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Squally Dog Walk at Ardrossan

By |2022-09-15T11:42:21+01:00September 15th, 2022|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

man walking his border collie on a windy and wet beach at Ardrossan, Scotland

Squally Stop

This image is a favourite from last year’s trip to Scotland. It was taken during a very wild and wet stop at Ardrossan on the way back home. I’d just walked Luna and was quickly returning to the car (Luna does NOT like windy and wet weather) when I spotted this dog walker calmly exercising his Border Collie. Both seemed to be having fun regardless of the rain and wind battering the beach. Further down the beach, a resilient school trip had gathered to explore the beach for a school project. I’ve always liked the dramatic effect of bad weather on a landscape and how memorable days like this can be.

Isle of Arran

The support ship in the background really adds to the image. It remained anchored there (Troon anchorage) for some time, staying in the anchorage according to marine traffic for several weeks. In the background the Isle of Arran, obscured by the incoming rain, is described on the Visit Scotland website as ‘a place where you can find a little bit of everything you’d ever want from a Scottish island; an ever-changing coastline, dramatic mountain peaks, sheltered beaches, verdant forests, great cultural festivals and a wealth of tasty local produce.’ It’s definitely on the places to visit list with the landscape looking fantastic.

Room with a view

By |2022-08-24T12:08:11+01:00August 24th, 2022|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

Clouds over the mountains and hills of the Trossachs, Scotland
Clouds rolling over the hills and mountains of the Trossachs, Scotland – May 2022

Clouds over the mountains

Travel broadens the mind as they say and it’s true. Ten years after starting my regular visits to Scotland, the country still has the ability to bring out the best in my image-making including this image of clouds over the mountains of the Trossachs. Maybe it’s Scotland’s diverse landscape but I think it’s more than that. After the recent events with the covid pandemic, I think we have all realised that the simple things in life need to be appreciated more. Just watching a landscape can bring its own pleasures. Happiness is an elusive and often fleeting emotion that is sometimes difficult to find. Watching clouds move across a Scottish mountain range gets me about as close to being happy as I think you can get.

The photograph above was taken at a holiday cottage near Stirling in May of this year. Look out of the living room window and this is the view you would see. Literally, every day would have something new, new shapes and textures in the clouds with the visibility changing dramatically if the rain was about. At least you could see the bad weather coming. A clear sunny day moving to mist and then a bank of rain running across the fields and mountains of Stirlingshire towards the house. There was no need for TV when you had a great vista playing out before you. Just grab a dram and enjoy the show.

Taking a break

2022 has been an odd year so far. I made a decision to take a break from social media early in the year which has, surprisingly, lasted over six months. The posts started flowing on Instagram just this month with the podcast due to restart too very soon. A break away from the data deluge of social media seems to have recharged the batteries. The levels of activity will never be as high as some content creators (hate that term btw) but I prefer the quality over quantity approach. It still amazes me how some photographers seem to constantly post on Instagram etc like a factory conveyor belt.

Even the podcast took a hiatus but will be back for the August edition to be released in the next week or two. The podcast will have only one photo link but it’s an interesting story about how I found out about this photographer.

Lost in thought on a Norfolk Beach

By |2021-04-23T14:26:47+01:00April 23rd, 2021|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

man walking along the beach near Cromer in Norfolk, UK

Back in the Archive

There is nothing like a Norfolk beach for clearing your head and finding some peace. Recently I’ve been diving into my digital archive which was an enjoyable if sometimes overwhelming experience. It often comes as a shock to realize how many years have gone by since some of the images were taken. Over the next few months, I’ll be posting some of the photos I’ve found and talking about how the photograph came about.

Rough Weather

This photo was taken in Norfolk in the summer of 2008. I’ve always liked the sense of peace. I spotted this man lost in his own thoughts wandering along the beach between Cromer and East Runton in Norfolk. The weather was very humid and storms had been occurring every day like clockwork. A warm wind had built up and the sea had become quite rough. You could feel in the air that another storm was building up.

Around five shots were taken of this guy walking along the Norfolk beach but this one captured the moment. His head is down in thought and the waves had pushed water up the beach for us to both walk through.

I turned back once I reached East Runton and headed back to Cromer where my car was parked.

