Pics of the year

Casting my eye back over my ever-expanding Woolamaloo Flickr stream (now approaching the 7, 000 image level, unbelievably), I thought since it was the end of the year I’d chose some of my personal favourites from my own photos I shot over the last twelve months. I know I carry the camera in my bag everywhere but even I find myself a bit taken aback with just how many photos I’ve shot over the year… But I see something interesting, be it a performer on the Royal Mile during the Fringe or simply the sun casting shadows over an old, stone building in Edinburgh or a famous author at the Book Fest. Out of the hundreds I shot this year, here are a few I was particularly pleased with:

The Mad Hatter on the Mile during this year’s Fringe:
Fringe on the Royal Mile 2011 157

Using the longer zoom on the new camera to get closer in for a portrait of this percussionist performing on the Royal Mile to summer tourists as the evening light plays on him. I love getting unposed, natural street shots:

Fringe on the Royal Mile 2011 212

I was shooting in the Dovecote Studios during Doors Open Day when my eye was drawn by the autumn sunlight coming in the skylights of the studio to cast bright shafts of light and shadow over the upper gallery, which these two women walked into, so again I took advantage of the bigger zoom on the new camera to take this quick scene which worked nicely in black and white in a way it never would have in colour (and a reminder, if you see a pic of mine in B&W I shot it in B&W, I refuse to shoot in colour then grayscale it in Photoshop afterwards, it loses the texture):

ladies, sunbeams, shadows 01

I don’t just shoot my ‘arty’ black and white though! Here’s some quite glorious colour, Riddles Court, just off the top of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, beautiful, bright, warm, autumn day, the colour of the centuries old buildings (reminiscent of the mustard colours used in the palace across the river in Cuiross) in strong light with that magnificent sky, a gift from my city to me as a reward for looking up:

Riddles Court, sunny day 01

My adorable wee cousin Caitlin, learning how to use my dad’s camera (which is almost as big as her head!). I took several shots of her while she was busy trying this out but my favourite from the sequence is this one where she’s cuddled right into my dad (her beloved ‘Uncle Jojo”):

Caitlin and Dad 08

The magnificent Victorian atrium of the National Museum of Scotland, now re-opened after several years of refurbishment, flooded with natural light, quite wonderful to take in

National Museum of Scotland 01

And some old typewriters hanging from the wall in the Museum, seemingly without support, floating, it said black and white to me, so I did:

National Museum of Scotland 05

My gorgeous city seen from the roof terrace of the National Museum of Scotland, one of the best spots to take in the roofs of the Old Town:

Edinburgh Old Town skyline from National Museum of Scotland

A candid, quickly captured shot of my friends Colin and Frances in between the more formal, posed photos at their wedding:

Frances and Colin's wedding 027

And I was quite pleased with this shot of my friends Malcolm and Rhona I managed to get at the same wedding – obviously this one is posed unlike the preceding pic, but still quite pleased with this one:

Frances and Colin's wedding 045

Statue of Hugh Miller, pioneering Scottish geologist, in the revamped National Museum of Scotland, as the autumn sunlight slanted through the Victorian iron and glass roof into the galleries below making some lovely light and shadows:

Hugh Miller, geologist

The always excellent artists at Saint John’s Church on Princes Street post a new mural commenting on current events, this time on the Occupy movemnt:
saint johns church - revolution is the solution

Quickly snatched candid shot (I love capturing natural, unposed scenes in the street, or in this case, park) of young folks practising their juggling on a nice day in the Meadows, Edinburgh:

juggling in the Meadows 03

Bagpiper on stilts on the Royal Mile (a few nights later I heard him piping the Star Wars theme on the bagpipes!), spotted walking home from work in the summer (another reason I carry the camera in my bag all the time, never know what you might see):
pipes and drums 03

Launch for the programme for this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, bumped into a bunch of book folks I know, including Aly and Bob here, who I used to work with back in the day when Waterstone’s was still a real bookstore:

