Yesterday was such a beautiful day that it would have been inexcusable not to go out with the camera. In all honesty, the light was so bright and contrasty that it made photgraphing some scenes pretty challenging. The ND grad filters were in use for a lot of the landscape shots as a result.
The above shot was taken from the Tocabhaig to Tarscabhaig road, looking towards the Cuiilins, with the ruins of Dun Scaich (pronounced "skee" apparently) in the foreground. There was no ND filter used for this one as I didn't have an adaptor to fit the lens with me. I don't use this big lens much, but it makes for some lovely shots when used at its minimum zoon, foreshortening the distances really nicely.
The following shot was taken at Ord, again looking towards the Cuillins and Bla Bheinn, truly spectacular scenery.
I took a little detour into Tarscabhaig to search for old abandoned dwellings, for a project I am doing for my HNC in Photography. I found a few likely subjects worth another visit when the light is a bit more moody and dramatic. However, I also spotted an unusual sight these days, piles of grass being set aside for hay or silage. Normally, this is simply cut into rows and then baled and wrapped in black plastic. I am not sure how this was going to be baled, but perhaps into old fashioned square bales? Anyway, I could not resist taking a shot with Rum in the background.
Tarscabhaing is a lovely, picturesque crofting tonwship located on the west side of the Sleat peninsula. Crofting is still pretty active there and the croft houses are spread around the sloping ground making for a great foreground against the backdrop of the Cuillins. You can just make out the moon in the top left corner of the image.
Earlier in the day, before heading over to Skye, I took a trip to Ardelve, then over Carr Brae for a view down Loch Duich. Many years previously I took some photos of an old thatched croft house and some other sheds in Ardelve. I was a bit saddend to see the poor condition of the thatched cottage, with rotten thatch and tufts of grass growing out of it. The walls poorly maintained and the property obviously unused. Anyway, I took a couple of shots of the windows and a nearby timber shed. Let's hope something is done to renovate the cottage before it is too late.
The view from Carr Brae is wonderful when the light is good, as it was on Saturday morning. Looking into the sun posed some challenges but I managed to get a couple of shots that did not have too many sun flares on them. This one really shows how much of a fjord Loch Duich is.
I also succumbed to the familiar photo looking up Loch Alsh with Eilean Donan Castle in the foreground. It was really a beautiful morning, so that's my excuse.
My final shots from the day are of the old boatman's house at Totaig on the opposite side of Loch Duich from Eilean Donan. The first shot shows the approach to the house and slipway where the ferry used to run to Dornie, while the second is another one of those window shots, which I like so much.
This little guy was sitting on his web, between two shoots fo heather, waiting for some prey. I caught sight of it on a test image I had done with my new phone camera while out with the dogs, so popped back to the house and got my DSLR and macro lens. The position was about head height and my tripod would not allow me to get the right angle for the shot. So I had to opt for handheld. I took a few shots and this was the only one that came out reasonably sharp.
This afternoon I spotted some interesting brown mushrooms/toadstools in the Lochalsh Woodland Walks. I am not sure what this species of fungi is called so if you know, please get back to me.
I returned with my camera gear later on, to try out some macro shots, and specifically to try out focus stacking using Photoshop. I took a straight macro shot using my Sigma 105mm macro lens at f/16 to try and get as much of the fungi in focus as possible. This worked OK (see below), but the background was not as soft as I would have liked. This being the conundrum of using macro lenses, balancing depth of field to achieve a nice soft bokeh effect.
So, I took thirteen shots of the mushroom, focusing on different parts of the image as I went. The camera was set at f/2.8, my lens' widest aperture, taking care to avoid movement of the camera on the tripod, using my remote trigger to take the shots. The result is shown at the top of this post, and as you can see the whole of the mushroom is in focus but the background is beautifully soft.
I tried another single larger mushroom nearby, this time with a stack of fourteen images. This one worked well too, as you can see below.
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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