At this time of year we often get really excellent sunrises with beautiful light on Loch Alsh. I have lost count of how many times I have rushed out out of the house to take photos of this and yesterday was no different. While I might have taken lots f these shots I never tire of the view and the variations in the colours and quality of light at this time of morning at this time of year. It is sometimes a bit difficult to capture the essence of the scene as you tend to be looking into the rising sun and the forground and hills tend to become just black or dark shapes if you expose for the sky. If you take the alternative approach of exposing for the land then the sky is blown out. I could have tried using a ND Grad filter which darkens the sky but since time is often critical before the light disappears as the sun rises, I usually choose to auto bracket three shots and then merge them in Lightroom using its HDR Merge tool. This effectively takes the over, under and properly exposed bits of the three shots and blends them into one correctly exposed image. Sometimes this makes the foreground detail a bit too bright so I usually have to do some adjustments to try and replicate how I saw it in reality. This compensates for the camera's relatively limited tonal range, or dynamic range, compared with our eyes and can be effective so long as it is not overworked with too many extreme adjustments as can sometimes be the case.
Yesterday the loch was pretty calm with just enough movement too add interest to the reflected light from the sky and the old jetty in the front right leads the viewer into the view. The first shot below was taken with my Canon 24-105mm f/4 L lens at f/4.0 to get a reasonably fast shutter speed to capture the texture in the water, even though the camera was on a tripod so I could have opted for a slower speed. It would have been interesting to have tried using my ND filters to take a really long exposure to smooth out the water but in my rush to pop down to the shore to catch the light I only grabbed my camera and tripod and left the filters at home - a lesson learned!
Before work, after dropping the girls at the High School I nipped round to the other side of the Plockton aerodrome for the following shot of the Bealach na Ba (another of my favourite subjects for photography). I had intended to take this in colour because the colours that prompted the visit were so vibrant but by the time I got set up the had faded a bit, so the black & white, which shows of the textures and subtle tones better was my preference.
In the later afternoon I had to visit Plockton so I headed down to the Coral Beach, a popular walk on the estate, to try and capture the later afternoon light. The following shots are the result of that visit. I converted some to black & white because I think it illustrates the textures on the rocks better, but the colours were fantastic so I could not ignore those as well. This is only a small selection.
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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