Roth and Ramberg, the bison and the mistletoe

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Christmas is approaching and most of the advertising is done or will be done soon. Annual photos of Santa or elves or shoppers or… Fortunately for us, DDB and their client Syncrude believe in a bit of a different Christmas message. Syncrude is big into reclamation (returning the land to its former self) and part of that reclamation is maintaining a herd of bison on their former mine site. Thus a large part of their identity is the bison itself. Which leads us into to this years’ photo. A mockup was sent of a bison standing in a doorway of a home. We needed to photograph the bison, then photograph an open and closed door for a Christmas card, as well as an exterior of the home for an ad.

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Due to timing we had to photograph things a bit backwards and do the bison shot first, then shoot the home. It would have been better to match the lighting on the bison to the lighting in the home rather than the other way around. Lucky for us, however, a home was scouted for us and we had detailed photos of the entrance before we photographed the bison (thanks DDB).

Now it was up to us to photograph the bison and make it work. Fortunately we are quite familiar with our favorite bison named Bailey. He lives just outside Edmonton and we’ve photographed him a few times over the years. Our initial thought was to photograph him in the doorway of his house (inside of which he spends some time with his owner, Jim). Logistically it just wasn’t great since there was no room for our lighting to fit. We studied various angles in and around the house and decided to photograph Bailey in the garage.

He was more comfortable there as opposed to inside the house. How do we know? Well, when we arrived Jim was in the garage vacuuming Bailey for the photoshoot and shining up his horns with oil. We made a makeshift wall out of seamless white and tried to mimic the wall inside the home as well as the warmth and the type of lighting we would experience at the home. The idea being, it would be dusk outside with warm light spilling out from the entryway.

When we shot the house shot, we dressed the doorway with snow, then our assistant James stood in the doorway to cast a shadow on the snow. We shot as the light went down, settling on the right amount of dusk.

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Here’s a little behind the scenes video, and as always, Bailey was incredible.

Apparently our motto around here is ‘safety third’ 

Finally the image itself. Thanks DDB and Syncrude and of course, Bailey and Jim.

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Roth and Ramberg go industrial

We recently had a request to provide some black and white samples of industrial work that we’ve done. Along with advertising, shooting industrial photographs are just plain cool.

We’ve been doing this type of work for years and have gained the trust of our clients, thus they let us wander around and shoot journalistic style. The main purpose of these photos is to build photo libraries for our clients. Usually after a few days we have thousands of photos to edit… we really can’t help ourselves, we just keep shooting and shooting. The pipes, people and machinery definitely lend themselves to photography. We both have our own fire retardent nomex coveralls and safety boots, complete with their share of wear on them. Also, a variety of hardhats from various clients we’ve worked with over the years. These are samples, mainly from Fort McMurray, but others from across Canada and the US. 

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Roth and Ramberg on the road

This summer we spent 15 days on the road traveling all over Alberta, photographing ordinary people in their environments. The photos will be used in a campaign for ATB Financial. It was long days and tons of miles but a whole lot of fun.

The ad campaign is just beginning to roll out but in the meantime, here’s some road trip scenics from our trip. It’s a beautiful province with wonderful variety. Thanks again to ATB for hiring us! We’re looking forward to the campaign in full swing soon.

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Roth and Ramberg and the longboard girls

While hanging out in the local skateboard shop, a young woman working there, named Anna, struck up a conversation. Turns out that she’s the first female longboarder in Calgary, having started seven years ago.

We always thought longboards were just a way for cool people to travel around the city. Boy, were we wrong. Anna and her group of women longboarders do some pretty extreme stuff. In fact, Anna herself is one of the top longboarders in the world. For now we’ve taken portraits in the studio, but it’s going to be an ongoing project travelling with these girls and seeing just what they do… stay tuned.

