I am currently studying with the West Highland College - UHI towards an HNC in Photography. For our Graded Unit we have to undertake a small project on a theme of our choosing, and produce ten final images. I have chosen to do a study of the "Celtic Rainforest in Wester Ross". In fact I am planning to expand the project for the whole of the year to allow me more time to cover the wide range of native woodlands in the Wester Ross Biosphere area. The HNC project has to be completed by May, thus missing so many of the seasonal differences in the woods.
So today, on my way to a meeting in Torridon, I set off early to try and do a bit of reconnaissance of one of the nicest native pinewoods in the area, at Beinn Shieldaig. The weather was not great and I had very little time between first light and my meeting, so I was a bit rushed. I spotted a nice old pine, standing out from those around it and decided to take a pop at it.
As part of my research for the project I have been looking at some inspirational photogrpahers and one of my favourites in Michael Kenna. He is known for his atmospheric black & white images of trees. He still shoots in film, mainly using a Hasselblad camera, but occasionally using a simple Holga medium format toy camera. I have decided to try and use some film for my project but will also be shooting in digital. Today I took my digital kit, but also my Holga 120N with old, out-of-date, Kodak Tri-X Pan film (380 ISO!). The results of that will have to wait until the film is finished and processed, but this post contains a couple of the digital images from the trip which I have processed into black & white in Nik Collection's Silver Efex Pro II. I have selected the Kodak Tri-X 100 ASA film option in an attempt to replicate the old style of the film. I like the effect and can only hope that the film versions come out as well.
On the way to Shieldaig I stopped just above Tornapress to take this shot looking towards A' Chioch, Beinn Bhan and A' Phiot in the snow. It was a very dull morning, with limited light, but quite atmospheric.
These are some shots from my first foray out with the camera in 2020, on the 3rd January. I had only a short while available to me so I headed over to the Lochalsh Woodland Park, just over 1/2 mile from the house.
I am about to undertake a photographic study of the native woodlands of Wester Ross (more in a later post) so wanted to practice some techniques of shooting in woodlands. I have been doing a bit of research online and it seems that using larger lenses and shallow depth of field can produce nice soft atmospheric shots. This first shot was taken with my new-ish 70-200m f2.8 lens with a long exposure (due to the low light level) on a tripod. I have done very little to this image other than slightly increase the clarity of the bark on the main tree and some minor adjustments to the lights and darks. I love the shape of the tree trunk and the trees behind break up the background really nicely.
I took a few shots in this area and then went over the road to the park and shot some more of the pathways and one or two close-ups of bits of trees and lichens, etc, all taken with the same 70-200mm lens..
I am an amateur photographer who is also a Chartered Geographer 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.
If you like my photos and are interested in purchasing prints, whether framed, mounted or otherwise please click here.