Night Moves

With the clocks going back it is darker earlier each evening here now. Some find this depressing, the long, dark nights. I quite like it, and it is a good chance for some night photography! Sometimes I am out with the tripod taking them properly, other times they are often improvised, taken on the way home from work when I have no tripod handy so I go handheld for rough shots or use things like railings and pillars to sit the camera on to steady it in lieu of the tripod. This is an improvised shot by the Union Canal, the steel skeleton of a new building under construction on one of the last brownfield sites left from the former Scottish and Newcastle Brewery complex which used to dominate this area for years.You can see the flat-topped railing I used to sit the camera on to steady it in the image:

Construction at Night

Another improvised shot on the same night by the Union Canal, bracing the camera against a mooring post to get this image of this houseboat at night – how cosy does it look against the cold, dark night? And below that a short from just a few feet further along looking to the old Leamington Lift Bridge.

Cosy Floating Home

Union Canal at Night

Rough handheld shot in lowlight mode at dusk in Bruntsfield, looking into the windows of Project Coffee – I think for this kind of pic the roughness of the freehand shot actually works:

Project Coffee at Dusk

Zebra crossing at night, Polwarth, another freehand shot walking home from work:

Night Crossing

Another handheld shot, this is the Telfer Subway at night:

Subway at NIght 02

Heading down through the lower part of the New Town to my book group, had been raining a little and the cobbled roads by Drummond Place had that glistening look to them under the street lights:

Drummond Place at Night

Walking through the old boneyard of Saint Cuthbert’s at night – peaceful very dark and quiet and yet only a few steps from busy Lothian Road and Princes Street, bustling with people and traffic, yet down here the quiet of old tombs, the crunch of fallen autumn leaves and so much darker than it looks in these pictures where I could do long exposures. The things you spot, different little realms just a few steps away from busy main streets, if you go a few steps off the main thoroughfare in Edinburgh:

The Path of Night Walks Through the Realm of the Dead

Saint Cuthberts at Night

Steps Into Autumn Night 01

And look a the view of the Castle you get from the old graveyard:

Castle From the Churchyard 01

And here’s one taken with a new toy, a cheap LED light panel that fixes to the camera’s flash gun shoe – I turned it on and took a walk through the old graveyard near my flat. The middle is deliberately allowed to become overgrown to become a mini urban wildlife area, and during the day you can hear all sorts of sounds, from twigs snapping to branches rustling. At night you hear even more of it but can’t see the animals making them, just hear the sounds from the undergrowth between the older tombstones. In the darkness of the walled boneyard, you can imagine how creepy that feels, as if something is following you through the cemetery. For added effect I took these on the way home on Halloween:

Halloween in the Boneyard 04

Halloween in the Boneyard 02

Spooky Edinburgh

There are times when, living in an ancient city like Edinburgh, your rational, modern, scientific mind is overwhelmed by far older, more primal forces. Your footsteps echo along a dark close late at night, as the sea mist swirls around the centuries old buildings whose stones have witnessed the long years. Is that just an echo of your footsteps? Or is someone else following you? Is that the spectral tap-tap-tap of Wizard Weirs walking stick? Quick, turnaround – nothing there, except the curls of damp mist. You could be forgiven for expecting Deacon Brodie or Burke and Hare to appear, materialising out of the fog. Its that type of city.

Just been watching a documentary on haunted histories. This one was all set in Edinburgh and covered many of the places where Ive spent a fair bit of time. There is one which is the subject of a best-selling book which tourists buy from our store in bucket loads, dealing with the Mackenzie Poltergeist. Within the walls of Greyfriars Kirkyard there stand the remains of the Covenanters Prison, where many religious folk were incarcerated for months before being executed by the bloody Judge Mackenzie.

The thing with this is that the poltergeist activity – which has a large number of supposed victims by now – only started in the last two or three years. Now being a Gothic uberfiend I have spent a lot of time in Greyfriars. It was a particularly favourite spot for me when I was doing my black and white photography at college – lovely old tombs with carved skulls, dancing skeletons, the works. Ive never encountered anything there scarier than Italian tourists chewing gum with their mouths open. Then again, perhaps poltergeists arent stupid enough to have a go at me. Perhaps it is a stirring in the ethereal confluence? A disturbance in the psionic flux between the realms of the living and the dead? Perhaps. Mind you, it is jolly odd how this started to kick up around the same time as the guided tours started to take in this part of the Old City. But hell, its still a great, creepy story, plus they had a former colleague of mine, Gordon Stewart, looking sharp and guiding the crew around Mary Kings Close, a former plague street sealed up centuries before and built over. Have a look at spooky Edinburgh here.