Cairngorms

Having spent some time at the beginning of the week consulting for the Cairngorms National Park Authority I thought the drive back south would provide an ideal opportunity to take some photographs. Little did I know that the night before there would be a massive amount of snowfall that kept coming as I began driving.

Within five minutes of driving I saw two cars lose control, one of them managing to spin itself 180 degrees while trying to navigate a roundabout. My journey changed from a three hour drive into an seven hour epic, with coffee stops of course.

I did stop at Carrbridge and Dulnail Bridge for a couple of shots and was very happy to have taken my snow boots with me on the trip. I have a previous post that tells some of the history of Carrbridge with more photo's here.

Loch Achray

The title of this post should really be Loch Katrine, but the view from here and the sunset was just too good. Also the availability of fresh coffee was so near to where I was shooting it was an opportunity I wasn't passing. The coffee was available from Loch Venachar, a Lochside Restaurant, and I have to say I had the best soup I have probably ever had. If you are ever along this way I highly recommend stopping for lunch, they even have an instagram account so you know they're legit ;-)

Back to the photography, Loch Achray is a small freshwater loch 11 kilometres west of Callander in the district of Stirling. The loch lies between Loch Katrine and Loch Venachar in the heart of the Trossachs and in winter do not expect the roads to be gritted. I was lucky enough to stop just before the golden hour and then stayed outside in the -2 to -4 temperatures for an hour and a half. It was a beautiful golden hour and sunset and I hope I have done it justice with these photographs. The mountain in some of the photographs is Ben Venue; the name Ben Venue is derived from the Scottish Gaelic words meaning "the miniature mountain". It has an elevation of 729m. 

 

New Years Day

Well, more accurately New Years very early morning. 

Welcome to 2018, another year begins where tradition allows us all to make clean starts, begin good meaning resolutions and plan out the year ahead. Wikipedia tells me that some of the origins of New Year resolutions were started by the Babylonians who made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.

I thought a lot in December about what I would like to pledge a resolution or two to in 2018. Inevitably I came up with resolutions that would fail within the first week or two. I found that setting achievable goals that would be difficult but not impossible, at the same time as being beneficial for myself, would be decisive in any degree of success.

Last year was difficult at times for various reasons so I am looking forward to my 'clean slate' of 2018. I hope that I can replicate the good times of last year and miss out the not so good times.

So, my New Year started at The Vennel, a lane that leads to and from The Grassmarket in Edinburgh, with friends old and new. Needless to say, I was there for the view of the fireworks. The first photograph was taken when the clock struck 12am, a nice little 3 second exposure :-) Click for the thumbnail for larger versions.

This was the first time that I have taken photographs of fireworks so it was fun working out which settings worked best while working under a little bit of pressure as the show only lasted 9 minutes. I used my Canon 5D for these shots and have a couple more that I will post on Instagram later. I also used an application called Halide for shots that i took on my iPhone and I was really impressed with how well it worked last night. I'll think about posting these later.

Also, a quick mention to @jack_zxr, @katie_smith80, @itslour and @alycoste for providing a great atmosphere and hilarity to the start of the year.

Happy New Year

2017 Part 3

The last four photos from Sep - Dec were probably the hardest to choose as I seemed to get better shots into the autumn and winter months, probably due to the increase of photography trips in these months.

September

I like this photograph of the Highland Cow primarily because it was a fun afternoon walking around Stirling taking shots of the castle and by luck more than planning the Highland cows were grazing near the fence, they were very friendly and are probably used to the celebrity status that they have acquired, there is always a couple of busloads of tourist at this location during the summer.

 

October

This was taken on spontaneous journey where I left with no particular destination. I got to Dundee not long before sunset and I wasn't going to bother stopping as the weather was particularly nasty. Thankfully I decided to walk along the side of the Tay River to the Tay Bridge. I was particularly happy with this shot once I had edited it, and it got an amazing response on Instagram, amassing over 6000 likes in total. Probably my favourite shot of the year, or maybe the shot from November.

 

November

A return to The Hague in November. I didn't get to take as many photographs as I would have liked to during this quick trip but I did spend a Friday afternoon at Scheveningen, walking from the harbour entrance along to the pier. I also spent a lot of time on darkness descending so I could get this shot. Long exposure at the sea, this turned out a lot better than I could have imagined and it is definitely one of my favourite shots of the year.

 

December

This shot from Calton Hill almost wasn't taken, but it turned out to be one of the best shots I got in Edinburgh on this particular trip. I had been shooting Arthurs Hill and some of the other monuments that day, and wandered along to this side of the hill and quickly snapped off a couple of shots without really thinking about them much. I was really happy after I edited this shot a little. 

 

So that's it, another year down (well at time of writing almost). I have started planning some trips for next year and am excited at the opportunities to travel overseas and out of Europe that are coming up. 

Thanks for reading!