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Roth and Ramberg and the lions

We had a fun opportunity to help out DDB Edmonton with some invitations. The invites were sent out to various clients and special guests of DDB. The event is the annual Cannes Lion Screening. Proceeds of which go to NABS or the National Advertising Benevolent Society. Now in case you were unaware, the Cannes Lion awards are for the best creative commercials from all over the world. The screening is in Edmonton on October 20th at the Art Gallery of Alberta.

The concept of course is pretty simple. “You’ll leave feeling different”.

Roth and Ramberg say goodbye to Scotland

Well we made it back.

We didn’t find the monster. We did however meet some people who did. Everyone has a theory and we can’t wait to share our photos and stories, but you will have to wait until December.

What can we say other than thank-you Scotland. It’s a wonderful place with great people. We spent the last day in Scotland driving to Edinburgh and just enjoying the scenery. It’s a beautiful country. We will definitely be back.

The trip ended perfectly  as we all enjoyed a deep fried Mars bar and made our way back to the hotel in Edinburgh.

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Here are some photos we took for fun on the last day.

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Now the work begins as far as editing and designing next years calendar. We’re looking forward to the calendar launch party in December. Perhaps we can video link with our new friends at the Fiddlers Inn at the same time.

A special thanks goes to Terri Roberts who had the idea in the first place. She was a great travel companion and was kind enough to do the writing for us on our trip. Also a big thanks to the people at Target who let Terri sneak away with us!!

Thanks for reading the blog and stay tuned.

Roth and Ramberg fight to the finish

July 16 – posted by Terri Roberts

After back to back hat tricks on Thursday and Friday, there we were… mad dash to the end.  We still needed two more subjects. And we were running out of time.

Our initial leads went bust early in the morning. Some were out of town, some were camera shy, and some were out on the Loch enjoying the ever moody Scottish weather.

So after some very successful souvenir shopping in Fort Augustus (tea towel anyone?) we decided to head back to Drum. And back to square one.

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After a call here and a tweet there, we were on our way again. And by ‘way’ we mean a very narrow, windy mountain road complete with freely roaming sheep. We were headed for a tiny crofting village called Bunloit to meet a potter named Rebekah.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Rebekah’s husband Joss who was minding the shop while Rebekah was out. Before we could hit the collective panic button, Joss assured us she’d be back soon. We decided to head back to town for a bite to eat, but not before we cleaned her out of her beautiful clay creations. Literally.

We went back a couple of hours later and there she was.

Rebekah began making pottery twenty years ago as an apprentice at the Loch Ness Clay Works and she eventually took it over. Today she ships pieces all over the world, to places as far flung as Hawaii.

Originally from Inverness, Rebekah was always fascinated with Nessie. Right up until the infamous Surgeon’s photograph was revealed to be a big fake. Almost instantly, she stopped believing. But that’s not to say she doesn’t believe in things you can’t always explain. Is it Scotland after all, land of faeries and legends and lore so deep it could fill the whole of Loch Ness.

With our rental now full of pots, bowls, plates and mugs (plus an alarming number of empty cheese and onion chip bags and fudge containers) we went in search of another local artist Rebekah had put us in touch with named Rab.

Rab was nothing sort of a genius. His workshop reminded us of something out of Back to the Future.  Originally from the Isle of Jura, he met his wife Tanya at university in Aberdeen. Long story short, they fell in love with each other, and then with a very old farmhouse in a tucked away place called Divach. For the record, they are very gracious hosts on little to no notice.

Rab (must be gaelic for half artist, half engineer) makes beautifully crafted ‘sgian dubhs’ (pronounced ‘ skin-doos’) – the traditional little knife kilted-Scots wear in their sock. And there is a huge demand for Rab’s version. In fact, he’s working his way through a year long waiting list.

We asked the lovely couple about the monster and suddenly a hush fell over the house. While they didn’t quite buy in, their six-year-old son Max was a very firm believer. So for Max, we decided not to debate the issue in great detail.

We were fortunate to photograph Rab between downpours. Almost.

After an eight-day tour of Loch Ness, tomorrow we are heading back to Edinburgh on our journey home.  If only we could magically exist in two places at once.

