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A Weekend of Adventures

This last weekend found me down on the beach in Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon and then in Glen Esk on the shores of Loch Lee on Sunday. Both days were different conditions with different desired outcomes from each place resulting in very different photographs.

Saturday - Aberdeen Beach

At the beach I was looking to do some long exposures of around 100-150 seconds for a completely misted, ethereal sea. In order for this type of photograph to work I required something to anchor the photograph and contrast with the motion blur from the waves and water. Aberdeen beach, while not having many rocks, does however have wooden groynes that are spaced at intervals along the shore. Arriving at the beach I realised it was match day at Pittodrie with parking rather scarce... I eventually parked the car at the Bridge of Don end which was much further along the beach than I really wanted, but as it turned out this was in fact ideal. I wandered the promenade back towards the harbour and noticed a tree that had been deposited by the winter storms, it was conveniently sitting next to a groyne so I figured I'd start there.

I wasn't overly happy with the composition using the tree trunk and the groyne so instead I found myself watching how the waves were washing around and interacting with the wooden groyne next to me. This, I decided, was far more interesting - especially as there were quite larges waves washing ashore.

A 100 second exposure on Aberdeen Beach.

I used my 10 stop ND filter to give me an exposure time of around 100 seconds which gives this image a surreal feel, the only true texture is that of the sand. Basic adjustments were carried out and then the image was desaturated, I stopped just short of turning the image completely black and white as I wished to leave just a hint of colour in the final image.

Similar composition but this time a 3 second exposure taken at the same location.

This photo has been processed in a similar fashion but, with it being a much shorter exposure there is still structure to the waters motion and to the waves as they roll up the beach. Two quite different images just from changing the exposure time.

Sunday - Glen Esk and Loch Lee

My plan for Sunday (I had a free day as my wife Anna was attending an art workshop) was to head a bit further south, to Edzell and up Glen Esk for a walk along the shore of Loch Lee and part climb the Shank of Inchgrundle, this was as much a recce as it was a photo trip. I could have chosen to head to the Falls of Unich but decided to keep that for a future visit. As I walked the northern shore of Loch Lee I was keeping an eye on the weather and the light as the sun was in and out of the clouds (although mainly hidden I have to admit). I was also noting that at this time of year the sun is too far south to light the glen in the way I wished, so while taking notes I decided to just enjoy the walk and see what would transpire.

I had noted from the maps that there was a small loch nestling in the corrie of Cairn Lick/Craig Maskeldie and my aim was to climb high enough up the shank in order to be able to look down into the corrie and the loch. As I slowly climbed the 4x4 track that wound its way up the hillside I found myself ascending amongst snow patches, some of which were quite large. Once I was high enough I set up the camera looking back over Loch Lee and waited to see if the sun would co-operate and give me some light to play with on the hills.

Snow patches on the Shank of Inchgrundle looking toward Loch Lee.

Loch Lee 

The two photos above were taken from slightly different vantage points with two rather different foreground interests. They also show how the light can change the way a photograph looks, both have the sun lighting the glen around the end of the loch closest to camera with the cloud cover varying along with the quality of the light.

As I descended back to the loch I walked passed this pine that stood out for two reasons, it was the only tree that had colour in an otherwise brown and yellow countryside. And two, it was lit beautifully by the sun at this exact moment in time. I managed two shots and then the sun was gone.

A lone Caledonian Pine, the only green against a muted background.

Later in the summer with the sun further north in the sky the light might be more along the lines of what I'm looking for, a return visit can therefore wait until the warmer months.