I'm never sure whether this is a blog with photographs or a photoblog with commentary. Does "photoblog" even exist in the common lexicon anymore? Suffice to say I'm just a nobody, as much as anybody else is, with nothing to say, as much as anybody else does.
Should you wish to see more of my photowork, please follow the link in the sidebar. And if you happen to be intrigued by single malt whisky, take a peek at www.whiskydistilleries.blogspot.com...or not.

March 31, 2010


At the bottom of the Rhinns of Islay, the southwestern tip of that Scottish island, is the village of Portnahaven.There you'll find a great little pub called An Tigh Seinnse. Small in size but big in atmosphere, and the food and drink are good too. One can sit outside and view the boats bobbing and the seals basking in the harbour.

The entrance is a nondescript white painted wooden door. It's a double door, but often only one half is open, leaving a space no wider than the average pair of shoulders. Entering on a sunny Islay day (yes, Scotland is often sunny and bright - don't look so shocked) into the subdued light of the hallway feels like entering the home of Bilbo. Don't get me wrong, I like hobbits, at least I'm sure I would if I met one, which I haven't...well, you know what I mean. Cosy comfort. One of the things I found attractive was the floor. Reminded me of Morocco. Quite fine tile work which surprised me to find in a small Hebridean pub.

March 24, 2010

over the falls

North of Oban, on the west coast of mainland Scotland, can be found the Falls of Lora. That's them at the bottom of the first photograph. Not what you expected? The falls are actually a tidal race which becomes a huge set of rapids as the waters of Loch Etive, which you are looking east towards in the first image, flow at low tide into the Firth of Lorn, which you are looking west towards in the second image. The flow reverses when the tide comes in. Both these photographs are taken in opposite directions from atop the Connel Bridge which spans the falls. As you may have guessed it's slack tide, or close to it.

The falls offer some fun playboating in a kayak. Not that I did, but you can if you sign on with Seafreedom Kayak. They operate out of a great B&B in Connel called Strumhor. You can see the falls while having coffee in their front sunroom.

Just goes to show that expectations can be deceiving, especially when you travel. Keep an open mind.

March 14, 2010

red phonebooths

With the advent of wireless communication and ensuing prevalence of cell phones in the world, I suspect the phonebooth is on the road to oblivion. I love the image of the red phonebooth. Not only do they appeal to me visually, but they also seem to me to be heavily laden with story. History and culture nestle deep in the crackled paint of their exterior, lives lived and shared over thin copper wires. In rural Scotland one can find them on the most unlikely of street corners.

I got thinking about all this after reading a post on Armin Grewe's www.islayblog.com that indicated Google Streetview had come to the Scottish island of Islay, and that one of the views he found interesting was along the road featuring the red phonebooth near Carnduncan. I thought it would be fun to show a few of the photographs I've taken of these icons, including this one near Carnduncan...

...on Skye, near Carbost, just down the road from the Talisker distillery.

...on Barra, one of the southernmost of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

March 11, 2010

just had to share this...

Though Spring can be fickle and melodramatic with her entrance, today was a memorable scene to open the play of seasons.

Snow and cold is the Winter norm in most of Canada, and the past three months here where I live have not disappointed, though there comes a time when we feel the need for change. The last few days have been unseasonably warm, temperatures not quite in the teens yet, but nipping at the heels. I sat outside after work for the first time, so that says a lot. The sky was just starting to lose the brilliant cloudless blue it had been all day, the air was warm but still fresh with the memory of winter's chill drifting off the snow, the single malt gold in my glass...then the wow. A distant sound high in the fading sky makes my skin tingle - the Tundra Swans are returning north. The distinct honking voice, higher in pitch than our ubiquitous Canada Geese, makes me look up. In a minute they come into view, hundreds of large white birds flying together in a V shaped ribbon spreading across the sky overhead, glowing in the almost setting sun.

Harbingers of Spring, but we all know here that the weather can still turn nasty and envelop us in the last snows of Winter. It's quite a sight, though. I have no photograph - your mind's eye will have to do.

March 8, 2010

slightly bizarre

Barra, one of the southernmost of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, has an unusual airport. The landing strip is the beach, so flights can only come and go at low tide. It is the only beach runway in the world which handles scheduled airline traffic. We were lucky enough to catch some spectacular light when this Twin Otter was taking off. I suspect the runway is also the only one in the world where dogs catch frizbees and people fly kites and dig for cockles between flights.

March 4, 2010

the Oa

The Oa is the southwest part of the island of Islay, Scotland. It's somewhat remote, and quite beautiful. The wind was blowing hard the day I visited the American Monument down on the coast (which is just barely visible on the extreme right horizon in this photograph).

I felt bad for these cyclists, not because of the wind, but because they kept pulling over to let me pass on the singletrack road. This happened more than once - I'd drive by them,  stop for another photograph, they'd pedal by me, I'd drive by them...sorry folks.

February 27, 2010


Many places in the northern hemisphere have been experiencing some pretty severe and unusual winter weather this year. Changing climate. The world seems to be wasting too much time on squabbling about laying blame for such and not enough on finding ways to effectively adapt to the changes that are happening now and surely will be in the future. Temperature fluctuations aside, it has never made sense to me why we accept the defiling of our land, air, and water with substances that degrade their quality in large degrees.

And what, you may very well ask, does any of this have to do with the photo? Just thought you'd like to see some winter in a positive light, so to speak. February, my dog, out my front door.

February 24, 2010

Laphroaig stills

I must confess that my initial attraction to Scotland was the result of being interested in single malt whisky. I've made quite a few trips there since 2001, and visited quite a few distilleries. Although all Scotch is made with the same ingredients of malted barley, water, and yeast, "cooked" in copper and aged in oak, it never ceases to amaze me how different the end product from each distillery can be.

Scotland, of course, is much more than whisky, and the place has stolen my heart with her beauty and interest. This photograph is from the distillery of one of my favourite whiskies, Laphroaig, on my favourite island of Islay. The stillman is tending to the spirit safe, where the first sight of the new make spirit coming from the stills can be had...the beginning of a long process of making single malt whisky which can take anywhere from three years up to 40, 50, even 60 years (the latter being very rarified stuff!).

February 23, 2010

Port Charlotte

I highly recommend the Port Charlotte Youth Hostel should you ever visit Islay, one of the Inner Hebridean islands of western Scotland. The windows of the lounge and kitchen look directly out onto Loch Indaal. This photograph is from the beach just below the hostel during my stay last September. I was lucky enough to catch the rising sun one morning while stumbling to the bathroom and cursing a small bladder (oh, sorry, too much information?).

February 21, 2010

The plan with this blog is to share a few photographs with people. Forgive me if a few thoughts and opinions sneak in. The images come from Scotland, some from Canada. Maybe I'll revisit a few from the archives. I've been photographing for quite a few years, so the well is deep. I hope to augment the photos in this blog with those on my page at 500px on a regular basis. However, as realities go, it will more than likely be irregular.

Should you appreciate my sense of aesthetic, I hope you'll visit again.