I have just sorted out, printed, mounted and framed all my photos for my 2020 Steadings Gallery Exhibition which opens this Saturday. The exhibition runs for two weeks this year, starting on the 1st August and will be open daily from 11am to 5pm. There is no particular theme to the exhibition, but it includes a range of different formats including large and medium sized canvases, framed prints and mounted and un-mounted prints. There are a selection of my more recent foray into photo painting and some of my desaturated photos along with the more traditional colour and black & white images. All exhibited photos will be for sale along with the mounted and un-mounted prints, greetings cards and postcards, and custom orders can also be placed.
The Steadings Gallery is operated by the National Trust for Scotland at their Balmacara Estate in Wester Ross and is located in Balmacara Square, IV40 8DJ. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic we will be operating a 'One Group In - One Group Out' system to keep everyone safe and visitors will be expected to adhere to the Scottish Government's Social Distancing Guidelines, including wearing a face covering when in the building and avoiding touching the exhibitions. Unfortunately, the toilets will not be available for use by the public.
Also open in The Square will be the NTS Visitor Information Centre (unstaffed), Beth's Cafe and Delicatessen, the 'Home in The Highlands' shop (please check their respective websites/social media platforms for details of opening times). There is also a good range of walks available from The Square so why not pop down and enjoy the full experience.
Enquiries can be made directly to Iain Turnbull at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07733674947.
At the weekend I had a brief opportunity to visit the beach at Ashaig on the Isle of Skye. I wanted to try out my 10 stop Zomei HD Schott Glass ND1000 filter to see how it worked in terms of colour distortion. This is a relatively recent acquisition, having previously relied on a cheap circular variable ND filter, with poor results, with images showing a dstinct magenta colour cast. I have to say that I was very pleased with the results from this filter, with no colour cast to speak of, and clear images. I tried combining the filter with the same make of ND grad filter to darken the sky a bit, but the effect was that all the dust on the lens surface caused lots of magenta aberrations. I need to learn to clean my camera kit more often. Anyway, the result was good from the filter perspective and I look forward to using it more in the future.
This past week was very exciting after all this time in lockdown, with a four day trip to visit our friends at Paible, North Uist. The weather was not at its best but we did have some breaks in the overcast providing some moments of interesting light and some sunshine. This shot was taken on our first evening, looking south-west across Loch Sandary towards Cnoc an Torainn. I have processed it with my new semi-desaturated look, which I am getting quite into. I feel that there is a tendency with digital images to over-process and produce overly saturated images and this is a kind of reaction to that.
The following images are a mix of landscapes and some of our friends and their two Westies on the beach.
So this weekend, at last it was possible to get out and about with the camera, a little further than five miles at least. The above photo of Bla Bheinn from the shore of Loch Slapin is my favourite from the two days, just managing to catch a brief bit of light on parts of the mountain and the moody dark sky adding to the sense of drama.
On Saturday I had to pop up to Kinlochewe, so took the opportunity to drive on towards Gairloch. I had never been right along the road to Red Point, so decided to take a bit of reconnaisance trip, despite the light being a bit flat and the rain being a constant threat. I took the chance of using my Intrepid 5x4" large format camera and will soon be in the darkroom to see how those exposures come out. However, as always, I took along my trusty Canon EOS 5D Mark II and lenses producing this image, more-or-less the same composition as the large format exposures. This is looking down the Inner Sound with the Skye hills on the right and in front. It looked a bit flat in colour but the conversion to monochrome definately adds something to the sky. The seat provides a bit of a leading line into the frame.
On the way home I took the Shieldaig to Applecross road, while it was still not too busy with tourists, and shot these two images, the first looking back across Loch Torridon, which might make it into my collection of Passing Places.
The second image is from the top of the Bealach na Ba, looking across one of the rockiest expanses of ground anywhere in the country. I particularly liked the way the distant peak (Carn Dearg) was showing intermittently through the low cloud. The colours of the stones in the foreground are amazingly red.
This afternoon, I crossed the bridge to Skye, although I had little hope of anything good with the camera, with heavy rainfall as I headed towards Kyle of Lochalsh. However, as is so often the way with the west Highlands, the weather can change in a second, and so it was when I arrived at Torrin. The first image, at the top of this post, is definately my favourite from the day, capturing that elusive moment with bright patches of sunlight through the clouds in an otherwise dark and brooding landscape. I also took the chance to shoot some more with my Intrepid large format camera, and the next image is approximately the same composition I selected, I will post those images once I have developed the film along with the one from yesterday. The film version will be in black and white, this one is desaturated colour.
The final shot was taken from just below the trees in the previous image, looking up towards Beinn Dearg Mhor. The contrasting colours of the mountain from the tree and the grassy foreground, set against the grey cloudy sky appealed to me.
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.