Roth and Ramberg learn a lesson

July 15th - Posted by Terri Roberts

Today we learned what it’s all about. Well, kind of.

We set out early in the morning (sadly, earlier than any coffee shop we passed) and drove from one end of the Loch to the other to meet a man named Rod.

Rod has spent more than thirty years sailing the Loch, mostly as a commercial captain ferrying tourists back and forth between Inverness and Urquhart Castle.

We got his name from Willie who if you haven’t been paying attention has played the role of a big cog in the Roth and Ramberg Loch Ness wheel.

We arrived at the dock, completely decaffeinated, and soon met up with Captain Rod. And no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t resist the one question Rod has probably heard 50 times a day for three straight decades: have you ever seen the monster?

He immediately set us straight by saying it’s not about the monster. It’s about the mystery. Though he had no trouble admitting that there’s probably ‘something’ out there (and he has the eyebrow raising sonar readings to prove it), it’s the mystery that everybody truly loves. That’s what captivates them. And in all his years sailing Loch Ness, no one has ever asked for their money back.

Suddenly, it was all making sense. Even we came here to see a monster. But just one week in, and we’re well past it. In fact, we could barely make room for monster hunting with such a jam packed schedule of getting to know the people, enjoying the scenery, and of course, tasting all that the Highlands have to offer.

From Rod we headed back to Foyers to meet Molly, a 17-year old redhead who loves fishing, her grandparents, and her Nikon D40. Molly’s spent most of her life growing up on the shores of the Loch (minus a one year stint living on a boat around the Isle of Skye with her mom and dad).  Molly’s take on the monster is simple: a long time ago, there was probably something to it, but now it’s just legend. For the record, she finds the stuffed Nessies with the pink eyelashes pretty funny. And we do too.

We also visited with Graham and took a few more shots near the Foyers Falls, once a source of inspiration for Robert Burns. So we sampled some Haggis flavoured crisps in his honour.

After a lovely dinner at the Lovat, including a very fancy chicken and leek potpie, we hotfooted it back to our office in Drum (read Fiddler’s) for a nightcap. We ended up at Jon’s house where he was hosting a few of his friends in the malt whisky world, Ian and Rhianna.

Ian is a Scottish artist based in Germany who travels around painting distilleries. He must be considered the luckiest man in Scotland (at least one of the top five). Rhianna is a journalist from the Netherlands with a passion for whisky. She’s on a five month Scottish journey to uncover stories and single malts.

Neither had seen the monster. Even after a few drams.

With only two days to go, we’re just about there. Although we’re still missing a month or two of the calendar. Perhaps no one would actually ‘miss’ February. At least it’d be a shorter winter.

We’ll see what one more day around the Loch brings.

Roth and Ramberg shoot a trio of legends

July 14 - posted by Terri Roberts

Today was a good shooten’ day. 

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Even though we had our sneaking suspicions that 16 degrees was more of a rule than an average, we were proved wrong when it hit 24, and the bright sunny sky followed us around the Loch for the second day in a row.

We started out early in the morning with a quick drive from Fort Augustus back to Drumnadrochit. Thanks to our man on the ground at Fiddler’s, we connected with local man about town, author and naturalist Adrian for a quick photo in a very busy parking lot.  (For the record, ‘safety third’ isn’t just a Roth &Ramberg motto.)

Adrian is the designer of the Exhibition at the Loch Ness Centre, and lead man on research organization, the Loch Ness Project. Basically, if you have a question about Loch Ness, Adrian probably has an answer, or at least a scientific explanation of some sort.

When it comes to his own personal theory on Nessie, he says he has a ‘soft spot’ for sturgeon (despite the fact that there isn’t a fresh water variety).

