Autumn at Glen Affric (2)

Having visited my favoured spot overlooking the Caledonian Forest, I proceeded up the side of Am Meallan to the well-known location with a view over the lodge and along the length of Loch Affric.

It’s definitely an autumn morning location: the sun rises behind you, skimming up and over the tops of mountains beyond Loch Beinn a’Mheadhoinn, rising as it heads south; accordingly, patches of bright sunlight interspersed with cloud-shadows lap like waves across the undulating landscape from distance right over you.

Of course I had to make a timelapse video of it:

Loch Affric timelapse 2017-10-14 from Tim Haynes on Vimeo.

And two more photos to summarize the morning:

Sunlight and cloud shadow – an outcrop of Scots Pine and birch trees on Sgurr na Lapaich

Proper colours. The most beautiful shade of green pine foliage interspersed with orange/yellow warm birch trees, all lapping up the early morning light.

A classic view – soft heather and bracken leading past Loch Affric to the mountains beyond (Kintail / Glen Sheil in the very far distance).
I had befriended a fellow photographer down at the glen earlier; the first I knew that they had followed me a few minutes later up to this memorial viewpoint was the word “WOW!” exclaimed a few feet behind me.

Autumn at Glen Affric (1)

For about 13 years I have been of the opinion that it has not been a year without at least one trip to Glen Affric.

My favoured time is autumn, late October, to catch the trees in the Caledonian Forest reserve at their most colourful.

Arriving before sunrise, the light is all dull  and the scenery a moody shade of gloomy Рthe last vestiges of moon stars remaining in the cobalt blue sky.

One of my favourite scenes at Glen Affric – two ncie birch trees amongst purple and green heather.
Sadly this shot has been marred in recent years by the installation of a large wide path cutting right through the heather between bench and trees; this photo used to be easier to compose but now I’m too conscious of having to position the frame to avoid the path just below; it’s becoming too much of a trick-shot for my liking.

 

Slowly, over the course of an hour after the posted sunrise time, the sun will gradually rise behind Meall Dubh beyond Loch Beinn a Mheadhoinn, casting a beautiful light on the forest:

Having arrived so early, it is a delight to bask in the first proper warm sunlight of the day:

One of my favourite birches – always think it should be called “Dancer” for some reason – basking in the first warm rays of sunrise amongst the heather.

Sunrise at Kinnoull Hill

Early one morning in August I set off up Kinnoull Hill in Perth; a 40-minute stroll through the woods and I arrived at the top just in time for sunrise.

There are a couple of classic viewpoints, although juggling foreground foliage is not the easiest. This is the view closer to the tower with a hint of sunlight behind the hill, a line of light streaking round to illuminate some of the yellow trees below:

Sunrise behind Kinnoull Hill, with the River Tay running along the Carse of Gowrie into the distance

And this is a little further back, the sun having risen illuminating the whole Carse of Gowrie and River Tay, sky still shades of yellow and pink:

A classic view of the tower and River Tay from Kinnoull Hill, Perth

Walking back through the woods was rather pleasant too – lots of dappled sunlight on the trees.

This was one of the first photo-sets I processed using Affinity Photo Pro on the iPad. Loving the colour and tone already!

Birnham Hill

One of my favourite views is the Highland Boundary Fault running through the landscape, immediately in front of me standing at Stair Bridge Viewpoint part-way up Birnam Hill.

It looks particularly pleasant with light and cloud-shadows zipping over the trees too:

Photo-Walk 2017

For several years, on and off, I’ve attended an annual Photo-Walk based in Inverary, Argyll. This year was no exception – always good to catch up with friends I’ve met on the walk previously.

As always, Argyll is a favoured place and Autumn a favoured season; the combination of light and landscape makes for enjoyable drives.

An auspicious viewpoint – right next to the public toilets on Inverary front – but it makes for a cracking view up the loch toward a spot of sunlight illuminating the hills around Ardkinglas.

This time the organizer, Richard, had brought a couple of props – most notably a bottle of Isle of Jura¬†Superstition and I had one or two ideas in mind “just in case” we ended up at a particular favourite waterfall.

 

We made our way down the slippery embankment to the burn, where I set up tripod amongst the boulders to maximize the lead-in lines of water flowing around the rocks up to the waterfall – tripod placement was fairly tricky with a wide-angle (24mm) lens and the slippery lumpy terrain to negotiate – and then as the camera was busy taking 20s exposures (4x with pixel-shift) I trotted back and forth through the water firing a flash-gun down onto the bottle of whisky and surrounding rocks (manual triggering at 1/8 power with the diffuser out and reflector down to stop the light itself registering in the scene).

Product Placement
I quite like Isle of Jura whisky… not necessarily on the rocks though.

I had originally experimented focussing in on the bottle itself and using a wide aperture to restrict depth of field, but that did not fall naturally through the scene – the waterfall was still sharp behind – so I stopped-down to make everything in focus and relied on post-processing tricks in Affinity Photo to draw the eye onto the bottle differently instead – some Orton effect and various soft-light Gaussian blurs, masks and elliptical gradient fills to boost the saturation, make it all glow and still leave the bottle sharp and bright. The final toning came from Snapseed of all things.

I’ve done a little product-photography before but never tried blending [bad pun intended] it with landscape work, let alone pairing it with light-painting, but I think it worked – certainly compared to the straight shot, the bottle with its amber glow just makes it.

Morvern 5/4: The Road Back

And so we come to the last post in the series, a set of photos not entirely in Morvern but more on the way back up the shores of Loch Sunart and Loch Linnhe to the Corran Ferry, across and down to Loch Leven at Ballachulish.

There’s something wonderfully uplifting about rattling along these wee roads on beautiful sunny days, admiring the light.

Morvern 4/4: The Viewpoint

After the long drive, the walk in the woods, the angst of the cleared township, the second part of the walk resumes through the woodlands up hill to the viewpoint, looking out over Loch Doire nam Mart to the caves in craggy Beinn Uamh and beyond. On a sunny day with a few white clouds in a crystal-clear blue sky, it doesn’t get much nicer than this.

After a second walk through the woods around Aoineadh Mor, towards the top of the hill one comes across this beautiful view: conifer trees, Loch Doire nam Mart and more trees scattered on the slopes of craggy Beinn Uamh, all beneath a crystal clear blue sky.

Well, it does get a little better – Doglet had his dinner on the shores of the loch in amongst the rushes. Lucky chap.