The Seaside // Largs

I've typically only posted work here on my blog, but I take so many photos all of the time, I decided to chuck on a few of my favourites from real life.

So, here's a quick trip to the seaside, to see my mum on mother's day. 

Largs. Ice-cream. Traffic Jams. Seaside & sunsets. 

The Cobbler

A 1 hour drive from my front door, to the foot of The Cobbler. 

Quite a bit longer to get to the top of it, but a pretty awesome way to spend a Tuesday with some pals.

Never bored of how much this country spoils us. I feel like I live in a never-ending love letter to Scotland.

Exploring USA // San Diego Surf

Sometimes the unplanned stops are the ones that leave the biggest impression.

San Diego was an 'if we have time' spot on our itinerary, and now, having spent a few days there, it's high on my list of places to head right back to.

The city has such a wonderfully relaxed spirit. Awesome beaches. A photography museum that I geeked out in for too long (and bought a great Mary Ellen Mark book).

San Diego, take me back. On this cold, wet, Glasgow night, please take me back.

Exploring USA // Biking Golden Gate

Our first taste of California was Bakersfield. A fairly uninspiring welcome to the bright light at the end of the long road. As I mentioned in this post, a frozen Yosemite meant a change of route, thankfully our stop in Bakersfield was as brief as it was uninteresting. Another example of the homogenised city of roadside outlets, devoid of character. 

And so, early in the morning we hit I5 north to San Francisco. As we drove it seemed more like we were driving into the apocalypse than the Golden Gate City. Rain was bouncing off of our car and taking out other cars. It was in this weather we arrived at the pier for a night time trip to Alcatraz. The only disappointment was no Nicholas Cage. If you're going to go to the island, doing it at night and in the rain is pretty special. Super creepy and sinister. 

The bright sunshine of the next morning meant plans were back on track for cycling the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. We took the boat home and watched a pretty stunning sunset behind the bridge. It felt like a real welcome to the promise of California. 

And then, of course, we got drunk in the Mission.

Next stop PCH...

Exploring USA // driving death valley

Driving Death Valley was tinged with a touch of sadness as our original plan, post-Vegas, had been to head into Yosemite for a few days. This is a total dream of mine. Sadly, it remains just a dream for now as the weather meant we couldn't access the park. So, a detour on our way to California meant heading a little further south before doubling back North to eventually hit San Francisco, where we were starting our trip down PCH.

So, Death Valley wasn't in the plan, but man was it an incredible alternative to Yosemite. We drove through in a day, stopping a lot to see the incredible landscapes.

The most striking thing about the US, for me, is the incredible shifts in the landscape. In small parts from day to day, and also in the huge shifts you see over hundreds of miles. 

Death Valley is like nowhere else I've ever seen. The roads stretch in front of you as the deserts on either side give way to mountains. Huge periods of time pass without ever seeing or hearing another person. There is an eerie silence in the air.

There is nothing there, but there is a hell of a lot of nothing.

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg

Exploring USA // streets of santa fe

"Red, Green, or Christmas?"

We must have look more than a little baffled at this, as our very kind waitress explained that we're deciding how we want our hot sauce, for breakfast. New Mex.

I didn't quite realise how high we had driven until the temperature overnight dropped to -13. Not the best bet to stay in an AirBnB caravan then.

Lots of American cities that we've visited so far seem to follow a fairly similar model. With the exception of New Orleans, there isn't a whole lot that differentiates one from the next in a cultural sense. Even the German Fredericksburg that we passed through somewhere in mid-Texas, is another town with a different font. 

Santa Fe though, is like something else altogether. It's a small, beautiful (freezing cold) city with bags of character and friendly residents. There seems to be an authenticity here that some other places are aiming for, but fall short of.

These are mostly photographs of the streets that were so beautifully interesting as subjects.

Also, chilli hot chocolate btw!!

Exploring USA // sedona

Arriving in Arizona, we stayed in Flagstaff, which turned out to be a great base for heading north to Grand Canyon and South to Sedona another day. 

After many days in the city and many, many hours in the car, I can't overstate enough how nice it was to get out into nature, to do some hiking along Sedona's many trails, breathe some fresh air and soak up some glorious sunshine.  

We started early and drove through the sunrise to see the incredible red rock at first light. We spent the rest of the daylight walking and seeing some of the iconic stone formations around the town. 

I loved it and it's high on my list of places to go back to with more time to spare.  

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg

Exploring USA // Carlsbad Caverns, NM

upload.jpg

After leaving Austin, out trip was pretty unplanned until we reached San Francisco. Eugene & Elizabeth, who we stayed with in Austin were an amazing help at making some decisions on what route we should take. I'd never heard of Carlsbad Caverns before, but they raved about it, so we took the road West through Texas to drive North through New Mexico, stopping off at the caverns. We took a long drive day to make it to Whites City, the closest town to the caverns. To call it a town is fairly generous. A 'city' is just a bit silly. We arrived at 6 and the only light we could see was the reception of the motel. Everything else was done for the night. So, that's where we stayed. 

 

New Mexico was never really on my radar as somewhere that I had to visit. Apparently it's the 'state of enchantment' although a guy we chatted to told us it's more like the 'state of entrapment'. 

We visited the caverns early the next morning and were totally blown away. There's only one photo of it here, because photos don't really do the place justice. If you ever find yourself in Whites City, definitely stop by! 

Next stop Santa Fe (via some alien spotting in Roswell)... 

