Making photographs, not just taking them – Dundee, Tayside, Scotland

Posts tagged “Dundee


Dundee Aurora

Tonight I noticed some mentions of an Aurora storm going on and being visible as far south as Tayside.  With that I grabbed my camera and took a quick test shot out of my bedroom window.

IMG_8459 - 27Feb2014

Imagine my surprise to see what the camera picked up while there was lights from a few neighbours houses.  Sadly I couldn’t go far, as I had the car battery on charge so I grabbed the tripod and a warm jacket before heading off to see what I could see.  I really should have taken a torch but forgot so ended up wandering around the fields/country lanes out the back of my house on the edge of Dundee, not easy to change settings etc in the dark!  That’s my excuse for not really liking these images but I share them anyway for anyone else that didn’t manage to see it for themselves.

Here is a selection of the images I got tonight:

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IMG_8467 - 27Feb2014

IMG_8470 - 27Feb2014

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IMG_8481 - 27Feb2014

IMG_8492 - 27Feb2014

IMG_8495 - 27Feb2014

I even managed a couple of selfies:

IMG_8484 - 27Feb2014

IMG_8486 - 27Feb2014



HDR experiment

So whilst out at the Dundee Observatory a few nights ago I wasn’t exactly inspired by my surroundings. Because of this I deliberately started bracketing my shots with the aim of playing around and creating some HDR images. I’ve done a little of this in the past but haven’t been overly impressed with my results.

Here is an example of the sorts of images I was getting in the past:

IMG_0140 - 04Jun2013-Edit

Not very interesting and certainly doesn’t grab your attention. To create this image I was simply using the HDR feature within Photoshop but I’ve kept hearing that this doesn’t give good results, certainly against other software. So I finally decided to go and find something else to try.

I’d heard about both Photomatix and HDR efex Pro, but as soon as I saw a video showing how well HDR efex Pro works with Lightroom (almost seamlessly) I knew that was the one I wanted to try first. I downloaded a trial and here is a couple of images I created using it:

IMG_0140 - 04Jun2013_HDR

(Using the same 3 images as the Photoshop image before)

IMG_0127 - 04Jun2013_HDR_2

They may still not be very inspiring and I could do with spending more time learning how to better use this software but it is faster to use and even the basic images created are far better than those produced using Photoshop.

I am very happy so far with my little experiment and I can see myself using it more and more in order to create some different images to what I normal produce.


Dundee Observatory

This week a few of us headed out for an evening shoot.  Seeing as my lovely wife is very near her due date we couldn’t venture too far from home for me, with this the Dundee Observatory was suggested and as non of us had been that’s where we went.

Turns out that there is no views to be had from up on the hill, too many trees, so it doesn’t make a very good daylight location.  This shows by the lack of decent images any of us got.  We did all come to the conclusion that it would make a great winter/dark night location to light up the building or do star trails.

Anyway the images I took that are keepers:

IMG_0149 - 04Jun2013_HDR

IMG_0146 - 04Jun2013_HDR

IMG_0111 - 04Jun2013-2

IMG_0111 - 04Jun2013

Copies of the main Observatory image, along with many of my others, can be  purchased over on Photo4me or by getting in touch.

A Long Time Coming (Union of South Africa 60009)

Today was a bit of a special day for me and one I’ve waiting on for a long time.  Yes you might think I’m sad but I don’t care, why? I’ll tell you why.

I grew up in a house that overlooks the main East Coast mainline (that’s the railway for those that don’t know) but more specifically overlooked a big shed that housed an express passenger steam locomotive – the Union of South Africa (60009).  So for years everytime the engine was being taken out it sat where I could see it from the living room window for a couple of hours heating the water in the boiler until it was up to steam.  Of course being a kid watching from a window wasn’t good enough when I could be out there over the road watching it up close.  And that is what I did many times during my childhood.  Until one sad day, the day I watched this loco being loaded onto a flatbed truck and driven down south, that day way sometime in May 1994 and I haven’t seen that engine since…..