Aly and Bob at Book Fest programme launch

Walking home in the middle of the summer and find a brace of classic old touring cars parked on the Royal Mile. This chap got into his and fired it up, started turning it around as I was shooting so instead of still life shots of classic cars I got him driving it too:

classic Bentley on the Royal Mile 07

In the National Museum of Scotland with my dad and uncle earlier in the year, taking in the exhibition on Scottish lighthouses (including the huge contributions to maritime safety and engineering from the famous Stevenson family – the same family that produced the great Robert Louis Stevenson). This was a giant representation of the Fresnel lenses used in lighthouses to hugely magnify the power of the rotating light. I noticed after I shot it that I had also captured reflection of my dad and myself, looks very well timed but actually accidental!

reflections and refractions 01

quick, candid shot of one of my favourite watering holes, the Abbotsford in Rose Stree in Edinburgh’s New Town:

drinking in the Abbotsford

Walking home from work way back in January of the year, a huge, orange moon was rising above my ancient city, as large as an autumanal harvest moon but in the middle of the winter. Had to stop and try and improvise a quick night shot:

orange moonrise 01

André Øvredal, Norwegian director of one of my favourite films of this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, in the Cameo after the debut of the brilliant Troll Hunter:

André Øvredal at Edinburgh Film Festival 01

Fringe performers made up and dressed as 1920s silent cinema stars – I have such a weakness for women in the Louise Brooks bob and was lucky enough to get this unposed, candid shot while I snapped a series of them…

Fringe on the Royal Mile 2011 06

British published graphic novels dominate in the bookstore tent of the Edinburgh International Book Festival:
graphic novels at Edinburgh Book Fest 01

Neil Gaiman at the BooK Festival this year, first time I have managed to say hello in person for years – I’ve had the pleasure of hosting Neil for book events several times going right back to the early 90s while he was still writing The Sandman, but not seen him in person for a good while (although we do get to swap the odd email, which is nice considering how many emails he must have to deal with):
Edinburgh International Book Festival - Neil Gaiman 09

Scottish comics superstar writer Grant Morrison at the BooK Fest:
Edinburgh International Book Festival - Grant Morrison 011

Some scantily clad performers during the Fringe saw me snapping away and posed very nicely for me, normally prefer candid to posed, but I was quite pleased with this:

Fringe on the Royal Mile 2011 073

Nick Hayes and William Goldsmith who first came to my attention with their debut graphic novels works from Jonathan Cape this year, got to meet them in person at the Book Festival during the summer:

Edinburgh International Book Festival - Nick Hayes & William Goldsmith 010

A really good Charlie Chaplin impersonator on the Mile during the Fringe:
Fringe on the Royal Mile 2011 133

And I loved this candid moment during on Fringe performer’s act as he kissed the hand of the lady who agreed to assist him:

Fringe on the Royal Mile 2011 177

We had the Jungle City exhibition of statues of endangered species dotted all over the city, each decorated differently by various artists. I especially liked this big cat covered in shiny one pence pieces by the Scott Monument:

Jungle City Edinburgh 07

The final remaining parts of the old Scottish & Newcastle Brewery were at last demolished after a pause of a few years caused by the financial crisis, now totally gone and site cleared for new work, here is one of the large structures when only partly demolished – how odd to be able to see inside, almost like a cutaway diagram of the building:

vanishing brewery 05

My view on the way home from work – I do love this city!

view from a bridge

Okay, I could probably pick a few more, but I think that is more than enough, you can always go browse my Flickr stream yourself, after all!

2 thoughts on “Pics of the year

  1. I fell in love with Edinburgh in 2003 when visiting my daughter who was working on the Fringe. Your photographs have brought back great memories. Thank you.

  2. I would like to just say how proud I am to feature in your top shots of 2011. I loved the fringe last year and thank you for capturing my good side.

    James aka the hatter (Mad)

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