From the Forth to Falkirk

by Helen Hooker April. 28, 2017 2257 views

Edinburgh's iconic Forth Rail Bridge. Historically it perpetually needed repainting to maintain the metal beneath but new paint technology means it won't need more attention for many years now.

Having completed my work in Scotland it was time to have some fun today so I took the Borders railway back to Edinburgh, where I picked up a hire car and headed for South Queensferry where I'd arranged to meet up with Matt McKenna near the Forth Bridge.  We've known each other for many years via Photoblog but we've never had an opportunity to meet in person until now.   I've admired Matt's photos of the Forth Bridges for a long while so this seemed a logical place to meet and we were blessed with great weather this afternoon. 

The uninhabited island of Inchgarvie is visible in this shot. It was a prison in the 16th and 17th centuries and was later used for gun emplacements in the Napoleonic era and later wars because of its strategic position.

Looking in the other direction the Forth Road Bridge is clearly visible, along with the newest bridge, the Queensferry Crossing, still under construction in the background.

I fully expected to be sharing colour photos from this afternoon, featuring the red of the bridge and the beautiful blue skies.  However, I've tried the images both ways and somehow they worked better for me on this occasion in monochrome.  As we took a stroll along the road through the centre of South Queensferry Matt pointed out the view of the rail bridge through the windows of a nearby bar.  My eye was drawn to the interesting character sitting outside, with a cool beer - perfect material for a little candid street photography.  We also came across a beautifully preserved Vauxhall Viva nearby and this too was irresistible to me and my camera.

I can never resist the call of an interesting character!

This Viva was in fabulous condition - no doubt someone's pride and joy!

After a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon Matt and I parted company and I headed for my hotel, on the outskirts of Falkirk.  Following dinner I considered relaxing in my room but the draw of an interesting sunset was too great and I headed instead for the Kelpies, two enormous horse sculptures beside the Forth and Clyde canal.  These amazing pieces were created by the sculptor Andy Scott in recognition of the historic role horses had in industry, in particular their work alongside the canal network.  The sculptures themselves were based on two horses he knew called Duke and Baron and they stand some thirty metres tall, built from stainless steel.

The Kelpies - the largest horse sculptures in the world. The left hand horse is called Duke and the other is Baron

The sunset wasn't quite as spectacular as I'd hoped in the end, as a brisk wind was blowing clouds across the sky at quite a speed.  However, they still looked magnificent, and as the light levels dropped the ever changing coloured lights inside the Kelpies made them even more photogenic.   As day turned to night I began to regret not bringing my tripod (sadly there just wasn't room in my suitcase) but the image stabilisation on my camera worked a treat and I was able to capture photos well after the sun had sun below the horizon. 

23 April 2017

I discovered this fabulous reflection from one of the pontoons on the nearby canal. I wasn't really supposed to access the pontoon but there was no one around and I was careful not to disturb the residents of the nearby canal boats!

The two people at the base of Duke give a proper sense of the scale of these enormous sculptures

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There are 14 comments , add yours!
Philip Cleminson 4 years, 4 months ago

Great work and variety, some compelling images, well done

4 years, 4 months ago Edited
Fred Vasquez 4 years, 4 months ago

That is a fantastic blog. Going to take inspiration for posting my first ever blog :)

4 years, 4 months ago Edited
Helen Hooker Replied to Fred Vasquez 4 years, 4 months ago

Thank you so much! Good luck with your blog 😊

4 years, 4 months ago Edited
Joe Zink 4 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for posting these, the images are absolutely wonderful.
I was amused to read that you had got onto the pontoon without permission...from now on I'll think of you as a pirate. :)

4 years, 4 months ago Edited
Helen Hooker Replied to Joe Zink 4 years, 4 months ago

Lol, I'll be sure to carry a parrot on my shoulder next time!!

4 years, 4 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess 4 years, 5 months ago

Wow! Fabulous set. I'd never seen nor heard tell of those incredible horse sculptures. Great camera work!

4 years, 5 months ago Edited
Carl Mcpherson 4 years, 5 months ago

Helen a simply outstanding set of images love #1

4 years, 5 months ago Edited
Helen Hooker Replied to Carl Mcpherson 4 years, 4 months ago

Thank you so much Carl

4 years, 4 months ago Edited
Jean Paul Escalera 4 years, 5 months ago

Hi Helen, let me be the first to say that today's post is brilliant! The B&W pictures of the Forth bridge are absolutely superb and I believe look better than they would have in color. B&W gives them so much character. The horse pictures are fabulous! Obviously it was a good day! Well done!

P.S. we lived in Dunoon for about 15 months from 1987-1989 and found Scotland to be a beautiful country.

4 years, 5 months ago Edited
Helen Hooker Replied to Jean Paul Escalera 4 years, 4 months ago

Thank you so much!

4 years, 4 months ago Edited
David Allen 4 years, 5 months ago

Great set of pictures, my favourite is the fellow and the bar and the bridge viewed through the bar.

4 years, 5 months ago Edited
Helen Hooker Replied to David Allen 4 years, 4 months ago

Thanks David. He's a favourite of mine too 😊

4 years, 4 months ago Edited
Antonio Gil 4 years, 5 months ago

Everything here is amazing. Thanks for the excellent article about prime lenses dear Helen.

4 years, 5 months ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 4 years, 5 months ago

Wonderful, amazing love it

4 years, 5 months ago Edited