Though locals are quick to dismiss Adrian as a Nessie naysayer, it’s obvious Adrian is a big proponent of all things Loch Ness. Including tourism. Roughly 200,000 Nessie-hungry tourists pass through his doors each year. Some say most leave the exhibition as non-believers. Ironically, the adjoining gift store featuring a giant wall of stuffed Nessies seems to be making a swift buck.

After our time with Adrian, we headed to Dores for a quick bite and a chat with Nessie Hunter Steve and the friendliest man in Dores, Ronnie (thanks for the Turkish Delights).

Our next stop of the day is becoming a familiar one – Fiddler’s in Drum.  But this time, instead of drinking the whisky, we were shooting it, as well as owner and resident single malt enthusiast, Jon.

When Jon talks about whisky, his enthusiasm spills over to all within earshot. A big fan of Port Ellen (a mothball distillery I’m told) and most of the northern highland single malts, Jon seems to be on some sort of mission from above to spread the single malt word.  And we’ve certainly heard the good news.

When we asked Jon about Nessie, he cunningly turned the conversation back to whisky.  He’s never seen the monster, nor have any of his staff (it says as much on the menu). But the official Fiddler’s logo does feature a cartooned version of the beast. Anything to draw the world in for a dram.

We finished our day back at the Clansman Hotel, in the fine company of Willie the Rat (which I feel strange referring to him as such, since he’s been anything but). Smartly dressed in a ‘McLeod of Skye’ kilt and dark socks, our Willie was ready to go.  Lucky for us, the sunny sky had made way for a moody cover of cloud over the Loch by early evening. The lighting was made to order. And Willie looked as if he owned the place – proud as could be. 

We’re finishing up the day back at Willie’s bar, downloading photos, writing our blog, and listening to some of the best stories to be heard around the Loch.

Roth and Ramberg get stuck in a rut

On account of a late night dram at the Benleva Hotel (thanks Joe!), we had a wee bit of a sleep in. And it was lovely. But after a quick breakfast (still considered breakfast if you’re on Newfoundland time), we headed off in search of Nessie Hunter Steve Feltham in Dores. But first, Highland cows. So up into the Highlands above the village of Dores we went, trying to locate a spot that Ronnie had told us about the day before. 

It was a beautiful, sunny day and though we were constantly flanked by sheep and goats along the winding country road, no cows in sight.

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This is probably a good time to mention that some of the roads around the Loch (and up in the Highlands) are of the single tract variety. Meaning, you have to stop at ‘passing places’ to let oncoming traffic by and avoid the always messy head-on collision.

So there we were, faced with an approaching car, and no passing places in sight. Being the polite Canadians we are, Michele decided to pull off to the side of the road into a meadow.  Make that a meadow ditch.

The best thing about driving around parts unknown with two photographers is that even when the shit hits the fan, their first (and simultaneous) response is “Quick, get the camera!” 

We tried everything. Pushing from the front. Pushing from the back. Gunning it while two people stood in the trunk surrounded by camera equipment in order to strategically weigh it down. We even ‘borrowed’ a few fence posts to put under the groundless wheel.

After many failed attempts to solve the ‘rental car in a ditch somewhere in the Highlands’ situation, three brawny Scotsmen on bicycles miraculously appeared and proceeded to push the car back onto the road. Needless to say, we were very grateful. And we put the ‘borrowed’ fence posts back where they belonged.

Obviously, after all that drama, we were in need of a pint, so back to the Dores Inn it was. We bumped into Ronnie once again, and then we all made our way to see Steve Feltham.

We found Steve sitting on the front deck of his converted mobile library / home making Nessie figurines (and sharp ones too) out of fimo and beach rocks. So we walked up and introduced ourselves. But Steve already knew we were coming, thanks a few phone calls from around the Loch. 

Steve calls himself a Nessie Hunter and he’s quite serious about it. Meaning, he’s dedicated the past twenty years of his life to the unusual pursuit. So it made sense that Steve was very receptive to ours. After all, it was a mutual one.

Steve became fascinated with Nessie after a trip to Loch Ness at the age of seven. Although he never forgot it, like most people, he grew up and got a job. Several actually. But he referred to one in particular as soul destroying (installing home alarms).

