New Pinhole Exhibition Invites All to Get Involved

The Botanic Gardens have today unveiled a new festival focusing on pinhole photography. The event is scheduled to run for two weeks, and is designed to be accessible to both professional and amateur photographers, as well as interested members of the public.

Kenny Bean organised the exhibit and has been working as a photographer for 25 years, branching out into pinhole photographs around 5 years ago. He described how “film cameras and digital cameras are quite strict in the photography that you do – you can see the image come back so you know its going to work, whereas pinhole photography is very random. You’re not sure what you’re going to get so it’s more of a surprise and it’s a different challenge to get a picture out of a pinhole camera than a digital camera.”

The festival includes works by Jason Cornell, an artist who places a pinhole camera in his mouth and photographs everyday objects, as seen from the back of the throat. Minnie Veiss, another proponent of the art, uses a Camera Obscura set-up in conjunction with pinhole techniques.

The Stills Gallery and the Camera Obscura building are also involved in the project, with the gallery hosting a reading room where people can learn more about methods and techniques. The Camera Obscura is hosting children’s workshops where kids can make a working camera obscura, which they can then take home.

The festival is open every day from 12 till 4pm, and features an open dark room for visitors to use as they wish. For complete novices, Bean explains that they are running “a beginners workshop, 2 till 3 o’clock every afternoon, so they can come and learn…how to take photographs with biscuit tin cameras…and then once they’ve learned how to do that they can come back…and just carry on working in the dark room themselves.”

Lothian buses hike prices again

Bus passengers in Edinburgh are facing a new round of price increases this week. This marks the second price rise by Lothian Buses in 12 months.

As of the 4th of March 2012, single fare prices are rising from £1.30 to £1.40, while day passes are rising from £3.20 to £3.50. There have been no changes to student, child, or concession fares. The last price rise was in April 2011, when single fare prices rose from £1.20 to £1.30.

Continue reading Lothian buses hike prices again

Edinburgh set to celebrate its remarkable women

March sees the annual return of International Women’s Day (IWD) with events planned throughout Edinburgh to mark the occasion.

For over 100 years, the world has celebrated the achievements of women and their contribution to the arts, sciences, medicine and numerous other fields. On and around 8th March the celebration continues as countries around the world host their own events.

Beginning life in 1909 as National Women’s Day in the United States the day was instigated by the Socialist Party of America. It soon spread overseas to socialist countries in Europe before being recognised as an international event in 1911.

The UN’s theme for this years IWD will be Empower Women: End Hunger and Poverty. The United States have also planned a Women’s History Month to coincide with IWD and Google will change its search engine icon to show their support.

Founder of the, Glenda Stone explains why IWD has become so popular, “Activity on International Women’s Day has skyrocketed over the last five years. This is due to the rise of social media, celebrity involvement, and corporations taking on the day sponsoring and running big events. Our community with around 10,000 followers is phenomenal for sharing videos, information and news as it happens. Offline large scale women’s rallies have become even larger through the use of social media. It would be hard to find any country that did not celebrate the day in some way.”

This year, Edinburgh will recognise IWD with a calender of events kicking off this evening at Surgeons Hall with a series of talks acknowledging women often overlooked in Edinburgh’s medical community. The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh University and the Film House will also play host to events and talks.

For more information on these events click here.

New wave of library cuts hang in the balance

Tonight at 6.15 pm the McDonald Road Library in Edinburgh will become the place of a communal discussion following recent plans by the Council to save money in library services. Edinburgh East Save Our Services, Greater Leith Against the Cuts as well as members of Unison will hold a public meeting to discuss changes which would include reduction of opening hours and certain venues closing on Thursdays.

Campaigners are worried the Council’s plan will threaten the functionality of Edinburgh’s libraries, and mean that some facilities would be left short staffed which would have an adverse effect on the quality of service provided to the public. .

Edinburgh based writer Ken MacLeod told STV local: “Free public libraries have been important to me all my life. Any cut in library services is a hit on the self-education and self-directed entertainment of everyone, and particularly on those who can least afford to lose them.”

The meeting tonight is a response to those issues and is open to the public.

UK parents can’t afford to lend money to their children

Disturbing figures reveal that a quarter of UK families with children under 16 have no savings at all, compared to a national average of 19%.

People in their late thirties and those who are divorced are also among the ones left most financially vulnerable as they bear the brunt of family responsibilities.

The numbers show that a quarter of Britons aged 35-44 years old have no savings at all, with 73% of these people saying they have no money available to save. Although they do have some savings, 39% of people who are divorced and living alone are currently failing to save anything at all, noticeably higher than the national average of 32%.

“Although these groups aren’t mutually exclusive, what we can discern from the research is that all the points in this ‘Risk Triangle’ have significant family responsibilities. We can see that family giving has risen exponentially, but this is clearly unsustainable.  It begs the question, that without taking steps to provide, how will they help their children in another five years through education or onto the property ladder?” commented Iain McGowan, Head of Savings and Investments at Scottish Widows.

According the latest Scottish Widows Savings & Investments Report, the average amount of money UK parents can afford to lend to their children is £12,846. This number has increased by almost a third since the financial downturn in the last five years.

A further trend shows that over half of Britons are saving for the short-term, or not at all.

Explaining this short-term attitude, Mr McGowan said: “We are increasingly seeing people fail to plan properly for the future. When a life stage – whether having children, buying a home or planning for retirement – is so far away, we tend to not take it into account, preferring to focus on the here and now instead. However not only is this misguided, this short-sightedness will cost the current generation dearly, and deliver a huge savings shock further down the line.”

Mild winter boosts hydro power

Scotland’s hydroelectric power stations have received a boost from a warm and wet winter. Energy production in Hydro plants was revealed to be the highest since records began in the 1930s.

This data come from energy company SSE, who run more than 50 hydroelectric schemes across the Highlands, Perth, Kinross, Argyll and Bute.

The high rainfall over winter and the rapid thaw of snow were perfect for hydroelectric production. The previous record for hydroelectric production over a year was 3,890 gigawatt hours (GWh) but the figures for 2011/12 look set to pass the 4,000 GWh mark.

The winter was especially warm; temperatures in Aberdeen airport went as high as 17.2C last Tuesday.

Paul Smith, SSE managing director for generation said that the weather conditions “ensured the continuing success of hydro power as a valued source of renewable energy.”