Independent Canadian book publishers working in Dominica, W.I. specializing in coffee table books of architectural treasures and lush gardens. We also promote fine artistic photography. This blog contains unofficial reports and comments from our various trips, photo sessions, and jobs – an unofficial scrapbook of our travels, explorations and photo-related work. See “about” for more.

Archive for October, 2012

West Highland Train – Glasgow to Mallaig, Scotland

Early morning photo from the train. Just out of Glasgow.

By any measure our trip to the Isle of Skye in Scotland was absolutely fantastic!
Although it was already late October, weather was summer-like. And of course people in Scotland – as always – were helpful and friendly. Not only did we take all the photographs for our client, but also did some extra sightseeing, ending up having lots of additional photos, as well as amazing memories.
While the whole trip was just over one week long, it was packed with memorable moments and activities. Therefore we decided to split our post into several separate parts, in order to share our memories with you in the best possible way.

Dark clouds add drama to green hills.

So here is the first part – the journey from Glasgow to Mallaig:
When we boarded the West Highland Train in Glasgow early in the morning, we didn’t expect such a spectacular journey ahead of us. We knew that West Highland Line was voted one of the best scenic train journeys in the world, but nothing prepared us for that fantastically picturesque delight.

views are getting better and better…

The view from the train starts to be interesting almost immediately after leaving the station. The train runs parallel to the River Clyde along its north bank. After that the landscape opens wide. The line continues to wind its way through glens, alongside lochs, across moors, climbing up the mountains. It goes through scarcely populated areas before reaching Rannoch Moor, a vast upland wilderness. Scenery changes as in a kaleidoscope. Stations’ names become more Gaelic sounding; we are now in the heart of the Highlands.

Constantly on alert – I had only couple of seconds from seeing this, to taking this photo.

The morning sky becomes light blue and sunny, all colours of the landscape are saturated after the rain. We are glued to the windows determined not to miss anything; one blink of an eye and the view will be lost forever. We enter “the Horse Shoe Curve”- instead of crossing the broad valley, the train makes a big, spectacular bend over the neighbouring hillsides. Next, for some people on the train comes the biggest attraction: the Glenfinnan Viaduct, the biggest bridge on the line, featured in the “Harry Potter” films.

Near Rannoch train station

For us, the highlight of this trip comes next, past Fort William: the incredibly picturesque Loch Eilt, studded with tiny islands with towering trees. After crossing several viaducts and tunnels, we can already catch a glimpse of the sea. Our journey ends in Mallaig, a fishing port and a gateway to the north-west islands.

the Glenfinnan Viaduct – recognize it from Harry Potter?

The whole 264 km journey takes over 5 hours, but we felt like watching an incredibly fascinating 2- hour movie. If not for the train, it would be otherwise impossible to see such a stunning variety of Scottish landscape in such a short time. West Highland Line was built over the period of almost 40 years starting from 1863.

Beautiful Loch Eilt with dozens of tiny islands

The latest extension – from Fort William to Mallaig – was opened in April 1901. Since then, the train gives a chance to experience one of the most memorable rail journeys in the world.

We plan to take a ferry from Mallaig to one of the biggest Scottish islands, the Isle of Skye. For us, the West Highland Train is only the beginning.

ruins of a  house on a moor

Thank you for reading, please SHARE with friends, and if you like it – click FOLLOW to get notified when next parts are posted.
Story – Margaret Gajek, author of multi-awarded books Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean and Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean
Photography – Derek Galon (please respect copyright).

Until next time, cheers!
Derek

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Breathing Color – Amazing Photo Papers

Tile Tales looks spectacular on Metallic paper. All bright parts are almost glowing.

I recently prepared several prints for a Photo Salon in Japan, and used this opportunity to work on newly purchased selection of papers from a young, dynamic company Breathing Color. Results of that work are so pleasing that I decided to share them with you ASAP.

Normally I would use this kind of post  in my other, more technical blog (and maybe I will repost it there too). But this story is bordering between technical, and a simple sharing of a great photo experience. It also shows several photographs from my portfolio – therefore I decided to post it here.

