Wednesday, 17 February 2010

My Top Ten Viewpoints: 10 - 8

As promised previously, here's my top ten personal viewpoints, in reverse order, and with a few alternative views when I can't decide my favourite (drum roll please...)

10: 'Banknote' view of Edinburgh Castle

Those who walk around Edinburgh taking photos will know the classic viewpoints like Calton Hill. That was the first place in Edinburgh I ever went to take pictures, back in my late teens:

Princes St from Calton Hill:

But keep your eyes open, and you'll see other views:

Calton Hill from Princes St:

Anyway, I'm here to talk about the picture at the top of the page. There's a classic view on the old Royal Bank £1 note, of Edinburgh Castle with the Art Gallery on the Mound below. I quickly realised that the view wasn't possible from Calton Hill: the Balmoral Hotel is in the way. Solution? Go to the Balmoral Hotel, walk brazenly past reception, up to the attic floor, drag a chair over to a west-facing skylight, and crawl up and out for the view. It might not be the best view in Edinburgh, but it is my favourite 'bag'.

similar pic: Old Town from Frederick St:

I saw this in a picture book, Colin Baxter I think, and copied it. The light is only right in the late afternoon.

9: Park Circus, Glasgow

City views are often difficult to take: traffic and street furniture gets in the way, and in a city like Glasgow, where many of the glories are at roof level, an elevated viewpoint is a bonus. The answer is to go high. There are plenty buildings in Glasgow with great views from upper windows, so think about what you want to photograph, look for buildings opposite, and away and do it. This particular picture was taken from the tower at the top of Garnethill belonging to the School of Art. I simply walked in and up the stairs, and saw this view near the top.

Ironically the School of Art itself also has an amazing skyline, hidden from view by the old cinema on Sauchiehall St. I went to a building on Blythswood Square opposite, intending to access the upper floors and take a picture of the School of Art, but was repulsed by a security guard. Maybe next time.

alternative pic: Glasgow from Queens Park:

This might be an even better viewpoint than that of Park Circus, I can't decide. It is important to drop down a little from the viewpoint indicator at the top of Queens Park - which has a fine view north and east - go past the trees in the way - and this fine view northwest opens up. You wouldn't know about it unless you'd had a wee poke about the park.

8: Drumlanrig Panorama

Drumlanrig Castle is a pink confection set in acres of forest and surrounded by tweedy Border hills. Most views are close-ups of the castle from the drive, but I had seen an amazing distant view in a calendar and wanted to capture it for myself. I could tell that the viewpoint was somewhere in the forest to the southwest of the castle, and the first evening I visited, I took the car up the private forest track, expecting to see the viewpoint open out at any moment... but it didn't, and I found instead that I was back on a public road.

Next time I visited I took the car again, took a different turning, the forest track branched - which way should I go? I drove on aimlessly until, beyond a hummock, I saw a break in the trees. My spidey sense tingled. This was it! Abandoning the car on the track, I ran up the hummock, and there was the castle. The designers of Drumlanrig's policies had not let their sense of the picturesque down. I took the picture and regretfully turned back without waiting for my picturesque sensibilities to be fully aroused, as the car was blocking the track.

similar pic: Culzean Castle and Ailsa Craig from the north
Drive round the Electric Brae and you get a great view of Culzean Castle, with Ailsa Craig beyond. Unfortunately you need a pararazzi-stalker type lens to take this picture. Go early on a summer evening.

My Top Ten Viewpoints: 7 - 5
My Top Ten Viewpoints: 4 - 2
My Top Ten Viewpoints: 1


PurestGreen said...

Oh I love that Drumlanrig photo. One of my favourite spots in Edinburgh is from Ramsay lane, looking down over the art galleries and Princes Street.

blueskyscotland said...

Shall bear the Drumlanrig one in mind for later this year.Thanks.!