Glencaple Trawler Bow II

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So here is the final image of the Glencaple Trawler. I thought i’d add a third photograph to make a nice trio 🙂 This final shot looks up the River Nith towards Dumfries.

All of the photos were taken on the morning i was heading for home. After a rainy day or two the clouds finally parted, blue sky was revealed and the sun made a welcome appearance – just as i was heading back home. Typical eh. So I took my shots in the rather warm light of the mid morning, got back in the car and headed for home.

As for the trawler seen in the photographs, i’m not exactly sure if it was in the early stages of restoration, used as somewhere to stay or just waiting for the scrap man to arrive. From certain things i saw it could be the second of those options.

There is something compelling though about boats and ships that are at the end of their working lives. Something rather sad. We attach a lot of emotion to boats and ships, maybe more than we do any other method of transport.

A new Scotland gallery has been started on the main website and features a rather good panoramic photograph of the River Nith. The gallery, which is a work in progress with new images to be added regularly, can be found at:-

http://www.richardflintphoto.com/portfolio/scotland/

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The Willow Mare

These images are of a rather fine set of willow horses that have stood all summer in the grounds of country hall not that far from me. The artist Emma Stothard created these life size sculptures and mighty impressive they look.

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The Return

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Thursday turned out to be a bit of a washout. High winds and a driving rain made just going out a challenge let alone taking any photographs. Fortunately today was much better so it was in the direction of Skye that I headed, traveling up to Uig located in the north west corner of the isle.

Skye has been a beautiful place to visit, so much so that I intend staying there for seven days next year. Wherever you seem to look, Skye offers a new experience or view. Sadly I’ll be leaving the Highlands tomorrow to go down to the Dumfries area of Scotland. With hindsight I should have thought about staying longer in this area when booking the cottages but you should always leave a place with a feeling of wanting more. Anyway a stay around the Highlands and Skye is definitely planned for 2013. The first thing to do when I get back home is start planning next year’s visit.

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One other benefit of staying on Skye would be the opening up of new areas to explore like the Isle of Harris etc. Day trips could be planned using the ferry services. It’s something to work out for next year but seeing the ferry loading and setting off today, I was REALLY tempted to go aboard and sail away. I quite fancy taking a sea journey.

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Traveling about, a photographer needs to be able to move quietly and quickly, without drawing attention to their presence. I thought maybe using this camper van covered in a tartan camouflage might be a good way of doing that 🙂

End of Tradition?

Earlier this month i mentioned that i would be photographing the Mayday events taking place in an English village. I’m glad to say that i did manage to cover the maypole dancing that day even though the weather forecast was less than encouraging.

Twelve people dancing around a Maypole doesn’t sound too difficult to photograph, and most of the time it isn’t, but it does offer the photographer a slight challenge. The weather didn’t help either with dark clouds threatening to soak everyone. Fortunately the rain did not appear and the dark clouds did make a dramatic backdrop to some of the images.

Traditional dancing is a popular spectator event, but it seems that the numbers of people wanting to take part in the dancing itself are dropping. Several local groups are finding it hard to gain new members – one local Morris dancing group closed due to older members retiring and a lack of new recruits joining. Many other groups may meet the same fate.

Even the garland dancers featured in the gallery photographs are finding recruiting very hard. It may be the case that in a number of years, events like this just won’t take place. Once these traditional dance groups go, it will be incredibly difficult to start them up again. Sadly there just doesn’t seem to be the interest in carrying on many of the rural traditions.

I will be photographing the event next year as well as part of a multimedia piece. I’d like to capture the sounds and atmosphere along with the images before they possibly disappear forever. Hopefully I’ll get better light to shoot with too.

More images can be seen at http://www.richardflintphoto.com/portfolio/maypole/

A Heathenish Vanity

I thought i’d give a glimpse of something I’m working on at the moment. It’s coming to the time of year when people get dressed up and dance around a brightly coloured pole – a Maypole. It’s usually a very popular event and hopefully there will be some acceptable British bank holiday weather – a tall order i know but it could happen!

Next Monday i’ll going along to the Mayday celebrations to photograph the festivities and try and capture some of the atmosphere. The Maypole featured in the photo above is a permanent iconic structure on the local village green, unlike many other village Maypoles that are put up and taken down when required. Most of the year it just stands waiting, waiting patiently for May to arrive when it will become the focus of attention.

