Essays / s /

Five Sisters of Kintail

Five Sisters of Kintail

The Five Sisters of Kintail in Winter. Looking over Loch Duich (just down from Eilean Donan Castle) towards the snow capped mountains of Kintail as the sun rises to the East.

The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye

This is the Old Man of Storr, on the Isle of Skye, from a different viewpoint. The classic viewpoint is up The Storr to my left. That view gives a dramatic aspect showing giant boulders atop a scree covered slope with miles of seascape and landscape behind and, usually, to the left [East] of the Old Man. You can even see the Skye Cuillin sometimes.

Not being one to merely follow in the footsteps of others I decided to blaze my own trail and capture something different. Inspiring even! And so after sweating my way up to the Old Man I took a good look around. Higher is better I thought, but not in the usual direction. Two options presented themselves. Both could be achieved in a single venture. Ideal.

And so it was that I found myself nearing little plastic signs stating that it is not a good idea to go past this point due to falling rocks. Falling rocks? Doubt it. Onwards. A little way beyond were more signs stating that only dafty's would go beyond these signs due to the falling rocks. Not me. I can go anywhere!

At this point the sensible man (or woman) would look at the large collection of small rocks lying at the base of the cliffs in front of me and consider the signs may in fact be valid. Not me. I can go anywhere!

So followed a scramble over rubble and then up a very loose slope where I had to use my tripod as a pick to stop from slipping back down the slope. Again the sensible person would re-consider as I was slipping on small sones and rocks that had clearly fallen from the cliffs now towering above me. Not me though ... etc ...

Finally reaching the highest point I could, without resorting to full blown climbing, I scanned around to get the most interesting viewpoint. Something in my head (probably my ears) started to warn me there were rocks falling somewhere close by. Surely it must be sheep scrambling about on the rocks? I had seen a few earlier on. That will be it. Setting up tripod, attaching camera, filters, all the good stuff. Definitely rocks falling somewhere close by.

Now my pulse was racing. You see I am stupid when it comes to photography. You knew that already though?! And so the important thing for me now was to wait and take a photograph. Not run and hide from the rocks which I had now actually seen passing close to me. Okay so the rocks are close, but not actually hitting me. Yet. Waiting, waiting. Focusing, wondering if the light will become a little less harsh. Something to eat perhaps? A snack has been earned after all.

Bang crash wallop ... And there was the brown trouser moment. Large rocks passing within around 20 feet of me. First one side then the other. Pack everything away. Quickly. F@ck it leave it all and run (I seriously considered this option). But run where, there is now rubble falling either side of me and the easiest way out has the rubble funnelling into the path that makes it the easiest way out! Panicing now as the noises get louder. Are they closer or just bigger?

In my opinion once a decision is made that could affect your health, it is best to stick with that opinion. No point heading one way then doubling back to increase your exposure time. Camera still on tripod, brutally slung over my shoulder, rucksack hanging off me, I moved as quickly as my dodgy ankle would allow down the way. That's all that mattered; down. Skidding, sliding, maybe even upside down at one point! And came to rest amongst a pile of large rubble that offered some protection from the dangers up above.

There was a moment as I reached safety where I could hear nothing. Did I imagine it all? But no, once I turned to look back up the hill it was clear I had not imagined it. Rocks were still falling. Everywhere. I had made the right choice. Well that is if you exclude the wrong choice that saw me up there in the first place.

But from my airy perch the photograph on this page was made. An all time great? Nah. A bestseller? Nope? A competition winner? It has never even been entered. So was it worth it? Well the picture here is still a personal favourite. It is not a viewpoint you see much -!- and most people that view it like it. So yes from a personal point of view it was worthwhile. Would I do it again? NO!

Top tip folks. If you are in the hills in Scotland and a sign slaps you in the face telling you not to be an idiot. It is there for good reason. Don't be an idiot.

Learning from others could save your bacon one day.


Website update

Aaaaaaaaand relax ...

That is my next planned website update complete. For a while now I have been beavering away tidying things up and getting to grips with Koken, the latest and greatest photography website back-end.

The overall update is a gradual iterative process that ultimately sees new content alongside a new website. Each stage brings me a little closer to my final aim of having every worthwhile photograph I have taken online in a fashion I am happy with.

Slowly everything is coming together for me.

Stay tuned for more photographs and more website functionality in the not too distant future.

Landscapes gallery

Some people may be thinking I have forgotten about my landscape photographs. Well I haven't ... There is still a LOT of work left for me before I can upload all my photographs as I want them to be seen, but in the mean time I have just put a selection on here.

Remember you can still see my old (very small in comparison to what's coming!) collection on my Photoshelter website. Purchases can also be made through the Photoshelter site for the time being.

As always I hope you enjoy some of these photographs and please check back again for updates. Also feel free to share anything you like through Facebook, Twitter etc.

Some more new photos from Norway

These are my last few photos from this trip to Norway. There have been some stunning skies some lovely snow capped mountain tops and even a wee glimpse of the Northern lights. All in all some good fun photography. Even the mist shrouded oil platforms provided some interest for me.

Aurora Borealis

At last a decent (only slightly wobbly) photo of the Northern lights. Taken in Norway looking across a fjord to the ever changing sight of the Aurora :-)

New photos from Norway

Some new photographs from the area around Florø in Norway.

Each time we come into Florø just now there is more snow on the mountains and the snow level has dropped (it's currently just at sea level). There have been a couple of stunning sunsets over the past while and I managed to get one good glimpse of the Northern lights on a clear evening.

Norway never ceases to amaze me when arriving from the sea. Mountains are clearly visible from over 40 miles offshore and they just get bigger and bigger as you approach. In Winter the scale seems even more impressive with a thick white coat standing out against the sky even as the last of the daylight disappears.

New photos posted

Some new seascape photos taken during my recent time away. A lot of time spent alongside in Norway meant not many opportunities for true seascapes, but sailing in and out of fjords -dodging dodgy weather- gave me some different opportunities.

Happy New Year!

Bye bye 2013 ...

And hello to a new year, new website, new me.

Well the new me bit is a little far fetched, but the rest is correct. For a good while now I have been organising and re-working my photographs in order to get as many online as possible. Better here than sitting on a dusty old hard drive with no-one to keep them company ...

For now I am concentrating on finishing up my offshore/seascape photographs, so those will be the first ones published here (but don't be surprised if the odd landscape makes an appearance!).

This year has shown me that there is more interest in my seascapes than I had realised. Beforehand I never really gave the seascapes much time, as I felt they were something just for me. They were my practice photos for when I got the opportunity to take "real" photographs of landscapes. But now I look back I actually feel there are some pretty strong photos in this collection that were taken with as much care and passion as any of my landscapes.

And so it is that I have pieced together a few small portfolios of my best/favourite seascape photos taken over the last decade and a half and stuck them up here to see in 2014. The rest will follow as I complete them in batches and once I feel I have have exhausted the seascape idea my landscapes will follow.

You can still see my previous galleries here where they will stay until everything is transferred onto this website.

If you see any photographs here that you like and think someone else might be interested in, please don't hesitate to share across the usual social networks. You will see the relevant icons below each photo and portfolio/album.

May your 2014 be your 2013 ... plus one!