A Tango in the spring sunshine

Walking through the Grassmarket this afternoon, the busy square of pubs and restaurants right below the Castle’s southern flank (some of the pubs there were centuries old even when Robert Burns stayed in them during Edinburgh visits). Gorgeous, bright, spring day, pubs and restaurants all busy with tables outside, locals and tourists alike enjoying the weather. And then I just happened across a group holding an open-air Tango session:

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Right there in the old square, right below the Castle, couples dancing happily away in the spring sunshine, dappled by the new leaves on the trees. Seemed like it was begging for some black and white shots, so I started snapping away. A lot of the pics I had to junk – would just get lined up and focused on one couple and another pair of dancers would step into my line and I’d end up with a photo of their backs! But I got a few successful shot…

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This lady in the pics directly above and below looks familiar to me – I’m sure I don’t actually know her, but her face looks familiar and I have a feeling that perhaps I’ve photographed her before at some other event in Edinburgh, but given how many thousands of pics I’ve taken it may take a bit of browsing to verify! Anyway, while I was clicking away, I got this shot as she danced with her partner and looked right at the camera with this wonderful, big smile (one of those really good smiles, the kind that isn’t just the mouth moving but the eyes and the whole face smiling). Joyful scene to just come across all these people so happily dancing away in the sunlight in the middle of the Old Town.

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Going medieval

A little medieval music in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh recently (an area of the Old Town directly below the Castle, which boasts inns which were centuries old even when Robert Burns came to town), part of a wee medieval fayre which was taking place among the regular farmer’s market that takes place there at weekends, and included some re-creations of Medieval music and instruments:

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And here’s a short video if you are wondering what it sounded like:

Of course there were also some knights on hand…

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And a rather fine selection of replica Medieval swords, which they were kind enough to let us pick up and try – rather heftier than the kinds of swords I trained with in my fencing days!

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We were having a good walk about taking in Doors Open Day when we saw that this was on, a perfect autumnal day too, beautiful, golden autumn sunlight and unseasonably warm for the time of year too, nice little extra bonus seeing this as we ambled around the city.

The dark night

Walking home from work, it’s now totally dark by the time I leave work, so I decided it was time to try out a couple of test shots with the new camera to see what it can do at night – it has a lot to prove as it’s smaller, less powerful predecessor got me some great night shots over the last few years, more often than not improvised on the way somewhere, so I didn’t have the tripod with me. These test ones were, like the old camera ones, improvised, setting the right mode and timer then resting the camera on a wall or ledge or railing, activating the timer and letting it go. The first couple of shots weren’t very good, very speckly, lots of ‘noise’, nowhere near as good as the old Fuji E900 I had for years. Then I realised it was only in the first part of its night mode and if I clicked the onscreen menu there were more advanced ones, so set one up, left it there with the shutter open for a bit and it seemed to work – this was taken with the camera sitting on a railing a the top of Granny Black’s Steps looking over the Grassmarket and Westport to Edinburgh College of Art, with the large windows all blazing:

Edinburgh College of Art & Wesport at night

I turned the camera around and down into the Grassmarket, over to the far side where there are more stairs (stairs up and down being a major feature of living in a city built on seven steep hills!) which lead up from there towards Lauriston, with the old Salvation Army homeless hostel on the right of the steps, now a wee designer hotel. Not the best framed shots – as I had to go with what angles I could get from the camera sitting on a flat surface rather than mounted on the good tripod it limits options a bit – but I’m still reasonably happy with these considering they were just test shots, sure I will do better night shots with the new camera in the time to come.

Grassmarket at night