Yearly Archives: 2010

UK Detour: Day 16, Ullapool

We suc­cess­fully wrapped up prin­ci­ple pho­tog­ra­phy the pre­vi­ous day, which freed up the next for get­ting b-roll footage. This was also the day we had to make the 12 hour drive back to London, and after all was said and done, this jour­ney began at 4pm.

It was just me and Mike on the way back, shar­ing more and more our­selves, as we dis­cov­ered that exhaus­tion makes the best inter­ro­ga­tion tool. We kept each other awake for the entire drive, though I started hal­lu­ci­nat­ing by the last hour. By the end, I think we knew each other bet­ter than some of our own friends.

baby crab

Found this baby crab on the beach, hid­ing in an oys­ter shell, and small enough to fit on the tip of my finger.

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UK Detour: Day 15, Ullapool

When Mike asked me what my dream job is, I told him that I’d be a direc­tor. So he asked me to direct the next seg­ment of his doc­u­men­tary because I tend to have a good sense of the larger scope when it comes to sto­ry­telling, and that would let him focus on the cin­e­matog­ra­phy and the interview.

Our roles over­lapped more often than not since this was his cre­ative vision, but that only meant we made a great team. I could bounce an idea off him, and he’d imme­di­ately under­stand what I was talk­ing about. And if he saw a tech­nique I could do bet­ter, he’d tell me how to work dif­fer­ently and I’d under­stand with­out need­ing an explanation.

It’s fas­ci­nat­ing to get a glimpse into some­one else’s pho­to­graphic process. I’d love to include more in this video because there were a lot of bril­liant, touch­ing, inti­mate moments dur­ing the inter­view, but it’s Mike’s project and it wouldn’t be right to reveal the con­cept to the world before he did.

When the shoot­ing was done for the day, some­thing which took sev­eral hours and left us thor­oughly exhausted, we took the night off for food and more photography.

Cockburns haggis

Cockburns hag­gis with clap­shot (pota­toes mashed with swede turnips and chives) and onion gravy. I couldn’t pos­si­bly resist order­ing hag­gis while in Scotland. It has a taste sim­i­lar to ground beef, only with a much richer taste. Eating this gave me the meat sweats.


We rented Canon’s EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS lens to film parts of the doc­u­men­tary, which meant we could also get some nice moon shots too at such a focal length. This lens is so big, the case has wheels.

100% crop.


I wanted to see if I could get a few shots of a tiny vil­lage across the water, and it turns out they hap­pened to be set­ting off fire­works at that exact moment. I didn’t even real­ize this until I looked back on the pho­tos on my dis­play. It was much too dark to see with the naked eye, and only showed up when I left the shut­ter open for 25 seconds.

Europe 2010 travel diaries

UK Detour: Day 14, Ullapool

Mike, Liverpool Liz, and Jean-Marc con­sumed a bot­tle of wine each the night we arrived, owing to good spir­its and good friends. The result of this meant our sub­ject wasn’t in top form to be filmed or inter­viewed, so we spent the day loca­tion scout­ing in nearby towns instead. This included Achiltibuie, which had a post office about the size of my bed­room, open only from 9:00am–12:30pm. Not that Ullapool itself is much big­ger, at around 1200 inhab­i­tants. The air here is wonderful.

I got to use Mike’s beau­ti­ful lit­tle Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L prime, which is a lens I’d never buy for myself, or even con­sid­ered using before because the focal length is between where I like to be. But it’s per­fect for land­scapes and tack sharp.


The view from the back porch of Jean-Marc’s rus­tic house, nes­tled on the edge of Ullapool. A great thing to wake up to.

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UK Detour: Day 13, London to Ullapool

Mike ini­tially told me I could stay with him for three days, because he soon had to travel to Scotland to film a doc­u­men­tary. Over the phone before I even arrived to meet him, how­ever, he sug­gested that I come with him to Scotland to make it the trip of a life­time. I couldn’t say no; to see Scotland has always been a dream of mine. And see­ing as how we used the same photo equip­ment, I could give him a hand with his film while cut­ting my teeth on using a lot of gear I’ve yet to afford.

So we loaded up the Range Rover with a ridicu­lous amount of gear, and left by 6am just so we could make it there before too late and to record the tran­si­tion from sun­rise to night. swing­ing by to pick up Liverpool Liz as another cam­era oper­a­tor before leav­ing. Mike set up his 20D to take a pic­ture every 10 sec­onds, and we made this stop-motion video.

The jour­ney took 13 hours by car, straight up to the north-west coast of Scotland to small town called Ullapool, where his friend Jean-Marc lived, who was also a sub­ject in Mike’s per­sonal project. We made it as far as Inverness before the bat­ter­ies died, which is about 900km (and another 90km to Ullapool), and took about ten and a half hours. If you watch the GPS in the video, you get a fast-forwarded view of our path through the rain and the Scottish mountains.

M&S egg sandwich

This was a pretty damn good sand­wich, from a Marks and Spencer road stop. They had a huge selec­tion of types too.

Europe 2010 travel diaries

UK Detour: Day 12, London

By my third day in London, which was essen­tially my last, I was push­ing myself to the limit of exhaus­tion. We had to pri­or­i­tize each activ­ity, as we there were so many things to do in such a short amount of time.

My impres­sion of London is one of diver­sity, his­tory, and para­noia. CCTV cam­eras are every­where, thanks to Britain’s dubi­ous dis­tinc­tion of being the most CCTV mon­i­tored coun­try in Europe.

London Night

Rainy London nights.

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