I first saw the book ‘Landscape’ around 5 years ago and it just blew my mind how much talent there was in landscape photography in the UK. Its been a small personal ambition of mine to have an image included in the book and finally this year I’m really pleased to say that out of 2 images being shortlisted , one has actually made it to the final and received a commendation. To say I’m chuffed is an understatement , I’m ecstatic. This is the shot thats made it through;
I took the shot last year in December. I was shooting images for my ‘Extreme Scotland’ project and had planned to hook up with Kev Shields on the Ben or Aonach Mor and shoot some mixed routes . But I’d been keeping an eye on the weather and there had been a lot of fresh snow with a high avalanche risk and as I was sitting in the departure lounge of Stansted airport , Kev phoned to tell me that the hills were a no go . Now the one thing I’ve learned about photographing in Scotland is to be flexible and have a plan A, B, C and D. So a quick call to Frazer , my go-to guy in Fort William who can make anything happen and the next thing I know is Keir and his mates are taking the day of school the next day to shoot with me on Glencoe mountain .
So , the next day we’re sitting in the cafe at the bottom of the ski lift to see if the wind is going to drop enough for the chair lift to operate and eventually they decide its worth opening and we head up the hill . The light was immense with massive dynamic range and we’re starting to get some images. But conditions quickly are becoming grim , the wind has picked up again , spindrift is being blasted into my face like icy needles and the camera lens is plastered with ice as soon as I get it out the bag .
The image that got into the book was the only image that didn’t have ice all over the lens from the set of the guys walking up the hill . I was shooting the 5Diii with the 24-105 f4.0 L lens. Its kinda my main lens for snowboarding / snowkiting. I nearly always dial in +exposure compensation in winter to stop the snow from greying out and keep the digital information to the right of the histogram and recover the highlights in post. But with the dynamic range , I still had blown highlights but feel that it maybe adds to the image ?
Only a couple of hours after opening, the high winds force the resort to shut the lifts and we headed down the hill . But we still had a half day of shooting and the boys were still raring to go so we grabbed the bikes and headed for Glen Nevis. I had scouted this location out before and the bend with the Steall falls in the background is one of my favourite locations . No flash , just hi iso and fast shutter. As we were setting up some shots , a couple of deer hunters came around the corner with their kills on their backs and some serious fire power . Pretty impressive carrying that kind of weight over 5 miles.
So, a personal ambition fulfilled and thanks to Keir , Connor and Finn for bunking off school and coming snowboarding on a windy day in Glencoe