Scottish Snorkelling Holidays

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You don’t have to go abroad to enjoy a water sports holiday.  Scotland is one of the top global destinations for enjoying sub aqua sports.  I joined BSAC in February 2019 as a Snorkel Diver member.  One of the aspects I like about BSAC is that it is progressive organisation and embraces all forms of activities that come under the umbrella of the world of Sub Aqua.

For me, Snorkel diving is a happy medium between Scuba and Free Diving and in Scotland I much prefer to wear a drysuit.  Scotland is an excellent place for Snorkel diving and I feel so lucky I live within a few hours of the sea.

There are 3 members of our club who enjoy snorkelling and we will meet up to snorkel dive at Fife Ness on the east neuk coast of Fife.  I would say I’m the club’s hardest core snorkeller for sure – I love it!!

I did my snorkel diver and Sport Diver qualification with Perth Scotsac and have no interest in scuba diving anymore.  With snorkelling I can concentrate on photography and filming which is why I took up scuba diving in the first place.  I enjoy the freedom of not carrying the heavy scuba tanks, stab jacket and regulators although my dive bags still have the same amount of gear for snorkelling!!  I use a dry suit and an Ameo Power breather system which is modular and has to be built up and dis-assembled each dive then meticulously cleaned.  I take my snorkelling gear very seriously and clean it after every dive.  I use a dive watch and compass, torch and go pro camera with me on most dives.  Filming blogs and photography is my main focus of snorkelling but sometimes I’ll not shoot anything and just enjoy the experience.  I have a weight belt but don’t use it as I can’t duck dive in a dry suit as it’s too positively buoyant.

The Harris trip in June was very much a last minute affair.  I contacted Steve Lilley our Diving Officer (Perth Branch) a week before the trip to ask if myself and Natalie could join them. We were welcomed on the adventure and I started organising the ferry bookings.  I could only arrive on the Sunday, a day after everyone else.

I had 5 hours to get from Kinross to Uig in Skye to catch the ferry to Tarbert.  I made the mistake of stopping for a toilet break for 20 minutes by Eilean Donan Castle.  That 20 minutes nearly caused us to miss our Ferry!!  Across Skye I was stuck behind every tourist bus and caravan leisurely winding through the backroads at 45 mph.  I was panicking as at one point I had 20 minutes to travel 20 miles – in a Micra!!

Arriving at the ferry port, the ship was still there and we were the last car on board – what a relief!!  After 5 hours of mild anxiety, I could finally relax for the rest of the week and look forward to the adventures awaiting on my first trip to Harris.

Our club was divided into two air bnb type accommodation houses, both self catering.  Myself and Natalie stayed at Tigh Chalein on the Mharaig Bay and others were staying at Tigh Na Mara on the Carragraich Bay.  Our house had drying facilities, perfect for scuba diving gear and both RIBS were kept at the house.  Our Clubs orange RIB is named Deep Dancer and club member Mark Edward’s boat is called Proper Job.

We had a beautiful ensuite room and the house had all the mod cons including a washing machine and dryer. In Tarbert there are a couple of small mini market shops that can provide you with most everything you’ll need.

Arriving in the late afternoon to our house, the divers were just returning from their first dives at Mharaig bay.  Our house had a handy slip for the boats to enter and I started helping to load the gear from the RIB to the house.

After that, I tried taking my quad copter up to get some aerial photos and videos of the bay while the evening sun set.  I discovered that Harris is not the easiest place to fly as there are constant strong winds and power lines everywhere, I had to use the quad copter very sparingly.

DAY 1 MHARAIG BAY

 I was up reasonably early and at 8.30am the scuba divers were finishing breakfasts and preparing for that day’s diving.  Steve Lilley asked if I had researched the North Harris Snorkel Trail.  I actually had not even thought of researching anything as I had just concentrated on organising our ferry tickets.  I looked at the Scottish Wildlife Site’s guide and was intrigued to discover a snorkel trail map.  There are 6 sites in all, the first being where we were staying.

