I decided today was a day for a return to the woods of the Balmacara estate, specifically the oak-birch woods above Duirinish. I wanted to look close-up at some of the lichens and fungi growing on the trees as well as some of the amazing textures on the bark of the older trees. This first image is of three different types of bracket fungus growing on a birch branch. The branch is also covered in an array of lichens and bryophytes, almost completely smothering the bark. The subtle colours are wonderful, offset against the blue/purple backdrop of the winter birchwood.
I shot the next image very close to the first, on a different tree at a more oblique angle. I took several shots at different apertures to try and get a sense of the depth of field in the shot, with soft foreground and background, while still retaining a fully sharp focal point on the fungus. I think the first of the two (shot at f/16) is the better but the very shallow deth of field in the second (shot at f/4.0) has a certain appeal.
The tones and textures in these woods are fantastic and no matter how often you return you always see something new and wonderful. This old oak tree has a wonderfully striated stem, with a huge burr and a wide array of lichens, bryophytes and mosses. I took a selection of this tree from a wide angle right down to a close-up of the stem.
Just to the far sde of this old tree is an amazing group of large boulders, all covered completely in green moss. You can just see them in the background of the above shot, but from in front they are truly impressive, especially when they are set off against a clear blue sky as was the case today.
The next group of three images is of a white lichen (I think) but I do not know its name. I will check this out with a friend who is pretty good at lichens and I'll update this post once I find out what it is. Suffice to say I have never seen this one before. It is a rather lovely and delicate structure, somewhat like small white trees. I shot a wide angle of it in its location on the tree stem, a closer view and a very close macro shot of the strucutral detail. It was very hard to get a good focus on the detail as the depth of field was incredibly shallow, but I think it should be good enough to get an ID.
Finally, after finishing in the woods I headed home via Duirinish and Broadford, not specifically to take photos, but I ended up stopping at the Gorstan at Drumbuie and took this panoramic shot across the croft lands to the snow covered Applecross and Torridon hills. A magnificent view on a day like today.
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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