Although I’d been to Scotland many times before, I’d never been north of Edinburgh until recently. We stayed in Loch Ossian hostel not far from Corrour Station; it’s about a mile down a well used farm track.
Arriving on Friday afternoon, we ate in Corrour Station House hostel; in fact we had all our meals there. Loch Ossian hostel is entirely self catering where as Corrour Station House hostel does fantastic food, serves alcohol and is the most relaxing little coffee shop without all the pretentious crap of city coffee shops. Think Central Perk in the middle of nowhere. It also has very comfy leather sofa and chairs; that’s where we parked when it was wet and miserable outside.
On Saturday, we took on Carn Dearg (941m) and Sgor Gaibhre (955m). It was quite calm in the lee of the slopes but very windy on the tops. The top of Sgor Gaibhre was a white out with visibility down to less than 50 metres. The paths are indistinct in places but going off-path to do some navigating was all good practice for us.
The weather lifted in the late afternoon and it was a fantastic evening as the sun was going down. That seems to be the trend.
On Sunday, we walked through the forest on the slopes of Beinn na Lap. This turned out to be the best bit of the weekend. In the words of my companion “It’s great being on a walk where we’ve seen more deer than people.”
What do you buy someone who enjoys life to the max.? The answer is an experience day. Be it driving a super car, a helicopter flight or perhaps something more sedate like a day at a spa. Long after the day is over, they will still be talking about it to their friends.
For her birthday, I bought my girlfriend an Aqua Sphereing experience. Basically, you climb inside a large inflatable ball with about 60 litres of water, plug the hole and get pushed off down a hill. The “ride” lasts about 30 seconds and is described as like being inside a washing machine.
It looks fantastic fun. Kids as young as 7 can enjoy the thrill. Unfortunately those with neck or back problems can’t but if you’re looking for “something different” to buy someone as a gift, I can thoroughly recommend it.
I went to Glastonbury for the first time this year. I tried and failed to get a ticket last year and then spent the festival weekend kicking myself. Not so this time and what a fantastic festival it was.
I’ve never seen so many tents pitched so close together. There’s an instant market for the 2 story tent.
Rolf Harris opened with a very entertaining set. It’s hard to believe the guy was 80 years old this year. Others sets of note for me were the Bootleg Beatles, Paloma Faith, Faithless and of course Stevie Wonder. He closed the festival with a marvellous gig.
It was smack bang in the middle of a heat wave by UK standards. A huge amount of dust was being raised by people and traffic moving about the site. So much so that the tracks were watered to keep it down. Most years mud is an unwelcome facet of the festival. This year it was missed so they had to create some.
2 other things that I will always remember about this year’s festival (I’m definitely going again!):
1) the irony of an emergency ambulance with blue lights flashing in the healing field; &
2) the flags billowing in the breeze.
This may sound strange coming from a photographer but there’s nothing worse in a photograph than an obviously put-on smile or a forced pose. We’ve all either done it or seen it.
And that is why good photos of animals (technically correct – in focus, well lit, etc.) stand out so much. They’re natural; What you’re capturing is their everyday behaviour at that moment in time.
Now some (lucky) people are naturally photogenic but if that’s not you, next time someone’s got a camera, at least try to ignore it and trust the photographer to catch you looking your best.
Everyone generally agrees that time is precious and we would all prefer to spend it doing the things we want to and not those we have to. In photography, at least in my mind, what that boils down to is “Less is more!” I read a few web postings recently that talk about this in more depth.
Scott Bourne isn’t exactly a hero of mine but he does talk a lot of sense. In an article from last year, Become a Better Photographer by Taking Fewer Shots, his general advice is to put more effort into thinking about the composition of a select few images rather than “spray and pray”.
Nicole Young echoes this sentiment…
Avoid “machine-gunning” your photos. Every time you press the shutter you are creating an image that you will import into your computer and do something with (even if it’s just deciding you don’t want to edit it), and shooting in continuous mode all the time (several frames per second with each press of the shutter) will exponentially increase your editing time. I have found that as I develop my skills as a photographer I am taking fewer and fewer photos, but I end up with just as many, or more, “keepers” than I did in the past. I am selective about my shots and know that want to think about everything I see in the frame and only press the shutter when I’m sure I have what I want. It doesn’t result in a great photo every time, but I know become a better photographer every time I press my shutter and don’t just hope I get a good shot due to “luck”. There are going to be moments when shooting several frames-per-second is appropriate, so the key is to know when to use that method.
So, how do you remove the temptation to “spray and pray”? Well, Chris Weston, a respected wildlife photographer, summed it up brilliantly in an interview with Digital Photography School. When asked “Do you have a tip for beginner to intermediate photographers that will help them improve their photography?”, his reply was a bit of a Eureka moment for me.
Something I still do to this day is, before I press the shutter I ask myself the question “How would I caption this image?” If the only answer I can conjure is the species name, then I wait for a better shot.
There was a full moon recently so I had the bright idea of getting up early and finding somewhere high to watch the sunrise. It was a fantastic plan when it was hatched but when the alarm went off at 2:40am and outside being a real pea souper, it didn’t seem like one of my better ideas.
Almscliff Crag was our chosen spot and when we arrived there at 4am, the sky was already starting to turn blue…
It was really erie sitting up on the crag watching the fog retreating…
…but I think the end result was worth it…
While we were there, I’m sure we saw the crack in Amy’s bedroom wall…
As always, any feedback and comments welcome!
It’s all Scott Bourne‘s fault!
Scott Bourne wrote an article about why photographers should build a blog and not a website. I started my own website years ago for a variety of reasons but recently I’ve found it harder to maintain (keep current) and with less time to do so.
Also, just like everyone else, I’m looking to collect (or reference) all my online content in 1 place. So here are some blatant plugs for now and we’ll see how this evolves.
Cheers for reading thus far!