There was a variety of club divers of diverse abilities and qualifications.  Steve Lilley the BDO (open circuit and instructor) Paul Scott chairman (open circuit and closed), Two boat drivers (one sport and one instructor both closed circuit), two trainee ocean divers, two sport divers (open circuit) and three non divers.

During the trip the Scuba divers dived Mharaig bay twice, Scalpay bay, and had to abort Hushinish Bay due to choppy waters.

After organising the breakfasts, I got myself kitted up armed with my GoPro – for me sub aqua is all about image capture as well as great aerobic exercise.  I enjoy taking photographs and started shooting my next snorkel vlog. Sometimes if there’s not much to see, I will simply start recording a vlog with handy snorkelling tips for those interested.

Mharaig bay however had a fair bit of marine life.  I was surprised at how large the jelly fish were and I snorkel swam out to a small island.  I could see crabs and hermit crabs and I enjoyed gently fining along to see if I could get some good photos and video.  My GoPro has no viewfinder so I only find out in the editing what is usable.  For me a GoPro is perfect for snorkel diving, there are just two buttons and the camera does the rest.  I use a selfie stick and I have developed a technique where I can float on my side and put the GoPro back in my trouser pocket when not needed.  I do this very carefully so as not to drop the camera.  The beauty of snorkelling is that you can stay in the water as long as you like – that is, until of course you need to go to the toilet.  For me an hour and fifteen minutes is  my average  limit before the emergency toilet break is required,  It must be something about being in the water that causes my  bladder to complain.

After my dive and hanging my gear up to dry, we decided to take a trip in to the famous Harris Tweed shop in Tarbert where we bought some gifts for family members.  On returning to the house I took some more aerial shots of the bay.  We had a nice communal dinner that evening sitting in the sun lounge which had a view of the bay.  We stayed up late talking and enjoying some drinks and discussed what we’d do the next day,

DAY 2 RHENIGIDALE BAY

 After breakfast myself and Natalie headed for the 2nd location of the snorkel trail.  We climbed some very high roads that snaked off into the hills opposite our house, and often had to be respectful of the lambs and sheep which are everywhere.  Rhenigidale bay was very small but perfect for a shore dive.  Natalie was a God send as I needed her to help me zip and unzip.  With out her I would not really have been able to dive every day.  She was happy to take some holiday snaps of me entering the water and general tourist shots.

I shot lots of kelp and plankton was everywhere.  I also viewed some tiny tadpole like fish.  I snorkel swam out to a small island trying to make sure that I could still see the entry point.  When you’re in the water it’s easy to lose your bearings of the entry point when you’re below the rock lines.  I stayed in the water for an hour and a half and explored both sides of the bay, recording another vlog tip for the day.  I would aim to shoot a new snorkelling tip video each dive.

After my bladder sent me the warning signs it was time to get out the water.  After I changed I took some aerial shots and at one point my heart was in my mouth as I watched my quad copter flying away from me without my control.  I didn’t realise that winds can flow higher in the air even when the ground air is  completely still.  Fortunately I was able to guide my copter back to shore and learned my first Harris Flying lesson – do not fly if the wind is strong!!

That evening we had our first group meal.  Paul Scott’s wife Tara made us a fantastic meal catering for both vegetarian and non vegetarian diets, complete with local fresh shrimps that were delivered to the house.  We all helped to prepare the food and set up the tables as all the club was attending.  Myself and Natalie got to know the other members more and I spent the evening talking with Paul about one of my favourite subjects – cameras!

 DAY 3 SCALPAY

 This time I was invited to join the scuba divers on their RIBS and we headed for Hushnish Bay, however on arrival it was thought too choppy for the RIBS to disembark – the water was just too violent and the rocks would have caused some damage to the boats.  So we headed off for Scalpay bay.

