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Lochnagar & Cullen

So, for the last we while I've been posting images that I've taken during the year up until around May. I found myself busy dealing with life in general as Anna and I prepare for the arrival of our first child - hence photography has taken a bit of a back seat.

Well, with most of my 'chores' around the house complete I decided that I wanted to head back out and try a few new locations, see what I could manage and figure out if anywhere would be worth a revisit.

First on my list was Lochnagar, a mountain that I have been wanting to walk and photograph for quite a while. Yesterday was to be the day that I managed at least part of that ambition.

With an alarm set for 0100 on Saturday morning I managed to leave the house at 0145 and arrived in Glen Muick around 0250. Equipment checked and bag shouldered I started my walk at 0300 with the intent to be on Meikle Pap before sunrise at around 0445.

What I wasn't expecting was the wind... The forecast was good with a breeze expected but what I encountered at 980 metres was a little more than the 15-20mph winds forecast! There had been gusts as I walked in but it was mainly still and calm, that is until the sun broke the horizon - at this point the wind switched on and could be heard as it howled across the cliff faces. I could barely stand on Meikle Pap and my tripod refused to stay upright...

I managed all of 3 shots before my hands were frozen and I had had enough. The one here was taken as I hunkered down out the wind with the camera handheld. I had the immense pleasure of watching the sun rise to the north, and I watched the Corrie face of Lochnagar light up a beautiful pink/orange colour as the sun climbed higher.

Sunrise over the Grampian Mountains - Taken from the summit of Meikle Pap.

With my experience on the summit of Meikle Pap less than ideal I will return another time but I did realise that for the photograph I want to take I am too close to the mountain. Next time I'll be exploring a vantage point further from Lochnagar so that I can take in the whole mountain.

As if the extreme early morning walk wasn't enough I headed off to Cullen on the Moray coast for sunset. I was wanting to capture the last of the days light on the stacks that occupy the beach. Unfortunately this was another shoot that didn't quite go to plan. Again the weather conspired against me as increasing cloud cover over the evening meant that there wasn't much light, far less sunlight!

I set up on a spot on the beach looking to the North West where the sun should be setting and waited to see what would happen. The answer was - not much! I did manage a few photo's, more than I did on Meikle Pap anyway! I played around with long exposures as the winds were still quite strong. 

Cullen Beach and the '3 Kings' rock stacks.