So in my earlier post today, I took some shots of New College, the awesome castle type building in which my first official event was held.  I talked about how it was right behind Milne’s Court, where I’m staying.  Well, it gets better.

They’re actually connected!  I had an event with my entire dorm in which we were given the run down of how things work in Milne’s Court and where to go to get help for A and B and C and what events are coming up and such (did you know they host a Thanksgiving dinner for American students?  Brilliant!)  Anyway, we went down into the basement common room and they opened a magical door that is normally locked.

We passed through a cool looking hallway lined with portraits of old guys:

(By the way, the girl in the gray hat and the guy walking to her right are Molly and Jogger, my Chinese friends I met the night before)

We then proceeded into this room, which was an epic banquet hall.  I wish I’d gotten better pictures!

Check out the awesome light fixtures.  The walls and ceilings were a bounty of carved wood, paintings, and interesting detail.

We all sat down at long tables on benches.  People around me began to comment on how it reminded them of the banquet room in a certain series of books/movies that focused on a particular magical school…

I loved the ceiling!  The meeting itself was incredibly boring, though filled with useful and necessary information about how things work and how to stay safe and make use of the facilities offered.  I appreciated it, but it was boring!

But the room was pretty!

We were then ushered back into the common room for pizza. This room was too awesome for pizza, alas!

The pizza event was free, but I couldn’t stand the noise, so after making the acquaintance of a friendly Swedish couple and eating my free piece of pizza, I escaped.  Oh, though I did sign up for the dorm’s discounted tours to see Mary King’s Close and do a Literary Pub tour.  Both sounded like too much fun to miss!

When I was walking upstairs, I peeked out the window and beheld the gorgeous silhouettes of towers against a dark sky.  I realized that this was an epic night for a photo shoot.  It was cold and windy, but not raining.  So my camera and I set off!  And here’s some of our best shots:

Just outside the archway of my dorm is the Royal Mile, of course, so everything is very lit up and still pretty busy, even though it was about 9:00 in the evening.  The Cafe Hub (I still maintain that’s just not right for such an awesome building) is lit up along the sides with multicolored lights, which is weirdly modern against the old stone, but somehow appealing as well.

The tricky thing with night time photography is getting the pictures to look dark, but still show up.  I haven’t mastered it like I wish I could.  Some pictures look so bright it might as well be daytime while others are too dark to make out.  So I fiddle bumblingly with the settings and continue to practice my camera skills.  What better place to do it, right?

So here is basically the same shot with some tweaks to the shutter speed and aperture setting.  By letting in less light and forcing the camera to take a faster picture, I make sure the photo comes out dark.  I probably could have tweaked some more to pick up a little more detail, but I kind of like it the way it is.

The towers look spooky and the contrast with the soldier on the sign is kind of hilarious.

Spookier still is the top towers of the Cafe Hub.  I feel like a light should flicker in one of the windows and a phantom figure should waft by as a silhouette.

I took this same picture with a lot wider aperture setting and it was not nearly as cool.

Proceeding around the corner for some shots of the back.  I love shots of curving streets.  They just make me happy!

And here is the Hub from the back.  So awesome!  Try as I might, I couldn’t find a way to get the whole tower in the shot.  There was an annoying building in the way which I couldn’t move.  Oh well, still a cool shot.

Varying degrees of success with these night shots, obviously, but they turned out okay.  I love the sky in these last two.   The iron fence was pretty neat too, so I had to include it in a few shots.

Around back past the entrance to New College is this little back alley that passes by a bistro, up some winding stairs, into a little courtyard where the Narnia lamp post and Writer’s Museum are, and back onto the Royal Mile.  The bistro looked cozy and cute.  Might have to visit it one day…

Up the stairs to the Narnia lamp post courtyard…   I liked the random lights in the windows.  That’s how it should be in big old buildings at night.  Seriously, people, get with the program…

I mean “programme” of course.

Some quotes inlaid in the stone outside the Writer’s Museum caught my attention.

Back on the Royal Mile where every picture is marvelous no matter what you are shooting.

And, of course, I have to take one last shot of the creepy building that is being soinappropriately used as a cafe/gift shop/etc.  The Phantom of the Opera would kill for a vacation home like this.  What is their problem?

Anyway, that was the end of today’s picture taking and my first photo shoot at night.   I will have to find more fun things to take pictures of this week and hone my photography skills before I start my expeditions elsewhere in Scotland!

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