We divided ourselves up into the two RIBS and headed out the bay.  I got dropped off at a wall to explore and do some filming.  There were lots of interesting rock structures for me to do swim throughs.  Of course I can’t duck dive in a dry suit even with weights, so I can only bob about on the surface.  Hamish and Lewis, a father and son team had reported seeing an octopus at 15 metres.

I saw many brown coloured jelly fish which was a first for me and I also had a shot of driving the club’s RIB too which was a fantastic experience.  After the first dive, the group decided to go either exploring or a 2nd dive.  I was dropped off at shore so that I could get my quad copter shots.  It was a very satisfying day, and every day was enjoyable.

DAY 4 HUSHNISH BAY

 I decided to return to Hushnish.  The water was still very choppy as I made my way down the slip, being photographed by Natalie.  I gave her a final wave before I plunged off the slip.  In the distance you could see sandy beaches with torquoise water.  But here was a totally different environment.  The waves caused me to bob up and down like a cork.  I felt as vulnerable as a cork.  One of the thrills I get from snorkelling is when I get moshed by the waves, a little scary but enjoyable when you let the sea take over – the same powerful sea that could take your life if it wanted to.

I recorded lots of kelp fields and swam round the bay.  I had a slight panic when my right fin became loose.  I realised that trying to fin back to shore with one fin was futile.  When this happens the important thing is to not panic and just take deep breaths while you work out what to do,  If you panic, adrenaline in the brain can reduce your ability to think – it’s a survival mechanism but for land based danger only!!

After taking a few breaths, first I needed to put the GoPro in my pocket so that I could use both hands to secure my fin.  Fortunately my fin was well stuck on my foot so it wasn’t too difficult to remedy the situation, although in a dry suit it is not so easy to bend your body well.  After the panic was over I realised that I was lying on top of kelp fields and was in danger of getting perhaps trapped so I finned back out to sea as quickly as I could until I was free of the kelp.

I shot another snorkel tip vlog and headed back for shore avoiding the kelp as much as possible.  I was relieved to see Natalie waiting for me on the slip and had had my first little bit of danger but by no means regretting it.  We stopped at the nearby beach which was a short drive from the slip and admired the gentle blue waters and perfect white sands – it looked like a scene from abroad.

That evening it was the birthday of two club members so we celebrated by having a meal at the Harris Hotel – well done to Fred and Maureen for organising that for us!!  There was a lovely chocolate birthday cake waiting for us at the end of the meal which was consumed by all.  That evening I was asked if I might like to join the scuba divers the next day and I agreed,

DAY 5 CARRAGRAICH BAY

 I slept in that morning so was too late to join the scuba divers.  Instead we headed off to the other house which was the next location of the snorkel trail.  It was nice to see what Tigh Na Mara house was like and it had a fantastic view of the bay.  I had the luxury of changing in house then made my way down the slippery rocks onto the water.  I swam around the bay, taking shots of jelly fish and more kelp.  I recorded another vlog and then realised that I couldn’t see the entry point.  A slight panic arose and I started fining hard.  The problem is that when the tide has changed you sink below the skyline and can’t see over rocks.  As I started fining hard I could feel my muscles getting pins and needles.  I then decided to start swimming out to sea again to see the shore line better but I didn’t have the energy.  I felt I was at the outer limits of my diving experience and the furthest out in the Atlantic Ocean I had ever been.

Fortunately I saw the chimney pots of the house sticking out above the rocks – I felt some relief as even if this wasn’t the house, it was civilisation.  I calmed down and finned along gently until the house came into view.  More relief swept over me as I realised I was going to make it back in one piece and the anxiety melted away.

I had been in the water for two hours,  The longest snorkel swim to date.  I learned a very important lesson and from that day on, I would always keep the entry point in sight,  When you’re ego tells you to just go a little further – don’t listen to it!!  Just be safe and you live another day.

I especially enjoyed tanning two cups of tea when I got back to the house.  The sun was out and I was alive and happy.  I took more quad copter shots and we headed back into Tarbert.

