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Island Tones

By |2023-11-12T15:33:38+00:00November 12th, 2023|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

Ailsa Craig – 16 km west of mainland Scotland

It has been a year of surprises. Not all of them have been pleasant but one surprise I did like was how my photograph of Ailsa Craig turned out. It turned out to be one of those happy events where all the elements come together to produce something outside of my usual photographic style.

Tonal Forecast

Considering the weather conditions and visibility the photograph has a lovely pastel quality. It’s probably BECAUSE of the weather and visibility that the image took on the tonal look it does. Over the years I’ve come to regard my photography style as typically from the documentary school of photography. Gritty, contrasty, sometimes with an element of humour, more often containing some dramatic elements to add some punch to the image. The Ailsa Craig image has something else to it.

Kentmere Days

Many years ago, during my time as a student, my documentary group started experimenting with different paper types. Kentmere produced some wonderful fibre-based papers including one called Art Classic. Sadly the paper is no longer manufactured with the last batch produced in 2017. That’s a big shame because we found that the paper was very good when using toned. My personal favourite was selenium toner. My old documentary group went a bit mad for the art paper (they bought a lot of boxes!) although I personally chose to stay with my regular Ilford Multigrade paper. I loved the Kentmeere paper but found it lacking some of the contrast punch I liked.

Perfect Tone

Although my Ailsa Craig image is in colour, the tones just reminded me of the Kentmere days with my fellow photo mates at college. The tones, a few surprises and a small amount of experimentation reaped great results. Great times. With this image though it seems that it was a heady mix of atmospheric conditions, exposure settings and a bit of magic that came together to create the image. The tones might be a departure from my usual style but I like the end result.

RedBubble Prints

The photograph of Ailsa Craig in the Scottish mist and rain has been added to the RedBubble store and is available to buy as prints etc HERE 

Waiting for a Bus?

By |2023-09-13T16:40:12+01:00September 13th, 2023|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , |

I rather like this photograph. It came along quite by chance as I was having some food. I especially liked the juxtaposition of the people within the frame. It was taken at Lochranza on the north coast of the Isle of Arran. The ferry terminal to get back to the mainland is just a short distance away.

The couple in the bus shelter did not appear to be waiting for a bus. I think they had just decided to shelter from the squally showers and have a rest using the chairs in the bus shelter. It’s quite common to find a chair or two in the shelters on the Scottish Islands.

I managed to get this image with my phone and some others on the DSLR without them noticing.

Thinking outside of the Phone box

By |2023-07-21T15:05:10+01:00July 21st, 2023|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , |

The mobile phone has got a lot to answer for. The benefits of having a smart communication device in the pocket are very evident. Indeed a couple of the images above were shot using a mobile phone, but there is at least a small cost to our mobile world. For the ordinary phone box in recent years, there has been a gradual but dramatic change of roles.

Red Icon

Recently I started to go through the images stored on my computer. I usually have a few editing sweeps over images stored on the machine as good images can often be missed, especially if the numbers of photographs are high. Amongst all the Scottish landscapes and other images were several good shots of a British institution. An icon of Britishness that is gradually fading away. The classic red telephone box.

Peak Rate

At their peak, there were 92,000 telephone boxes located around the UK. That number is now around 21,000 and with the telephone system switching over to digital by 2025, that number is likely to drop even further over the next few years. With mobile phone ownership at high levels (96% of adults have a mobile according to the telecoms regulator Ofcom) phone calls from these bright red boxes have dropped considerably.

The Right Change

The phone box featured in the images taken in September 2021 was located on a remote road near Pitlochry in the Highlands. The local community had changed the box to become a very small, but perfectly functional, library complete with a noticeboard. A few bags of books were also on the floor. Over 6000 phone boxes have been changed over to a different use according to OFCOM with communities able to ‘buy’ their phonebox for as low as £1.00. As well as libraries some community phone boxes have been utilized to house life-saving public defibrillators.

Future Calling

It will be interesting to see how the old red phone box fares over the next few years. Ofcom has said that a number of phone boxes will remain in service where mobile signal reception is not good. The active phone boxes will have to earn their keep though. Usage targets of at least 52 times over a 12-month period for it to stay in service will be applied. A call box in an accident or suicide hotspot can’t be removed.

RedBubble Prints

Three Scottish phone box library images have been added to RedBubble and are available to buy as prints etc HERE, HERE and HERE

The Horses of The Helix

By |2023-03-30T15:32:48+01:00March 30th, 2023|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , |

The Kelpies

If you drive along the Mp heading towards Stirling then there is a good chance that you will see the magnificent sculptures that are the Kelpies. For many years the 30-metre-high sculptures were a visual treat as the car headed up to the Highlands. It was a location that you always wanted to visit but somehow never managed to set as a destination. That was until last year when an opportunity to visit finally meant I could visit those two magnificent horses.

The Kelpies are horse-head sculptures depicting kelpies, located between Falkirk and Grangemouth in a 350-hectare eco park known as the Helix, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal. The Kelpies pay homage to the working horses of Scotland which used to pull barges along Scotland’s canals and worked in the fields in the area where they now stand. if that isn’t impressive enough then the Kelpies are also the world’s largest pair of equine sculptures.

Industrial heritage

Beyond celebrating the working horses of the canals the Kelpies also provide an excellent monument to Scotland’s industrial past. Unlike many other historically important sites and events, industrial heritage tends to be a poor relation in comparison. Former industrial sites are usually celebrated in a far less creative way or more often than not, not celebrated at all. We need more sculptures like The Kelpies to help celebrate the industrial past so that it isn’t forgotten.

The industrial landscape has rarely been a thing of beauty, though there are occasional exceptions. As a child, I would always love the home journey after visiting my grandparents as I’d get to see the mass illumination of lights across the chemical plants of Seal Sands on Teesside. It was no wonder that director Ridley Scott, who lived near Teesside as a child, used that landscape as an influence for his 1982 film Bladerunner.

Photography Prints

If you would like to purchase a print, the Richard Flint Photography RedBubble store has a wide range of images available.

Framed prints, canvas prints, artboards, metal prints, acrylic blocks plus lots more can be found on the RedBubble store HERE.

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