Hiya, it is I, Bruce.

Today I am here to tell you about Tom’s latest obsession, which is a thing called Infrared.


A few weeks ago, Tom acquired a camera from one of his favourite photographers, a man named David Clapp. Now this Clapp takes interesting photos and Tom was very excited to experiment with a camera formerly owned by Clapp, which had been “infrared adapted”.


Tom told me that infrared light has a longer wavelength than visible light, and therefore cannot be seen by either dogs or humans. But snakes can see it and so, apparently, can Clapp’s camera because it has a special filter to enable it to capture this strange world that dogs cannot see.


Now, I can’t say I generally have much interest in photography infrared or otherwise — indeed, around these parts it is often an unwelcome distraction from the serious business of Getting on With Walk or Savaging Branch.


But in recent weeks Tom’s obsession with Clapp’s camera has meant that I’ve really been able to enjoy myself out here on the West Highland Way, leaping over the hills and snuffling in the bracken for hours — as long as I occasionally oblige Tom by posing beside this tree.


Such is life.

This tree has become a focus of Tom’s strange preoccupation. It is winter here, so many plants are dead, but this tree is a Scots Pine – known as an evergreen – and it really is! When Clapp’s camera sees the tree, it reflects the infrared light and takes on a strange, otherwordly glow.


When Tom told me that this ethereal, dream-like quality is known as the “Wood effect” I was extremely excited! Wood, after all is where Sticks come from, and who can argue with a Stick? Sadly, though, the Wood in this instance refers to photographic pioneer Robert Williams Wood (1868-1955). He had a good name, anyway.


If you are a snake, this infrared stuff will be nothing new to you, and you probably already know all about the Wood effect. Tom however, is a human not a reptile and seems to be enjoying exploring the slightly otherworldly possibilities of infrared, especially in relation to his favourite local tree.


See you soon, love Bruce xx