I was out at Edinburgh’s annual Doors Open Day on Saturday, interesting as ever getting into various buildings for a look around, let down only a bit by the usual incompetence of Edinburgh bloody council who were turning people away from the City Chambers despite it being in the programme that was arranged months in advance – many other locations opened their doors, with people on hand to explain the history and more, all volunteers, but Edinburgh council with its vast army of staff still made an arse of it. What a surprise… Shame on you, Edinburgh council – when I did Glasgow’s Doors Open the City Chambers there was most welcoming and I took many pics in that astonishing building. Shame I couldn’t do it in the one that I pay (through the nose) tax to sustain due to your incompetence – truly no task simple enough that Edinburgh council can’t make a mess of it… Sigh… Anyway, I took pics of the other places I caught in this year’s Doors Open but haven’t had time to sort out my photos yet, will post later on here, but meantime here is one taken in Edinburgh University’s old anatomy theatre, where some wag had placed this medical skeleton in one of the chairs of the old lecture hall. I took one shot and it was a bit dark, so I used the flash and accidentally got this rather pleasing effect as the skeleton flared white and the background went black (as usual click the pic to see the bigger version on the Woolamaloo Flickr):
I’ve kept myself pretty busy over my week off, between the book group, movies, out catching up with folks and enjoying a drink, more movies and also a lot of wandering around enjoying the burst of good weather, ambling around the city and also down the coast, taking a shedload of photos as I did so (about 2.5 gigs worth of pics in a few days, I’ll need another week off to sort them!), which has kept me occupied and active instead of sitting around brooding, so its been helpful. Walking past Edinburgh University the other day I decided to take some snaps of the skaters and skateboarders there – its a popular area for it in Bristo Square in front of the Uni. Before you think I am getting all arty with the move to black and white photography, I had been down in the Royal Mile earlier in the day taking some architecture pics and moved to B&W for those as I think it suits some buildings better and had taken several pics of the skaters before I realised I hadn’t changed back to colour mode.
Yes, I could avoid that altogether by shooting in colour then greyscaling in Photoshop afterwards, but I think that’s never as good as shooting in B&W to begin with. I’m not sure if that’s just a subjective opinion because if I greyscale a colour pic I’ll always know it started out colour, but anyway, if I want B&W then I’ll shoot that way rather than change it on the computer later (besides I do very little modification of my pics, I’m a Gonzo photographer, I take pics of things I see and try to reproduce what caught my attention, not spend 6 hours filtering and altering it in Photoshop, not that I have anything against that, but its just not what I normally do, I like to keep my pics fairly honest as photographs and not overly manipulate them other than tweak contrast or cropping, things I’d do back in my dark room days at college).
So the upshot was I took several pics before I realised I was in B&W mode then looked at the images on the camera’s screen and thought, you know what, I think this scene looks cooler in B&W, so I kept it that way. And ended up doing a bunch more B&W as well, not done much monochrome since my college years when I did my own prints (back in the days of actual film with my ancient but highly serviceable Praktica) and I suddenly found myself thinking, why haven’t I done more B&W in the digital years? I used to love the way monochrome can bring a different light to some subjects and yet here I was doing hundreds of photos a year onto my Flickr and hardly any in B&W, like I had forgotten about it. I think I just revived my taste for it…