Tag - scotland

T-Minus 2 Days and Still Counting

beauty

(This is the second of two installments. Part 1 is here, Part 3 is here.

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I’m still working on another post (or two) about how my trip to Britain next week came about, and will perhaps get the story finished before I leave on Sunday. For now, I want to get something else out there.

It begins with a passage that came to mind in the midst of some breath work with my therapist on Wednesday:

The heart seeks
and only the heart can find
that which we do not know
that we know

Now, as much as I am loathe to even mention the name – much as Harry Potter referred to Voldemort as “he who cannot be named” – the thought above is a corollary to something Donald Rumsfeld famously (infamously?) said during one of his Pentagon press conferences when he was trying to explain whathefuck had gone wrong in Iraq:

There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.

I’ve always thought that Rumsfeld’s assessment of the realms of knowledge and ignorance stops just short of what might be the most import insight of all, that…

There are things that we do not know… that we know.

Basic, fundamental, truths of existence that live on a subsurface, spiritual level that where we do not spend nearly enough time.

Perhaps I am going to the ancient ruins of Britain to spend time in places where long ago mystics and monks did just that.

As good a reason as any…

And, now that I think about it, I realize that right after I had the “breath work revelation” I’ve shared above, I may have had a clear illustration of the principal – and an affirmation of why I have to go on this trip alone.

After I saw Kenneth on Wednesday,  I went downtown to the Shelby Street bridge to photograph the Nashville skyline and see what sort of results I would get shooting for HDR with my new Nikon D600.

The results at sunset were pretty satisfactory if uninspiring, except perhaps for this one shot where I got  everything to line up:  the sun hitting the tops of the building, the f/16 aperture that produces the cool star effect:

Sunset over the Nashville Skyline - May 15, 2013

Sunset over the Nashville Skyline – May 15, 2013

But after I got that shot I stood around and waited for over an hour for the sky to darken and the lights of the city to come on.  And about 8:30PM I got this shot, which I think is downright spectacular:

Twilight Over The City

Twilight Over The City

… because I WAITED FOR IT (and trust me on this, the small rendering here doesn’t do the image justice; click here to see the whole frame a bit larger).

And that, sadly, is what I can’t seem to do when I’m with Ann.  At least, not that day we stopped at the Beauly Priory on the Black Isle near Edinburgh. And I’ll say again, I think Ann got better photos in less time than I did.  But I wasn’t done yet…

That’s why I drove away thinking, “I have to come back here by myself.”

And now, it appears, I am doing just that.

In two days.

Because when the heart is patient.. only then.. can it find what it does not know that it knows.

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And now, the rest of the story...

 

Scotland Day 9: Isle of Skye

I managed to get through another batch of the Scotland photos over the weekend.

After our stop at Eilean Donan, we continued on north and west toward the Isle of Skye, which has probably got more dramatic landscape per square mile than any place on earth.  Well, at least, any place on earth we’ve ever been to.


View Larger Map

We spent two nights at a b&b hear the village of Portree, and spent the day in between roaming up the east coast of the island, around the northern tip of the island, and then back down the west side of the east peninsula around sunset.  Along the way we saw myriad sea cliffs, one castle ruin, and the incredible mountainous rock formations called “The Quirang.”

Next morning we packed up once again, and went out toward the western peninsula, stopped at the Talisker Distillery, and then spent the balance of the morning at a picturesque area called ‘The Faerie Pools.” Then it was on to Fort William.

There were a lot of photo opportunities throughout the day.  View them all in the video below, or see the individual photos here.

Scotland Day 8: Eilean Donan

Returning now to the 10,000+ photos we brought back from Scotland…in October…

Day 8 found us saying goodbye to Castle Stuart after a three night stay.  We then drove down the east shore of Loch Ness – most of the traffic is on the west shore, which we’d explored on Day 6, via three wheeled motorcycle. 

From Loch Ness we headed north and west toward the Isle of Skye, following the road that took us to Eilean Donan Castle.

Yes, Eilean Donan is probably the most recognizable edifice in all of Scotland, and maybe all of Britain next to Big Ben and the Tower of London.  Given its location among the mountains, at the intersection of three lochs, it’s understandable.

What we did not fully realize until we got inside is that Eilean Donan is a restoration.  The castle lay in ruins for nearly 200 years after the Jacobite Rising of 1719.  In 1911, the heirs of the clan MacRae acquired the island and its rubble and proceeded to restore the castle to its former glory – largely following plans drawn from a dream that occurred to the new owner, Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap.  After 20 years and the modern equivalent of some $20-million pounds, Eilean Donan was re-opened in 1932 and has since become one of Scotland’s primary tourist destinations.

We were fortunate to be there at a time of year when there was not much visitor traffic. I shudder to think what it’s like in August…

Anyway, here’s the video; if you want to see the individual images, find them here.

What Is It With The Brits, Burials – And Parking Lots ?

king-richard-iii-1-sizedNo doubt you have all heard by now that the long-lost remains of Richard ‘My Kingdom for Horse’ III – the last of the England’s Plantagenet kings the final loser in the  Wars of the Roses (and the last English king killed in battle) – have been  positively identified.  The bones were found last summer – underneath a parking lot in Leicester, England.

LONDON—Researchers on Monday said the long-lost remains of King Richard III have been found and identified—after sitting under what is now a parking lot in the English Midlands for more than 500 years.

The findings appear to solve a centuries-old mystery involving one of England’s most-storied rulers, who has remained in the public fascination through a Shakespeare play and Hollywood movies.

Which story I found  rather amusing, because of this detail that we were shown in the course of a Mercat Tour of “The Secrets of The Royal Mile” during our second day in Edinburgh:

That yellow marker in the middle of car-park space #23?  That marks the final resting place of no less a Scottish luminary than John Locke, one of the leading proponents of the Scottish Enlightenment (and, thus, also among the early inventors of the whole modern world).

Apparently they are reserving space 23 – much observant Jews save a seat for Elijah at the Passover Seder.

I wonder what he’ll be driving…??

You can see the rest of our second day in Scotland here; or the video slideshow here.

 

Scotland Day 7: Wester Ross

Still forging my way through the 10,000+ files that Ann and I brought back from Scotland.

The photos in this slide show are from the we spent touring the more remote regions of the Scottish Highlands, from Inverness west and north in to some of the most dramatic scenery we’ve ever seen:

The video is in HD – click “full frame” and give it a moment to settle into the higher resolution to get the full effect.  Or click here to see the photos themselves in higher resolution (without the video).

So, let’s see… a two week trip that ended on October 14…I’m halfway through the photos (though I’ve made a first pass at almost all of them, the best of which you can see here) and now it’s February…at this rate I should be done by sometime in May… at which point I might be thinking it’s time to go back…