On returning we again stopped to do some exploring and shopping.  We spoke with a young woman who was working in the Essence of Harris shop.  She was interested to ask about our scuba club trip and didn’t know there was a Harris snorkel trail.  She explained that her fear of snorkelling would be if she looked and saw the sea bed was some meters down.  We then stopped off at the Harris Hotel for coffee.  I always feel so lathargic after a snorkel swim and very relaxed.  We enjoyed the view of the garden for a couple of hours, just watching the world go by as you do on holiday,

When we got back to the house we exchanged our diving experiences that day with the rest of the club.  Everyone was in good spirits and we were having a most enjoyable holiday.  Some of the club had headed back for mainland so there were fewer of us.

DAY 6  AIRD ASAIG

 After our final breakfast we all had to be packed and out of the house by 10.30am.  We headed off to the final location on the trail which was a short drive from the house on the way back to Tarbert.  Remembering my lesson from the previous day I realised that I would be very safe.  The water was calm and the bay was completely enclosed so I couldn’t get lost out at sea.  There were many fishing boats anchored in the bay, and all were tied up to the shore or anchored.

We were greeted by some chickens who were curious to know if we had any treats for them or just wanted to know what we were doing on their land.  I chose to get my quad copter shots before going in and a curious sheep was fascinated to see this alien device – she was partly fascinated and partly scared,  She stopped for a minute to watch take off then decided to take her lamb to safety.

There wasn’t too much sea life to shoot in the bay so I enjoyed doing a final vlog and pottered round the boats.  I did get caught up in a few of the rope lines but was very careful not to get myself trapped.  I remembered that the sea can take you any time it wants to.  On exiting the water a friendly local man had a chat and told us he was a professional scuba diver fisherman. The people on Harris are very gentle and friendly folk and we were always treated very cordially  by the staff in shops and the ferry boat.

After I was dressed we said good bye to the chickens and headed of for Callanish to see the Standing Stones.  We arrived at the Stone centre and had a nice lunch in the cafe.  The sun was out and I couldn’t wait to get some photos of these ancient stones which date back 5000 bc.  They were in tact and I was amazed that we were not charged money to enter the site!!  I took some aerial shots of the main stone circle and visited a smaller circle near by.  There were in fact 3 different circle sites that we could see from the road.

We returned to Tarbert for a final coffee at the Harris Hotel where we met some of the club who were getting the same ferry back.  The boat left for Uig at 9pm so we faced a long drive through the night.

I intend to do the Ullapool trail in October and the Berwickshire trail in 2020 which I have recently discovered.  More adventures and articles await!!

 

 

The Mighty Micra

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The Nissan Micra is an iconic British brand of small car and has now evolved into its next metamorphosis.  I wish to state categorically that I am neither an employee or sponsored in any way by Nissan.  As Scotland’s no1 Micra fan boy I felt compelled to write this blog, especially as I have just taken advantage of a Micra lease deal only available during this September in the Uk.  I am now the proud owner of a new Stylish fourth generation Limited Edition Micra Ascenta!!

So why choose MIcra?  If you’re downsizing from your 4×4  or perhaps you’re looking for a second family car, the new Nissan Micra may just be the ticket.  So lets discover why this car is one of the best Japanese All Rounders currently on the market.  Some of the Pros of the new 2019 models:

Safety

The most important aspect you could consider in a new car is its safety features, after all, you can get a new car any time but you can’t get a new life.  So I’m going to describe some innovative safety features I have discovered on my new Micra journey. The novelty feature of the lane cross over warning system must be my favourite.  When you start to cross over the dividing lane, an audible alarm sounds and vibration is sent through the driving wheel, much like the silent warning of a mobile phone. Another cool feature is the anti glare rear view mirror which makes a huge difference when driving at night in congested traffic – you will appreciate no longer having your retinas burned out by other’s headlights.  On the AI front, if the car senses a toddler or person behind or in front of the car, an automatic halt action kicks in, however I hope never to experience this life saving feature.  The ABS on Nissan cars are second to none.  I had recently been travelling back from a business networking event when a dog broke free and ran out in front of me at short range – fortunately the ABS allowed me to do an emergency stop and no one got harmed.  The dog, oblivious to the car, continued racing across the road to its favourite play park.

