Saturday, December 07, 2019

The Crunge

In which our hapless photographer discovers that the world is awash with other people!

Maybe some of you will get the title, but not necessarily so, anyway, to quote Robot Planet and The Crunge (on Houses Of The Holy, if you're interested):

Ah, excuse me
Oh, will ya excuse me
I'm just trying to find the bridge

Has anybody seen the bridge?

Have you seen the bridge?
I ain't seen the bridge!
Where's that confounded bridge?

And yes, he's paraphrasing the mighty JB (James Brown) on "Sex Machine":

Bobby! Should I take 'em to the bridge? (Go ahead!)

Take 'em on to the bridge! (Take em to the bridge!)

Can I take 'em to the bridge? (Yeah!)

Take 'em to the bridge? (Go ahead!)
Hit me now!


No James Browns' Were Hurt In The Making Of This Enlargement

The Above, But BIGGER

So how does that relate to anything you're even remotely interested?
I've no idea, but what I will say, is that although the bridge was there, trying to get a point where I could photograph uninterrupted (oh how fecking selfish of me!) was damn nigh impossible . . .

Well, not damn nigh impossible, just not fun, but more of that in a minute, because before I get there, how's this for an incendiary statement.

"Liking" anything on any Social Media or 'Review' website (like Trip Advisor) means you'll never be able to enjoy it again.

To paraphrase (seeing as we're fond of that this morning) Heraclitus (again, I've done it before in FB):

No tourist can Like the same place twice, for it will NEVER be the same place again and they'll be unable to push through the hordes.

Or, more scholarly examples (© Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy):

"The established scholarly method is to try to verify Plato’s interpretation by looking at Heraclitus’ own words, if possible. There are three alleged “river fragments”:

B12. potamoisi toisin autoisin embainousin hetera kai hetera hudata epirrei.
On those stepping into rivers staying the same other and other waters flow. (Cleanthes from Arius Didymus from Eusebius) 

B49a. potamois tois autois … 
Into the same rivers we step and do not step, we are and are not. (Heraclitus Homericus) 

B91[a]. potamôi … tôi autôi …
It is not possible to step twice into the same river according to Heraclitus, or to come into contact twice with a mortal being in the same state. (Plutarch)"

See what I mean - he got it right!

Oh yes, it's quite a statement, and loosely runs alongside the modern paraphrasing lines of:

"Ah, I remember the days when you could go to (Place X or wherever) and not meet a soul. But look at it now!"

Y'see, like a lumbering behemoth, if you see somewhere beautiful looking online (take for example The Fairy Pools, on the Isle Of Skye, that being a neat and incredible example) - maybe it's been "Liked" or Reviewed - you can guarantee that there will be at least 15 coaches, 75 cars, 2 million dogs, 15 push chairs with squaling tots and a thousand shades of velcro and solid outdoor gear tramping over every square inch in the queue in front of you.

Gone are the days when such places were visited by manageable hordes. OK, a horde is a horde and let's face it, pilgrimages and visiting have been going on since Ug told Ugh about a Mammoth Graveyard over in the next valley.
It's part of your makeup to want to go and see and experience something new . . or at least it should be.

But nowadays, like most everything else, it's become over-subscribed. Global tourism is a massive thing - fer feck's sake I even see tourists taking selfies outside Dundee's wonderful City Centre pubs!
I wonder if they're all Jackie Leven fans?
He wrote a song called The Bars Of Dundee . . apparently after being taken in like a waif and stray by the city centre regulars.
This being said, my down-to-earth missus says people take selfies everywhere and at all times and she's right.

Anyway, I digress as usual . . crowds everywhere, yes, and along with the hordes, something new - well I say new, but in reality it's been going on for 10 years, but seems to be getting worser.
Know what it is yet?
Well, as far as I can see, it's a need to validate your life.
You, yes that's YOU, have to PROVE that you're ALIVE
You prove it by photographing yourself and documenting every single little thing and posting it online.
And why?
Well, it proves to others that you are learned, wordly-wise and not afraid of taking a few chances:

Phwah, we nearly missed that Audi in that car park didn't we? 
Phwah, yeah, that was a close one. 

It says that you have been places and are going places, because in going places, one says, I have x-expendable moolah to expend on what I like.
I am interesting!
I will expand my brain and go somewhere and other people will find me interesting too!

Y'know, in the Vatican Museum, I saw a bloke who would, at other times possibly be considered mentally ill - he was basically photographing every single thing, from his family, to coving on ceilings, to objects, to fire extinguishers, to well . . you get the idea . . everything.

Even I, as someone who enjoys taking a snap or two, was non-plussed. Was there any point? Did he really think he'd forget things?
Well he probably would, but I can't quite imagine, ten years down the line, him saying to his partner:

"Remember this cracking bit of coving in the Vatican?"

And I can't understand that, I really can't.
But it has become the norm.

