My diary suffered during the winter months as related in the May entry, so it seems fair that I should keep it a bit more up to date now that I have no more excuses.

Just recently I worked on a film at Freswick Castle, near John O' Groats. The film, called "The Walk", is about the work of William Wilberforce and his aim towards the abolition of slavery. I was involved for two days taking the stills for promotional work when the film is completed. This type of photography is often very challenging as the stills photographs need to be taken without disrupting the flow of the film (but that's how always I work at weddings, so it's much the same). The location was wonderful. The castle - more a tower really - stood on a wide curving bay under a vast expansive blue sky (I doubt if it's always like that?!!?). I had worked with many of the film crew before, so it was a bit like a reunion.

All was set for a comfortable shoot. And so it was, apart from the fact that some of the shots were to be taken in the cellars of the castle supposedly lit solely by one candle. There was additional lighting but this was not to be obvious. A bit of a challenge - but you'll see the results here. I was fortunate this time in been given plenty of time with the actor, Andrew Harrison, and we explored a variety of locations in an attempt to get atmospheric shots - again, here are some of the results.

A few weeks later I was at another film shoot. "The Accidental Activist" is a short film about a shy young woman whose world revolves around reading romantic novels. In an attempt to return books to the library, she gets swept away in a protest march during time of the G8 summit. She stumbles into an equally shy young man, whose world revolves around tying his shoe lace (well, it does in this scene) - their eyes meet - and ....!

The two actors will be recognised by most Scottish readers of this diary as Jane McCarry and Gavin Mitchell who both feature in the highly successful television comedy "Still Game"

Following the Freswick film I took the opportunity to travel back down the west coast of Scotland and was treated to it's rich and varied land and seascapes. On the final day, which started off a little overcast, I started late and was taking photographs at around 9 a.m. I travelled down through Wester Ross and left the Ullapool area just after mid-night - still taking photos. The shot here of Stac Pollaidh (Stack Polly) was taken at ten minutes past mid-night!

The best light is often an hour before and after sunrise or sunset. The problem is trying to be in as many locations as possible at this time. I know the area reasonable well and could manage to get to a few of the best places but frustratingly not all the ones I'd have liked to. Oh well - I'll just have to got back! By the time I reached Glencoe a spectacular dawn greeted me, delaying my journey home by another hour or two.

I've had a lot of travelling to do for weddings recently having attended weddings at Edinburgh Castle, Castle Campbell and Solsgirth House near Dollar (second time this year at the castle), Onich, near Glencoe, all being about 100 miles from home, along with more local venues including here in Lochgoilhead, at Inveraray and at Cove, near Helensburgh.

There always seems to be an element of surprise that I am willing to travel so far, but I see it as no great hardship and quite enjoy the opportunity to move about this wonderful country.

What I find more amazing is the number of brides and guests who recall the most harrowing stories of photographers they have encountered at other weddings.

There seems to be a vast number of photographers whose sole aim is to take over the day and completely dominate the proceedings, ruining the wedding for all concerned. It would appear that I've got it all wrong. I should really be taking over the whole day, keeping the bride and groom away from their guests for at least two hours and, of course, forbidding anyone else to take photographs. Oh, and I should also be charging at least £1500 to £2500 for doing this, according to many "prize winning" wedding photographer' web sites.

What arrogance! The day belongs to the bride and groom, and what pleases them and their guests should be the main consideration for the photographer. So yes, I'll continue to produce a service which repeatedly results in comments similar to those seen on my feedback pages - of how unobtrusive I have been and yet consistently getting photographs which look very natural and not posed. If I can leave a wedding with guests saying that they hadn't even noticed me - then I know I've done my job effectively.



All in one!