Boot Space

For me priority of a new car is to have a boot large enough to put my dive equipment in.  The Ascenta’s boot is visibly larger than the previous Visia 3rd generation Micra.  As you can see from the photographs, I can easily fit all my Snorkel Dive bags with more space remaining.  There’s also a handy additional boot light which will make managing the boot at night convenient.

Another thing to consider is that the Micra is not only easy to manoeuvre  in the city, but can also handle motorways and countryside roads with ease as well.  Earlier this year I took my previous Visia to the Outer Hebrides to write a Magazine article about the North Harris Snorkel Trail.  In the car I was able to take a passenger, luggage for two, 3 dive bags and my camera kits.  The visia handled the steep and dangerous sheep ridden back roads without any problems what so ever which is why I feel that this small car is one of the best all rounders I’ve experienced.

Technology

The only tech I want from a car is to be able to answer important business client calls on the move – as a freelance photographer, some clients who have little time will not give you a second chance of a job if you don’t answer your phone the first time.  With the new Ascenta you also have a cool feature called Apple Car Play.  This means I can link my phone via USB cable and use my Map apps and watch them on the 7 inch touch display screen.  I no longer need to invest in phone holders and have the satisfying convenience of not needing to take my iPhone out its case every time I want to use the maps app.  You can also listen to the wireless while using your maps app.  I have yet to see what happens when I link my go pro action cam to the system, using the car screen as a giant viewfinder.

Style

For me this is the least important factor when choosing a new car, however the new Micra is noticeably more pleasing to the eye both with its exterior curves and sporty leather clad interiors.  I have noticed that heads have been turning in my direction and I’ve even had cars tailing me to get a closer look at this sporty new automobile.

Drive Experience

The Limited Addition Ascenta has a one litre engine which is extremely economical as a super mini should be, with an average of 47.1 mpg, emitting 118g per km of CO2.  However despite the compact engine, the car feels like you are driving a much larger German brand.  The words ‘smooth’ come to mind whether you are driving the manual or CVT transmission Micra, both of which I have enjoyed testing.  Another word I think of is ‘solid.’  You immediately feel this when you close the car door as compared to my previous 3rd generation Visia.  The Visia in comparison felt more like a toy car with basic yet functional features.  Albeit the Visia still has all the essential safety features to help keep you and the car in one piece.

Dino Leone, Senior Sales Executive at the Halbeath Dunfermline Nissan Showroom explained that Micra customers like myself keep returning.  He had even sold a Micra to his sister and mother.  Dino told me that Nissan only make cars to order, unlike other brands who have surplus vehicles sitting in fields.  Due to public demand, the showroom are finding it hard to source automatic Micras, so as yet, it’s mainly manual cars that are available on the special lease deal.  However CVT transmission Micras are currently available as a Mobility Option.

And the Cons?

The new Micra is noticeably larger than the previous incarnations.  I found the new micra a little harder to park in between cars as I couldn’t judge the distances very easily.  Perhaps in future Micras, Nissan will include the Aerial 360 degrees parking camera which would solve this problem for more petite drivers such as myself.

In Conclusion

Apart from this I have found nothing else I would want to change as the new Micra has totally evolved beyond the pattern of previous generations.  As long as a car can get me from A to B – dry and in comfort without breaking down or breaking the bank on the never ending rising petrol prices, the new Micra ticks all the boxes!

So if I’ve now got you ‘Micra Curious’ and would be interested in test driving the new Micra, contact Dino today at Nissan Dunfermline, Tel 01383 321 000  email: dleone@westernnissan.co.uk

Feel the Fear and go out Clubbing

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Club outing to St Monans, Fife Scotland

In a time where communities are becoming further reduced and in a world where often we don’t talk to or even know the name of our neighbours, loneliness is a mental disease that is starting to spread – especially amongst the older generation.

