It was apparent in early March that the COVID Pandemic was set to enshroud Scotland and , given my age , I decided to take things cautiously and curtailed all unnecessary journeys and social gatherings, including Stirling and District Camera Club which continued to meet until forbidden by Government order.
Lockdown was a catalogue of much anticipated but jettisoned opportunity; I was due to visit Derry and spend time with relatives in June as well as a trip for a few days to Glencolmcille , an area of historic interest and noted for the haughty grandeur of Sliabh Liag and its Atlantic coastline. P&O has given me an open credit for my booking and let’s hope that the opportunity arises in 2021. Last year, I spent a truly memorable week with the superb Gordon Rae Photography , photographing osprey in the Highlands. These magnificent birds are extraordinary to observe and photograph, if you’re lucky, as they dive and fish at breath taking speed on some Speyside lochs. Government Public Health restrictions prevented all such tours happening but I have re-booked for July 2021.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe presents a myriad of photographic opportunities and young, exotic and exhibitionist actors who just relish having their pictures taken. All of the festivals were an early casualty to the virus. Their cancellation meant the City took an enormous cultural and economic hit.
My interest was pricked by Canon’s announcement of two new mirrorless cameras, the R5 and R6. It has not excelled to date in this area and has been outshone by Fuji, Sony , Olympus and others but the early reviews were very promising. The new models would be full frame and mirrorless with some outstanding features but they would be costly and supply would not be readily available. Camera manufacturers work on the planned obsolescence principle and residual values of perfectly good models plummet. On the advice of a photographer friend, I began to consider an upgrade for my aging Fuji X-T1 and decided on the new X-T4 with the sparkling 16 – 55mm f2.8 lens. About three years ago, I bought my DSLR from Calumet in Edinburgh and was very pleased with the service, advice and knowledge of the staff. It has since been taken over by the online retailer, WexPhoto. I drove to the store in Leith, my first Edinburgh outing in six months. Service there is still superb and I bought the new gear and some peripherals cheaper than I would have done on the internet. In addition, I got to handle and try the camera and a couple of lenses before making my purchase. I can thoroughly recommend WexPhoto in Jane Street, Edinburgh.
The Camera Club has resumed in blended form – attendance for some and Zoom connection for the rest. I viewed online a first class presentation by Ken Lindsay of Eastwood last night. While interaction with other members has gone, there are bonuses – no travel and home comfort.
In October, my wife and I are going up to Glencoe for a week. We booked the big house that we normally take, thinking that the grandchildren would join us but school and various circumstances seem to have ruled that out. However, Glencoe is utopia for the photographer and there will be plenty to keep us occupied.
And there’s a new camera to test.