Up with the lark

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.

Out and About

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!

 

Still life

Sometimes I forget the camera lenses I have and their different points of value, mainly because I tend to keep either of 2 lenses on my camera, a telephoto zoom or wide angle for landscapes.

Recently I dug out my 85mm and 35mm fixed primes and took them out with me, I had honestly forgotten how sharp the images can be from these lenses and the amount of Bokeh available, see photos below.

Knitting
Knitting
Knitting
Knitting needles

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are not going to win any competitions but they do serve as a reminder to me not to neglect the kit I have in favour of something that I think may be better, each to their own as they say; they all have their own pros and cons depending on the subject.

Night Wanderings

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.

Concert Hall
Perth Concert Hall

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.

PKC Offices
Council Offices

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!

 

Scone Palace

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.

Peacock tail
Peacock with tail showing

Scone Palace was the crowning place of Scottish kings where Macbeth, Robert the Bruce and Charles II were once crowned.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Waterfall
Long exposure of a local burn

 

Picture in picture

I had a trip up to Bruar falls today ( Falls) near Blair Atholl, its been ages since I was last here but theyLower falls didn’t disappoint, it’s a bit of a trek up the hill although the bridge and first falls seen below are not too far from the car park.

in this photo are the lower falls and they are around a 10-minute walk from the car park, there is a viewing point just around on the left of the bridge where I took the next phot. it is really a beautiful area to take a walk and enjoy the scenery

 

Falls view
View of falls from the parapet.

The next image is a shot of the falls as seen from a small viewing platform (it’s a natural rock formation) found to the left of the bridge and going through a gap in the rocks.

The water below was so clear but looked very cold so I didn’t fancy a dip, however, I did spot there was a nice location for a shot on the ground to the left next to the water’s edge; it looked a bit tricky to get down there so I didn’t try it today, maybe another time!!

I also thought it might be interesting to show you how I set up the shots above, so the next image below gives you an idea of that. (Clicking on the image will open a new page with a larger image)

Setup shot
Bruar Falls Setup

 

 

The Glencoe Experiance!

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.

Glencoe
Meeting of the 3 Waters

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’.

Castle in the mist

Emerging from the morning mist and taken from the Wallace monument, the sun rising from the left has enhanced the colours of the Great hall. I had set out at silly o’clock in the morning to drive to Stirling (about 40 min) to catch the sunrise over the castle from below, unfortunately, the mist was so thick from below that the castle couldn’t be seen at all!

Castle Mist
Stirling Castle in mist
Castle
Stirling Castle

I hastily relocated to the nearby Wallace monument, which was a fairly steep hike uphill in order to get there in time for sunrise and hopefully above the mist layer. I got there just in time to capture a fairly brief moment (a few minutes really) where the sun hit the Queens Chapel.