Torridon photo course
Dawn over Loch Clair, looking towards Liathach. A couple of weekends ago I was on a photography course in Torridon. It was a revelation. Not, unfortunately in photographic terms, but of the beauty of this part of Scotland in autumn. I know my own east coast stamping grounds well in all seasons, but this was the first time I'd been on the west coast outside of the narrow band of June to August. It was empty (save a few bands of tripod-toting photographers, and the cars of hill walkers at road ends and wider verges of the single track roads). The sun was low and the light (on Friday and Sunday) reflected off the tawny hillsides. I had never imagined such warm colours in an almost treeless landscape.
The shot above was taken on Sunday morning, towards the end of an early session at Loch Clair. We were in the minibus at 7 am, in the dark, slowed momentarily by a stag walking slowly down the road in front of us. On location (how pretentious that sounds) by 7.30, as the blue light gave way to rose and silver, and I sustained a tripod injury while trying to coerce what to me is basically machinery into capturing the beauty of the dawn.
Sunday at least had a dawn. On Saturday we were also out by 7, and bracing ourselves and tripods against rain and gale-force winds at the same location, and then after breakfast at Loch Maree.
My aim for the weekend had been to get a concentrated infusion of technical know-how and that wasn't forthcoming. However, looking back from a couple of weeks distance, I'm realising that I did learn some things about composition. The most frustrating thing was to know what I wanted to capture in terms of the quality of light, and not to be able to manipulate the camera to do that. I am singularly dim when it comes to f-stops. The old horror of maths lessons at school rears its head.
Throughout, I was concentrating so hard on trying to take artful photographs that I didn't take shots of what would normally appeal to me in a landscape. It was a very strange experience - 'trying too hard' is how I sum it up to myself.
I'll leave you with another shot of Liathach, again one of frustration as the clouds scrolled and crimped over the summit quicker than I could fumble with my f-stops, and I walked ankle deep into the loch before I'd realised it, in search of the perfect composition.