Tuesday, 30 April 2013

More Duart Castle

As Duart Castle is the home of the Clan MacLean I ask your indulgence as I post more images of this beautiful place on the Isle of Mull.

In just over three weeks we will begin our annual trip to the Isle of Mull, one of the most beautiful places in the world.  One week of de-stressing, I am really looking forward to this holiday which will take place after the next two events at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium this weekend (3rd/4th May) for the FIA WEC and the ELMS event at Imola in Italy on 17th/18th May.

Duart Castle is on my list of places to photograph when I am on the island and I have also been invited to give a talk to the Mull Through the Lens Camera Club about my travels with a camera.




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Monday, 29 April 2013

Stormy Crossing to Mull

In December 2011 the short 40-minute ferry crossing from Oban to Craignure on the Isle of Mull was a little 'choppy' as high winds has whipped up the seas in the Sound of Mull.  This is shown in these shots of the Lismore Lighthouse as the CalMac ferry "Isle of Mull" sailed by.

Nikon D90 - Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 - 1/1000 @ f4 - ISO1600
Nikon D90 - Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 - 1/800 @ f4 - ISO1600
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Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Scott Monument


The Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic memorial to the author Sir Walter Scott. It stands in Princes Street Gardens, near to Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station.

The tower is 200 feet 6 inches (61.11 m) high, and has a series of viewing platforms reached by a series of narrow spiral staircases giving panoramic views of central Edinburgh and its surroundings. The highest platform is reached by a total of 287 steps. It is built from Binny sandstone quarried near Ecclesmachan in West Lothian. 

Travel writer Bill Bryson has described it as looking like a "gothic rocket ship", which isn't far wrong.







All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 and 23mm f2 Fujinon lens (with WCL-X100 fitted)
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Saturday, 27 April 2013

West Beach at North Berwick

Situation 10 miles to the west of Dunbar, and 25 miles east of Edinburgh, is the seaside town of North Berwick.  We first visited the town in February (see previous blog HERE) and decided to return again on the trip to Edinburgh. 

North Berwick boasts two of the longest sandy beaches in Scotland, known as the East and West beaches, split by a strip of land where the harbour and the Scottish Sea Bird Centre is located.

After a short walk on the East Beach we headed out onto the West Beach for a stroll round to view the town from a different perspective.

We weren't disappointed with our second visit and we'll definitely be visiting again later this year.





All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 and 23mm f2 Fujinon lens
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Friday, 26 April 2013

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

The Royal Mile is the name given to a succession of streets forming the main thoroughfare of the Old Town of the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. The name was first used in W M Gilbert's Edinburgh in the Nineteenth Century (1901), and was further popularised as the title of a guidebook, published in 1920.

The thoroughfare, as the name suggests, is approximately one mile long and runs downhill between two significant locations in the history of Scotland, namely Edinburgh Castle (See yesterday's blog) and Holyrood Palace. The streets which make up the Royal Mile are (west to east) Castlehill, the Lawnmarket, the High Street, the Canongate and Abbey Strand. The Royal Mile is the busiest tourist street in the Old Town, rivalled only by Princes Street in the New Town.

There is an excellent website that gives details of all the places that can seen on The Royal Mile HERE

Statue of David Hume and St Giles Cathedral

Deacon Brodies Tavern and St Giles Cathedral

The Tolbooth KIrk and the Camera Obscura (left)

Boswell Court entrance

Looking back to the Tolbooth Kirk

One of the many pipers who play for the tourists

Artists

One of the many old side streets leading off the Royal Mile

John Knox's House

The inscription on John Knox's house

The Queen's Gallery at Holyrood Palace


All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 and 23mm f2 Fujinon lens
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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Edinburgh Castle

Without doubt the most famous castle in Scotland, if not the world, Edinburgh Castle stands guard overlooking the Scottish capital.


Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC, although the nature of early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle here since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. From the 15th century the castle's residential role declined, and by the 17th century its principal role was as a military base with a large garrison. Its importance as a historic monument was recognised from the 19th century, and various restoration programmes have been carried out since. As one of the most important fortresses in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts, from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century, up to the Jacobite Rising of 1745, and has been besieged, both successfully and unsuccessfully, on several occasions.



All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 and 23mm f2 Fujinon lens
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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Miss Katie Cupcake


We spotted this jewelry and gift shop in Edinburgh last Sunday and the name had us heading for the door.  When our daughter Kate was young we nicknamed her Katie Cupcake for reasons I cant remember and now that she is nearly 15 years old this name has stopped being used.

