Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Photography on Skye (posted by James)

I've dedicated a lot of the last 6 years to teaching myself the intricate details of mountain photography, and I've learnt a lot of lessons especially during my time in Glencoe. Always, always look where you are putting your feet…. If you are setting off on the hill and it is light, you are probably already too late for great photos…Being tired, cold and sleep deprived means you are putting in about the right amount of effort….It doesn't have to be fun, to be fun.

But without a doubt the most important thing I've learnt is that the ability to be in the right place at the right time is far more important than technical ability with your camera. Daily studying of the weather, researching maps and precise knowledge of your own speed and ability over rough terrain will take you far further than owning an expensive new camera will.

Brief clear skies over Loch Brittle

When you get things just right, when all your preparation comes together and you are there at the right time, when you know it's about to happen and you have a few seconds to make the camera do precisely what you want… I don't think I know many things more exhilarating.

Early this morning I set off on an unexpected trip to Skye after having a shift swopped with the intention of taking early morning photos in the Southern Cuillin.

Loch Brittle from lower Coire a'Ghrunnda

Everything came together just how I wanted for my photos. I did the walk towards Coire a'Ghrunnda almost exactly as quickly as I thought I would, meaning the sun was just where I wanted it. I knew there would be fragments of cloud coming off the sea, and as I hoped the low, bright sunshine created the precise moody effect I was after.

The Spur and Bidean Druim na Rahm

A bank of fog and rain came in off the sea as I reached upper Coire a' Ghrunnda so I decided to keep it for a day with views from the ridge. So I didn't climb anything today. But I really don't care. I was buzzing.

My photography has improved this year, I think. Each improvement has come through less sleep, higher motivation and more risk-taking. I'm not trying to make it sound glamorous, as it is not…it is hard work, dedication and self-imposed loneliness.

It is a different world now, to five years ago. Everyone can take good photos with the cameras available at low prices nowadays. The pursuit of exceptional landscape photos is becoming a more challenging task than ever…and however successful you may be it becomes more fun with every hurdle.


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