He reached a point where two weeks a year searching for the monster wasn’t enough. So he decided to pack it all up and make it a permanent gig.

Steve says he’s stopped searching for some pre-historic dinosaur. But he adamantly believes there is ‘something’ in the Loch. And he has some interesting theories, like perhaps Nessie is some sort of wels catfish (catfish on steroids). He says it can’t be a giant eel on account of how it moves in the water – like a snake. Anyone who knows anything about Nessie knows that she moves more like a whale (up and down, not side to side).

He also says that the Loch has a sort of ‘energy’ that draws people in. An energy you can’t explain, but you can’t ignore. And whether you come for the monster, or for something else entirely, people keep coming back to Loch Ness. Some, like Steve, never leave. And if that’s not magical, I don’t know what is.

We photographed Steve just outside his ‘Nessie-ery Independent Research’ unit on Dores beach.

Roth and Ramberg go in search of the heilan coo (Highland cow)

July 13 - posted by Terri Roberts

The day began ambitiously enough.  It was our last morning in Drum, and Michele and I wanted to take advantage of the fact that we were only a few miles from a castle. So we ran there and back.  The view of the Loch below was simply perfect. And we felt a smidge better about all the chips, toffee, puddings, pints, and whiskies we’d been so fortunate to taste.

Today we were moving home base from Drumnadrochit to Fort Augustus just a half an hour down the road. So we packed up, waved goodbye to our bunk beds, and off we went in search of, you guessed it, Highland cows.

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But unlike previous attempts, today we struck Highland cow gold. First, near Drum, and then again in Invermoriston. They were so adorable, I instantly felt terrible about all the burgers, steaks, prime ribs, and meatballs that had come before them.

Oddly, both locations involved standing in very old graveyards to get the money shots. I couldn’t help but think there are worse places to end up.

After the cows (who incidentally refused to sign the model release forms), we made our way to Fort Augustus and checked into the Lovat Hotel. The Lovat is pretty fancy pants compared to our old digs but we quickly (and happily) acclimatized. We also spent a few hours basking in the working WiFi and took the opportunity to touch base with home.

We noticed a lady working at the bar who looked strangely familiar. Her name was Briony and we’d seen her a few days ago at the Dores Inn. We told Briony what we were up to and before we could order another round, a few other kind souls from the Lovat had appeared to offer up assistance, names of potential recruits, and places (read pubs) we could visit. All in all, a very warm reception to Fort Augustus.

We enjoyed a meal and a few whiskies at Bothy’s pub near the canal, where we bumped into Graham from Foyers again (small Loch). Then we headed home for an early night and some Jerry Springer, which is somehow funnier in Scotland. Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be a busy day as we have high hopes of photographing several of our new friends. Wish us luck. And lighting.

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Roth and Ramberg meet Willie the Rat

July 11, 2011 – Posted by Roth and Ramberg

The day started out stellar. In fact, pretty near close to perfect. We mentioned we had met Willie at the pub last night. “Ask for Willie the Rat, they’ll know where to find me.”

We travelled the five miles down the road to the Clansman Hotel and within minutes we were sitting there with Willie, our mouths hanging open, hardly believing what we were hearing.

Willie is a born storyteller and he told us the story of his father Ian who had seen something “most peculiar” one day in June, 1965 while fishing the loch with his buddy. Willie described the details of what his father saw that day. They didn’t call it a monster, but they knew it was something that travelled against the current. It either had to have a motor, or it was some type of animal.

According to Willie, his Dad and several other independent witnesses saw ‘something’ in the water that day. They all watched it for over fifty minutes.

When Ian’s story went public, he didn’t speak of it for a very long time. As you can imagine, the ridicule would soon follow after a report of seeing something out of the ordinary, especially for a local policeman in the 60s.

We were so wrapped up in Willy’s story that we ran out of time to photograph him, but we’ll try again tomorrow.

