The last day of June started wet and ended wet but we did get a little spell of decent weather around lunchtime. A couple of things I noticed this week were the number of wild rose bushes in flower along the roadsides, which inspired the above photo; and the amazingly bright aqua-marine colour of the sea in Broadford bay and around the coast off the Balmacara Estate. I popped down to Port an Eorna to try and get a few shots of the sea and spotted this fantastic clinker built boat which offered a few nice options for some shots. The tide was well out, allowing me to get onto the island which is usually offshore and I got the panorama from there. Some of these are nice in colour but I like the crisp contrasty b&w shots of the boat.
It seems like ages since I have had the chance to get out with the camera in decent light conditions. Life has just been so busy with one ting and another that I have sadly missed a few opportunities, but then again the excellent quality of light we experienced earlier in the year has gone to a large extent. I guess this is quite normal unless you are out and about during the golden hours (pretty early and late at this latitude in summer) so I need to start applying more discipline and planning to my photography. When I set out on this blog journey I did so in an attempt to be a bit more focused and thoughtful as opposed to just shooting any old thing when chance provided me with an opportunity. Sadly, since the end of my Higher course in May I have kind of reverted back to my old ways, probably just a wind down after the effort of completing the final project, let's hope so.
Anyway, this shot was taken from outside the house yesterday morning when I saw some decent light and clouds on Sgurr Mor. I liked the way the fields below the hill were lit up and the foreground was quite bright too. This is a view I have become very used to over the past 20 years but it shows sometimes the familiar can be interesting too. For now, I intend to apply a bit more thought to my photography again, let's hope the results prove that it works.
There were loads of Linnets down at Kirkton bay this afternoon and I managed to get a few half decent shots. I thought I had the ISO set at 1,600 but it was at 3,200 so the images are a bit grainy, but I did have a fairly fast shutter speed so I managed to get reasonably sharp images I guess. These are really smart birds. There were also lots of Lesser Redpolls, Linnets and a few Twite at Plockton this morning but sadly I didn't have my camera with me.
I also got a nice shot of Yellow Flag Iris on the maritime grassland above the saltmarsh at Kirkton and this shot of Kirkton Barn from an unusual angle down near the shore. I like this antique effect for these old buildings and think it might be nice to put together a collection of a few of these from the estate, maybe as an alternative calendar for next year?
I took this shot yesterday morning on the roadside heading down to Glaick. The ferns were really nicely lit up by the early morning sun. Apart from converting to B&W I have not done much to this image, slightly increased the contrast and clarity and toned down the whites a bit as some of the highlights were blown out a little but I quite like it. Maybe not the best composition but I was in a bit of a hurry.
I got my latest B&W film images back from the developers today, scanned copies only, and I'm not entirely happy with most of them. The above is probably the best (straight out of the camera - no modifications). The others are all a bit over-exposed I think and not very well composed to be honest - all my failings, not the camera's. Being scanned images I have messed about a little wit some of them in Lightroom and Nik's Silver Efex Pro and these are the results.
At least one Killer Whale is back tonight and I managed to get a shot of it from our shower-room window. Not the greatest shot by any means but it was at full zoom and hand-held as I needed to react pretty quickly when it surfaced. Sadly it was not jumping about like last night and there was only one this time, maybe so yesterday too. It was pretty hard to get a decent shot of more than the fin disappearing below the surface, but it had an obvious white area on its back/side in front of the fin but I was too slow to catch it in anything but a complete blur.
I was out very early this morning with Judith Bullivant doing croft bird surveys at Drumbuie and Duirinish. While recording birds we spotted the Globeflower in full bloom and a few early Greater Butterfly Orchids in this fabulous species-rich meadow. It is still early in the season but if the good weather continues and the crofters don't cut the silage/hay too early it promises to be a great year for the flower meadows.
These are not my best photos but they have served to remind me of why I prefer the DSLR - control. The bridge format is great when portability and flexibility are required without carrying too many lenses, etc., but they are a bit limited in terms of controlling depth of field.
I popped down to Isle Oronsay today to see Helen Robertson's art exhibition, excellent as usual, but I also thought that the old pier and the creels and derrick looked like an interesting subject for a photo or two. I took a couple on the Bronica but shot these as a back-up. Not great but which do you prefer? I like to tangle of ropes leading into the frame and the chain on the second image. The last two are the same shot as the first but with different effects, the first HDR colour and the second is an Antique preset in Nix Silver Efex pro.
Yes it's that time of the month again so here are my three favourite images from last month.
I really like this image. I was very much focused on trying to get a decent shot of the Bealach na Ba overlooking Lochcarron and only just before I left I looked left and saw this cloud formation and managed to capture it quite well I think.
While a Whimbrel may not be as exciting to watch as a male Hen Harrier - see my first post of June) this image is much better than that one. I managed to get the head quite sharp and the bird is nicely contrasted by the blurred sea in the background and the grass.
I got a lot of nice shots during my May visit to Coigach but this was my favourite because of the way the sun was highlighting Cul Beag with the clouds and reflection in Loch Lurgain it just caught my imagination as I was driving out towards Achnahaird and the Summer Isles. I do like the clour version as well, but I feel that the B&W is more dramatic, drawing out the tones and textures really well.
This has been a great spell of weather and the grass is certainly growing and the flowers in the meadows are beginning bloom. Give it another few weeks and the colours will be at their best, let's just hope the weather stays with us.
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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