The Twilight Zone

Dusk Fades Softly Into Night 01

Walking home along the Union Canal at Fountainbridge – as March moves on the sunset is a little later each evening, so as I have been heading home from work I’ve caught the extended dusk, the tail end of Blue Hour, when the streetlights have come on, the eastern sky is already darkening, but the western sky still holds some pale blue light and hints of reds and purples from the sun that has just dipped below the horizon.

Dusk Fades Softly Into Night 03

Evening Classes

I took these using the little mini-tripod, the type with the bendy legs. It’s only 3 inches high, and obviously doesn’t give the scope my main tripod can, but unlike that one, this fits into my satchel! Handy when I want to catch low-light or night shots but not have to carry the big tripod around town. Being to tiny I have to use other things to try and raise the height on it, so sitting it on the side of the bridge, or on a bench by the canal. It doesn’t replace my big tripod, but it is a very handy wee addition.

Ghosts Pass Under The Bridge Of Night

I always love the “ghost” effect caused by moving people when making a long exposure!

Colourful Dusk

This last one wasn’t taken with the main camera and the mini tripod – this was actually taken with my phone camera, as I walked home. I didn’t really expect it to come out, but thought I would try – I set the timer mode, and then steadied it as best I could, sitting the phone on the edge of the bridge. Quite suprised by the result.

Taking the night tram

I rarely use the trams in Edinburgh, as the nearest stop is almost twenty minutes from my apartment (and I can walk to Princes Street in twenty-five). However, the redesign of Leith Walk and the big roundabout at the top at Picardy Place has made road traffic a horrible, slow, frustrating mess – I can get a bus from right by my flat, right down to Leith, but that bottleneck is so frustrating that on the return I decided since a tram stop was right outside the venue I was in, I would get it back, dismount at Haymarket and walk the twenty minutes, as it was still better than the almost direct bus that gets screwed up by the council’s Escher-like designs for the road traffic system around the top of the Walk.

Night Tram 01

And of course, since I was down there, I decided to take some night shots, because where I go, the camera goes too!

Vid - Night Tram

Tram Stop At Night 01

Tram Stop At Night 03

Dark nights, bright lights

Dark along the Union Canal, by Harrison Park, but the night lit up by the festive lights strung along the lovely, old boathouse, reflecting in the dark, nocturnal waters

Festive Boathouse 03

Vid - Two Wheels In The Night

Coming out of the side doors of the National Gallery of Scotland, which opens out into a lower part of East Princes Street Gardens – the festive market was going on up on the higher path levels, and the colourful lights of the giant Ferris Wheel were reflecting on the wet paving stones in front of me, in a smeared, rainbow reflection, like an oil slick on a puddle

Colourful Reflections

Looking across the open square in front of the Usher Hall, towards Lothian Road, just after winter sunset. You can see the curving glass wall of the modern extension to the Hall on the far right, reflecting back some of the scene

Lothian Road, Dusk 07

Waiting on the night bus, Lothian Road

Lothian Road, Dusk 06

Sitting in front of the Usher Hall – I was just setting up this pic, using the tiny, mini tripod (only 3 inches high, with bendy legs, fits right in my satchel), when this couple sat down on the stairs near me. I actually quite like the way they add to the scene.

Sitting Outside The Usher Hall

Nocturnal scenes

With it now being dark by four in the afternoon, I tend to take a lot more night photography around this time of year, which is something I have always liked doing since I was a kid with my first cameras. There’s something about the way the camera sees a city at night, drinking in the available light on a long exposure to show more than the naked eye sees, the way the long exposure turns passing people into translucent blurs, like ghosts walking past your lens.

Victoria Street After Dark 03

Victoria Street is one of the prettiest in Edinburgh, which is saying something in this remarkable city. It curves steeply up from the Grassmarket, below the Castle, to George IV Bridge above, and along the way it showcases the many levels the tall, old, historic buildings of the Old Town are contructed on as they descend the steep, volcanic slopes of the ridge they are based on, running down either side of the famous Royal Mile.