However as parents you have to embarrass your children once in a while and so we introduced Kate to the owner of the shop after purchasing a gift.  

This beautiful shop is located in Cockburn Street, just off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.  For more information visit the Facebook Page or the website 


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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

John Muir Statue



John Muir (21 April 1838 – 24 December 1914) was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, have been read by millions. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he founded, is now one of the most important conservation organizations in the United States. One of the most well-known hiking trails in the U.S., the 211-mile (340 km) John Muir Trail, was named in his honour. Other places named in his honour are Muir Woods National Monument, Muir Beach, John Muir College, Mount Muir, Camp Muir and Muir Glacier.

In his later life, Muir devoted most of his time to the preservation of the Western forests. He petitioned the U.S. Congress for the National Park bill that was passed in 1890, establishing both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. Because of the spiritual quality and enthusiasm toward nature expressed in his writings, he was able to inspire readers, including presidents and congressmen, to take action to help preserve large nature areas. He is today referred to as the "Father of the National Parks," and the National Park Service produced a short documentary on his life.

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Monday, 22 April 2013

Dunbar Harbour and East Beach

We were once again spending some much needed family time in the Scottish borders in Dunbar and North Berwick before travelling to the World Diving Series event at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Pool - more on that in a later post.  


First stop was Dunbar to have a good look at this fishing town on the north east coast 30-miles from Scotland's capital city.  First stop was the harbour and it's old stone walls.  It is s very pretty harbour and apparently is the scene for many festivals and events throughout the year. 





We then headed off in search of the sandy beach and were presented with a glorious sight as this golden strip headed east along the front of Dunbar into the distance.



All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 with either a 23mm or 19mm f2 lens

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Sunday, 21 April 2013

Colle di Val d'Elsa, Tuscany


We stopped at a small hill top town in Tuscany near where we were staying called Colle di Val d'Elsa and spent a couple of hours exploring the medieval streets.

Colle di Val d'Elsa is a town and commune in Tuscany, Italy, in the province of Siena. It has a population of around 20,000. Its name means "Hill of Elsa Valley", where "Elsa" is the name of the river which crosses it.

Today, Colle di Val d'Elsa is internationally renowned for the production of crystal glassware and art (15% of world production), largely produced in the industrial lower town.






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Saturday, 20 April 2013

La Cadière-d'Azur

While at the recent official test for the FIA World Endurance Championship I received an invitation from Porsche AG to join their communications team and some key German journalists for dinner at a restaurant in La Cadière-d'Azur  about 20 minutes from the circuit Paul Ricard.  The village features lots of old narrow streets and tall stone buildings.

I stopped to take some shots on the Fuji X100 with the ISO cranked up to 3200 to give me just enough of a shutter speed to record the dimly lit streets.

Fuji X100 - 23mm f2 - 1/25 @ f2 - ISO3200
The village is on a hill top that overlooks a lot of the Bandol vineyards.The back of St-Andre Church built onto the cliff face The village still has 3 remaining medieval Gate Doors, which are the porte St-Jehan (built in January 1561), porte de la Colle and the porte Mazrin, in the ancient medieval walls. Two other older medieval buildings of the village are the Tour de l'Horloge with a 16th-century campanile and the 16th century St-André church which features a tall hexagonal clock tower.

Fuji X100 - 23mm f2 - 1/45 @ f2 - ISO3200



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Friday, 19 April 2013

Ready to go to Work

Fujifilm Finepix X100 - 19mm f2 (WCL-X100 fitted) - 1/750 @ f2.8 - ISO200

Most of us drive to our place of work but when Allan McNish climbs aboard the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the FIA World Endurance Championship he is at work and the cockpit of the car is his office.

This was taken on the grid for the opening round of the FIA WEC at Silverstone last Sunday, a race that he and teammates, Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval won putting them at the top of the leader board for the 2013 world title.  The next round will take place on the 4 May at the awesome Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, the last test before the 'big one', the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 22/23 June.

I took this shot as I made my way off the grid on my trusty Fuji X100 with the WCL-X100 wide angle converter lens fitted to the camera.  The shot was then converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2 with some dodging and burning in Photoshop Elements 11.


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Thursday, 18 April 2013

Picture of the Week: Duart Castle

Nikon D300S - Sigma 18-50 f2.8 - 1/250 @ f7.1 - ISO200
The is a shot of Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull taken from the Oban to Craignure ferry. Duart Castle is a significant place for me as it is the home of the Clan MacLean and was rebuilt in 1911 to its former glory as one of the greatest Highland fortresses when the Lords of the Isles reigned supreme in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

Duart stands guard at the Eastern end of the Sound of Mull and stands proud on top of a rocky outcrop.  I look forward to seeing Duart once again at the end of May.  Here is a blog I did on Duart Castle last year.


