Image of the week

Taken inside warehouse number 5 at Bunnahabhain distillery on Islay, a few hundred years of spiders cobwebs over the window!


Image of the week

A day earlier this week as I will be busy working at Bruichladdich tomorrow for their contribution to the Islay Whisky Festival 2015.

Yesterday 22/5 the new owners of Islay House which is being renovated into a luxury hotel held a mini open day of profess so far coupled with a whisky tasting by the SMWS.

I met with the owner Paul Brown, who gave me me a tour which included some parts of the house which weren’t on the general tour on the day.

The picture is of the main kitchen of the house pretty much as it was left after it was last used with everything covered in a few centimetres of dust!


Photographing Bluebells Pt’ 2

In May 2014 I wrote about the composition of photographing bluebells.

One year later the bluebells have returned and this time we look at how focal length can affect composition of bluebell pictures. In most peoples eyes long focal lengths and flora photography are a natural mix but maybe this will persuade you otherwise.0547

If we take a look at the picture below taken from the same spot, it shows the difference between using 100 mm & 200 mm as your focal length.


The first thing that strikes me is how much the wall creates a header for the picture and the bluebells in front become more dominant in the frame.

All long focal lengths will compress the perspective and this can help if there aren’t too many flowers for the shot, although that is not a problem here with the flowers at Islay House ( currently being developed into a luxury hotel ) on the island of Islay.


Because the plants only stand 12-18″ off the ground the top of the shot doesn’t want to be much higher than this otherwise the plants become pretty minimal in the frame, so crop the shot tightly to the top.

The shot below is cropped tightly to the top but contains sycamore leaves as well, this wouldn’t normally be possible as the tree leaves would be well above ground. In this instance a fully grown tree was felled two years ago but has started to re grow from the roots.


Breaking that rule slightly is the picture below, again shot at 200mm, the land behind the plants falls away which gives the infinity pool effect and with the sun flowing through the tree canopy and illuminating a single branch makes a pleasing composition.


Backgrounds are just as important for close ups especially, these plain leaves work very well.


And finally a couple of “white” bells add an interesting contrast to the scene.



New Laphroaig Tasting Room


On wednesday evening Laphroaig distillery opened their doors to invited guests to show off the new tasting room at the distillery.


A premium tasting was laid on and included the four drams in the image below.


The first dram was the new 15 year old released as part of the distilleries 200th anniversary celebrations, and interestingly distillery manager John Campbell mentioned that the youngest spirit was 17 years old and the oldest 21 years. This begged the question, why not call it a 17 year old? Apparently it was reduced to a 15 year old name to avoid confusion with the core 18 year old product.


Another interesting touch was the “Opinions Wall” This consists of a wooden panelled wall with cut outs the size of a cask bung where visitors are invited to write any comments on new bungs and then push them into the wall. Once the wall is full (which won’t take long) the bungs are then used on new fill casks as they go into bond. So you could see your bung in a cask on a warehouse tour in the future.