The Portfolio gallery features editorial, documentary, landscape, portraiture and promotional images from self-initiated and client projects.

Mull of Galloway: The Lighthouse

By |2021-10-13T13:42:13+01:00October 11th, 2021|Categories: Featured Gallery, Portfolio Galleries|Tags: , , , , , |



Gulls, Gales and Grandeur

The Mull of Galloway is Scotland’s most southerly point with panoramic views across the Irish sea to the coasts of England, Scotland, the Isle of Man, and Northern Ireland. The photography in the gallery covers the Mull of Galloway but also extends out over the nearby Rhins of Galloway to include locations such as Port Logan and Portpatrick.

The visit to the Mull provided a great opportunity to see one of Scotland’s most beautiful coastal areas but there were a few surprises I wasn’t expecting. The Mull has a remote feel when you arrive. Stranraer is only 28 miles away and yet it feels like a Scottish island. Film and TV production have certainly tapped into this ‘Hebridean feel for a number of productions including BBC TV’s Two Thousand Acres of Sky and the 2018 film The Vanishing which used the lighthouse and a variety of locations around the Mull and Rhins of Galloway to create a remote Hebridean location.

The Lighthouse

The Mull of Galloway lighthouse stands at the end of the Mull and can be seen as you drive along the coast. The lighthouse was built in 1828 and was activated in 1830. Built in 1830 by engineer Robert Stevenson, the white-painted round tower is 26 metres (85 ft) high. The light is 99 metres (325 ft) above sea level and has a range of 28 nautical miles (52 km). It is an excellent example of the type of lighthouses engineered by the Scottish engineer Robert Stevenson. Stevenson’s most famous lighthouse remains the Bell rock lighthouse built-in 1810 off the coast of Angus, Scotland. It is the world’s oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse. The construction of the Bell Rock lighthouse boosted Stevenson’s career and he (and later his son) went on to build many more lighthouses around the coast of Scotland.

The lighthouse has the only fully operational foghorn in Scotland. Designed to run automatically after being started, the foghorn uses compressed air to sound a warning. Foghorn use ceased in the early 1990s as technology provided other options for navigation in low visibility. Fortunately, I had the privilege of hearing the foghorn which was oddly a very moving experience. The haunting deep note echoing across the water felt very lonely like a foghorn calling out and then waiting for a reply for another foghorn. Only no reply ever came. Hopefully, this working piece of nautical audio history will continue calling out for many years to come.

Black and White Photography

The photography style took some time to gel with this project. Originally the images had been shot to produce colour photographs but during the editing process, it became clear that the colour imagery wasn’t delivering the strong images I’d wanted. A number of colour images did work and have been included in the gallery but others lacked visual impact. The final decision to produce black and white images didn’t come until several months later during an image editing session. Sometimes a bit of experimentation and improvisation comes into play and produces the necessary results. Photography is all about experimentation and challenging yourself and the Mull of Galloway Images certainly managed to do that.

I’ve always loved black and white photography. It sees the world in a very different way and for many years I was purely a black and white photographer. Digital photography has made the creative process of black and white photography so much easier. Toners, different film and paper styles are just a click of a button away. Experimenting is so much easier and if you don’t like the results you can revert back to a previous version. That said, I do look back at the Norfolk project with its gritty black and white photography with a great deal of fondness.

The crisp tones and contrast in the images was the style I wanted for these images. A copper toner setting was used to give the images some warmth. For many years I used selenium toner on the photographic prints from the darkroom. I think the use of the copper toner stems from that. I did try the selenium setting in Photoshop but preferred the warmer hues of the copper.

Bonus Podcast: Mull of Galloway, Scotland – May 2021 The Richard Flint Photography Podcast

A special bonus podcast recorded on the Mull of Galloway in Scotland. Three separate recordings made over four days while photographing the Mull lighthouse. The weather conditions were fine but very windy which added to the fun of recording the podcast. Listen out at the end for the Mull Of Galloway foghorn! Released regularly, the Richard Flint Photography audio podcast contains news, featured photographers, upcoming exhibitions, links to photography plus more.

Battling the Elements

Photographing the Mull of Galloway came with a few challenges. The weather was probably the biggest factor with rain and strong winds being close at hand. Early on in the stay, a force nine gale was encountered that really brought home the exposed nature of the Mull of Galloway coast. The sturdy lighthouse cottage I was staying in gave no indication of the ferocity of the wind and rain. Photography was near impossible in those conditions. The wind and rain actually hurt as they blasted your face! It was definitely some of the worst weather I’ve ever encountered but I imagine that lighthouse has seen worse!

Photographing the lighthouse at night was especially complicated by the wind. The violent gusts caused the tripod to vibrate very slightly – not ideal when shooting slow exposure still images. Timing the exposures for a lull in the wind provided the best solution but the wind was a very unpredictable adversary.