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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

More Arty Race Cars

This shot was my favourite from the group of images we did of the FIA WEC cars at Paul Ricard official test last month.  I couldn't post it until now because it was used in the official programme at Silverstone, round 1 of the championship that took place last Sunday.
This image of the two LMP1 cars from Strakka Racing and Rebellion Racing was set up after all of the other cars were removed from the group image.  I purposely set the two cars each side of the painted line on the apron of the track.  Taken on the Nikon D800 with a Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 AF-S the line leads the viewers eye to the car.
The shot in the programme was used in colour but I decided to experiment with a mono conversion and the resulting image is far more striking than the colour in my opinion.  You may disagree?

Nikon D800 - Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 AF-S - 1/60 @ f16 - ISO 400


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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The 2013 Tourist Trophy

The Tourist Trophy on the grid before the start of the race at Silverstone - Fuji X100

At the end of the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone on Sunday Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen, Loic Duval and Audi became the latest names to be added to the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy roll of honour that stretches back to the first race on the Isle of Man in 1905.

It was with a sense of pride that I watched the Tourist Trophy being held aloft by three FIA WEC drivers as I was involved in the negotiations with the Royal Automobile Club to bring the Tourist Trophy to the WEC.  This was through my links with the Club when working for them as the press officer for the Tourist Trophy and the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

The first panel of winners from 1905 to 1933 and there are three more panels like this.
HISTORY

The 108-year-old Tourist Trophy is one of the most significant prizes in International motorsport. It was the first formally organised and contested international endurance race in the world and over the years has been won by such racing greats as Rudolf Caracciola, Tazio Nuvolari, Sir Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Denny Hulme and Derek Bell.  The first Tourist Trophy meeting was held on the Isle of Man on 14 September 1905 with cars setting off from Alexander Drive, Douglas on a 52 mile course. John Napier, in an Arrol-Johnston won in the 6 hour race comprising 4 laps, 208 miles, with an average speed of 33.9 mph.

Whilst there were breaks in the Tourist Trophy being contested in the early 20th century and during both world wars, it has remained one of the most prominent endurance competitions on the world motorsport calendar. Over the years the challenge moved around the country and has been contested at circuits on the Isle of Man, England and Northern Ireland.  As well as the imposing Isle of Man track, the other circuits include Ards in Northern Ireland, Donington Park, Dundrod in Ulster, where the career of the then unknown Stirling Moss was launched, Goodwood, Oulton Park and finally, in 1970, Silverstone, which has hosted more Tourist Trophy events than any other circuit.

The list of names that appear on the four panels of the Tourist Trophy reads like a who's who of motor racing.  On the first panel pictured above CS Rolls and Tazio Nuvolari appear and it was one of the few times that Rolls Royce appeared on a motor sport trophy as a manufacturer.

