Black and White Sunday: Traces of the Past

The only remains of St Andrew’s Old Kirk in North Berwick is a small white-harled stone building which stands just inland from the path to the Scottish Seabird Centre.

The first church was probably made of wood and was probably constructed by monks from the Abbey at Lindisfarne some time in the 600s. A later building was erected some time in the 1100s, but little of this is left other than low stone walls on the grass to the north of the only part remaining.

The small porch was built after the Reformation and projected south from the end of the south aisle. The entire east end of the church was swept into the sea in a storm in 1656.

The church would have served the local community, and the steady stream of pilgrims passing through North Berwick to catch a ferry to Earlsferry in Fife en route to St Andrews. The town and kirk grew to serve the needs of the pilgrims with a hospice serving as a guesthouse to look after the sick.

In 1590 it was rumoured that 200 witches had danced around Anchor Green whilst listening to a sermon by the devil. The witches were supposedly trying to summon a storm to drown King James VI, but it was only under severe torture that a 16 year old girl confessed. As a result many innocent women were arrested and tortured and some died a witch’s death in front of Edinburgh castle.

The green (which was the old kirkyard) is now empty other than a Celtic cross erected in memory of Catherine Watson who, on 27 July 1889 at the age of 19, saved a drowning boy in North Berwick’s East Bay, but was herself drowned while doing so.

Black and White Sunday: Traces of the Past 

Thursday Special

This week Paula encourages us to consider the differences between taking a landscape or portrait format. What factors make you decide which way to go? Is it the lens on your camera that forces you into a particular format, or are you making a more conscious decision about what it is you want to portray and what is the best way to do that? 

These two images are of the haunting bronze sculpture that I have featured before in black and white. The close-up landscape version(s) were deliberate compositions to focus on the detail of the women and children as they wait for their husbands and fathers to return from sea.The decision to take a portrait shot was based purely on the desire to capture the entire sculpture and show exactly how small these figures actually are.

I tend to take most of my photos in the landscape mode unless I am photographing something particularly tall like a building or a tree. Of course with editing software it is easy to change any photo into any size afterwards, so it is not always necessary to make the decision at the point of clicking the shutter. I think the most important decision you should make when taking that shot is whether you have thought about what it is you are trying to capture and have you considered carefully that this is the best composition. That helps you take a great shot rather than several mediocre ones when you simply ‘hope for the best’.

I am interested to hear your thoughts.

Black and White Sunday: Imperfect

An imperfect photo? Surely not o_O However the subject of this image was seriously flawed.

Thursday September 15th 2016: We deliberately meandered along the foggy shores of the Firth of Forth on our way to Edinburgh with the purpose of stopping in North Berwick and having seafood chowder or lobster bisque for lunch from the well-known Lobster Shack.

Mouths watering in anticipation we made our damp way to the harbour and then saw that the shutters were down. Gutted! Closed except for weekends.

Please visit Paula to see other representations of this week’s challenge.

Black and White Sunday: A View fit for a Queen

queens-view-in-bw

The Queen’s View in Highland Perthshire overlooks Loch Tummel. Queen Victoria is said to have remarked that the spectacular view was named after her, when she visited the area in 1866. However, it has also been suggested that the view was in fact named after King Robert the Bruce’s wife, Isabella, over 550 years earlier. Although she never actually became queen as she died in 1296 ten years before Bruce was crowned king. She was just 19 years old.

Whichever version you prefer, the view is stunning.

Black and White Sunday

Lost at Sea

Paula’s black and white Sunday this week is ‘Traces of the Past’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This bronze by Jill Watson was commissioned by the people of Berwickshire to commemorate the women and children left by the East Coast Fishing Disaster of 1881.

The small bronze figures are the wives and children of Charles Purves, James and William Thorburn, three men lost at sea in 1881 from the fishing village of St Abbs. In total 189 men from the east coast of Scotland perished on that fateful day.