This morning I was designated driver to drop off two of my girls at the station in Kyle of Lochalsh for the early train to Inverness. Despite the early start this is not something I mind doing as I usually make the most of getting up early and head out to the crofts for a bit of birding or photography. Today it was the turn of the camera rather than the binoculars. Initially the light was pretty flat but by 7am it was much better. The above shot was taken from near the station at Duirinish, looking towards Drumbuie. The dark clouds in the background and shadow on the hill ground set off the bright sunshine on the township really well, with the wild dog rose in the foreground adding some vibrant splashes of colour.
The following shot illustrates well the difference in the quality of the light at 6:15am. While the light was flat, the cloudy sky set against the wild flowers in the croft meadow made this an appealing composition, which I have photographed before.
While flat light is not usually that great for landscape photography it can be ideal for close-up and macro shots. If the light is too bright you can easily get blown out detail on the petals and leaves of plants, while soft cloudy light is ideal. As a result I started looking more closely at the plants in the meadows rather than the wider landscape. I did not opt for true macro as it was quite breezy and the plants were moving around a lot, making macro focusing impossible. Instead I opted for my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens, working from a bit further away. The first shot below was actually taken with my EF 24-70mm f.8L II lens but I have included it for context as it shows the wonderful species-rich croft meadows in full flower just now. The close-ups were all taken with the 70-200mm lens.
The last shot (above) is probably my favourite from the morning. I really love the soft tones and the back light really brings out the subtle translucancy of the petals. The cropped version focuses on the two main daisies without the distractions of the surrounding flowers and grasses.
Aside from the wonderful flora I was also fortunate enough to get a good sight of a roe deer before it ran away and jumped the croft fence, plus a male siskin kindly posed for me on a spruce branch.
Another feature of these crofting townships that interests me is the old vernacular buildings, the older houses, barns and the like. This old barn sits at the edge of a small area of croft land in Duirinish. Set against the flower-rich grassland, with the looming cloudy sky made we want to shoot this image.
Finally, as I got back to the car, the light came out to play again and I captured this shot looking across the crofts towards Duirinish, showing off the marvellous meadows in these two spectacular crofitng townships.
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.