NEWS, EVENTS & OCCASIONAL, UNVERIFIABLE GOSSIP

   
 

 

 

12th February 2015

Neighbours

 

To the best of my knowledge, the only exhibit in Scotland of the BWPA (British Wildlife Photography Awards) 2014 is at Battleby, Perth & Kinross, from the 19th July to 31st August 2015. The exhibition includes 100 images from the 2014 competition & includes all the winning and commended entries.

By amazing co-incidence, Battleby is barely 5 miles from Charleston. And while I would have found this exhibit interesting anyway, I have a special interest this year because one of my images, "Defiance" is part of the tour as a reward for achieving "Highly Commended" status bestowed by the competitions judges.

For those interested in seeing the BWPA 2014 exhibit, the address is at

SNH (Scottish Natural Heritage),

Battleby Conference Centre,

Battleby,

Redgorton,

Perth & Kinross,

PH1 3EW

Battleby Conference CentreRedgorton near Luncarty. About 8 miles north of Perth.

The BWPA was established in 2009 with key aims as follows ...

  • Recognise the talents of photographers practicing in the UK, while at the same time highlight the great wealth & diversity of the natural history across the British Isles
  • Celebrate British wildlife, in all its beauty and diversity, through a collection of inspirational photographs
  • Showcase the very best of our nature photography to a wide audience and engage all ages with evocative and powerful imagery
  • Encourage discovery, exploration, conservation and enjoyment of our natural heritage
  • Raise awareness about British biodiversity, species and habitats

http://www.bwpawards.org/

 

 

 

 

9th February 2015

Alive & kicking

 

Until January 2013, except for the occasional crash while riding my bike, I may not have seen a doctor proper in 19 years. For a guy in his late 40s I was still pedalling around 65 miles per day & bagging the odd mountain here or there (Scotland, California, Colorado etc.) when time permitted. Last year, I still had a 10mm rope, a climbing harness, crampons, an ice axe, a lifejacket, two bicycles, snow shoes, five rucksacks, three helmets, three Camelbacks, a compass, a tent, a sleeping bag, a stove & a bunch of other stuff that made cycling, walking & climbing in the worst weather Scotland could offer, marginally comfortable. And then there's the camera gear!

Many nights were spent sleeping in the back of the car, waiting for the sun to rise at stupidly early hours so I could gain a thousand feet of elevation on foot before it got light; an effort that is often necessary to capture those rare photographic moments in locations that the 21st century seems to have passed by.

You might imagine then the emotionally destructive thought processes that one has to repulse when restrained to a bed by a dysfunctional central nervous system, wrecked by an infection that may have been caused by nothing more unnerving than a hungry deer tick or a paper cut. Or a cheeseburger handled by dirty fingernails. We'll probably never know which otherwise benign event that propagated this geometric scale of physical & mental disability.

So it is with some level of meagre progress that I become increasingly confident of a half decent recovery. A new doctor has made some bizarre but nevertheless interesting drug regime suggestions that will require entirely legal but ingenious access routes. At this sub-basement level of health, almost anything will be considered.

Regrettably, sitting in a three atmosphere chamber of pure oxygen in a plain building within the grounds of Scone airport didn't work. Perhaps it was the heat caused by the compression of the gas. Or the meandering road trip that opposed any marginal benefit. Maybe I just wasn't ready yet to realise the gains other sitters were enjoying.

Nevertheless I can still remember where I live & spell my own name. According to the last TV advert I recall, that qualifies me for a reverse mortgage.

 

 

 

4th January 2015

In sickness & in health 

 

It is inevitable that when a pattern of behaviour appears, it will eventually be noticed. Thus, the reason for my lack of posts over much of 2014 has been due to a severe illness brought on by an infection of unknown origin, I contracted at the end of 2013 while wrapping up my art tour across Texas.

Those that know me will likely be aware that I hate being ill. It is entirely unpleasant, unproductive & in this case quite destructive. The infection attacked my central nervous system including rather useful parts of my brain. Consequently, for the last 12 months, I have been on a diet of painkillers, supplements & various other remedies which so far have only provided limited relief.

While I am no longer bed bound, thank God, my mobility remains severely limited. This is emotionally very challenging as I was regularly cycling over 60 miles per day in between capturing images & traveling to art shows. My immune system, having taken a severe beating, recently allowed a dormant childhood virus to re-emerge which delivered crushing pain & misery for about a month.

Nevertheless, the worst phase, when I was barely able to crawl out of bed or talk or eat, seems to be over. But the recovery looks like it is going to take up much of 2015 & may require a medical consultation with a specialist in Belgium with whom I hope to be fit enough to meet some time in the next quarter.

Meanwhile, I'm determined to be slightly more productive this year than last. But if you are wondering why there are so few posts or indeed new images, you'll now know why.

