Nocturnal City

As the sun sets a little earlier every evening now, and the night lasts longer as we move through autumn, with winter waiting in the shadows, some people find themselves feeling sad or depressed. As a Gothic Fiend, I actually like the long, dark nights though! Ideal for sitting in a pub having a chat with chums, or by the fire with a book and some records playing.

Of course, it is also good for taking night-time photos of my city. I’ve loved night photography for as long as I remember – my late Uncle Jim, a keen photographer, gave me my first cameras as a kid (starting with a wee Kodak 110 – remember those?) before a compact 35mm camera to learn on (how to use F-stops and other settings), and of course his brother, my dad, also a keen photographer, taught me. I think seeing the illuminations at Morecambe as a kid really made me want to take night photos, to capture that other world where the camera drinks in more light on a long exposure than our naked eyes can see, revealing a different facet to the city than what we see by day.

Bus Station At Night 01

Bus Station At Night 03

Edinburgh bus station – you would never tell from this dismal, cold architecture that this is slap in the middle of the historic, UNESCO World Heritage site of the New Town. Fortunately it is screened on three sides by adjacent buildings, so the only real view of it is from this entrance. Still, makes for a half-decent night shot, though!

Bruntsfield At Dusk 05

Bruntsfield At Dusk 06

Seeds for the Soul (excellent veggie/vegan restaurant) and the Saltwater chip shop (used to be the Globetrotter for many years) in Bruntsfield, early evening, on the second pic you can see people waiting inside the chippy for their takeaways.

Haymarket After Dark 02

Improvised night shot on the way home from Haymarket train station, sitting camera on a flat-topped railing to steady it (had been travelling, didn’t have the tripod – quite often improvise night shots in this kind of manner), bus just crossing the junction at Haymarket as I left the apeture open for a moment to drink in the light.

Driech Dusk At Haymarket 01

Driech Dusk At Haymarket 02

Haymarket again, coming from the station, although on a very dreich night – but the rain gives the streets a particular look at night, so I tried a couple of quick shots, handheld, but they came out not too bad, in and around Ryrie’s pub (serving ales since the 1860s).

Waiting On The Evening Bus 02

Waiting for the night bus, Fountainbridge.

Fountainpark At Night 01

Fountainpark At Night 03

Cineworld cinema and the Fountain Park complex at night, again improvised shots – coming from the cinema, so didn’t have the tripod with me, sat camera on the railings on timer mode to steady it. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s digitial, so not like I am wasting valuable film if it doesn’t work, so I usually try it, and sometimes I get lucky.


Stay in lane! Looking down on the West Approach Road at night – this used to be a railway line, which terminated in the old Princes Street Station, which is now the very posh Caledonian Hotel (hence why the hotel has an unusual, triple door entrance – it was for getting large numbers of passengers in and out, originally). The rail line is long gone, but the route is taken by this carriageway, and if you look around near this spot, there are little remnants of that previous history, such as an old railway platform, half hidden by foliage, next to the carrriageway, and just behind this spot, an old, steel railway footbridge over one of the exit ramps for the Approach Road, still in use today, but now taking you safely over lanes of cars instead of train tracks.

Polwarth After Dark 02

Tenements, shops and diners at Polwarth, not long after sunset, another improvised shot walking home from work, bracing camera against some railings by the junction and hoping.

A Brace Of Bollards 02

A brace of bollards! Entrance to Fountain Park, by the McCowan’s Brewhouse pub. I don’t know why, I just felt like zeroing in on the bollards, I think it was the black of them against the paving stone, and that “ghost” effect the long exposure creates as people were walking through it while I was taking it.