The rest of our day was spent much like the others: searching for the Nessie researcher from Dores. He’s proving to be as elusive as the monster. However, we did hear a story from a local about how Steve had somehow managed to put a piano in his tiny trailer with a custom built add-on. The funny part is that he doesn’t even play piano. We can’t wait to meet him.

The local with the piano story was a genuine guy named Ronnie. A few seconds after meeting him, we were in his car travelling the narrow roads in the area on a personal tour. First, he took us to a tucked away castle in the woods, and then way up in the Highlands to marvel at a stunning view of the Loch, which was encased by a seamless backdrop of mountain and cloud. The stories flowed and we learned tons of the local history.

After a quick bite of lunch at the Dores Inn, we made our way around the south end of the loch to meet up with Malcolm who we promised to photograph yesterday. We keep our word, shared a pint and drove back to Fiddler’s (our Scotland office).

We’ve given Terri a bit of a break from writing today as she, along with us, is still absorbing all that Willie the Rat had told us. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll meet up again and perhaps he can send us in the next direction.

Today, we met a believer and he’s starting to make believers out of us too. Whisky tasting to commence soon… we’re exploring our way across the whisky map. The green dots on the map are the ones we’ve tried so far.

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Roth and Ramberg ask "is it really all craaaapppp?"

July 10 - posted by Terri Roberts

It isn’t every morning you start off at a castle but this was one such morning. Urquhart Castle is just a few miles down the road from Drum. Its first known visitor was Saint Columba more than 1400 years ago, though I doubt he came to see Russian swimmers.

After a quick scan of the throngs of tourists, we spotted the Russians (well, tiny Russian specs) on the other side of the loch and watched with amazement as they swam their way across in nothing but brightly coloured speedos and tanned skin. It was an incredible sight. Upon reaching the shore, one particularly vocal guy with a thick Russian accent pronounced, “I love Loch Ness.” He must have.

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I was surprised how cavalier they all seemed about the potential for impending doom, what with a supposed monster living in the loch. But after training in Siberia, I guess this was their version of the finger.

After all the international aquatic excitement, we headed south to Dores, where you can find the loch’s only beach and full time Nessie researcher, Steve Feltham. We’ve read about him, heard about him from the locals, and couldn’t wait to meet him. But, Steve wasn’t home in his converted mobile library / home / research unit behind the Dores Inn, so lunch it was.

Somewhat bummed to have missed Steve, we started the hunt for Highland cows to shoot. But, the rain was not stopping, so the cows would have to wait. (Personal note: when someone tells you it rains a lot in the Highlands, they aren’t kidding.)

We made our way to Whitebridge (and straight into the pub) to find a friendly group of locals enjoying their Sunday afternoon pint. Of course we joined them. Before the empty glasses were laid down, we had a brand new recruit in Malcolm MacLeod, Malky for short.

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Malky took us to his home, which is new by Scottish standards, just 9 years old. He’d built everything himself, as well as an aviary for his birds.  I couldn’t help but think of Jack Duckworth on Coronation Street. 

Malky was incredibly kind and was our first official non-believer. The Scotsman was adamant that all this Nessie business was, and I quote, “Crrrraaaaaaap!” After a grand chat, and an enlightening debate, there was still no stopping the rain. So we bid Malky farewell and would come back to take his photograph and enjoy more of his whisky on a dryer day.

Michele, now a Scottish Formula 1 driver, made it back to Fiddler’s for last call with literally not a minute to spare.  And thanks to her speedy skills, we bumped into Willie Cameron, son of the late Ian Cameron.  Ian holds the record for the longest Nessie sighting in 1965.  And much to our delight, Willie was going to tell us all about it tomorrow.

Holy ‘crrrraaaaaaap’. Our first real piece of evidence.  It was like monster research Christmas.

Roth and Ramberg go to whisky school

July 9 (and the wee hours of July 10). - posted by Terri Roberts

After a lengthy sleep (jet lag induced, not booze), we headed out in search of Nessie, or those who may have encountered her.

