Friday, May 3, 2024

Over the sea to Skye

A week ago, had someone asked me if I had ever visited the Isle of Skye, I would have probably said, "I don't think so". In a more adamant mood, I might simply have said "No". I would have been wrong.

Leaving aside the questionable use of photo editors and artificial intelligence, actual photographs don't lie. So, while revisiting some of my Kodak slides from the early 1970s, I came across some pictures that caused me to wonder, 'Where was that taken?'

Where was that taken?

Fortunately, there is Google. A reverse image search told me that this was a view of Uig on the Isle of Sky. Really? Sure enough, a bit of playing around with Google Street View, allowed me to see Uig from close to the spot I must have stood to take the photo:

Google Street View looking over Uig

There have been changes in the last 50 years: The wharf at Uig has been extended, grass no longer grows in the middle of the road, and barriers have been erected to protect the careless.

The revelation of a Skye visit also made sense of some other photos, like a picture of churning water, taken from a boat - the Skye ferry (before the current Skye bridge was built) and the view from Duntulm Castle (apparently now fenced off from the public).

View from Duntulm Castle

Many photographers travel the globe looking for unusual places to photograph. Of course, that inevitably leads to others following in their footsteps and the uniqueness of those photographs soon fades. 

I'm just back from a virtual visit to Skye in the 1970s. The 1970s was pre-internet, pre-Instagram, pre the explosion of digital photography. If you want a picture of Uig without Armco barriers or the view from a now-inaccessible castle, then I'm sorry; you're a bit late. Isn't time travel wonderful? 

I like the 1970s, "Over the bridge to Skye" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

A New Thing for a New Year

 I got a new computer for Christmas.

I remember when this was the bleeding edge of portable computing!

Well, actually, no. I'm still using the same computer that I purchased for my retirement, nearly three years ago. It's not the latest or greatest but it still performs as well as it did when new. However, over the Christmas/New Year break, I did acquire three new pieces of software and that new software has made my computer seem like it is a 'new' computer.

Not that it matters to anyone else, but I have a new image editor (RAW Power), a new 'read later' app (Omnivore), and a new browser (Arc). I'll not bore you with the details but, between them, they have changed the way I use my computer as well as my phone and tablet - everything feels like 'new'.

All this 'new computer' malarkey, caused me to think about the New Year. Traditionally, we make a big thing about seeing out the old year and ringing in the new. However, some of us find it difficult to detect any significant difference between December 31st and January 1st. New Year celebrations just leave us a little … unmoved - like not getting a new computer for Christmas. But, what if we got new software for the year ahead? Would that make it seem more like the fresh New Year it is supposed to be? 

Putting something new into the new year may be the basis for those resolutions we flirt with each January. But resolutions are not what I am thinking of here. It isn't about resolving to go to the gym more regularly; that is not a new thing. Rather, what new breath of fresh air am I going to allow into my life in 2024? What new thing am I going to try?

Those are the keywords - TRY and THING. It's not a commitment like a resolution, it's a decision to play with someTHING. It's a decision to embrace your inner child and TRY something new. Maybe that THING will stick, maybe it won't. Maybe it will be a disaster or maybe the start of something good. The key is that you TRY someTHING new to you - perhaps, several someTHINGs throughout the year.

I already know what one of my new things will be. I decided a couple of months ago that I wanted to try my hand at printmaking. The details are a bit fluid but I have been gathering resources and I know where I am going to start. We'll see where it goes from there. It's one new piece of software for what I hope will really seem like a New Year.

Have a great New Year everyone - and don't forget to TRY a THING.