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Issue 53 - Celluloid dreams

Scotland Magazine Issue 53
October 2010


This article is 8 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Celluloid dreams

The joys of modern photography and the digital age.

Here at Scotland Towers we have been receiving lots and lots of your lovely images for our inaugural photographic competition. I have to say that there is some talent out there and I have been very impressed with the quality.

Of course the subject matter also helps. Scotland is possibly one of the most beautiful and photogenic lands. From the rugged beauty of the Highlands and Islands to the pastoral delights of the Lowlands, from its ancient ruins and castles to the stately sprawls of its houses and cityscapes, there is plenty to focus on and inspire.

Recently I had the good fortune to buy a decent digital SLR camera, such items are a useful addition to the journalist’s armour as we try to bring you some of the best stories and high quality pictures, and using it recently got me thinking.

See before this I have been using my dad’s 1980s Olympus OM-1 film camera. A cracking camera with good quality lenses. But that shift to digital got me thinking about the immediacy of the whole thing. With film I had to think about what I was photographing. A roll of black and white would be 36 frames and too precious to waste by snapping happily away. Also it feels that there was a little more art to using film, you have to wait to see the results, whether your exposures and shutter settings have been approriate, whether its in focus as well.

Now with the digital age its all there. Just look on the back of the camera and if you dont like it, delete and start again.

Then there is the impressive capacity of memory cards. If you shoot on a low setting you can have thousands of pictures. Imagine the camera bag in the old days with that much film. I remember once coming back from a trip to Egypt and I had shot about 10 rolls. That nervous anticipation handing a shoppping bag laden with the precious rolls over to the developers and waiting.

Perhaps it’s not the death of photographic art, it’s just evolving it, democratising it. Now pretty much anyone one with an eye for detail can turn their hand to photography. I for one still use the film camera for my own pleasure, but only with black and white film these days.

There is a satisfying feeling to the camera, its smooth metal surfaces and grips. Also the clockwork click and winding on noises have the ghosts of decades of family holidays hidden among them.

Still I think the best thing is to get out there and do your best.

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