Victoria Street After Dark 04

The Last Drop

The Grassmarket on a winter evening, taken with the wee, mini-tripod (just 3 inches high, bendy legs, small enough to go in my satchel) to steady the camera. Situated on an open square right below the Castle, at the bottom of the Old Town, this area contains many old pubs, most of which were old even when Robert Burns stayed in them, and started off as coaching inns centuries ago (a couple still have the larger entrance next to them for carriages to go round the back for the night).

Grassmarket At Night 03

Grassmarket At Night 04

Grassmarket At Night 07

Crispy Potato Skewers

Steam rising from hot food on a cold night at the festive market

Christmas In The Quad 01

Christmas tree in the handsome quadrangle of the Old College building

Christmas In The Quad 02

Biblos 01

Biblos cafe, bar and restaurant at night, Southbridge

Biblos 02

Bento

Bento noodle shack after dark (above), Southbridge at night (below)

Southbridge After Dark 01

Noodles Or Pizza
Pizza or noodles???

Christmassy Cockburn Street
Beautiful Cockburn Street with its festive lights – this street curves down from the Royal Mile to Waverley Bridge and the railway station below.

Edinburgh After Dark

As we move through late November and towards December, it is now dark here before four in the afternoon, so I have a bit more time for some night photography!

Malt Shovel
The Malt Shovel pub at night, on the steep, curving Cockburn Street, which links the Old Town to the New Town

Cockburn Street At Night 02
Cockburn Street after dark

Cockburn Street At Night 01
The bottom end of Cockburn Street, viewed from Waverley Bridge

Night Crossing
Lady waiting to cross the Royal Mile at night

Nocturnal Telephonic Trio
Classic British telephone boxes at night, on the Royal Mile

Royal Mile At Night 04
Looking towards the junction of Southbridge with the Royal Mile

Royal Mile At Night 01
Looking down the Royal Mile at night

Edinburgh After Dark

Tempo Perso

With autumn coming in and night falling earlier each evening, I have been trying out the camera on my new phone, which has a much better low-light camera than my previous one. While obviously not as sharp as using my big camera on its tripod, I’m fairly impressed with these freehand phone camera night shots.

Dreich Night 06

Dreich Night 05

Dreich Night 04

Rather dreich evening in the Old Town!

Dreich Night 03

Dreich Night 02

Dreich Night 01

Princes Street At Night
Princes Street at night

Time To Head Home

Evening tram

Teuchters After Dark
Teuchters pub at night, West End

The Night Tram

Walking home from my book group recently, darkness had just fallen. I didn’t have my main tripod with me, but did have my wee Gorilla mini-tripod, with its bendy legs, and thought some scenes of people waiting for the evening trams in Saint Andrew Square would look good in monochrome, so I sat the mini-tripod on a handy post to raise it up, set the timer and crossed my fingers…

Night Tram 01

As I was zooming in more on the people waiting on the platform, I heard the rumbling of an approaching tram, so I left the camera on a long exposure, so you get that nice contrast between the stationary platform and people standing still, and the blurred motion of the tram passing them, which I quite liked:

Night Tram 03

A second tram arrived while I was still shooting, so I got a twin-tram snap for the last pic. Not the greatest, but not bad for semi-improvised night shots. As ever, for the larger versions, click on the pics to see them on the Woolamaloo Flickr stream.

Night Tram 04

I switched back to shooting in colour for this pic, just a couple of moments walk from the previous ones, looking towards the buildings on the south side of Saint Andrew Square, but also managed to get one of the cherry blossom trees into frame, the branches loaded with sakura, hanging over the railings of the now-closed gardens:

Nocturnal Scene With Added Blossoms

The Planets Shone on Edinburgh

Walking home from a friend’s theatre event earlier this week, turned the corner on the Mound, to find this fabulous visa: the Church of Scotland Assembly Buildings, Edinburgh Castle, and above them, mighty Jupiter, king of planets, and below it, Venus, shining incredibly brightly over these historic landmarks.

