It was a relatively early start this morning on my way to Aberdeen to collect my daughter Caitlin from Uni and it was a beautiful sunny morning. As I approached Eilean Donan I did a very touristy thing and inidctaed right at the last minute to pop into the car park for a few shots of the castle and its reflections in the calm sea. The above shot was taken from the start of the footbridge to the castle, which is a relatively unusual angle for me. I liked the way the castle was reflected in the pool between the mainland and the island. The castle was wonderfully illuminated by the early sun and the sky had just enough cloud against the bright blue to make it interesting.
I really liked the colours in this shot but as always wanted to see what it looked like in black & white. The following shot was converted using the Nik Collection's Silver Efex Pro software and I applied an orange filter to this one to darken down the sky (I was a bit stuck between a red or yellow filter so unusually went for a happy medium which worked well). As usual this made the sky much more dramatic and the castle very bright against it. I think on balance I prefer the B&W version but the colour is nice too.
The following two shots are taken from a similar vantage point from a previous time. Again I like the colour but the black & white is certainly more dramatc, I think. Both had very similar treatment in terms of post processing. I tried to do as little a spossible to the colur ones but the shaded areas did need lightened up a little as I had under-exposed the images a little to try and keep some of the detail in the sky and I did not want to use auto-bracketing and HDR merging. The B&W one had a red filter applied this time.
Today was Mid-Summer's Day and we had a power outage at the office. So after trying to do as much as possible in the office I decided enough was enough and popped out to take advantage of the lovely sunshine to try and capture some shots of the species-rich meadows on the croft land at Drumbuie & Duirinish, and to see if I could get any decent macro shots of dragonflies at Loch Achaidh na h-Inich.
This first shot was taken in the woods at the edge of the loch and shows two dragonflies mating. I like to soft background and the blue male dragonfly is pretty sharp. You can actually see the hairs on his back and the tiny spines on his legs when you zoom in to full size. This has been cropped a fair bit to remove a lot of the background distractions and to focus on the insects.
The next couple of shots are of the same two dragonflies from slightly different vantage points. I am not sure which I prefer most as they all have bright distractions that take away a bit from the overall quality of the images.
I also got a half decent shot of a Green Veined White butterfly by the side of the loch. This one is not entirely in focus because the flower was moving around a little in the breeze and I should have increased the ISO to get a faster shutterspeed, but it was the best one I managed to get.
While at the loch I captured this nice shot of Yellow Flag Iris in the sunshine and the following reflections of the reeds on the loch itself. I really like the ripple effect and the colours in this last one, it almost looks like smoke. The slow shutterspeed has smoothed out and blurred the reflections a little.
Finally, I stopped off at Drumbuie for a few shots of the croft meadows. There was a lot of motion going on in the grasslands due to the stiff NW breeze. I like these two shots which capture the scale of the view quite well and also the brightness of the day. There is no better place to spend time on a summer's day.
Tonight's meeting of the South Skye Camera Club was meant to be an outdoor practical session looking at abstract and architectural photography. However, due to the rather wet weather we mostly adjourned to the indoors at Sabhal Mor Ostaig (the Gaelic College on Skye). This was definitely a challenge to my comfort zone, being asked to look for interesting and different patterns of colour, light, shade and tone within the buildings. In the end, as usual, I took many more shots than was necessary but having worked through them I am quite pleased with some of the results. These are the ones I think are best; a pretty mixed bag.
I am an amateur photographer who is also a Chartered Geographer (GIS) with his own part-time consultancy business and I work as an estate manager for a national conservation charity in Scotland. I am based in Lochalsh, Wester Ross, Scotland, just next to the Isle of Skye.
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