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Solar Eclipse for the One Show

Today's shift started at 04:300. In my book, that's kind of anti-social, especially when you're crawling out of bed in Glasgow rather than out of a tent on a mountain somewhere. Then again, it's not every day that you've a chance of seeing a solar eclipse, and rarer yet that you've been asked to take some photographs as part of a feature on BBC's One Show. Four photographers from around the UK were to be sent out to see who could get the most evocative photograph of the events of the day, and I was chosen to represent Scotland… No pressure then!

Not sure I like this end of the camera...

Not sure I like this end of the camera...

The weather forecast was looking pretty sketchy, but it's not like you can put off the eclipse until the next day when it's clearer, so we set off for Edinburgh, where the met office said there was a slim chance of catching a glimpse of the eclipse if we were lucky. We figured that worst case, we could get some good shots of the other folks that were bound to be out on the off-chance too: it was all about catching people enjoying the moment rather than trying to photograph the sun (heck, I can't compete with the big telescopes! Sometimes size does matter).

Calton Hill seemed like a good spot, and we were there early enough to get a prime spot with a cracking view out over the city… Sure enough, by 09:00 the place was packed! People were viewing the eclipse in progress through everything from proper viewing glasses, to collanders and home-made pinholes. For once the Scottish weather came good for us, and we had pretty much ideal viewing conditions.

We had a bit of a scout around to make sure we had the best shot we were going to get, and then recruited a young family to pose for our photo. Young Samuel and his mum were absolutely brilliant in front of the camera, and I reckon we went away with a pretty good shot - it was exactly what I'd hoped for. Ok, so the Welsh team's photograph of the Meerkats won the competition on the night, but I had a cracking day out, saw something truly incredible and went home with a good photograph in the bag: that's a win in my book!

Weekend Wars

Band shoots are always great fun. Maybe it because you've got the whole session to come up with just a few photographs, so you can tweak everything until it's perfect. Maybe it's because the band tends to be a pretty tight unit and have some good banter! Whatever the reasons, when you get to add a location like Millarochy Bay and a sneaky wee BBQ on the beach between shots it all adds up to a good night out!

The Weekend Wars are a new act on the Glasgow music scene, but having just played their debut gig in King Tut's I've a wee feeling that it's not going to be long until you hear a lot more about them. 

the Weekend Wars

The internet is awash with photographs of bands looking moody in dark, grungy alleys, so I wanted to do something a little different. We took some "safe" shots in the woods behind Balmaha before heading down to Millarochy, then I set to work arranging a something slightly more ambitious while the lads tended the burgers. The light came good before the sausages did, which meant some extra crispy food once we'd finished shooting but hey, it was worth cremating the last half of dinner for the shots we got!

Walkin' on water at Millarochy

the set-up

the set-up

Big thanks to Robbie Black for helping with the lighting! There are some places that light stands just aren't reliable enough to keep your kit safe and dry….

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