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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