Carnival time

The other weekend was the start of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (next month sees the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Edinburgh International Film Festival all take place – summer is festival city time here). As usual the Jazz and Blues fest kicked off with the Carnival. Unlike previous years it didn’t go down Princes Street, and instead was all within the West Princes Street Gardens (I’m guessing to avoid shutting down the tram network now).

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As usual I took far too many photos (these are just a few), but hey, it’s a wonderful occassion and it marks the real beginning of summer and the the festival season here, and I got to watch it all with a dear chum, which always makes these things better.

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The weather forecast predicted showers, but we got lucky, it stayed dry and at some points the sun even came out as if to admire the colours and costumes and smiles.

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As ever there were some fabulous costumes, colours, music and smiles from all around the world.

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Future’s So Bright…

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I study nuclear science
I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher
He wears dark glasses
Things are going great, and they’re only getting better
I’m doing alright, getting good grades
The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades
I’ve got a job waiting for my graduation
Fifty thou a year’ll buy a lot of beer
Things are going great, and they’re only getting better
I’m doing alright, getting good grades
The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades
Well I’m heavenly blessed and worldly wise
I’m a peeping-tom techie with x-ray eyes
Things are going great, and they’re only getting better
I’m doing alright, getting good grades
The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

Timbuk3.

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People watching along the Union Canal on a very warm, sunny, spring evening, so many people in sunglasses, which always makes me think of the classic 80s pop song, “Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” by Timbuk3.

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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…

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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:

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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.

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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

Porty Scenes

A few photographs from a couple of recent jaunts down to Portobello, Edinburgh’s seafront. It has been remarkably mild for mid November, and the Promenade, the cafes on it, and the beach, were all busy, people making the most of the fact that it’s not bitterly freezing (yet!), while paddleboarders, yachters and rowers (and even some brave swimmers) were enjoying the waters. Late afternoon, and the low winter sun was already too far down, so the Prom and much of the beach was in shadow already, but out on the Firth of Forth, Inchkeith was caught in the golden rays of the last hour of light of a winter’s day, while the Fife coast behind was wreathed in haar (click the pic for the larger versions on my Flickr).

Magical Island Floating In The Light Of The Setting Sun

Looking at the sea

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A sea view is lovely, but it is nicer when shared

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Some folks were happily playing beach volleyball – not something you see a lot of on a Scottish beach in November, normally!

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Cooking on the beach!

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Busy, busy, busy: Porty Prom!

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The Little Green Van is a fixture on Porty Prom at the weekend, usually close to the swimming pool. As well as serving up coastal coffees and other treats, they have padded cushions in case you want to sit on the sea wall with your drink!

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Couple sharing a moment on Porty Beach

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Autumn arrives

Autumn is really making itself felt as we move into late September; chillier in mornings and evenings now, although still quite pleasant temperatures in the main part of the day. Glorious, golden autumn sunlight quite often, and on those days it brings out the colours as the trees begin to turn, and it’s just utterly beautiful.

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With such lovely autumn sunshine, people were making the most of it, enjoying pavement cafe culture in Bruntsfield, before the weather and temperatures slide further and it becomes too uncomfortable to sit outside the cafes and bars (at least not without a coat on!).

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As always, you can click on the pics to see the far larger version on the Woolamaloo Flickr stream – now well north of 24, 000 photos!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!).

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

Life by the Canal

The last couple of months have seen the usual yearly increase in wildlife along the Union Canal, not far from my flat in Edinburgh. Ducks with fluffy wee ducklings, the Moorhens and their little chicks calling to them among the reeds, and of course our resident breeding mute swan couple who have been on this stretch for some years now, with their 2021 brood of cygnets, which have gone from smaller than my hand a few months ago to almost as big as Mama Swan now. As ever click the pics to see the larger sized versions on the Woolamaloo Flickr page.

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It’s rather wonderful to have all this, right in the heart of a major city, we’re very, very fortunate to have it on our doorsteps, little slices of natural beauty in the middle of the urban jungle, a once polluted, dirty, industrial waterway now home to pleasure craft, houseboats and a great refuge for wildlife.