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg

Exploring USA // let the rains fall on...austin, TX

So many pals have visited this town for SXSW. This was my first time and I think my experience was a little different.

A 7 hour rain soaked, hungover slog from NOLA was thankfully met with a wonderful family who put Cat up when she was there playing. We were greeted with fajitas and margaritas and a night of great chat.

Austin was quiet, but it's easy to see it's a fun town when people are out to play. 

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
the beautiful texas morning light is a nice way to wake up

the beautiful texas morning light is a nice way to wake up

Exploring USA // falling in love with NOLA

I'm not sure what to say about New Orleans. It's been a few days since we left and I'm still blown away by the place.

Unlike any other place I've been in the US, it has a character all of it's own. 

The night we arrived we stumbled into a free wine tasting and got too drunk and the following night, well, still not sure. 

So much music and fun and life in the streets. The place is its own buzz. 

No doubts, I'll be back 😚

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
there's alligator in that there po'boy

there's alligator in that there po'boy

We were pretty lucky to catch the Standing Rock Super Group playing on the street to raise money for the pipeline protestors, just a couple of days before the news that the protests had been successful. 

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg

Exploring USA // to the hills

New York. Philadelphia. DC.

All great, but how nice it was to see some nature. 

It was a pretty brutal 12 hour car day. Too many car accidents! 

Arrived to beautiful Asheville and hung out in this great little town in the mountains. The day we arrived set a new record for days without rain, which unfortunately was coinciding with some arson induced forest fires which made to within 15 miles of the city. 

Asheville is home to the most obscene breakfast I will ever know (tupelo honey, if you ever fancy a meaty bloody mary).

 

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg

Exploring USA // nashville, graceland, memphis tennessee

So Paul Simon got a pretty solid airing on the car stereo.

We realised we hadn't named the car, he's now christened Donald, after the other white monster. 

We drove the Smokey Mountain Expressway into Tennessee and ended up in Nashville with the beautiful, wonderful, Old Sea Brigade.

We saw a lot of cowboys and a lot more country music. We saw a Grand Ole Opry show and cringed as the crowed cheered our car's namesake. 

Cat thought she saw Taylor Swift and we boozed some more  Turns out Nashville makes some ace beer. Bearded Iris' new brewery bar was especially ace. 

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg

And then to Graceland. We were both getting close to burn out with too much food, booze and car time so missed most of Memphis other than the beaut Graceland which is exactly as tacky as I hoped it'd be.

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
mirror selfie in the bathroom of Elvis' private plane. obviously.

mirror selfie in the bathroom of Elvis' private plane. obviously.

Exploring USA // one, american, wit

It's OK to go full tourist sometimes, right?

 

We visited my cousin Paula and her awesome friends for thanksgiving, just outside of Philadelphia. It was a surprisingly painless drive through Manhattan to take the road down there for all the food!

Thankfully we missed the black Friday crazy and took a walk around Philadelphia. An uber driver told us "this is south Philadelphia, where I was born and raised." 

So close!! 

Learned how to order a cheese steak which is probably a significant life skill. 

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg

After thanksgiving we drove from Philly to DC for a quick overnight. We arrived towards the end of daylight so I had us pretty much jogging from Dupont Circle to Pennsylvania Avenue.

It looked like the removal vans were in. Sad to think what will b become of the place.

Walked the mall as the sun set to appreciate some of the history around the city and country.

 

I really enjoyed DC. Hopefully it holds strong over the next few years.

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg

Exploring USA // welcome to new york

The idea of an American road trip is so intrinsically filled with romanticism and nostalgia. From Route 66 to Robert Johnson's crossroads all via Kerouac's rambling, meandering words and miles; it's an idea that almost certainly seems impossible to truly replicate. So, I guess there's no point in trying to replicate.

My wife and I decided to take a chunk of time away from everyday life to explore this massive old(ish) chunk of land.  

It doesn't seem like there can be much romance left on the American road, but I'm sure we can find some fun.

We started in New York this week, taking a couple of days to soak up some of the city and (over)fill our bellies. 

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
This is my wife, Cat. She's decided that she wants to learn photography beyond her iPhone. She has a camera of mine for the trip. Hopefully you never see the other side of this photo inception. 

This is my wife, Cat. She's decided that she wants to learn photography beyond her iPhone. She has a camera of mine for the trip. Hopefully you never see the other side of this photo inception. 

upload.jpg
The cartoon president is already causing mayhem on 5th Avenue.  

The cartoon president is already causing mayhem on 5th Avenue.  

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg

Route planning over breakfast. Next stop is PA for Thanksgiving with some family. New York is the only place we plan to visit that I've been to before, so from here, everything is new to me.

Let's get some road under those tyres! 

 

King Creosote // Love Life

A long time ago, somebody I was studying with told me to check out King Creosote, saying they thought I'd really like it.

I went along to Europa Records in Stirling with my hard earned student loan money and bought a Kid Creole record. The perils of drunken conversations is that I don't always fully take in the details. 

Bit of a disaster, only realised when I started listening.

Anyway, I eventually got around to the real thing, and have been a big KC fan since. I've had the pleasure of photographing Kenny before and it was great to head through to the East Neuk again to shoot this video. Not sure you'd really recognise much of it as Fife though.

Love Life is a single from current album 'Astronaut Meets Appleman'

Download on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/AstronautDL
Order LP/CD from Domino: http://smarturl.it/AstronautDM