This is the "Falkirk Wheel" and its associated aqueduct which is the only rotating boat lift in the World, built to allow boats to pass between the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal which differ in height by 24 metres (79 ft). in fact, the Union Canal is still 11 metres (36 ft) higher than the aqueduct which meets the wheel, and boats must pass through a pair of locks to descend from this canal onto the aqueduct at the top of the wheel.
The two canals served by the wheel were originally connected by a series of 11 locks. With a 35 metres (115 ft) difference in height, it required 3,500 tonnes of water per "run" and took a boat most of a day to pass through the stair. By the 1930s these had fallen into disuse, and the locks were dismantled in 1933. The Forth and Clyde Canal closed at the end of 1962.
The British Waterways Board (BWB) came into existence on 1 January 1963, the day the Forth and Clyde was closed, with the objective of finding a broad strategy for the future of canals in the United Kingdom. Eventually, after long considerations and later part funding from the National Lottery, a decision was made to reinstate the two canals as well as the link between them. Several designs for a boat lift were submitted and the final decision was made in favour of the design submitted by Edinburgh architects RMJM (Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall). RMJM's chief architect was Tony Kettle who worked out aspects of the construction using his 8-year-old daughter's "Lego", and build a model which was shown to clients and funders!
On 24 May 2002, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Falkirk Wheel as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations.
The success of the design of the wheel depends on Archimedes' principle that an object floating in a fluid displaces its own weight of that fluid, so when a boat sails into one of the two caissons of the wheel, the wheel remains perfectly balanced. So efficient is the system that it only requires electric motors of 30 horsepower (22.5 KW) to power the rotation of the wheel.
In the picture you can see in the foreground the pool leading from the Forth and Clyde Canal, then the glass-roofed visitor centre on the left, then the wheel itself and, to the upper right, the aqueduct leading to the Union Canal. I shall add a workshop picture taken from a different viewpoint showing the wheel in mid-rotation.
And you can read more about this interesting structure here.
Critiques | Translate
Royaldevon (41865) 2014-01-23 5:07
Well, I feel that you have been reading my mind! I was watching Great British Train Journeys with Michael Portillo when it showed this wonderful invention. My first reaction was, 'We must go to Falkirk and photograph this'!
Here it is in all its glory! It is a wonderful invention and I am so pleased to say that you have done it justice! You have composed the shot beautifully, the stanchions and their circular orifices making a dramatic lead from the f/g into the b/g, whilst on the opposing diagonal you have the barges and their moorings.
The sky adds drama to the shot, evidence that a blue sky is not always necessary.
I love this and I envy you enormously!
have a great day,
BennyV (19759) 2014-01-23 5:12
A bizarre view. Like a halfway house between retro and science-fiction. A superb contrast between the old-style and colourful boats and the rather grey and futuristic location they're in. Well spotted & but then, of course, that's only half of the job: it's also really well executed! Great picture, I say.
timecapturer (49288) 2014-01-23 5:25
a wonderful shot of this amazing piece of engineering. Your execution and post processing here are quite stunning. Is this HDR? I only say that because of the lights in the sky, that seem to be slightly different colours in parts especially below the diagonal of the wheel. Anyway it is a beautifully expressive capture and you have presented is superbly. Looks impressive too!
Sergiom (86147) 2014-01-23 5:32
Cette photo ressort de la galerie. Très impressionnante structure . Architecture très moderne. Le ciel est dramatique, le bateau rouge un superbe point focal. Le post traitement est spectaculaire.
willperrett (11704) 2014-01-23 8:54
Amazing and beautiful piece of engineering, and not an undramatic sky beyond it! I think you've "played" with it somewhat, but in an expert way: can't really see the joins apart from round the fence along the top of the aqueduct. What have the Romans ever done for us? I thought "The aqueduct" was one answer. Good work.
Romano46 (18472) 2014-01-23 9:15
una postproduzione straordinaria ha trasformato un soggetto industriale in una soggetto straordinario.
Eccellente le finezza dei particolari che si associa alla particolarità dei colori.
Un incontro dell'uno e dell'altro che appare in tutta evidenza fin dalla visione della miniatura.
Ciao e bnuona serata
RhodieIke (11744) 2014-01-23 14:20
This a fantastic photo of this amazing piece of engineering , the colours and clarity spot on.
Trust you are well and not fed up as me with all this rain.
