Pittenweem Again

Pittenweem Harbour

Pittenweem Harbour

A grey but fun day exploring the East Neuk of Fife again.I wanted to go back and reshoot this little beacon at Pittenweem with a long exposure. I like the composition but will need to go back to try again with better light and weather. Once again I was so focused on the camera that I didn’t even notice the seal poking around until I looked at the images on the computer at home.

Pittenweem Blues.

Pittenweem Blues

Pittenweem Blues

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.

Isle of Harris Beach Scene

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.

Stormy Beach, Isle of Harris

Stormy Beach, Isle of Harris

 

Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year: Winning image in seascape category

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.

For a larger version see gallery page 1.

Cows at Laig Bay, Isle of Eigg

Cows at Laig Bay, Isle of Eigg

Focus and Separation.

Loch Chon, Trossachs, Scotland.

Loch Chon, Trossachs, Scotland.

On most days this stand of trees is hard to make out against the conifers on the hill behind. One of the great benefits of the Scottish weather is the frequency of mist and rain that throws a soft blanket over the distant forest making the whole scene “pop”. Nature’s own Photoshop.

Tech: camera 5DMk2, Lens: 20-200L at 150mm, ISO100, 1/10 sec at f/8.

Mountain and Clouds

Buachaille Etive Mor at Sunrise Mid-Summer

Buachaille Etive Mor at Sunrise Mid-Summer

Summer morning on Rannoch Moor, Scotland. Captured about 8am. Last shot before I packed up to go home. 15 minutes later the low clouds had dispersed. I still don’t really understand how the mountains stimulate these micro-climates into being. Must add that to my reading list!

Olive Trees and Grass, Umbria.

Olive Trees and Grass, Umbria.

Olive Trees and Grass, Umbria.

Conditions: Early evening, light breeze moving the white grass around. Light filtering through olive trees.

Tech:Canon 5Dmk3, 30 secs @f/11, ISO 200. No filters, 70mm focal length.

The light on the grass was beautiful if a bit hard to keep from over exposing.

 

Wave Watching

Image

West Kilbride Rocks

West Kilbride Rocks

Conditions: moderate winds, falling tide, moderate to high swell.
Tech: 5D3, 70-200 zoom.
80mm, 1/4 sec @f/32, ISO50, no filters.
Grabbing a precious 1 hour at the coast to indulge in some wave watching and enjoy the gannets diving for fish.

Quantum computing is on its way. We are moving into a world where nothing will be fixed until it is observed. Binary-encoding photons occupying  fields of probability. Being everywhere at once until a glance from you or me fixes their position in space-time forever. This offers the hope that we can model super-complex systems like the oceans and simulate how they respond to human activity and the climate. Fascinating of course but still not as awe-inspiring as a gannet hurtling out of the sky into a six foot wave.

 

The Empty Landscape

portencross pier with lichens

portencross pier with lichens

Like most people I enjoy looking at interesting portraits as well as images of people interacting with each other and with the world around them. We are social animals and endlessly fascinated by each other. Consequently most people don’t find images of empty landscapes compelling. I sometimes wonder, having made an image, “Is there enough here to justify this composition?”.

I was having just such an angst on Portencross Pier the other night. The sun had gone down and the light was just stunningly blue and clear. I was standing there looking at the angle the concrete pier made relative to the horizon. Imagining a line from my feet to the distant horizon and the complementary angles that would be formed where those line meet. I imagined the construction worker many years ago marking out the lines on the concrete when he was going to cut the slots to allow the water to drain through the pier. Carefully cutting with his still saw to achieve those straight black lines. I enjoyed the complimentary colours of the blue sea and those yellow lichens and then it dawned on me that the lichens grew in a zone along the edge of the pier but no further . Why? What was different about the habitat in that zone? No idea and still can’t work it out.

There is an uneasy feeling in these empty, long-exposure images where man-made structures protrude into the natural environment. A sense that the landscape, even the man-made landscape does not need us any more. We are the ephemeral element here whereas the landscape is relentless and unyielding. It is full of interest if we look for it. There is beauty in the geometry and the maths, the natural and the constructed if we look for it. Without the distraction of people the empty scene started to tell its own story.

Camerwork: Canon 5D mk3, 63 seconds as f/11, ISO100. 3 stop hard grad on the sky and 3 stop ND over entire frame.