We have an article for you written by a local Photographer and customer of ours. His work was recently published in the Landscape Photographer of the Year.
Sky on Skye . . . by Tim Way
Through your generosity of time, recommendations and a little tuition with Jeremy Walker, I wanted to share a little journey I had from last year, not just with my photography, but also a 1,670 mile round trip in my Smart Car to Skye and back, ‘back’ being Poole in Dorset.
My photography journey continued this year with one of those images being Commended in this years Landscape Photographer of the Year competition. This image has now been published in Volume 7 of Landscape Photographer of the Year and is available in all good book shops ; ) lol.
My journey started November of last year. I remember packing everything into the Smart, popping up to the fuel station to fill up, grabbing a large Costa and thinking, I hope it doesn‘t snow.
I’d pre-booked one Bed and Breakfast in Killin, Scotland. It gave me focus for the journey ahead. After several fuel stops and a 15 minute power nap, I arrived at my destination, in the dark. I awoke the next morning revitalised and in time for breakfast and a chat with my host and new K9 friend ‘Blue’ (well, at least while there was breakfast on my plate : ) The day was intermittent drizzle and moderate to poor visibility so I set off in waterproofs to a wonderful Forestry over-looking Loch Tay.
I set my camera up on a tripod with my 50mm Zeiss Planner on the edge of the water. I remember the blustery wind & drizzle and the fight to keep my Lee Hard Grad free from droplets of rain. My gear for this morning comprised of an XL chamois cloth for rain protection over the camera and lens barrel & the occasional use of a waterproof rucksack cover for the “not a hope in hell’ moments the weather threw at my equipment. I danced the merry dance, ducking and diving until the occasional break in weather presented itself. The following image was part of a portrait 5 shot stitch, but I ended up in ‘post’ with a preferred square format crop.
I continued on my journey to Tay Forest Park for my next shoot. This was shot under a wonderful canopy with dappled light bouncing over the moss and grass in a very controlled environment. Shot again using my 50mm Zeiss this time as a 7 shot portrait and merged in post for a panoramic format.
I carried onwards through Rannoch Moor, Glen Coe, Forte William and finally reaching the Winter Ferry at Malliag for the trip across to Armadale on Skye. I emphasise ‘Winter’ Ferry because there is only one way on and the same way off, so this means reversing onto the Ferry so you’re pointing the right way to drive off at the other end. I thought it was a wind up, me being the first there, so I held back in case it was Scottish humour : )
I arrived on Skye, yet again in the dark and headed left off the ferry on a whim to find my next B&B up the hill on the right in Ardvasar. You may forgiven for thinking I haven’t planned my route, you are correct. Rule of thumb: “My route for the following day was planned the evening before over a cup of tea and a biscuit before bed”. Nothing like living on the edge in the winter months traveling around Skye in a Smart Car. Didn’t really think that one through especially after refuelling at a garage that only sold Landrovers. That said, after speaking to a local, the warm Gulf Air Stream flows through and over Skye meaning even if there was snow, it vanishes pretty quickly with steep hills (road) being cleared with ploughs if needed. Most folk on Skye have everyday 2 wheel drive cars. Phew !
So, breakfast in Ardvasar and chat with my hosts before leaving for my next destination, ”the view out towards Ornsay Lighthouse” just off of the A851. This was my Commended shot taken on my trusty Nikon D700 using my Zeiss 21mm Distagon.
A little word about my technique: I use the Arca Swiss P01 head recommended by Robert White Photo, an Arca L Bracket, along with a couple of short Arca extension rails. The extension rails enable me to pull the camera back off of axis in both Landscape and Portrait formats to obtain the correct Nodal Point and Centre over my tripod. This enables perfect stitching for my Panoramic Landscapes, thank you Jeremy : )
Common to most of my images (I’d say 99%) is use of the Lee Filter System. I started off with the Hard Grads as recommended for Landscape Photography especially as I live near the coast. I try to use them in Live View mode as it’s very easy to equalise what you see on screen. Once I have done this, it’s simply down to Exposure Time as my Aperture and ISO are fixed. I shoot at 200 ISO exclusively although I’m always experimenting with new techniques. Live view isn’t always available due to glare on the camera surface, so a fine balance between viewfinder, live view and histogram whilst adjusting filters is my working progress. I also make use of the Lee 0.9 Pro Glass ND for time adjustment, Lee 105 Circular Polariser for reflections and colour boost, the new 1.2 ND Hard Grad (as used in the Castle Stalker shot) and recently purchased Soft ND Grad Set. The Soft Grads have surprised me; I now use a mix between the two for more accurate control or just the Soft Grads to control light from the side. I have an old scuffed 0.3 ND I use in front of my filters when water is an issue and simply remove when the time is right. Lee filters raise my game and take me to a whole new level; I simply couldn’t be without them.
I am currently writing a Statement of Intent for my ‘A’ panel for the Royal Photographic Society, I’d like to share it with you although it’s not quite finished. Forgive me my poetic license, this is from the heart and how I feel about my Landscape Photography. It was written whilst recalling Sky on Skye.
I, . . . am a Landscape Photographer. I am at piece in my landscape. Our hearts beat as one as light begins it’s marry dance across land, ocean and sky. I am beckoned by it’s symphony and I share with you the wonders I witness while you sleep the early morning. My focus is intense as my surroundings unfold in front of me. I am one, . . . one with my camera, . . . and one with my senses. I, . . . am a Landscape Photographer. ©Tim Way 2013.
Here are 3 more images from my trip, 2 last year and one from this years trip. You may recognise Eilean Donan Castle and Castle Stalker.
Images are for sale and I am arranging a trip to Skye next year for a group of 3 if interested. Good luck with your photography.
Tim Way – LRPS
Thanks to Tim for this article and some fantastic pictures. If anyone would like some advice on Lee Filters, Arca Swiss or Zeiss then please either vistit our website or give us a call.