The history of the Maypole is fascinating with the practice falling in and out of favour with the ‘authorities’ on many occasions. Probably one of the more amusing descriptions comes from the Long Parliament ordinance of 1644 describing maypoles as “a Heathenish vanity, generally abused to superstition and wickedness.” Plenty to photograph then!

It’s old world clashing into the new, although it could be strongly argued that most village Maypole usage these days has more to do with tourism than any olde world beliefs. One visitor to the local celebrations where i am, is apparently coming all the way from Atlanta!

Look out for a Maypole gallery coming to  the main photography website soon

Parting Shots

The last couple of days have been among of the most painful I’ve ever experienced. Strangely, Grandma’s funeral last Thursday wasn’t the worst part – the emptying of the bungalow she called home the following day takes that honour. Something felt very wrong. It was all very surreal and immensely sad as the furniture was carried away. One of the more common sentiments among many of the village residents present at the funeral and afterwards, was that it was the end of an era for the village community. It certainly felt like the end of something you never thought would end.

I had packed a couple of cameras with me and i’m glad i had them. The day of the funeral started as a bright but foggy morning – perfect for getting some moody, atmospheric shots among the trees and around Thorpe Malsor. To be honest, it was great to have a distraction, but the photography also served a deeper purpose of recording the village that had been part of Flint family life for so long. That relationship, that physical connection, has finally gone. Was the photography a form of therapy? Undoubtedly i’d have to say yes.

I took film cameras rather than the DSLR. I did pack the digital camera but then decided to stick with a 35mm SLR and the 6×6. Later it seemed right to be shooting these final (?) images of the village using film. After all, as a teenager, I’d had great fun going around Thorpe looking for images, armed with my trusty Miranda MS2 (my first SLR camera) loaded with Boots film. Fortunately the light was great during my final stay. I’ll be publishing the 35mm and 6×6 images on the blog very soon.

Finally i come to the image above. My iPhone developed major battery problems so that it could only be used if plugged into a power socket. I would have liked to have posted some images, audioboos and tweeted more as i walked around, but it wasn’t to be. Instead i took this image, using my Nokia, of the snowdrops in the churchyard at Thorpe Malsor. For many years, my Grandparents lived in the house opposite. The proximity of the church, combined with living in a fabulous old country house, made it feel very olde world England. The snowdrops in the photo add a feeling of new life. Renewal. A new start.

It was dark when i left the village. Will i return? Well i prefer to use an au revoir rather than a definite goodbye. If I’m nearby, I’ll stop to remember some childhood memories. When it comes down to it though, the Thorpe Malsor residents were right – it is the end of an era.

The Last Time

No it isn’t a great image, and no i’m not becoming one of those ‘visual artists’ who use images from Google Street to make art. This screen capture image, though fuzzy and blurry, is an important find…. at least to some people.

Last weekend, the last in the line of my grandparents died. My Grandma was 93. The family is still coming to terms with the events of the past ten days. Somehow you believe that people will always be there. We fool ourselves into thinking that time stands still when everything, in fact, points to time passing by and people getting older. Then you get hit with the fact that connections to people and places do come to an abrupt end.

Next week I’ll be down in Northamptonshire for the funeral and to empty Grandma’s bungalow. It will be a sad event in more ways than one. We will have also lost the last  family connection to the village of Thorpe Malsor where my father spent much of his childhood and my grandparents lived right until the end. The village itself was part of the family with so many memories. It was the place where i first got drunk on a rather tasty, but very powerful, home made rhubarb whiskey from my Granddad’s extensive wine cellar. You name it, and my Granddad had probably made a very good wine from it. It’s going to be sad to think that we have no one to visit there any more.

While having a wander through Thorpe Malsor on Google Earth today, I suddenly came across this familiar looking person walking their dog. Was it? Is it? Yes! It is my Grandma walking Trixie. I actually recognised Trixie first – no face blurring on dogs. Grandma seems to be just turning the corner for home after returning from a walk down Eagle Lane. They used to walk miles. The image was taken nearly three years ago, back in March 2009.

I imagine she had no idea what the Google Street car was, or what it was doing. Trixie is certainly giving the camera a wary look 🙂 I had no idea Grandma was on Google Earth until today, but it’s certainly a nice way to remember her – just out walking Trixie.