Saturday, 7 July 2018

City of Perth. A Night Gallery. Last Part.

                                                ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
It was always my intention taking the bus to Perth for a day trip to stay around longer and photograph the Christmas lights as I'd been impressed by them in the past but was normally a passenger in a hill-waking group car so any city passed was always a quick mirage through splashes of lights, assorted people, and colour before a return to darkness all around, headlight beams straight ahead, unseen hills, forests, and eventually, hopefully, a remote mountain hut as our destination. The City of Perth above from the River Tay. This time it would be different.
Perth can be a busy place if you are driving through it at rush hour---- as seen here.
Or quiet and slightly eerie down by the river at night with no-one else around. Icy pavements here. Slippy underfoot.
I had timed it just right however to get good shots of the necklace of parks and gardens strung out along the eastern bank of the River Tay. I'd never explored these before and dusk seemed the perfect time from a photography point of view.
With good lighting and reflections to capture.
Also managed to see a dedicated kayaker on the river at night. As night-time temperatures were close to freezing if not below, even in the city with ice on every pond, that's commitment to the cause. I would not like to Eskimo roll in these conditions.
I messed around and lingered a fair bit at the riverside trying to get the best angles and shots with the few folk still in the parks scurrying away in haste whenever they saw me lurking.
"I'm just here to capture some of Perth's finest treasures." I cheerfully informed two women walking their dogs together as the light disappeared and they came round a corner to find me waiting, rather suspiciously inert.
 " No need to worry. Come ahead. Nothing to fear here. Tis only I. An internet photographer! "
 I held up my camera helpfully to show I was not lingering in the bushes for any sinister purpose- apart from artistic merit. They scurried off anyway, with the odd glance back.
It was at this point I noticed an otter hunting in the reeds but it was too dark by this time to really see it properly or get a good photo.
It was around this time I noticed a heavy set man with a large wooden club approaching me at speed with a purposeful stride and a gleam in his eye. An angry husband perhaps? For once here was someone who wasn't running away from me.
"Hey, have a look at this beauty!" he proclaimed, brandishing his find.
I always like to treat random strangers politely and fairly if they show the same courtesy to me. A stranger is just a friend you haven,t met yet... is my attitude.
"Now you're talking." I enthused back. "Bring that big thumper closer so I can get a good look at it."

( I had noticed him earlier climbing over the walkway railings to retrieve a hunk of carved driftwood stuck in the sand at the rivers edge so he was not a complete unknown stranger.)
It turned out to be a nicely made sculpture carved from driftwood that had somehow fallen into the water upstream and ended up here. It was a nice find- smoothly shaped and polished with obvious care and attention- made by someone with skillful hands and eyes then somehow washed up here. I congratulated him on his good fortune then went back to my own interests.
One of the main road bridges over the River Tay with a bus on it.
A slightly earlier shot from further away.
'Augmented Reality'. Apparently the next big thing to hit the smartphone generation in the coming decade, applied in this instance to Perth's main Christmas Tree. The next stage in the ongoing human into cyborg evolution which is taking place year by year. Those who know the tree well will understand this comment/concept.
Why does Pandora's box matter? Well you could argue the smart phone greatly facilitated mass migration in the last ten years enabling displaced people to view a better life elsewhere with a will and a means to now reach it. Also a useful tool for certain organizations to manipulate mass opinions, sell more merchandise, brainwash, control and create addiction dependant populations, collect detailed personal information about every person alive, and spread untruths... or an alternative version of truth more easily.  It's changing society rapidly, year on year, not always for the better, as we simultaneously archive then burn our recent past as if it has no relevance. Bricks and mortar shops, bank outlets, pubs, post offices, cash money etc etc...all going or gone.  'A bonfire of previous generations core values and vanities so hard won and fought for over several centuries of strife and protest.'      
Change is inevitable of course but is it ultimately desirable in this instance? Will we still have 'a society' left on the other side?  Or just a nation of zombies carefully trained since early childhood to constantly pigeon peck a flashing screen to earn small dopamine rewards?

(Note to gloomily reflective self:- keep posts upbeat. Try to ignore changes happening around you and logical progression of thought outcomes. Happy happy happy!)

