The first time I visited Glasgow in the early 1970s it was a city that gave the impression of being dark, grimy and unwelcoming. All the streets seemed to be empty and the bars didn’t seem to have any windows at street level.  The only restaurants that we could find open were on the central railway station.

First impressions can be lasting, but today Glasgow has a completely different feel and look as the old grime seems to have been washed away. It’s historic beauty created by architects of the likes of Charles Rennie Mackintosh has been blended with the modern architecture designs, like Zaha Hadid with “the Wave” (the Transport Museum). This is now a modern vibrant city and well worth a visit with your camera.

If you are in the centre near the Central Station, a good place to start is a visit to The Lighthouse.  This building was designed by C. R. Mackintosh in 1895 as the offices of the Glasgow Herald, and it is now home to Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture. The city scape views from the top are well worth the climb of the corkscrew stairs. There are also several levels of galleries which offer exhibitions and portfolio overviews of contemporary artists and designers.

Images from The Lighthouse location

glasow roof top views from the lighthouse tower
Fuji X-T2 – XF 18mm F 2.0 R – 1/3sec @ F / 16

One of the views from the top of the building.

window views of glasgow city scape
Fuji X-T2 – XF 18mm F 2.0 R – 1/1250sec @ F / 5.6

View across to The Lighthouse Tower.

a view of the lighthouse tower in the winter sunshine
Fuji X-T2 – XF 18mm F 2.0 R – 1/2000 sec @ F / 4.0

The view from the bottom of The Lighthouse tower stairs which start on the third floor of the building.

looking up from the bottom of the lighthouse stairs
Fuji X-T2 – XF 18mm F 2.0 R – 30 sec @ F / 11

A visit to Bellahouston Park is also well worth making. It’s out of town but well served by buses or take a train to the nearest station. There you’ll find the stunning “House for an Art Lover”, built in 1996, based on an unrealized C. R. Mackintosh design from 1901. The other good thing is that you can take photographs inside which is always a bonus.

Images of the iconic Mackintosh designs

close up of the Stain glass design by mackintosh
Fuji X-T2 – XF 18mm F 2.0 R – 1/125 sec @ F / 2.2
Image showing the design details of the wood work designed by mackintosh
Fuji X-T2 – XF 18mm F 2.0 R – 1/280 sec @ F / 2.8
close up of the Stain glass design by mackintosh
Fuji X-T2 – XF 18mm F 2.0 R – 1/125 sec @ F / 2.8
wooden panelling artist designs by mackintosh
Fuji X-T2 – XF 18mm F 2.0 R – 1/450 sec @ F / 2.8
shadows of a window playing on the opposite wall in a corridor
Fuji X-T2 – XF 18mm F 2.0 R – 1/125 sec @ F / 4.0

The house is in some great grounds too and with the low winter sunshine and winter frost gave it a different look worth photographing.

Landscape Photography - Landscape Photographer -colour image capturing the hard winter frost on the brown grasses and trees in this location
Richard Spurdens Photography – winter frost and morning light colours

Modern Architecture

It’s not just the classic architecture that makes Glasgow interesting; there are several large modern buildings which are worth a visit to photograph, including the SEC Armadillo amphitheater and the UFO-like SSE Hydro Arena. Both of these were designed by N. Foster and Partners.

Fuji X-T2 – XF 18mm F 2.0 R – 1/250 sec @ F / 11.0

Another great building to photograph is the Riverside Museum, designed by the architect Zaha Hadid, with a roof that resembles waves of water.

The building is Glasgow’s Transport Museum and houses a collection of more than 3,000 historic cars, trams and motorcycles.

a black and white image showing the design of the wave building designed by Zaha Hadid
Fuji X-T2 – Lens: Touit 2.8 – 1/500 sec @ F / 5.6

You can walk to this musum along the River Clyde which has now been redeveloped and gives some good photographic oppertunities as the images below show.

landscape view of the clyde Arc and the finnieston crane
Fuji X-T2 – XF 18mm F 2.0 R – 1/250sec @ F / 11.0

The Finnieston Crane or Stobcross Crane structure and its shadows made an interesting image

Structures and shadow on the the finnieston crane structure
Fuji X-T2 – XF 55-200mm F 3.5 – 1/125 sec @ F / 6.4

The Tradeston pedestrian bridge

the tradeston bridge a pedestrian bridge across the River Clyde
Fuji X-T2 – XF 18mm F 2.0 R – 1/60 sec @ F / 14.0

The BBC Scotland building and the Bells Bridge

a landscape view from the clyde river and clyde arc bridge
Fuji X-T2 – XF 18mm F 2.0 R – 1/30sec @ F / 16.0

The final image was a scene I came upon outside the transport museum – bungy jumping Santa Claus!  This was fun to watch and a good reminder of the festive season to come.

a bungy jumping santa clauss as he leaves the jump platform
Fuji X-T2 – XF55-200mm F 3.5 – 4.8 R 1/250 sec @ F / 9.0