Neist Point, Isle of Skye

This photo seems to have met with some approval on my page on Facebook  this week where to-date it has received >5.5K views and over 400 ‘likes’ in the various photo groups that I have shared it too.

Wex Photographic, the UK’s largest independent online photographic retailer have also shown interest in it too following my inclusion of the image into their weekly competition on Twitter with the #WexMondays hash-tag.

I saw a photo on twitter last year of Neist Point in Duirinish on the North East of Skye and just thought, wow! I really want to go there. The locations been on my mind ever since.

If you believe in fairies, then they surely would make their home on the Isle of Skye off Scotland’s North West coast.! The “misty isle” really is a magical place…

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As a climber and seakayaker I’ve been to Skye many times over the years, but have generally either been climbing and hillwalking in the Cuillin Hills or sightseeing in Trotternish on the North East of the Island.  Neist Point was a new venue for me.

I went overboard on trying to capture the shot I wanted and actually shot 118 shots of the point on the day, mostly in the afternoon after which we left.  I persuaded my wife to return towards sunset when the image here was captured.  I’m So glad that we returned and was really lucky that a passing shower produced the rainbow in the photo. This was one of the few that I captured without spots of rain on the lens!

I shot the scene using :

  • Nikon D7000
  • AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
  • Lee 0.6 Soft Graduated Filter
  • Tripod

all at :

1/125sec  13mm  F11  ISO400 – 1st August 20:50

The shot is not cropped and there was minimal post production work done with it. I don’t currently have photoshop but used paint.net to duplicate the background layer and burnt the duplicated layer a little to emphasise the reds.  Using two cards in my camera, shooting to both RAW and jpg.  The *.jpg image is that which is shown here.

Difficulty : 5/10

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Northern Lights

We had a fantastic display of the Aurora Borealis last night over the Highlands, probably the best I’ve ever witnessed.  I captured lots of images looking North over Loch Leven after mid-night; until my camera’s memory card filled around 1:30am.  These are some I took with exposure times of between around 30 sec and 1 min.

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Glencoe Panoramic

You know you’re hooked by Landscape Photography when you start looking around and wondering what angle or vantage you can get from certain locations. You know you’re addicted when you start scouring maps or using the Photographers Ephemeris to plan a location and time for a shoot.

The vast majority of shots that I’ve seen for Glencoe usually fall into several distinct categories.  There are shots of “The Three Sisters” taken from in the region of “The Study”. There is the classic shot of the valley floor from near Achnambeithach looking across Loch Achtriochtan. There are shots of the magnificent face of Aonach Dubh taken from near the Clachaig Inn, or with the River Coe as foreground composition.  Of course, at the entrance to the Glen is “The Buachaille” which is always a great backdrop for any photo.

Regularly cruising up and down the glen I’d often looked over at Meall Mòr (676m) which sits at the West End of the glen, diverting the River Coe towards Glencoe village and out into Loch Leven. Surely Meall Mòr would offer a perfect vantage point for a panoramic of this valley; arguably the crucible of British Mountaineering?

Weeks and months passed. Other life events took priority with my time, but the idea remained; slowly maturing.

Eventually a period of calm weather coincided with time to myself. I figured it would be about 2 hours hike up through the forest fire tracks from the visitors centre to the summit of Meall Mòr. That evening the sun was due to set at 18:21.  I’d already worked lots of additional hours that week and so finished early; flying out the door at 4pm.  Like a man possessed I rushed up hill carrying 12Kg of photo gear on my back…

I made the summit within my estimated 2 hours, but of course the sun was plummeting towards the horizon and soon to be lost behind adjacent peaks. I worked as quickly as possible with no real time to plan the shot and get my gear assembled. I felt as though I’d blown it; a +4 hour round trip hike for nowt…

That evening back at the PC I put the following panorama together. Well I guess it was OK,  just about, but I knew I could do a lot better. I needed more preparation time and a slightly different vantage point.

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The following morning the weather was perfect. Working from home again through the day I watched the great conditions start to deteriorate and by lunchtime it was raining. However, the forecast was for improvement later in the day. This time I was out of the door at 3:10pm and loaded my bike into the car for the short drive to the visitors centre. I cut down on gear taking only what I thought necessary and was soon cycling up the forest track, trying to cover ground quicker than the previous days hike.

I made the summit for 17:45, still only 30min to find a better vantage point and get the right shot. It was blowing a real hoolie. Dropping down onto the Glencoe side of the mountain I eventually set up above the precipice dropping down to the valley floor. I had to hang on to my tripod as the wind really was on the verge of blowing it over. I didn’t hold out much hope of getting the shot that I wanted with so much camera vibration. Perhaps a bit of luck was on my side, but with trips up the hill on adjacent days I feel that I managed to nailed it.  Feeling smug; I’m pretty pleased with this one…

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Print available for purchase : The final panoramic is a stich of two shots 1/10th & 1/8th Sec, F8, 16mm, ISO 250. The Pap of Glencoe extreme Left, Sgorr nam Fiannaid and the Aonach Eagach, Loch Achtriochtan, Aonach Dubh, Stob Coire nam Beith and Stob Coire nan Lochan.

I’m sure I’ll be hiking Meall Mòr again before too long. I’m really looking forward to some Winter shots of Magnificent Glencoe…

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