Images shot on Silberra Pan 200 in Yashica Electro 35 GSN
Edinburgh might just be my favourite city in the UK.
Some of that is for reasons personal to me, like the number of times I’ve been there, the period of my life when I did so, and how much I always enjoyed it.
The other part is due to how special Edinburgh itself is. A lot of places back home can look and feel pretty samey but I’ve never been anywhere else with the aesthetic and atmosphere of Scotland’s capital.
Until this visit, it’d been a while since I last went. Maybe ten years. Certainly well before I was doing any kind of photography. So of course I took the Yashica Electro 35 with me this time, along with a roll of Silberra Pan 200.
The plan was to come back with some shots of the city’s landmarks, both natural and man-made, and also get in some Edinburgh street photography. What follows is what I got.
Miscellaneous Edinburgh street photography
Once I’d developed the roll of film I’d taken to Edinburgh, I noticed a theme that I hadn’t consciously been shooting running through a good few of the images.
You can see what that is in the next section. For now, here are four shots that are best described as miscellaneous, along with their locations should you want to know exactly where they were taken and also to pad out my word count a little.
First is one looking up the steps from inside the Princes Street Gardens towards the Royal Scottish Academy, near the Allan Ramsay monument, and the second is at the Ross Fountain at the west end of the same gardens.
Third is on the other side of The Mound from the first, looking east along the higher of the two walkways of the gardens. As I spend most of my time in Shanghai, most of my street photography is candid shots of Asian people. I guess old habits die hard.
The final shot is of an archaeological dig going on at Cowgate. Some artefacts dating back about 700 years were found while they were working on a new hotel near the historic India Buildings, which is exciting if you’re into that sort of thing.
An overarching photography theme
I wrote a post a long time ago about picking a theme when you go out and shoot. I didn’t do that in Edinburgh but I still came back with one in this next bunch of photographs.
As themes go, it’s pretty overarching. That’s because it’s a load archways.
If you go somewhere with no theme in mind but come back with it in your photographs anyway, I suppose that says something about the place you were shooting at.
I’d never considered Edinburgh an arch-ey place, although to be fair I’d never really thought about it. Seeing is believing though, and I’m seeing archways in all of the following shots, which makes me believe Edinburgh has its fair share of them. Certainly in this old town area, anyway.
In order, there were taken at Advocate’s Close on the Royal Mile, on King’s Stables Road beneath Castle Terrace, in front of the Sheriff Court on Cowgate, looking towards George IV Bridge on Cowgate, and in front of the City Chambers on the Royal Mile.
One of Edinburgh’s hills
While Edinburgh may or may not be arch-ey, it’s most definitely hilly. And I’ve just learned while researching this that it’s said to have been built on seven of them.
I knew Rome was. Everyone knows that. I also knew Sheffield was, which I guess fewer people knew. So I did a quick Google to see if there were any others. Turns out there are loads.
Regardless, the rest of this post will be shots from some of Edinburgh’s seven. First up is Calton Hill which lies just past the east end of Princes Street.
If you’ve ever seen any photographs of Edinburgh before, you’ve probably seen a view of the city from Calton Hill with the Dugald Stewart Monument in the foreground. If you haven’t, check the first picture in this batch and imagine it in colour, without the people, framed better, and shot with a wider lens in better light.
Also on Calton Hill is the National Monument of Scotland, which memorialises the Scots who died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars.
If you think it looks like a very incomplete version of the Parthenon in Athens, that’s because it is. Started in 1826 with a grand plan to ‘erect a facsimile’ of that iconic structure, the project stopped three years later when it ran out of money.
There have been recent proposals to get it finished but it seems neither the cash nor the desire to do so is there.
Two more of Edinburgh’s hills
The biggest hill in Edinburgh is Arthur’s Seat, which sits to the east of the city in Holyrood Park.
At 250m high, the views from the peak are well worth the relatively easy climb to the top. Climb, in this case, meaning an uphill walk.
Arthur’s Seat was formed by volcanic activity hundreds of millions of years ago, as was the aforementioned Calton Hill and the soon-to-be-mentioned Castle Rock, which is surely the most iconic of Edinburgh’s hills.
Towering above the Princes Street Gardens, the rock and the castle that sits on top of it are the centrepiece of the city. There’s been some sort of royal citadel there for over 1000 years, although it’s not always looked as it does now.
Having gone through dozens of sieges over the centuries, control of the place has changed numerous times, and so has its main use. Once a royal residence, it’s also served as a military barracks and is today mainly a museum and Scotland’s most-visited paid tourist attraction.
As the most recognisable symbol of the city, it’s only right to end this photo set with some Edinburgh Castle photographs. One from the north side taken near the Ross Fountain and one from the south side taken at the bottom of Granny’s Green Steps.
Wrapping up from Edinburgh
I’ll never not want to go back to Edinburgh. As I said at the top, it’s one of my very favourite places in the UK and just researching some place names for this article has made me want to return already.
If you’ve never been and get the chance to do so, take it. Get exploring the old town, get climbing those hills, and get shooting some Edinburgh street photography if that’s your thing too.
The Silberra film I shot did okay I think, especially when the sun was out. There’s a lot more contrast in some of the street shots when it was compared to some of the landscape ones when it wasn’t.
But to be fair, that’s not down to the film. That’s just how photography works. And also the Scottish weather.