Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
“The Scots think of it as their capital; they’re too possessive, Edinburgh belongs to the world.”- Richard Demarco
Creating a Story:
From a very young age, I was influenced by the importance of stories and the enormous power it has to stuck in our hearts. These stories can also be captured through the lens in the form of moments that the people can see and get driven by. However, for a very long time, I felt stuck and I question myself as to why I haven't made such an effort to get out in the world and capture the stories around different cities too.
The first step:
Now, after turning 29, with a successful visit to Italy, I decided to plan my second trip for Scotland. Edinburgh with its impressive history, rich culture, picturesque views, gothic architecture, and a stunning skyline, provided an incredible opportunity to explore and capture something that only a photographer can see and later can share it with the world.
While being occupied with the monumental task of setting up my travel plan to Scotland, I was quite keen to explore the old town of Edinburgh. To be honest, I always presumed it to be one of the posh capital of Scotland famous only for Scottish Whiskey and bagpipers. However, my friend GOOGLE was there for my rescue, and guess what, just searching the city made me dive deeper into it. The results of Edinburgh just blew my mind. So much had happened in the past and present in the city that I didn’t have any idea about it. With century-old buildings and an extinct volcano in the heart of city, narrow alleyways and hidden courtyards, all amazingly well preserved and steeped in the city's history. It's no wonder that Edinburgh has inspired many poets, artists, writers, and people of note over the years.
Traveling to Edinburgh:
A quick insight of time taken to reach Edinburgh:
London flight (~9hrs 15mins), Layover (5 hrs 10 mins), Edinburgh flight (~1 hr), cab transition (30minutes) = ~ 16 hours.
Top locations visited in Edinburgh:
I was awe stuck with this spectacular old street of Edinburgh. The elegant design and its curvacious road made me fanatical to explore the history and its European architecture of associated shops and terraces. I was lucky enough to have my hotel situated next to it and later, I had a strong realization that there’s an imperceptible connection with this charming street of Edinburgh. For the next 3 days, I remember visiting the road like 7-8 times and taking long exposure shots as well. There are some places which you feel bonded to and Victoria street is one of them.
Majestic Edinburgh Castle is a world-famous icon of Scotland and part of the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site. If you are an early bird, you would be amazed how the vicinity of Edinburgh castle during the early morning provides such a soothing experience to look at the vastness of the old town of Edinburgh from top of it. It dominates the skyline of Edinburgh from its position on the Castle Rock as it’s mostly visible to people exploring the old town from streets constructed at a bit lower altitude. With just 2-3 people on the whole premises, it was a great opportunity to capture the amazing skyline with the town in the foreground and chimneys running the smoke.
Some historical facts:
The castle stands upon the plug of an extinct volcano, which is estimated to have risen about 350 million years ago during the lower Carboniferous period. The Castle Rock is the remains of a volcanic pipe on which the Castle was constructed.
When a writer has so much being dedicated to, then its indeed important to capture his name around. The Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. It is the second-largest monument to a writer in the world after the José Martí monument in Havana. It stands in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, opposite the Jenners department store on Princes Street and near to Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station, which is named after Scott's Waverley novels.
The Royal Mile
With the temperature around -3 degrees early morning, the roads were left empty from the crowd while I could still spot some joggers around. The gracious architecture of Old town simply takes you to the Scottish era of Edinburgh. The Royal Mile runs through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, connecting the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, with the splendorous Palace of Holyroodhouse, resting in the shadow of Arthur's Seat. The Mile is overlooked by impressive, towering tenements, between which cobbled closes and narrow stairways interlock to create a secret underground world. Peppered with superb attractions such as The Real Mary King’s Close or the Scottish Storytelling Centre, historical sites including St Giles' Cathedral and some of the best eating and drinking spots in the city, the Royal Mile offers much to see and do.
Greyfriars Kirkyard cemetery
It is one of the most well-known places in Edinburgh. The graveyard is being surrounded by Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is located at the southern edge of the Old Town, adjacent to George Heriot's School. Burials have been taking place since the late 16th century, and several notable Edinburgh residents are interred at Greyfriars.
As I am always fascinated by ghosts and spiritual activities, I had heard a lot of stories around the graveyard and the spookiness once can feel while looking at the 14th-15th centuries-old graves. I arrived at around 8 am when the sun just started to rise with morning lights falling on the tree lines and graves and being all alone, I sort of started my adventure of thrill looking around and also, recording the videos. After taking two videos, my battery died from 68% to zero and the phone could not get restarted. I still managed to continue taking photos with my DSLR and observing the old graves and its associated skull and bones style engraved on it.
Also, it's being said that J.K Rowling spent her time in the nearby cafe named as "Elephant's Cafe" to write her first book of Potter series and most of the character's name was taken from this cemetery only.
Exploring the Old town of Edinburgh and its narrow alleyways and hidden courtyards in the absence of people around, gave a great perspective of cityscape photography and what different techniques one can utilize to capture the real essence of the city. I fell in love with taking pictures, wandering around finding things. To me, it feels like a kind of performance. The picture is a document of that performance. Being traveling all alone, I never felt uneasy or uncomfortable among the people around and they somehow made me part of their city by greeting and welcoming my presence with the camera. 😊 If you are looking to experience the true Scottish culture and meet the English people around, Edinburgh is the best place to be and gather the unforgettable moments forever.