As I said in my earlier post today I headed out early to try and catch the morning light as the sun rose on south-west Ross. Here are a few of the best images I managed to capture on my way from Balmacara to Kinlochewe. The shot above is a favourite spot where walkers park to head up Beinn Alligin, taken from the bridge over the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil looking up the river with its modest waterfall and Tom na Gruagaich in the background. The contrast of the shady glen and the brightly illuminated hills in the background posed some practical issues for this composition. I used my medium Cokin ND 4 Graduated filter to darken the sky and avoid it being blown out by the need to compensate for the darker foreground. The result I think is a very striking vibrant image which has actually had very little need for post processing, other than a bit of spot removal and enhancement of the structure/clarity to emphasize the textures of the rocks and the trees.
The shot below was taken just around the corner from the one above, and provides a slightly more open view of the hills and emphasizes the Scots pines in the foreground. The same technique was used to balance the exposure of the foreground and background in this one, although I did lighten the big Scots pine tree a little just to bring out the detail a bit..
The first stop on my trip was at Ardarroch, Kishorn, down by the shore, to try and capture the first rays of sunshine on the Bealach a Ba. I timed my arrival perfectly and shot a lot of frames of the view as the sunlight moved down the hills from the top left corner. This image is probably the best one with most of the hills illuminated by the early sunshine and with the autumn colours providing a lovely rich russet effect with the texture of the hills emphasized by the shadows. I positioned myself on the shore behind some foreground rocks in order to avoid the lovely view being spoiled by the old oil rig yard at Kishorn. Maybe this is creating a false impression of the reality but I think the result is a much better image. Maybe, as part of my West Highland Project I should do another with the warts and all included. I hadn't thought to use the ND Grad filter when I took this shot so I applied that retrospectively in Lightroom, which has worked reasonably well but not nearly as well as the real thing. I also lightened the foreground a bit and emphasized the textures using increased structure and clarity settings.
By simply turning 90 degrees west I had a fantastic view over Loch Kishorn to Skye and the Cuillins. The following image was taken, again without benefit of a grad filter and so again this was applied retrospectively in Lightroom. Otherwise, I brightened up the Cuillins a bit but otherwise this is pretty much as shot.
The last three shots were taken on the way from Kishorn to Torridon. The first is a view across Loch Dughaill, near Shieldaig, which was mirror calm and I could not resist stopping to try and capture the reflections of the trees and the illuminated hillside in the loch. I am not sure it works that well, perhaps because I zoomed in to just include the hillside and loch reflections, with no sky to help act as a point of reference, but the colours are nice.
The second is a view of Beinn Damh reflected in Loch Coultrie by the road from Kishorn to Shieldaig. The little bits of light at the top of the hills and the reflections in the loch make this image work so well I think, especially with the reeds breaking up the expanse of the loch.
The third is a simple shot of Beinn Alligin from the south side of Loch Torridon. This is a very popular viewpoint, for obvious reasons, so nothing special in terms of composition, etc. but it was great light and who can resist such opportunities. In this case I used the Cokin ND4 Grad filter to darken down the sky.
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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