My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture, and things in the broader realm of the Gothic and darkly Romantic. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

Goth is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, the expression of that in Goth rock. It looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, et al) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. The Gothic should not be limited by what is already within it; inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Friday, 20 July 2012

Spires, Skies and Shadows

More From The High Church Graveyard
I keep going back there, and each time I spot something else that intrigues me, something I did not capture the previous time. It seems that whenever I think I have exhausted it of material worth photographing, that something else catches my eye. Today was a trip out with the "proper camera", which is a Canon 300D, and Suzy of ::Suzy Bugs:: let me borrow some of her lenses, for a bit more experimentation. 

Shiny different lens to play with meant that I could take pictures of details up on the roof of the neighbouring church, which as they are rather pretty (especially the spire) became the focus of my little expedition. I did not actually take that many pictures of the graveyard itself. 
If Vertical Was Going To Be Impossible,
Diagonal Would Have To Do!
The spire is reasonably high on the Free Church North (at some point I will have to find out exactly how high, but it is definitely one of the taller spires in the area) and getting a shot in full of it with the lenses to hand was going to be impossible. (I have taken a photograph encompassing the whole church,  but on a different day, with a different lens) so I decided to focus on various points that interested me. 

Dramatic Clouds
Sometimes it is more the clouds than the architecture, or the combination of clouds and architecture. I think a plain blue sky is, while sunny, quite dull, and much prefer some interest in the form of clouds to balance out the image. Today it was blue skies and patchy white clouds, and these provided a lovely sky and a lot of nice shadows from the bright sunshine, which on the spire really gives a sense of the various facets of the octagonal roof. I love the pinnacles. 
Clouds Don't Always Appear When I Need Them
Clouds don't always appear where and when I need them, though! I took this photograph from reasonably close to the base of the steeple, but far enough back to get enough of a diagonal to have some sense of perspective. I tried taking a photograph really close to the base, but it did not really have the same effect. I really wanted to portray how high and imposing and solid the steeple is. As it does rise a way above the church, and is thin in relation to its height, it can seem rather elegant from a distance, but up close it is very solidly built, and for this picture I wanted to show some of that. 

Pinnacle or Steeple
This mini-steeple or pinnacle is part of some adjoining ecclesiastical buildings. It is much smaller than the steeple with spire (and for that matter, the spire) on the church itself, and I presume it is technically a pinnacle rather than a steeple, but I always think of pinnacles as the miniature spires decorating a full-sized spire, atop a steeple. If it protruded from a wall, I would call it a turret. At some point I will have to rat out that book of architectural terms that did rather well on historic architecture, but I think it is back in England, somewhere in my father's loft. Regardless of what it is, I love the details of the false slit windows and the arches that elaborate them. It is reminiscent of the towers on the spire, which also have arches and false-slit windows. I'm getting lost in pedantry. Whatever it is, I think it looks nice, which is why I took the photograph. 
A Rather Fancy Vent
This photograph was taken to capture the texture of the tiles and the lichen growing on them. I heard that lichen grows best in clean air, which is good news for the city of Inverness as the roof is covered with the stuff! I think the little white "light house" is actually a rather fancy cover for a vent. I love it when mundane things are made needlessly ornate, because why shouldn't functional things be beautiful too? If it were up to me, everything would be designed to be at least as beautiful as functional. Things need to be fully functional, of course, but beauty can still exceed that! 
I managed to finally get a photograph of the roof of the Catholic church across the river that I actually like. The spire is quite short, wooden and painted red - rather different to the other buildings in the area. The ornate front door of the Catholic church faces away from the afternoon and evening sun, and with mountains behind, it is soon in rather dark shadow, which means it is usually rather awkward to photograph. Sometime in the near future I will have to visit during morning hours to get a good photograph of the front of the building because it is really quite something. 
You Can See Tiles!
This is the steeple on what is now the funeral home opposite the High Church on the other side of the river. I love the conical roof and the open columns. Unlike most of the other churchy buildings in the area, this one is not in the least bit Gothic in terms of architecture, but it is still rather fabulous. It is far more austere, which is quite fitting for a funeral home. I wonder if it was purpose built as such, or is a re-purposed church. 
I also got to play with Suzy's macro lens while she was busy using the other lens to photograph a rather large rabbit. It is these sorts of decorative details on the monuments that I love, especially when they are still crisp centuries later. 
The First Five Tries Weren't Even Sharp...

Tomorrow (Saturday) I will be at the Northern Meeting Park in Inverness, which is across the road from Eden Court, for the Inverness Highland Games  & Armed Forces Day. I will be there with owls and raptors. I will also have the point-and-shoot camera with me, so hopefully next week's photography slot will be themed on that building - quite a modern departure from this week's! 


  1. The angled photos are stunning!

    1. Thankyou. Often photographs of buildings are rather "straight on", I figured I might try doing something different.

  2. Whose getting a clever cookie then, love the black and white treatment on the images it really suits the subject. Totally love the close up details but then I would, however I have tried doing similar stuff myself and have never managed to get to the level you have. By the way that bunny was being extremely co-operative and a lot more so than the wasps I was aiming at. You need to get out with the big toy more often if this is the standard you have set yourself I'd say your doing pretty well and even Raven would agree, there are images there to make the both of us very very jelly well done! :)

    1. I'm trying my best to get out with the Canon more often. I've really got to photograph more architecture, too.

  3. It's nice to see some black and white, good job! And you're lucky you have such a pretty place to take pictures of. No spires near me, sadly...

    1. Inverness has an over-abundance of nice buildings. Even if I actually lived in the city, I don't think I'd get chance to photograph them all! Even smaller towns such as Forres and Nairn have some gorgeous buildings that I will have to photograph too. I am quite lucky to live somewhere so nice. I don't just photograph churches and spires (that was just my theme for playing with the lens Suzy lent me) and try and pick out interesting details on other sorts of buildings too. One of the things I like about photography is that once I have a camera in my hands I start thinking about what I am seeing more carefully, and am constantly picking out little interesting details of life that aren't always photographable, but even noticing that they're there is nice. I find interesting things even in places a lot of people call dull - there's usually something, even if its just how crows have perched on a roof or some conjunction of overhead cables.

  4. New follower here!

    The shots give me the impression of strict romanticism. Great mix of emotions, that to convey them into words would simply belittle what you're sharing here today.

    Lovely job


Please be polite and respectful. Comments containing gratuitous swearing and insults will be deleted.