Pavilion, Union Terrace Gardens

The regeneration of Union Terrace Gardens is nearing completion. It is now June 2022, and the project has been plagued by delays. Most recently, a soft opening of the gardens had to be cancelled due to the gardens resembling a building site. A number of trees have been planted. However flowers and grass are, as yet, nowhere to be seen.

The new gardens will have three purpose-built pavilions spaced-out along the length of Union Terrace. These were created in order provide access to the park, along with retail and leisure space. I wanted to capture the essence of the pavilions, and chose the one located closest to Union Street, principally for the lighting.

I’m really starting to pay attention to the development, and I look forward to the grand opening soon…

Pavilion – south side near Union Street – June 2022

Science Teaching Hub, University of Aberdeen

This was my first visit to the site of the new Science Teaching Hub since lockdown began, and I was pleased to see that progress towards completion is being made. There is still some way to go, but according to the University, the facility will open in early 2022.

Looking in particular at the artistic renderings available online, I think the new building will contrast with the existing Sir Duncan Rice Library, in that it will be a much flatter structure with strict vertical lines and evenly-spaced windows. It seems very restrained and somewhat clinical in comparison to the Library which sits nearby, staring-down, larger than life, with its jagged, coloured glazing.

Detailed information about the purpose of the new facility is available from the University website here.

Building under construction – May 2021

With regard to my image, I felt that the branches on the tree, situated across the street from the development, helped to knock the building somewhat off-balance. Without the tree, the image feels inorganic, and bordering on obsessively repetitive.

The branches also resemble bolts of lightning, travelling downwards ready to spark life into the hollow shell.

Hopefully soon, a new centre of excellence will be born…

Aberdeen Beach Groyne

Like many others, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time at home over the past six months. And whilst stores and activities are starting to reopen, there’s still a very long way to go before we reach normality. In fact, I hear that “this is the new normal”, time and time again. I respectfully disagree. I realise that things will be different for some time to come. However, I remain hopeful that we’ll return to the old normal in the future.

I’ve really missed the Great Outdoors – the fresh air, the colours, the sounds and the people, and so I took a short trip to the beach today: my first time since lockdown. I’d made a conscious decision to capture at least one view whilst there.

I’ve visited, and photographed, Aberdeen’s beach front many times in the past, and so I didn’t expect to see anything new or exciting on this occasion.

Perhaps it was as a result of experiencing a visual detox during the quarantine, but I spotted a lovely scene whilst viewing one of the groynes (near to the Beach Ballroom), that I’d never considered before, comprising three horizontal stripes: the land, the sea, and the sky. I decided to capture it as a long exposure in order to tame the clouds and sea.

The resulting image feels calming to me, and I’m very pleased with it. I might even consider printing it at some point.

I see the sea!

The Flickr Resurrection

I’ve been avoiding Flickr for some time now. I couldn’t remember why, until I tried to login, and was inundated with multiple errors, and the need to reset multiple passwords just to get into my account. Once inside the domain, various options and tasks were unavailable due to ongoing maintenance, and so I became quite frustrated with it all.

Before logging out however, I decided to review some of the old images I’d previously published, and was surprised at just how my visual interpretation and inspirations have changed over the years. (I joined Flickr in 2007).

Whilst burrowing into the past, I re-discovered that Flickr quite nicely facilitates searching for images which are licensed through Creative Commons in some way or another. More information available here.

I felt that this was a nice opportunity to have some fun reimagining other people’s work in my own way, without the fear of angry and somewhat tedious exchanges around copyright infringement.

The images are not of the highest resolution, but that’s OK: I wasn’t working from the original files, and I really just wanted to edit some SoCal images!

Thank you to the respective original photographers for sharing their works through Creative Commons.

Marischal Square, Aberdeen – Ongoing Development

Marischal Square - Work in Progress...
Almost Complete…

The Marischal Square project (by Muse Developments) on Broad Street is beginning to draw to a close. The exterior is now essentially complete except for a few cladding tiles here and there, the windows are in, and the final form of the property is now well-established.

The project has experienced some push-backs from parts of the community, and as yet, the premises is not fully let, but it has the potential to bring some hard cash to the city. Will the locals buy-into it? That is yet to be seen. However, I am optimistic as ever, and hope that it brings further prestige to the city.

As my principal obsession is with light, I have observed that that the warm evening sun kisses the walls rather beautifully. I am also rather taken-aback by the dark window frames which crisply and precisely puncture the walls.