That was until today.  Today was the first time she has come north of Fife, today was the day she hauled a train from back from Aberdeen to Edinburgh and today the first time I’ve seen her in almost 20 years.

Unfortunately she wasn’t hauling the tour up to Aberdeen but I thought she was still going up with it.  It turned out that she got hauled up an hour before by a diesel loco so sadly at lunchtime I had to make do with a Class 5 loco pulling the Great Britain VI:

IMG_8710 - 24Apr2013

IMG_8717 - 24Apr2013

IMG_8719 - 24Apr2013

IMG_8721 - 24Apr2013

But I did know that later the Union of South Africa was hauling the train on the return trip so I took position at the south end of the Tay Rail Bridge and waited.  First to appear was the diesel loco that went north with the Class 5 earlier:

IMG_8737 - 24Apr2013

Then a little while later I heard the distinct whistle of the A4 class locos before seeing her in the distance making the approach to the north end of the bridge.  Robert (Robert Garside Photography) who was with me managed to get a good spot looking right along the bridge:


Courtesy of Robert Garside Photography


Courtesy of Robert Garside Photography

Meanwhile I was on higher ground and balancing one foot on a stepladder the other on a very shoogly fence post:

IMG_8744 - 24Apr2013

IMG_8746 - 24Apr2013

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After this we jumped in the car and made the most of the 20minute stop at Leuchars so found a position towards Dairsie further down the line so we could get another pass:

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IMG_8768 - 24Apr2013

Ok so some of you might still think I’m sad, but I don’t care as I’m happy 🙂

Note – most of these images and others are available to order either direct from myself (using the contact page) or via Photo4Me

Urban Exploring, Derelict Mill

Had a rare opportunity to go for a wonder around an abandoned and derelict mill in Dundee.

The building has sat empty for as long as I can remember but it’s clear that it’s not only pigeons that have been in over this time.  The mill is due to be converted into flats (as so many mills in Dundee have) so it was good timing to visit now.

Here’s a selection of images but more will be uploaded here later:

IMG_5916 - 02Feb2013

IMG_5898 - 02Feb2013

IMG_5849 - 02Feb2013

IMG_5810 - 02Feb2013

IMG_5783 - 02Feb2013-Edit

IMG_5780 - 02Feb2013

IMG_5761 - 02Feb2013

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IMG_5743 - 02Feb2013

Dundee Landmarks

Whilst out on a shoot with a mate I took the opportunity to take some quick shots of a few Dundee landmarks.  Why? Just because I could and I just thought I’d share them now:

IMG_4993 - 15Dec2012

IMG_4990 - 15Dec2012

IMG_4988 - 15Dec2012

IMG_4961 - 15Dec2012

IMG_4948 - 15Dec2012


Note – some of these images and others are available to order either direct from myself (using the contact page) or via Photo4Me

Dark and cold night

It was another cold dark wintery night, sounds about right for an evening shoot with the folks over on PK Perspective and Baked Tatties.  This time Dundee was the destination (not far for me to travel then) mainly the Tay Road Bridge both the Fife side and the Dundee side down at City Quay.

Given how dark it was there was little to shoot on the Fife side other than the bridge itself and the views across to Dundee and along the coast to Broughty Ferry beyond the docks, with a few stars through in:

Back on the Dundee side of the bridge there was more to capture, ranging from the Apex Hotel, the Frigate Unicorn, another footbridge across the harbour, the listed dock sheds that are now mainly places to eat or offices, the Clock Tower that has just been refurbished into luxury flats to, surprise surprise, the Tay Road Bridge again:

Not exactly the images I had planned to get (I had visions of finding a high point about a busy road and trying out long exposures of the traffic passing by) but I did get some I really liked.  My other ideas can wait until another day and another shoot, preferably on a warmer night (i.e. not when it’s 2 degrees again!).

Note – some of these images and others are available to order either direct from myself (using the contact page) or via Photo4Me