Views from Stirling Castle

I’ve been feeling in a bit of a slump lately with photography (what’s new?), and with a wide open Sunday and the sun making a rare appearance, I took to the road and visited Stirling Castle.

Although I’m not particularly fond of landscapes, or good at them (I think the light has to be exceptionally special for a landscape to be interesting), I took my 45mm TS-E and tried more of these stitching shots. Much better with the 12GB of RAM my iMac is now boasting!

In other news, my 28mm lens still hasn’t been repaired, and I’m definitely itching to get it back. Especially as I found yesterday’s shooting with the 45mm too tight in the castle. Oh, and my sensor is dirty. Like, really dirty. And I just want to get on top of things; on top of life and photography and stop being so damn… stuck. Lately I’ve been so focused with work that everything else has taken a back seat (I have no idea how to balance life), and I just haven’t felt inspired. This needs to change. /rantover

 
 

Wee Ryan

I took a photo of Jane and published it to Flickr, so it was only correct I took a photo of her boyfriend and published it on my blog. To regular visitors Ryan will be very familiar. Whenever I need to practice or take a photo, he lets me abuse his chiselled face. Thanks, Ryan.

Anyway, I don’t have much to say this week. I am patiently awaiting the phone call from AJ Johnstone informing me my 28mm ƒ1.8 is fixed and good to go. It’s the widest lens I own, so I’m looking forward to getting it back. This photo of Ryan was taken with my 45mm ƒ2.8 TS-E, and it’s actually two shots stitched together vertically.

 
 

Lifegasm

I haven’t wanted to socialise much lately, I just want to get my work done. Some friends know I have a problem with focus, so when I get to this stage I just run with it. But you can burn out, right? Especially when you live alone and work from home, there comes a point you’re talking to yourself and dancing with no music on and generally going crazy.

With work I have a very specific vision of where I’m going, and I know I’ll get there because I always get to where I want to go. No distractions, except going for coffee, like I did yesterday, where I stayed until the shop closed and talked money, property, relationships, and …

 
 

My Travel Scrapbook

Remember this journal? I got it last year when everything was quiet on the travel front, so it sat in my office cupboard not getting put to any use. Since the beginning of this year, though, I’ve already visited Dublin and Prague (and have more adventures in the pipeline), so I’ve started filling it up with airplane tickets, notes and photographs I’ve taken.

It feels nice to have something physical to flick through as opposed to only storing my photos online. I guess it’s like a physical version of parts of this blog.

 
 

Prague, You Dark Horse, You

When my mother and her boyfriend booked a romantic getaway to Prague, I figured I should gatecrash their efforts and join them. It was our first family holiday in something ridiculous like a decade, and since I started flying again, I’ve been eager to go as many places as I can. This year I really want to focus on work and traveling to European cities for long weekends. Fun!

Anyway, nothing could have prepared me for Prague. I’m not talking about the -15 weather, but just the way it looked – like a real life Disneyland! I’ll let the pictures do the talking, but I doubt even they will do it justice.

There are a few more on my Flickr not included in this set.

 
 

Prague

Oh hey, I’m in Prague until Sunday, sharing an amazing apartment in the centre with Carolyn (my sister) and Norman (a 60 year old guy with a bear hat). It’s snowy and cold and perfect. The currency is a bit odd, but the architecture is perfect. Tonight we’re going to drink hot wine and admire the lights, but I can’t wait until daylight comes around again so I can take photos.

 
 

What’s In My Bag

MacBook Pro, Kindle (and case my sister made), passport, Prague travel book (because I’ll be there on Thursday!), Moleskine diary so I can keep my life relatively organised, Pacman Moleskine where all my ideas and thoughts and lists go, Caffè Nero loyalty card for those Chai Lattes I drink, Zombrex pen from the special edition of Dead Rising 2, Bose headphones because I listen to a lot of music. What’s in your bag?

 
 

Kilmacolm

Ryan and I headed towards Inverclyde for some photo ops and randomly stopped off at Kilmacolm. I had never been before, but there were a few good spots for photos. Some of the shops were quite quaint and a few walls had nice textures / colour, but other than that there really wasn’t much going on.

I’ve had a bit of criticism lately with how much I’ve been using my tilt shift lens, so I tried keeping that to a minimum, but it’s a lens I want to get a lot of practice with before wedding season begins (it’s manual focus only, and generally a tricky beast to nail the shot you want). I did use its shift function, though, to take three landscape shots and stitch them together. I’ll be doing more of that.

 
 

My 25th Birthday

I have to admit, I wasn’t overly excited about turning 25. Quite the opposite, in fact. For as long as I can remember – because somebody told me so – 25 is the age I’ve associated with slowing metabolism and ageing skin. It’s all very dramatic. In the end, though, my friend Gary said “What’s so bad about turning 25? You’ve got good friends, you don’t have a broken heart, and you’re in good shape”, and he was absolutely right.

I thought long and hard about how I wanted to celebrate my birthday; go-karting? Ice cream? My favourite meal of mashed potatos with mashed potatos and mashed potatos? In the end I settled on a road trip, because I love nothing more than exploring with my camera. So we filled the tank with petrol, put The Beatles on repeat, bought a ton of sugary foods and headed to Fort Augustus in the Scottish Highlands. Magic.

 
 

Lyle Hill

On my way to the dentist this morning, I purposely took my camera so I could stop off at Lyle Hill and take some photos. Lyle Hill overlooks Gourock and is – whatever the weather – undoubtedly a beautiful place. One thing I’ve realised about myself is that I enjoy being up high. I like being high. It makes me feel at peace, and any issues with my business or crazy ex-boyfriends feels far away, almost non-existent. I’m going to spend more of my life being up high, okay?

Also, I enquired about straightening out my vampire teeth at the dentist. The guy said you can get adult braces that are barely visible and only need worn for 6 months. This made me very excited until he mentioned they are £2500. Suddenly I am okay with my vampire teeth.

 
 
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