Sunday, 18 September 2016

Glen Shee to Linn of Dee

We are heading off on our annual jaunt to the Isle of Harris in a couple of weeks so I thought I might be better dust the summer cobwebs off the camera and get my photographers eye back in so I took a trip north to Glen Shee through Glen Clunie to Braemar and the Linn of Dee, flying solo because my pal Spud is in Oban with his wife ( something about their anniversary ) cummon Spud where's your commitment. Didn't stop in Glen Shee but once past the ski lift and into Glen Clunie there were a lot of stop/ look/ nah,  stop/look/nah,  stop/look/nah but quite a few stop/ look/that'll do

 This trip turned into a bit of a roadside safari ( not ready for hills yet ) but no complaints road side through CGen Clunie and from Braemar up through the Mar Lodge Estate provides plenty photographic opportunities within 100 - 150 yards ( that's about 90 - 140 meters for the young ains )  off the roadside

On the way up through the Mar Lodge Estate I saw an old bridge crossing a dry river bed and thought I might pay it a visit so it was road end at the Linn and back down the other side to the old bridge, sorry to say it was a wasted trip, it looks great from the road up but when you get there " as so often happens" nah, so if you are ever up in that area don't be tempted it's not worth the drive. The Linn of Dee however is a truly impressive example of water erosion and when the river is in spate the noise must be deafening, worth a trip even just to see it.
Today I ODd a bit on the roadside landscapery but it is a great run and like I said the photo opportunities are plentiful if you keep your eyes open
Defiantly a worthwhile trip


Monday, 23 May 2016

Not A Photographic Post: But one for the future

Just been on an Island Survival Weekend Course in a beautiful part of Scotland :- Moidart

 Morning in the rain
Half an hour before sunset

Two of the views from the island we were stranded on

The weekend started on Friday night with an overnight camp in a wooded area on the land owned by Wildwood Bushcraft and it was basically  a meet and greet the other participants in the course before the course started proper on Sat. morning, then it was 07:30 rise for a 8am Canoe ferry to our home for 2 days with no food but a survival expert to keep us on the right track, showing us what was edible :- limpets ( raw or cooked ) encouraged to try both winkles, mussels and every type of seaweed you can imagine, home made bannocks for breakfast made with flour, water and stuff stuff being seaweed. How do you light a fire in the rain :- with difficulty, but it rained a lot so it was a handy skill to learn. Fish for tea then lets go fishing in the only bit of the sea with no fish in it, luckily for us Leon the survival expert must have known there were no fish in the sea coz he brought one for each of us which were gone in a flash.

How to get off our island home, :- build a bloody raft and paddle it, you'r having a laugh, nope, there's the makins lads get on with it, we did no a bad job if I say so myself, the buoyancy wasn't great so it was wet arse time but it stayed together and it stayed afloat. ( the wet arse was from testing it coz none of us opted for the paddle to shore on it, not totally daft )

Met some great folk and had a great weekend "surviving" so thanks to Wildwood Bushcraft for that and I plan to go back in the spring on a photographic trip coz it is a stunningly beautiful location.


Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Tunnels Were Calling

I paid a visit to the abandoned railway tunnels at Glenfarg a while back but for some reason I never even thought about taking a torch, duh ! 

So torch in pocket I went back today, there are two tunnels each about a five minute  walk through and it is surprisingly quite a pleasant walk, when you are in the middle of each tunnel you can see the light from both ends so there is a bit of comfort for the feard in the dark squad and once your eyes get accustomed to it there is actually quite a lot of light and you don't really need a torch, a fact which was brought home to me when a family of five wandered through walking their dog with no torch which was the last thing I expected to find, don't know what I did expect but it wasn't that. There is also quite a lot of graffiti some of it very poetic and some of it just graffiti, the phantom scribbler leaves his mark in the dark for nobody to see.