Fort Victoria class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) Ship of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary off the coast of the Mull of Galloway
Fort Victoria class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) Ship of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary off the coast of the Mull of Galloway

My Favourite Image

Many photographs stood out from the project. I especially loved the light and shadow images that visually captured the fast-moving changes on the Mull. Quite a few images also had impressive skies that seemed to be a common sight around that area. Winds, tides and the landscape creating wonderful dramatic panoramas. However the image I’d choose as my favourite caught one of the many scenes of shipping moving through the area. If a camera was essential to capture the landscape then a pair of binoculars was just as important to take a look at the many ships passing through the Irish sea.

My favourite photograph is of the Fort Victoria class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) Ship of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary off the coast of the Mull of Galloway. The ship was waiting offshore one evening with a wonderful cloudscape behind it. The colour original was pretty good but the photograph only came to life when it was converted to black and white. The tones and textures of the sea, coast and sky came out providing a wonderful atmosphere to the photograph. The next morning the ship had gone.

Photographing Scotland

The scope of photography is huge

Fortunately, the Scottish Borders are around an hour’s drive from where I live. The opportunity to regularly continue photography in southern Scotland is there.

The northern areas also include plenty of potential too. The Outer Hebrides is one area of interest for future project development. It’s going to be a great project to contribute to over the coming years.

The photography comes from a mix of mediums including mobile photography. Instagram has been especially useful for showing images as journeys have progressed. The Two Towns and Seven Hills photography are offshoots of this project looking at the city of Edinburgh.

Future plans include the development of a number of photography books, large format photography, multimedia, and more.

Related Galleries

The photographs in this gallery form part of Scotland: Lowlands, Highlands, and Islands project.

My 2015 Edinburgh photography called ‘The Two Towns’ can be found HERE

The Edinburgh: Seven Hills project can be found HERE

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.

Scotland: Climbing Ben Nevis

By |2021-01-15T11:19:12+00:00January 8th, 2021|Categories: Featured Gallery, Portfolio Galleries|Tags: , , , , , , |



There is no sport like mountaineering. It is the overcoming of difficulties, the mental climbing, as well as the physical, that give it such a zest. The troubles of life seem to fade away in the presence of the everlasting hills. We may go out tired and worn in mind and body; we return renewed and restored: health re-established and friendships strengthened

Jane Inglis Clark  Pictures and Memories, published in 1938,

The high point of 2020… quite literally!

Even a bad year can have its high points. In my case, it was the chance to climb Ben Nevis during a visit to the Highlands of Scotland in September 2020. My experience was rather nicely summed up in the Jane Inglis Clark quote seen above. There were a number of occasions that I came very close to turning around and heading back down the mountain. I’m so glad that I didn’t. As the quote mentions, climbing a mountain is as much about the mind as it is the body.

The weather was the trigger. For most of my stay, the visibility had been poor for climbing Ben Nevis. For at least a couple of days, the summit was not visible from the holiday cottage. I’d have to wait and see if the right conditions appeared. On the penultimate day of the holiday, the right weather arrived. Clear skies and warm too. My old 1990s era Army Bergen, found at an outdoor shop in Norfolk back in 2016, was packed with water (not enough as I found out), dry clothing and food.

It was time to go.

A brief rest. Time to take a photograph and enjoy the view

The Ben

Ben Nevis gets around 150,000 visitors every year with around two-thirds making it to the summit. It is not the easiest mountain the climb up with even the 1883 Pony Track (also known as the Ben Path, the Mountain Path or the Tourist Route) being pretty rough to traverse on foot. The steady stream of climbers was also something of a surprise. The mountain climb is popular. Maybe too popular as the track can become crowded. Oddly on my descent, the track was far emptier. The crowds had gone.

As can see from a number of the gallery photos, walking up the path is sometimes akin to travelling up a steep river bed full of rocks. A walking stick (two would be better!) is highly recommended. Fortunately, I’d packed mine which helped me avoid a serious stumble or even twisted ankle most than once. That doesn’t stop people from running up the mountain with the current record set at 1 hour 25 mins – that’s up to the top and back to Fort William!

Clearing the Mind

Clearing the mind of all distractions is never easy. We’ve all had a lot to think about in 2020 with the COVID pandemic restricting our movements. At times it has felt overwhelming. One of the fondest recollections from that day climbing Ben Nevis is how it focuses you on one single task – to get to the summit. Everything else drops away so you are left with a very simple mission. After the constant stream of bad news throughout 2020 that was a very welcome distraction.