Our first stop just was down the very lush and leafy road, in a little village called Invermoriston where Michele spotted some Highland cows and screamed, “Let’s go look at hairy cows with the camera.”

It was perfect timing, as the torrential rain was just stopping. We wandered into an interesting looking craft store (complete with sets of antlers missing heads) and met a cobbler lady who made her own clogs (which Dale has assured us he will purchase later).

When we asked her if she’d ever seen Nessie, she said that we wouldn’t believe her if she had. After some reassurance, she told us how she’d seen ‘something’ 25 years ago on her honeymoon around Loch Ness. She was quick to point out that she couldn’t be sure what it was (perhaps a deer crossing the Loch?). We wondered if she felt she had to qualify her sighting story so that people wouldn’t think she was crazy.  For the record, she wasn’t crazy at all. And, we put our money on Nessie versus the deer.

Further down the road, we decided to stop and dip our feet in Loch Ness.  Michele and I opted for bare feet. After a slight mishap atop a very slippery rock, Dale went for the whole shoe.

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It was colder than anticipated, and the lake itself as long as the eye could see. Although, it wasn’t really that wide. In fact, we later found out a Russian group of swimmers who were in the area were planning to swim across it on Sunday.  For what reason I’m not sure. Maybe just because they can.

We continued on around the southeast coast of the loch as the sun peaked in and out of the multiple layers of cloud above. It was obscenely picturesue. Parts of the highlands reminded me of Gros Morne, Newfoundland. And Michele did a magnificent job of navigating the tiniest of roads (on the left, of course).

We landed in a place called Foyers, famous for its falls and stopped into the Waterfalls Café for a bite to eat. The place had a lovely deck on the front that from its high vantage point, gave a beautiful view of the loch below.

We chatted with the owner of the café and the adjoining shoppe, Simon. Originally from Poole, Simon and his wife Jan retired here to enjoy the view. And what a view it was. We were fortunate enough to shoot Simon and his resident chef (and jack of all trades) Graham. All three had recently had a sighting from the very deck we were standing on.

When we asked Graham if he thought what he saw was actually the famous monster, he answered, “It was either a lesser spotted black aquatic giraffe or Nessie.” And Graham seems to be a man in the know.

We had a wonderful afternoon getting to know them, dogs Broody and Sophie, as well as the lovely Tasha who made a mean cup of coffee. But before we knew it, we were about to miss our reservation for dinner back at Fiddler’s in Drum so we hightailed it home for the night.

Much to my delight (I’m using that word loosely), I was surprised with a birthday haggis (not kidding) complete with two very brave candles.  It actually wasn’t that bad, if you like those parts of a sheep.

We finished up the evening much like last night, with a dram of whisky for all. Not a bad way to spend your birthday.  Rabbie Burns would totally approve.

Post Script…

So, that ‘final’ dram turned into quite a few more with none other than the resident ‘champion of the Northern Highland whisky’ (Jon) and a visiting whisky maker (Marko) from Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.

We lost count of the number of whiskies we tasted: some young spirits, some old, some that tasted like fruity gasoline, others like silky smoke, and others still that made you stomp your foot as it went down (true story).

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We learned that in order to be called a single malt scotch whiskey, it has to sit in a barrel in Scotland for at least 3 years and 1 day.  And that whiskey spelled with an ‘e’ isn’t really whisky (hence all future whisky references will now exclude the lowly ‘e’). We learned about (and tasted) Japanese whisky and discussed the amount of information on their bottles.

We were told how some distilleries up north ship their whisky to places like Glasgow to mature. And we talked about the importance of water (what makes it so peaty) – a passionate subject for our host.

All in all, it was the biggest whisky lesson of our lives. One I’m sure not on the menu at any distillery tour in Scotland.

