I have been very busy during the past few months, mainly weddings (more of these later). This, I appreciate, will be of little interest to many people - but my wife and my bank manager seem delighted.
For the past few years I’ve been the photographer for the Cowal Gathering which is one of the major Highland Games events in the Scottish calendar and attracts more than 3,500 competitors many from Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
It includes both the Scottish and the World Highland Dancing Championships along with Pipe Band and individual piping championships, and, of course the traditional "Heavy" events.
I was already booked to cover a wedding on the Friday (yes, I get bookings more than a year in advance!) and couldn’t cover the Scottish Highland Dancing Championship, so this was covered by a friend of mine, Archie Ferguson, who is the local press photographer. However I was there for the previous day which was for the preliminary selections and for the final day on which the main events are The World Highland Dancing Championship and the Pipe band events.
When I was first commissioned to cover the Gathering my main brief was to photograph all the trophy presentations for the records. Whilst very important, this didn’t seem to me to capture the essence of the Gathering and so over the past few years I’ve managed to sneak in some of my own style of photography - very much as I cover weddings - in that I try to capture images which typify the day. Dancers warming up, pipers tuning up and even some of youngsters chatting up gives a much wider coverage of the Gathering - to see more have a look at the web site - www.cowalgathering.com (ignore Friday - they’re Archie’s photos!!!)
I’ve been privileged to attend some really lovely weddings of late. This has taken me to new venues which is always exciting, and to some locations I had visited previously.
One of the new venues included an open air wedding in the grounds of Benmore Gardens not too far from where I live. Weddings in the open, especially in Argyll, are very much at the mercy of the elements and this particular wedding was no exception. The weather was very unsettled and left final decision making a bit fraught - but this was solved as "the keeper of the rings" made the potentially disastrous mistake of leaving the box containing the rings on top of a "wheely bin" outside the bride’s cottage. A twenty minute dash in his car retrieved the rings and another twenty minute dash back coincided with the only clear sunny spell of the day.
Another wedding was at a favourite local location Ardkinglas House in Cairdow - only ten miles from my home. If the weather is good there are some wonderful spiral staircases on the outside of the building which are ideal for group shots. I have attend a couple of weddings here - both under the exceptional supervision of Rosemary McInnes of Chatters Restaurant in Dunoon. Rosie is just about the best caterer I have ever worked with - and provides a service second to none. Take a look at her web site www.chattersrestaurant.co.uk if you’re getting married in this part of Scotland.
Some photos from other recent weddings have just been added to my wedding page on this site.
My next Diary entry will feature a return commission with the spectacular Indian Dance Theatre company "Kathakali" who are performing early in October in Argyll at four venues as part of their 2006 British Tour.If you’re interested in being there then phone me and I’ll let you have details - 01301 703 222.