One solution to combat this insular life style is to create Cafe Coffee Corners where people can meet others to have a coffee and simply start talking.  Some corner organisers bring chat cards with a subject for people to discuss, in order to help break the ice.  People may feel they have nothing interesting to tell others about, but in reality every one has a book in them they could write about.

I myself am single and live with my feline soul mate Mr Darcy – if it wasn’t for him my life would be totally empty.  He fills a void that only a cat could.

However I have always been a member of a club since primary school age when I joined a Judo club and cross country running club for most of my schooling years.  These clubs gave me discipline and a focus with goals to achieve.  Judo and Running were hard work and I would train every week year in year out.

I could never foresee that I would give up my beloved Judo and cross country running when I would reach middle age.

I am now a member of 2 Scottish Sub Aqua clubs and have recently joined my local camera club.  These clubs provide me with plenty of social contact and support if needed.  I have learned knowledge and gained qualifications and  experiences that have enriched my quality of life.  It’s great to make new friends and exchange experiences.

I have always been mad about cameras and in a camera club you’ll find plenty of passionate camera enthusiasts who will quite happily talk tech the night away.  I have found myself often enjoying speaking to fellow club members who use the same camera format as myself, chatting about body and lens gadgetry.

After only a few months of being in my camera club I’ve made new friends, visited different parts of Scotland on photographic location shoots that I have never been to before, and now as autumn approaches, enjoy listening to Master Photographers at the club house evenings, gaining handy photographic tips from their presentations.

At college, our tutors explained that Photography is all about experimentation – you never stop trying new things or learning more about The Craft.

You don’t even have to know anything about photography to join in a club, all you need is the willingness to learn and enjoy taking pictures with others.  During our presentation meetings there’s time for a coffee break  and then after the meeting, there’s the further opportunity to socialise with members at our favourite local pub.

Now for the first time in history, Digital Photography can provide consumers with an abundant choice of cameras at affordable prices – the difficulty for some people is trying to decide which equipment to invest in.  At the moment I’m trying to help a club member to try the camera system I have enjoyed using for a couple of years and it gives me great satisfaction when I can help provide someone with a solution to making important technical decisions.

Most enjoy taking photos and camera enthusiasts experience satisfaction from being able to use a variety of lenses to achieve a creative effect.  Taking photographs brings joy and creativity into your life in such a simple way and with modern smart phones, we can edit and share these images across the world in minutes.

If you’d be interested in joining your local Photographic Society, or any local group for that matter, don’t procrastinate – feel the fear and go out Clubbing!  

North Harris Snorkel Trail

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Hello again!  I’ve been busy after visiting the Harris in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland with Perth BSAC club.  We had a fantastic time and I was occupied shooting lots of underwater and aerial footage for the video which is now online.  The video was shot entirely just with a GoPro and Quad Copter and I’m very happy with the results.  It meant that for the first time I no longer need a traditional video camera with tripod to make an action adventure video.  We live in exciting camera technological times indeed!!

I am also pleased to say that the magazine of the British Sub Aqua Club is going to publish my article on our trip complete with photographs.

To watch the video goto the moving image tab on this site or when you’re on YouTube you enter: North Harris Snorkel Trail.

I look forward to covering two more Snorkel Trails in Scotland and also south of the Border.  Watch this space!!

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

Fife Ness, Scotland

An update my friends is long overdue!  I am currently editing a vlog on my recent trip to the Outer Hebrides in Scotland.  I was fortunate to be able to do the North Harris Snorkel trail while on a holiday with the Perth British Sub Aqua Club.  We had a fantastic time, the weather was 15 degrees with a mixture of sunshine and rain most days.

I have submitted an article to the British Sub Aqua Magazine with photos and that should be printed in  a future publication.

