Hunting Kelpies

Situated right beside the M9, the Kelpies are a bit of a tourist trap, but it had to be done…

Rather stupidly, I set out with intentions of making long exposure photos of the kelpies – and then found after a few miles down the road that I’d left all my filters in the other camera bag. So, f/22 was deployed, along with a lot of stacking for synthetic long exposures. In one case it took over 60 images median-blended to eliminate the humans milling around. Still, it’s probably better that way – I’m always happier when image data arises from photons than algorithms or localized manipulation.

And some of my favourite shots are from the boardwalk through the marshes on the way back to the carpark.

When it snows…

…it does it properly. A small handful of photos taken late one evening when all around was quiet (apart from some lunatic burning-out the clutch in their Ford to get up the road) and covered in white (and slush) and no light but streetlights…

Cromwell’s Tree, Bridge of Earn

I took a long scenic detour home today, stopping in Bridge of Earn to search for¬†Cromwell’s Tree having read about it in a book.

It’s easy to find – on the road heading south-west out of town, cross the railway bridge and it’s in the immediately adjacent field to the left.

The tree looks dead, but while the top half is a mass of dead bleached white remains of branches, the bottom third has fresh growth.

It’s known as Cromwell’s Tree as it commemorates the fact that Oliver Cromwell set up cam at Bridge of Earn in 1651. There is no documented evidence proving a direct link, but the tree is old enough to have been present in the 17th Century.

While I was there I found a pleasant reflection of the sky in a flooded field nearby.

The remotest glen?

Late November, very late autumn – short days of chilly weather and cold light – I set off for a drive through Glen Lyon. I’d not been there for at least five years; felt like ages. Yet very little changes. The river Lyon still burbles on merrily past the Roman Bridge (that isn’t in any way Roman – it dates from the late 18th century); the mountains were all the same shape, with a light dusting of snow hinting at winter yet to come; the Scots Pine trees were still where I remembered them being (and, more to the point, I’ve since learned that they’re a remnant of the Caledonian Forest). There are, however, yet more potholes in the road from the dam at the end of the Glen up and over to Glen Lochay and someone’s plonked a cattle fence across the way. So it goes.

I had some fun with the Pentax 50mm f/1.8 lens, using it for landscapes (not a usual choice for me) and closeup work, even using a hole drilled in the lens-cap to make it into a pinhole.

Ansel had his “Moonrise, Hernandez, Mexico” moment. On the way back along the glen, I had my “Moonrise, Glen Lyon, Scotland” moment: the dullest of grey fading light, a clear view along between the mountains, dark bluey clouds passing rapidly in the distance and the moon rising beyond. Better yet, there were two boulders – one to climb, from which the other made a nice foreground feature. Click. Or more accurately, cliiiiiick, click, cliiiiiiiiiiiick – the sounds of a long exposure HDR sequence (1s, 0.25s, 4s) to capture the contrast on the scene. Categorically the best photo opportunity of the year.

I drove back over Ben Lawers in the pitch black with the rain turning to sleet.

Seeing the New Year in with style

Over the course of New Year’s Eve I saw several aurora alerts. On checking, it was even visible as a pale grey band running above the neighbours’ houses, so I grabbed a camera and tripod and found a convenient path with a clear view to the north.

This was taken at a minute past midnight – some evidence of fireworks in Crieff with a wonderful aurora arcing over Strathearn.

Ringing-in the New Year with fireworks in Crieff from Auchterarder... with an aurora arching overhead.

Ringing-in the New Year with fireworks in Crieff from Auchterarder… with an aurora arching overhead.