The uptake of travel is part and parcel of modern life.
It's enjoyable, mind-blowing, tiring, wonderful, ecstatic, life-enhancing . . so what right have I to pontificate about anything?
Well, I think what my comment is really about is that, in today's world, it is completely and utterly overblown.
The assault is relentless and at all times of year too.

Bruce (of The Online Darkroom . . yes he IS still alive) reckons that he'd like to do the North Coast 500 (NC 500) in Winter when it is quieter, but then again Bruce, so do a billion other people - everyone weighs it up:

"What d'y reckon .  . Winter? It'll be quieter then." 
"Yeah, that sounds good to me"

And the next thing you know is that you're stuck behind 30 cars, who are also stuck behind a jackknifed coach on a single track A-Road in a Scottish Highland Winter!
There's simply no let up.

And how does this relate then you old twat? 
C'mon then, we're bored rigid!

OK, so there we were, me and t'missus, with a day off and no rain predicted . . so we thought we'd go somewhere we hadn't been in about 15 years . . The Hermitage at Dunkeld. 
Oh dang - there goes the parking . . . .

It's a woodland walk past some of the tallest trees in the country, along the River Braan, with a nice 18th century folly perched over a spectacular gorge. 
It's a hell of a beautiful place
Nature owns it and impresses with her power and peace.

The times we'd been in the past, there were other people, but to be frank, not many, and so we thought, a nice Tuesday morning at the arse end of October, it'll be deserted(ish), job's a good'un.
How wrong we were

Film #66/61

29/10/19 - The Hermitage

Delta 400 - EI 200

1./ 1/60th f8 ZIII - Ali
2./ 1/30th f8 ZIII - Bridge
3./ 1/30th f8 ZIII - Bridge
4./ 1/30th f8 ZIII - Viewpoint Under Bridge
5./ 1/30th f8 ZIII - Bridge/Vegetation
6./ 1/8th f8 ZIII - Bridge
7./ 1/30th f4.5 ZIII - Selfies
8./ 1/15th f8 ZIII - Ali
9./ 1/8th f5.6 ZIII - Ossian's Hall
10./ ? - Possibly Same As The Last One
11./ 1/2 Sec f4.5 ZIII - Ossian's Hall
12./ 1/15th f8 ZIII - Viewpoint

Hasselblad SWC/M - took the TTT and cable release, but never used them - the world's most sophiticated point and shoot!
PHD - new 22℃  - usual to 15mins - stand to 17 mins. Just about perfect - great tonal qualities.

Where I expected to be able to photograph quietly and in an un-stressed and un-bothered way, I was jostled, followed, stared at and generally put off. It was lovely, but also terrible. The place was wonderful, but just too many people. Maybe I should go at dusk on a January's evening . . .

Anyway, the film above was executed in double-quick time - you can tell can't you.

This being said, strangely I think the SW would make a good reportage camera, albeit a bit big, simply because you can get it really super-close with no distortion . . .  but that's another story.

One (More) Man And His Dog

This bloke and his dog just wouldn't move - he was there well before we got there (you could see him on the approach) and he was there after we'd left. In other words he gave photographers a bad name by hanging around like a fart in a lift, but that's the digital democracy - it's made all those mad, impressive, cliched smoky water pics easy as piss to take by anyone with a camera and a tripod. 
They were easy before too tbh, but not many people had seem them outwith the work of Wynn Bullock and John Blakemore . . .

Man With Dog Becomes A Nuisance

He's still there!
This was a small mob of dog walkers - all those yappers were flying about, nipping heels and crapping everywhere - well, I exagerate - they were mostly well behaved, but there weren't half a lot of them, along with shouts of:
"King, c'mere" 
"Fido, wtf are you doing you stupid dog?" 
etc etc.

S'cuse Me Mate, Is That Your Dog?

Yep, STILL THERE and hogging the whole of the balcony - hope he got something interesting to look at.

Is This Far Enough Away?

This gives you an idea of the sheer difficulty of using a SW - see my arm in the centre of the photo? I was holding the camera! My intention was to get just half faces filling the edge of the frame, but nope - you'd probably need to have it about 6 inches from your face for that and even then . . . 
The out of focusness of me and t'missus was deliberate - I was thinking fun a la Lee Friedlander.

Where's Me Reindeer?

I rather like this one - it's not scanned well,  but the light on the print is really lovely. The whole gorge was in shadow apart from a wee bit of sun shining through. My missus looks like she's just emerged from a Laavu (no, not a Lavi - a Laavu is a Finnish shelter).
I had no idea she looked so Scandinavian before.

Hanging Around Like A Fart In A Lift

AND HE IS STILL THERE. You can see him. Might be a bit difficult but I suppose that's the problem with using a super wide lens for landscape - everyfink is a loong way away.
Check the chumps on the bridge - bloody millions of them.

But Closer

I had to do a wee sectional enlargement just so you could see. 
This was WAVE 3!

