Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Mystery sign spotted at Barrowland – man with a barrow

It’s odd when you spot something in plain sight that you have simply never, ever, seen before.

While everybody latched on the main illuminated sign on the front of the Barrowland ballroom, I can’t recall seeing any pics of the ‘Man with a barra’ that I spotted on the SIDE wall recently.

I only spotted it as I happened to have been looking at the recent Billy Connolly mural nearby, and was still just idly glancing at building walls for no good reason.

I have absolutely no idea whether or not this is something new, relatively new, or has been up there since the beginning of time.

Similarly, given the time of year, there’s a slim to nil chance of me being around this area when it will be dark enough to learn if this sign – which clearly has wiring and neon – is ever illuminated, or even works.

I’d say it’s been up there for years, unnoticed and probably not lit for years – reason being that it was clearly once animated, with the figure have two sets of neon lights to simulate walking, but one set has clearly been gone for years. At a guess, I’d say the wheel on the barra would have a similar animation to make it appear to be rotating. The neon is all there, but does it work?

Unless there’s some reason for it to be on earlier (if it works), I won’t be seeing this in the dark until we hit November.

If you haven’t seen it, have a look up next time you pass Barrowland, or are at the Barras.

Barrowland Barra Sign

Barrowland Barra Sign


August 11, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Little Barrowland sign at the People’s Palace

I recently chanced across the Barrowland sign all lit up one evening, which for me at least was interesting since I had no idea it even worked let alone was maintained and used – I’m simply not usually there when it’s dark.

I’d largely forgotten the Barrowland display in the People’s Palace – while it occupies a corner it’s kind of dark, and hidden behind a column that reaches to the ceiling.

The column is home to a small reproduction of the Barrowland neon sign, which can be seen best from the stairs leading to the next floor up. Sad to say, while this is a genuine working neon sign, when I noticed it recently only the main word ‘Barrowland’ was lit. The stars were not working, although the pic might suggest they are. This is just an effect of the phosphors being slightly excited by nearby lighting.

I’ll have to remember to watch this one in future, and try to catch it all lit one day.

People's Palace Barrowland neon sign

People’s Palace Barrowland neon sign

January 29, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Barrowland neon does light up

There’s a definite downside to being forced off the road (aka not driving) in that you lose the desire to go to risky places carrying camera gear that might look expensive. Low light photography become a thing for early winter evenings when you can walk to possibly interesting places when there are still crowds around, rather than going places in the dead of night when they are deserted, and only likely to have people you would probably rather not meet being nearby.

I had no idea the Barrowland Ballroom neon still worked, let alone was in use, but there it was one (dark) afternoon/evening, flashing away and looking impressive.

As an aside, seeing it has made me wonder where I could find anything similar, since all the other (large) neon adverts are long gone from Glasgow.

I don’t have a sufficiently wide lens to catch the whole frontage in one shot, and panorama stitching results in distortion when used so close to the subject, so this was a chance to exercise some perspective correction filtering I had been using for another project. Provided this is applied correctly (and ignoring the anomalies that can arise for non-planar views) the results can be pretty good, as this corrected shot illustrates:

Barrowland night tweak

Barrowland night tweak

The coach wasn’t going anywhere, and is the only real flaw.

It was harder timing this shot to catch all the lighting active than to correct it, since the stars and letters are not all illuminated all the time. Now alerted, you should be able to spot the variation in intensity of some of them.

‘Experts’ (who I suspect don’t even own a camera) keep telling me to shoot this sort of scene in RAW, but I’m sorry, I’ll be ignoring them and sticking with jpg while the results come out like this, and I don’t  have to work harder.

For reference, this is the original view, which I had to capture from one side and at an angle to get into a single frame.

This was partly dictated by the lens, but at the time, was also forced on me as it was the only place I could get a clear and unobstructed view (forgetting that coach), and I’d probably have been given a hard time if I’d tried climbing onto the roof of pub/shops just behind.

Barrowland night natural

Barrowland night natural

January 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment


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