I knew the torch would come in handy
Had a pleasant afternoon and it's a walk I would recommend, even if it's just to say you have done it


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Loch Tulla & Loch Dochard

My pal Phil regularly asks " what's the plans for the weekend Rab" and my answer is always " no plans Phil depends on the weather"  Saturday is messages day and Sunday is camera day ( yea I know and I can hear you say WHAT !! ).  Well this is where it started, Friday night weather forecast BRAW all day Sat. and RAINING all day Sun. ( everywhere ), what does one do, after about 4 seconds I decided to put aside tradition, ASDA got the dicht and it was camera Sat. Up at 5am out the door at 6 with no fixed destination, up the middle to Aviemore/ Cairngorm area or head west to Glen Coe area, flip the mental coin, came down tails so went west. Nearing Tyndrum I was back in decision city, go north to Bridge of Orchy or peel off west and head for Loch Awe, what's happening here, I only wanted to take my camera for a walk and then I've got all these decisions to make, it's not right. up went the mental coin again but by the time it came back down I was past the junction for Loch Awe so fate carried the can for my day at Loch Tulla and Loch Dochard ( good choice fate ). I've been to Loch Tulla a couple of times last year and it is a great photographic location which I would recommend to anybody ( even Phil could get some good photographs there ) there is snow on the hills and I got there before the breeze so the loch was mirror calm, it is very easy to be seduced by the landscape all around you and forget what you are there for, on a good morning it is really special and worth the early rise and the 2 hour drive.

Moving on from Loch Tulla I went for a walk to Loch Dochard ( not been there before ) 2 hours later with a couple of short stops behold Loch Dochard, I knew it was going to be a bit of a hike but it was a smashing day and I thought if I only get one good photograph it will be worth it ( I can here Phil saying YOU'VE JUST WASTED 2 HOURS ) the loch itself is nothing to write a song about but the surrounding landscape is stunning, I may have two photographs which are OK but a wasted 2 hours 



Sunday, 28 February 2016

One Frosty Morning
Made the trip to the Trossachs with my pal Spud, freezin cold, bright, sunny and not a cloud in the sky and that is the downer for photographers and in particular B&W photographers, you see we like clouds not "CLOUDS" but some wee gentle things dotted around to keep the sky interesting, not today ! But you gotta make the best of what's on offer starting at Loch Venachar, there was not a drop of wind, the loch was mirror flat and the reflections of the snow topped mountains were unbelievable


needles to say we spent a couple of hours moochin' aboot looking for gems before we headed to Loch Arklet for hopefully more of the same but there was a covering of ice on most of the loch which killed any reflections and still no wee fluffies in the sky but the four mountains which form the skyline at the west end of the loch were covered in snow and in the sunlight were quite spectacular, ( a wee reflection there would  have been nice but na too much ice on the loch )


At one point overcome with the desire for the elusive wee gem, the boots and socks were off, breeks rolled up to the knees and in we go, the wee gem is still out there somewhere but the freezin' water woke up my toes and my knees and it goes without saying, ma breeks weren't rolled up far enough so I spent the rest of the day with cold, wet legs, should know by now there is no such thing as a wee gem but the search goes on.

Home in time to make the wife's tea, have a bottle of beer then an hour on the couch.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Sunday Jan.17th
Loch Tulla

Thought I might get some good weather for a day out but .. the usual overcast skies was forecast and the forecast wasn't wrong, but ...with a bit of snow about I thought it might be worthwhile to go where the snow was and I had a very pleasant day on and around Loch Tulla in Argyle & Bute. Got there about 10am the loch was frozen over there was snow on the ice and there was enough earl sunlight to make it a spectacular morning ( not sure about the photography but the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful ) My pal Spud and I were here in the early autumn and we thought it was OK what a difference some snow makes.
The early sunlight vanished late in the morning but when you don't use colour flat lighting with snow and stuff is a joy to work in, no worries about casting shadows then trying to Photo Shop them out, everyday walk past, take no notice of things take on a new and interesting shape when they'r covered in the white stuff

and you can return to things you've already photographed ( and got some OK photographs I might add ) knowing you are getting something new

