Saturday arrived with no real commitments so I decided, despite it being a bit overcast, with rain threatening, to try out a walking route that I have been interested in for ages - from Coulags to Coire Fionnaraich. This route branches out in various directions as you move up the coire but I set my target as the loch. The other routes would have required meeting someone at the other end which was not an option for me. The walk was 6.5 miles in total climbing about 225m, so not overly strenuous but long enough to make my feet a bit sore by the end - wrong socks! I had the pleasure of the company of my collie - Broc - who at 13 years of age made the trip with no such signs of physical stress.
The above shot was taken from the path at the point where the bothy, operated by the Mountain Bothies Association, first comes into view. Set against the dramatic hillsides of the coire I used my zoom telephoto lens to foreshorten the view and emphasise the steepness of the hills in the background. The old stalking bothy has been built out of local stone and blends into the landscape completely, only the slate roof making it visible from a distance. The shot below shows the bothy in its wider context.
The rest of the images were taken closer to the bothy, which is a really attractive building, in an amazingly remote and isolated spot.
And finally shot on the phone, my faithful companion for the day - Broc by the loch - she never quite looks at you when you are taking a photo.
These two images are the result of a quick visit to Loch Achaidh na h-Inich on my way home from the shop this afternoon. I usually maintain a list of all the bird species I have seen each year, starting afresh in January, so I wanted to add Goldeneye to my list as they don't breed here but are regular winter visitors to the loch. On my way along the shore road I spotted this little dipper diving in the water at the edge of the loch. I managed to stop, wind down the window and get the camera from the back seat without it flying off. I grabbed a few shots before another car came along and disturbed things, this being the best shot. I love these little birds with their constant dipping motion that gives them their name.
I drove along to the end of the track and turned to head back and captured the following shot of a male Goldeneye on the loch. It was a bit of a distance away, but with the long lens I managed to get a decent, and resonably sharp image, probably my best Goldeneye shot yet.
The light in the north-west Highlands is ever-changing, especially in winter, and it always pays to have a camera to hand. The above view was taken from our back garden, looking across Loch Alsh towards Kyle Rhea. The soft light, with a tinge of warmth that is common during these misty, cloudy conditions where the sun is fighting to penetrate the murk, made the scene for me. I shot this without realising I still had my CPL filter on the lens so it came out a bit different to what I expected, and the warm glow is perhaps more than I would really have wanted, but it produced an effective and evocative image.
Also, I find that I have a tenendcy to increase the clarity or structure in most of images in post-processing, hopefully not excessively, but that is a matter of opinion I guess. In this case, I deliberately tried the opposite and reduce the clarity by 20% to add to the softness of the final image. Something to try a bit more of I think.
Happy New Year to my regular readers and I hope you all had a wonderful festive season. I have had a prolonged holiday this year and had hoped to be out with the camera much more than actually happened. The weather was less than conducive for photography and I found myself busier than I had expected. However, since the New Year, I have managed out a couple of times and these are the best of a fairly mediocre collection.
The above image, fittingly of Bla Bheinn - one of my most photographed subjects - was captured this afternoon at Ord on the Sleat peninsula of Skye, looking towards the Cuillins and Bla Bheinn. The Cuillins were pretty much in cloud but thre was a little light catching the upper slopes of Bla Bheinn, with the tops just shrouded a little in cloud, and the sky had enough interest in the clouds, with a little blue here and there to make it interesting.
The following photos were captured on the 1st of the year during a coastal walk from Duirinish to Drumbuie. I had my Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens attached to my Canon EOS 250D, cropped sesnor camera, thus an effective 640mm lens. I wanted to try and capture some bird images but the opportunities were few and far between, with the crofts largely silent in the cold and my only chances restricted to long-distance shots of a few birds on the sea. I also took a few wider landscape shots but the light was not overly exciting, so it was more for the sake of it than in expectation of anything brilliant.
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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