The Christmas Lights of Perth.
Not a bad variety.
A colourful bar/restaurant
Lost under a sign. By this time I was worried about catching the last bus back to Glasgow as being the winter timetable it was surprisingly early- around 6:00 pm ish if I remember right.
After a long eventful day and a hill ascent a sprint was called for but I could only manage a fast walk, cursing a bus station that seemed to be miles away from the city centre and not easy to find in the dark, being tucked away in a minor side street.
Eventually I stumbled into it only to find it completely empty- not only of buses but of any passengers or staff. Everyone appeared to have left. After an anxious half hour wait and a growing certainty I'd missed the last bus home it finally arrived, at a different later time to the timetable I had, saving me a costly hotel night and wallet trepidation. Only myself, the bus driver and one other passenger took this ghostly intercity bus service out of Perth but I was very grateful anything on wheels had turned up at all.
Once we left Perth, travelling through the countryside, the darkness was almost oppressive. Not only was I glad I'd caught the last bus I was also very glad I was getting off in a city, travelling in a well lit bubble between pools of light and colour as some of the stops we passed on the way seemed to be a lone ice cream shaped cone of downward pointing light almost completely swallowed up by a surrounding black void that seemed both alien and sinister. An isolated bus stop but no houses anywhere in sight. No lights visible at all except for the bus stop one. Even pavements, if built, were invisible. No signs up for directions either. Where did anyone getting off here go I wondered? You would need to know the place very well as any stranger to the area at night would be immediately lost in horror film territory, even with a torch. Well beyond the twilight zone. Very creepy, surreal, and a totally different feeling to the safe, more mundane, day time ride on the city to city bus ten hours ago travelling up--- with an absence of sky above apart from stars for long periods and no idea most of the journey as to location or even direction travelled. Both exciting but also strange and faintly unsettling to imagine yourself, suddenly cast adrift, alone in it all. Mind you, it doesn't take long to get used to anything in life although a city to city bus driver or long distance haulage driver at night must find it lonely at times, even free of day time traffic jams. Away from city light pollution and with no moon out it was very dark indeed. An empty, half life world yet a different feeling from being in a bothy where although  ensconced deep in the mountains you have a ready made safety bubble nearby to escape back into and the knowledge of deserted surroundings, apart from animals. Different feeling entirely to pass through or enter on foot a remote but sparsely populated rural district or semi urban post industrial unlit zones between areas of settlements you have little night time knowledge or understanding of. And that observation coming from a passenger (me) who has done his fair share of night time wandering.
It was with something approaching relief and definite fondness I greeted my home city of Glasgow a few hours later and the biggest bubble of nighttime illumination created in Scotland welcomed me home.
It did feel like a lover's reunion. Just my city and me- reunited again. I was too tired to kiss the ground though... or make an evening meal when I eventually got in an hour later as I had yet another bus to catch - from city centre to the outskirts.
Great to go away but in the depths of winter and a full day of low temperatures I was happy to be back. A long tough outing- a fair chunk of it spent in the dark..

A very good link here to exciting bird's eye views of Perth, the river, the islands, and landscaped surroundings giving you a much better idea of my destination/walk. A beautiful city from above and a professional looking video anyone should enjoy. Best watched full screen. Look out for the bleeding poppy display in the middle and the trains crossing the river island I was exploring in Perth. in post one.

 And a cracking short link to jays in close up. Very illusive but extremely handsome woodland birds I tried to photograph two posts ago but perfectly captured here along with several other wildlife gems.




Anabel Marsh said...

Pert looks beautiful by night

Anabel Marsh said...


Carol said...

Completely the opposite to me - I'd feel very happy getting off a bus somewhere dark, rural and remote but it would worry me more in a strange or large city...

Bet those girls thought you were a white slaver with that comment!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel.
It is an attractive city from above. The river makes it special.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Well it would be wouldn't it?
I've cycled in daylight through most of the areas I'm talking about over the last decade... and werewolves do exist :O)

Linda W. said...

Wonderful night photos!

Ian Johnston said...

A really nice set Bob; Perth has always struck me as a green city and I've not really appreciated how nicely the river and parks would reflect lights.

Kind Regards

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Ian,
Popular river with local kayakers. Had a look at kayaking from Perth down the Tay to Dundee last year but still to do it. Looked interesting with several little visited islands on the way.

Mark said...

Great set of photos. Shame it was to dark to see the otter properly.

Andy said...

Always enjoy your posts Bob, great combination of images and thoughts. Loved both the added videos as well. Interesting thoughts on the relative night-time of city and countryside. For you as a city boy the dark streets hold no fear yet the countryside seen as foreboding. For me the opposite is true. Stepping off a bus in a remote spot in the dark would hold no worry yet doing so in an unfamiliar city would certainly cause me a nervous thought or two

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Andy,
as I came very close to missing the last bus back and it was below freezing it was just an idle thought on seeing a couple of bus stops with no visible habitation around, at night anyway, and complete darkness. I know my way around the central belt and Fife better than most, night or day, so fear was not an issue more the speculation of where would you go, at night, to find a bed. I have now bought a small,cheap 3 season bag just in case I do miss a future bus so at least I have another option rather than a hotel. I have no problem lying in a rural hollow for 10 hours for one night as long as I'm reasonably warm and dry.