After even more drams, the topics shifted slightly (and widely) to Scottish history, Canada, Newfoundland, Gaelic (the Gaelic word for ‘helicopter’ is in fact ‘helicopter’), whisky festivals in Glasgow (try not to get too drunk), MacDonell’s, MacDonald’s, Bonnie Prince Charles, the Seven Heads (that’s one well you don’t want to drink from), Glengarry, Hudson’s Bay, tea-spooning (has to do with making whisky, I assure you), Google Earth, Nordic-Germanic descent, Russians, French Canadians, Highland cows, lowlanders versus highlanders, Cuban food in Glasgow, haggis, blood pudding (made from cow’s blood, not pig’s, and very few with actual blood), and on and on and on.

We were joined by a lady named Jenny who had gotten her car stuck on a rock somewhere on a country road looking for her dog. She was from a few towns away and had somehow made it to Jon’s to call for a tow in the middle of the night. She was a lovely lady who loved Canada and all the Scottish Canadian ties.

Soon we couldn’t see the counter below for the bottles on top, all of which had amazing stories to tell. Much like the company we were fortunate enough to keep until the wee hours of the morning.

Roth and Ramberg out standing in the field

Summer is here… what does that mean for a photographer? Hopefully it means your clients will have the time and budget to do all those photographs that need to be done while the weather cooperates. This job was a perfect example of the client knowing exactly what they need and when they needed it to be done.

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We got a call from Bos in Toronto who had noticed our work in Applied Arts. They had a job for their agriculture client Syngenta, located in Calgary. The client approved a shoot to be done at the end of summer when the wheat was at its peak height, just before harvest time. They needed a photograph of a young farmer in a field with his trusty dog by his side.

We sourced the actor and tracked down a trusty, well-trained dog and then waited until the wheat was just about to be harvested. The night of the shoot was one of those perfect summer nights that all photographers dream of.

And the winner is...

Monster Mission: The Search for Loch Ness

We’ll be hopping in a plane and heading to Scotland with Terri Roberts. Terri works at Target Marketing in St. John’s, Newfoundland as a writer, as you can tell by her well-worded entry, which wooed us to pick hers.

Monster Mission: The Search for Loch Ness
Scotland. Home of Braveheart. The Bay City Rollers. Bagpipes. Deep fried mars bars. Irvine Welsh. Supremely masculine skirts. Haggis. Single malts. Groundskeeper Willie.
The Loch Ness Monster.
The validity of this particular cryptid is all but written off.  The fodder of crack pots and the semi afflicted.  Minus a few souvenir shops, and the odd discredited photo, there’s not much hope.  
But what if it is real? Will it still be there? Was it ever there? What the hell is it anyway?
And just who are the modern day purveyors of such nonsense? Are they sane?  Are the mad?  Do they still exist?  Or are they as hard to find as Nessie herself?
Sure, others have tried.  Gaggles of others.  Hoards, if you will.
But we haven’t… yet.
Let’s go to Scotland and get that one, indisputable piece of evidence that will make us legends. Or village idiots. Whichever.


We had a couple hundred entries submitted. We looked at every single entry and carefully considered each one as a possibility. We narrowed it down to a handful before finally choosing Terri’s proposition to search for the Loch Ness Monster. For the record, she screamed like a little girl when we called to tell her she won the trip.

A huge thanks to everyone who made our calendar contest such a success. We appreciate that so many of you took the time to enter and to spread the word about the contest on social media.

We haven’t booked the flights yet, but we’ll likely be heading out in July to start our escapades with Terri. We’ll be sure to update our blog regularly while we’re out pursuing the mighty Nessie. Follow along… we think we’re up for quite a feat.

Thanks,
Dale and Michele

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www.rothandramberg.com

Roth and Ramberg in PDN Photo Annual

The PDN Photography Annual from New York selected our ‘fur burger’ shot done for the VaJayJay Monologues poster as a winner in the advertising category.

A big thanks to Darcy Twarog from TAXI for bringing us in on this project… we had a lot of laughs while shooting.