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Skye Expedition – Day Two

From Outside the Hotel


Day two kicked off with everyone meeting in reception at 06:00 and promptly going straight back to bed. This was not a revolt against shooting sunrise, it was in recognition that the driving rain and wind meant that while the sun was going to rise, we were not going to witness it.

So, take two, we met for breakfast at 08:00 and tucked in to the full Scottish. Oh, yes. the VERY full Scottish. Well, you can’t concentrate on photography if you are hungry can you?

We started the day with a few images close to the hotel (the image above was taken right outside the hotel) before heading to the obligatory honey pot location of the waterfall below Stob Dearg. I have to say the light playing across the hills here was stunning and we spent almost two hours working the location (as numerous photographers came, grabbed the standard shot and fled back to their cars). It is a cliche location, no doubt about it. But it is so because it is stunning. I couldn’t bring myself to photograph it so helped the group with camera techniques and composition, before finding a couple of small ‘vignette’ style images I was much happier with.

The clouds today kept parting, allowing golden light to play across the hillsides. At this time of year up here the moorland grasses are turning a striking golden yellow and orange colour. The Rowan trees are laden with berries, the Larches are turning a soft gold and the broad leaved trees are moving swiftly into their autumn colours. its a great time to be here. Yes, you are likely to encounter showers, but these can be brief and the light before and after is sublime.

The rest of the day was spent meandering down the full length of Glen Etive. This glen with its river, waterfalls, woodlands and views of the surrounding hills is a wonderful playground for the landscape photographer. We really took our time, working each location thoroughly, experimenting with compositions.

We also got chatting to some canoeists who ran some rapids and waterfalls for us An interesting photographic diversion requiring a totally different set of camera skills. In addition to the landscape images we also squeezed in a session at the famous Glen Etive ‘Bike Shed” (if you have been there you will know what I mean). We also found a wonderful old barn and did detail images of the doors and windows.

By the time we got to Loch Etive, around 16:00 the midges decided to appear. We fought on bravely for an hour but eventually they beat us off and we headed back to the hotel for some well deserved pints of the local Scottish Stag bitter. This primed the way for most of us to order Haggis in a Drambuie sauce with “Tatties & Neeps” (Google it). it was, frankly, awesome 😉

Charlotte bought her new pride and joy down to the bar, a Fuji X100s and this prompted a lot of interest as we made some portraits of each other, without flash, trying the different film emulation modes. Its a cracking camera and made me all the more keen to get home to take delivery of the Fuji X Pro 1 I have bought second hand, which arrives a couple of days after I get home. My favorite mode was the mono setting with the red filter enabled. It is an easy camera to use and, along with the retro styling, makes just great looking images with a lovely ‘feel’ to them. Very impressive. Charlotte had to pry it out of my hands.

The forecast for Monday is heavy rain around dawn and for much of the day, so it may be limiting photographically (however, in Scotland as elsewhere, it can lead to wonderful glimpses of light and atmospheric images for those who brave the conditions). We have the drive to Skye so it is not a full on photographic day like yesterday, but I do have some great locations planned so it will be interesting to see what we get, photographically.

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