Love in Middle Earth

Funny the things that you think to lessen an uncomfortable situation…

It was 3.30am and I am sat on the edge of the bath, reassuring myself that I am not having to have a cold shower, I am not going out to a stressful or life threatening job and perhaps a little  more dramatically, that I am not in Syria!  Non of which actually helps my mood, as I splash water in my eyes, in a vain attempt to invigorate myself.  It was after all… now 3.35am!

Koala didn’t really say much in the way of encouragement, but cautiously presented a cup of tea to me. She knows that usually works.  But it was 3 feckin 41am!  My life was supposed to settle down by now.. I’ve had my share of cold showers!  But Plan A had changed, as it usually did in the ‘whimsical world’ that I now inhabited.  True.. Plan F didn’t pose any real risk of going anywhere near Syria but Koala did have a real knack of keeping me on my toes and perhaps in weak moments.. questioning my life choices!?   The previous evening, the ritual last check of Koalas Met Office app threw a curveball.   The forecast had changed and Plan A had morphed rapidly through into F.

When Sweden met the Highlands

It was a wet Friday morning in Tyndrum in the highlands of Scotland, as I sat waiting at The Green Welly Stop carpark.  On the surface, it was a grim start to the day as I watched a group of Japanese tourists get off a coach in the drizzle.  A tour guide lifted his kilt in an attempt to raise their mood.. they filed by him toward the toilets, particularly unimpressed…  He wasn’t a true Scotsman.

Then it began

Koala walked out of the toilet and strode beaming towards me.  Behind her, like a slo-mo opening to a Charlie’s Angel film, were 3 Swedish women dressed in tartan kilts and Hunter wellies!?

Let your love flow....east!

‘I’m so over the snow!’

The heating is broke.. again, Tesco has sold out of coal …..and logs!  No hot water – no shower!!’

If there is one thing that Koala loves, it is a decent shower.. and preferably a decent, hot shower.  Oh dear I thought…. and briefly pondered whether the need for stinging hot powerful jets of water was a Southern Hemisphere genetic issue?  Then I quickly had to consider the options. The fallout.  This could ruin the weekend.

The Photographers Child - Survival Guide

‘Who want to go on an adventure…?’

Have you ever heard this phrase on a ‘less-than-desirable’ weather day?  Well…… if you are a child who shares a parent with a camera, this phrase will instantly fill you with dread.  But you are not alone… there will be other children who relate the word  ‘adventure’ to a day of standing around, waiting, walking as directed, being cold and not smiling.  If you are a child in Scotland anyway….

The Art of Diplomacy in Photography

‘Suitable or proper in the circumstance…’

The adjective definition of ‘appropriate’. Hmm..  There are some things that are indeed appropriate to say and then there are others that could be classed as ‘inappropriate’ to verbalise.  For most of us in the Northern Hemisphere there is a filter in our brain that dictates, and typically adapts our internal, maybe inappropriate thoughts into suitable appropriate communication.  Perhaps it could be classed as diplomacy?

Heavenly Harris

Snow Gates

Who knew that there were snow gates on the A9?  Well I did, but I didn’t know that they were literally… gates that closed when it snowed!  We were setting off in the morning, at 4.30am to get to the Calmac ferry to Stornaway from Ullapool.  It was snowing and should be a 3 and a half hour drive, if the A9 was open.   It is closed.  The atmosphere changed, excitement gave way to stress.  Would we have to go via Fort William or Aberdeen??  That’s an extra 2 hours either way!  What does the forecast say?  Where does Google keep snow gate alerts??  No point going to bed then.. I thought.  Perhaps it would be best not to open that bottle of Merlot after all.

Love in the Highlands

Oh the excitement….

The first ‘People in Landscapes’ photo shoot of 2018.  The contents of the house filled the hallway waiting to be packed into the truck.  Were we moving?  How long are we going for?  I tentatively asked.. well.. whispered.  The tripod was there.. tick.  Oh and the camera bag.  Don’t forget that!  My checklist complete.  Tonight we would be staying in one of the Hobbit Houses at Glencoe Mountain Resort so Koala wanted the duvet and pillows… and blankets.  I best put the sleeping bags back in the shed then?  The truck was full, so off we set filled with anticipation.

2017 Highlights with Koala


That is what we did this year.  Laughing with Koala is my overriding memory.  Ah.. and the light.. of course.  ‘It’s all about chasing the light’ she said that.. A LOT.  How could I forget!?  So laughter and light … and maybe fog.  Oh and it was icy too!  I smile as I recall this past year,  our first year together.  Yes it was a rollercoaster.  It was an adventure and I am not quite sure how I came to be a writer??!  The year began with an entirely different remit.   I observed and contributed where required.  I could be relied upon to set the alarm for her, maybe even get out of bed to wave her off as she set off in the dark to meet a sunrise… and this is how it began.

Messages from Skye

Oh ok darling.  Thats fine..’ 

I think I gave the appropriate response.  The finely balanced sense of support and sympathetic disappointment, whilst masking my relief and abject excitement.  ‘Don’t worry.. you just go.. I’ll be fine.’  I heard myself saying as I suppressed thoughts of 3.. perhaps even 4 nights in front of the fire with a glass of Wolf Blass and a decent choice of film for a change.

It's not about Puffins


I should’ve looked up Puffins! Where do Puffins go?  ‘They burrow in holes…..’  Was that convincing?  Well I figure if you say anything with enough conviction it becomes believable.

Today it would appear that I am the driver / tour guide!!  I must revise my subjects of interest.  I do enjoy ‘couple’ shoots.   It is great when I get to drive normal folks to fantastic locations and marvel at the artistry, as Koala creates their very own ‘people in landscapes’  image ‘.

It also means that I get allies…

A 'holiday' in Arran

So..  'man in black'..  'carrier of the tripod'.. 'driver of the bus'  .. what is it today?  What adventure does the Koala have in store for me?  Well folks, today we’re on the beautiful Isle of Arran, the seventh largest in Scotland and the largest in the Firth of Clyde.  Only 5000 people live here and it is commonly known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’ because of its diversity of landscape.  Epic beaches give way to rolling hills that are overshadowed by rugged mountains.  Castle .. clans and vikings.. whisky and highland cows.  Mary Queen of Scots probably too!

I was supposed to be a guide to this island and so it began.. as I strapped the tripod once more to the rucsac with that familiar feeling of resignation.  ‘Of course.. this trip is a break.. even a holiday’ said Koala.  I even believed the sentiment. ‘ ..we don’t even have to get the camera out.. no pressure at all!’ said Koala.  I still believed her as we drove off the ferry.