Weighing it all up

The singlemindedness of climbing to the top did have some drawbacks though. The physical effort involved meant that photography was reduced to a secondary priority. At the summit, photo opportunities were missed and I failed to shoot a single bit of video due to a limited timeframe at the summit and recovering from the climb. I suppose that gives me a reason to do it all again just because it was compact and lightweight. Once I reached the summit the DSLR was out the Bergen and shooting pictures.

I would have liked to take more lenses with me but the other factor that came into play is the weight. You have to carry it all the way up and back down again. One camera body was packed along with two lenses – a 35mm wide-angle and my compact and lightweight 80-200mm f5.6. My favourite Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 was just too heavy. As it turned out I photographed most of the climb using my phone just because it was easy and quick. Photo shot… start climbing again.

The Summit

Two people standing in the rocky landscape of the summit of Ben Nevis, Scotland.
The view is fantastic but the summit is not easy to travel across

Reaching the summit was surprisingly emotional. The effort of making my way up to the top had not been easy but I’d probably rate it as one of my proudest things achievements. Considering that a couple of years earlier I’d hurt my back so badly that I could barely walk up the stairs, I consider myself fortunate that I’d recovered enough to do the climb.

The summit of Ben Nevis is flat. It almost resembles a rocky moonscape and does not have that classic mountaintop look of Snowden. It is beautiful nevertheless. A single pathway allows you to make your way to the top but otherwise moving around on the summit is a challenge. Sadly my time was limited. I needed to rest and prepare for descending down the mountain so I had around 40 minutes to collect my thoughts, explore and take some photographs.

Two Sticks!

A mountain isn’t climbed unless you return to where you started. The descent was much faster and seemed easier at the start. Within a couple of hours though, I realised it was going to be rough. The impact on the knees as you go down is immense and gradually you feel your knees becoming weaker and weaker. By the end of the descent, my legs felt very much like jelly and I was pleased I had my walking stick with me for that extra support. I just I’d had another! After what seemed an eternity (the final 2 km seemed to last forever!) I finally reached the car park and it was the end of the day.

So would I climb Ben Nevis again? Directly after the climb, I was exhausted and any question of climbing Ben Nevis again would have received a rude answer. A day or so later I felt different. Yes, I would do it all again. I have a better idea of what to expect and could plan better. For a first climb though, I didn’t do too bad. I would have liked to shoot more photographs and no video recording was not great but that was due to the physical nature of climbing the mountain. Photography is usually a primary concern with a photographer but in some cases, the photography is overridden by much more pressing issues. It was the toughest physical challenge I’ve ever had!

I like the photos that I shot during my visit to the UK’s highest mountain. With no gift shop at the summit selling mugs or fridge magnets, the only memento to be had is a photograph!

Related Galleries

The photographs in this gallery form part of the Scotland: Lowlands, Highlands and Islands project.

My 2015 Edinburgh iPhone photography project called ‘The Two Towns’ can be found HERE

Photography Prints

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

Framed prints, canvas prints, art boards, metal prints, acrylic block plus lots more can be found on the RedBubble store HERE.

Islay: Lord of the Isles

By |2020-02-22T12:09:22+00:00February 11th, 2020|Categories: Featured Gallery, Portfolio Galleries|Tags: , , , , , , |



Islay: Lord of the Isles | Documentary and Landscape Photography

Islay is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland with a rich history, diverse landscape and plenty of whisky distilleries. For over 400 years Islay was the centre for the Lordship of the Isles. At their height, the Lords of the Isles were the greatest landowners and most powerful lords in Britain after the Kings of England and Scotland.

The journey to Islay involves a long, but beautiful drive through the Highlands, followed by a fabulous (depending on the weather you get) 1 hr 45 minutes ferry trip from the terminal at Kennacraig. The route is a busy one with many visitors heading to Islay intent on experiencing the nine distilleries (more are in development) that offer tours and tastings. I wanted to experience a bit of everything… including the distilleries.

Lordship of the Isles

Historically Islay was at the centre of Hebrides life for centuries. The Lord of the isles were based at Finlaggan, a remote location set on an island where the Lord of the Isles ruled over vast territory that included most of Hebridean isles and even in later years included Ross. Successive Lords of the Isles fiercely asserted their independence from Scotland, acting as kings of their territories well into the 15th century.

By the 15th century James IV of Scotland. had decided that he want to take the lands, titles from John MacDonald II, the Lord of the Isles at that time. John had made an alliance with Edward IV, the king of England, in 1493. The Scottish crown finally decided to remove a thorn from its side. The title of Lord of the Isles was taken, along with ancestral lands and estates, as a royal title and is currently held by Prince Charles.

Finlaggan

The visit to Finlaggan came with a problem to overcome. Lots of water. The previous week before my visit had seen Islay get huge amounts of rain which had saturated the ground around Loch Finlaggan flooding the pathway down to the island. Definitely a job for some wellington boots. The only issue was I didn’t have any. I could either look at Finlaggan from a distance or get wet. Plan B then. Drastic measures which resulted in me wading out in my walking boots and jeans. Certainly not the first time I’ve got my feet wet for a photograph!