Prints at Redbubble

This photograph and many more can be purchased as wall art, clothing, phone cases etc via at https://richflintphoto.redbubble.com/

The Glencoe Path

By |2020-05-04T16:21:59+01:00May 4th, 2020|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

looking down Glencoe, Highlands of Scotland
Glencoe, 2015

The importance of staying at home is critical during this COVID-19 situation. You can’t help but think that mother nature has got a slightly cruel sense of humour though. Often Spring in the UK can be cold, wet and rather horrible, but at a time when we all have to stay in, it has so far been wonderfully bright and warm. So be it. Maybe the bright days are better than grey depressing ones during this pandemic. The outdoors can come to me,

Recent events have given me a little time to have a think about my favourite locations and the photographs produced during visits over the past few years. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting some of my favourite landscape images. I’ll delve into the roots of the photograph, how it was taken and the why the location appealed so much.

The Planned Picture

The A82 curves through Glencoe, Highlands of Scotland
Glencoe photographed in 2014

I start with my 2015 photograph of Glencoe, a landscape image that I’d wanted to make for a long time. Driving along the A82, that runs through Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland for the first time in 2012, the scenery quite literally blew me away. It’s probably one of the best roads to drive in the UK and the mountain scenery is just stunning.

I really needed a good location for the photograph and some decent weather. Finding the place to shoot the image was relatively easy to find. I eventually came across the location by accident while stretching my legs after a long drive. The weather was always going to be the deciding factor.

Watching the patches of light and darkness quickly dancing across the mountains as the shadows from clouds wept over the mountain tops was just magical. Almost spiritual. I felt at home amongst those mountains. All I needed to do was to do some justice to the landscape with a camera.

Mention Glencoe and the story of the massacre soon comes into the conversation. Over the years the story of billeted British troops killing their hosts the MacDonalds in 1692 have equally horrified and fascinated people. History and myth can, however, become entwined so tightly that fact and fiction start to blur. Part of the fun of reading Scottish history is trying to untangle the actual history from myth. Glencoe continues to feed the imagination of visitors and the massacre just adds to the atmosphere.

An excellent overview of the events can be found via the BBC’s ‘In Our Time’ podcast from 2010 where the massacre was discussed in some detail by a panel of historians. The podcast can be downloaded at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00pxrr7

Along the Path

The path seen in the photograph heads up the side of the mountain and is a route I’d like to explore further in future. I liked the idea of having some depth to the image and the pathway was perfect. The viewer feels like they are on the path, walking the route. It also guides the viewer through the picture.

The path is located not far from the main Glencoe ‘viewpoint’ car park but doesn’t seem to attract the anywhere near the numbers of people you’d expect. The reason may be the walk involved rather than getting the easy view from a car. In previous years the visit to Glencoe was just a brief rest stop on the way to Skye so my time was limited as I needed to carry on driving for a further two or three hours.

In 2015 I was staying just down the road for a night in an effort to break the journey up to Skye. I’d found that driving the whole distance up to Skye from Newcastle was perfectly doable but you ended up being worn out for the first couple of days after arrival. An overnight stay along the route made all the difference!

A Gap in the Clouds

The weather was always going to be a factor for getting the photograph. Ironically the day the image was taken the weather on the journey up through the highlands was very wet and dull. The chance to photograph Glencoe looked highly unlikely. However, while crossing Rannoch Moor things initially looked bleak but then started to brighten upl. A gap in the clouds suddenly appeared, the rain stopped and by the time the car had reached the parking place the day was significantly brighter.

iPhone cover available from RedBubble

The picture didn’t need blue skies and fluffy clouds, in fact, I prefer the more dramatic sweep of clouds. There is still a threat of rain in those clouds. A hint of menace. Maybe some of that Glencoe appeal comes from the sense of menace in the landscape. The massacre history just adds an extra layer to that dramatic landscape. There is also an impression that not much has changed in the landscape as the years have gone by. The place is almost timeless – once you get away from the road. Sometimes you do expect to see a party of Redcoats come along the mountain path pursuing MacDonalds through the Glen.

The Glencoe Print

There have been two versions of the print. The current version is a brighter image with better colour saturation than the first print. While the first print did look great, I came to realise that the image was too subdued. It was also too dark in tone. The lush green landscape of Glencoe was being stifled.

One surprising success for the photo is as a phone case. Many people seem to love the depth to the image and the central area of the photograph fitting in neatly on the back of an iPhone or Android phone case. For phone and iPad cases and 63 other Glencoe items including t-shirts, mugs, postcards, throw pillows and framed prints CLICK HERE

Check out the RedBubble store for more prints and items at https://www.redbubble.com/people/richflintphoto/shop

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