All the best,
chrislo (4097) 2014-01-23 14:36
Hello John, my neighbour today,
What an impressive piece of modern engineering and architecture ! It really looks like a futuristic launch pad ! It's a cleverly composed image with the aqueduct running in diagonal across the frame, which gives it quite a graphic style. I like how the grey overcast sky blends with the imposing structure. The brightly coloured boats are almost distracting here, but they add a vibrant hue to the overall dark atmosphere. Very well done.
carlo62 (53360) 2014-01-23 15:11
bellissima condivisione, mio figlio è rimasto affascinato da questa struttura, studia meccanica.
Molto bello anche lo scatto, ottimi pov, due immagini ben costruite e ben realizzate.
rigoletto (34279) 2014-01-23 16:20
hi john. i've been admiring a lot your photos for a long time, and watching with respect your period of enjoying the learning of pp techniques. what i admire the most is your way of trying to stick to "reality", whether in terms of colors or trying to keep away from any sorts of exaggeration. so far you did not push the reds, you did not push the light etc, and that was all good. but here, i think you are a bit ahead of the "credible limit", i mean, the result looks "incredible" and cartoonish even in the thumbnail form. you well know what i mean: the sky. ok, it is not overexposed and beautifully dramatic on its own, and the aqueduct and other frontal elements are well lit with all their details availabe, again on their own. but, layers or HDR, whatever the technique, when they come together, the overall effect has its place out of the reality. i guess you should take it a little bit easier, before you get lost in the temptation of gorgeous looks.
macjake (71069) 2014-01-23 18:00
this has to be one of the funkiest and coolest pics I've seen on TE.
Now why the heck have you waited THIS long to post it and take a photo of it!?
even though it looks somewhat old, it has a futuristic appeal to it - is it just me?
looking at it, i image some sort of Death Ray shooting through the circles lol - like in Star Wars.
love the contrast levels, the brooding sky, the WS photo, the splash of Red...it just all works so well together!
great post John
SnapRJW (31629) 2014-01-23 21:55
Hello John - I've looked at this shot a number of times trying to decide whether I like it or not. I like the composition and subject very much. The strong lines and futuristic look of the Falkirk Wheel are superb but to be honest I do not like your PP work. I wonder if you have worked with HDR here? To me the image looks 'over-tweaked' with very noticeable hard lines/edges between the sky and the 'wheel'. There is also a strange colour shift in one 'window' of sky which looks out-of-sinc with the overall hues. IMO, and critiques are always hugely subjective, this is a case where less would be more. Warm regards Rosemary
jjcordier (79297) 2014-01-23 22:39
Cet ascenseur à bateaux est vraiment très original et ta photo en WS permet de bien en comprendre le fonctionnement. Très bonne photo avec une lumière spéciale créant une atmosphère particulière.
annjackman (21901) 2014-01-23 23:02
I was so surprised to see this picture from you that I didn't know how to critique it especially because I wasn't sure what you had done to it. However, I actually loved it at first sight and continue to do so. I thought that it was HDR at first. It is the metallic colours that are even in the dramatic sky that suit the main subject of this composition. I do wonder whether the splash of red, in this case, is not necessary as it draws my eye to the edge of the picture. It also takes away the rather 'futuristic' look away from the rest of the picture.
Incredible engineering and a wonderful interpretation of it - excellent!
Best wishes, Ann
ktanska (28753) 2014-01-23 23:06
It is an amazing engineering marvel which quite clearly is pretty optimal solution for for the task of moving those boats up and down. I've seen a document of this in Discovery Channel I think.
You photo shows good angle on it. Clear contrast view seems to have quite strong postprocessing but I think it fits with the futuristic subject.
lousat (95982) 2014-01-24 1:57
Hi John,you caught the best by this very cloudy moment with a very professional work in PP,magnificent way to show us the architechture of this aqueduct,so modern and original,i like it! Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano
emka (104302) 2014-01-24 22:59
Hi John, I read other critiques and discussion under this photo and what I can say. As I am only lady with a camera and have no idea about the photography I can't tell if any photo is good or not. I admire all these careful analysis that other people make. I can tell I like it or not and the most important - if it is interesting. Even if it is a little bit overcooked (I am not sure about it) it is VERY interesting. I could not understand how it worked but I saw a short video and I find it fascinating. So now I notice the wheel behind these two towers. What a unique application of Archimedes's law. It is amazing. And you made a good job showing it in an attractive way.
