Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Glasgow, the friendly city

While I may not be a professional photographer, I try to conduct myself professionally in places where there may be conflict, and am reasonably familiar with photographer’s rights and responsibilities, and  the difference between public and private places.

The latter can be amusing, as a landowner is fully within their rights to instruct someone not to take photographs while standing on their land (and can legitimately report them to the police for failing to comply), yet one can take what can effectively amount to what is the same photograph quite freely if standing on public land – and that may only require taking one step to make sure you are on the right side of the property line.

I made sure I was standing in the public street when I took the pic below, and was fully in compliance with the sign.

The location should be fairly obvious by now.

Billy Connolly Mural Photo Warning

Billy Connolly Mural Photo Warning

You can find a few articles to the relevant advice in the ‘Links‘ section to the right.


January 2, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Bumped into Billy Connolly last week

I don’t pay that much attention, but suspect the artwork noted below was created in the days before Billy Connolly gained a ‘Sir’ added to his name.

While the giant murals were created around the time of that award, I think this pic is somewhat earlier than his 75th ‘presents’.

I was surprised to see his face looking back at me, across Queen Street, as I wandered along the side of GoMA (Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art).

I’d like to finish the job, but couldn’t find any more info about it on the seller’s web site, nor was the artist listed in their stable.

As appears to be the custom, there was no obvious price (if you have to ask, you can’t…), but typical prices there are in the 4-figure bracket, and 5 are by no means rare.

Billy Connolly Pic

Billy Connolly Pic

December 26, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

(Sir) Billy Connolly bites Trump’s bum

Well THAT hit the spot!

The Big Yin called it RIGHT way back in 2011.

From Billy Connolly’s Route 66 – Episode 1:

Connolly On Trump

Connolly On Trump

Small set of grabs from this section:

I’ll just leave this here…

A Man Walks Into A Bar

A Man Walks Into A Bar

December 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Billy Connolly Dixon Street mural – Vettriano original (almost)

Although I’d read about the originals of the murals made to Celebrate Sir Billy Connolly’s 75th being exhibited, with my memory any clue as to where they were going soon evaporated.

So it was a nice surprise to trip over one of them, the one by Jack Vettriano, as I wandered through Kelvingrove recently.

Only thing was… I was wrong, and it seems the original in question is actually in the People’s Palace, and this is only a study, per the label:

Vettriano Study Label

Vettriano Study Label

We can still compare the little yin to the big yin…

Vettriano Mural Original

Vettriano Mural Original Study


Billy Connolly Mural Dixon Street

Dixon Street

There’s an irritating shadow cast along the top edge of the study, but the real problem with reproducing this image lies in the very ‘warm’ lighting used in Kelvingrove. Not visible to the eye, it produces a very warm image.

While I corrected for this, and it looks fine seen on its own, I think it still looks a little too ‘warm’ when seen in close proximity to the larger mural, obviously shot out of doors and under natural light.

It’s a while since I made it into the People’s Palace, so this means I’ll have to wander along there sometime soon, to get a look at the real original.

August 30, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sir Billy Connolly – honourable mention

Although I managed to grab some pics of his birthday murals in Glasgow, I didn’t get a chance to watch the BBC documentary Billy Connolly: Portrait of a Lifetime about their creation, or of the stories behind their artwork until last night.

It also means a trip to the People’s Palace is in order, as the originals are on show there.

And while it may not have been the subject of the programme, my lasting memory of will be a clip from one of is recent stage shows:

I’ve got Parkinson’s Disease. I wish he’d fuckin’ kept it!

Now it’s Sir Billy Connolly

I’m not a great follower of the news these days, populated as it is by too many people trying to get noticed, or absurd opportunist politicians trying to score some sort of points over their opponents – frankly, my Bullshit Detector can’t handle it all, so I just don’t bother.

Bull Det MkII

Bull Det MkII

But I do watch the ‘Bullet Point’ headlines, and the first one I saw this morning was:

‘Hairy rebel’ pleased to be Sir Billy Connolly

Scottish comedian Billy Connolly said he was “pleased and a little embarrassed” to get a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

The 74-year-old Glaswegian said he did not know much about what it would mean.

The star told BBC Scotland: “It won’t really dawn on me until Glasgow people start calling me ‘Sir Billy’ or whatever they come up with.”

