Scotland may be a stronghold for many of the UK’s rare and threatened species – like the golden eagle, Scottish wildcat, pine marten, crested tit and capercaillie – but the natural light can be second to none for landscape photography, particularly in spring. The changeable weather that made my attempts at photographing ospreys so frustrating were the exact conditions that made me stop again and again to break out my tripod and wide-angle lens.
The fierce winds that rocked Scotland for several days in May did make maintaining a steady camera and tripod hard work. Thankfully, a hefty 400mm f2.8 lens makes for a heavy camera bag to hang off the hook under the head mount and anchor the tripod in place. The movement in the clouds and waters as a result of the wind allowed for some atmospheric long-exposure shots, particularly at Loch Garten in the Abernethy Forest and at the picturesque 18th-century bridge in the centre of Carrbridge.
When the sun did break through the clouds it mostly bathed the slopes of the Cairngorms and dappled the forest floor in brilliant golden light. This meant that waiting for the right break in the clouds was often the name of the game. That said, waiting for a rainbow to reach across the skies or for the reflection of a mountain scene to appear in a loch is easy in such tranquil surroundings. I’m already planning my next trip and you can bet my wide-angle lens and cable-release will be going with me!