You may find the discussion under my photo http://beta.trekearth.com/viewphotos.php?l=3&p=1448407 funny and/or interesting.
And I observed strange thing. It happens like this. I process the photo, move various sliders, enhance this and that. I am glad with the result, so quite happy I save it and sometimes post on TE. I think the photo is great :) Then after some time I look at it again and I find it horrible "overcooked". It often seems to me that the photo changed being just in computer, but it is of course impossible. So why? I wonder if you ever observed something like this.
Thanks for sharing this. Today in Warsaw is minus 18.
williewhistler (16412) 2014-01-25 3:56
after reading through all of the critiques and messages my thoughts pass to the Monty Python sketch "I never expected the Spanish Inquisition",you must be fed up with negative comments by now.
Me, I love it for what it is,a very fine representation of a fantastic piece of engineering in an imaginative composition,oh yes,I also enjoy the red boat where ever it sits.
Best regards Les.
dta (81144) 2014-01-25 4:11
Hello John ,
A superb picture of this stunning lock . A poor light , but very well captured , a beautful cloudy sky , and some touches of vivid colors . The composition is excellent , too .
About the discussion and the previous comments , We can see that we all don't see the same , and that is a good thing ;) . For my taste , that works well , even your PP creates a "cartoon" effect , that I appreciate , too .
jcpix (13930) 2014-01-27 19:03
This is wildly fascinating, both for its subject and the subsequent conversation regarding the post processing. As was mentioned, what we all do as photographers and how we view others work is quite subjective. While this image is full of intrigue, curiosity and strong color...I find myself leaning towards the side that says it was taken just a bit too far on the unnatural side of editing. That's only a technical detail however.
As far as the atmosphere and content are concerned, this is fantastic...there's an immense dramatic mood from the darkened sky! Amazing engineering and design, it makes me think of trying to thread a needle. :)
Although it may not have been the desired result, I like that you pushed the boundaries and presented it to produce a thoughtful regard...as it's sparked reaction and varying perspectives. No matter the debate, we've still learned something new. Looking forward to the next! Have a great day ahead.
Friendly wishes from overseas,
trevormoffiet (3112) 2014-01-27 21:36
Despite the criticisms I love what this photo represents. It represents having a go. I believe that photos must be manipulated to get the best out of them. I didn't walk 11 kilometres but I travelled thousands to take photos in rainy old England and Iceland. Some of my 'best' photos were 'taken' in the rain even though the original images were quite drab.
I think that you could greatly improve the photo in the way you intended without using layers. The way I work in Lightroom 4.(I know that you might not use this but I think that the same can be done using the raw processor (Camera Raw?) that comes with Photoshop) Slide the highlights slider far to the left to bring out detail in the sky (to taste). Observe what this does to the histogram. Increase contrast slightly or a lot depending on the image. Also observe what this does to the histogram. Pull back into the histogram any dark areas that have slid off the histogram to the left. Observe histogram. Use either 'shadows' slider or 'blacks' slider or both to bring them back in. Observe histogram. Increase very slightly 'clarity' which also affects contrast. Inspect the histogram. No burnt out highlights. No blocked-in blacks but greens and reds are too 'saturated' by now due to the contrast changes made. Decrease luminosity of green to taste. Decrease saturation only slightly. Check that no weird artefacts have been created. If so, increase luminosity a bit. Do the same with reds. For an image that has skin tones check that they are not red.
Hope this helps.
I can see why you would like to get this image right. It has very strong and excellent compositional elements.
kiks (12757) 2014-02-02 8:01
Fantastic exposure on this technological landchape. Very well done.
ourania (49935) 2014-02-17 12:15
I didn't know of this structure and haven't seen anything like it before. It looks absolutely fascinating from this vantage point and there are several attractive and interesting parts in your composition that provide great reference and a thorough description for the viewer. Fine perspectives and sharpness, surprising colours and dramatic atmosphere make the study of this marvellous setting very enjoyable and rewarding. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great evening,
- Copyright: John Cannon (tyro) (26142)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2014-01-22
- Categories: Nature, Transportation, Architecture
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L USM, Hoya 77mm Pro1D UV(0)
- Exposure: f/8, 1/320 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): Places that i want to visit [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2014-01-23 4:23