This evening I set out to the viewpoint at the Plock of Kyle with the camera in response to an amber alert on the Aurora Alert App on my phone. As it happened it was a bit early and too light to have much chance of anything spectacular but I did get a few decent shots of the Skye Bridge and Kyleakin at night, plus a nice shot of the remnants of a sunset over the Inner Sound. As it got darker the stars came out to play and I actually saw a shooting star as well but it was too fast to catch on camera.
The shot of the bridge above was interesting because the lights of the cars show the shape of the bridge really well but in reality they were tail lights and should have been red. However, the camera has obviously picked up the glow from the headlights as being brighter, even though to the naked eye that was maybe less obvious as they were pointing away from me. Also there is quite a glow coming from Broadford in the distance.
In the last shot below you can see the Plough in the top left quarter of the image and there is a faint hint of the Aurora in the distance, a faintly green-ish hue, but nothing great. It was also very cold considering it was only 9 o-clock. Anyway, the alert app has reduced the rating so I don't think it is worth going out again later on.
Another beautiful morning today so I popped down to the Sunken Garden for a few shots of the wonderful early autumn colours. Here the contrast of the blue sky and rising sun against the brilliant orange of the Burnt Sugar tree (Cercidiphyllum ilum) made this a tempting compsition. It was quite difficult to balance the darked foreground against the brightness of the rising sun in the sky. I am trying to stop using HDR as it does become a bit of a lazy habit but in this case against the bright background I felt it was the only way to achieve a more realistic balance. I quite like the result.
Below are a few other shots of the lichens on the Burnt Sugar tree and the wonderful blue Hydrangea 'Taube'.
It may have been the warmest day since the 1940s down south but it started pretty dreich up here this morning, then the sun came out and we got some lovely sunshine this afternoon. I took my camera out with me at lunchtime with the dogs and got a few nice bright colourful images as the first signs of autumn are beginning to show in the trees. I have tried to get a decent harp image of the many fuchsia varieties in the gardens here and I really haven't been too successful. I quite like this one although I could perhaps have done with a little more depth of field to get all of the flower heads in focus while maintaining the blurred background.
The image below is of some trees at the top of our drive. The lovely colours of the "candyfloss" tree as we call it, because of the burnt sugary smell, are at their best just now and contrast with the greens and slightly yellow foliage of the other trees quite nicely.
I am just back from four days camping with my daughter in Coigach, Assynt and Durness. While the weather could have been better from a camping and being out and about perspective it did provide some excellent highlights in relation to photography, not a little assisted by the fantastic landscape. While this is an area I know and love very well I never tire of going back. This time I vowed not to just take the same old shots but inevitably in some cases I failed, e.g. the above shot of Suilven, and the wider shot below, both taken from the road to Clachtoll. In this case I thought the clouds and broken sunshine provided more interest tan I have managed to capture in some of my previous shots from this favourite location.
One of the most amazing this trip was the amount of rowan berries and just how bright red they were. The view from Loch Drumbeg towards Quinaig (below) includes a little example to the right hand side, framing the shot as well as helping to block out the very bright direct sun which threatened to over-expose the shot completely. Once again though it is really the sky that makes this shot I think. We were blessed with lots of windy weather so there was a lot of movement in the clouds leading to many opportunities for wide angle shots of the expansive landscapes typical of the north-west.
This shot was taken from the roadside between Drumbeg and the Quiraing. This road has to be one of the most scenic anywhere in the country as well as being one of the most up & down. This image does not really do the road justice, sloping as it does at 25% down towards the sea. I am amazed that with the advent of the North Coast 500 tourist route that they bypassed this section in favour of the main route along Loch Assynt and over to Kylesku. Still, it does mean that this road remains relatively quiet, probably a good thing. If you get the chance, the road from ullapool to Lochinver, via Inverkirkaig and then on to Clachtoll and Drumbeg is worth the effort, but it does take time. From there up to Durness is more main road but quite a contrast with some of the most rocky terrain you will find in the country.
Balnakiel beach is one of the most spectacular stretches of golden/white sand. This farm house is situated at the end of the road where the beach and sand dunes begin. I always think that the house is a classic Scottish house, looking incredibly brooding and almost menacing. It really ought to feature somewhere in "Outlander". The beach almost always has great waves and offers wide open vistas and enormous skies.
The shot above was taken quite late in the evening looking east over Sango Sands at Durness. The light was quite unusual with the sun setting behind me, among heavy cloud, but to the east there were these strange rays and briefly a rainbow appeared. After a while, the colours deepened and intensified, although the rays and rainbow disappeared, to produce the image below - no enhancements, honest.
The remaining shots were taken on a trip from Durness to Bettyhill and Strathnaver. It was a bright sunny day, but again very windy, so there were some spectacular waves and cloud formations.
I stopped rather abruptly this morning while driving out of Kyle of Lochalsh to take this photo. The light on the loch with the sun rays and dark dramatic clouds with the intense blue sky combined to produce a great view. I had to lighten up the foreground a bit and tone down the brightest elements slightly but otherwise not much has been done.
I eventually managed to get a few minutes to try out my new camera yesterday afternoon while in Plockton. The above image attracted me because of the contrast between the bright colours of the post box and the bench and the highly textured white of the wall. The capturing of detail by the new camera is amazing as is shown well in the following wider shot of the front of the Old Post Office.
I also took a few other shots of boats on the shore, the famous palm trees and the like, see below:
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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