All that remains then is for me to wish you all a Happy New Year & hope that we may cross paths again in the near future.

 

 

 

13th July 2014

"Dunmore" wins a "Highly Commended" award from the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2014

 

I am delighted to have received a "Highly Commended" award from the BWPA (British Wildlife Photography Awards) 2014, a competition celebrating the diversity of the natural history of the British Isles. Winners and commended entrants have their work showcased in a national touring exhibition and in a stunning book published by AA Publishing.

Defiance (Dunmore, Airth)Defiance (Dunmore, Airth)This stand of old growth beech trees is located on lands once owned by the Earls of Dunmore, near Falkirk in central Scotland.

In ancient times it was managed to provide cover for game birds such as pheasant, while the surrounding land was used to grow crops such as oats & barley.

For many centuries the estates, a fortified tower house & a nearby settlement bore the name Elphinstone from the clan which had been in residence since sometime prior to the year 1338.

In 1754 John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, purchased the lands of Elphinstone. He changed the name of the estates to ‘Dunmore’, a place in Perthshire associated with his family who were related to the Murray Clan of Blair Castle.

In 1761 he built an architectural wonder on the estate called ‘The Pineapple’, a summer house & folly inspired by what was then exotic, rare fruit as a garden retreat for his wife.

Murray later left Scotland & went to the new world & was appointed Governor of the Province of New York & then Colonial Governor of Virginia. As the last royal governor of Virginia, he directed a series of campaigns against the trans-Appalachian Indians known as Lord Dunmore's War. He is noted for issuing the 1755 Dunmore's Proclamation in which he declared martial law & promised freedom for slaves of American Patriots who left their masters & joined the royal forces. Despite providing some 300 slaves safe passage to Nova Scotia, the proclamation ultimately failed & he was forced out of the colony in 1776.

After Murray’s return to Scotland, the upper-floor pavilion with its pineapple-shaped cupola & the Palladian lower-floor portico on the south side were added. Remarkably, pineapples were grown here, assisted by a furnace-driven heating system that circulated hot air through cavities in the wall. It is possible that many of the trees similar to this stand of beeches were used to heat Murray’s large country mansion & the hot houses until the discovery of nearby coal reserves in the early 20th century.

Due to extreme cold, a hoar frost which occurs when heat losses into the open sky cause objects to become colder than the surrounding air, has loosely deposited white ice crystals across the landscape. Gentle winter sidelight & rich pastel skies have enhanced the relief. And the strong symmetry supports the suggestion that the trees remain strong & upright in defiance of the cold brutality of winter.

I re-titled this image "Defiance" for the competition which received tens of thousands of entries across a number of categories. The category entered here is WILD WOODS.

Consequently I have been invited to London to attend a ceremony, exhibitions & a copy of the 2014 year book which includes all the winning & commended entries.

 

Their website can be found by clicking here

 

 

 

12th June 2014

15,000 Page Views !

  Today, we reached another milestone worth mentioning: over 15,000 pages on this website have been viewed by over 7,000 unique visitors.  That's about 1,000 page views per month. Thanks again to everyone who visited & a special thanks to those who chose to come back! It has become a bit of tradition here to celebrate by posting a picture of a furry animal. Say hello to "Tiger".
 
 

 

 

8th April 2014

14,000 Page Views !

  Today, we reached another milestone: according to StatCounter, at 4:00 pm today, exactly 14,000 pages on this website had been viewed since this time last year. Those pages were browsed by a total of 6,626 of you & about 10% of you chose to come back. Once again, I would like to thank each & every one of you for your support. As a thank you, I've posted a photograph of a furry animal. His name is Mr. Moggy. He says "Haste ye back !".
 
 

22nd March 2014

Product Update

 

Today, we're announcing a change in the way the art work is presented. Customers can continue to order art work as print only but we will no longer be offering framed artwork. Instead, we've decided to offer a more modern interpretation with the introduction of optional acrylic silver halide prints.

This is a frameless solution which is comprised of an optically clear & polished acrylic sheet bonded to a silver halide print with an archival backing board bonded to the rear. It is lightweight, durable, scratch resistant & remains fade free for decades. They are also ready to hand, requiring no special tools or hangers. And as before, all the pieces will still be signed & numbered by the artist. We're also taken the opportunity to consolidate & simplify the number of size options based upon customer demand. There are fewer choices but we think we're retained the sizes that are the most popular.

Closeup of acrylic silver halide print

 

Has the image or quality been affected? Not at all. We will continue to print silver halide photographs & would argue that the acrylic silver halide prints appear more saturated, punchier & more vibrant than those mounted & framed behind glass. The bonding of the layers of acrylic, image & backing board removes the airgap of traditionally glazed artwork & is less prone to reflections.