Had a very enjoyable 4 hours at Loch Tulla, it's a 2 hour drive from home but well worth the effort.                 Just for the record both these images are colour files straight from camera


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Back On The Hill

Just back from another weeks holiday trying to photograph the fantastic area around Inverpolly and Assynt.
The week couldn't have started any worse, we headed out to Achnahaird on Sunday morning for the colour junkies to photograph the sunset ( when it happens it is pretty special ) but before 09:00 my camera had taken a dip in a rock pool and decided it didn't like it, one camera and one lens for the bucket me thinks, had to rely on the trusty old 50D backup for the rest of the week, needles to say the first thing to come from me OH BOTHER WHAT HAVE I DONE ( note the capitals ). When the guys had finished playing and I had calmed down a bit we moved on to Altandhu to shoot some old wrecked boats and bhoys then moved on up the coast to Reiff to try for more colour junkie fix with a sunset on the pebbly shore but the tide was out and the sunset didn't happen any more than the sunrise.
Monday morning 5am rise WHAT !!
Yup you read it 5am and a drive up to Inverpolly in the pitch black to sit in the van until the rain went off then Spud and I trudged across sodden moorland looking for a different shot of Stac Pollaidh,

 ( as if that was going to happen ) got soaked, climbed a hill got soaked even more, maybe got not a bad photograph of a big rock so it was worth getting soaked, then we made our way to Loch Assynt where the other guys were hiding from the rain claiming to have some good shots of the Scots Pines which stand in the loch ( their feet must have been as wet as mine )
Tuesday and another 5am rise ( you gotta give us credit for trying )
And a wee drive over to Gruinard bay and we ended up at Mellon Udrigal, well the guys did but I backtracked along the road about 2 or 3 miles to a ruined cottatge which looked like it might offer some interesting mono opportunities, which it did ( a hill beats a beach any day ).

From Mellon Udrigal we drove up the coast to Cove where there are some very good coastal fortifications, concrete built but very thought provoking. If you are ever in the area I would recommend a visit just to sit and take it in, think about the significance and realise how lucky we all are.
Wednesday looked like it was going to be a wash out and it was. Mid morning the sun broke out so we all charged out the door and went for a drive and it rained again, so Spud and I went for a walk in the rain casing the joint for possible returns found this tree roots oot bit still no deid
Didn't go back

Ah Thursday and not a bad morning ( we had given up on the 5am starts ) so we all went up to the light house at Stoer Point, a wee bit remote as most light houses are but worth the effort if the weather is ok, a wee walk up the headland to get a decent vantage point and beat Spud and Martin to the good bit ( that didn't happen either ) got a bit muddy up to the knees cos that's what we do, then from Stoer Point it's a short drive to Clashnessie Bay and waterfall where all the mud up to my knees was washed off walking through the long soaking wet grass cos that's what we do. Clashnessie Falls is spectacular but must be photographed from a distance due to the spray, which ruled me out due to the fact that my longer lens took a dip on day one so I spent most of the visit at the small but very pleasant bay photographing moving water and bits of fence.
Friday our last day under grey skies and our friend and resident photographer Angus Bruce whose cottage we were staying in again recommended a trip north to Sango Bay at Durness, yup back to the 5am rise and a 1 hour and 45 minute drive in the dark and yes it is a smashing compact beach with spectacular rocks dotted everywhere it a pity the sun didn't come out where we were  ( it was out down south where we had been all week ) we spent most of the day waiting for the tide to come in at Sango Bay, ( more moving water shots ) but Gordon took a drive to the next beach along and reported back that there was nothing there, we suspect because he might have took some photographs of the old church and graveyard thak he chose to keep for himself. we chose to drive back before it got dark and Spud and I finished off our week at Rhue light house just north of Ullapool hoping for the elusive sunset, didn't happen !
Bottom Line we had a good week photographing in the fantastic North West of Scotland, it was a tough week  under grey skies with a lot of rain and some hail, early starts with mud and wind, we might even have some half decent photographs to show for our efforts but there is no doubt that we will go back COS THAT'S WHAT WE DO