Recently my wife was going on a works evening out not too far from where we live, I thought as this was going to be in the evening and I was driving her there that I could kill two birds with one stone and take the camera and get a nice sunset capture. The night out was being held north of us in a place called Pitlochry and there is a nice Loch viewpoint not too far from there, ideal for a sunset shot, I thought. unfortunately for one reason or another, we were later arriving at the venue so by the time I had dropped off my wife and arrived at the shot location, sunset had already happened!
Well, I thought, that’s a bust but as I was going to be hanging around to pick up my wife after the party I thought I might as well wait around for the Blue hour and see if there are any image opportunities arising then.
Bit of nerd talk here …
“Blue Hour can be defined as the period of the day when the colour of the sky ranges from blue to dark blue, followed by black sky or vice versa depending upon the time of day it is being considered (i.e. for sunrise or sunset). It is termed as BLUE HOUR based on the consideration that the blue hue in the sky lasts for about an hour. In reality, it lasts between 30 to 40 minutes approximately. Its duration also depends upon the geographical location and the season.”
I hadn’t been up early enough to catch a sunrise so decided this was the day, bearing in mind most sensible photographers don’t try this in the summer when the nights are short and days long, meaning you need to get up a silly o’clock (which in this case was about 3 AM) before an hour and a bit drive to the site!
Dunnottar castle was my objective and that is about 1:15 – 1:30 hr drive from my home, so equipped with freshly made coffee I set off, getting there around 15 min before sunrise; so had to quickly find a good spot. I was surprised to see another couple there waiting to catch the same sunrise with their phone cameras, apparently, it was something on the ladies bucket list to do before her 50th!
Anyway, the time came and went for sunrise and it wasn’t the best I had seen but there were moments of clouds clearing and bright sunshine beaming across the landscape, I wanted to get a shot of the castle with the sunrise as a backdrop but it just wasn’t happening. In the end, I decided to try a silhouette effect on the castle and the sun shining through the clouds.
Once sunrise had come and gone I decided to move down to the shoreline and see if there were any scenic opportunities there, I used a long exposure method to try and smooth out the water and give a surreal effect, a few of the results are below, see what you think.
Well, the weather this weekend has been great and the forecast for next week is just as good if not better, so I decided to go on a minor trek Saturday up to Moncrieffe hill, which is just a mile or so outside of Perth. It is a beautiful area of woodland (and hill) with a couple of hill fort sites from the stone age I think, although there is not much left of them to see, however, once you are up there the view is extraordinary!
I decided (last minute) to try out some urban landscape photography, at night, something I haven’t really done much of. So this week I popped out around 10 PM on a dry but chilly evening into town, there were a couple of buildings nearby I was quite keen to have a go at.
The first seen below was the Concert Hall in Perth, the area this is located in has been refurbished recently so is not looking too bad at all, luckily for me this evening was fairly quiet, although to be fair I suspect the concert hall had only closed a short while before.
Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring my lens hood so I picked up a bit more lens flare in the images that I liked, I needed to do a little post-processing in Lightroom to try and get rid of as much as I could.
The other location I wanted to capture was the council offices of Perth & Kinross Council, it’s a very attractive building inside and out I think, at night it is beautifully lit up with various coloured lights.
I chose to use a wide angled lens for both of these shots although, for the council building I used portrait orientation on the lens, a tripod, of course, was also necessary for both images as they were going to be long exposures (around 20 sec) for each.
As a first stab, I don’t think things went too badly, noting of course next time the need to bring my lens hood!
So I was set a task this week, by persons who shall not be named, that is to get some photos of a peacock, preferably with its tail spread out. So where better to find peacocks than Scone Palace, just up the road from us, so off I went.
Scone Palace is an amazing place and set in some beautiful scenery, there are various animals as in highland cows, various birds etc including some lovely and reasonably friendly peacocks.
Scone Palace was the crowning place of Scottish kings where Macbeth, Robert the Bruce and Charles II were once crowned.
Scone breathes history like nowhere else in Scotland. It is the family home of the Earls of Mansfield and the ancient crowning place of Scottish kings on the stone of Scone. See where the Stone of Scone, known as the Stone of Destiny, once stood. It now resides in Edinburgh Castle.
You can wander down the Long Galley where King Charles II strode to his coronation in 1661. During the Jacobite rebellions, the ‘Old Pretender’ spent three weeks at Scone while his son, Bonnie Prince Charlie, visited in 1745. (credit: Visit Scotland)
The Peacocks wander freely around the grounds and are really quite approachable, luckily for those wishing to photograph them!
When the feathers are opened up they are really quite lovely, its obviously part of the mating ritual for the male to display his feathers so not quite sure what to think of him when he opens them out form me taking a picture, maybe he wants me to put them on a dating site for him. 🙂
On the way home I stopped off at a nearby burn where because of the recent rains I knew the water levels should be half decent, I wanted to see if I could get some long exposure shots of running water in the woodland.
The waters which tumble from these high mountains and give rise to a series of spectacular waterfalls gather initially at the ‘Meeting of the Three Waters’ to form the River Coe. Less than a mile lower down, at the very heart of Glencoe, the river widens briefly to form the sombre yet beautifully situated Loch Achtriochtan.
The mountains of Glencoe are built from some of the oldest sedimentary and volcanic strata in the world. They were subsequently moulded, sheared and repositioned by a geological event known as a ‘cauldron subsidence’ which took place 380 million years ago.
The mountains which first greet the visitor arriving from the south are the strikingly beautiful and instantly recognisable peaks of the Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag, – ‘The great’ and ‘The little’ Herdsmen of Etive. Magnificent though they may be, neither of these mountains is the reigning peak of the Glen or the district. That distinction belongs to the peak of Bidean nam Bian; whose main summit is hidden above and behind its more famous outliers, three great-truncated spurs known as ‘The Three Sisters of Glencoe’.