The Planets Shine On Edinburgh

Sadly coming from the theatre, I wasn’t carrying my tripod – I braced the camera against a post to try and steady it for this rough and ready night shot, just to try and capture that incredible moment. You can also see Jupiter and Venus in this quick shot taken a few moments earlier on the Royal Mile (again bracing camera against a post, so not as good as if I had the tripod with me, but needs must…) – on the far left of the picture, you can see them clearly, shining above the ancient buildings of the Royal Mile.

Royal Mile After Dark

I do love living here, I love the incredible sights the city often offers up, by light of day or by the night, winter or summer, but even after all these years living in Edinburgh, this grand, old dame can still surprise me with a sudden, magical sight that just makes you stop, takes the breath away, leaving you forgetting about the world and worries for a moment to just drink in a wonderful visual feast.

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.

Lanes

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.

City of Night

Being December, it is now dark here well before four in the afternoon; while most people bemoan the very few, short hours of daylight we get in our wee northern kingdom at this time of year, I rather like it and tend to use it to get some nocturnal shots of my city.

Project Coffee After Dark 02

Project Coffee After Dark 01

Cafe Grande At Night 01

Cafe Grande At Night 02

Project Coffee and Cafe Grande after dark, in the Bruntsfield area of the city. There’s something about the dark, winter night outside and bright, warm lights and people inside the cafes and diners and bars that just cries out for a good black and white photo. Slightly rough as these were all taken freehand on the way home from work, so no tripod with me.

Fountain Bar After Dark 04

Fountain Bar After Dark 02

Fountain Bar at night, Fountainbridge

Blue Note

Blue note: corner shop lit up brightly against the winter night, Fountainbridge.

Ghost By The Steps

“Ghost” strolling near the benches by the Union Canal. I love the way long exposures capture the surroundings clearly, but a moving person or object becomes blurred and translucent, like a ghostly, spectral figure, which sometimes quite suits the photo.

Festive Barge 01

Festive Barge 02Homes With A View

Golf Tavern At Night

Tenements overlooking Bruntsfield Links, one of the ancestral homes of the game of golf (there's still a putting green there right in front of the apartments). Always coveted one of these flats, but way out of my price range. The old Golf Tavern can be seen on the far right of the upper pic, and a closer view of it in the second pic.

Tollcross At Night 02

Theatre Crowd

Busy junction at Tollcross at night, and the King's Theatre, with a crowd waiting to go in for a show.

Cinematic Nocturne

Cinematic Nocture: people waiting at the bus stop under the marquee over the entrance to the lovely, old Cameo Cinema. I miss marquees on most moden cinemas, to me they were always part of the magic, all lit up, the regularly changing signs telling you what films were screening, I like that the Cameo still has it.

Castle Of Lights 01

Edinburgh Castle during a light show, seen above and behind the old Victorian tenement buildings around Bruntsfield Links and the Meadows, because you just get views like this in Edinburgh as you casually stroll across a park path after work...

Dreich Night

Walking back from my long-running book group on a cold, very wet winter’s night through the New Town, I was heading for the bus stops on Princes Street late evening. Despite the pouring rain and the hour, there were still a few folks going around the festive market on the Mound and Princes Street Gardens, most clustered around the food stalls.

Dreich Night 01

Dreich Night 02

Dreich Night 03

As I was coming from my book group, I wasn’t carrying my tripod, so all these night shots were freehand, with the zoom, in the rain – not exactly ideal situation for taking nice, clear, sharp shots, of course! But you take wat you can get with street photography, which left me with a choice of rough shots or nothing. The way the rain and the lights made the streets glisten was too irresistible though, so I fired off a few shots – perhaps the roughness of the shots actually suits this kind of night street photo (even if it doesn’t though, it was all I could manage with what I had!).

Dreich Night 04

Dreich Night 05

Dreich Night 06

Dreich Night 07

(as ever, click on the pics to view the much larger version on my Flickr)