The roll of honour - 

1905 - John Napier driving a Arrol-Johnson
1906 - Charles Rolls driving a Rolls-Royce 20hp
1907 - Ernest Courtis driving a Rover 20hp
1908 - Willy Watson driving a Hutton-Napier
1914 - Kenelm Lee Guinness driving a Sunbeam
1922 - Jean Chassagne driving a Sunbeam TT
1928 - Kaye Don driving a Lea-Francis Hyper S
1929 - Rudolf Caracciola driving a Mercedes-Benz SSK
1930 - Tazio Nuvolari driving a Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS
1931 - Norman Black driving a MG C-Type Midget
1932 - Cyril Whitcroft driving a Riley Brooklands Nine
1933 - Tazio Nuvolari driving a MG Magnette K3
1934 - Charles Dodson driving a MG Magnette NE
1935 - Freddie Dixon driving a Riley TT Sprite
1936 - Freddie Dixon and Charles Dodson driving a Riley TT Sprite
1937 - Franco Comotti driving a Talbot-Lago T150C
1938 - Louis Gerard driving a Delage D6-70
1950 - Stirling Moss driving a Jaguar XK120
1951 - Stirling Moss driving a Jaguar XK120C
1953 - Peter Collins and Pat Giffith driving a Aston Martin DB3S
1954 - Gerard Laureau and Paul Armagnac driving a DB-Panhard
1955 - Stirling Moss and John Fitch driving a Mercedes-Benz 300SLR
1958 - Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks driving a Aston Martin DBR1
1959 - Stirling Moss, Jack Fairman and Carroll Shelby driving a Aston Martin DBR1
1960 - Stirling Moss driving a Ferrari 250 GT SWB
1961 - Stirling Moss driving a Ferrari 250 GT SWB
1962 - Innes Ireland driving a Ferrari 250 GTO
1963 - Graham Hill driving a Ferrari 250 GTO
1964 - Graham Hill driving a Ferrari 330P
1965 - Denny Hulme driving a Brabham BT8 Climax
1966 - Denny Hulme driving a Lola T70 Chevrolet
1967 - Andrea de Adamich driving a Alfa Romeo GTA
1968 - Denny Hulme driving a Lola T70 Chevrolet
1969 - Trevor Taylor driving a Lola T70 Chevrolet
1970 - Brian Muir driving a Chevrolet Camaro Z28
1972 - Jochen Mass and Dieter Glemser driving a Ford Capri RS2600
1973 - Derek Bell and Harald Ertl driving a BMW 3.0 CSL
1974 - Stuart Graham driving a Chevrolet Camaro Z28
1975 - Stuart Graham driving a Chevrolet Camaro Z28
1976 - Jean Xhenceval , Pierre Dieudonne and Hughes de Fierlandt driving a BMW 3.0 CSL
1977 - Dieter Quester and Tom Walkinshaw driving a BMW 3.0 CSL
1978 - Raijmond van Hove and Eddy Joosen driving a BMW 3.0 CSL
1979 - Martino Finotto and Carlo Facetti driving a BMW 3.0 CSL
1980 - Umberto Grano, Harald Neger and Heribert Werginz driving a BMW 635 CSi
1981 - Tom Walkinshaw and Chuck Nicholson driving a Mazda RX-7
1982 - Tom Walkinshaw and Chuck Nicholson driving a Jaguar XJ-S
1983 - Steve Soper and Rene Metge driving a Rover 3500 V8
1984 - Helmut Kelleners and Gianfranco Brancatelli driving a BMW 635 CSi
1985 - Tom Walkinshaw and Win Percy driving a Rover 3500 V8
1986 - Jeff Allam and Denny Hulme driving a Rover 3500 V8
1987 - Enzo Calderari and Fabio Mancini driving a BMW M3
1988 - Andy Rouse and Alain Ferte driving a Ford Sierra RS500
1994 - Paul Radisich driving a Ford Mondeo
1997 - Alain Menu driving a Renault Laguna
1998 - Vincenzo Sospiri and Emmanuel Collard driving a Ferrari 333SP
2005 - Pedro Lamy and Peter Kox driving a Aston Martin DBR9
2006 - Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini driving a Maserati MC12
2007 - Mika Salo and Thomas Biagi driving a Maserati MC12
2008 - Ryan Sharp and Karl Wendlinger driving a Aston Martin DBR9
2009 - Ryan Sharp and Karl Wendlinger driving a Saleen S7-R
2010 - Warren Hughes and Jamie Campbell-Walter driving a Nissan GT-R GT1
2011 - Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr driving a Nissan GT-R GT1
2013 - Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval driving an Audi R18 e-tron quattro



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Monday, 15 April 2013

Tobermory Harbour

Continuing to look forward to our next trip to the Isle of Mull in less than six weeks time I went through the images from our previous five trips to Mull and discovered this shot from the early morning excursion in December 2011 down to the harbour in Tobermory.

Nikon D90 - Sigma 10-20mm - 1/8s @ f8 - ISO100 - Tripod
I converted the image using Silver Efex Pro2 and completed the transformation with a bit of dodging and burning on the key points of the picture.  I'm very happy with the result.


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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Le Mans Spirit Club



The last week has been spent at Silverstone for the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.  At these events we have a hospitality area that is known as the  Le Mans Spirit Club and today I went there to take some shots for some brochures and for the website.

Also on display was the 24 Hours of Le Mans trophy that is presented to the winner of the most famous race in the world.  The 24 Hours of Le Mans is also the third round of the FIA WEC.




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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Sunny Silverstone


When I arrived at Silverstone this morning there wasn't a cloud in the sky but, unfortunately, this didn't last.  This afternoon's European Le Mans Series race, the 3 Hours of Silverstone, was cut short by the inclement weather that saw the track awash with water.

Hopefully Sunday's World Endurance Championship race will see some better weather. 

visit www.europeanlemansseries.com for the race report from Silverstone and www.fiawec.com for today's qualifying report.

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