Archive for the ‘photography’ category


March 22, 2014

Aa some readers of this blog will have gathered, I am a technophile. I love gadgets, and in particular am fully immersed in the digital world. I read my newspapers on the iPad, and I have goodness knows how many ebooks and electronically stored documents and reports. But I have not completely left the analogue world, nor will I. So for example, whenever I read, in ebook form, a book I really like, then I buy it in hard copy, indeed preferably hardback if available. And in my family home in Ireland, I have a very large collection of contemporary and vintage books, several thousand by now.

I love books. I like the look, the feel, the smell. In older books, I love the knowledge of the procession of people who have read them through the ages. I also own some books printed in the 19th century or earlier that were never read – the pages were still joined together until I cut them. I love the sense that these leather bound volumes were prepared by some craftspeople 200 years ago to be read by me now, for the first time.

So here you can see a small selection of my books from one particular shelf: 19th century travel guides. They are a particular pleasure to read, and in this case, as you can see, they were much used long before I got to them. They are the inherited appreciation of the world we can visit.

travel guides

travel guides

City sights

February 28, 2014

This is really a photograph of the back of an Aberdeen street. It was taken earlier this week from Union Terrace. The trees in the foreground are in Union Terrace Gardens (the subject of much dispute and debate in Aberdeen), and beyond them you see the backs of various buildings located in the pedestrianised Belmont Street. This street was in fact a later addition to the original city, and contains a number of impressive historic buildings and churches. On the left of this photo is the back of the original Trades Hall, now an arts cinema. The church to the right is now (as are many former churches in Aberdeen) a nightclub.

Aberdeen: the view from Union Terrace

Aberdeen: the view from Union Terrace


January 26, 2014

In Scotland I live within sight of a monument called the Prop of Ythsie (pronounced ‘Icy’, with perhaps a hint of ‘th’ between the ‘I’ and ‘c’). It is part of the Haddo Estate, owned by Lord Aberdeen, and the Estate’s website describes it as follows:

‘It was built by the tenantry of Haddo in memory of the 4th Earl of Aberdeen, paying tribute to the extensive improvement works he carried out on the Estate for the local residents.’

The 4th Earl was a very significant historical figure; he was the British Prime Minister between 1852 and 1855, presiding over a cabinet with some extraordinary personalities. It included the later Prime Minister William Gladstone, who regarded Lord Aberdeen as a mentor and close friend.

Having long been interested in Victorian British politics (and literature), it rather tickles me that I can see the monument from my house. You can see it below, in a photo I took a week or so ago. It is already on a hill, but if you climb to the top of the monument (which you can) you get the most spectacular views of Aberdeenshire, including some of the Cairngorms.


For those who might be interested, the place where I live (Ythsie) is just outside the beautifully designed (and preserved) village of Tarves (or Tarbhais, its original Gaelic name). Also in the neighbourhood are the remains of Tolquhon Castle, and the South Ythsie stone circle. It is an area full of history, and of some great beauty.

City pavements

December 20, 2013

I haven’t posted any photographs for a while, so here are two that showing one of my favourite photographic themes: paved streets. Both were taken in September of this year.

The first photo is of Correction Wynd in Aberdeen, just as it crosses under Union Street.

Correction Wynd

Correction Wynd

The second is in Temple Bar, Dublin.

Temple Bar

Temple Bar


A little bit of Scotland

September 29, 2013

Although I have now been in the North-East of Scotland for well over two years, I am still on a journey of discovery. Today a friend took us to see some fishing villages on the coast between Elgin and Fraserburgh. This stretch of coastline includes the location for the 1980s movie Local Hero, Pennan. But the place I found most wonderful of all was the the tiny village of Crovie – a gem that has been left largely untouched by modern development, although what were once fishermen’s cottages are now largely holiday homes, though beautifully maintained.


For readers of this blog who do not know Scotland’s North-East, it is well worth a visit.

The hotel

June 16, 2013

A well known place in the centre of Aberdeen’s old Merchant Quarter is the Carmelite Hotel, a popular meeting place. It also has an unusual architectural shape, which you can see in the photograph below.

Carmelite Hotel

Carmelite Hotel

For readers who have never been here, Aberdeen is well worth a visit.

Flowing into the city

March 6, 2013

The heart of the city of Aberdeen rests between two rivers, the Dee and the Don. What you see on this photo is the Bridge of Dee, which for a ling time provided main access route into the city from the south. There are now three additional bridges, but a good deal of traffic traffic is still taken across this rather narrow but attractive bridge.

Bridge of Dee, Aberdeen

Bridge of Dee, Aberdeen

In the background you can see parts of Aberdeen city, with its many spires, and some less attractive newer high rise buildings.

You may also notice a number of dark specks in the sky. This is not dust on the camera lens, but rather what you see are some of the thousands of birds that are a constant feature of this coastal city.

Cities, out to sea

February 17, 2013

Many of the world’s great cities have a strong relationship with the sea through their ports. On a weekend visit to Dublin I recently walked along the Great South Wall pier on the southern side of the entrance into Dublin port. This has an atmosphere all of its own – and I am not talking about the sewage treatment plant you pass on the way. Well worth a Sunday walk.

Great South Wall, Dublin

Great South Wall, Dublin

Rolling in money

January 21, 2013

The scene: Heathrow airport on Saturday, where I was waiting (with countless others) for a flight out of London, after a little snow closed most of it down; some bemused American travellers couldn’t believe that this really major airport was so easily overwhelmed by what they thought was a really minor amount of snow, but more of that another time.

Anyway, back to the scene. Four children were amusing themselves by rolling two-Euro coins along the floor, with the target of hitting a house of cards constructed some five or six feet away. When their flight was called unexpectedly, the parents called them away urgently. The children asked to pick up the coins first. ‘No time’, the father shouted. ‘Anyway, they’re only Euros.’

This is what they left behind (subsequently placed in a charity box).

lost euros

lost euros

Winter days

December 7, 2012

Winter has arrived in Aberdeen, and over the last few days we have had freezing cold temperatures and the first serious fall of snow. The scene below is the RGU campus in Garthdee, with Garthdee House in the background (where my office will be from spring 2013).

Garthdee, RGU, Aberdeen

Garthdee, RGU, Aberdeen

If you want to see a close up (and less wintry) photograph of Garthdee House, you can see one here.