One month in and I thought I would look through my photos posted this January and select my three favourites. I found this quite difficult with the The Cuillins from Elgol Beach (6th January), Three Pines (10th January), views of the Bealach na Ba (11th January) and the Snowy Scots Pine on the 16th January all being up there. Anyway here they are:
I just liked the light on this shot and the colour in the clouds.
A relatively simple shot but I really like the colour with the bright red/orange of the ring and the blue of the sea. This could almost be a painting the way the ripples look on the water.
This was my favourite because it is nice and sharp and well exposed. The clouds and sky are vivid and active, lit up by the early morning sun and the old jetty on the right foreground and rocks on the left lead the viewer into the picture really well. I managed to get good depth of field as well with both the foreground and distance looking sharp and focused and the light from the clouds is almost luminous.
If you disagree with my choices then feel free to let me now which were your favourites and why. Meanwhile, February starts tomorrow and by all accounts it is going to be wild.
The weekend was the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch where folk all round Britain count the birds they see in their gardens during a one hour period. Our records this year were not very exciting, chaffinch, blue tit, great tit, coal tit, robin, dunnock, blackbird, and hooded crow, but I got a couple of half decent shots of the blue tits, this one being the best. The others below were not so good but will suffice given the poor light.
The above photo was taken as a result of a failed mission to get some snowy storm shots in Glen Shiel. Yes you've guessed correctly, I drove all the way to the waterfall in Glen Shiel only to find I had left the memory card for my camera in the reader at home. So on returning home I decided to do a shoot of Broc, our daft collie. This is a fairly typical pose she adopts when confused or wanting something. In this case I think I said "Where's your ball". I tried it in black and white as well to remove the slightly distracting background and then with a little introduction from my daughter Eilish tried doing some Photoshop Elements editing - not very successfully. I don't really like all that adjusting backgrounds, separately, etc. etc. thing but here are the results of these two alternative approaches anyway.
Our friend Kirsten, who was working with NTS as a volunteer last year, is back for the weekend, so I took the opportunity of asking her if she would let me take some portraiture shots of her. Among other things Kirsten is a keen photographer, caught here going through the Higher Photography portfolios of our daughter Eilish and her friend Isabel. She had to work hard to hide the frown of concentration while reading... but that's what happens when you head off to work for the infidels in the east... only joking, honest.
This is a fairly typical view from the upper floor windows at this time of year, but to be honest it is the first proper wind this year. I don't think this image gives a real impression of how much the sea was moving but even at 1/250 second exposure the trees are still a bit blurry.
More rain and dullness today but miraculously it cleared away about 4 pm to give some bright blue skies and colourful clouds, lit up by the setting sun to the west. It was too good an opportunity to miss so I popped out to the nearest viewpoint, just to the west of the house, and shot these two images, the above looking east and the one below looking west. The blue in the sky was amazingly deep in colour and the clouds were truly luminous.
Another wet and windy day, plus finishing off the Image making essay meant no chance of getting out for any photography. So, another still life taken this evening. This time it is a combination of a ewer and basin, towel, candle and vase. The subjects are lit by a camera top flash, bounced off to the left if creamy coloured shutters plus an infill flash from the right at the lowest setting, with a diffuser angled slightly upwards. With a little adjustment to exposure and the dark and highlight tones I managed to get a reasonable balance I think.
This was a bit of a challenge which i don't think I managed to get quite right, so may have to try again some other time. However, I wanted to try and get a nice wide-angle shot of the inside of Aileen's piano with the lid up. I tried various settings but ended up with the camera top flash mounted and a slave flash sitting on its stand on the edge of the piano, just beside the camera, pointing into the paino. The top flash was simply used as a trigger, being above the lid and the slave was used to illuminate the interior, set on its lowest setting with a diffuser screen in place. I wanted to try and get the interior in focus as much as possible, including the music stand at the keyboard end, but I didn't really want the background so I opted for the lowest aperture I could get and took a few shots at different fous points and stacked them in Photoshop Elements. Then converted to B&W and softened a little it came out looking like this. I quite like it but it would be good to get the background softer, maybe next time.
I popped into see Rogie Falls today on my way to a meeting in Dingwall and got this shot using a slow shutter speed to capture the movement of the water. Compositionally, I liked the rock jutting out from the right, a bit like Ansel Adams' Monolith photo, only not as impressive obviously and about 1000 times smaller. The picture below has been slightly cropped focusing more on the main fall but also bringing the rocky outcrop more into the frame as well, and in B&W I think it adds a bit of atmosphere, especially as in colour at this time of year the image is a bit muted.
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.
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