Where's That Confounded Bridge?

I've taken a better picture from this viewpoint before, using a 6x9 Agfa box camera and Ilford SFX  (those were the days when you didn't need to sell your body-parts to buy it!).
Anyway, no sooner had I emerged from the undergrowth (you need to scout through some wild stuff to get to it) than some fecking uncouth twat with a digicam and 300,000,000mm lens, pushed past me with his partner in crime, saying 
Honest, it was enough to make me spit.

But that's just me.

Anyway, that's it - all of the above were scanned off of Ilford MGRC, Grade 3 - easy to print as always from Pyrocat negatives. The film was some nearly out of date Delta 400 - possibly the last time I'll use it - I love it, but HP5 is cheaper.

And that brings this to an end - I'll maybe have another yearly round-up to publish at the end of the month and that's another year under the bridge - amazing where it all went!

Till then, take care, and remember to help someone this season - you never know when they might help you.


  1. I was wondering what sort of selfie-stick you'd need for a Hasselblad, but it's called an Arm.
    Very interesting to see the whole roll (my fingers wanted to write: Wholle Rolle or Hole Role, for some bizarre reason.) All good stuff. I'll spare you any further comment on the images.
    While you waited behind One Man and His Lee Big Stopper, there was another photographer stuck behind some boring old fart with a clockwork camera. Can you believe it in this day and age? Clockwork? You have to wind it up! Every time!
    Merry Things if we have anything to be merry about after the inglorious twelfth. (A subtle political reference, which you nay delete.)

    1. Thanks as always David - nah, nobody was waiting behind me, I was in like Flynn and out like Trout, hence the poorness of the pictures.
      As for the SWC Selfie stick - there's a Chinese factory firing up as we speak . . made from ABS, with real cloth faux-coat covering.

      Ah yes, the 12th - I'll scrounge up some beaters to get the hordes moving . . .

  2. I've long been telling my missus, if it's in the Lonely Planet, you can forget about it. "Lonely" Planet...come to think of it.

    Your Vatican snapper reminded me of Thomas Joshua Cooper, who apparently travels to the ends of the world to make ONE single exposure at each location, with an ancient Agfa LF camera.

    1. It is true Omar - I notice it in particular in places I have known for a long time - they get 'reviewed' and all of a sudden there's a cruise ship parked outside! I can't wait till someone pulls a "Aguirre, The Wrath Of God"-style stunt and starts hauling one up Glen Doll . . .

      TJC is lucky - think he is still head of photography at Glasgow School Of Art - he can afford to do such things . . . just to make one though is a bit risky don't you think?
      I met, a couple of years back at a Scottish Photographers meeting, his darkroom person/people - it was very satisfying to get a visible pause from their scanning of the prints of the day when they got to some of my old "this paper's at least 20 years old, let's use it up" prints ';0)
      The guy was OK, but the gal was all art-speak about process and work and method . . .

      Hope you are all well!


  3. I gave up on the Hermitage a long time ago because the car park always seemed full and I’m too lazy to walk any distance. I also found it to be one of those places that is impressive “in the flesh” but less so on film. That was my experience anyway. Brave of you to tackle it with one lens and a super wide at that. Couldn’t agree more about the price of Delta :(

    Unlike David, the political shenanigans have set me up nicely for a stonking Christmas, my faith restored in the democratic process and out of the EU (on paper pending negotiations) by the end of January hopefully.

    Might even be motivated to take a pic or two.

    1. Hi WIlberforce O'Robbins - I think you could do the Hermitage nicely, but it needs time, atmosphere and no people!

      As for the EU - well, everyone is entitled to their opinion - only time will prove anything right.

  4. May I defend myself, just a little... I said "...if..." and it's worked well for at least one person. I'm looking forward to really well-swept chimneys and perfectly picked oakum, so I'm delighted too. But we shall see.
    No need to publish this non-photographic material if you choose.
    Merry things to all.

    1. No skin off my turnips David - feel free to comment!
      You can't beat a bit of oakum picking though - does wonders for dexterity and patience. I am personally looking forward to the return of the Rope bed and the fourpenny coffin.

  5. Don't know about the chimneys, David. Kids today seem somewhat bigger than in the good old days. I suppose we could always use pre-schoolers since there will be nothing to stop us once we've cut ourselves off from the EU's job protections and since it's unlikely we'll be able to think of any rights for our own workers. Haha.

  6. Keeping children in hospital corridors will make them small. All part of a carefully planned plan, planned by careful planners

  7. The balcony man must have been annoying. If it's any consolation, he has to sort through several hundred nearly identical photos to choose the least worst one.
    I like your silly-selfie. You and the missus are a nice looking couple.

    1. Or 3 hours of HD footage . . . thank you Marcus! I'll get over it . . soon!!

      As for me and t'missus, ah, we look nice, but you don't know where we've hidden the bodies ';0)


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