Glen Strathfarrar, October 2022

Autumn in the glen.

A rare week of peace and relaxation in this wonderful glen on the Culligran Estate. Niall Henderson was, once again, my partner for this photographic escapade. He is very tolerant and this time had to put up with a few expletives as I managed to lose and break various bits of equipment. Many thanks to Frank and Juliette Spencer-Nairn for putting us up in one of the cottages. Being on the right side of the gated entrance to the glen made all the difference. Frank made time to welcome us despite having a significant family medical issue to deal with which was lovely of him. He even provided the peanut butter to attract in the badgers and pine martins.

The weather was a mixed bag. Some lovely misty morning with flat light. Lots of rain and then a couple of sunny days. What more could a photographer want?

Once the mist cleared the view up the glen is awe inspiring. Miles of beech, aspen and Caledonian pine. Bracken banked rivers with rapids and waterfalls. Wildlife at every turn. Deer, wild goats, badgers, pine martins, eagles, owls and too much else to list.

When the sun did break through the glen shone like a jeweller’s window. Astonishing.

Without a doubt, I would love to re-visit Glen Strathfarrar in the future to capture the atmosphere of this special place in a different light and a different season. I think there is much more magic and photographic gold to be discovered in those hills.

Three Days on the West Coast of Scotland. February 2022.

Video

I had a very brief journey up through Glencoe to the Isle of Skye and back down. Three days that took in every type of weather you could imagine. I thought a wee slide show told the story better than a single image. Omer.

Glencoe To Skye

Winter at Loch Chon

Loch Chon Snow and Reeds

Back at Loch Chon to catch the snow before the thaw. Arrived to a localised flurry of snow landing on the frozen surface of the loch. Not nearly as cold as it looks. Great company with Niall and Joe.

Conditions: Breezy with heavy snow flurries. Overcast. Needing a faster shutter speed due to the reed movement hence ISO 400.

Camerawork:┬áCanon 5D3. 17-40L @22mm, ISO 400, 1/60″ @ f/11.

Back to the River Braan.

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After just a few short days the leaves have taken on a much more autumnal hue. The days are colder and near to freezing at sunrise. Lots of empty acorn cupules lying on the forest floor but no acorns so let’s hope they are all squirrelled away (literally) for the winter. The erosion of the rocks has carved out some beautiful forms and today we noticed some long strata of quartz stretching across the river.

Another lovely day out in the company of Niall and Joe.

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

 

Balance and Weight

portencross sunset small cloud

Portencross Sunset with Small Cloud

Technical: canon 5D3, 17-40 lens at 20mm, ISO100, 2″@f/16. Lee filters on the sky.

Conditions: slight breeze at sunset with a gentle swell on the water.

I can’t make up my mind about the balance of this image. There is a diagonal that goes up to the small cloud and seems to balance with the small rock lower left. It’s bottom heavy. Perhaps a square aspect ratio but then those nice lines in the rock are lost.

Trophy Hunting

the hermitage in autumn

the hermitage in autumn

Technical: Canon 5DMk3, 17-40 lens at 22mm, 25 seconds at f/16, ISO 100. Polarising filter and a 2 stop NG soft grad.

Conditions: Mid afternoon. Slight breeze with hazy cloud cover.

If you are looking for some clear advice on landscape technique I would recommend the ebooks of Darwin Wiggett. He has one in particular called “Trophy Hunting” in which he discusses the pros and cons of making images at well known and sometimes over-used locations. This is a day when I must confess to setting out to “bag” a certain shot. My 10 year old son and I had a budget of 4 hours to make the 2 hour round trip and make the shot. Darwin talks about finding a new angle, a new way to imagine the scene. I didn’t do that. I did what every one else does because there was such a pull on my preconception neurons that I was dragged into a creativity black hole. I could not imagine it any other way. So I took the shot just as my son fell into a large pool of water and hence did not notice I had stuffed up the focus. Oops. Guess we will be coming back here some day for some more trophy hunting.