I continue to enjoy using my new found format – the Olympus Pen and have been enjoying doing some Monotone Street Photography with the Kinross Camera Club.  It’s great to get out into the Scottish countryside or coastal areas and take photos with other enthusiasts.  I also enjoy doing macro photography of flowers and insects I find in the Fife and Lothians areas.

The Kinross Show will be on next month and I’m looking forward to getting some shots of the Vintage Tractors with the Pen.  So, rather than rattle on about the Harris trip, I’ll upload the video(s) when edited shortly.  Watch this space!!

Olympus Pen

Water Droplet Macro Shot

After recently attending an open day sale at Edinburgh’s Wex branch I came away with a new camera!!  I had had no intention of buying any more camera gear but I thought I’d have a look anyway.  I arrived at the store and the event was well attended.  I weaved my way around the crowds looking at the different stalls selling Sony, Olympus, Pentax, Panasonic, Canon and Nikon.

I was on the lookout for the Micro Four Thirds sellers.  There was a rep from Olympus but I was drawn to the used table with an array of lenses and camera bodies.

I did notice an Olympus Pen body and it was the cheapest item on the table at only £179.  In comparison, I noticed a Sony A7 full frame body at £700.  It suddenly occured to me – I needed a back up body for shooting weddings!!  Every wedding photographer should have two bodies for the big day and I realised I had an opportunity.

The camera body came with not much else – the box, a power lead, manual and disc were all that were on offer.  I had never owned an Olympus before and was excited at getting my first Pen – and – supporting the Micro Four Thirds industry – and – helping to save the planet by recycling camera gear rather than buying new.

I took the new camera body home and excitedly attached my Leica 12 to 60mm lens to see what would happen.  To my delight the camera was functioning fine with this lens.  Then I tried my Panasonic Macro lens and that too provided excellent shots.  I was experiencing the same joy as I did when I opened the box of my first new micro camera in 2018.

I sourced two spare batteries and charger from Amazon so cheaply I couldn’t believe it!!

I tested the Pen out by shooting some macro round the Loch Leven area and got some amazing water dropet shots – I was really enjoying myself with this new body.  It is so light compared to my other ‘big brother’ micro camera.  I was also astounded at how long the battery was lasting.  I had 7 separate macro shoots before the battery was empty!!

Not only now do I have a back up body for weddings but I can also enjoy macro photography too.  I then decided that I would quite like to try some street photography as this is what the Pen was deisgned for – being compact and discreet.  My Leica zoom is a little too front heavy for the Pen body.  After getting a copy of Amateur Photography I discovered Park Cameras and sourced a used Olympus 14 to 24 zoom lens which is exactly the lens that should have come in the box!!  I got this lens for only £59 – how about that!

So I await my lens and during the summer months I will enjoy doing some street photography in ‘Auld Reekie’ and new town of Edinburgh City.  I will experiment with the monochrome mode against some of Edinburgh’s most amazing architecture.  Students from all over the world come to study Edinburgh New Town’s architecture.  When you walk along George Street you notice that each house has its own unique stone design and motiffs.

I have now ordered a handy camera case to protect the camera while travelling and will keep you updated on my adventures!!

Aid for Africa

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It’s 2019 and the Easter Weekend has arrived with glorious weather here in Kinross, Scotland.  We’ve spent the weekend at Tullibole Castle near Crook of Devon, Kinross at the wedding fair.  We enjoyed meeting some couples and demonstrating some aerial photography.  We also enjoyed feeding the Peacocks some of our lunch and in return they put on amazing feather displays for us and some singing skills too.  So am looking forward to doing some more work with Tullibole Castle in Future.

I also will be working with Jo Middlemiss of Kinross who runs the Ethiopia Medical Project which is carrying out aid work in Africa so am feeling blessed for the tools I can use to help Jo with her mission.

More updates to follow!!   Watch this space…..

 

Tullibole Castle Wedding Fair

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This weekend we’re excited  to attend the Wedding Fair at Tullibole Castle which is by Crook of Devon, Kinross, Scotland.  On display I’ll have a tv monitor with some wedding footage showreels and I will proudly have on display ‘Millie’ our first wee eye in this sky.

