The Highlands of Scotland are, in many ways a subarctic environment. Our weather is moderated and made utterly unpredictable by our position at the junction of 6 great air masses. There has always been variability over long and short cycles but, to my mind, the evidence of climate change potentiation by the gasification of fossilised carbon seems strong. To be in Glencoe in mid January with the ice melting before my eyes does make me reflect on my part in this change.
Melting ice in a small tributary of Loch Bà on Rannoch Moor.
Looking for rhythm and conjunctions in the landscape. Sometimes where the natural and the manufactured come together and sometimes where the elements of the wild landscape meet to give a satisfying sense of order. Making order out of the chaos and danger of our surroundings seems, I think, to be a universal human desire.
I like Pittenweem. I was minding my own business getting interested in all the shades of blue and the little lighthouse. Messed up my filters by putting the 6 stop ND filter in the second slot of the filter holder instead of the first one. Getting grumpy. Then I notice a bunch of folk, perhaps 20 trekking up the narrow pier behind me. Now I am surrounded. Flash mob? Out comes the boom box playing Trad Scots Music and they all start doing the Canadian Barn Dance or similar. Awkward. Do I carry on like nothing is going on or watch, perhaps join in? I do like Pittenweem.
The scourge of digital photography is the “costlessness”of pressing the shutter release. Excuse the invention of a new word for this. This is a case in point. I took about 10 images of the same scene. I like them all. They are all my babies. Then I have to pick a favourite. Film was easier (…is easier if you’re Bruce Percy…) I guess as you had a single chance and that was it. Perhaps film was harder as you had to be sure of your intention and timing. After much pacing around and squinting at the 10 this was the one that won out… For today.
For the large version please click on the image in gallery page 2.
I had been informed by the Outdoor Photographer of the Year team that one of my images had been selected for the portfolio and was delighted when the portfolio book arrived today. The image of the beach at Sgarasta (Scarista), Isle of Harris has been used as the title page.
I was delighted that my image of cows having fun on the beach at Laig Bay, Isle of Eigg, has been selected as the seascape category winner in this years SLPOTY competition. It’s the first time I have entered a competition like this for a few years and I am thrilled that this image was appreciated in this way. I understand from the administrator of the competition that there is a blind judging process (to avoid bias towards photographers with an established reputation) with a few hurdles to cross before the winning image is awarded. I am humbled to see so many photographers I already admire on the commended list and the portfolios of images by the overall winner and runner up are just stunning. Check out SLPOTY.co.uk.
Larger versions of the images are available in Gallery 1 above.
A late January snow fall and the radio spits out those magical words: “Snow gates closed at the Spittal of Glenshee”. Early morning start for the 90 minute drive up to Dunkeld and then on up the A93. It’s been a wet, windy and mild winter yet again so it was nice to see some real winter weather at last. Thanks Joe for the company and driving the last bit.
The magic of snow is the simplification it brings to the form of the landscape. Individual trees and rocks suddenly have a presence and place that would otherwise be drowned out by the background of similar colours and shapes. I am constantly looking for that visual rhythm and visual Haiku that arrests the eye and the imagination. In the images taken with a long lens over the brow of the hills the lack of any discernible detail and the almost, but not quite, identical tone of white in the snow and the sky gives a sense of endless space. I didn’t go out with any expectations but came back with a lot to think about.