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Of course, all this wildlife attracts the attention of the local apex predators!

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And naturally it is a great place for Edinburgh citizens to enjoy a stroll by the water and to see the wildlife (always makes my day a little better to see the swans and ducks and their young). Some don’t even just stroll by the water – this chap stretched out in his canoe and let it idly drift while he snoozed happily in the warm sunshine!

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Others prefer to walk, cycle, or run alongside the canal, or simply sit by it in the sunlight, or read. I like to walk along to the floating cafe-barge, The Watershed, and get a coffee and flapjack there, sit by their open air tables by the water with my latte and a book before walking home. Great stretch for a wee promenade.

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Tired

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The Thinker

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I can teach you to skateboard!!! I love the look of joy on their faces.

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Serious Cyclist

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Pause the walk for a rest and coffee and a read at The Watershed, the floating cafe-barge by the old Leamington Lift Bridge.

Coffee, Camera, Book

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Festive Market

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There’s been a festive market for quite a few years now in Edinburgh – it started as a small, traditional German Christmas market around the plaza on the Mound by the galleries, and a small part of the adjacent east Princes Street Gardens. However in recent years, especially under the events company Underbelly (which has been a major player in the Festival Fringe for years) it has expanded dramatically as part of a larger festive and Hogmanay programme.

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We’re well used to disruption from the festivals in the summer – Edinburgh is, after all, home of the largest arts festival on the planet (and the largest literary festival and the longest continually-running film festival). But the scale and the disruption it causes is starting to seriously anger many citizens, and the complacent response from the promoters and council lackeys isn’t helping. This year the entire east Gardens has been covered in the festive market and fair, so that entire, huge space which is meant to be a shared green space held in common good for the people is anything but. Meanwhile the promoters are, two weeks or more before the events, preparing the west Gardens for the New Year concerts and have fenced off huge swathes of it. So now the public cannot access most of that green space either, both given over to crass, commercial ventures aimed purely at tourists and meanwhile robbing Edinburgh citizens of their entitled green public space that belongs to them

Oh and did I mention the market is illegal?? The promoters didn’t apply for the building permit they require for an erection on this scale, and they and the council kept this quiet, but it leaked out and the local heritage bodies highlighted it, forcing the council and Underbelly to respond, albeit in bleating, weak, pathetic ways, giving no credible reason for such incompetence on the part of both bodies. Then it turns out the same happened last year but they kept that quiet too. Meantime in related events a festive event on the Royal Mile saw huge blocks of stacked freight containers dumped on the middle of this historic area and the streets closed off. The organisers didn’t bother to tell local businesses though, who found out their staff couldn’t even get to work because of this (yet the organisers keep telling us how much these events help “local business”).

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Still, much as I have gone from originally liking the early versions of the traditional German market to loathing the vulgar, hiugely commercial monster that now robs our city of its open spaces and allows greedy commercial companies to hijack entire public areas of our city for their own use while castigating citizens for daring to be concerned – not to mention angry – at this, it does make a good spot for some nocturnal people-watching photos (I take pics around it, but I am not buying anything there).

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Nighthawks

A couple of quick, handheld night shots take on the way home from work. This used to be an NYC style diner years ago and is now an Italian restaurant, near the Playhouse Theatre. The way it juts out at the corner of this block, and the large, plate-glass windows and bright interior light kept drawing my eye and I thought it would make an interesting after-dark photo. The fact it had been raining last night, so the pavements were glistening under the street lights, just added to it and it was begging for me to shoot it in black and white (and yes, the title is a nod to the famous painting):

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Fringe time

It’s August and that means festival time in Edinburgh, with several enormous festivals running at the same time, plus the usual horde of tourists, it can make it a frustrating experience for locals trying to get around their town. But it also makes for happy hunting grounds for photographs, especially the Fringe on the Royal Mile, where a section is put aside in August for performers to tout their shows, even including wee stages where some enact excerpts from their acts to try and interest audiences to come to their shows (and with such a vast array of shows every day and night they really need to work to get an audience)

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