It has been a while since my last blog post. This was not due to the lack of new material, as I have actually been shooting quite a lot in February. Instead, I have just been way too busy juggling shooting and editing photographs with keywording and uploading photographs to Alamy to create individual trip reports for each weekend outing. I also felt that, as some of my trips involved going back to locations I’ve blogged about previously, I might run the risk of repeating myself.
Hence I’ll use this blog to showcase the various photographs I’ve taken this month in a oner.
Sunrise at Seacliff Beach
At the start of the month I decided to revisit my favourite beach in East Lothian: Seacliff Beach. The tide was low, and coming in, and the wave forecast suggested some pretty rough waters. Ideal conditions for something different from my latest visits to this beach.
And indeed, the waves did not disappoint. I tried to get as close to the action as possible, and on several occasions I had to make a quick dash to avoid getting me (or my gear!) too wet. It was worth the risk, as I wanted to show the dramatic power of the winter waves battering the coast.
Large waves batter the rocky outcrops at Seacliff Beach
Retreating waves blurred by using a long exposure.
A large wave causes a tidal pool to fill up.
Large waves at Seacliff beach. A bit more negative space than I usually use for such sots, but it’s something I should do more often.
Loch Skeen and Lochcraig Head
The subsequent weekend I was really hoping to head up a snow-covered hill to catch the sunrise. The mountain weather forecast for the Scottish Highlands did not give any reasons to hope for any views, so I opted to head down to the much less spectacular but closer hills in Dumfries and Galloway. My not-very-crystallized-plan would be to head up to loch Skeen, following the Grey Mare’s trail and perhaps head up one of the craggy hills embracing this little loch. The ascent was made a little interestig, as not only was I walking up in the itch black, but the trail was covered by ice a legacy of the recent daytime thaw). I brought my crampons, and decided to put them on for some of the patches (A slip could have some nasty consequences there), which, due to the patchy distribution, meant I had to switch between crampons-on and crampons-off a couple of times. I really should get some micro-spikes for when additional grip would be welcome, but crampons are a bit overkill!
I arrived at Loch Skeen well in advance of sunrise, and it was a beautiful sight. The sky was a bit clearer than I would have loved, but I quite liked the moon hanging above the ridge of hills.
Loch Skeen (Dumfries and Galloway) at dawn with the moon about t set above the hills
With some time left before sunrise I decided to head up the hill which was sitting just on the right outside the frame of the photograph above. The drifted snow on the approach slowed me down a lot more than I anticipated, and I was glad when I reached the hardpacked snow when ascending the hill. Unfotunately sunrise happened when I was halfway up the hill, and the clear skies made the light very harsh within minutes. Regardless, I plodded along and recahed the non-descript summit of Lochcraig head. The views were quite nice, as I was above the inversion which added some needed character to the flat-topped summits. I was surprised and a bit disappointed to see so many wind-turbines on the hills, as this detracts from the natural “unspoilt” landscape I was expecting to see. However, I decided to make the most of it, and even included them in some of my compositions.
Inversion in the snowy hills of Dumfries and Galloway
Wind turbines popping through the inversion
Sunrise at Tyninghame beach
At the end of the month I headed down to Tyinghame beach, which is a beautiful beach, though a lot more subtle than Seacliff beach. It is mostly a sandy beach, though there are some rocky features which become visible as the tide goes out. I really love the 15 min walk to the beach from the car park, as there are some nice woodlands, which are very mystical in the dark.
The forecast said clouds, and I was very happy with that. Though when I arrived at the beach it was immediately obvious that sunrise would be colourful. I was actually hoping to shoot some moody black and white seascapes, but ah well. I squeezed in one black and white photograph, which was actually taken when the colours were at their prime. I found that even desaturating did not lead to very leasing results, so I opted for black and white here. I used a moderately long exposure time to create streaks as the foamy waves receded back to the sea. It’s an effect I have been overlooking lately, mostly because I usually avoid sandy beaches.
Receding waves as the tide was rapidly going out
Another streaky seascape. I had to pull the saturation slider way back to avoid the colours looking unnaturally vibrant. Not something I have to do often.
An incredibly colourdul sunrise
While the best colours were found to the rght of the composition below, I found that the muted colours in the sky were a nice contrast with the photo above. I also wanted to try a new compositional approach, by instead of facing the sea directly, taking photographs sideways. This created some nice streaks going across the frame, instead of the converging in the photos above.
Streaky patterns created by retreating waves on the sandy shores of Tyninghame beach. The BAss Rock can be seen on the horizon.
All in all a relatively prolific month, visiting some known nearby locations, but also exploring some new ones. Sadly time, and especially the weather, prevented some higher level trips to the mountains in the Scottish Highlands, but hopefuly I’ll manage to go explore them on a wild camping trip soon. Until then, I’ll have to appreciate the photographs I did manage to take this month 🙂
More of my East Lothian seascapes can be found here, and my black and white photographs can be found here.