13

MAY, 2013

If there is one invention I would pay gladly for it would be a beamer, no, not a film projector, I mean a beamer like Captain Kirk & Mr. Spock had to transport me from home to shooting destinations in real-time. I hate packing & I hate lugging gear to & from airports or onto buses & through trains. I can’t stand being controlled at airports or worrying where my passport is or studying timetables in foreign countries. I just want to be there where I want to be quickly & with as little fuss as possible.

In 24 hours from now I’ll be on my way to Franz-Josef-Strauss airport to the north east of Munich to catch my flight to Edinburgh, estimated time of arrival around 16:40 local time. From there its off to the highlands with a rented car for a 2 week visual adventure, just me, the car and my camera.

The last couple of days have been hectic, for some unknown reason I had lost the enthusiasm for the research, my thoughts and time were spent more with tying up things at work and the weather at the weekend was beautiful so that I could take a number of nice pictures that of course needed to be processed and sent online to the website. Add to this tidying the garden, shopping and a bit of housework then the distractions cost me quite a bit of time that I now need to make up for.

For this trip I am taking my iPad with me, a new addition to my equipment. On my last trip 2 years ago there were times where I had to spend hours in the car due to spells of rain, to pass the time I started to keep a sort of diary but unfortunately as the weather improved this got put aside. The iPad is worth its weight in gold for passing time with internet, games, films, music, emails, Skype, GPS positioning, map reading and weather forecasts.

There is nothing better than standing next to a waterfall, in a forest on a warm day being cooled by the water rushing by .

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

An aspect that often annoyed me after returning from a trip was not being able to locate where some shots were taken, this time I am taking a Nikon GP1. This little GPS receiver allows me to keep track of where I am exactly and allows geotagging on a digital map like Google maps. As I returned from Iceland a few years back I encountered the locating problem quite often. Iceland has a thin infrastructure outside of Reykjavik. The road signs are few and far between and further more almost impossible to read and remember, plus of course in the heat of the moment you never think of writing these things down.

One thing I have noticed this time around is the amount of battery rechargers and cable salad I need to take with me, a real pain in the proverbial. A Nikon recharger for the camera batteries with car adapter, a recharger for the Ipad, another for the mobile phone and one for the laptop, add to this a German/English electrical adapter, 2 external Hard drives a card reader and a number of USB 2.0, 3.0 and Firewire cables then you get some sort of idea what I mean.

Camera equipment wise, it’s the same story I’m afraid, since I was last in Scotland two years ago I have replaced a number of lenses for the more professional Nikon lineup. These include the replacement of the Tokina 12-24mm f4 for the Nikon 14-24mm f2,8, the Nikon 24-120 f4,5-5,6 for the lovely Nikon 24-70mm f2,8 and the Nikon 70-300mm f4,5-5,6 for the much better 70-200mm f2,8, add to this a Nikkor 105mm f2,8 macro, a 2X Teleconverter a D700 FX Body and a D300 as spare then you know why my Photo rucksack is 11 Kilos these days instead of only 8. That’s the price you pay for quality it seems. Now I have no reason for blurred edges with chromatic aberrations in my images anymore. In fact, the only thing that I can’t rule out is the weather.

“For this trip I am taking my iPad with me, a new addition to my equipment. On my last trip 2 years ago there were times where I had to spend hours in the car due to spells of rain, to pass the time I started to keep a sort of diary but unfortunately as the weather improved this got put aside.”

Sparsely inhabited, a lot of Scotland is a peaceful, meditative experience with just the odd cafe & pub along the way.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

The Isle of Skye is something special, I think it is the light & where better to enjoy this then at Sligachan?

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

Indeed, the weather, an ever present topic when in Scotland. If you have luck then you may have 2 weeks of beautiful sunshine, if you are unlucky only 2 days. The weather conditions change rapidly, on one occasion on the Isle of Skye I set off from the car-park to walk through a forest and then up a steep hill to the Old Man of Storr, a Rock stack formation on the north eastern side of the island, on this approximately 5 km hike I encountered sun, rain, hailstones and snow, all within 2 hours. The wind was quite hefty too. The use of a tripod, out of the question. The fascinating thing though is that everyone imagines Scotland as being such a damp, cloudy, windy country so no one expects to see images with blue skies and sunsets. The unpredictable weather makes for some unbelievable light experiences. Just before or after a storm for instance, the clouds are at their most dramatic. Add to this the rugged coastline, a romantic loch with a mountain as backdrop and you can hardly take a bad picture.

The start & end point of all my trips since 2006, the Franz Josef Strauss Airport in Munich. As I said above, a beamer would be better.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

Patience is the greatest virtue for a landscape photographer and in Scotland you need patience at times of extreme weather conditions. It can rain non-stop for 3-4 days which of course doesn’t tend to motivate a great deal but at some stage the weather clears to reveal the real Scotland, a Scotland full of rugged countryside, beautiful lakes, dramatic skies a wild coastline and a great variety of wild birds and animals from Ospreys to Whales, from Otters to Puffins.

I’m really looking forward to this trip, I wish I was already there. See you guys in 2 weeks, hopefully with a couple of decent shots and a couple of stories to tell ;-))

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