I am looking forward to meeting the other exhibitors and of course meeting new clients for 2018 and 2019 bookings.

 

Edinburgh Glamour Nights

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The Golden Era of Edinburgh’s most glamorous Business Networking nights seems like a distant memoir.  Classy venues such as Bonhams, The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Divino Enotica, Gusti, Hotel Du Vin, The Old Waverley are to name just a few of the night spots where Edinburgh’s most stylish clientele did the Business.

Two ladies ran the glamour roost in my opinion – Fiona and Gordana.  I did some of the photos for their events to help promote what they were doing and I even managed to gain some clients myself.

Taking the photographs didn’t feel like work, more fun and a chance to socialise with a variety of people from diverse business’s and backgrounds.  With these events there was no entry fee, you just payed for your drinks and the networking was up to you.  At many of these events drinks and nibbles were provided free of charge by the venue hosts.

Fond memories indeed.  These events happened in the  early millennial era and now that it’s 2019, they seem so distant.  I now network in rural Kinross-shire – early mornings!!  A different networking experience altogether – our venue is Loch Leven’s Larder and once the sun is above the horizon, you’ll hear cocks crowing, tractors happily plough the fields while your doing your 60 second elevator pitch.

The business breakfast networking is organised by the Kinross-shire  Partnership and for a small fee you receive a hearty cooked breakfast with tea coffee and orange juice.  I of course supply photos for the business section of the Kinross Newsletter glossy magazine.

Event’s photography is one of my favourite types of job, there’s usually a positive atmosphere in the room.  Edinburgh is a cosmopolitan city  and so you get to meet such interesting people from all different parts of the globe.  Kinross is central Scotland and you never know who you’ll bump into in this secret beauty spot.

But what of the golden era of Edinburgh’s Classy Business Networking Night scene? Who knows, maybe a revival is in the pipleline?! Maybe glamour Networking will be resurrected!!

Mine’s a Martini on the rocks, shaken not stirred…..

Fashion Modelling

03When I was approached this year to carry out some modelling photography, I was somewhat surprised – after all, the source of the job was most unexpected – a nice lady from the Green Hotel in Kinross had passed on my number to an up and coming model who had been looking for a photographer to help him produce a portfolio.  Apparently he had contacted Photographers in Edinburgh as he didn’t even think there were photographers in Perthshire.

There was also the added complication that although Edinburgh based photographers were available, their prices were OTT.

As a local photography and videography service in Kinross, I know what people can and can’t afford so am always able to speak with clients to see what I can do on their budget.

We got together on a frosty February morning, and started the best way of a shoot with lovely roasted coffee from Jocks Lodge bar at the Green Hotel.  Kinross by the way is a fantastic location for doing photography and videography.  It’s central to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife, Ayr, and Perth.

My model arranged the different types of clothes he wanted to change into and we started by doing some lobby and stair shots in the hotel.  We moved out into the centre garden court for some shots by the waterfall.

After a change we drove down to the Loch Leven where the water was frozen, so we had great fun slipping and sliding on the ice to get some shots of the frozen surface.

Then it was back to the hotel for more coffee!!  That’s what I like about photography or filming – the coffee breaks and fortunately for me, my client likes his coffee as much as I do!!

This experience made me realise that you don’t even need a studio to do modelling photography – all you need is imagination, which for me, is a prime requirement for a photographer or film maker.  The image capture begins with the thoughts in your head, and being creative in your head.

There’s nothing quite like shooting out in the countryside, surrounded by the natural environment – it’s invigorating!!

After visiting 3 different locations around the loch we were wrapped up after only four hours.  Of course we had to end the day with a final coffee at the Green Hotel which is a place I will be using for a discussion group in the not too distant future.

My client was happy with his edited shots so I look forward to doing more modelling work if possible in the near future!!