been keen on until now. The prejudice of an old school film fan.

It’s been a tough year, photography wise. I just haven’t been that happy with making pictures or photography in general. With this little project i’m trying to remedy that malady and try to get back on track. At the moment it feels like i’m running on empty.

As for the reasons, well i think it’s mostly about last year catching up with me. There was no time to emotionally deal with events at the time. Keep calm and carry on was the unofficial motto, but you have to pay the bill eventually. No avoiding it.

Grief. I think it arrived earlier this year and it’s been hard to shake off since. Some days lurking in the background, others up close and personal. Subtle but strong.

Grief. Small word. Big impact.

Photography is so intrinsically part of my life that maybe its no wonder that it’s been affected by recent events. Photography is feeling, and I’ve been feeling numb, tired and a bit lost. Hopefully this little project can start to put me back on track.