 

 

 

 

11th March 2014

Cover shot

 

I am delighted that Think Publishing, an award-winning content and publishing agency that produces titles including Historic Scotland's quarterly membership magazine, chose my image of Stirling Castle to grace the front cover of the March edition.

The image was one from a series I created of the Forework (inner battlements) of Stirling Castle, captured at dusk in the middle of winter. It was of those rare times when I used my tilt & shift lens to counter the sloping vertical lines that one usually encounters when recording buildings with wide angle lenses.

Stirling Castle
 

 

 

22nd December 2013

12,000 Page View Barrier Broken !

 

According to StatCounter, an independent web tracking company, over 12,000 page views of this website have been made by over 5,500 visitors since March 2013. Please accept another  "Thank You" to each & every one of you.

And I wish you all a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.

Statcounter GraphWebsite Activity 22nd December 2013

 

 

 

9th December 2013

10,000 Page View Barrier Broken !

 

I created this website in March this year on a very limited budget & with almost a zero dollar marketing budget. Nevertheless, all of you who have visited, whether that be out of distracted curiosity, deep artistic interest or as a means with which to purchase, have according to StatCounter, an independent web tracking company, broken the 10,000 page view barrier last week.

Specifically, pages from the website have been viewed by nearly 5,500 of you, over 11,795 times during the previous 9 months.

Please accept a deep, heart felt appreciation & warm "Thank You" to each & every one of you.

 
 

 

 

27th November 2013

Charity Reception at Stirling Castle

 

I am delighted to have been invited by the Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond MSP, First Minister of Scotland to attend a reception to recognise the contributions made by those involved in STV's inaugural Scottish charities appeal.

 

My image "Who Dares Wins" is one of 12 images appearing in STV's 2014 calendar from which proceeds will be used to fund multiple charities.

 

With the help of The Scottish Government, the appeal has raised £5.8 million which has been invested in 163 projects across 32 local authorities supporting over 18,000 children.

STV APPEAL ... http://campaigns.stv.tv/stv-appeal/

  STV Appeal ReceptionGraham, Sean Batty (TV Weatherman), Alex Salmond (First Minister of Scotland) & Lora Stirling CastleGreat Hall 
  Highland dancersMaking it look easy (its not) Pipe Major Murray McLeodLeading out the band from the Great Hall
 

The highlight of the evening was the dancing & stirring music from the Royal Burgh of Stirling Pipe Band led by Pipe Major, Murray McLeod.

 

"Who Dares Wins"

Who Dares WinsThe January image featured in the 2014 STV Appeal Calendar. 

 

 

 

13th November 2013

Christmas Deadline Approaching

 

I'm returning to Scotland on 23rd November after 8 months touring the USA. I'll be busy capturing image requests no doubt between winter storms. So any USA orders received either by phone/email or website AFTER 23rd November will NOT get processed until at least the middle of January when I am planning to return. First exhibits will likely be in Florida & then I'll migrate north as the season develops.A 2014 schedule will be posted shortly once there are sufficient provisional dates.

 
   
 

16th September 2013

Artwork on permanent display at TriStar Centennial Medical Center, Nashville, TN

 

Eight limited edition silver halide prints from my portfolio were chosen by Tristar Medical Group to permanently grace the walls of their newly developed clinic on 23rd Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee.

 

This treatment center will provide world class care for women in the metro area & beyond. A huge investment was put into this beautiful facility & I am delighted to have been invited to contribute to the creation of a reassuring & pleasing ambience for staff & patients inside the reception area, back offices & clinical rooms.

 

The reception area features five, framed, limited edition, silver halide images of which two measure a massive 6½ feet wide by 4½ feet tall. For a sleek, hygienic look, frameless 1/4 inch deep, silver halide acrylics measuring 3 feet wide x 2 feet tall were created to hang in the clinic/examination rooms.

 

I would like to thank Dr. Laura Wiliams M.D & Christie Aspden, Area Practice Manager for their sponsorship & artistic support.

 

Dr. Williams is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology & the American College of Surgeons. She was listed among "The Best Doctors in America" in 1996, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010.

 

Ms. Aspden is the Area Practice Manager for Tristar, part of HCA (Hospital Centers of America) in Nashville. HCA generates $5 billion in revenues through its ownership & operation of 179 hospitals & approximately 104 freestanding surgery centers in 21 states, England & Switzerland.

Castle CampbellMe standing next to one of the massive 6ft x 4ft silver halide prints I created for Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, TN, Centennial Medical Center ReceptionTwo massive 6 ft x 4ft images from my portfolio were created to hang inside the newly appointed reception room.
  DunmoreTwo members of staff at Centennial Medical Center proudly show off the 6 ft x 3 ft silver halide image hanging in their records office.
 

 

 

17th August 2013

"Who Dares Wins" is awarded WINNER by Scottish Television in their 2013 photographic competition.

 

It was organised through their weather channel. The winning image was chosen to represent January & will be appearing in their 2014 Appeal Calendar.

