Autumn in Benmore Botanic Garden

I visited the Benmore Botanic Garden at this time last year. It’s one of the regional gardens belonging to Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh and is located about seven miles north of Dunoon.  My friend Carol often visits the Edinburgh garden and suggested that we visit Benmore to get some photos of the autumn colours.

After spending the early part of the afternoon wandering around, we decided to head back towards the entrance to try to catch the setting sun in a particular area we’d passed earlier. Given the hilly nature of the surroundings, the sun disappears from the sky behind the neighbouring hills well before sunset, leaving many areas in shade.

Fountain in Benmore Botanic Garden

We were passing the pond and stopped to take some shots.  This one shows the fountain against some sun-dappled autumnal foliage.  (I’m afraid I’m not particularly botanically inclined, so you’ll just have to make up fancy tree names yourself.)  The bronze fountain is in the form of a boy with two dolphins and dates back to 1875.

[Click either of the small photos to see a larger version…]

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View over Glasgow from Queen’s Park

I thought I should follow up the last post (which was a review of my new Lumix DMC-G1) with a shot from my initial outing with my new camera.  So this is from December 2008.  Ahem…

I went to Queen’s Park and walked up to the top of the park.  For those who don’t know the park, it surrounds a hill on top of which is a flagpole.  There’s a paved viewing area around the flagpole and, on good days, you can enjoy extensive views over much of Glasgow.  This was a bright, wintery day, so conditions were ideal.

View north over Glasgow from Queen's Park

This shot was taken about 30 minutes before the sun set, so the sun was low in the sky – hence the golden colour to the light.  We’re looking slightly west of north here.  (Think of it as about 11:00 on a clock face…)

[Click the small photo to see a larger version…]

You can see a number of landmarks – some famous, some less well known. Working from the foreground back, the ones I’ve identified are as follows:

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My New Lumix DMC-G1


I’ve got a new camera – the new Lumix DMC-G1, from Panasonic. I bought the body with the standard kit lens and also got the long zoom lens at the same time. The kit lens is the Lumix G Vario 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH./Mega O.I.S. and the long zoom is the Lumix G Vario 45-200mm/F4.0-5.6/Mega O.I.S. model. The kit lens focal length range of 14-45 corresponds to 28-90 in 35mm terms and the long zoom has a 35mm equivalent of 90-400mm.

This article isn’t going to be your typical camera review and I’m not going to simply quote specifications. If you want something more structured and formal, please go and read the two reviews that I read before taking the plunge – they’re over at Luminous Landscape and Digital Photography Review. Instead, what I’ve aimed to provide here are the initial observations and reactions of a new owner of a G1.

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Tree, Twilight, Mist.

I went to Pollok Country Park late on the last afternoon of my recent holiday. Seeing me carrying my tripod, I was asked by a jogging passer-by, had I seen the spectacular sunset? Great – not only had I missed the late afternoon light, I had just missed a marvellous sunset…

I had seen low-lying mist as I drove into the park and, having left the car just beyond Pollok House, I could now see that the ground was quite frosty – it really looked quite wintery. It certainly was a cold day and I was glad I had recently started carrying my gloves again. Walking along the riverside path, I passed the mill and continued for another five, maybe ten, minutes or so, before turning back. I figured that I wasn’t going to get any useable shots since the sun had dropped below the horizon and it was beginning to get dark. Happily though, I was proven wrong…

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Alloway’s Auld Haunted Kirk

Alloway’s auld haunted kirk was the location of the demonic gathering of witches in Robert Burns’ classic poem “Tam o’ Shanter”. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the story which was first published in 1791, here’s a summary of the opening verses, just to set the scene…

Having spent the evening carousing in congenial company in a warm, dry inn, our hero Tam finally sets out reluctantly into the wild, stormy night to go home, to his wife. (Where sits our sulky sullen dame. Gathering her brows like gathering storm. Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.)

Knowing the journey home through wind and rain to be dangerous, he keeps his eyes open for supernatural peril. (Whiles glowring round wi’ prudent cares, lest bogles catch him unawares.) On the way, he has to pass the old church (the auld kirk) in Alloway, whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry. As he draws near, he sees the place is ablaze with light (Kirk-Alloway seem’d in a bleeze). Not only that, it seems that there’s some sort of a shindig in progress (and loud resounded mirth and dancing). Emboldened by his inebriated state, he urges his horse, his gray mare, Meg, onward to get a closer look…

Although Burns doesn’t specify a date for the story, it seems fair to recount the events today – on Hallowe’en. 😯

Alloway’s Auld Haunted Kirk

I visited the scene a shade over two years ago and got the following atmospheric shot as dusk fell. While the council had seen fit to install some external lighting, there was no sign of the warlocks and witches in a dance witnessed by Tam… Still, I did manage to get this spooky photo of the ruined church.

[Click on the small image to see a larger version…]

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Rainbow Over The Road To The Isles

This is from my May short break last year. I’d spent the last 90 minutes or so about three miles back along the road, pottering about at Loch Nan Uamh. The sun was setting and the light had been pretty good. However, all good things must end and I had to be back at the hotel (the Lochailort Inn) by 8pm to order my evening meal before the kitchen closed. I cut it close leaving Loch Nan Uamh, wanting to maximise my shooting time. As I drove towards the hotel, I could see that the clouds in the sky ahead of me were pretty dark. With the sun setting behind me and rain coming from in front I was suddenly presented with this marvellous rainbow.

Rainbow Over The Road To The Isles

Dilemma! Do I risk missing dinner and stop and grab a shot of it (in the rain which had reached me by then) or just drive on? Okay – so that was easily answered! 🙂 But just a quick handheld shot – no tripod. The road was quiet, so I managed to stop easily. I grabbed the camera out the bag and, shielding it from the rain with my body, ran across the road. One quick test shot and then this one. Then back into the car and on my way.

[NB: click on the small image to see a larger version…]

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VFTK Site Update #2

Okay – so I didn’t manage to increase my posting frequency, as I said I hoped to in my previous post. Sorry folks! 😳

I am definitely going to try harder this time – honest!

I’m also giving up on the idea of making photos appear in a post which appeared to have been published on the day that the photos were taken. For me, it’s the right way to do it – so that this site forms a sort of chronological gallery. Instead, I’ll just do it the way that millions of other people do – the most recent post will appear at the top of the main page and the shooting date will appear within the post. Ah well…

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VFTK Site Update

After several months of apparent inactivity in the kitchen, I have finally upgraded the site with my new theme (design). Yay! 😀 Expect new posts to appear a little more regularly.

For those of you who would not be appreciative of the technical details, it mainly means that I can now post larger images. The first example of this is the Craignethan Castle post.

Click here to read on, if you’re interested in a little more detail…

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