Preparing for THE 73rd INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHIC SALON OF JAPAN, I selected images of different styles, subjects and techniques. Among them, my favourite image with model Koko, called Tile Tales (which -by the way- have been just published in a limited edition book showing select fine art photography from around the world, and titled No Words, by the prestigious Scandinavian gallery 1X.).

This image looks almost black and white, it is full of luminescence and contrasts. Along with Tile Tales I selected some densely colorful images, as well as couple of real black and whites. That choice made for a perfect testing ground for my newly purchased Breathing Color papers.

Silvery-grey clay on No Nirvana image simply shines when printed on Metallic paper.

Knowing well how the “Tile Tales” looks on traditional glossy and pearl Ilford papers, I was curious how it will look on Breathing Color’s Vibrance Metallic. This paper intrigued me instantly. It has a high gloss finish, and its surface looks a bit like mother of pearl, reflecting light in a very interesting way.
So, I printed Tile Tiles – and could not believe the effect. Image got an instant “boost of light”, an extra dimension of warm luminescence. It is hard to describe. Perhaps it can be compared a bit with viewing it on a top quality monitor, where light comes from behind – rather than hitting printed image from the front. The brighter the image part is, the more of that reflective luminescence it gets – effectively expanding gamut and dynamics well over typical limits. The image received its own life! If you would have two  Tile Tales prints – one on a lovely Ilford’s Pearl paper, and another on this Metallic – I bet you would pick first the metallic one, even without thinking why you did so. It definitely is a paper which will help your images being noticed. Even in a poor light it still has quite a lot of appeal.

I found it fantastic for images which strongly accent their bright spots, and with bright colours including grey/silver/white.
Therefore I couldn’t resist printing my new image No Nirvana (with Michael Ward – model) on it – and bingo! Again, the image was stunning. Light grey elements of clay look just AMAZING. Unbelievable print! I printed on this paper both with dye and Epson pigment inks – and it looks same spectacular with both.

“Abandoned by God” photo from Montserrat gets a new life on Metallic paper – all bright parts including grey volcanic ash are simply stunning.

Next, I printed Rain Dance (with Daniel Corbett – model) – image with vibrant colours and lots of dark elements. For this one – I picked luxurious, lush mat paper called Vellum Fine Art Paper (again by Breathing Color).
Wow! Rarely I see such elegant and deep palette as this. A beautiful gallery quality print. Thick and heavy, it is really impressive. I quickly varnished it with a matte spray to protect against fingerprints, as this image just asks to be touched.

Rain Dance looks rich and elegant on Vellum paper.

I used the same paper for my black and white image called Always Fresh flowers (with Eden Celeste – model). Again – amazing result: deep blacks look on this paper almost like on an opulent velvet fabric, you almost see a depth to it. A remarkable paper, and instantly on my favourites list.

I also tested a semi-gloss kind of paper, called Vibrance Rag, printing Revisiting Dr. Freud (with Rowen Bellamy – model). At first, I was taken aback by its look. It has a slight texture and a light glaze, which did not look to me very appealing straight from the box. It looked too “artificial”, I thought. But when I printed on it a photo full of colour, textures and contrast – this paper got life on its own. Covered with ink, gone was that “artificial” look, and it looks like a really fine gallery grade print. Thumbs up again!

Vellum Fine Art paper makes “Always Fresh Flowers” look almost three-dimensional. Fantastic art paper indeed.

I still have some other Breathing Color papers and supplies to test – but these first three got my highest approval, and I can say that with their price being significantly lower than other top brands (Epson or Canson for example) – they will be often used for my exhibition quality works. They exceeded my expectation – and those of you who know how picky I am – should realize it is not often happening.

Like with all photo papers, you should consider specific images and select paper which will work well to accentuate your photograph. But you will find that Breathing Color can offer you really fine papers for many situations when you need the best prints. And the great news is – they offer low priced sampler packs! This is what I just used.

Revisiting Dr. Freud on Vibrance Rag looks very classy and rich.

I hope you enjoy this post, and if you do – please SHARE it with friends.
Thank you, until next time – perhaps right after our return from Skye, Scotland, later this month.
Cheers!

All images copyright Derek Galon and Ozone Zone Books. Please respect it.

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