 

With the help of The Scottish Government, the appeal has raised £5.8 million which has been invested in 163 projects across 32 local authorities supporting over 18,000 children all over Scotland.

Who Dares Wins (Doune, Stirlingshire)
 

 

12th August 2013

Invited to exhibit at the 41st Stone Mountain Highland Games & Scottish Festival 

 

Held on 18th -20th October 2013, just north of Atlanta, this is one of the most prestigious events in the North American circuit & the deadline for applications was months ago.

 

In fact, it was difficult to even get a response due to the huge demand so to be invited just this week by Mr. Jim Norman, Chairman of the Vendors & Artisans Committee is a huge honour.

 

There's even a Clan Graham tent to which of course, I'll be making myself known ! 

 

I'll post more details once I have been given a booth location. 

Click on the logo to go to their website

 

 

 

 

3rd June 2013

'Eileann Donnain' is awarded an Honorable Mention Certificate at the 46th Summerfair, Cincinnati, Ohio

 

For over 40 years, Summerfair Cincinnati has been supporting & promoting artists & the arts in Greater Cincinnati.

 

The organization's activities include: supports for individual artists including awards & exhibitions; community-based art activities & events as well as a nationally recognized juried fine arts fair.
 

Click on their logo to visit their website

 

 

 

 

December 2012

'Stirling Castle' is awarded Runner Up in the Historic Scotland Photographic Competition

 

I was invited by Historic Scotland to Stirling Castle to attend a prize giving event based upon the results of a photographic competition they held in conjunction with The Scotsman newspaper.

 

I'm delighted to announce that my image of Stirling Castle was a runner up. All the prize winners were invited to the Nether Bailey where the images will remain on display for about a month.

 

As you emerge from the North Gate, the Nether Bailey can seem like another world. This is the least known & least visited part of the castle & a walk around its walls provides excellent views of the north side of Stirling. It also provides an unusual view of the main part of the castle & the Great Hall looming over the north curtain wall.

Print

Click on their logo to go their website

DM3hsphoto.jpg
 

 

 

February 2012

'Leaf & Pebbles' is awarded 3rd place in the International Garden Photographer of the Year 2012 Competition - Textures Category

 

I came across this competition by accident a few years ago & decided to enter it because the standard was so high that even though the odds of winning seemed so low, it would be a good exercise in polishing my skills.

 

It's run by Kew Gardens in London & attracts entries from all over the world, usually by professional photographers who make a living shooting plants & fauna as well as some very good amateurs. Some 15,000 entries are received each year & its prestige just seems to grow each year. By 2012 Kew had run five annual competitions with the standard getter better & better each season.

 

This image of a maple leaf was actually captured in my garden on a cool damp day during the autumn at a point in time when the little maple tree opposite the dining room window had started to dump its spectacularly coloured leaves.

Maple (South Kersie, Stirlingshire)
 

 

February 2012

'Beech Tree' is awarded 2nd place in the International Garden Photographer of the Year 2012 Competition - Monochrome Category

 

Unbelievably, I had two images placed this year following success the previous year with 'Dunmore'. It's not my standard genre but some of the categories allow landscapes to be entered.

 

Beech Tree (Airth, Falkirk)

 

All the best entries eventually get published in a rather well printed soft cover book & I have included a cover shot of it here. And even if your interest doesn't lean towards botanical subject matter, the imagination, skill & quality of the photographers who get published in it is excellent.

 

 

 

May 2011

'Linlithgow' WINS Appreciation of the Past Photo Competition 2011

 

Appreciation of the Past is an international photography competition run in conjunction with Great Hotels of the World & Amateur Photography Magazine.

 

Linlithgow Palace (Linlithgow, West Lothian) {aka Wentworth Prison in Outlander}

 

 

 

January 2011

'Kilchurn' is awarded SILVER in the EPSON Pano Awards Open Competition - Built Environment Category

 
 

 

 

September 2010

'Falkirk Wheel' WINS British Waterways - Scottish Canals Photo Competition - Buildings & Structures Category

 

 

 

 

August 2010

'Castle Campbell' is chosen by The Scots Magazine to feature in their 2011 Calendar

 

 The Scots Magazine is the oldest magazine in the world still in publication although there have been several gaps in its publication history. It has reported on events from the defeat of the Jacobites through the Napoleonic wars to the Second World War & on to the creation of the new Scottish Parliament.

It was originally published in 1739 & publication continued until 1826; at which point sales had declined to such a point that it was withdrawn. However, in 1888 publication resumed under a new owner & continued until 1893 when once again it was withdrawn.

 

It was published between 1922 & 1924 as 'The Scottish Church.' In 1924 publication as 'The Scots Magazine' resumed, this time by the St Andrew's Society. In 1927 D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd took over & have continued to publish it ever since.