The images from Finlaggan are among my favourites from the trip. The location had a serenity to it along with the beautiful scenery and the historic importance of the site. As with many historic sites signs of modern life like the visitor centre and local farms are present. I made the decision to try and use the ruins to block out anything in the landscape that ‘ruined’ the ancient ‘atmosphere’ of Finlaggan.

The Whisky Island

While a wonderful landscape and rich Scottish history may appeal to some of us, arguably the biggest draw to the island is whisky with nine active distilleries receiving a huge number of tourists and whisky enthusiasts each year. Each distillery has its own character and every tour has its own unique experience. Tastings are particularly popular with each distillery providing different levels to suit entry-level through to the whisky connoisseur.

Visiting Jura

With a day remaining it was time to take a look at Jura. The tantalising close landscape of the small neighbouring island to Islay draws you in and fortunately there is a regular ferry service taking a surprising number of passengers back and forth. The waters between the island can run fast during tidal movements as the water rushes through the narrow channel.

Although Jura has a wonderful landscape to explore, another big pull to the island is the small whisky distillery that produces Jura whisky.

Related Galleries

The photographs in this gallery form part of the Scotland: Lowlands, Highlands and Islands project.

My 2015 Edinburgh photography called ‘The Two Towns’ can be found HERE

The Edinburgh: Seven Hills project can be found HERE

Photography Prints

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

Framed prints, canvas prints, art boards, metal prints, acrylic block plus lots more can be found on the RedBubble store HERE.

Edinburgh: Seven Hills

By |2020-01-30T20:05:53+00:00April 8th, 2018|Categories: Featured Gallery, Portfolio Galleries|Tags: , , , , , , |



Edinburgh: Seven Hills | Street and Landscape Photography

“Edinburgh isn’t so much a city, more a way of life… I doubt I’ll ever tire of exploring Edinburgh, on foot or in print.”


Ian Rankin

‘in eden Edinburgh, centred on the rock
our city with your seven hills and heavens’


To Edinburgh’ by Valerie Gills

Edinburgh is one of Britain’s most beautiful cities, ‘a dream in masonry and living rock’ perched upon ancient crags, with the medieval maze of the Old Town gazing across verdant gardens to the Georgian elegance of the New Town.

AA Guidebook to Edinburgh

The description above does come from a guidebook but beautifully sums up the appeal of visiting Edinburgh. It’s one of my favourite cities in the UK. Fortunately, it’s only around 1hr 40 mins train ride away from where I live. Close enough for a good day trip out.

My first visit took place in 1992. That was a quick day visit with no real-time to explore but it was memorable for discovering the atmospheric. vibrant and welcoming old and new town. Little did I know that a return to Edinburgh didn’t happen until 2015 when I travelled up to visit the Christmas market.

The photographs seen in the gallery date from 2015 onward.

Street Photography

The gallery includes quite a lot of candid street photography, an area of photography I’d like to explore more. The bus commuter images are among my favourites. The images were taken in the rush hour from the window of the apartment I was staying in on Princes Street. Traffic lights regularly stop bus traffic – cars are not allowed along the street. The harsh light from the buses and other sources just add to the isolation.

The level of detachment from the other passengers fascinated me. The passengers seem to care little for interaction with other passengers. Mobile phones, mp3 players, Kindles, books, newspapers or just staring out the window helping to pass the time on the journey. They were surrounded by people, and yet acknowledging no one. They just continue on their journey home. It’s something I’d like to explore further and I certainly intend doing more street photography of the bus commuters at a later date.

Calton Hill

Calton Hill provided quite a few good images when I visited one icy afternoon. The wind cut through you like a knife. That didn’t deter tourists were there in droves taking selfies or admiring the Edinburgh landscape.  The National Monument of Scotland especially seems to draw quite a few people for family photographs and photos for social media.

My visit to Calton Hill was initially to look for a photo location that I’d heard about. The view looking down Princes Street was taken at that location. Calton Hill is very popular and I managed to get some great street photography images. The photograph at the top of this post was taken just a few footsteps from the viewing area looking down Princes Street.

Related Galleries

The photographs in this gallery form part of the Scotland: Lowlands, Highlands and Islands project.

My 2015 Edinburgh photography called ‘The Two Towns’ can be found HERE

Photography Prints

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

Framed prints, canvas prints, art boards, metal prints, acrylic block plus lots more can be found on the RedBubble store HERE.

Title

Subscribe to the Website via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this website and receive notifications of new news update posts by email.

Follow me on Social Media

Recent News Posts

Go to Top