Portraits with a difference… Just before leaving the UK my daughter found out about a place that looks after abandoned and injured birds of prey and so welcomed the opportunity to spend some time there. The amount of people who think they can keep animals like this in their homes and look after them properly astounds me. The UK animal laws are ridiculous and basically you can almost keep anything as a pet. Thank goodness Australia have sensible laws about this at least. It was wonderful to see the birds in recovery mode with many of them happy to fly around and perform aerobatics in the process of being fed. It was the birds faces in close-up I was interested in as you don’t get many chances to see them up fairly close with no wires or mesh. Used the Olympus OMD-5 and the 75-300mm lens for all these images.
A Summer Dawn... It appears England is overdue for a decent summer, and it’s arrived, in full swing. At least 14 days of high twenties and clear blue skies and scattered clouds are forecast and we are into day five with the forecast on track and accurate. The nights get very cool when the sun at last disappears over the horizon, and I anticipated a fine morning with quite a bit of mist around. I had pre-selected some locations I wanted to photograph at first light and so was at the first area tripod at the ready about 5am. The following images are just a small selection of a set I took in five different locations over a period of 90 minutes…to say I worked fast and hard is an under-statement! The light was magic and I was in my element. England never seems to disappoint the landscape photographer.
The Islands of Lewis, Harris and Scalpay... in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides are intriguing to say the least. During my brief visit to these fairly Isolated Islands I was often completely enveloped in swirling mist and drizzling rain. It only added to the enchantment of the scenery. I had always thought that I would see these places in weather like this, so despite the time of year when technically it should be summer, the mist and fog persisted, even if it was quite warmish in temperature. As I drove around the Islands, places and scenes would literally pop out of the mist and sometimes it would clear away and a tiny amount of sunlight would appear, but so tantalizingly brief. I had at the top of my list the Standing Stones of Callanish and arrived in the late afternoon with clouds and some dramatic weather…great for what I wanted to photograph, and so I happily walked around all three locations with the threat of rain and a blustery wind whistling across the heather clad moors.
Tranquility, Calm and a sense of Serendipity… is the ever-present and pervading feeling I had during my short stay on this magnificent Island. A favourite place of my mother’s, this was my first visit and without a doubt I will visit this beautiful and alluring Island again. The skies were always full of texture and line and the softness of the light even with the threat of rain made it a dream to photograph. The summer light started at 3.30am and continued through until 10.30 pm with twilight lasting 3 hours! I couldn’t possibly take it all in but I had a good try!
The Mountains of Scotland beckon… as I make my way up through the Trossachs and continue on through parts of the highlands I have not seen or photographed before. Loch after Loch appears after just a few minutes of leaving the last one behind, and some lesser known areas and well off the Tourist route are outstanding in their beauty. I have yet to find a part of this beautiful country that I would describe as ordinary.
Loch Lomond and Lone Pipers…My Entrance into Scotland this year was one of Mist and Calm, she greeted my like an old friend and having visited before I expected as much! In the days since, the weather has been lovely. Scotland is a Landscape Photographer’s paradise and one does not want blue Sunny days and no clouds. Loch Lomond holds a special place for me as it was one of my mum’s favourite places. She remembered vividly been taken there as a child on numerous occasions by her grandfather and its now her final resting place as I was asked by her if I would scatter her ashes there, which I have subsequently done for her. Needless to say when encountering lone Pipers standing in front of magnificent backdrops with melencholy sounds echoing around the hills as they play their instrument, it is hard not to have a tear in your eye.