Doon the water

We decided to take a trip ‘doon the water’ after lunch on a sunny Sunday afternoon. After a nice drive along the Clyde and down the coast, with wonderful views across the water, we arrived at our old stomping ground, Skelmorlie and Largs.

After a brief walk to inspect the newly built flats on the shore at Skelmorlie, we continued our drive along the coast to Largs. The walk along the promenade and Largs Beach was brazing, but well worth it for the fresh air and stunning sunset.

Dunure Castle sunset

The coast at Dunure castle is one of my favourite locations for a Sunday afternoon, wandering round the old harbour, exploring the castle, scrambling along the rocky shore and admiring the views across the water to Ailsa Craig. In winter time, the Sunday afternoon’s wander becomes even more rewarding with the sun setting well before it is time to head back to the city for a Sunday night roast.

On the afternoon of the second Sunday in November, I took a large amount of photos round the harbour and the castle, but these two sunset photos are my favourite.

Clouds over Ailsa Craig

The island of Ailsa Craig is a prominent feature visible from nearly everywhere along the Airshire coast. The dome shaped island is a volcanic plug left behind by an extinct volcano in the Irish Sea and is nick named Paddy’s milestone because is is halfway between Glasgow and Belfast, as the crow flies.

If you like solitude, the 220 acre island with a ruined castle, a small cottage, a lighthouse and a granite quarry is for sale for a mere £1.5m.

Greenan Castle reflections

On the first weekend for months without any rain or sleet, we just had to pretend to be  real Glaswegians and head ‘doon the water’. We drove down to Ayr and wandered along the shore from Doonfoot to Greenan Castle and the Heads of Ayr on a magnificent day.

These are my favourite shots of the day (without one or both of my two girls in it), with Greenan Castle reflecting in the waters left behind by the tide. I just cannot make up my mind which one works better, the square or the portrait format. What do you think?

Chasing reflections

What else to do than go ‘Doon the Water’ on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

We drove down to Doonfoot and wandered along the beach to Greenan Castle and the Heads of Ayr. I found the perfect spot for a shot of the castle with the reflections in the still water left behind with low tide. Nearly the perfect landscape shot, but Lola had other ideas and decided to pose for the camera.

Eventually, I got the shot I wanted, without Lola and any walkers, as you can see in my next post. This post is all about Lola who enjoyed the afternoon’s wander immensely, and nothing was more fun than run back and forwards between Lynn and I, splashing through the water.

Ayr and Greenan Castle

On Sunday afternoon we headed to Ayr for a wander through it’s old town, along the promenade and beech, hopefully ending up with some time to chill on the beach in the end. Although it was fairly windy, it was sunny and warm, so we had a very pleasant stroll along the promenade, to the old dry dock and back through the old town.

In the old dry dock, we stumbled upon an old fishing boat called the Watchful, an iconic symbol of the glory days of Clyde coastal fishing. The vessel was restored to it’s original state with the help of West Coast Marine and ‘volunteers’ from the Community Service Rehabilitation Programme.

During our wander through the old town of Ayr, we came across some wonderful old houses and St. John’s Tower, the towering remnants of a once proud church that stuck it’s feet in the ground in the 13th Century. In fact, St John’s Tower is the oldest surviving building in the Town of Ayr and was restored in 1914 to it’s full glory by Lord Bute.

Eventually we ended up on the beech close to the where the River Doon enters the sea. A wonderful position with views across the beachfrom South to North, from Greenan Castle and the Heads of Ayr to Arran. While Lynn stuck her head in the newspapers, Lola and I ventured onto the flats for some photography. I haven’t had much chance recently, but a wonderful opportunity calling for use of my tilt and shift lens and polarising/graduated filters.

Whippet triplets

You probably have gathered from the images on my site, that creating panormas (vistas) and virtual realisties by stitching multiple images together is one of my specialities. So I decided to do an experiment with three images shown below that I took of Lola at Portencross Beach.

And I am quite chuffed with the result.

Now how did I do that?

Anyone can do this! It’s easy. But be warned, you’ll need an awful lot of wine. To start off, I select the images in Lightroom, right click and select Edit In – Merge to Panorama in Photoshop which seamlessly launches Photomerge from Lightroom and saves the result back to the Lightroom catalogue.

In the Photomerge dialogue, there are a few options, but I just leave the settings as default. In my experience, Photoshop will either do a wonderful job or makes an absoluate hash off it, in which case I simply refer back to using PTGui Pro. In this case, Photoshop came up with a perfect stitch.

Then kick off the photomerge, open a bottle of wine, and poor yourself a glass. When your glass is empty, just refill it. Go on, have another glass. Take the whippet for a walk. And, yes you guessed it, have another glass. When Photoshop finally completes the number crunching, this is the result.

Then a suitable crop. Unfortunately, a few bits are missing in this case, requiring a little cloning work. Had I used a slightly wider focal length, a crop would have been sufficient. More crop in this instance would have lost part of the reflection and would have taken away any space (sand) above Lola.

Finally, another glass of wine to celebrate the result.

Beech whippet

The first weekend of the summer with scorching sunshine. After a day roasting in the garden on the Saturday polished off with lots of wine over a bbq, what else could one do except head to the nearest beach on the Sunday. Well, maybe not the nearest, but Portencross Beach is our favorite, and certainly one of the best within easy driving distance, reasonably quiet with spectecular views across the water to Arran and on a clear day even to Ailsa Craig.

The tide was well out, making the beach enormously wide, with wonderful stretches of rocks containing puddles, and bright green sea weed. Only the second time we have been on a beach with Lola, and boy, did she love it. Mooching through the seaweed, paddling through the puddles and waves, chasing and being chased by other dogs, rolling on a dead seagull and harassing typical Glaswegians for blackened sausages from their bbq.

These few images hopefully illustrate the whale of a time Lola had. She was so tired after running ragged that she slept all the way home in the back of the car, which is very unusual, and was even quiet during our second bbq of the weekend. I admit this is a blog entry with whippet overload, but hey, the images are wonderful if I may say so myself.
It was very hazy, and without polaroids, Arran was not even visible. I will have a look through the landscape and intimate landscape images taken that day, and dedicate a future blog to these if they are worthwhile sharing.