There is little doubt that everyone is facing challenging times at present. For me, this has been a period of relative peace in some regards, and at others a time of great uncertainty. Initially the lack of tourists to our area meant it was beautifully quiet, offset to a degree by the lack of ability to get out and enjoy it as much as I would have liked. However, it soon became clear that changes were afoot at my main place of work, the result of which has been some redundancies and loss of long-term colleagues. Against this background, I have not really felt much like getting out with the camera, far less maintaining my blog and other social media platforms. However, I have managed to gather a few shots from the last few weeks and these are my favourites. There is a definite de-saturated style going on at present, perhaps related to my frame of mind, but sometimes quite effective.
The above shot was taken from near the Duirinish railway station on one of my fairly regular walks around the coast on the Duirinish-Dumbuie-Port an Eorna circular walk. I framed this photo to capture the silhouette of the Isle of Skye and the Cuillins in the background to the left, balanced byt he trees on the sky line to the right and the angle of the colourful clouds leads ythe viewer's eye into the frame. The colours on this image were very vibrant originally (see below) but I felt they looked a little over-saturated so I opted for my recent predilection for a de-saturated feel and I prefer the de-saturated version much more, more atmospheric.
This rose was shot in our garden. It was such a delicate small flower and I deliberately tried to get a soft feel using the largest aperture to achieve a very shallow depth of field, and reduced the clarity a bit in post-processing. I love the soft ethereal feel of this image. Sometimes you just don't have to travel far to get a good shot!
The following shots were taken during a short camping trip with my middle daughter to the Ardnamurchan peninsula at the end of August. Ardnamurchan is an area I have rarely visited, partly because it takes an absolute age to get there from anywhere. As the crow flies it is only about 60km distance from our house but the travel time by road is c. 3.5 hours with a massive detour rerquired to get round the Knoydart and Morar peninsulas, or a ferry ride via Skye. The peninsula hosts the most westerly point on the UK mainland and is very well known for its marvellous ancient oak woods at Sunart and Ariundle.
I had a little bit of work to do on the morning of the 29th but we spent the afternoon driving around the back roads and visiting likely spots around Kilchoan, Kilmory and Sanna, taking shots as the opportunity arose. Essentially this became a bit of a photography reconnaisance trip.
This old croft house and barn were located at the very end of the road to the north coast of the penisula, beyond Kilmory at a tiny little settlment of only a few houses called Ockle. In the past you would really have had to like your own company in a location like this, especially in bad winter weather when the sometimes steep and winding road would effectively cut you off I suspect. Nowadays, there are several holiday lets joining the few permanent residences.
We camped wild, with the campsite being fully booked, but it has to be said we found a fantastic, quiet place overlooking the Small Isles and the Isle of Skye and with a magnificent panorama of mountains heading north on the mainland as well. I took a lot of shots of the view but it was very hard to capture the grandeur of the settiing and the light was generally not great. This shot was my favourite of the bunch, looking NW towards the Isle of Muck, the most southerly of the Small Isles, in the late evening as the sun was heading towards the horizon.
On the way home on the 30th we stopped at Ariundle oak woods, near Strontian, and went for a walk around the official trail. This is not a strenuous walk at all, taking you through some beautiful old woodland with magnificent ancient oak trees, mossy carpets covering the forest floor, calling Jays and a fantastic range of butterflies in the more open areas. For my regular readers, you will already know about my love of these old woods and the Celtic Rainforest in particular. These woods are among the best examples of this kind of temperate rainforest, illustrated by the wonderful array of mosses, lichens and ferns growing on the forest floor and on the stems and branches of these ancient trees. Well worth a visit if you have not been there before.
This Harebell caught my attention as a beautifully delicate little flower in an open area near the river. The petals are so fine and softly coloured that they make excellent subjects for close-up photography.
While visiting the Ardnamuchan area we also took the opportunity of a flying visit to Tobermory on Mull, by ferry from Kilchoan on the afternoon of the 29th. This was literally a whistle-stop visit in order to catch the last ferry back, but it was a beautiful sunny afternoon, which justified an ice cream - fantastic! The place was very busy and that came as a bit of a shock as I have not really been to many towns frequented by tourists in recent months. Slightly scary to be honest. Maybe a visit at a quieter time of year next time!
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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