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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.

Love Lock Locations

By |2023-01-27T15:33:02+00:00January 27th, 2023|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

Lovelocks left on the bridge at Bakewell, Derbyshire, UK

With the start of the new year, it was time to appraise my work from 2022 and generally, I was pleased with the work produced. All except my personal work which seemed to ebb away during the second half of the year. 2022 turned out to be quite slow creatively speaking for my own self-initiated photography, but there were a few glimmers of creative light. The first six months did produce some interesting images and at least one idea to expand on in the future.

A potential project is about love locks locations. Love locks appear to have a history dating back to the start of the 20th century, though it is only since around 2000 that the popularity of lock locks has picked up quite considerably.

Love lock Locations

Derbyshire and Scotland were visited in the early part of the year. Both places had very different landscapes but I came across something in both locations that I find fascinating. Love locks. In Derbyshire, I found a mass of lovelocks on a bridge in Bakewell. Almost the entire length of the footbridge was covered on both sides by lovelocks attached to the railings of the bridge. The sheer weight of all these padlocks on the bridge must be significant, indeed, in the past, many local authorities have had to remove locks placed on bridges to remove extra stress placed on the structure. The bridge in Bakewell was apparently cleared in 2018 but four years later the structure is covered with padlocks.

The second location was up at Dundee Law, a huge hill in the heart of the Scottish city with magnificent views over the River Tay and the surrounding landscape. Although the number of lovelocks was much lower than at Bakewell, the numbers appeared to be growing. All of the locks were placed with a good view from the Law. I visited on a very rainy day so the visibility was not great but the Tay bridge could still be seen crossing the vast expanse of water that is the Tay river. It seemed the perfect place to put a memorial.

So This is Permanence

Do we have much permanence in the modern world? I’d argue we don’t. Even memorials for loved ones who have died seem to be on the decline with the headstone being replaced by a silent and private location where ashes are scattered. Most of us get cremated and the use of burial plots has dropped as a result. Most of us won’t get a headstone.

The lovelocks have gained in popularity over the last two decades or so. While it may be people just following a trend, lovelocks do appear to be important for a lot of people looking for a permanent reminder of a person, relationship, family, or event. In an increasingly digital world with virtual memorials on Facebook, the lovelocks could be seen as a response to that increasing lack of physical remembrance in our lives.

Will lovelocks locations keep appearing? I think they will. Lovelocks appear to be fulfilling a need for many people. Local authorities do face the problem of increased stress on structures such as bridges etc due to the weight of a mass of lovelocks so regular clearance may be needed. However, some authorities have started adding special areas where people can add lovelocks for free or with a donation to charity.

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.



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.

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