I thought for a change today I would tell you about my day at work, I work for a well-known car manufacturer (or at least the local dealership where I live!) and I drive cars back and forward between the customer and dealership, if the car is coming in for a service.
For example, and we cover quite a wide area of Scotland. So I can be tasked to pick up a car in the morning from say Inverness and bring it back to base, returning it later in the day when the work has been completed. So, a lot of driving and today was quite busy although I really only visited 3 places, Glasgow, Kelty (in Fife) and up North between Dunkeld and Aberfeldy (you may need a map to make sense of this). On second thoughts I will provide one below and show you where I have been, why I am I going on about this, simply because I thought something different from photography might be of interest.
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.
I had a trip up to Bruar falls today ( Falls) near Blair Atholl, its been ages since I was last here but they 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
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)
Today was a lovely sunny day, so I decided to visit a local loch intending to get some photos as its pretty picturesque.
It’s not far from Perth where I live so didn’t take long to get there and is called Loch Rohallion.
As it was such a lovely day I decided to walk around the Loch and up the hill a bit as I knew there was a dam nearby, it was one of those I’ll just see whats over the next hill type of walks, and there were quite a few hills and corners!
On the way up the hill, I came across a grand building in the middle of the forest called Rohallion Lodge, a very impressive old building with a beware of the dogs notice so I didn’t venture too close!
Eventually, I came across the dam, which was more of a small loch to be honest, although I know from Wikipedia that it was man-made and called Robin’s Dam, again a very picturesque scene complete with swans and ducks etc.
Leave the dam / small loch and heading uphill the views across the countryside just got better and better, soon I was getting high enough to get a really good view of the surrounding country.
I was also by this time getting pretty pooped, so decided it was time to stop for some refreshments, picnic with a view sort of thing. It had probably taken around 2 hours to get to this point.
I hadn’t thought to measure it on my phone on the way up but did going down and it was just over 2 miles for near the tp to the car on the main road.
After a short break I started back up the hill, although I did make a quick detour off road to see if I could get a decent view of the Lodge from above, after a couple of slips and falls on the boggy ground I could just see the lodge from above, but there were too many trees in the way for a decent photo!
Continuing up the hill, the track started to become frosty and had a scattering of snow on the ground, making progress a little bit tricky at times, eventually though I came to the summit of the hill and had some amazing views up there.
The walk back down was easier although no less tiring and so by the time I got to the car I was read y for home and some decent to eat, I was starving after more than 4 hours out.
Well the weather is certainly doing it’s thing at the moment, today a good lot of snow falling and more to come, just the kind of weather where I wish I had a nice 4×4 Landrover (other 4×4 models are available!) rather than a small mini cooper; not the kind of transport to be driving out and about in this kind of weather.
So I decided to use version 1.0 mode of transport, my legs, and took a walk up Kinoull hill which is not far from home, its usually around a 45 min walk but in this weather took a little over an hour. Exhausted, I eventually arrived at the top where the views are normally amazing, with the weather as it was it was impressive.
Robert the Bruce King of Scots 1274 – 1329 was a classical Scots hero and no friend of an Englishman, below is a photo of his statue at the Bannockburn heritage site near Stirling. Taken on a very early and cold morning, in the hope of catching a nice sunrise with the statue in a good position, as it turned out although fairly short-lived, the sunrise was extraordinary!