Today was a special treat for me. I was booked in on a photographer’s workshop at Abbotsford. Abbotsford was the home of novelist Sir Walter Scott. It sits on the bank of the mighty River Tweed near Galashiels here in the Scottish Borders. It has recently undergone extensive renovations and was just re-opened by the Queen.
Abbotsford is a magnificent country house built by Scott in the early 1800s on the site of a traditional farm. The interior is full of Scott’s eclectic collections of books, guns, armour, art and quirky interiors salvaged/collected from all kinds of famous and unlikely people and places. It is full of treasure and a great place to visit. The gardens are lovely too and the setting is absolutely stunning.
The objective of the day was to use a SLR digital camera (I have a Nikon D3000) and tripod (Christmas prezzie from Mechanic Man a couple of years ago) and practice taking shots in manual mode (no Auto!). We were to choose appropriate exposure times and depths of field. All very technical I know – I usually use the auto settings but do occasionally fiddle about in manual so today was an opportunity to spend time practising with manual.
Basically I took hundreds of photos using different settings – longer and shorter exposures – for example and then chose the best ones. Normally, one doesn’t have the luxury to spend all day trying to get a good shot but that was the point of today. I didn’t really know what I was doing but I just kept at it, experimenting. Tea breaks and lunch were laid on as part of the package!
Today, the weather was good so I concentrated on taking photos outside – it was cold and windy and a bit gloomy this morning but not raining! The sun conveniently came out in the afternoon just before it got dark! Despite the cold air, I was cosy in my new hat.
I was determined to get at least one good photo of the house and one good snap of the trees and/or River. I took nearly 300 photos and these are some of the best (in my opinion). I really should do this type of thing more often.
This last photo is the new visitors centre at dusk, taken as we were leaving.