He said it felt strange to be welcomed into the establishment as he still thought of himself as a “hairy rebel”.

Unlike some (who are thankfully long forgotten) he didn’t make a great fuss, or protest his hatred of ‘The Establishment’, but simply said:

It’s an honour and I’ll accept it honourably.

The only problem I might possibly see with receiving such an honour these days… is some of the rubbish you have to share it with. there’s some real dross in there this year.

But, forgetting them, it’s really nice to see Sir Billy, who earned hos honour over the years.

Also, I’m not sure who was first, or if they both have ‘Imaginative and original’ writers on their staff (or perhaps neither do), but I saw the appearance of a pair of similarly ‘Inspired’ (Ha!) headlines later in the day:

Arise, Sir Billy: Big Yin gets knighthood in honours list (STV)

Arise Sir Big Yin as Scottish comic icon Billy Connolly awarded knighthood (Daily Record)

June 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Mural triplet celebrates Billy Connolly at 75

I have to admit to being a relative latecomer to Billy Connolly’s humour, but found it to be little short of hysterical with its frank honesty and simplicity – not to mention his delivery, which makes otherwise mundane and ordinary tales into side-splitting gems.

I’d never even heard of him until someone let me hear one of his records (that a round black plastic thing) somewhere, then I found him on the radio.

No Internet and search tools to find a quick MP3, stream, or YouTube item back then – but I suppose that could be another story, and one he could probably turn into another side-splitting sketch.

I read about the mural in the news:

Glasgow murals leave Billy Connolly ‘flabbergasted’

And decided it was time for a walk – and six hours and 17 miles later came home with the required pics.

There’s also a 1-hour documentary on them:

Billy Connolly: Portrait of a Lifetime

While two were netted with no problems, I managed to forget where the third was – mainly because its position in the Gallowgate means I’m almost obliged to pass it when I head for home, so I didn’t bother making a mental note of where it was. That was a mistake, and added around 3 miles as wandered around the city centre looking for something to jog my memory. Utterly useless until I turned for home – and THAT finally reminded me.

The murals are not hard to find or see, provided you know where to look.

The day turned windy and dull, with tiny showers, so I had to process the images to brighten them up and recover the colours.

I also corrected them for perspective, removing the slightly annoying narrowing as you look towards their tops.

(Click on any mural for a larger version.)

The last one, in the Gallowgate, is/was particularly annoying to photograph. I’m not sure what the best conditions or time of day would be, but an overcast evening was definitely NOT good. The finish is very glossy and the reflections from the sky behind the camera cannot be avoided, and obscure much of the detail. The other two do not share this problem.

Working from west to east, first up is Dixon Street, just south of St Enoch Square:

This one is slightly spoilt by a metal fence enclosing a seating area at its foot, but you can negate this intrusion by going up to fence and shooting between the railings


Billy Connolly Mural Dixon Street

Billy Connolly Mural Dixon Street

Next up is Osborne Street, in the section across from the car park, to the east of the St Enoch Centre, between Stockwell Street and King Street.

No problems shooting here, and you can even get squarely in front of the mural if you wander a little way up ‘Old Wynd’.

Billy Connolly Mural Osborne Street Old Wynd

Billy Connolly Mural Osborne Street Old Wynd

Last up is the Gallowgate mural, pretty (very) easy to spot as you head east along the Gallowgate from Glasgow Cross.

There’s no problem getting below the mural for a pic, but as you can see from this pic, reflections from the glossy finish are hard to mitigate – at least in the evening. Maybe there’s a better viewpoint to be had, but it’s hard to avoid sky reflections if you are stay on the ground/

Unfortunately, not even post-processing for highlight and shadow detail helps, since there is none to recover (recall the problem is the shiny gloss finish and reflections in it).

Billy Connolly Mural Gallowgate

Billy Connolly Mural Gallowgate



Shortly after this feature, Jack Vettriano announced he was moving out of Edinburgh to escape fame.

While I have absolutely no time for the wasters who are deemed as ‘celebrity’ for no reason other than being famous (you know fine well what I mean, for example appearing on TV for a whole 5 minutes and being crude to get a headline, and then paid millions for nothing), I think it’s a shame that people such as Mr Vettriano are ultimately hounded by more wasters who simply want a damned ‘selfie’ with them, or to say they met him.

Via: Jack Vettriano moving out of Edinburgh to escape fame


June 13, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment


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