At present, it is not possible to access the site, and so the photographic opportunities are quite limited. However, I shall be posting further images of this rather interesting space as the site begins to clear.

Please check-out my Instagram feed for further images (some of which are of this project).

The Barn @ Barra Castle

I had the good fortune of being invited by a fellow photographer to The Barn in order to support him during his first ever interiors shoot.

The weather was gloriously sunny, and the brand new venue, near Inverurie, shone bright. One lucky couple were due to have their wedding there later that afternoon and so we had to grab our shots and disappear before the festivities began.

The Barn at Barra Castle
The Barn – Main Exterior View

The view from the windows point towards Bennachie, making the vista both awe-inspiring and romantic (perfect for that wedding!)

Spacious, Yet Intimate

It is easy to imagine a couple taking their vows in front of such a picturesque backdrop. However, The Barn would be extremely well-suited to other activities such as ceilidhs and corporate events.

The space is large and open, but can be separated into sections by light and airy curtains.

Details and Textures

The owners have obviously taken great effort to create a beautiful environment, and have succeeded, and then some!

For anyone considering a location for their event, far enough away from the crowded towns and cities in order to disconnect, then this is the place for them.

To see further images from the day’s shoot, see the gallery here.

If you are interested in further information about the venue visit the Barra Castle website here.


Aberdeen Boat Club

Rowing has rather a chequered history in Aberdeen. Tracing its roots back to the 1860s, the activity grew in popularity, but suffered as a result of poor membership in the 1950s. In 1969, following an attempt to rekindle interest, the popularity once again dropped.

By the mid 1970s, rowing had begun its resurgence in part as a result of some successes internationally, and in the early 1980s the first part of the boathouse was built.

Taking a walk along the River Dee yesterday, I noticed that the building looked rather inviting in the sunlight.

Aberdeen Boat Club
Aberdeen Boat Club

Situated a few hundred meters along the river bank are the remaining rowing organisations of Aberdeen Asset Schools Boathouse, AURC & RGU Student Association Rowing Club.

Aberdeen Asset Schools Boathouse, AURC & RGU Student Association
Aberdeen Asset Schools, AURC & RGU Student Association Rowing Club

The city now has a thriving rowing community, comprising of members of all abilities, and the Aberdeen Boat Club is now the largest such organisation in Scotland.

If you’re interested in joining, click here.

Nuart Aberdeen, 2017

Paste-ups by Julien de Casabianca, East Green, Aberdeen

So the inaugural Nuart Street Art Festival in Aberdeen has been and gone. However it has left-behind a legacy of captivating images on the walls and doors around the city centre.

Whilst the event was short-lived (14-16 April 2017), the organisers managed to pack-in a number of excellent interactive events such as tours, talks and even a film premier.

I’m sure that the event was a resounding success, and so I hope that it will return again in the future.

To see a selection of my favourite images from the weekend please click here.

Marine Operations Centre, Aberdeen

Concrete “lighthouse” representing solidity

Built in 2006, on the north side of the River Dee estuary, the Marine Operations Centre was constructed to replace the old Roundhouse which had been in use since 1803. The Centre was designed by SMC Parr Architects, constructed by Sir Robert McAlpine, and won an Aberdeen Civic Society award.

The MOC appears at the southernmost point of the main Aberdeen beach, and sits like an exclamation point, marking the end of this stretch of coastline.

There are two main components to the building.

The white, concrete cylinder shown in the image, represents solidity, and from this position, resembles a light house. This was no accident: it was the architect’s intent. This cylinder houses the stairwell and other amenities.

The remaining section of the building, shown briefly in the image to either side of the cylinder, contains the business area of the premises. This section is glazed throughout and is shaped somewhat like a semicircular sail caught in the wind. According to the architect, this element of the design represents light.

The two elements: solid and light, intersect within the centre of the building.

I have taken many shots of this building over the years. I keep coming back again and again to look at it, but have struggled to connect with it (although I find it beautiful). However, something caught my eye on this visit and it was the presence of the fencing around the property, and the security intercom system. I realise that these measures are in place for security reasons and to protect the people and operations. However, they also keep the good spirits at bay, and make the building appear stand-offish and a little isolated.

Nevertheless, I still find the Centre beautiful from all angles. In the image provided, I have tried to highlight the bright, but weathered, lighthouse element against the protection of the dark and imposing security fencing, and menacing sky.

The Centre is worth visiting (although it’s rarely open to the public, as far as I am aware). I would advise sunrise or sunset / dusk for the best views.